Knowledge is to purification and asceticism what ablution is to prayer. No practice is possible without knowledge, as no prayer is possible without ablution. . . . .

Knowledge is of two kinds: that received from teachers and books, and that unfolded in the soul. Again the latter kind is twofold:

(1) The Knowledge transmitted from the Divine Sanctuary into:

(a) The Soul of a Prophet. Such Knowledge is called Wahî.*

(b) The Soul of a Master. Such Knowledge is Ilbâm (inspiration).

(2) The knowledge transmitted into:—

(a) The Soul of a Master from a Prophet.

(b) The Soul of a Disciple from a Master.

As a Master sees God in the Soul of a Prophet, so a Disciple sees God in the Soul of a Master.

“So long as the tablet of thy heart bears the impression of letters, thou dost not know any of the secret meanings. When the letters completely vanish from the tablet of thy heart, then comes the knowledge of the secret meanings.”

Knowledge is the key to all virtues, as ignorance is the key to all vices. Knowledge ushers in liberation, ignorance brings in destruction. The celes­tial ranks and abnormal sacred powers spring from knowledge; chastisements in the various grades of hell result from ignorance. So the faithful should shun ignorance and the ignorant in the same way as vice and infidelity. “A wise man is my friend, and a fool is my foe.” As ignorance and the igno­rant are to be avoided, so is it obligatory to seek knowledge and the company of the wise—not worldly knowledge, but the moral; not the worldly wise but the morally wise. “If you acquire knowledge thoughtlessly, you will use it as a means of gaining worldly position. True Knowledge is that which leads to the Divine Sanctuary, not that which leads to wealth, rank and passional gratifications.’ The company of a Sage for a day is more condu­cive to progress than purification and asceticism.— Letter 55.

[The following note may be added from “The Series of 28 Letters.”—Trs.]

Real knowledge comes from the Soul, and a true knower is he in whom lies the original and final Knowledge. The purer the Soul, the deeper and more subtile its comprehensions.—Loc. Cit., Letter 6.