Posted: Wed Apr 13, 2005 9:19 am Post subject: significance of 18,000 worlds
Can anyone elaborate more on the above subject as mentioned in Tusi's Paradise of Submission and Corbin's cyclical times. I am looking for simple explanation on the significance and understanding of these world cycles, especially the appearance of ressurector after every 7,000 years. -thanks.
"Once man has thus comprehended the essence of existence, there remains for him the duty, since he knows the absolute value of his own soul, of making for himself a direct path which will constantly lead his individual soul to and bind it with the universal Soul of which the Universe as much of it as we perceive with our limited visions is one of the infinite manifestations."(Extract from The Memoirs of the Aga Khan by H.H. The Aga Khan III)
In my opinion, 18000 is just a figurative expression of there being multiple universes . There are two ways of looking at multiple universes. The lateral and the vertical.
First of all, it must be realized that the universe is not out there, but rather the projection of our ideas, space, time and causation which really comprise our consciousness. In other words the universe is our perception and is subjective. In this respect every conscious creature has its universe. Hence we can have as many universes as there are the number of conscious beings. That does not mean that everyone has entirely different universe from others. There are some aspects that are common and from which we derive common or shared experience - the objectiveness of the universe. For example there are common notions of space, time and causation through which we all can make sense of the world, i.e wheres, whens and whys. Beyond these every conscious being has its own perception of the universe determined by its on knowledge, psychological/emotional state and subjective past experience - consciousness.
As the consciousness of an individual changes through knowledge, experience and spiritual elevation, his universe will also change. Hence there can be as many universes as there are the number of changes in our consciousness as we progress along life. These can be infinite as indicated by the Imam.
I do not agree with 7000 years of the cycle of qiyama propounded by Tusi. Obviously knowledge changes as time goes by. There are many aspects about Tusi that are useful even today, but some are obviously out of sync. 7000 years is one of them. It is based on the verse of the Quran 22:47 which states, "On day for your Lord is as a thousand years." He interprets each day as the cycle of prophethood. We know for sure that the period between Nabi Isa and Muhammad was 600 years. And if Imam Hasan Ala Zikrihis Sallam is regarded as the Qaim, then the time period between him and Nabi Muhammad was around 600 years which debunks the theory.
I've also found some (i think Sufi) sources regarding this subject:
All the universe, one mighty sign, is shown;
God hath myriads of creative acts unknown:
None hath seen them, of the races jinn and men,
None hath news brought from that realm far off from ken.
Never shall thy mind or reason reach that strand,
Nor can tongue the King's name utter of that land.
Since 'tis his each nothingness with life to vest,
Trouble is there ne'er at all to his behest.
Eighteen thousand worlds, from end to end,
Do not with him one atom's worth transcend.
As far as I've learned, the "18,000 worlds" is a very common belief among people in e.g. Turkey. But the exact phrase does not seem to exist in the Quran. Nevertheless many scholars have interpreted/translated the following ayat:
In this way the last remnants of these people who had acted wrongfully were completely rooted out. (So it proved that) all perfect and true praise belongs to Allâh, the Lord of the worlds.
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