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What changes would you like to propose in the Indian education system, both structural as well as policy based?

Let's say you are entering the kitchen to prepare the south Indian delicacy of rasam. Among other things, you need to primarily cook tomatoes and Pigeon pea (a hard to cook legume). The tomatoes cooks in about 3 minutes, while the pigeon pea (toor dal) takes 20 minutes.Does the cooking time mean tomatoes are any more special or tasty than toor dal? Does it mean toor dal is replacable from the dish? That would be ridiculous. Of course, different foods would take different times to cook.But, why do we do the same mistake in education? Like the tomato, some people do grasp things faster and do peak early in their life. Like the toor dal, some people do take longer time to digest and peak later in their life. However, we believe tomatoes - people who show smartness early in their life - are inherently more special than toor dal. We conduct a standard test at age 17, separate the tomatoes from the dal and we just throw out the dal. That results in a very poor quality rasam & a poor quality society.I. ProblemsPreparing for careers without validationI find it ridiculous that we spend 20 years learning without any validation of skills, just to end up in a career path that will change anyway in 5-7 years. The closest analogy I could come up with is the software development we did at Microsoft - where we would code for years and then take the product to the customer. This is the traditional waterfall approach that resulted out of the industrial revolution.We prepare for career paths with no idea of what it means. We strive hard to be a doctor only to start cutting open bodies 10 years later and realizing this might not be for us. But, by that time we are already invested too much. Same with engineering and every other path. We give no time for "dating" the career tracks and instead just blindly pick some career path with no validation of whether our skills would match.In the current system, there are two distinct stages:Learn (schools & colleges) and Do (offices)I'm proposing a lean education method based on the learnings from lean startup, just-in-time manufacturing and agile software development. This distinction should cease to exist with a spiral development. If all the industries are moving agile, why can't the education system?Mixing career with philosophical explorationThere was a time when universities were primarily the domain of academics and researchers who wanted to pursue the higher truths in life. Oxford, Taxila, Nalanda, Cambridge, Sorbonne were all in that mold.Since the second world war, we have made it into a career developing institution by opening up to the masses and selling them an over-priced dream. Universities are very poor at preparing students for a career and most students are understandably not interested in exploring the philosophy.It is time to decouple them. Let there be universities addressing 1% of students who are truly interested in exploration. Let them not distract or be distracted by the 99% who are trying to get ahead in life in a career path.Energy problemImagine a young fastbowler or footballer who comes to you at the age of 16. He is young, athletic and energetic. You take him into a school for 12 years and teach him all the techniques of fastbowling (or passing the ball in football). But, by the time he is learnt is all he is in his late 20s. He is already tired and has little energy to pursue further.This is the problem with our colleges. At a time when we are at the peak of our energy and dreaming, we are spending in sleep-inducing lecture rooms. By the time we come out of it, some of our energies are already sucked out. If you ask some academics on the need for universities and they will reflexively answer that universities are needed "to train the mind to think and ask questions". Now, my question is: are you really doing your job in training them to think and are you the most cost efficient if the problem is really training the mind to think.Delivery ProblemThe industrial revolution created conditions where a person could be trained in some specialization - say balancing a book and he would spend all his life balancing the book as a clerk. You learn it once, learn it deep and use all your life.The concept of lecture that was taken from the Christian method of delivering sermon became the primary method of delivering education and got quite popular since the time of the industrial revolution [although it started a little earlier around the time of Renaissance].Things are not the same any more. What we need is the agile model of education with constant validation and finetuning. We need the education system to recognize the strengths and adapt itself to the learning needs of the different kinds of students.Scalability ProblemIn the next 20 years, our work force would have about 60 crore people (1 crore = 10 million) and a big chunk of whom will be forced to depend on the knowledge/service based industries. Our top colleges educate and prepare only a few thousand students for such careers.How are we going to educate these many people in the traditional way of 1 teacher teaching 20 students? We neither have that many quality teachers nor can afford paying market wages to crores of high quality teachers who will work in all random corners of the country.If we don't educate these 60 crore people & prepare fore modern careers, many of whom moving out of agriculture, we have a huge threat of unemployment and risk of social unrest.II. Solutions1. Learn by DoingThe industrial revolution method of delivering lectures as the primary form of teaching has to go. The "sermon method" has run out of its usage. We still use it because it is the simplest & schools don't want to think a lot. We need to have a wide variety of teaching tools of which lecture is just one part.Students should be asked to "do" and there should be a validation loop. For instance, if the students are taught about basic mechanics in physics, we should take them to a mechanic shop for a day and in a controlled condition help them fix something real. Same with computer science or history or prose. Here are my detailed thoughts on this.Given a chance to design Indian Education system, How would you do that?Here is how a student's profile would look like with real jobs, real payments and real reviews of his/her work.​2. Let the teachers act as guidesWe should remove the teacher from the role of delivering lectures and information packets. It is a poor use of the time of teachers. Most of our teachers are not really good at explaining things anyway.What if our classrooms use a combination of Quora and other tools where best teachers in the world explain and deliver the "information packet" and the classroom teacher then guides the students towards thinking & exploration.There are already experiments on this that are going now. These could be the norm. If the class is 40 minutes long, the teacher plays a 20 minute video or a Quora answer or some other medium where a world class teacher explains the concept. In the rest of the time, the local teacher guides the students making them ask the right questions, clarifying their questions and engaging in discussions.In short, the teachers are not there to deliver content. They are there to help the students explore.3. Let the education be adaptiveIn our education system, one rule fits all. Smart students often feel bored and not so smart get left out. Part of the day should be spent on an adaptive track. This could be delivered through software. The students spend 1-2 hours a day initially on the software that increases the level of difficulty if the student is smart and vice versa. Since it is done at the software level, other students don't even know if you are getting the easy ones are the tougher ones. In short, we can deliver different difficulty of content without creating a lot of inequality in the class.​4. Start career tracks quite earlyThe way in which we develop software and other products have changed substantially in the past. So should the way we work. We cannot afford to spend a quarter of life learning what will be doing. Instead, we have to rethink and adapt to a world where we learn throughout life.We should have a very short initial burst (say primary education) where we put all our efforts on training the minds to think. Instead of boring them with too much of knowledge, the goal should be just 1 - train them to think.Then have the stage 2 (may after about 12 years of age) where they spend 2-3 hours a day doing real work in the real world under the guidance of a mentor and spend rest of the day learning foundation knowledge & art of questioning.Then in stage 3 (about 17 years age) we switch most of them to an adaptive career track where they spend most of their day doing real work and 20% of the time learning. This continues for life.5. Adaptive career pathsWe should be spending time with a lot of different career tracks in an adaptive way. For instance, if we have a hunch that we might like software, the system would give a 5-day training on basic HTML and ask you to do real work at the end of it. You are say asked to design a simple one-page website for some company with a mentor guiding you. You design it and then find it either too hard or too boring. Give it a shot for 3-4 more weeks with the system giving you different types of real world projects and training.At the end of the month, if you are not progressing ahead in the career path, switch. Maybe medicine. The system will give you basic training and might first ask you to observe someone giving injection at a hospital. Then you try it as it is quite less risky. Then do slight more hospital chores that are trivial, but still getting you to observe doctors. After a month of doing menial tasks at the hospital [with a bunch of training] and following doctors, you can decide if that is the career for you. If yes, the system could make you work hard. If not switch. You can keep switching dozens of times by the time you are 20.My sample education path:Stage 1: (3-8 years old) Basic skills - reading, writing, arithmetic, listening exploration. My article in TIME on the basic skills. These Skills Will Help You Excel in the WorkplaceOutcome is someone who can write well, listen well and read a manual to follow instructions.Stage 2: (8-12 years old) Questioning skills - Social sciences, science and poetry. Teach them only enough for them to ask questions. Don't dump a big load of science or math equations.Outcome is someone who is hungry for knowledge and a passion for questioning.Stage 3: (12-18 years old) Adaptive learning & knowledge foundation - Give them more knowledge at this point through the world class lectures & also enable a lot of discussions. Rest half of the day would go in doing a real world project under a mentor. Experiment with different types of project.Stage 4: (18 - end of life) Adaptive learning in a career trackYou are an adult now. It is time for you to seek much more of your learning. Spend 80% of the time doing and 20% of the time learning and do this throughout your career.For the 1% who are truly passionate about philosophy, research and academic fields, there will be universities built on a older model [before 20th century] with more true emphasis on scholariness.See all the Dreams here: India Dreams Collection by Balaji Viswanathan

Does God exist?

I tried my best, I got more ammos if you are not convinced. Happy reading!Lets begin…The First ProofThe Universe Concerning His MakerIn the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate. The seven heavens and the earth and all that is in them extol and glorify Him, and there is nothing but glorifies Him with praise, but you understand not their glorifying; indeed, He is Most Forebearing, Most Forgiving.1. Degree: Heavens and all They Contain(Since this sublime verse, like many other Qur’anic verses, mentions first the heavens — that brilliant page proclaiming God’s unity, gazed on at all times and by all men with wonder and joy — in its pronouncement of the Creator of this cosmos, let us too begin with a mention of the heavens.)Every voyager who comes to the hospice and the realm of this world, opens his eyes and wonders who is the master of this fine hospice, which resembles a most generous banquet, a most ingenious exhibition, a most impressive camp and training ground, a most amazing and wondrous place of recreation, a most profound and wise place of instruction. He asks himself too who is the author of this great book, and who is the monarch of this lofty realm. There first presents itself to him the beautiful face of the heavens, inscribed with the gilt lettering of the stars. That face calls him saying, “Look at me, and I shall guide you to what you seek.”He looks then and sees a manifestation of dominicality performing various tasks in the heavens: it holds aloft in the heavens, without any supporting pillar, hundreds of thousands of heavenly bodies, some of which are a thousand times heavier than the earth and revolve seventy times faster than a cannon-ball; it causes them to move in harmony and swiftly without colliding with each other; it causes innumerable lamps to burn constantly, without the use of any oil; it disposes of these great masses without any disturbance or disorder; it sets sun and moon to work at their respective tasks, without those great bodies ever rebelling; it administers withininfinite space — the magnitude of which cannot be measured in figures should they stretch from pole to pole — all that exists, at the same time, with the same strength, in the same fashion, manner and mould, without the least deficiency; it reduces to submissive obedience to its law all the aggressive powers inherent in those bodies; it cleanses and lustrates the face of the heavens, removing all the sweepings and refuse of that vast assembly; it causes those bodies to manoeuvre like a disciplined army; and then, making the earth revolve, it shows the heavens each night and each year in a different form, like a cinema screen displaying true and imaginative scenes to the audience of creation.There is within this dominical activity a truth consisting of subjugation, administration, revolution, ordering, cleansing, and employment.This truth, with its grandeur and comprehensiveness, bears witness to the necessary existence and unity of the Creator of the Heavens and testifies to that Existence being more manifest than that of the heavens. Hence it was said in the First Degree of the First Station:There is no god but God, the Necessary Being, to whose necessary existence in unity the heavens and all they contain testify, through the testimony of the sublimity of the comprehensiveness of the truth of subjugation, administration, revolution, ordering, cleansing, and employment, a truth vast and perfect, and to be observed.2. Degree: Atmosphere {2}Then that wondrous place of gathering known as space or the atmosphere begins thunderously to proclaim to that traveller come as a guest to the world, “Look at me! You can discover and find through me the object of your search, the one who sent you here!” The traveller looks at the sour but kind face of the atmosphere, and listening to the awesome but joyous thunderclaps perceives the following.The clouds, suspended between the sky and the earth, water the garden of the world in the most wise and merciful fashion, furnish the inhabitants of the earth with the water of life, modify the natural heat of life, and has- ten to bestow aid wherever it is http://needed.In addition to fulfilling these and other duties, the vast clouds, capable of filling the heavens sometimes hide themselves, with their parts retiring to rest so that not a trace can be seen, just like a well-disciplined army showing and hiding itself in accordance with sudden orders.Then, the very instant the command is given to pour down rain, the clouds gather in one hour, or rather in a few minutes; they fill the sky and await further orders from their commander.Next the traveller looks at the wind in the atmosphere and sees that the air is employed wisely and generously in such numerous tasks that it is as if each of the inanimate atoms of that unconscious air were hearing and noting the orders coming from that monarch of the universe; without neglecting a single one of them, it performs them in ordered fashion and through the power of the monarch.Thereby it gives breath to all beings and conveys to all living things the heat, light, and electricty they need, and transmits sound, as well as aiding in the pollination of plants.The traveller then looks at the rain and sees that within those delicate, glistening sweet drops, sent from a hidden treasury of mercy, there are so many compassionate gifts and functions contained that it is as if mercy itself were assuming shape and flowing forth from the dominical treasury in the form of drops. It is for this reason that rain has been called “mercy.” Next the traveller looks at the lightning and listens to the thunder and ses that both of these, too, are employed in wondrous tasks.Then taking his eyes off these, he looks to his own intellect and says:“The inanimate, lifeless cloud that resembles carded cotton has of course no knowledge of us; when it comes to our aid, it is not because it takes pity on us. It cannot appear and disappear without receiving orders. Rather it acts in accordance with the orders of a most powerful and compassionate commander. First it diasppears without leaving a trace, then suddenly reap- pears in order to begin its work. By the command and power of a most active and exalted, a most magnificent and splendid, monarch, it fills and then empties the atmosphere. Inscribing the sky with wisdom and erasing the pattern, it makes of the sky a tablet of effacement and affirmation, a depiction of the gathering and the http://resurrection.By the contriving of a most generous and bountiful, a most munificent and solicitous sustainer, a ruler who regulates and disposes, it mounts the wind and taking with it treasuries of rain each as heavy as a mountain, hastens to the aid of the needy. It is as if it were weeping over them in pity, with its tears causing the flowers to smile, tempering the heat of the sun, spraying gardens with water, and washing and cleansing the face of the earth.”That wondering traveller then tells his own intellect: "These hundreds of thousands of wise, merciful and ingenious tasks and acts of generosity and mercy that arise from the veil and outer form of this inanimate, lifeless, unconscious, volatile, unstable, stormy, unsettled, and inconstant air, clearly establish that this diligent wind, this tireless servant, never acts of itself, but rather in accordance with the orders of a most powerful and knowing, a most wise and generous commander. It is as if each particle were aware of every single task, like a soldier understanding and hearkening to every order of its commander, for it hears and obeys every dominical command that courses through the AIR - Associazione Italiana Rugbysti - Ex unitate vires aids all animals to breathe and to live, all plants to pollinate and grow, and cultivates all the matter necessary for their survival. It directs and administers the clouds, makes possible the voyaging of sailing ships, and enables sounds to be conveyed, particularly by means of wireless, telephone, telegraph and radio, as well as numerous other universal functions."Now these atoms, each composed of two such simple materials as hydrogen and oxygen and each resembling the other, exist in hundreds of thousands of different fashions all over the globe; I conclude therefore that they are being employed and set to work in the utmost orderliness by a hand of wisdom."As the verse makes clear,And the disposition of the winds and the clouds, held in disciplined order between the heavens and the earth,the one who through the disposition of the winds employs them in countless dominical functions, who through the ordering of the clouds uses them in infinite tasks of mercy, and who creates the air in this fashion — such a one can only be the Possessor of Necessary Existence, the One Empowered over All Things and Knowledgeable of All Things, the Sustainer endowed with Glory and Generosity.; This is the conclusion our traveller now draws.Then he looks at the rain and sees that within it are contained benefits as numerous as the raindrops, and dominical manifestations as multiple as the particles of rain, and instances of wisdom as plentiful as its atoms. Those sweet, delicate and blessed drops are moreover created in so beautiful and ordered a fashion, that particularly the rain sent in the summertime, is despatched and caused to fall with such balance and regularity that not even stormy winds that cause large objects to collide can destroy its equilibrium and order; the drops do not collide with each other or merge in such fashion as to become harmful masses of water.Water, composed of two simple elements like hydrogen and oxygen, is employed in hundreds of thousands of other wise, purposeful tasks and arts, particularly in animate beings; although it is itself inanimate and unconscious.Rain which is then the very embodiment of divine mercy can only be manufactured in the unseen treasury of mercy of One Most Compassionate and Merciful, and on its descent expounds in physical form the verse: “And He it is who sends down rain after men have despaired, and thus spreads out His Mercy. “The traveller next listens to the thunder and watches the lightning. He understands that these two wondrous events in the atmosphere are like a material demonstration of the verse,The thunder glorifies His praise,∗ The brilliance of His lightning almost robs them of their sight.They also announce the coming of rain, and thus give glad tidings to the needy.Yes, this sudden utterance of a miraculous sound by the atmosphere;the filling of the dark sky with the flash and fire of lightning; the setting alight of the clouds that resemble mountains of cotton or pipes bursting with water and snow — these and similar phenomena are like a blow struck on the head of the negligent man whose gaze is directed down at the earth. They tell him:“Lift up your head, look at the miraculous deeds of the most active and powerful being who wishes to make himself known. In the same way that you are not left to your own devices, so too, these phenomena and events have a master and a purpose.Each of them is caused to fulfil a particular task, and each is employed by a Most Wise Disposer.”The wondering traveller hears then the lofty and manifest testimony to the truth that is composed of the disposition of the winds, the descent of the rains and the administration of the events of the atmosphere, and says: “I believe in God.” That which was stated in the Second Degree of the First Station expresses the observations of the traveller concerning the atmosphere:There is no god but God, the Necessary Being, to whose necessary existence in unity the atmosphere and all its contains testifies, through the testimony of the sublimity of the comprehensiveness of the truth of subjugation, disposal, causing to descend, and regulation, a truth vast and perfect, and to be observed.3. Degree: Earth and Its Pages {3}Next the globe addresses that thoughtful traveller, now growing accustomed to his reflective journey:"Why are you wandering through the heavens, through space and the sky? Come, I will make known to you what you are seeking. Look at the functions that I perform and read my pages; He looks and sees that the globe, like an ecstatic Mevlevi dervish with its twofold motion, is tracing out around the field of the Supreme Gathering a circle that determines the succession of days, years, and seasons. It is a most magnificent dominical ship, loaded with the hundreds of thousands of different forms of food and equipment needed for all animate beings, floating with the utmost equilibrium in the ocean of space and circling the sun.He then looks at the pages of the earth and sees that each page of each of its chapters proclaims the Sustainer of the Earth in thousands of verses.Being unable to read the whole of it, he looks at the page dealing with the creation and deployment of animate beings in the spring, and observes the following:The forms of the countless members of hundreds of thousands of species emerge, in the utmost precision, from a simple material and are then nurtured in most merciful fashion.Then, in miraculous manner, wings are given to some of the seeds; they take to flight and are thus dispersed. They are most effectively distributed, most carefully fed and nurtured. Countless tasty and delicious forms of food, in the most merciful and tender fashion, are brought forth from dry clay, and from roots, seeds and drops of liquid that differ little among each other. Every spring, a hundred thousand kinds of food and equipment are loaded on it from an unseen treasury, as if onto a railway waggon, and are despatched in utmost orderliness to animate beings.The sending to infants of canned milk in those food packages, and pumps of sugared milk in the form of their mothers’ affectionate breasts, is in particular such an instance of solicitousness, mercy and wisdom that it immediately establishes itself as a most tender manifestation of the mercy and generosity of the Merciful and Compassionate One.In Short: this living page of spring displays a hundred thousand examples and samples of the Supreme Gathering, and is a tangible demonstration of this verse,So look to the signs of God’s mercy:how He gives life to the earth after its death, for verily He it is Who gives life to the dead, and He has power over all things.Moreover, this verse may be said to express in miraculous fashion the meanings of the page that is spring.The traveller thus understood that the earth proclaims through all its pages, in fashion proportionate to their size:“There is no god but He.” In expression of the meaning beheld by the traveller through the brief testimony of one of the twenty aspects of a single page out of the more than twenty pages of the globe, it was said in the Third Degree of the First Station:There is no god but God, the Necessary Being, to whose necessary existence in unity the earth with all that is in it and upon it testifies, through the testimony of the sublimity of the comprehensiveness of the truth of subjugation, disposition, nurturing, opening, distribution of seeds, protection, administration, the giving of life to all animate beings, compassion and mercy universal and general, a truth vast and perfect, and to be observed.4. Degree: The Seas and Rivers {4}Then that reflective traveller read each page of the cosmos, and as he did so his faith, that key to felicity, strengthened; his gnosis, that key to spiritual progress, increased; his belief in God, the source and foundation of all perfection, developed one degree more; his joy and pleasure augmented and aroused his eagerness; and while listening to the perfect and convincing lessons given by the sky, by space and the earth, he cried out for more. Then he heard the rapturous invocation of God made by the tumult of the seas and the great rivers, and listened to their sad yet pleasant sounds. In numerous ways they were saying to him: "Look at us, read also our signs Looking, our traveller saw the following:The seas, constantly and vitally surging, merging and pouring forth with an inclination to conquest inherent in their very nature, surrounded the earth, and together with the earth, revolved, extremely swiftly, in a circle of twenty-five thousand years in a single year. Yet the seas did not disperse, did not overflow or encroach on the land contiguous to them. They moved and stood still, and were protected by the command and power of a most powerful and magnificent being.Then looking to the depths of the sea, the traveller saw that apart from the most beautiful, well-adorned and symmetrical jewels, there were thousands of different kinds of animal, sustained and ordered, brought to life and caused to die, in so disciplined a fashion, their provision coming from mere sand and salt water, that it established irresistibly the existence of a Powerful and Glorious, a Merciful and Beauteous Being administering and giving life to them.The traveller then looks at the rivers and sees that the benefits inherent in them, the functions they perform, and their continual replenishment, are inspired by such wisdom and mercy as indisputably to prove that all rivers, springs, streams and great waterways flow forth from the treasury of mercy of the Compassionate One, the Lord of Glory and Generosity. They are preserved and dispensed, indeed, in so extraordinary a fashion that it is said “Four rivers flow forth from Paradise.” That is, they transcend by far apparent causes, and flow forth instead from the treasury of a non-material Paradise, from the superabundance of an unseen and inexhaustible source.For example, the blessed Nile, that turns the sandy land of Egypt into a paradise, flows from the Mountains of the Moon in the south without ever being exhausted, as if it were a small sea. If the water that flowed down the river in six months were gathered together in the form of a mountain and then frozen, it would be larger than those mountains. But the place in the mountains where the water is lodged and stored is less than a sixth of their mass. As for the water that replenishes the river, the rain that enters the reservoir of the river is very sparse in that torrid region and is quickly swallowed up by the thirsty soil; hence it is incapable of maintaining the equilibrium of the river. A tradition has thus grown up that the blessed Nile springs, in miraculous fashion, from an unseen Paradise. This tradition has profound meaning and expresses a beautiful truth.The traveller saw, then, a thousandth part of the truths and affirmations contained in the oceans and rivers. The seas proclaim unanimously with a power proportionate to their extent, “There is no god but He,” and produce as witnesses to their testimony all the creatures that inhabit them. This, our traveller preceived.Expressing and conveying the testimony of the seas and the rivers, we said, in the Fourth Degree of the First Station:There is no god but God, the Necessary Existent, to the necessity of whose existence in unity point all the seas and the rivers, together with all they contain, by the testimony of the sublimity of the comprehensiveness of the truth of subjugation, preservation, storing up, and administration, vast and well-ordered, and to be observed.5. Degree: The Mountains and Plains {5}Then the traveller is summoned, on his meditative journey, by the mountains and the plains. “Read too our pages,” they say. Looking he sees that the universal function and duty of mountains is of such grandeur and wisdom as to stupefy the intelligence.The mountains emerge from the earth by the command of their Sustainer, thereby palliating the turmoil, anger, and rancour that arise from disturbances within the earth. As the mountains surge upward, the earth begins to breathe; it is delivered from harmful tremors and upheavals, and its tranquillity as it pursues its duty of rotation is no longer disturbed. In the same way that masts are planted in ships to protect them from turbulence and preserve their balance, so too mountains are set up on the deck of the ship that is the earth, as masts and stores, as is indicated by verses of the Qur’an of Miraculous Exposition such as these:And the mountains as pegs,∗ And We have cast down anchors,∗ And the mountains He anchored them.Then, too, there are stored up and preserved in the mountains all kinds of springs, waters, minerals and other materials needed by animate beings, in so wise, skilful, generous and foreseeing a fashion that they prove that they are the storehouses and warehouses and servants of One possessing infinite power, One possessing infinite wisdom. Deducing from these two examples the other duties and instances of wisdom — as great as mountains — of the mountains and plains, the traveller sees through the general instances of wisdom in them and particularly in regard to the fashion in which all manner of things are stored up in them providentially, the testimony they give and the Divine unity they proclaim declaring “There is no god but He,” — a declaration as powerful and firm as the mountains and vast and expansive as the plains — and he too says, “I believe in God.”In expression of this meaning, it was said in the Fifth Degree of the First Station:There is no god but God, to the necessity of whose existence point all the mountains and plains together with what is in them and upon them, by the testimony of the sublimity of the comprehensiveness of the truth of the storing up, administration, dissemination of seed, preservation, and regulation, a truth providential, dominical, vast, general, well- ordered, and perfect, and to be observed.6. Degree: Trees and Plants {6}Then, while that traveller was travelling in his mind through the mountains and plains, the gate to the arboreal and vegetable realm was opened before him. He was summoned inside: “Come,” they said, “Inspect our realm and read our incriptions.”Entering, he saw that a splendid and well- adorned assembly for the proclamation of God’s unity and a circle for the mentioning of His names and the offering of thanks to Him, had been drawn up. He understood for the very appearance of all trees and plants that their different species were proclaiming unanimously, “There is no god but He.” For he perceived three great and general truths indicating and proving that all fruit-giving trees and plants with the tongue of their symmetrical and eloquent leaves, the phrases of their charming and loquacious flowers, the words of their well-ordered and well-spoken fruits, were testifying to God’s glory and bearing witness that “There is no god but He.”The First: In the same way that in each of the plants and trees a deliberate bounty and generosity is to be seen in most obvious fashion, and a purposive liberality and munificence, so too it is to be seen in the totality of the trees and plants, with the brilliance of sunlight.The Second: The wise and purposive distinction and differentiation, one that cannot in any way be attributed to chance, the deliberate and merciful adornment and giving of form — all this is to be seen as clearly as daylight in the infinite varieties and species; they show themselves to be the works and embroideries of an All-Wise Maker.The Third: The opening and unfolding of all the separate members of the hundred thousand species of that infinite realm, each in its own distinct fashion and shape, in the utmost order, equilibrium and beauty, from well-defined, limited, simple and solid seeds and grains, identical to each other or nearly so — their emerging from those seeds in distinct and separate form, with utter equilibrium, vitality and wise purpose without the least error or mistake, is a truth more brilliant than the sun. The witnesses proving this truth are as numerous as the flowers, fruits and leaves that emerge in the spring. So the traveller said, “Praise be to God for the blessing of belief.”In expression of these truths and the testimony given to them, we said in the Sixth Degree of the First Station:There is no god but God, to the necessity of whose existence in unity points the consensus of all the species of trees and plants that are engaged in glorifying God and speak with the eloquent and well- ordered words of their leaves, their loquacious and comely flowers, their well-ordered and well-spoken fruits, by the testimony of the sublimity of the comprehensiveness of the truth of bestowal, bounty, and generosity, done in purposive mercy, and the truth of differentiation, adornment, and decoration, done with will and wisdom. Definite, too, is the indication given by the truth of the opening of all their symmetrical, adorned, distinct, variegated and infinite forms, from seeds and grains that resemble and approximate each other, that are finite and limited.7. Degree: The Animal ans Bird Realms {7}As this traveller through the cosmos proceeded on his meditative journey, with increased eagerness and a bouquet of gnosis and faith, itself like a spring, gathered from the garden of the spring, there opened before his truth-perceiving intellect, his cognitive reason, the gate to the animal and bird realm. With hundreds of thousands of different voices and various tongues, he was invited to enter. Entering, he saw that all the animals and birds, in their different species, groups and nations, were proclaiming, silently and aloud, "There is no god but He, " and had thus turned the face of the earth into a vast place of invocation, an expansive assembly for the proclamation of God’s glory. He saw each of them to be like an ode dedicated to God, a word proclaiming His glory, a letter indicating His mercy, each of them describing the Maker and offering Him thanks and encomium. It was as if the senses, powers, members and instruments of those animals and birds were orderly and balanced words, or perfect and disciplined expressions. He observed three great and comprehensive truths indicating, in decisive form, their offering of thanks to the Creator and Provider and their testimony to His unity.The First: Their being brought into existence with wisdom and purpose and their creation full of art in a fashion that in no way can be attributed to chance, to blind force or inanimate nature; their being created and composed in purposive and knowledgeable manner; their animation and being given life in a way that displays in twenty aspects the manifestation of knowledge, wisdom, and will — all of this is a truth that bears witness to the Necessary Existence of the Eternally Living and Self-Subsistent, His seven attributes and unity, a witness repeated to the number of all animate beings.The Second: There appears from the distinction made among those infinite beings and from their adornment and decoration in a fashion by which their features are different, their shapes adorned, their proportions measured and symmetrical, and their forms well-ordered — there appears from this a truth so vast and powerful that none other than the One Powerful over all things, the One Knowledgeable of all things, could lay claim to it, this comprehensive act which displays in every respect thousands of wonders and instances of wisdom; it is impossible and precluded that anything other than such a one could lay claim to it.The Third: The emergence and unfolding of those countless creatures, in their hundreds of thousands of different shapes and forms, each of which is a miracle of wisdom, their emergence from eggs and drops of water called sperm that are identical with each other or closely resemble each other, and are limited and finite in number, all this in the most orderly, symmetrical and unfailing fashion, is so brilliant a truth as to be illumined with proofs and evidences as numerous as the animals themselves.By the consensus of these three truths, all the species of animals are engaged together in testifying that “There is no god but He.” It is as if the whole earth, like a great man, were saying “There is no god but He” in a manner befitting its vastness, and conveying its testimony to the dwellers of the heaven. The traveller saw this and understood it perfectly. In expression of these truths, we said in the Seventh Degree of the First Station:There is no god but God, to whose necessary existence in unity points the consensus of all animals and birds, that praise God and bear witness to Him with the words of their senses, their faculties and powers, words well-balanced, ordered and eloquent; with the words of their limbs and members, words perfect and persuasive; by the testimony of the sublimity of the comprehensiveness of the truth of bringing into being, making, and creating, according to will, the truth of distinction and decoration according to purpose, and the truth of proportioning and forming according to wisdom. Definite too is the indication given by the truth of the opening of all of their orderly, distinct, variegated and infinite forms, out of identical or similar eggs and drops of sperm, that are finite and limited.8. Degree: The Realm of Humanity: The Prophets and Their Unanimity {8}That meditative voyager, in order to advance farther in the infinite degrees and countless luminous stages of knowledge of God, then wished to enter the world of men, the realm of humanity. Humanity, headed by the prophets, invited him, and he accepted the invitation. Looking first at the stopping-place of the past, he saw that all of the prophets (Peace and blessings be upon him), the most luminous and perfect of human kind, were reciting in chorus, “No god but He,” and making remembrance of God. With the power of their brilliant, well-attested and innumerable miracles, they were proclaiming God’s unity, and in order to advance man from the animal state to angelic degree, they were instructing men and summoning them to belief in God. Kneeling down in that school of light, he too paid heed to the lesson.He saw that in the hand of each of those teachers, the most exalted and renowned of all celebrated human beings, there were numerous miracles, bestowed on them by the Creator of All Being as a sign confirming their mission. Further, a large group of men, a whole community, had confirmed their claims and come to belief at their hands; a truth assented to and confirmed by these hundreds of thousands of serious and veracious individuals, unanimously and in full agreement, was bound to be firm and definitive.He understood, too, that the people of misguidance, in denying a truth attested and affirmed by so many veracious witnesses, were committing a most grievous error, indeed crime, and were therefore deserving of a most grievous punishment. He recognized, by contrast, those who assented to the truth and believed in it, as being the most true and righteous, and a further degree of the sanctity of belief became apparent to him.Yes, the infinite miracles bestowed by God on the prophets (Peace be upon them) each one being like a confirmation of their mission; the heavenly blows dealt to their opponents, each being like a proof of their truth- fulness; their individual perfections, each one being like an indication of their righteousness; their veracious teachings; the strength of their faith, a witness to their honesty;their supreme seriousness and readiness to self-sacrifice; the sacred books and pages held by their hands;their countless pupils who through following their paths attain truth, perfection and light, thus proving again the truthfulness of the teachings; the unanimous agreement of the prophets — those most earnest warners — and their followers in all positive matters;their concord, mutual support and affinity — all of this constitutes so powerful a proof that no power on earth can confront it, and no doubt or hesitation can survive it.Our traveller understood further that inclusion of belief in all the prophets (Peace be upon them) among the pillars of belief, represents another great source of strength. Thus he derived great benefit of faith from their lessons, in expression of which we said in the Eighth Degree of the First Station:There is no god but God, to the necessity of whose existence in unity points the unanimity of all the prophets, through the power of their luminous miracles, that both affirm and are affirmed.9. Degree: The Exacting Scholars and Their Accord {9}That questing traveller, having derived a lofty taste of truth from the power of belief, found himself invited, while coming from the assembly of the prophets (Peace be upon them) to the classroom of those profound, original, exacting scholars who affirm the claims of the prophets (Peace be upon them)with the most decisive and powerful proofs and who are known as the purified and most veracious ones.Entering their classroom, he saw thousands of geniuses and hundreds of thousands of exact and exalted scholars proving all the affirmative matters connected with faith, headed by the necessity of God’s existence and His unity, with such profound demonstrations as to leave not the least room for doubt. Indeed, the fact that they are agreed in the principles and pillars of belief, despite their differences in capacity and outlook, and that each of them relies on a firm and certitudinous proof, is in itself such evidence that it can be doubted only if it is possible for a similar number of intelligent and perspicuous men to arrive at a single result. Otherwise the only way for the denier to oppose them is to display his ignorance — his utter ignorance — and his obstinacy with respect to negative matters that admit neither of denial nor affirmation. He will in effect be closing his eyes but the one who closes his eyes is able to turn day into night only for himself.The traveller learned that the lights emitted in this vast and magnificent classroom by these respected and profound scholars had been illumining half of the globe for more than a thousand years. He found in it moral and spiritual force that the combined strength of all the people of denial would be unable to shake or destroy. In brief allusion to the lesson learned by the traveller in this classroom we said in the Ninth Degree of the First Station:“There is no god but God, to whose necessary existence in unity points the agreement of all of the purified scholars, with the power of their resplendent, certain and unanimous proofs.”10. Degree: Spiritual Guides and Their Agreement {10}Our contemplative traveller came forth from the classroom, ardently desiring to see the lights that are to be observed in the continuous strengthening and development of faith, and in advancing from the degree of the knowledge of certainty to that of the vision of certainty. He then found himself summoned by thousands or millions of spiritual guides who were striving toward the truth and attaining the vision of certainty in the shade of the highway of Muhammad (PBUH)and the ascension of Muhammad (PBUH). This they were doing in a meeting-place, a hospice, a place of remembrance and preceptorship, that was abundantly luminous and vast as a plain, being formed from the merging of countless small hospices and convents. Upon entering, he found that those spiritual guides — people of unveiling and wondrous deeds — were unanimously proclaiming, "No god but He, " on the basis of their witnessing and unveiling of the Unseen and the wondrous deeds they had been enabled to perform; they were proclaiming the necessary existence and unity of God. The traveller observed how manifest and clear must be a truth to which unanimously subscribe these sacred geniuses and luminous gnostics. For, like the sun is known through the seven colours in its light, the saints’ luminous colours, their light-filled hues, their true paths and right ways and veracious courses are manifested from the light of the Pre-Eternal Sun through seventy colours, indeed, through colours to the number of the divine names, and are all different. He saw that the unanimity of the prophets and the agreement of the purified scholars and accord of the saints forms a supreme consensus, more brilliant than the daylight that demonstrates the existence of the sun.In brief allusion to the benefit derived by our traveller from the Sufi hospice, we said in the Tenth Degree of the First Station:There is no god but God, to whose necessary existence in unity points the unanimity of the saints in their manifest, well-affirmed and attested divinations of the truth and wondrous deeds.11. Degree: The Angels and Spirit Beings and Their Concurrence {11}Now our traveller through the world, aware that the most important and greatest of all human perfections, indeed the very source and origin of all such perfections, is the love of God that arises from belief in God and the knowledge of God, wished with all of his powers, outer and inner, to advance still farther in the strengthening of his faith and the development of his knowledge. He therefore raised his head and gazing at the heavens said to himself:“The most precious thing in the universe is life; all things are made subordinate to life. The most precious of all living beings is the animate, and the most precious of the animate is the conscious. Each century and each year, the globe is engaged in emptying and refilling itself, in order to augment this most precious substance. It follows, then, without doubt, that the magnificent and ornate heavens must have appropriate people and inhabitants, possessing life, spirit and consciousness, for events relating to seeing and speaking with the angels — such as the appearance of Gabriel (Peace be upon him) in the presence of Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him) and in the view of the Companions — have been transmitted and related from the most ancient times. Would, then, that I could converse with the inhabitants of the heavens, and learn their thoughts on this matter. For their words concerning the Creator of the cosmos are the most important.”As he was thus thinking to himself, he suddenly heard a heavenly voice:"If you wish to meet us and hearken to our lesson, then know that before all others we have believed in the articles of faith brought by means of us to the prophets, headed by the Prophet Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him), who brought the Qur’an of Miraculous Exposition."Then too all of the pure spirits from among us that have appeared before men have, unanimously and without exception, born witness to the necessary existence, the unity, and the sacred attributes of the Creator of this cosmos, and proclaimed this with one accord. The affinity and mutual correspondence of these countless proclamations is a guide for you as bright as the sun." Thus the traveller’s light of faith shone, and rose from the earth to the heavens.In brief allusion to the lesson learned by the traveller from the angels, we said in the Eleventh Degree of the First Station:There is no god but God, to whose necessary existence in unity points the unanimity of the angels that appear to human gaze, and who speak to the elect among men, with their mutually corresponding and conforming messages.12-13. Degrees: Upright Intellects and Sound Hearts {12}Then, that ardent and inquisitive traveller, having learned from the tongues of various realms of creation in the Manifest Realm in their material and corporeal aspects, and from the utterance of their modes of being, desired to study and journey through the World of the Unseen and the Intermediate Realm, and thus to investigate reality. There opened to him the gate of upright and luminous intellects, of sound and illumined hearts, that are like the seed of man, who is the fruit of the universe, and despite their slight girth can expand virtually to embrace the whole of the cosmos.He looked and saw a series of human isthmuses linking the realm of the Unseen with that of the Manifest, and the contacts between those two realms and the interchanges between them insofar as they affect man, taking place at those points. Addressing his intellect and his heart he said:“Come, the path leading to truth from these counterparts of yours is shorter. We should benefit by studying their qualities, natures and colours concerning faith that we find here, not by listening to the lessons given by the tongues of disposition as was previously the case.”Beginning his study, he saw that the belief and firm conviction concerning the divine unity that all luminous intellects possessed, despite their varying capacities and differing, even opposing, methods and outlooks, was the same, and that their steadfast and confident certainty and assurance was one. They had, therefore, to be relying on a single, unchanging truth;their roots were sunk in a profound truth and could not be plucked out.Their unanimity concerning faith, the necessary existence and unity of God, was an unbreakable and luminous chain, a brightly lit window opening onto the world of the truth.He saw also that the unanimous, assured and sublime unveilings and witnessings of the pillars of belief enjoyed by all those sound and luminous intellects, whose methods were various and outlooks divergent, corresponded to and agreed with each other on the matter of the divine unity. All those luminous hearts, turned and joined to the truth and manifesting it, each a small throne of dominical knowledge, a comprehensive mirror of God’s Eternal Besoughtedness, were like so many windows opened onto the Sun of the Truth. Taken together, they were like a supreme mirror, like an ocean reflecting the sun. Their agreement and unanimity concerning the necessary existence and unity of God was an unfailing and reliable most perfect guide, most elevated preceptor.For it is in no way possible or conceivable that a supposition other than the truth, an untrue thought, a false attribute, should so consistently and decisively be able to deceive simultaneously so many sharp eyes, or to induce illusion in them. Not even the foolish Sophists, who deny the cosmos, would agree with the corrupt and dissipated intellect that held such a thing possible. All of this our traveller understood, and he said, together with his own intellect and heart, “I have believed in God,”In brief allusion to the benefit derived from upright intellects and luminous hearts by our traveller, for knowledge of belief, we said in the Twelfth and Thirteenth Degrees of the First Station:There is no god but God, to whose necessary existence in unity points the consensus of all upright intellects, illumined with congruent beliefs and corresponding convictions and certainties, despite differences in capacity and outlook. There also points to His necessary existence in unity the agreement of all sound, luminous hearts, with their mutually corresponding unveilings and their congruent witnessings, despite differences in method and manner.14-15. Degrees: Divine RevelationRevelationThen that traveller looking closely at the World of the Unseen, and voyaging in it with his intellect and his heart, knocked inquisitively on the door of that world, thinking to himself, “What does this world have to say?”The following occurred to him: it is to be clearly understood that behind the veil of the Unseen is one who wants to make himself known through all these numerous finely adorned artefacts full of art in this corporeal Manifest World, and to make himself loved through these infinite sweet and decorated bounties, and to make known his hidden perfections through these innumerable miraculous and skilful works of art, and who does this by act rather than speech and by making himself known by the tongue of disposition. Since this is so, of a certainty he will speak and make himself known and loved through speech and utterance just as he does through deed and state. In which case, from his manifestations we must know him in respect to the World of the Unseen.Whereupon he entered that world with his heart and saw the following with the eye of his intellect:The truth of revelations prevails at all instants over all parts of the World of the Unseen, with a most powerful manifestation. There comes with the truths of revelation and inspiration proceeding from the One All-Knowing of the Unseen, a testimony to His existence and unity far stronger than testimony of the universe and created beings. He does not leave Him- self, His existence and His unity, only to the testimony of His creatures. Rather, He speaks with a pre-eternal Speech consonant with His own being. The Speech of the One who is all-present and all-seeing everywhere with His Knowledge and Power is also endless, and just as the meaning of His Speech makes Him known, so does His discourse make Himself known together with His attributes.The traveller recognized that the truth, reality, and existence of revelation has been made plain to the point of being self-evident by the consensus of one hundred thousand prophets (Peace be upon them), by the agreement among their proclamations concerning the manifestion of divine revelation; by the evidences and miracles contained in the sacred books and heavenly pages, which are the guides and exemplars of the overwhelming majority of humanity, confirmed and assented to by them, and are the visible fruits of revelation. He understood further that the truth of revelation proclaims five sacred truths.The First: To speak in accordance with men’s intellects and understandings, known as ‘divine condescension to the minds of men,’ is a form of divine descent. It is a requirement of God’s dominicality that He endows all of his conscious creatures with speech, understands their speech, and then participates in it with His own speech.The Second: The One who, in order to make Himself known, fills the cosmos with His miraculous creations and endows them with tongues speaking of His perfections, will necessarily make Himself known with His own words also.The Third: It is a function of His being Creator to respond in words to the supplications and offerings of thanks that are made by the most select, the most needy, the most delicate and the most ardent among His beings — true men.The Fourth: The attribute of Speech, an essential concomitant and luminous manifestation of both Knowledge and Life, will necessarily be found in a comprehensive and eternal form in the being whose Knowledge is comprehensive and whose Life is eternal.The Fifth: It is a consequence of Divinity that the Being who endows men with impotence and desire, poverty and need, anxiety for the future, love and worship, should communicate His own existence, by way of His speech, to His most loved and lovable, His most anxious and needy creatures, who are most desirous of finding their Lord and Master.The evidences for the existence in unity of the Necessary Existent offered in unanimity by universal and heavenly revelations, which contain the truths of divine descent, dominical self-proclamation, compassionate response, divine conversation, and eternal self-communication, constitute a proof more powerful than the testimony for the existence of the sun brought by the rays of sunlight.Our traveller understood this then looked in the direction of inspiration and saw that veracious inspiration indeed resembles revelation in some respects and is a mode of dominical speech. There are, however, two differences:THE FIRST: Revelation, which is much higher than inspiration, generally comes by the medium of the angels, whereas inspiration generally comes directly.So too a king has two modes of speech and command. The firstconsists of his sending to a governor a lieutenant equipped with all the pomp of monarchy and the splendour of sovereignty. Sometimes, in order to demonstrate the splendour of his sovereignty and the importance of his command, he may meet with the intermediary, and then the decree will be issued.The second consists of his speaking privately in his own person, not with the title of monarch or in the name of kingship, concerning some private matter, some petty affair, using for this purpose a trusted servant, some ordinary subject, or his private telephone.In the same way the Pre-Eternal Monarch may either, in the name of the Sustainer of All the Worlds, and with the title of Creator of the Universe, speak with revelation or the comprehensive inspiration that performs the function of revelation, or He may speak in a different and private fashion, as the Sustainer and Creator of all animate beings, from behind the veil, in a way suited to the recipient.THE SECOND DIFFERENCE:Revelation is without shadow, pure, and reserved for the elect. Inspiration, by contrast, has shadow, colours intermingle with it, and it is general.There are numerous different kinds of inspiration, such as the inspiration of angels, the inspiration of men, and the inspiration of animals; inspiration thus forms a field for the multiplication of God’s words, that are as numeous as the drops in the ocean. Our traveller understood that this matter is, indeed, a kind of commentary on the verse,“Were the sea to become ink for the words of my Sustainer, verily the sea would be exhausted before the words of my Sustainer. “InspirationThen he looked at the nature, the wisdom, and the testimony of inspiration and saw that its nature, wisdom and result were composed of four lights.The first: it is the result of God’s Lovingness and Mercifulness that He makes himself loved through word, presence and discourse, in the same way that He makes Himself loved to His creatures through His deeds.The second: it is a requirement of His Compassionateness that just as He answers His servants’ prayers in deed, He should also answer them in word, from behind veils.The third: it is a concomitant of dominicality that just as He responds in deed to the cries for help, supplications, and pleadings of those of His creatures who are afflicted with grievous misfortunes and hardships, so too He should hasten to their help with words of inspiration, which are like a form of speech.The fourth: God makes His existence, presence and protection perceptible in deed to His most weak and indigent, His most poor and needy, conscious creatures, that stand in great need of finding their Master, Protector, Guardian, and Disposer. It is a necessary and essential consequence of His divine solicitousness and His dominical compassion that He should also communicate His presence and existence by speech, from behind the veil of veracious inspiration — a mode of dominical discourse — to individuals, in a manner peculiar to them and their capacities, through the telephone of their hearts.He then looked to the testimony of inspiration and saw that if the sun, for example, had consciousness and life, and if the seven colours of sunlight were the seven attributes, in that respect it would have a form of speech through the rays and manifestations found in its light. And in this situation both its similitudes and reflections would be present in all transparent objects, and it would speak with all mirrors and shining objects and fragments of glass and bubbles and droplets of water, indeed with all trans- parent particles, in accordance with the capacity of each; it would respond to the needs of each, and all these would testify to the sun’s existence; and no task would form an obstacle to any other task, and no speaking obstruct any other speaking. This is self-evident.In the same way, the Speech of the Glorious Monarch of Pre-Eternity and Post-Eternity, the Beauteous and Exalted Creator of All Beings, Who may be described as the Pre-Eternal Sun, manifests itself to all things, in general and comprehensive fashion, in a manner appropriate to their capacity, as do also His Knowledge and POWER - Hele Nordens elektrogigant - request interferes with another, no task prevents the fulfilment of another, and no address becomes confused with another. All of this our traveller understood as self-evident. He knew that all of those manifestations, those discourses, those inspirations, separately and together, evidenced and bore witness unanimously to the presence, the necessary existence, the unity and the oneness of that Pre-Eternal Sun with a knowlege of certainty that approached a vision of certainty.In brief allusion to the lesson in knowledge of God from the World of the Unseen gained by our inquisitive traveller, we said in the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Degrees of the First Station:There is no god but God, the Necessary Existent, the One, the Single, to whose necessary existence in unity points the consensus of all true revelations, containing divine descent, glorious discourse, dominical self-revelation, compassionate response to the invocations of men, and eternal indications of His existence to his creatures. There points also to His necessary existence in unity the agreement of all veracious inspirations, containing expressions of God’s love, compassionate responses to the prayers of God’s creatures, dominical responses to the appeals of His servants for aid, and glorious intimations of His existence to His creatures.16. Degree: Muhammad the Arabian Prophet (UWBP) {15}Then that traveller through the world addressed his own intellect saying: "Since I am seeking my Master and Creator by means of the creatures of the cosmos, I ought before all else to visit the most celebrated of all these creatures, the greatest and most accomplished commander among them, according to the testimony even of his enemies, the most renowned ruler, the most exalted in speech and the most brilliant an intellect, who has illuminated fourteen centuries with his excellence and with his Qur’an, Muhammad the Arabian Prophet (May God’s peace and blessings be upon him). " In order thus to visit him and seek from him the answer to his quest, he entered the blessed age of the Prophet in his mind, and saw that age to be one of true felicity, thanks to that being. For through the light he had brought, he had turned the most primitive and illiterate of peoples into the masters and teachers of the world.He said too to his own intellect, "Before asking him concerning our Creator, we should first learn that value of this extraordinary being, the veracity of his words and the truthfulness of his warnings;”Thus he began investigating, and of the numerous conclusive proofs that he found we will briefly indicate here only nine of the most general ones”THE FIRST: All excellent qualities and characteristics were to be found in that extraordinary being, according to the testimony even of his enemies.Hundreds of miracles were made manifest at his hands, according to explicit Qur’anic verses or traditions enjoying the status of tawâtur.Examples of these miracles are his splitting of the moon, “And the moon split,” with a single indication of his finger; his casting of a handful of dust into the eyes of his enemies, causing them to flee, “It was not your act when you threw, but God’s,” and his giving his thirsting army to drink from the water that flowed forth from his five fingers like the Spring of Kawthar. , we leave discussion of the miracles to that work, and permit the traveller to continue speaking:“A being who in addition to noble characteristics and perfections has all these luminous miracles to demonstrate, must certainly be the most truthful in speech of all men. It is inconceivable that he would stoop to trickery, lies and error, the deeds of the vile.”THE SECOND: He holds in his hand a decree from the lord of the universe, a decree accepted and affirmed in each century by more than three hundred million people. This decree, the Qur’an of Mighty Stature, is wondrous in seven different ways. The fact that the Qur’an has forty different aspects of miraculousness and that it is the word of the Creator of all beings has been set forth in detail with strong proofs in the Twenty-Fifth Word, The Miraculousness of the Qur’an, a celebrated treatise that is like the sun of the Risale-i Nur. We therefore leave such matters to that work and listen to the traveller as he says," There can never be any possibility of lying on the part of the being who is the conveyor and proclaimer of this decree, for that would be a violation of the decree and treachery toward the One Who issued it."THE THIRD: Such a Sacred Law, an Islam, a code of worship, a cause, a summons, and a faith did that being bring forth that the like of them does not exist, nor could it exist. Nor does a more perfect form of them exist, nor could it exist. For the Law appearing with that unlettered being has no rival in its administration of one fifth of humanity for fourteen centuries, in a just and precise manner through its numerous injuctions. Moreover the Islam that emerged from the deeds, sayings, and inward states of that unlettered being has no peer, nor can it have, for in each century it has been for three hundred million men a guide and a refuge, the teacher and educator of their intellects and the illuminator and purifier of their hearts, the cause for the refinement and training of their souls, and the source of progress and advancement of their spirits.The Prophet is similarly unparalleled in the way in which he was the foremost in practising all the forms of worship found in his religion, and the first in piety and the fear of God; in his observing the duties of worship fully and with attention to their profoundest dimensions, even while engaged in constant struggle and activity; in his practice of worship combining in perfect fashion the beginning and end of worship and servitude to God without imitation of anyone.With the Jaushan al-Kabir, from among his thousands of supplicatory prayers and invocations, he describes his Sustainer with such a degree of gnosis that all the gnostics and saints who have come after him have been unable, with their joint efforts, to attain a similar degree of gnosis and accurate description. This shows that in prayer too he is without peer. Whoever looks at the section at the beginning of the Treatise on Supplicatory Prayer which sets forth some part of the meaning of one of the ninety-nine sections of the Jaushan al-Kabir will say that the Jaushan too has no peer.In his conveying of the message and his summoning men to the truth, he displayed such steadfastness, firmness and courage that although great states and religions, and even his own people, tribe and uncle opposed him in the most hostile fashion, he exhibited not the slightest trace of hesitation anxiety or fear. The fact that he successfully challenged the whole world and made Islam the master of the world likewise proves that there is not and cannot be anyone like him in his conveying of the message and summons.In his faith, he had so extraordinary a strength, so marvellous a certainty, so miraculous a breadth, and so exalted a conviction, illumining the whole world, that none of the ideas and beliefs then dominating the world, and none of the philosophies of the sages and teachings of the religious leaders, was able, despite extreme hostility and denial, to induce in his certainty, conviction, trust and assurance, the slightest doubt, hesitation, weakness or anxiety.Moreover, the saintly of all ages, headed by the Companions, the foremost in the degrees of belief, have all drawn on his fountain of belief and regarded him as representing the highest degree of faith.This proves that his faith too is matchless. Our traveller therefore concluded, and affirmed with his intellect, that lying and duplicity have no place in the one who has brought such a unique sacred law, such an unparalleled Islam, such a wondrous devotion to worship, such an extra-ordinary excellence in supplicatory prayer, such a universally acclaimed summons to the truth and such a miraculous faith.

What is the scope of psychology?

Scope of Psychology:The field of psychology can be understood by various subfields of psychology making an attempt in meeting the goals of psychology.1. Physiological Psychology:In the most fundamental sense, human beings are biological organisms. Physiological functions and the structure of our body work together to influence our behaviour. Biopsychology is the branch that specializes in the area. Bio-psychologists may examine the ways in which specific sites in the brain which are related to disorders such as Parkinson’s disease or they may try to determine how our sensations are related to our behaviour.2. Developmental Psychology:Here the studies are with respect to how people grow and change throughout their life from prenatal stages, through childhood, adulthood and old age. Developmental psychologists work in a variety of settings like colleges, schools, healthcare centres, business centres, government and non-profit organizations, etc. They are also very much involved in studies of the disturbed children and advising parents about helping such children.3. Personality Psychology:This branch helps to explain both consistency and change in a person’s behaviour over time, from birth till the end of life through the influence of parents, siblings, playmates, school, society and culture. It also studies the individual traits that differentiate the behaviour of one person from that of another person.4. Health Psychology:This explores the relations between the psychological factors and physical ailments and disease. Health psychologists focus on health maintenance and promotion of behaviour related to good health such as exercise, health habits and discouraging unhealthy behaviours like smoking, drug abuse and alcoholism.Health psychologists work in healthcare setting and also in colleges and universities where they conduct research. They analyse and attempt to improve the healthcare system and formulate health policies.5. Clinical Psychology:It deals with the assessment and intervention of abnormal behaviour. As some observe and believe that psychological disorders arise from a person’s unresolved conflicts and unconscious motives, others maintain that some of these patterns are merely learned responses, which can be unlearned with training, still others are contend with the knowledge of thinking that there are biological basis to certain psychological disorders, especially the more serious ones. Clinical psychologists are employed in hospitals, clinics and private practice. They often work closely with other specialists in the field of mental health.6. Counselling Psychology:This focuses primarily on educational, social and career adjustment problems. Counselling psychologists advise students on effective study habits and the kinds of job they might be best suited for, and provide help concerned with mild problems of social nature and strengthen healthy lifestyle, economical and emotional adjustments.They make use of tests to measure aptitudes, interests and personality characteristics. They also do marriage and family counselling, provide strategies to improve family relations.7. Educational Psychology:Educational psychologists are concerned with all the concepts of education. This includes the study of motivation, intelligence, personality, use of rewards and punishments, size of the class, expectations, the personality traits and the effectiveness of the teacher, the student-teacher relationship, the attitudes, etc. It is also concerned with designing tests to evaluate student performance. They also help in designing the curriculum to make learning more interesting and enjoyable to children.Educational psychology is used in elementary and secondary schools, planning and supervising special education, training teachers, counselling students having problems, assessing students with learning difficulties such as poor writing and reading skills and lack of concentration.8. Social Psychology:This studies the effect of society on the thoughts, feelings and actions of people. Our behaviour is not only the result of just our personality and predisposition. Social and environmental factors affect the way we think, say and do. Social psychologists conduct experiments to determine the effects of various groups, group pressures and influence on behaviour.They investigate on the effects of propaganda, persuation, conformity, conflict, integration, race, prejudice and aggression. These investigations explain many incidents that would otherwise be difficult to understand. Social psychologists work largely in colleges and universities and also other organizations.9. Industrial and Organizational Psychology:The private and public organizations apply psychology to management and employee training, supervision of personnel, improve communication within the organization, counselling employees and reduce industrial disputes.Thus we can say that in organizational and industrial sectors not only the psychological effects of working attitude of the employees are considered but also the physical aspects are given importance to make workers feel healthy.10. Experimental Psychology:It is the branch that studies the processes of sensing, perceiving, learning, thinking, etc. by using scientific methods. The outcome of the experimental psychology is cognitive psychology which focuses on studying higher mental processes including thinking, knowing, reasoning, judging and decision-making. Experimental psychologists often do research in lab by frequently using animals as their experimental subjects.11. Environmental Psychology:It focuses on the relationships between people and their physical and social surroundings. For example, the density of population and its relationship with crime, the noise pollution and its harmful effects and the influence of overcrowding upon lifestyle, etc.12. Psychology of Women:This concentrates on psychological factors of women’s behaviour and development. It focuses on a broad range of issues such as discrimination against women, the possibility of structural differences in the brain of men and women, the effect of hormones on behaviour, and the cause of violence against women, fear of success, outsmarting nature of women with respect to men in various accomplishments.13. Sports and Exercise Psychology:It studies the role of motivation in sport, social aspects of sport and physiological issues like importance of training on muscle development, the coordination between eye and hand, the muscular coordination in track and field, swimming and gymnastics.14. Cognitive Psychology:It has its roots in the cognitive outlook of the Gestalt principles. It studies thinking, memory, language, development, perception, imagery and other mental processes in order to peep into the higher human mental functions like insight, creativity and problem-solving. The names of psychologists like Edward Tolman and Jean Piaget are associated with the propagation of the ideas of this school of thought.Methods of Psychology:Psychologists use many scientific methods for research purposes to understand various psychological issues more scientifically. These scientific methods reduce bias and errors in understanding various behavioural aspects.The relevance of these scientific methods extends beyond testing and evaluating theories and hypotheses in psychology. Though there are many such methods used by psychologists, each has its own advantages and disadvantages.Some of the important methods are:a. Introspection methodb. Observation methodc. Experimental methodd. Case study methode. Questionnaire methodf. Interview methodg. Survey methodA. Introspection Method:Introspection or self-observation may be considered as a old method but it is something we are doing almost constantly in our everyday life. Introspection is a method of studying the consciousness in which the subjects report on their subjective experiences. It is a method that requires long and difficult training. It gives in-depth information about the individual.In introspection, the subject is taught to achieve a state of “focused attention” in which he can closely observe his own conscious experiences. He will be able to report the smallest possible elements of awareness. Thus the goal of introspection is to learn about the basic building blocks of experience and the principles by which they combine to give us our everyday consciousness.Limitations:1. It is not possible to observe one’s own behaviour and at the same time experience it. If such an attempt is made, the experience disappears. Thus the subject has to depend upon memory which itself may be subject to distortions, omissions and commissions.2. The results obtained from introspection are subjective and so lack scientific validity. They cannot be verified and have to be accepted at face value.3. The method cannot be used to study children, animals, insane people, feeble­minded and those who are not good at verbal expression.4. Because experiences are unique, they cannot be repeated and so introspection cannot be repeated.5. Many experiences are either partly or wholly unconscious and cannot be observed consciously and analyzed.6. All experiences cannot be verbalized.B. Observation Method:This is the most commonly used method especially in relation to behavioural science, though observation as such is common in everyday occurrences, scientific observations are formulated in research places. It is systematically planned, recorded and is subjected to check and control its validity and reliability.In this method we not only ask the subject to report his experiences but also gather information by direct observation of overt behaviour. When observations are carried out under standardized conditions they should be observed with a careful understanding of the units, that is the style of recording observed information and the selection of dependent or related data of observation concerned, then it is called structured observation. But when observation takes place without these consideration it is called unstructured observation.Structured observation is useful in descriptive studies, while unstructured observation is useful in exploratory studies. Another way of classifying observation is that of participant and non-participant types of observation. In participant observation the observer makes himself a member of the group which is being observed.In non-participant observation the observer detaches himself from the group that is being observed. Sometimes, it so happens that the observer may observe in such a way that his presence is unknown to the people he is observing. This is called disguised observation.The method of participant observation has a number of advantages, the researcher can record natural behaviour of the group and he can gather information which cannot be easily obtained; if he stays outside the group, and also he can verify the truth of statements made by the subjects in the context of schedule or questionnaires.The other way of classifying observation is that of controlled and uncontrolled observations:a. Uncontrolled observation:It is that which takes place in natural setting. Here no attempt is made to use precautional instruments or methods. Here the major aim of this type of observation is to get a spontaneous picture of life of the persons.b. Controlled observation:In this, behaviour is observed according to definite pre­arranged plans involving experimental procedure. Here mechanical or precision instruments are used to aid accuracy and standardization. This provides formulized data upon which generalizations can be built with considerable accuracy. Generally, controlled observation takes place in various experiments which are carried out in labs under controlled conditions.Limitations:1. It is expensive with respect to time and money.2. The information’s provided by this method is very less or limited.3. Sometimes, unforeseen factors may interfere with observation.Merits:1. If observation is done accurately, subjective bias is eliminated.2. The information obtained under this method relates to current happenings. Either past behaviours or future intensions, do not complicate it.3. This method is independent of the subject willingness to respond and so does not require active participation of the subject. Because of this, the method is especially suitable to subjects which are not capable of giving verbal reports of their thoughts and feelings.Naturalistic observation method which is the systematic study of behaviour in natural settings, can be used to study the behaviour of animals which are in wild or in captivity. Psychologists use naturalistic observation whenever people happen to be at home, on playgrounds, in classrooms and offices.In observation method of studies, it is important to count or measure the behaviour. Careful record-keeping ensures accuracy and allows different observers to crosscheck their observations. Crosschecking is necessary to make sure that observations are reliable or consistent from person to person.C. Experimental Method:The experimental method is most often used in laboratory. This is the method of observation of the behaviour or the ability of the individual under controlled condition or fixed circumstances. It is the performing of an experiment that is a tightly controlled and highly structured observation of variables.The experimental method allows researchers to infer causes. An experiment aims to investigate a relationship between two or more factors by deliberately producing a change in one factor and observing its effect on other factors. The person who conducts the experiment is called the experimenter and the one who is being observed is called the subject.An experiment begins with a problem. Problem is the relationship which experimenter wishes to study between two or more variables. Then a hypothesis is formed; it is a suggested answer to the problem under investigation, based on the knowledge that existing in the field of study. To test the hypothesis, relationship between variables is examined. Variables are the factors that can change.There will be two variables. An independent variable is a variable that the experimenter selects. He can control this variable according to the requirements of the experiment. The dependent variable is the factor that varies with the change in the independent variable that is subject’s behaviour.Experimenters will not wait for the behaviour to occur in nature rather the behaviour will be created in situation by presenting a stimuli to the organism. The behaviour that occurs will be co-related with the stimulus.From this, it is possible to predict the nature and types of response or responses that may occur to a given stimulus. The changes observed in the dependent variable may be influenced by a number of factors. To establish a clear-cut relationship between a stimulus and response, all other possible influences must be eliminated.Conditions of Experimental Study:a. The control groupb. The experimental group.If experiment has to be successful, the subjects (patients/clients) must be selected carefully. This is called sampling. A random sample is one where every member of the population has an equal chance of being selected. When this is not the case, the sample is said to be biased sample (manipulated). A random sample of entire population is not always necessary or even desirable.For instance, an experimenter may begin by conducting experiment on a particular population and then repeat the experiment on broader or more representative samples. Once the experiment has been conducted, the results have to be summarized and a conclusion drawn.a. Control group provides a base line against which the performance of experimental group can be composed.b. The group that receives the experimental treatment is called the experimental group (The group that receives no treatment is called the control group).Limitations:1. The situation in which the behaviour is studied is always an artificial one.2. Complete control of the extraneous variables is not possible.3. All types of behaviour cannot be experimented.4. Experimental method requires a laboratory and is expensive.5. We cannot accumulate information from abnormal people using this method.Merits:1. The results are clear and straight forward.2. The results are usually expressed in terms of numbers which makes it convenient for comparison of performance and analysis.3. The experiment can be replicated by other researches and verified.4. Highly dependable cause-effect relationships can be established.D. Case Study (History) Method:It is a detailed description of a particular individual. It may be based on careful observation or formal psychological testing. It may include information about the person’s childhood dreams, fantasies, experiences, relationships and hopes that throw light into the person’s behaviour.Case studies depend on client’s memories of the past and such memories are highly reliable to understand the problems. As case studies focus on individuals, so we cannot generalize about human behaviour.E. Questionnaire Method:Questionnaire is an instrument of data collection. It is a method of data collection through which both qualitative as well as quantitative data can be collected by formulating a set of interrelated questions.A questionnaire consists of a number of questions printed or typed in a definite order, one set of forms to which the respondents are supposed to answer unaided, by writing the answers in the space provided for the purpose. Where this questionnaire is mailed to the respondents instead of directly administering it is called a mailed questionnaire.This method of data collection is especially popular when large scale enquiries have to be made. The questionnaire is sent to the person concerned with a request to answer the questions. It consists of a number of questions printed in a definite order which the respondents have to answer. It is considered as the heart of survey operation. In order to construct a good comprehensive questionnaire, some points have to be kept in mind.They are:1. The general form2. The question sequence3. Question formulation and wording.1. The general form:This refers to whether the questionnaire is ‘unstructured’ or ‘structured’. Questionnaire which include definite, concrete and predetermined questions and highly structured questionnaire is one in which all questions and answers are specified and comments by the respondents are held to the minimum.In an unstructured questionnaire the researcher is presented with a general guide on the type of information to be obtained, but the exact question formulation is not set. Thus the structured questionnaires are simple to administer and relatively inexpensive to analyze.2. The question sequence:In order to make a questionnaire effective the question sequence must be clear and should have smooth flow. The relation of one question to another should be readily apparent to the respondent.The first few questions are particularly important, because they are likely to influence the attitude of the respondent. Questions which are causing very much strain on the memory, personal questions and questions related to personal wealth, etc. should be avoided.3. Question formulation and wording:Each question must be clear because any kind of misunderstanding can harm the survey. Questions must be impartial and constructed to the study, the true state of affairs. They should be simple, easily understood and concrete. They should convey only one thought at a time. They should conform as much as possible to the respondent’s way of thinking.Limitations:1. The method can only be used when respondents are literate and cooperative.2. The questionnaire is not flexible because there is no possibility of changing the questions to suit the situation.3. There is possibility of ambiguous responses or omission of responses to some questions.4. Interpretation of omissions is difficult.5. It is difficult to know whether the sample is really representative.Merits:1. When the sample is large, the questionnaire method is economical.2. It is free from the bias of the interviewer.3. Respondents have adequate time to give well though-out answers.4. Large samples can be used and so the results can be made dependable and reliable.F. Interview Method:This involves collection of data by having a direct verbal communication between two people. Personal interviews are popular but telephone interviews can also be conducted as well. This method is also called face to face method.In personal interviews an interviewer asks questions generally in a face to face contact with the person being interviewed. In direct personal interview, the investigator collects information directly from the sources concerned. This has to be used when intensive investigation is required.But in some cases, an indirect examination is conducted where the interviewer cross-examines other persons who are supposed to have knowledge about the problem under investigation. This is used where ever it is not possible to directly contact the required person to be interviewed.Types of Interview:a. Structured interview involves the use of predetermined questions and standardized techniques of recording. The interviewer follows a rigid procedure asking questions in a framed prescribed order.b. Unstructured interview is flexible in its approach to questioning. Here it does not follow the system of predetermined questions and standardized techniques of recording the data. Here the interviewer is allowed much greater freedom to ask supplementary questions or to omit some questions if required and he may change the sequence of questions.He also has a freedom while recording responses, whether to include some aspects and exclude others. This may lead to lack of comparability and also difficult in analyzing the responses.Other types of interviews are:i. Focused interviewii. Clinical interviewiii. Non-directive interview.i. Focused interview:In focused interviews the attention is paid on a given experience, and its effects on the respondent. This is generally used in developing the hypotheses and constitutes a major type of unstructured interview.ii. Clinical interview:In clinical interviews concern is given to the feelings or motivations of individuals life experiences. Here the interviewer simply encourages the respondent to talk about the given topic with a minimum of direct questioning.iii. Non-directive interview:The researcher acts as a catalyst to a comprehensive expression of the subject’s feelings, belief and of the frame, of reference within which such feelings which are expressed by the subjects personal significance.Limitations:1. It is a very expensive method.2. Interviewer bias as well as respondents bias may operate while gathering information.3. Certain types of respondents may not be available for interviews.4. This method is relatively time consuming.5. Because the interviewer is present on the spot, the respondent may become overstimulated and give imaginary information just to make the interview more interesting.6. Selecting, training and supervising the field staff is very complex.Advantages:1. More information about the subject can be obtained in greater depth. The interviewer can obtain a perfect idea about the subject through other means of assessing. As the person is directly accessible he can use other means of communication to assess the individual.2. First hand information can be collected about the subject’s background, economic and educational considerations.3. The overall personal aspect of an individual can also be assessed.G. Survey Method:This method involves in asking large numbers of individuals to complete the given questionnaires or through interviews by interviewing people directly about their experiences, attitudes or opinions.That is for example, survey on healthcare reform, or economic reform, voting preferences prior to elections, consumer reactions to various products, health practices, public opinion and complaints with safety regulations and so on. Surveys are often repeated over long period of time in order to trace the shifts in public opinion. Surveys can provide highly accurate prediction when conducted carefully.H. Testing Method:This method makes use of carefully devised and standardized tests for measuring attitudes, interest, achievement, intelligence and personality traits. Intelligence tests measure the intellectual capacity of an individual and achievement tests through light on achievement of student in various subjects they are studying.So by adopting all these methods, psychology collects information about behaviour, which helps us to study the behaviour systematically. There are the different methods used in psychology to study the behaviour.For more details you visitNotes on Psychology: Definition, Scope and Methods

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