The world turns on symbols. The mental plane also apparently influences all levels of our “ordinary” being, and it is therefore in symbols—to a certain extent—that our so-called familiar world is contained. Blood is one of the most important symbols, because everything rests on blood—from a person’s life to any pretensions to power by right of blood. Blood is a unique artefact, whose meaning the unconscious mind automatically follows for many people.
Blood has always had the most important meaning, because the issues of inheriting property and power play an important role here—at least as far as inheritance itself is concerned. Blood has always symbolized bonds, or more simply, a connection—it is this that enables unions to be created, which up to a certain time were almost unbreakable. Inheritance is closely connected to heritage, and in this the purity, or otherwise impurity, of blood is again valued as the highest indicator of chosenness. It has to be said that religions themselves elevated the status of blood and made it all-decisive, after all the tribes of Israel and affiliation with them immediately identified a person, gave meaning to their life, and generally preordained their fate. So it was believed, at least, and so this story has been passed down throughout the ages.
It is a little strange to read of honorable people that their family has a blood connection, for example, to The Prophet; it seems that this idea is still meant to instill respect in those around and lend a certain added value to them. All of this has quite a limited scope, given there is a multitude of people who have no faith in the idea that The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, brought new Truth to this world. When it comes to blood, this immediately raises the question: before he was chosen, did The Prophet have some sort of special blood? And at this point I get the answer that yes, he belonged to the Quraysh tribe, who were bound in service to three hundred gods. In other words, The Prophet belonged to the clergy caste of the time. The right blood always guarantees chosenness.
In India, the question of blood was even more radical—they invented castes, from whose strict limits it was impossible to escape. If you are born a Shudra, you will die a Shudra—there is no way out and no way in—everything is determined by the blood you are given from birth. The rule of blood is an easy way to settle the problems that arise in society. In contemporary western society, the question of blood has all but vanished—in any case, common people now seemingly have an open path to join the elite, except those parts of society where formerly one would be accepted only by having pure aristocratic blood.
Inheritance exists, of course, and there is nothing you can do about that. The physical body is entirely conditioned by the combination of the parents’ genes, while the emotional body and the mind also follow the same kind of transference. Temperament, speed and strength of reactions, all this is inherited, but it is not by this that a person is glorified in mysticism. The limitations given us by our parents may be overcome; temperament and reactions may be changed, if a person works upon himself. And the changes whose possibility I am talking about here have nothing to do with training oneself as animals are trained in the circus. It is not about outward behavior, but rather the inner essence of a person, when inheritance is no longer able to exert any influence over him. It is this question—the question of surmounting insurmountable influence—that lies at the center of the spiritual quest and spiritual work.
Genetics predetermines the three bodies and partially sets the potential development of the fourth. And then that predetermination is also relative—combining different genes sometimes gives unexpected results. So it is clear why royal families only breed their offspring with each other—this sort of selection was meant to keep the blood pure, but quite often led to degeneration. In this case, inheritance was equated with fate, which could have been good or bad, but the main thing was its inescapability. Blood is equivalent to fate, and humanity has lived with this outlook for thousands of years. Blood ties have always been considered the strongest.
Blood ties were symbols of the connections that superseded any relationships between people who were not connected by blood. The laws of the clan, the family or the tribe, in which everyone would be connected by their common ancestors, is always the thing that people unite around. But the symbol of a connection and a true connection are not the same thing. The blood connection is a surrogate for the true connection that happens between people, sometimes in love, but more often in spiritual work. Blood ties are always both a form of defense and a form of slavery at the same time.
The fatalism that comes to us through inheritance is only partly inescapable. A lot may be done even with the body, by training it and feeding it properly; the emotions and one may work with the emotions and the mind to far greater effect. But to do this you have to understand that your inheritance is not a sentence. Inheritance has no power over awareness or over those aspects of being that are opened up to a person according to his progression within the self. Inheritance is merely the basis on which a person may build something new or carry on going around in circles that he can then never get out of.
The seeker moves beyond his human limits—if, of course, he succeeds in approaching his goals. Predetermination by blood is for him more an obstacle than an aid. This is the Truth: the son of an alcoholic will not always become an alcoholic, and by no means will the son of a mystic always become a mystic. Here, inheritance is merely a selection of potentials that may be realized or may be lost. We are all able to escape the authority of our own genes or at least to limit their influence over us. This is an anti-scientific statement, but it becomes a reality on the mystic path. It is not easy to believe this, but here is another piece of Truth for you: a person walking the mystic path rids himself of all dependencies connected with inheritance. He cleanses himself and cleanses everything, including the illusion of a connection with family and the special chosenness by which this “connection” is normally built up. On the path to God, man loses the human and gains the divine. In gaining a connection to the Ultimate, a person must lose all other connections, and if we do not lie and do not rely on retaining the things that we like, then we may recognize this self-evident fact. Anyone who means to reach the limits of Being cannot allow themselves to become attached even to their own existence, let alone the affairs of his various relatives.
All too often, the question of blood becomes an obstacle at this point, and the basis for condemnation—thus they pointed to Jesus’s family, saying that the son of a carpenter could not be a messiah. And the question immediately arises—who then can be a messiah? Muhammad, whose lot was to take The Prophet’s mission on himself, sought the answer to this question, though he had no blood evidence, and indeed could not have. On the other hand, now everyone and his brother claims to be related to him and traces his genealogy directly back to The Prophet. And blood once more becomes the main issue of debate.
Degeneration can take many different forms. Imagine you do not have to make any effort in working on yourself, because you already have the “right” blood, and your father, let us say, is a veritable Sufi Sheikh. If that were so, you would certainly have a tough childhood in store for you, but you would not necessarily be able to take his place. Transferring power through blood brought many Sufi orders to the point of collapse. It is hard for me to talk about this, but every case of this kind of transference that I know of has led to a blind alley in many people’s work. In this case, inheritance serves as an example of how low one may fall when a mystical connection is substituted for a blood connection. These golden times of ours provide us with more and more such examples.
The nafs—as a manifestation of the animal part of every human being—could not get anywhere because now everyone has their gadgets and their electronic gizmos. The nafs has become something subtle, and its movement is now not so obvious, particularly as the mind finds an “adequate” explanation for everything that happens. Its primary principle is to deceive itself. Therefore the nafs of people with special blood is far superior to the nafs of common people.
I am of humble origin. All my ancestors worked in dirt and were peasants. And even if there had been someone different among them, I do not know about it. For better or worse, I do not consider myself to be connected to their fate. My blood is mine alone, and I have no intention of pushing accountability for my actions onto anyone else. And the question of blood is always a question of accountability. Or more precisely—unaccountability. Special blood will take away all your sins. Special blood is a symbol of a special chosenness.
Which takes us back to the start. Blood as a symbol will go on existing for some time to come. It is also a symbol of life, a symbol of love and a symbol for the existence of vampires. Blood, like everything in modern culture, has become a simulacrum of the symbol that has been used throughout history, but no one thinks of where it comes from. Because of this, actual blood may be spilled, and this be described in the news as a necessary sacrifice that could not have been avoided. And that any person is deserving of death who does not behave as they ought to.
In Reality, blood and blood ties have no meaning. There is also something called karma, but there is not a lot to it. Attachments and the sense of accountability to specific people, has nothing to do with what you are seeking on the mystic Path. One may confuse blood ties with the attachments that emerge in the process of long discussions with one’s relatives, though this is not exactly rational. Anyone who understands this is capable of escaping the limits of his own causality. And also the limits of everything, including his own personal genotype, and all that it imposes on a person. Beyond the limits of blood, beyond the limitations of the body—all these limitations that shut a person off from the possibilities that are opened up to them on the Path to God.