After hours of discussion about the question of finality claimed by each revealed religion I returned home so exhausted and perplexed that I had no other way to get to the heart of the mystery but to wait, wait in silence, all arguments set aside, all inner turmoil hushed to point of total surrender. I lighted a candle, burnt some incense, and sat down in that tender light, in that refreshing air.
I stayed for a long time with my eyes closed. I felt I was entering a state resembling sleep. All of a sudden I saw seven mirrors with seven reflected candles. The real candle was not visible. A voice said: There is only one real candle. You can never see it. You can see only its reflections.
The vision stayed before me for sometime and then it disappeared all at once. I was fully awake now. I was startled: I had been given the answer. The vision held the key to the solution of the problem of finality.
The vision was pointing to something more crucial than the familiar idea that each revealed religion held the light from the same source. It was representing something far more decisive that was not so vividly perceptible to us through our discursive approach to the problem. The vision appeared at the limit of that approach. Hence, I continued to ponder keeping the image of those seven mirrors before me, each mirror reflecting the same invisible candle.
What struck me, something which was not so obvious in the beginning, was that each light in each mirror was an immediate reflection of the original light without any interval of time. All belonged to one moment of receiving the image, no one image following the other. If the original candle stands for the eternal presence of the Light of God, all its reflections too were eternally present before it. For God there is neither before nor after, neither past not future, but one eternal present, not like our present but a time that includes without division all times. No one reflection has any priority, whether temporal or qualitative, over the other reflection, their original being one light. The reflections themselves are not many lights. They are one indivisible light even in their reflected status. Only the number and the diversity of mirrors which emerge in the temporal order divide that one reflection into many reflections. Otherwise, we have to suppose as many gods as there are revelations at different moments of history. The vision did not have seven original candles reflected in seven mirrors but only one original candle with seven reflections all at once.
The vision became so decisive for my understanding and further contemplation that I made a small representation of the seven mirrors and one hidden candle to be permanently kept in my room. Each evening I used to light the candle and watch the miracle of its seven reflections filling those mirrors. I could see the seven mirrors with their seven reflections but I could not see their unity as a physical object.
The vision perhaps represents our own reality: our seven powers of touch, smell, taste, hearing, sight, memory and imagination, each a different mirror holding a different picture, and yet all being one light which stands before them, namely the light of judgement, that invisible light without which no faculty can operate, without which there could be no unity of knowledge and consciousness. It is the unity of the act of reason that gives to the diversity of our faculties its validity and organization. Diversity of phenomena is no argument against the unity of their source. One may regard each of our faculties as a “revealed religion”.
(This reflection from Hasan Askari’s book : Alone to Alone, From Awareness to Vision)