A person has to pass through three stages before Realization — evolution, reincarnation, and advancement on the Path. From stone to animal to human form is evolution; this is the first stage. With the human form, evolution ends and the cycle of rebirth begins; this is the second stage. The third stage is involution through the spiritual planes.
In Africa there is a full swing of evolution, as all types of animals, plants and metals are found there. In Europe (and America), reincarnation is intensified with people taking birth after birth, and quickly, too. In Asia there is spiritual progress and advancement on the Path. That is why saints and Masters are found in the East, particularly in India. (Lord Meher-p-1147-1930)
There are seven stations in the process of evolution. After one has crossed all these, one gets complete consciousness in human form. But unfortunately, with this consciousness, one has also gathered impressions [sanskaras]. One has to shed them during the involution process, which also has seven stations. As soon as all the sanskaras are removed, one experiences that one is God.
To reach the first station on the evolution process takes millions and millions of years. To reach the second requires less time, and the third still less, and so on. Similarly, to reach the first station [plane] on the involution process, it takes many, many ages; while the other stations are reached more quickly.
Hafiz says that once one reaches the first plane of consciousness, one is likely to tarry there for a long time. He compared the man in the first plane to a man travelling in a caravan. The whole caravan rests during the night, but early in the morning the leader of the caravan rings his bell, so that all may get ready to move on. Similarly, a man on the first plane is likely to tarry, so the Perfect Master has to remind him to keep moving.
Hafiz says the pilgrim complains that he reached the first plane after ages of evolution, but as soon as he reached it, his Master rang the bell so that he should not tarry there for long
Hafiz also says that one on the third plane should not hurry to leave it, because a zigzag path lies ahead, and there is a likelihood of one falling from the fourth plane. Therefore, Hafiz says to the pilgrim, "Why are you in a hurry to reach the threshold of the Abode of God?"
On this fourth plane, there is the treasure-house of all powers. Hafiz says once the threshold is reached, one should cross it quickly, as one might fall from the sublime heavens to the depths. Once one is stationed on the fifth plane, there is no possibility of a fall.
On the sixth plane, the pilgrim sees God everywhere, and so there is no question of hurrying or tarrying. This seeing comes all of a sudden. Hafiz says that the aspirant on the sixth plane exclaims, "How fortunate I am tonight that my Beloved entered my room all of a sudden!"
The sixth plane is referred to as "night," while "dawn" symbolizes the seventh plane. As soon as the Beloved "entered," the aspirant saw the Ocean of Effulgence of God, and he bowed down and felt very blissful. Hafiz says of this experience, "It is no wonder that he saw his Beloved that night, for it was the fruit of his labor of being at the feet of the Perfect Master for 40 years!"
Hafiz continues: "When he got up after bowing down to his Beloved, he wanted to plunge into the Ocean of Effulgence; but an infinite vacuum had to be crossed."
This couplet refers to that stage between the sixth and seventh planes. The pilgrim becomes terribly frightened at this juncture and hesitates whether he should plunge in or remain on the "shore." At the "dawn" of day [crossing into the seventh plane], he finds himself relieved of all his misery of separation and becomes One with the Beloved. Hafiz said, "I was stripped totally naked and found myself all alone in all my glory! What a glorious dawn it was that I was given a pass to the Highest! It was the grace of my Master that I became as dust at his feet and thus became the Highest!"