Suhrawardi - Mundus Imaginalis - The crimson archangel
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
Mundus Imaginalis, or the Imaginary and the Imaginal - Henri Corbin
Let us take the very beautiful tales-simultaneously visionary tales and tales of spiritual initiation-composed in Persian by Sohravardi, the young shaykh who, in the twelfth century, was the "reviver of the theosophy of ancient Persia" in Islamic Iran.
Each time, the visionary finds himself, at the beginning of the tale, in the presence of a supernatural figure of great beauty, whom the visionary asks who he is and from where he comes. These tales essentially illustrate the experience of the gnostic, lived as the personal history of the Stranger, the captive who aspires to return home.
At the beginning of the tale that Sohravardi entitles "The Crimson Archangel," the captive, who has just escaped the surveillance of his jailers, that is, has temporarily left the world of sensory experience, finds himself in the desert in the presence of a being whom he asks, since he sees in him all the charms of adolescence, "0 Youth! where do you come from?" He receives this reply: "What? I am the first-born of the children of the Creator [in gnostic terms, the Protoktistos, the First-Created] and you call me a youth?" There, in this origin, is the mystery of the crimson colour that clothes his appearance: that of a being of pure Light whose splendour the sensory world reduces to the crimson of twilight. "I come from beyond the mountain of Qaf... It is there that you were yourself at the beginning, and it is there that you will return when you are finally rid of your bonds."