The symbolism in the Song of Solomon is about as difficult to put into writing as that of Genesis or Reve-lations because it pertains to Mysticism beyond the experience of everyday consciousness, and yet it is por-trayed through the medium of that which usually en-snares the mind. As we know from historical accounts, it is called "The Song of Songs" or "The Holy of Holies"
and was assigned to the eighth day of the Passover. Its special holiness and authorship made it survive much opposition. It was only because of that unknown Mystical consideration that it was accepted among the Canons, even before the Christian Era.
The firm defense by Mystics among the Rabbis enabled it to survive. At the Council of Jarnnia, in 90 A.D., Rabbi Akiba spoke in its defense in high veneration : "The whole world is not worth the day on which the Song of Songs was given."
It is a matchless panegyric upon True Love, based upon a higher unknown Love, which atones for any coarseness in its symbolic portrayal.A theory was suggested and formulated by Budde, that it was a Folk Song. He mentions twenty-three varieties which are sung after weddings in Syria. In 1873, J.G. Wetzstein, the Prussian Consul at Damascus, published some of them.
In 1544 Castillo declared the Song was an expression of Solomon's love for the maiden, Shulammith, and this declaration was unanimously accepted. According to that version, Solomon found her in her own country and brought her to his place; but she was in love with a shepherd and remained true to that love.In Syrian weddings, the bridegroom and the bride are honored by their guests during their eight days of celebration, as King Solomon and Queen Shulammith, and the Songs of the Festival are supposed to portray a higher love, symbolized by the Marriage and its feast.
Some authors tried to interpret it as a Greek drama. But as a drama there are none of the usual indications concerning dramatic personae, scenes, etc. Even as a song, it has vacancies which have to be filled in as sequences.
Back in the sixteenth century, in the Preface to his book entitled `CONSIDERATIONS ON THE SONG OF SONGS', the Spanish Mystic, Juan De Los Angeles wrote : "If any book needed the spirit of prophecy it . would be this one; and not that alone, but also a knowledge of an infinitude of natural things and their properties, because at every step these are introduced as the symbols of things spiritual. In the first chapter alone, which has occupied me for more than two years, I have met so many difficulties that I have wished to turn back from the task, and much weariness and discouragement has assailed me because I have become entangled in so vast a maze." Interpretation and definite application are in a realm beyond the ordinary experiences of man, or it would not be venerated as "The Holy of Holies."
Songs are usually written by an exuberant spirit, to express that with which the heart is filled and runneth over. For poetic speech, the psalms have a consider-able amount in them (PSALMS 120-5, etc.) But the Song of Solomon is outstanding and unique in its exotic expression of an Inner Uplift of the Spirit by an experience beyond the power of sensory perception. It clearly belongs to the veiled Mystic Writings of the East, in an early period. Solomon ascended the throne in 971 B. C., when he was not yet twenty years of age.
To interpret `The Song of Songs' as the love of Christ for His church, or that of the church for Christ, amounts to rather vague prophecy, about one thousand years ahead of its time. That explanation is not apt, as it does not pertain to the personal inner experience of the author of the `Song' at the time he wrote it.
Spiritually speaking, it is possible that Solomon was a Mystic who transcended , the mere physical pleasures which his position and harem could provide in abundance, and found a greater Reality in Love itself, which made him the Wise King of Ages. He prayed to God for wisdom, and his prayer was answered (I KINGS 3 : 9—12). For, whoever wrote that account —and that was supposed to have been Solomon—clearly describes a transcendental uplift in a higher realm of energy fields than that of the physical world.
The language and terms of comparison used in the `Song' were acceptable comparative symbolism used in the East at that time. Mystics and Great Teachers still use this type of symbolism in describing the delight of the soul when it ascends upward, on its Inner Journey and touches the Sound Current, the Essence of Life, Light and Bliss. Some Teachers have used the simile of the delight of the young mother at the touch of her new born babe, to give a hint of the joy of the soul at the contact with the Holy Shabd. The Holy Shabd is the life-saving line onto which the soul can hold and be safely towed and lifted onto the Ship of that current which will take it safely across the ocean of existence into that Oneness of the Beloved Father.
Such emotions overwhelm the soul on the realiza-tion of its own new birth in the Sound Essence. But it is more than that, for it fulfills all longing and need or desires of the soul. It is also symbolized by the Feast which the father gave to the Prodigal Son who had left home, squandered his inheritance, became lost, and found his way home again.
In the Holy Scriptures everywhere, all feasts and songs and gifts are but symbolic of an Inner Reality which is beyond the power of mortal language to describe. So the Mystic uses the similes and metaphors most acceptable to the minds of his audience and his readers, in an effort to give a hint of this sublime ex-perience of the mind and soul.
The union of the mind with the soul is referred to as a marriage but the REAL MARRIAGE IS THE UNION OF THE SOUL WITH THE SOUND CURRENT. The greatest delight on earth is as nothing compared to THAT experienced within. That is the Wedding Feast of the Soul.
Even Jesus said : "If I have told you earthly things and ye believe not, how shall ye believe if I tell you of heavenly things ?" (JOHN 3 : 12)
Matter-of-fact material things are far removed from the scope of Spiritual Experiences of Mystics Who, in Their ecstasy, give hints of Their supreme delight in terms which we can understand. Neither is this psychic eroticism, but a reward of faith and sincere effort in devotion and concentration of the consciousness of the mind and soul to a high pitch of efficiency and vibratory' intensity in conscious awareness in higher realms.
In the physical world, a trained and steady mind determines the value of a person in any line of business endeavor, or in professions and in trades. Concentra-tion is efficiency. In Spiritual training this is even more true ; for no progress can be made at all until the mind is held still in concentration, so the Inner can be perceived, seen, felt, heard, etc., similarly as we see, hear, feel, etc. in the physical world.
The Spiritual training and concentration of the mind challenges the efforts of otherwise strong and upright characters, for it is impossible to proceed on the Way until every weakness has been conquered. Those who did so were called the Heroes of old, like the Patriarch Abraham and the leaders of Israel (Moses and Joshua), etc., in the Bible; also Hercules, Theseus and other Greek heroes; Arjuna in the Bhagavad Gita, etc.
The songs, folklore and operas of other nations, such as the Nibelungen Ring of the Wagnerian Operas and the heroes therein, also Parsifal and the Holy Grail, Tristan and Isolde, etc. are all accounts of mystic ac-complishments. The accompanying songs and music were symbols of the Sound Energy Current.
There are and always have been Mystics in the East because the very atmosphere is mystical in its many religious aspects. There are alwa ys a few first fruits
among the fruits of any tree (ROMANS 8 : 23; I COR. 1'5 : 20; 15 : 23 ; JEREMIAH 2 : 3, etc.) These toil harder and longer and are more in tune with their efforts, be-cause of previous labor in the Vineyard of the Lord. The individual is always apt in that which he loves.
The Song of Solomon
The Bride speaks with the Daughters of Jerusalem who symbolize souls or swans in that Inner Mystic Realm.
X61_. The Song of songs, which is Solomon's.
"`. Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth; For thy love is better than wine."
The first part is that of the usual greetings of lovers. Physically, wine is considered a stimulant, and it sym-bolizes the same in Spiritual substance. The love and attraction of the Holy Shabd, the Sound Essence, is termed even better than the wine. It is a spiritual nectar, received on entering that stage of Inner Aware-ness or Soul Life.
"3"Because of the savour of thy good ointments."
Spiritual fragrance is a well known fact among
Mystics of attainment, and with it goes a great happi-
ness. The Great Master, Sawan Singh Maharaj Ji,
related that in the early days while He was an engineer
in Government Service, one day as He was traveling
in the mountains on horseback, He suddenly began to
feel very happy and that as he rode on, this happiness
greatly increased. He was also aware of a sweet fra-
grance, the like of which is not known on this earth.
When both, the fragrance and the feeling of happiness
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were sublime beyond description, He noticed a holy man sitting near the road; whereupon He dismounted and paid His respects to the Saint before proceeding further on His journey. Such is the Unity of Inner Under-standing and Love between Mystics of attainment. Only one who has mystic qualities within himself can recognize them in another.
Oil was used as a symbol of peace and balance of the Spirit. It quiets disturbed waters. It was used for anointing the heads of Kings and High Priests at their coronation or consecration. Holy oils are still used in the sacraments of Holy Orders and Extreme Unction, and many religious rites and ceremonies.
"Thy name is as ointment poured forth."
The `name' signifies `NAM', the One Word or Essence, as the Sound Current which soothes all wounds of the soul or spirit. It is referred to as the "Oil of Joy and Comfort" in Isaiah 58 : 11. The expression of "joy and Comfort" in the Old Testament has the same meaning as "The Comforter" in the New Testament.
"Therefore do the virgins love thee."
Pure spirits are called virgins, hansas or swans in higher regions. The Essence or Shabd is always positive and is addressed as The Beloved. At this stage souls, either male or female, are termed as female be-cause they are negative to the Eternal Current and are attracted and elevated by it. They are drawn to it as iron is drawn to a magnet, or as the sun of this universe draws forth the essence in vegetation and the planets.
"4. Draw me, we will run after thee;
The king bath brought me into his chambers : We will be glad and rejoice in thee,
We will remember thy love more than wine: The upright love thee."
The King is the Beloved. The .soul has attained admittance into the Sound Current. Those who rightly love are the pure souls who ascend unto this mountain or Holy Hill or Will of God, and are included in the term `we'.
"5. I am black, but comely,
0 ye daughters of Jerusalem, As the tents of Kedar,
As the curtains of Solomon."
Here a new aspect is brought out by the ascending soul's humility. It proclaims to be black, unworthy, like the black sheep of the family. Kedar was one of the sons of Ishmael, and the soul feels as unworthy of this great heritage of Spirituality as did Ishmael because he was not entitled to share equally with Isaac. Kedar and his tribe lived in tents made of black goats' hair. The black curtains of Solomdn, which covered the Tabernacle, were also made of black goats' hair. There were eleven curtains. This number is also symbolic of the five chakras in the body, the sixth being the door or curtain between the five centers below and the five above; or between the unconscious centers below the eyes and the conscious centers above, in the brain.
The Bible plainly describes the size and place-ment of the eleven curtains and states that one was placed over the door. The door or gate in Mystic Writings refers to the `third eye' or `Tisra Ti!', through which the soul must pass before it can begin the journey to higher regions. The mind or ego must become small before it can accompany the soul through this narrow gate. By becoming small, it becomes humble and real-izes its unworthiness and feels that it is only a cover over the tent which holds the Holy of Holies and the Mercy Seat in the inner consciousness.
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"6. Look not upon me, because I am black, Because the sun hath looked upon me : My mother's children were angry with me; They made me the keeper of the vineyards; But mine own vineyard have I not kept".
The mind begs not to be excluded and that its unworthiness be not noticed; for in its earthly heritage of birth it also feels as a misfit. Her mother's sons or children made her the keeper of the vineyard—the house or garden—and they were angry with her because of the time spent in day-dreaming or Mystic contem-plation. The last line is typical of the lament of the souls who have longed for and have been given the Path, but who realize that they have spent so much time. on everything else except the one purpose for which they were given a human body. What honest soul ever feels satisfied with the Spiritual effort put forth or time applied in concentration and devotion to the Beloved Lord of all?
"7. Tell me, 0 thou whom my soul loveth, Where thou feedest, where thou makest Thy flock to rest at noon :
For why should I be as one that turneth aside By the flocks of thy companions ?"
The soul wants to know the place of Nectar, the high noon hour when the rays of it feed all there, for why should it be veiled or turned away from that de-light?
"8. If thou know not, 0 thou fairest among women,"
The daughters of Jerusalem and the fairest among women symbolize the souls in the Sound Current
Vibration. Then the soul delights in telling that it knows the Way.
"Go thy way forth by the footsteps of the flock," Follow the rays of the Sound Current and feast on the Nectar.
"And feed thy kids beside the shepherds' tents."
And feed thy kids, the young sprouts of love, beside the Shepherds' tents, the Beloved Saints which are the Centers of Nectar.
"9 . I have compared thee, 0 my love,
To a company of horses in Pharaoh's chariots."
The word `Pharaoh' means `great house', undis-puted monarch or king. The swift steeds were the outstanding means of travel and communication at that time. In order to reach the Great House of the King, such swift steeds were needed (Also in Esther 8: 4). These are the energy currents upon which the souls travel. The Alborak of Mohammed, which carried him to the moon, is a similar symbol of the attention currents of the mind and soul.
"10. Thy cheeks are comely with rows of jewels, Thy neck with chains of gold.
"11. We will make thee borders of gold
With studs of silver."
Ornaments and jewelry were symbolic of Inner Currents or Virtue in the etheric essence and in Spiritual Realms. Besides the symbolic portrayal of the Inner values, jewelry and precious stones were worn to attract those currents out of the atmospheric energy fields and to concentrate them on the person of the wearer for health, vitality, good luck, etc. This was the origin of charms and amulets, as points of concentration for.
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universal energy attraction. It was an ancient method of tuning into the Universal Energies. The Urim and Th-ummim, attached to the breast plates of the high priest, as mentioned in Exodus 28:15—30, had similar applica-tion. All the jewels used in them represented Cosmic Energy, and were used for tuning into the psychic realm and etheric essence, in order to receive answers to problems (Ex. 39 : 2—22; LEV. 8 : 7—10; I SAM. 23 : 9—14; I SAM. 28 : 6; EPH. 6 : 14; TES. 5 : 8).
"12. While the king sitteth at his table,
My spikenard sendeth forth the smell thereof."
The tables used in the Orient were usually round and of various materials, and of a height for squatting around them on cushions. The table was a symbol of a common center of Wisdom which nourished the mind as well as the body (PROVERBS 9 : 1—7). The table of Showbreads had a similar meaning, for Inner Nourishment of Spiritual value, like the wafers in the Christian Sacrament. (Nu. 4 : 7; LEV. 24 : 5—9 )
The Inner Spiritual Qualities of devotion and love without any taint of ego or self, produced the aroma as a substance, which was symbolized by perfumes, spices, spikenard, etc. and their uses. The fragrance sent forth was that from within, by the precipitation of the Real Chemistry in the higher realms. Spikenard was a special ointment, made from the pure oil of Nard, which was extracted from a bearded grass grown in India. It was very costly. (MARK 14 : 3; JOHN 12 : 3)
"13 . A bundle of myrrh is my well beloved unto me:
He shall lie all night betwixt my breasts."
Myrrh was often worn on the chest by the ladies. It is symbolic of the finer virtues and inner devotion,
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expressed by the delightful fragrance. Spices were called `Bsanin' in Hebrew. The Holy Ointment was forbidden to the people. Even the symbol of the essence or holy oil was forbidden to the outsiders, not of the priesthood or who were not sanctified servants of the Lord in the Holy of Holies.
Exodus 26 : 6–8 shows the deeper, sacred meaning of all these external applications. "And let them make me a sanctuary that I may dwell among them" (Ex. 25 : 8), explains the real object and purpose of all these preparations and symbols. The real ingredients were LOVE AND DEVOTION, and nothing else. The form or symbolism only expresses the Life, it cannot provide it.
"14. My beloved is unto me as a cluster of camphire
In the vineyards of En-gedi."
The word 'En-gedi' literally means ` a spring of the kid', and possibly it is the origin of the fountain of youth?' For what is younger, more spry and full of life than a kid?
Henna or camphire was used among the ointments and also as a dye. (S.S. 4 : 13). To literally become born again by being dyed in that color and rejuvenated, is similar to the expression : "Behold, I make all things
new " (Rev. 21 : 5; REV. 21 : 1; REV. 3 : 12) Could
it be possible that some Mystics had already penetrated this sphere which was seen by John, the Revelator, and described by him almost a thousand years later? Is there really anything new in this world? Or does it merely await our discovery and claim to it by a deeper
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penetration of understanding and the ability to enter that realm?
"15 . Behold, thou art fair, my love; Behold, thou art fair Thou hast dove's eyes."
The eyes are the windows of the soul and express finer currents of Love. "Drink to me only with thine eyes, and I will pledge with mine" is a typical version of this exquisite uplift of Inner Reality in the fullness of Love.
When a true Master wishes to bestow a special favor on a disciple, He gazes at him intently. In an instant, some Great Essence has overflowed and the devotee is the recipient of it. The uplift is beyond the range of words to describe. In fact, outside of the gift of Nam Itself, this is the greatest blessing that can
be bestowed upon a human being,. Even the hem of the Saint's garment has virtue and power in it, from the radiance of the Saint Who wears it (LUKE 5 : 13; MARK 5 :28-31).
Again, we marvel that Solomon knew of this Grace and managed to hide it most cleverly under this exotic symbolism of Love. Who can read these words, but a lover or a devotee of "His Love" ? And for such were these jewels written and effectively hidden in mere
The dove is a symbol of The Holy Spirit, of Love, of Innocence and Harmlessness (MAT. 10 : 16; Ps. 68 : 13; Ps. 74 : 19) The appearance of the dove at the Baptism of Jesus symbolized the Holy Spirit or Holy Shabd over the head of Jesus. The symbol of the dove is used to denote pure love and peace, even in this
physical world. "The love of turtledoves" has been a common expression. In ancient times, the dove was also used for certain sacrifices.
"16. Behold, thou art fair, my beloved, yea, pleasant : Also our bed is green.
"17. The beams of our house are cedar, And our rafters of fir."
Solomon speaks of having attained Reality, in exotic terms of union and oneness. (In the king's great house', `at his table' and ` our couch' are very expressive terms of an Inner Experience of a Higher Love. A couch is a support and resting place. Green is the color of growing things. Fertile and refreshing are His valleys in Nature; but even more beautiful and restful are those which we find within.
`The Cedars of f Lebanon' have become a byword for trees of quality, whose wood endures long and with-stands much moisture (Ps. 80 : 10). The beams of a house are its support. Solomon mentions that they are cedars, which refers to quality and endurance, even as the cedar which was used in the building of the temple of the Lord, and overlaid with gold and silver. This symbolizes the realization of the living temple within, of which the outer is but a crude copy.
The fir tree is ever fresh and green (HOSEA 14 : 8 ; ISAIAH 41 : 19 ; 44 : 14; 55 : 13). "Of such our rafters are made". The above, as well as the below, is green and alive, pulsating life itself, because all is Love. LOVE is the `Song of f Songs'.
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There are many other exotic and ecstatic compari-sons of inner attraction, which need not be explained. With the key given thus far, it should not be difficult to read the mystic meaning in all Sacred Writings, and in the songs, poems and dramas of a mystic nature.
Deep feeling and Life itself cannot be interpreted into mortal language. Only Inner Experience and the Lord's Grace can convey the True Understanding of His Way with devoted souls on the Homeward journey, in the River of the Essence of Holy Shabd. Saints refer
to it as 'The Unwritten law' and `The Unspoken language' which is Real Love.
Mystic Inner Travel is on the Current of the Sound Energy, much the same as we travel in this world on a river of water, or as light travels in beams. It is said that Mohammed traveled on the Alborak up to the moon and entered its sphere. This is also symbolic of the travel on the attention Current up to the inner Moon Region, situated below the City of the Thousand-Petalled Lotus, also called Sahasra Dal Kamal, where the Real Sound Current starts upward to the higher regions.
Since all true Mystics, Saviors, Saints and Prophets have traveled that Royal Road, and all speak the same Truth, it should not be so difficult to figure out what they are talking about when they try to tell us some of their experiences on the Way, in the manner most easily understood by those who are sincere seekers.
Walking in the Way of Devotion and Love has its own compensations in blissful experiences of which the `Song of Songs' is but one narrative. Great Beauty,
as well as the uplift of the spirit and the fullest expression of the soul as LOVE itself, lies in the Higher Energy Realms and Regions.
In interpreting any text, many uses and ideas and versions are possible. It all depends on what we have in mind and what we are looking for. The Spiritual or the Mystic value is supreme. It is the Jewel in any Lotus or setting. And this has been the one objective in interpreting the first chapter of the `Song of Songs'. Mental, emotional and physical meanings and appli-cations are all possible and plausible; but our concern, in this interpretation, is with the Heart of the matter, for which the text was intended when written by the Mystics.
Love is the theme and Song of Life itself.
But where are the ears to hear It, And the hearts to receive It? Whose bosom rises and responds To Love beyond all mortal bonds?
Attraction from the central core back to the central core is the play of Love, after the separation which occurred in Creation.
Absolute Unity in the light of the highest conscious-ness of Bliss and Essence of Understanding (Spiritual Gyan) is the final purpose of all things.
Function and equilibrium are established by uniting centers and separating the poles. The energy of attrac-tion is always fixed at the center of bodies; that of re-pulsion is on the surface, or on the outside.
The motion is an unrolling from above downward, and from below upward, from the conscious above the eyes, to the unconscious below the eye level; from
Kether, the Crown, to the soles of the feet. Heaven meets the earth and draws forth its verdure and essence. The movement i's like the sun's attraction and repulsion of all its planets.
The movements are successive, simultaneous and perpetual, in spirals or ovals of opposite directions.
Physical function depends on metaphysical action and energy impulses. So does Life and Love work from within outward and from above downward, its wonders to perform; riding on a breath of Life, as God rides in a storm.