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A book by Nikos Kazantzakis on the path of man to salvation


The Greek writer and philosopher Nikos Kazantzakis deals in his book Sufism: Savior of the Gods, which began to write it in 1914, and then saw the light of day in 1927, the struggle of man in life and his relationship with this who is inside and outside of him, in an attempt to help the human being in harmony with God and the universe around him, and that was What Kazantzakis embodied in his novels, which is consistent with Sufism, which sees purity of heart with God as a way in which a person grasps the world with its sweetness and bitterness, and becomes a fluid chord in the rhythm of life.

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Man between appearance and essence: a slave that God has come to know about

The writer Kazantzakis refers in his book Sufism: Savior of the gods to the Spirit of God in this universe with all its details and events, whether they are good and even if they seem otherwise, and in this context it attracts our attention to man’s inability to see the essence clearly, and his understanding being limited to appearances, which is very similar. With the term science, which is linked to secrets and the invisible, that God gives to whomever He wants and prevents it from whom He wants.

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The writer Kazantzakis discusses in his book the mysticism of man’s unlimited desire for knowledge; Find out what is behind everything that happens with him, whether it concerns him personally or the whole human race. He always asks questions like: Why do wars happen? Where is God of the poor? How does the oppressor continue to oppress him without deterrence? And other questions that seek the invisible and events that a person finds illogical.

Kazantzakis believes that this immense desire to know seems futile.

Man’s quest to explore the depths of the invisible is neither strange nor connected with the modern era, for this desire is as old as mankind, and it was possible for the prophet Moses, and the Qur’an explained this in a story that Sufism considers the core of Islamic mysticism, as stated in the book “Seas of Love in Sufism” by Ahmed Bahjat, which is his story Peace be upon him with the servant of the Lord.

Mystical book by the Greek Nikos Kazantzakis

Book of the Mysticism of the Saviors of the Gods by Greek writer Nikos Kazantzakis
The cover of the book, The Mysticism of the Saviors of the Gods, by Greek writer Nikos Kazantzakis

In his book, Sufism: Savior of the Gods, Kazantzakis proposes a way of dealing with the phenomena of life that interest man. First, he asks the person to be satisfied with the phenomena of which he is aware in what he calls the first duty, then he asks him to think about what is behind them, giving him the second duty. Strive to clarify hearts to God, in the hope of opening his secrets and revelations to them.

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Returning once again to the story of our master Moses with the servant of God, we find that it combines the two mentioned duties, and one of the most important lessons in the story is to focus on the fact that there are events in the world which are different from the inside, so the outward appearance is pain or lack of logic, although the essence is mercy and wisdom.

So, the prophet Moses was a human being to whom God gave two knowledge, he taught the sons of Adam, then he honored him with the knowledge of the prophets, and as for the civil knowledge, that is what ‘he wanted to realize when he asked the divine servant to teach him about what he had knowledge, and like humans, he marveled at the ship breaking, and he suffered for the murder of the little boy . He denounced the reconstruction of the wall in the stingy village.

From the first reaction, the servant reminded the prophet Moses of their agreement to be patient with what he sees from the outside, which is similar to the first duty Kazantzakis spoke of, and what he explained to him of the essence with which the writer agrees in the second assignment.

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Beyond the mind and the heart

This question has always struck my mind: which one has power over the soul: the mind or the heart?

Kazantzakis responded to me in this book, encouraging the need for man to leave the mind and the heart, to move forward, as I called it the third duty.

Although he did not indicate where a person could move forward after transcending mind and heart, it can be concluded that he meant soul, for soul alone transcends mind, heart and the body, and is able to break out of all the prisons and boundaries surrounding man.

This third duty of Kazantzakis is similar to the principle on which the Sufi dance is based. Followers of the Mevlevi path see in (the auditory dance) a path that transcends the human being above desires by listening to God and music, and he returns to demand that the person be freed from desires and fears in order to free himself from what he is holding back by saying: “I know now I am not greedy for anything and I am not afraid of anything. You have let go of your mind and heart and you have ascended higher. I’m free”.

This affirmation of the human path to freedom in Kazantzakis by eliminating both greed and fear is also considered an authentic Sufi principle, and it recalls the house of the poet Gibran Khalil Gibran, who says in his poem The Processions: ” Ascetic in what is to come, forgetting what has happened ”.

The expressions of Kazantzakis and Gibran converge as if they were two branches of the same river, and this river could be the mysterious saying of the Sufis: “Die before you die”. What we mean here is the death of desire in the world and in everything except God.

Kazantzakis also suggests that the man is loaded with two contradictions, because a man and a woman are different from each other. According to him, the man seeks to break the restrictions and deviate from the norm, while the woman is nostalgic for the return to the origin, to the ground and even to the womb.

I believe this contradiction is inherent in every human being, man or woman, as we dream and seek endless ambitions, at a time when we hope that this struggle with life will come to an end, and we hope that we will return embryos. in the wombs of our mothers, feeling calm and secure, ensuring food and safe. Risks.

The march of man to salvation

Nikos Kazantzakis - Mysticism of the saviors of the gods
Greek writer and philosopher Nikos Kazantzakis is the author of Mysticism: Savior of the Gods

For the writer, human life with its pain can be summed up as a cry asking for help with this suffering, so it is advisable not to ignore this desire to cry out, to satisfy it and to listen well, in order to to begin our path to salvation, which begins with victory over habit, laziness and necessity. .

He also argues that there are next steps to achieving this salvation, including feeling the joys and sorrows of life, and struggling to adapt to the rhythm of the universe.

Then the author goes deeper into the idea of ​​human unity which makes us all pushed towards the same destiny as different as our lives are, and this is what the poet Elijah Abu Madi expressed in his poem (I am who I am in existence): “As for us from a single source, are we not all at a reference”.

The earth also has a side to this discourse, due to its relation to the survival of man after his struggles, for all nature is for him, including rivers, seas, trees and fruits, even monsters and gentle creatures scream through man and need him in their tantrums as he needed them for his survival.

The suffering is intensifying within you, someone is having a hard time coming out, separating from your body and coming out of you.

God is transfigured in all our relationships

Saviors of God
Cover of the English edition of Mystic: Saviors of the Gods, by Kazantzakis

The writer aims to explain the relationship of a thin person with God, his brother and nature, once again expressing the human significance of everything we experience in life, as if he is looking at the world. from an angle we hadn’t realized before, so he concluded that God would like us to do something for him and seek him in every way. What we hear or see, which is not perceived by the five senses alone.

In man’s relationship with God, we can grasp the need for man’s submission to God. Submission to the Eternal God enables immortal man to gain the victory of mankind. This submission to God is considered by the Sufis to be the result of love, and Rabi’a al-Adawiya was the first to use the word love in divine love, without being afraid of anything when she did. said, “I love you for the front of love, passion and love because you are worthy of it.”

He says in his speech on the relationship of man with man: “Love man because you are yourself.” And he believes that God is embodied in the love that unites human beings. There may come a time when the enemy unites with the friend, for in the end they are of one origin.

Imagine that you are a farmer and God wants you to plant this seed which testifies to the power of God, so you can conclude man’s relationship with nature, which is not much different for the meditator from his relationship with his next.

Despite this vision of the need for human cohesion, Kazantzakis sees in the warrior the honorable human being in the universe because the essence of his work corresponds to the two great virtues in his eyes: responsibility and sacrifice.

Maybe we can explain this tendency to him, when he reads his biography, and we realize that the nature of the life he has lived in the shadow of wars casts a shadow over his thoughts, then we can accept. his passion for warriors in this book.

Kazntzakis concludes his book, Mystic: Savior of the Gods with a separation from Nirvana, and the path to achieve it, believing that this is achieved through the endless burning of man and his pursuit from branch to branch in a grueling struggle that can finally feel the depth of stillness.

I can’t settle down, I won’t reach the point of burning, and if I do, no one can put me out!

The most beautiful thing about the book “Sufism: Savior of the Gods” by the Greek writer Kazantzakis is that it can be read over and over again and whenever the reader comes to new meanings, horizons of light s ‘open for him. This is my first reading, but it won’t be the last.