The Significance of prayer.

 

When  we are sorry and sad, or when we undergo some hardship, or when we suffer some loss, or when we are bereaved or deprived of some comfort, or when we are sick, or when we are in search of some solution to some problem confronting us, we like to open our heart and confide our burden to someone, whom we think of as our well-wisher, or as one who is capable of solving our difficulty, or as one, who can console us and extend to us his sympathy.

We feel in our life minor disappointments, frustrations, and vexations, which by no standard can be assessed, judged, pronounced or termed as crises.

A crisis in life leads us to believe that in order to overcome the crisis, we should think and act wisely.

Any wrong step at the crucial moment will be unwise. It is necessary, hence, that we should be willing and prepared to readjust our thinking, move of behaviour and style of functioning.

This means that we must act in a different way, and do something different from what we were doing before.

In order to break the knot of difficulty and in order to overcome the besetting storm it  is imperative and necessary that we should, in all earnestness, give up the old ways of living, change the trend of thinking, the mode of acting, the style of functioning and the mode of behaviour.

The world is, indeed, a place of suffering. It is said to be a valley of tears. It is a place where misery looms large and where moans, groans and shrieks are heard. It is an abode of trials and tribulations.

We are tired travellers in this world. We know that pain and suffering are in store for us. Dismay, despair, defeat, frustration, censure, abuse, persecution and harassment await us in the journey of life.

Life to a mystic is like climbing a mountain. To climb a mountain means that one has to face many hardships, bear many troubles, and undergo many rigours. On the way, there are many and varied, narrow and rough paths. There are shades to be met with, of course, but they are slippery.

The glimpse of awful crevasses is heart-rendering. The terrible storms are terrifying. The biting cold is dangerous. The bewildering fog and the darkness accompanying it, is undoubtedly, very discouraging.

But the mystic, like an apt mountaineer, experiences all of them, and is happy and content to do so.

In the journey of life, we have to walk on thorns. Everybody has his own thorns, and everybody has his own thistles.

How can the thorns be turned into roses, that is the problem.

The men of the world adopt worldly means, but the mystics do not rely upon worldly means. They take to prayer. They pray for themselves and they pray for others.

What is prayer? Prayer is the intercourse of human souls with God. Prayer is our private talk with God. In prayer, we confide our secret to God and implore and seek His Assistance.

The mystics treat prayer as a means of giving new life-varied and abundant, affording ample and infinite opportunity of self-development.

  It is in prayer, that we are close to God. We place our worries and cares at the feet of our Master.

By seeking and receiving Divine Energy and Grace, we put a new living zest in life, which slowly, but surely, transforms and changes us.

Any progress made in prayer marks a milestone in our onward march towards the increased closeness with God and increased perfection towards love.

God speaks to man in different ways. He speaks through intuition and inspiration. He speaks through revelations. He speaks through nature.

We, in prayer, pour out our heart to Him. Prayer is the opening of the heart to God.

Prayer is the title of the book of solutions. It is a preface to the book of Good Living. It is a student’s preparation for his examination. It is as soldiers wearing arms for the battle.

 

Prayer has been defined by H.More as:

  “Prayer is not eloquence, but earnestness; not the definition of helplessness, but the feeling of it; not figures of speech, but earnestness of soul.”

 

The Sufi mystics hold that an individual should ceaselessly and constantly pray, so much so that life may itself become a perennial prayer. The reason they give is that an individual is ever in want. His wants make his life a constant want. Such being life, we should ever pray.

According to the Sufi mystics, God is interested in the sincerity of prayer and not in anything else. Prayer may be in the nature of an oratory filled with the choicest words, like a ring studded with mine precious gems. God does not look at the length of our prayer nor at the dimensions of prayer, nor at the method or system of our prayer but as I have said, at the sincerity with which the prayer is offered.

There are four types or degrees of prayer. Firstly, there is the ordinary prayer, secondly, there is the mental prayer which we call meditation. Thirdly, there are the immediate acts, and fourthly, there is the simplicity. In the prayer of simplicity the depths of the unconscious are opened to God.

The Sufi mystics hold and affirm and declare that God is omnipotent and Omnipresent. He knows all things and He hears all things. He is continuously, constantly, vigilantly and ceaselessly working for His Creation. We are nothing but small, insignificant half-grown spirits.

The Grace Abounding of God Almighty is, in fact, creating, guiding, illuminating, teaching and inspiring us.

A Sufi mystic as a person who prays, serves as a link, a wire, and connection between the Grace of God.

   A Sufi mystic has surrendered himself to God without strings. He is thus capable of working on a supernatural level, for he imbibes and transmits the saving and enabling love,  the will, and the emotional drive. He can, undoubtedly, by his prayer and love and concern, change and transform another person in to a better mould, and take him up and lift him into a different atmosphere, which is, indeed God’s atmosphere.

The prophets have prayed.

Prophet Adam prayed thus:

 O our Lord! We have wronged ourselves and if thou dost not forgive us and have mercy on us, we shall surely be of those who are lost.”

Prophet Abraham Prayed:

   “Lord! receive it from us, verily, Thou art hearing and dost know, Lord! and make us too, resigned unto Thee, and of our seed also a nation resigned unto Thee, and show us our rites, and turn towards us, verily, Thou art easy to be turned and merciful. Lord! and send them an apostle from amongst themselves to read to them They signs and teach them the Book and wisdom, and to purify them, verily, Thou are the mighty and the wise.”

Prophet Job submitted on his Lord:

      “As for me, harm has touched me, but Thou art the most merciful of the merciful ones.”

And Prophet Dhu’nnu submitted thus:

 

           “There is no god but Thou, celebrated by Thy praise! Verily, I was of the evil doers!”

 

And Prophet Zakariah prayed:

             “O Lord! leave me not alone; for Thou art the best of heirs.”

 

The Sufi mystics lead a life of Union. The purified soul of the mystic is a reward for his self-abandonment. The glowing and glaring new beauty and reality have given him fullness of life and a creative quality, which is developed further by way of suffering and prayer.

He, at last, finds himself so sunk, so united and penetrated in Divine life and Divine beauty that he comes to lead this type of life with freedom, easy in originality and simplicity.

The mystics are fond of this metaphor:

                    “I live in the ocean of God, as a fish in the sea.”

 

By this, they mean a life of full satisfaction, of deepest desires, a life of expansion of man’s spiritual possibilities, a life of union and a life of conscious abiding in God.

Mystical life, in fact, is a life of contemplation, meditation and of prayer. Meditation is continuous and constitutes prayer.

Courage, devotion and single mindedness have their own reward. They constitute a training in detachment. The power of the mystic grows with concentration. Lord Shri Ram says thus:

         ” ….life means happiness to those who have found peace in the knowledge of reality.”

It means that the hotel life level, with its attendant comforts and conveniences, should be renounced and we should set our face, instead, towards detachment, not for personal ambition and joy, but driven by the inward urge towards perfection, and austere reality.

 

Prophet Mohammed (Peace be upon them) stresses the importance of remembrance of God in these words:

 

  ” There is a polish for everything that taketh away rust, and the polish for the heart is the remembrance of God.”

He enjoins us:

 

   ” Pray to God morning and evening. and employ the day in your avocations.”

The Holy Prophet prayed thus:

 

   ” O Lord! keep me alive a poor man, and let me die poor; and raise me amongst the poor.”

Once the prophet prayed thus:

 

   “O Lord! Grant to me the love of Thee; grant that I love those that love Thee; grant that I may do the deeds that win Thy love; make Thy love dearer to me than self, family or wealth.”

 

Guru Nanak Ji enumerates the five prayers and lays down:

 

 ” There are five prayers, five times for prayers and five names of them.

The first should be truth,

The second what is right,

The third charity in God’s name,

The fourth good intentions,

The fifth the praise and glory of God.”

 

He has offered his prayer in these words;

      ” Neither chastity nor truth nor wisdom Do I the ignorant wretch have in life O Lord! Nanak, therefore seeks humbly the refuge of those who forget Thee not”.

And he asks in his prayer:

     “Give me the mind, O dear, that forgets Thee not;

Give me the wisdom that I meditate on no one but Thee.

And I praise Thee with every breath,

And seek no other but the Guru’s refuge, O dear.”

On another occasion he prayed thus:

 

“Powerless am I, O Lord, to describe what Thy Excellence be,  Sacrifice am I a myraid times to Thee,

That what pleaseth Thee is the only good done, O, Thou eternal! the formless one.”

 

Prayer may be in the nature of adoration, supplication or invocation.

In prayer, we open our heart to God, as we do to sincere and loving friend. In prayer, we put before God our daily needs.

Let us pray to God that He may give us fresh supplies of strength, patience, perseverance and constancy to face and overcome difficult times and trials, and also, seek and implore His Enabling Grace to perform, to the best of our ability and to the utmost of our capacity, the duties assigned to us as human beings.

In prayer, we are close to God. Prayer, in fact, takes us to God. We go to God in prayer. God does not come to us in prayer.

Family prayer or public prayer is good indeed. But we cannot minimize the importance of secret prayer, as it affords an opportunity to pour out our heart in secret before God.

In secret prayer, we avail ourselves of an opportunity afforded to us to pray in seclusion. When we offer secret prayer, then the soul is free from excitement and the surrounding influences. Secret prayer offered calmly, but fervently, will reach God. The clam and simple faith enables the soul to have communion with God.

To a mystic, prayer is a privilege, and communion with God is a source of great joy.

The question arises as how to pray. When we offer prayer. we should hope and expect that God is hearing with attention our prayer; and that He will, without an iota of doubt, answer our prayer.

The door is already open. Where is the necessity of knocking at the door? We should not hesitate. Let us enter through the door and gather to our advantage the rays of Divine Grace, which is enough and sufficient to keep us in good stead, and to strengthen and sustain us in conflict with the forces of evil led by Satan. In prayer, we should express our need of help from Him, Who has promised His help to us.

In order to receive God’s blessings, it is necessary, that out heart should be open, having no doubt and fear. Let us not allow Doubt and Fear to sit in the Court of our Heart. Doubt and Fear are great enemies of Faith, and , whosoever is an enemy of Faith, how can he be a friend of the mystic?

When praying, we should have no iniquity or pride in our heart. We should not cling to any known sin.

In prayer we should approach God with spirit of dependence and helplessness, and place our wants before Him in simple, clear and short language, couched in humble trusting faith.

Let us be penitent when praying. Faith, of course, is an important element of prevailing prayer.

Lord Jesus Christ directed his disciples;

    “Whatsoever things you desire when ye pray, believe that ye receive them and ye shall have them.”

Sincere prayer brings us close to the mind of the infinite.

When praying, let us realize that His Hand , bestowing Grace and Blessings, is upon us in love abounding and pitying tenderness. Let us also feel His visible touch.

In order to grow in faith and experience we should ever pray. In order to receive what we want to get, we should exhibit perseverance in prayer. We should wait and watch.

Peter exhorts believers to be

 

   “Sober and watch unto prayer”.

Saint Paul directs:

     “In the evening, by prayers and supplication with thanksgiving, let your request be made known unto God.”

Whatever we want to get for ourselves, we should be prepared to give the same to others. Suppose we want to be forgiven, we must then forgive others for their mistakes of omission and commission. In case, we ask mercy and kindness, we should exhibit the spirit of toleration, love and forgiveness in our heart.

We should avoid any selfish motive in prayer. We should pray for ourselves. We should pray for others too. We should pray for humanity at large.

Prayer to be comprehensive should not be one sided. In placing before God our wants and our requirements, we should also praise Him for His Grace, Mercy and Blessings, and thank Him for the fondness, that we have been receiving from Him.

Praise and prayer go together.

In prayer we may place before God our problems, our joys, our sorrows, and our dreams and our devotions, our cares and our worries.

When praying it is better to say:

    “In the name of and for the sake of Thy loving friends, grant my prayer.”

Lord Jesus Christ refers to this aspect of prayer in these words:

    “Ye shall ask in my name, and I say unto you, that I will pray to the Father for you, for the Father himself  loveth you.”

On another occasion he said :

“I have chosen you that whatever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, He may give it to you.”

When should we pray? There is not fixed time for prayer. Pray whenever you like. Pray at any place you like. Pray at any time you like. Pray for yourself if you like. Pray for others if you like.

A prayer which is offered for another person in his absence, is soon accepted.

It is better if you pray at the time of sunrise, or at the time of sunset, or after midnight, say between there and five in the morning. We may also, pray in the stillness of the night.

It is not wise to pray all the time, ignoring the worldly duties assigned to us. We need to retire to a mountain or a cave. We should be in the sunshine of life and pray. It is better if we take a middle course. Let us be on the mountain and in the multitude. If you pray all the time, your prayer will become a formal routine having no emotional drive.

As regards the question, where to pray, I say that every place is good for prayer. But it is better if we may pray at holy places like a mosque , a church or a temple, the tomb of some saint or at the retreat of some saint.

Prayer enables the soul to fly to God. But meditation leads the eye to see God.

The drive of devotional life should be a constant and ceaseless self-giving to God.

According to Coleridge:

   “He prayeth well who loveth well, Both man and bird and beast. He prayeth best who loveth best All things both great and samll; For the dear God, who loveth us, He made and loveth all.”

Our prayer is heard Coleridge says:

  ” Saints will aid if men will call for the blue sky bends over all.”

Prayer is of great consequence. Tennyson observes thus:

   ” More things are wrought by prayer than the world dreams of. What are men better than sheep or goats That nourish a blind life within the brain If knowing God, they lift not hands of prayer, Both for themselves and those who call them friends.”

If we may act foolishly and forget God in the midst of our various distractions, let us pray, in all humility and sincerity that God may not forget us.

Prayer is our privilege, giving us joy. But we should not be unmindful of the duty, which we should also perform.

 


 

This is a series of postings to come on the subject of Sufi Mysticism. The postings will give in-depth knowledge in the complete world & ultimate sphere of Sufi spirituality. The postings are enlisted in Categories : ‘Sufi’s Spirituality’ (Tasawwuf )  & in ‘Tasawwuf ‘(Path  of Mysticism).

The Making of a Mystic

The Vital things that go to make a mystic.

You may have heard the controversy about the poet. Some say that a poet is born. There are others, however, who assert that a poet is made. It does not matter much, whether a poet is born or a poet is made, he is a poet still. The same or rather similar controversy ranges round the mystic. Some say that a mystic is born, others say that a mystic is made. In other words, the question is whether it is a gift, or an acquisition. All gifts come unasked for. To acquire a thing means and implies to depend or to rely upon one’s own labour.

Instead of delving deep into this controversy, it is better to say that in the making of mystic Divine Grace and personal effort do count a great deal. Without Divine Grace, it is difficult to be constant and firm.

A humble Mystic despite his limited knowledge and resources, cherishes hopes of a big and bright future. And he is in a way right, for the simple reason that, he comes to possess both the urge to the pursuit of truth, and the spirit of endeavour, struggle, sharing and sacrifice.

He is aware of the role, played by those in search of truth, and he is alive to the contributions made by the segment of the mystic fraternity. He responds in his own way.

He makes optimum use of optimism. The optimism enables him to utilize the available resources for quick and speedy moral and spiritual growth.

Knowledge leads him to the fountain of Bliss. The Holy Prophet Mohammed (Peace be upon them) has enjoyed the acquisition of knowledge in these words:

“Seek knowledge from the cradle to the grave.”

As regards the importance of knowledge, he lays down thus:

“The ink of the scholar is more holy than the blood of martyr.”

Mysticism is essentially practical in nature. It cannot be learnt in any institution, whether it be a school, college or university. How will you explain white to a person, who has not seen the colour white. You may give any number of definitions. You may explain it at length. But your definitions and description will not carry sense to the person who has not seen white colour. But, once you show him the white colour, he will be convinced. There will be no room left, then, for discussion.

Let me give another example. There is a person who has not tasted sugar. He asks you as to what the taste of sugar is. You begin to describe it to him. When you say that it is sweet, he asks you what is sweet. Then you say that it is not saltish. He does not understand even them. To end the discussion, you just give him a teaspoon full of sugar. He tastes it. And then you ask him as to what is the taste of sugar. He cannot explain it, though, after tasting sugar, he knows the taste of sugar. Demonstration is better than discussion.

Mysticism is best learnt in the company, and in the service of a spiritual guide and teacher who leads and guides spiritual disciples. His word is law to the disciples.

There are two types of people in the world. Their outlook is different from one another. Their approach to the problems of everyday life is different. They look at the world from two different points of view. There is a person to whom the world is a comedy and there is another person to whom the world is a tragedy.

The world is not a multi-storied building. It is one storied and neither is it complex nor complicated. It is a one storied building, which is simple, and having no mystery about it. It is the outlook of the person which counts. What you think of the world, that the world becomes for you.

Only those enjoy inner joy, inward peace, and inner harmony, who lead a positive type of life. They invite misery, who have a negative approach to life. 

The fruits and flowers of mysticism are the best gifts that history has offered to mankind.

The mystical ideals placed before mankind have conferred upon them the invaluable virtues or gifts of charity, devotion, trust in God, patience, perseverance, fortitude, constancy, bravery, courage, hope, belief and faith.

The Doctrine of Grace, though apparently simple, is powerful in its effects. The recipient of Grace comes to acquire a state, which may be termed as fixed, definite, invincible, everlasting and permanent.

The mystics share among themselves, a similar fundamental identical spirit of piety, purity, charity, hospitality, sacrifice, service and self-surrender. This is the spirit with which, those, who are favoured with Grace are animated and inspired.

The inner state of love, humbleness, meekness, kindness, humility, faith, trust in God, extinction of self, and concern for the welfare of others is peculiar to the condition of the soul of a person, who has received the gift of Grace.

 

The Holy Prophet Mohammed (Peace be upon them) was asked as to what was best in man. He replied:

“An amiable disposition.”

“When you speak, speak the truth; perform your promise; discharge your trust; commit not fornication; be chaste; have no impure desires; withhold your hands from striking, and from taking that which is unlawful and bad……”

And,

 “The best of God’s servants are those who, when seen, remind one of God, and the worst of God’s servants are those, who carry talks about to do mischief, and separate friends and seek for the defects of God.”

Once the Prophet was asked:

“What actions are most excellent?”

He replied:

“To gladden the heart of human being, to feed the hungry, to help the afflicted, to lighten the sorrow of the sorrowful, and to remove the wrongs of the injured.”

The Holy Lord Jesus Christ says thus:

“Every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into fire. Therefore, by their fruits. ye shall know them.”

He distinguishes the good man from the bad man thus:

  “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil; for of the abdundance of heart, the mouth speaketh.”

To be a mystic, it is necessary that passions should be controlled and subdued. To overcome passions is to win the battle of life. Lord Buddha says:

” When a tree is burning with fierce flames, how can the birds congregate therein? Truth cannot dwell where passion lives.”

A mystic is expected to be indifferent to pain and pleasure. Lord Buddha says thus:

 “The good renounce everything, The saintly speak not with craving of desire.

Touched by happiness or pain, The wise exhibit neither elation nor depression. “

Serenity of mind is a much coveted and much prized acquisition. But, serenity of mind cannot be attained without self-control. Thus says Lord Krishna:

 “The man of self-control on the other hand, moving among sensory objects, with his senses under restraint, and free from attachment and aversion, attains serenity of mind.”

The effect of serenity of mind, according to Lord Krishna is this that:

“When serenity is attained, there comes an end to all sorrows. Verily, the wisdom of the man of serene mind soon becomes steady.”

 

The life of a mystic is a hymn of praise and service of glory. The pulls and pressures do not mar his harmony. He takes them as a passing phase. He treats them as a passing phenomenon. To him, pleasure is fleeting and pain is not lasting. The mystic counts for nothing every pain, and he forgets every sorrow.

Superstitions, intolerance, bigotry, fear orthodoxy, narrow-mindedness, ignorance, of basic principles of life, hatred, malice, worry, anger and anxiety are not conducive to spiritual progress.

Fear, worry, anger and anxiety, have, in fact, ruined more lives than war, pestilence, famine, fire or flood have done at any one time. They shut the door of free flow of life forces.

Anger causes illness, and is highly detrimental. Thus says Lord Krishna:

” From anger comes delusion, which results in loss of memory. The loss of memory causes destruction of discrimination, and from the ruin of discrimination, the man perishes.”

Courage, on the other hand, has redeemed mankind. The peace of a mystic is never disturbed. If he is praised, he does not take any notice of it. If he is abused, ridiculed, persecuted, or humiliated, even then, he is smiling.

Silence and seclusion confer peace and inner harmony. It is not wise to waste time in idle chatter or frivolous talk. Seclusion has is own reward.

A mystic lives for others. He advocates change in society through humanistic approach. To live for others means and implies that one has found the means of getting infinite inspiration, courage, strength, joy and happiness.

The mystic precepts, programmes and principles, betoken an interest in better living and high thinking.

It is not only necessary to love one another, but it is also imperative to help one another.

Knowledge should be shared with those who are deprived of the wealth of knowledge. Darkness should be dispelled. Ignorance is also darkness. In such an atmosphere of jarring influences, superstitions and antisocial actions, it flourishes and thrives.

Patience is a great virtue. It is not enough to be patient with all, but it is better to be patient under all circumstances, situations and crises of life.

The folly, the rude behaviour, the mistakes of omission and commission, stupidity, barbarity, vanity and selfishness of others should not be taken seriously. They should have no impact. The people are people. They should be forgiven. Forgiveness is still a power to be reckoned with. Guru Nanak Ji says thus:

” Those who make truth their fasting, contentment their place of pilgrimage, divine knowledge and meditation their ablutions, mercy their idols, and forgiveness their rosary, are foremost in God’s favour.”

Act and fact are not to be taken into account, Love is potent and powerful enough to change and transform life.  Hope is a treasure. If it is lost, everything is lost. Hope give stimulus and serves as a pick-me-up. Hope has been termed as:

” The balm and life blood of the soul.”

 

To lose hope is to be deprived of life forces. Loss of hope implies loss of faith and loss of belief. Hope enables one to win the battle of life. Hope is an armour which shields an individual from permanent inaction. Hope is the exercise of skill to win the game of life. To the mystic, it is a perennial source of inspiration.

Meditation, if rightly conducted, is capable of giving peace and serenity, Concentration is a blessing. Intuition and inspiration are gifts.

Control of the mind requires exercise of will. Happiness itself is a state of mind and happiness depends upon the state of mind.

Lord Buddha says:

    ” Elevate the mind, and seek sincere faith with firm purpose; transgress not the rules of kindly conduct, and let your happiness depend not upon external things, but upon your own mind……”

Control of thoughts requires utmost skill. Dead thoughts, bad thoughts, and negative thoughts should be driven out and replaced by positive thoughts. Thus, thought of hatred should be replaced by thought of love, and thought of revenge should be replaced by thought of forgiveness.

Happiness is self-earned. But, who can be said to be happy? According to Lord Buddha:

 

  ” Happy is he, who has overcome selfishness; happy is he, who has attained peace, and happy is he, who has found the truth.”

Kindness is a distinguishing trait of the character of developed soul. According to the Holy Prophet Mohammed (Peace be upon them):

 

” Kindness is a mark of faith and whoever hath not kindness hath not faith.”

 

The antagonistic nature in mind and heart is a deterrent to spiritual progress. Hatred and evil should be met with love and goodwill. By acting thus, the effect of evil is to a great extent neutralized. To meet hatred with hatred and to meet evil with evil is to fortify and strengthen the forces of evil, and to intensify its effect.

Control of tongue forms part of the discipline of the way of life pursued by the mystic. It is not wise, then, to blame,condemn, criticize or abuse others. Gentle speech, the looks of friendly eyes, the sweet sonorous voice, and the love that never falters are enough to give life a magic touch.

Right use of money is a sign of developed social sense, but, love of money cannot be justified under any circumstance. Why be a slave? Why not be a master? The eminent mystic Maulana Jalal Ud-Din Rumi says:

” Break the chains, and be free, O, son! How long wilt thou be a slave to silver and gold.”

Neither do the mystics subscribe to utterly irreconcilable value-system, and nor do they operate on totally different wavelengths.

Mysticism represents the minimal effort possible in the process of man-making.

Mysticism is another name of character formation. Mysticism is regeneration of mind.

Self- Surrender implies to have no will of your own. The will to will the Will Divine is the core of mysticism.

 

*****************

 

Let Love in, around, and above you, grow;

Let kindness and generosity from you flow;

Patience and courage in all situations ever show;

In forgiving and forgetting do not be slow.


This is a series of postings to come on the subject of Sufi Mysticism. The postings will give in-depth knowledge in the complete world & ultimate sphere of Sufi spirituality. The postings are enlisted in Categories : ‘Sufi’s Spirituality’ (Tasawwuf )  & in ‘Tasawwuf ‘(Path  of Mysticism).

Love can make every heart warm.

Once filled or surcharged with love, we become a changed person. We being to realize that in a sense, we are all one. Whom to harm?

By harming others we harm ourselves. By inflicting injury on others, we inflict injury on ourselves.

love removes false notions of prestige. Power disappears. Hatreds cease.  Enmity and Jealousy go into retirement.

In other words, once we get love, which is another way of saying that once we enter the realm of wisdom, we divest ourselves of intellectual pride and superiority complex. We attain childlike innocence. We have no will of our own. We are thus, freed from inner conflict and tension.

Let us remember that the pernicious influence of preconceived notions prejudices, narrow-mindedness, racial, communal, and religious distinctions, and differences of caste and colour, self conceited opinion and outworn beliefs stand in the way of true wisdom.

The heart, filled with love, gives love to all. It inspires love. The result is that we get wholesome, ennobling, and warming influences of love, in return from those, whom we inspire with love. This leads to the elimination of social conflicts, which are detrimental to the growth and development of a healthy society.

 

Love can make every heart warm.

 

It is the cheapest and the best form of central heating. But, for this, we have to exert a little. Love is a much prized virtue. It requires nerve-racking vigilance, and a rare attachment all the time. Love then cannot and should not be practised at a certain time or on certain occasions. It is a whole time job.

Love without service is lame. 

Love without obedience is deaf.

Love without surrender is mute.

Love without sacrifice is sick.

Love without self abnegation is feverish.

And

Love which asks is a deception.

Love which asserts is a show.

Love which is not constant is a fraud.

And

Love which give everything without the hope of reward is healthy. 

If we wish to be loved, then let us love others first.

Love is the gate of Citadel of Harmony.

Love is the key of life.

 

Sufi Saints have yearned for it. Sufi Mystics have longed for it. Shaikh Farid Ud-Din Attar, an eminent Sufi mystic poet and a Sufi saint, has expressed in a unique way his desire to get one particle of love. He says:

 

” Let idolater get idolatry and let the pious the piety gain.

One particle of pain (of love) let Attar attain.”

 

It is said that to love is to live. If elaborated further, it means and implies that not to love is to meet a living death.

 

There is a story in the East. There was a person called Majnu and there was a girl called Laila. Laila was not beautiful. Her complexion was dark. Majnu fell in love with her. At first, the people thought that it might have been a mere rumour. But, when it was confirmed, they asked Majnu one day: “How is it that you have fallen in love with an ugly and dark girl?”

Majnu promptly replied: “Had you seen Laila with my eyes, I am sure, you would not have said so. If you see Laila with my eyes, you will find her the most beautiful girl in the world.” And, in a way, Majnu ws right. Beauty is a relative term. What may appear beautiful to one may appear ugly to another, and the reverse is also true.

One day it so happened, that Majnu saw a dog in the street. He showed utmost respect to the dog. People thereupon said to him:

“Whatever you say may be true. But I had seen a similar dog in the lane of Laila. It may or may not have been the same dog. But, I paid respect to the dog, thinking that the dog might have been the same, at least the dog bore a resemblance to the dog that I saw in the lane of Laila.”

At one time, Laila decided to distribute charity. Beggars flocked to her door. Majnu, on hearing it. disguised himself as a beggar. The beggars presented their begging bowls, and Laila threw something in their begging bowls. The beggars were proceeding one by one. The turn of Majnu came last. He also presented his earthen begging bowl. Laila recognised him. She took the begging bowl, and threw it on the ground. It was broken into pieces. Laila left and Majnu was still standing there, laughing and merrymaking. The beggars assembled there, seeing Majnu so jolly, happy and gay, were surprised. They had seen with their own eyes a few minutes before that, Laila had broken his earthen begging bowl, and had given him nothing. The beggars could not resist the question. They asked him:  “You have got nothing. Your begging bowl is broken into pieces. But in spite of all this you are so happy. You are laughing, smiling and dancing with joy. What happened to you?”

Majnu, who was at that time,full of joy, replied: “You are right. I am very, very happy. My begging bowl was snatched and broken into pieces by Laila, it si true.  It is also true she gave me nothing in charity as she has given to you all.”

The beggars with one voice said: “you are mad, indeed. Is this the cause to be happy? You should be ashamed rather.”

Majnu then addressed them thus:

“You say, I got nothing but I have got everything. At least, Laila looked towards me.”

 Love serves as a teacher

We learn so many invaluable lessons at the feet of this teacher. It is the way to perfection. We come to acquire and extol the virtues of sobriety, sincerity, self-effacement, patience, humbleness, meekness, devotion, service, sharing and sacrifice. Silence and Seclusion are the two sweet fruits of the tree of love.

Love confers concentration

 

The wandering mind is set at rest. Concentration is of great importance. Without concentration is of great importance. Without concentration, no great work can be done. Everybody wants to forget himself for sometime. How is it possible? It is possible through love. Love, then, is of great importance.

Lord Krishna says thus:

” Many are the means described for the attainment of the highest good, such as love, performance of duty, self-control, truthfulness, sacrifices, gifts, austerity, charity, vows, observance of moral precepts, etc. “But”,

He further adds,

” Of all I could name, verily, love is the highest-love and devotion that make one forgetful of everything else, love that unites the over with me…”

 

Study of history, and records of the world point out that love has been perennial fountain, giving to its votaries the Elixir of Life.

Time and circumstances stand with folded hands before the supreme sovereign-Love!

What is the source of love? It is not difficult to find out. The needs of love constitutes the source of love.  Without Love, the world would have been abject and poor ad a dull place, without the spirit of altruism. Humanism is also manifestation of love in a different form. Without love, there would have been no social legislation. Social justice would have remained a mere dream. Utilitarianism is a product of love.

 

Love according to the mystics, may be real or non-real. The love of God is, indeed, real. The mundane or non-real love is a stepping stone to the love of God.

There have been very many methods to achieve the Nearness of God. Prayer, fasting, charity, self-conquest, mortification, alms giving, ascetic practices, seclusion, silence, sitting in secluded places, meditation and remembrance, etc. are some of the practices. But, the truth is that, what all the aforesaid practices collectively can do or are capable of doing, that or more, love alone does.

Love is a gift of God, given to those, whom He has chosen for His Grace.

 

The heart is purified by Love

Hazrat Khwaja Moinuddin Hassan Chishty, an outstanding and towering Sufi saint of the subcontinent of Indo-Pakistan and Bangladesh says thus:

 

” The hear of he lover is furnace.  Whatever comes in it is burnt,

for there is not fire greater in its intensity than the fire of love”

 

The love of God implies surrender to the Will of God. Surrender means to have no will of your own. Surrender to the Divine will is a source of joy.

Love is itself a type of prayer. It has no fixed time. It is conducted all the time.

 

” Love is a cordial prayer, which the lovers have come to acquire.”

 

Love of God liberates us from the fear of the changing accidents of fate.

If we have love, that is enough. Then let us:

Take love as best and leave the rest. 

*******

Fasting may be good and prayer may be sound, 

With tenets of religion better to be bound, 

Chaplet in hand and talisman in neck, round, 

But by something else is the Beloved found. 


This is a series of postings to come on the subject of Sufi Mysticism. The postings will give in-depth knowledge in the complete world & ultimate sphere of Sufi spirituality. The postings are enlisted in Categories : ‘Sufi’s Spirituality’ (Tasawwuf )  & in ‘Tasawwuf ‘(Path  of Mysticism).

The path of perfection with love!

Capture565
On this posting, I propose to deal with a topic which has a vital bearing on life. People have been talking about it since the dawn of history. Some have extolled it, some have preached it, and some have practised it.
Is there anyone in the world, who has not loved in his life? If there be any, let him come forward. Somebody has loved his parents. Somebody has loved his children. Somebody has loved his wife. Somebody has loved his relatives and friend. But, how many of us, can validly claim to have loved God?
If we have love, leisure and light, what more do we want? In fact, we have got everything. The trio – love, Leisure and light, should be considered as a Divine gift, enough and adequate to make our life noble, sublime, chaste and serene.
Our life constitutes a book and love is, in fact the introduction to the book of life. Without the introduction,the book of life may not have been so interesting, stimulating and inspiring.  Without the introduction, the book of life would have been prosaic,dull and uninteresting. It is the introduction which has made it what it is.
Let the fools shriek and shout, but the wise man is of a different mould. He neither shrieks nor shouts and neither murmurs nor moans, but, he acts in a befitting manner and studies the introduction to the book of life, calmly, placidly, quietly and dispassionately. He loves ardently and feverishly.
Love and enthusiasm are the two vital forces which can, undoubtedly, change destiny.
The Sufi Mystics have known the secret. Love to them is of great consequence. It is Open Sesame. Faith is another important factor, which can overcome insurmountable difficulties.
The mystics have given preference to different things. Some have openly said that there is no virtue superior to Love. There are others however who hold that faith is the mother of all virtues. Some favour patience, some justice, some piety and some contentment. One thing was common among them all. They did not like that which they considered as evil, and they loved that which they considered as good,  true, beautiful and noble. Thus, by loving those things and focusing their attention on the aforesaid things, they themselves imbibed those very qualities.
A mystic sitting in his monastery, sometimes alone, and sometimes surrounded by his devoted disciples, offers a unique spectacle in an age of feverish hustle,where there is a race of armament, and where the clean edges of ideas and ideals and of noble aims and objects are often blurred and made blunt,so as to fit in with material gains.
It is a matter of great satisfaction that, in every age, there have been people, diffusing Sufi mystic culture and seeking nothing, asking for nothing and demanding nothing. They wished to be allowed to pursue Truth, adorn Knowledge and diffuse Love to all, regardless of popular applause or material reward. The thought of wordy reward played no part in prompting them to do what they had decided to do. The reward came unasked for.
The road bearing the signpost of Truth, Knowledge and Love led them, and still leads the seekers, to a higher realm of thought and action.
They saved them from circumstances and took them to ecstasy.
On the gambling table of the world, the Sufi mystics are willing and prepared to lose everything, but not their faith, their principle and their treasure of love.
Faith without love is incomplete. Thus, The Holy Prophet Mohammed (Peace be upon them) observes:

” You will not enter paradise until you have faith; and you will not complete your faith, till you love one another.”

 
The first commandment is enunciated thus by Lord Jesus Christ:

” And thou shalt love the Lord, thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind and with all thy strength.”

 
This is the first commandment.And as regards the second Commandment, he says:

 ” And the second is like unto it: Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than this.”

 
This means and implies that to love is an obligation and not to love is a sin. Love is a positive as opposed to hatred, which is negative. Where there is love, there can be no hatred.
According to Lord Buddha:

” That which is mot needed is a loving heart”

 
and also:

  ” Hatred never cease by hatreds in this world. By Love alone they cease. This is an ancient Law”

 
Love is the means to attain perfection. Saint Paul says that:

” Love is the bond of perfection.”

 
To what extent an individual is bound with God, determines the proximity and the degree of perfection that he may have attained.
According to some, Grace is of more consequence, as it supports the bond with God. According to others, it is Love, which plays such a role.
St. John thus proclaims:
 

” Who remains in Love, dwells in God, and God in him”

 
To Plato, Aristotle and the stoics, love is a power, which unites, unifies and makes one.
The Idea of unity in love means and implies that love brings men nearer to one another. Those who love come closer to each other. Love implies some degree of similarity in thought and outlook. It begins to give a new orientation to life as a whole. Love removes and eliminates the narrow circle of egocentric self-consciousness. Soon, it so happens that the words ‘I’, and ‘Thou’ are moulded into ‘We’.
If there is any effectual, efficacious and essential means to union with God, it is love, and love alone.
Patristic, scholastic, speculative and mystical doctrines treat love in the same way.
There is another point in issue. There are two schools of thought. The one school of thought is that, which takes love as the means of salvation. The other school of thought goes to the extreme and holds that without love, the question of salvation does not rise
To call love as the life of the soul is not going too far. From this, it follows that the more perfect the love the better the life. How can life be perfect when love is not perfect? Perfection of life depends upon the perfection of love. The two are interdependent. To a Sufi Mystic, perfection of life is not possible without perfection of love.
To separate love from obedience is to misinterpret the very essence of love. Love, likewise, cannot be separated from self surrender, toleration and the elimination of self.

The Rule of Love is the fulfilment of God’s will 

  It is, then necessary that we should realize ourselves. Self-realization is better than self-immolation.
Love enables us to do away with all the sense of separateness by living continuously in the realization of the oneness.
To Maulana Jalal Ud-Din Rumi, an eminent Sufi Mystic poet, and a saint, who was a disciple of Shama Tabriz:

“Love is a physician for all our ills and maladies”

He calls love as:

 ” The medicine for all our pride and prejudice”

Maulana Jami, the famous Sufi Mystic poet, says thus:

“Thou hast become a slave of love,
renounce thy antecedents, O Jami,
for in this path, to be such a person or to be son of such a person, has no meaning.”

 


This is a series of postings to come on the subject of Sufi Mysticism. The postings will give in-depth knowledge in the complete world & ultimate sphere of Sufi spirituality. The postings are enlisted in Categories : “Sufi’s Spirituality” (Tasawwuf )  & in “Tasawwuf (Path  of Mysticism).

Ways to achieve Inward peace.

Faith, Belief , Hope & Love!
 
In order to achieve inward peace we must learn to rely on Hope, Belief and Faith (H.B.F), and treat them as our unfailing allies in the war waged outside. We should treat them as our sheet-anchor.
Let the words blow furiously and storms come, and  upheavals occur but we should hold fast to H.B.F. The H.B.F. Formula has proved its efficacy and usefulness and if applied firmly, judiciously and diligently will give the same results.
Let us be prepared to lose all but not the treasure of Hope. The hope within keeps and individual moving, and serves as an incentive to future progress and happiness.
Let, then, Hope be the chariot, Belief the sword, and Faith the Armour in the grim and fierce battle of life.
Trifles of life should be ignored as far as possible. They come and go. Why should we give them our attention and our time?
Let us shake off our depression. Let us shun pessimism, and seek refuge in optimism, which can serve as the best ‘pick-me-up’, if rightly applied.
Let the thoughts be noble and sublime. Negative thoughts are the inward enemies. Positive thoughts lead to a  positive personality. As we think so we are likely to become. We can be a changed person only when we prefer to change our thought pattern. To get rid of negative thoughts is to change destiny.
 

   It is due to your thinking what you are,

Either you are in harmony or you are at  war.

Thoughts can make or mar the life,

It is your thinking which makes or mars,

Why see the Mud, why not see the stars?

Let the tender and sensitive plant of love grow within, and let it expand as to cover the entire universe.
Desires should be curtailed. There is no limit to desires. We should not be defeated by the Army of desires. Too many desires imply and inferiority complex. Let us desire to have no desire.
When an opportunity knocks at the door, open the door and smile. Let the opportunity talk first.
At times, hold a Disarmament Conference in your private chamber to explore ways and means to find the inward peace and to disarm you from inner tension. To this Conference may be summoned the Heart, Mind, Intellect, Reason, Doubt Hope, Belief, Faith, Will and Imagination. I am sure Reason and Doubt, finding Faith participating, will stage a walkout. Reason and Doubt are at loggerheads with Faith. Will and Imagination will assert for supremacy. In a case of conflict between Will and Imagination, it is imagination that emerges triumphant.
The Resolution passed at the Conference should be like this:
Resolved that in the interest of inner harmony and inward peace, diplomatic relations are severed hereby with all those distressing thoughts,which keep the mind confused, perplexed, and agitated and thus depriving [us] of inward peace.
As soon as we get a problem, we should think that the one who has sent the problem will solve it for us. Like the mystics, let us treat every problem and difficulty as a Gift from the Friend. A gift should cause no worry, but instead, should give pleasure.
To get a problem or a difficulty implies that our faith is being put to test.  It is dangerous to make and appointment with worry. Let us be bold and say:
“I refuse to grant an interview to worry”
Let us accept things as they are. There are two types of people. One type of people say- “What can not be cured must be endured”, and the other type of people say, “what cannot be endured must be cured.” The former dictum implies surrender and the other implies struggle and assertion. But, the fact is that, if we may bear and endure without grudge, we are sure to minimize ninety per cent of “The slings and arrows of an outrageous fortune” and the remaining ten per cent, also, will lose hold and wither away like smoke.
By all means, let us be concerned if we will, about the problem or difficulty, but it is not wise to be worried about it. To be concerned is one thing and to be worried is another thing.
Worry it self is incapable of giving solution. On the contrary, it magnifies problems.
It is better to solve the problems one by one.  It is not advisable to mix the problems and be lost in the labyrinth.
If problems are ignored as long as possible, most of them meet a natural death.
It is wise to handle problems one by one. When problems are closely united, their unity gives them strength.
Prayer offers an effective remedy to shake off despondency, depression, and despair, and to enable us to overcome the problems.
Let us forget our problems for sometime and the problems will forget us.
Sometimes, the solution to a problem comes when we least expect it.
The mystics do not care for the Future, for the Future will take care of itself. They ignore the Past, which is dead. They have learnt to live in the present.
Tomorrow is promissory note bearing no signature. Yesterday is crossed cheque, which stands cancelled.
Today furnishes ready cash. Let us take it, and let us waive the rest.
Let us act as a good General in the Battle of Life, and control our thoughts, our passions and our emotions. The mind need not be furnace, the body the pyre thoughts the arrows, and imagination the bow. Success and Failure are relative terms. It is better to be indifferent to them.
All our so called problems are our guests. They are not  going to stay with us for an indefinite period of time.  Every problems has a solution. With the problem comes the solution. We see the problem, but we do not try to see the solution.
After every Autumn comes the spring so after every hardship comes the relief. The problem, confronting, is in fact,a treat of our endurance, perseverance, patience and power.
To be quiet, calm and collected is to be undaunted by and to overcome the problem. Calmness of mind attracts success. For inward peace, let us look within. Like happiness, it comes from within.
Let us avoid temptations. Adam had to pay heavily for being tempted to eat the fruit of the forbidden tree.
To be tempted is to have an unstable mind.
Let us accept the inevitable. Lust, greed, needless arguments, etc. Should be avoided.
It is not wise to expect anything from others. Expectation may bring disappointment, and disappointment may cause worry.
When the mind is confused, it is always better to take refuge in nature, good books, and in the company of good people.
Be sincere to yourself and to others, and people will be sincere to you.
Know the technique of being by yourself. To get higher things, some inconvenience and delay should be borne, and small things have to be renounced.
There is a price for everything. Success demands its own price. Pay the price and do not be confused.
Illness is a tax that we have to pay for being healthy. Loss in business means the payment of charity. Unemployment means that it is intended that you should learn to wait and watch. Domestic trouble is a test of endurance, patience, mutual trust and mutual help.
It is better to do one thing at a time. Moderation is good in all things. Let hope and ambitions be within limits.
The individual will, when merged with Divine Will, is an occasion for peace.
Self-surrender is the way to be happy.
To think of the persons, and to recollect the evens we do not like, is to be deprived of a cheerful frame of mind, resulting in confusion and tension.
To swim with the waves is not to be drowned in the boisterous sea of life and thus to reach the shore safely.
In our daily life, we exchange pride for power; material acquisitions for happiness; pain for pleasure; doubt for advanced intelligence; greed for greatness; lust for contentment; striving for strength and suffering for serenity.
Inward peace is the sovereign remedy enough to make the life sovereign, supreme and serene.
Inward peace is an achievement but, once is is achieved, it becomes a gift.
No price is  too hight to get inward peace.
 

The writing on the wall

To selfishly seek happiness is to deny oneself happiness. To contribute to the happiness of others is to make oneself happy.

**********

One reaching the gate of Heaven in dark dreary night,

I asked the man standing there to change my plight:

Pray! show light, and lead me to the way right;

He replied, that, submission to Divine Will was better than light.

*************

I ran and reached the Tavern’s Gate,

The man there asked me to stand and wait,

And how and why, I was there so late?

 I said no one could come unless directed by fate.


(This is a series of postings to come on the subject of Sufi Mysticism. The postings will give in-depth knowledge in the complete world & ultimate sphere of Sufi spirituality. The postings are enlisted in Categories : “Sufi’s Spirituality” (Tasawwuf )  & in “Tasawwuf (Path  of Mysticism).
 
 
 

The Inward peace

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Proposition, which is of vital importance to our society, and also, to those who are eager and keen to give meaning and content to their life.
The topic that I want to discuss relates to the basic problems of human nature. It has vital bearing on our behaviour, standard of living, our requirements and our needs, our motives and our mottos, on our fears and fancies, on our dreams, our devotions, on our ideas and ideals, and on our aspirations and our ambitions.
I will not mind, the least, if you call me an idealist, or a conservative, not keeping an eye on the pulse of the time. It is true that to discuss such a topic in the Modern Age, seething with faction and discontent, torn by strife’s and struggles, and fraught with harrowing doubts and diffidence, is surely to be labelled a visionary. To some, it may appear as flight of imagination.

  The questions

Is it not correct to say that man is in search of happiness, but happiness is nowhere to be found? Is it not that man wants to avoid pain and seek pleasure, but, it has proved futile and vain effort?
Suppose, I ask you to make a list of the things, that you desire and want to achieve. I am sure your list will contain many things. It may include position, prestige,Power, pelf, Influence, a beautiful house, ultramodern furniture, a Refrigerator, a Television set, a Radio set, a Transistor, a car, an Orchard, beautiful carpets, and a handsome income, etc.
But, do you think that the aforesaid things will give you peace, happiness and joy?
Should I revise your list? I will add three things in the list and they are:
Calm thoughts;
Slow breathing; and
Peace of mind.
In other words, I insist, that, the list should include the one thing of supreme importance, which has an all embracing effect upon the life that we lead.
 

The treasure within

 
The distractions and the attractions of the “Brave New World” leave us little time to think of the things that really matter. We feel happy and jubilant to dig in order to find the hidden treasure, buried beneath the earth. But we have become so reckless that we do not care to reach and find out the treasure that is within us. I mean the inward peace.
The Inward peace is to be achieved. It is a gift and blessing, which is given to people of stable mind. Inward peace is like the evening star, which lends lustre to the soul.
Inward peace is not to be had by manipulation, negotiation and ostentation, and neither by subterfuge nor by agreement. Inward peace is to be won by one’s own effort.
 
 The Greatest Conqueror
The greatest and the noblest conqueror is not the one, who conquers countries and brings dominions under his sway. In fact, the greatest conqueror is the one, who wages a successful warfare against his own self, and overcomes his inordinate desires, and finally, emerges out as one, who has controlled his appetites and passions.
Let us then, secure victory over our own self.
 

The way of the Sufi Mystics

How is it that the mystics, in patched clothes and with little or no material acquisitions or possessions, have never complained of their poverty or troubles or hardships, whereas the others, having everything, always grudge, bemoan and complain. The reason is not far to seek.
The Sufi Mystics think that whatever comes in their way is best.
They have as their object the happiness of others, whereas the worldly minded people plan to change circumstances to their own advantage, and they are concerned with their own welfare and happiness.
The mystics do not allow the pleasures in life to rule over them, for they know, that they will hand them over some day to sorrow.
 

They refuse to be ruled by the two generals, pleasure and pain

They are themselves cheerful, and they contribute to the cheerfulness of others. One can give only what he has. They are cheerful, calm, serene, and they give cheerfulness, calmness and serenity to mankind.
They believe that, it is within the power of an individual to make the world either as a palace or a prison, They moulded their thoughts in such a fashion, that every small space appeared to them to be a palace.
They emphasized, that subterfuge or agreements are not capable of snatching peace. No one has an assured share in the store of peace. Peace, like a battle, is to be won.  It is to be won over shameful deeds, perplexing problems and sinister sins. Victory is to be scored over the self, which tries to govern the oppress, and which leads to corrupt practices.
The Sufi Mystics are, essentially, men of peace. They bear no arms. But, their looks are sharper than the sword. Their worlds are their bullets. Their thoughts give a louder report than thunder.
The Mystic does not want to live in vain. Hence, life to a Sufi mystic means and implies thought and action. He brightens the lives of people by wise thoughts and useful actions.
 

Home & House

It is one thing to live in a house, and it is another thing to live in a home. Home should be distinguished from house. A better home implies better living.
 

 The foundation of good home

The things that are necessary to build and to create a happy home are love, sympathy and spirit of service. Right thinking is the architect. Right action is the white washing. It should be warmed by love. It should be lighted with serenity and cheerfulness. Mutual trust is its ceiling. Toleration is its window. Sympathy is its ventilator. Blessing of God is its protecting canopy and glory.
 
The Quest
Man’s quest for inward peace has found an echo in the Vault of Time.
The Holy Prophet Mohammed (Peace be upon them) says: 

   ” The most excellent Jihad (Holy war) is that for the conquest of self.”

Lord Jesus Christ says:

   “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you, not as the world giveth, give I,unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”

 Lord Buddah Says:

    ” Surrender the grasping disposition of your selfishness, and yo will attain to that sinless calm state of mind which conveys perfect peace, goodness and wisdom.”

 
Lord Krishna says:

   ” The mind cherishing ambition remains always empty. That is why it finds rest nowhere like a deer that has lost track of the herd.”

 
 Guru Nanak Ji, founder of Sikhism, says:

  “They alone are in peace and attain the sate of Bliss, who lean on the true  name.”

 

The Attitude

The economist and the political scientists hold that, to talk of inward peace in the modern economic and social setup is crying for the moon. They assert that, there can be no inward peace in the midst of penury, poverty, pestilence, unemployment, exploitation, inequality of opportunities, class conflict, nepotism, favouritism and demoralizing corruption. They emphasize the creation of better economic and social conditions as a condition precedent for inward peace.
 

Attitude Assailed  

According to them, thus inward peace depends upon external conditions and circumstances. But, the truth is otherwise. Inward peace is not a commodity. For inward peace one should look within.  It comes from within.
Inward peace is an achievement.
Inward peace is possible even when and individual is engaged in a relentless war for bread, butter and work
 

Human Responses

It is true, that social circumstances and economic conditions profoundly mould and modify the human responses. It may be true that unjust economic conditions created maladjustment’s, leading to conflict. But, is also true, that if the people constituting the society, are insecure economically, spiritually and emotionally, the society will tend to be insecure.
 

Inward Peace

In any scheme of social peace, it is of utmost importance that the people comprising the society should be rescued and freed from the civil war, which they wage within themselves.
A co-operative world will remain merely a dream or an illusion, so long as the people are corroded within them selves by the acids of negative thoughts, undesirable desires, fantastic fancies, self-pity and self-aggrandizement.
The Crucial problems of conscience, love fear, grief, rancour, malice, greed and lust constitute universal human dilemmas, defying solution and offering challenge.
Inward peace serves as a signpost, avoiding the by-lanes and the by-paths, and showing the straight way, leading to a carefree life full of zest and enthusiasm.
Better society can be built by better men.
Meditation is the dictionary, but, inward peace is the grammar of Sufi mysticism.
Inward peace makes the mind serene, and once the mind has become serene, it can climb to heights unknown. Inward peace attracts success.


(This is a series of postings to come on the subject of Sufi Mysticism. The postings will give in-depth knowledge in the complete world & ultimate sphere of Sufi spirituality. The postings are enlisted in Categories : “Sufi’s Spirituality” (Tasawwuf )  & in “Tasawwuf (Path  of Mysticism).
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Conflict & Chaos

Earth as seen from space with sunrise
 
 
The society is seething with faction and discontent. The class conflict has deprived the society of organic unity. The class antagonism has led to a profound change in the social and economic setup.
We see every day in out midst the conflict between landlord and tenant, between employer and employee, between capital and labour, between the teacher and the taught.
The statesman and the politician peer into the mist and wonder, what the end of all this will be.
Legislation is no effective remedy. Ordinances will serve no useful purpose. Gestapo agents are of no use. Change must come by persuasion.
 

 The choice

We have to choose between the rural agricultural and urban industrial standards and ways of living; between the traditions of social trusteeship of wealth, and ostentatious display and abuse of riches; between the self-sufficiency of social units and economic management, and the tendency towards the enlarged sphere of state action; between romantic and convenient marriages as opposed to marriage considered as duty and sacrament;between family and community recreation and festival,and the passion for unwholesome mass sensation and excitement; between state action and self-help; between primitive norms and modern standards; between free issues and contributions; between caste and a classless society; between custom and progress; between voluntary effort and compulsion; between persuasion and legislation; between co-operation and competition; and between demonstration and discussion.
 

The remedy 

The remedy of social disintegration and moral collapse lies in Sufi mysticism. It rises above tenets, dogmas and rituals. It enables an individual to rise from temporality, fragmentariness and irrationality to universality. It gives the law of righteousness to individuals and groups. It has rescued itself from intellectualism, formal theology and routine.
The present scheme of values requires re-scaling. We can revive our national morals and faith only on the basis of an interchange between the truly universal values and groups and institutions.
 
There can be no doubt, that the ardent mysticism, by its creativeness and transfiguration of life, is capable of giving hope, belief and faith, freedom and goodness to the people. It can provide social justice in the coming economic and political setup.
There have been various popular mystical movements such as the Bhakti cult in Hinduism, Sufism in Islam Calvinism, Puritanism and Methodism in Christianity.
These moral and spiritual revivals and ethical movements, have, undoubtedly, swayed the masses, making their life fuller, happier, better, and richer.
Let the Sufi Mystics, now, put the core of spiritual meaning and experience into the life of the masses and the classes, thus trying to unite man and man.
Demonstration is better that discussion. Man by nature, is reluctant and unwilling to change his habits of doing things.  He wants to have a say-so about changes. He should be shown, if he is to be convinced. The mystics should win the confidence of the people. Once confidence has been won, co-operation can easily be earned.
Discussion will not lead very far. Discussion is endless. Demonstration is a better way, as it furnishes a steady process of self-education.
Mystics, then, by demonstration and personal example, give stimulus to a new kind of thinking. New kind of thinking will, eventually, lead to a new kind of functioning of society, resulting in the further release of creative human energies.
The mystic should place reliance on meditation, and allow people to share the benefits of meditation. Meditation, by its very nature, replaces the emotional role by permanent and constructive one, making men and woman good, calm, serene, placid, mutually helpful citizens, able to build up a community.
A sentimental type of spirituality will not be very useful. To treat spiritual emotionalism, as an end in itself, is wrong.
 
The Spirituality, which can be termed as best, is that, which emphasizes the practical test of being useful in society, which tries to make and mould efficient persons,good men and women, which lays stress on productive work,takes better stock of the depressed and the handicapped and which makes persons useful members of society and better neighbours.
The essence of genuine spirituality consists in the conservation of human energy for constructive work and in rational conduct.
It teaches how to live and act in harmony with fellowmen, and within the known physical and economic laws.
The mystic must save his followers and votaries from economic competition by making them fit to face the problems of life, and to accept every challenge posed by Time or Circumstance.
This means and implies, that the mystic should act as a guide, friend and philosopher to the people, and teach and inspire them to have increased efficiency,greater adaptability, greater endurance for the struggle for existence, greater patience and perseverance, hopeful outlook on life, and better conservation of human energy.  hopeful outlook on life, and better conservation of human energy.
The society looks to the Sufi mystic to fortify it, and also to train and equip it in such a way that it may, ultimately,be able to exhibit the simple economic virtues of industry, sobriety, hard work, thrift, forethought, self-help, mutual helpfulness and practical scientific knowledge.
These are the qualities which win the race of life, and, which make men and woman the law-abiding citizens, honest businessmen, truthful persons, a peace loving nation and prosperous community.
Spiritual and moral qualities are more important than mere intellectual achievements. Unlike the results of intellectual achievements, spiritual and moral qualities cannot be borrowed.
We cannot borrow love for humanity, concern for animals, prevention of cruelty to animals, a spirit of enterprise, sane and sober reason, the spirit of self-confidence, self-respect, mutual respect, self-help, mutual help, the spirit of toil, sobriety and industry, sense of duty, forethought, foresight, and above all, the spirit of optimism and a buoyant outlook on life.
The qualities serve as the best weapons to win the war against indolence, idleness, low production, bad farming and low standard of living.
They overcome the inertia of ages.  The individual armed with the aforesaid qualities, successfully wages a pitched battle against dirt, disease, drought, preventable distress, fire, famine and flood; ignoble illiteracy; lack of organization, social disorganization, caste restriction, customary notion, and bad social conditions, in short, against bad business and abject living.
The aforesaid qualities cannot be borrowed. They have to be acquired and developed. They have to be imbibed, and voluntarily accepted by the people themselves. No exterior agency can make a man moral. The desire must emanate from within.
It is wrong to suppose, that there is any sharp and distinctive separation between the secular, and the spiritual activity. In fact, both the acquisition and expenditure of wealth should be treated as essentially altruistic in purpose, and in result.
It is necessary then, that purposeful actions should be emphasized and encouraged. It does nobody good to lay stress on passive endurance. To regard life as a dream,and the world an illusion is to misinterpret the dignity of man.
Let there be the reading of new meaning into old texts, and pouring in new wine into old bottles.
The aim of mysticism has been to inculcate, in the individuals comprising the society, a spirit of fraternity, liberty, equality and brotherhood.
A mystic need not be idealistic, but, should be impregnated with the vital issues which grip society, and seek to make the society more altruistic and more comprehensive. Mysticism, in fact, implies a way of sharing, service and sacrifice.
A Sufis Mystic is not interested in expanding resources. But, he is concerned with greatest good of the greatest number of people. To him, physical vigour, mental stamina, spiritual equipment, intelligence, interest, inspiration,stamina, abiding humanism and intellectual energy are of great importance, for the simple reason that, they are needed for the continued social, moral and spiritual growth and development of society.
In the modern setup, the mystic should lend his helping hand to all progressive forces, suggesting welfare schemes.
He should now and then, suggest as to what is wrong and what should be done.
Every convent or monastery should have a trained body of persons fit enough to act as urban leaders and village guides.
The sufi mystic should launch a New Life Movement, having as its cardinal principles the respect for all religions and removal of illiteracy, based on the slogan ” Each one teach one” and removal of social and communal tensions, having its emphasis on constructive work.
A sufi Mystic must, then, abhor and condemn outright the forces of casteism, communalism, linguism, parochialism and provincialism. He should fight sectarian animosities and disruptive forces.
He should persuade the people to fight demoralization, instead of fighting among themselves. In any scheme of reconstruction, the home, and the women and children cannot be left out.
He should try to make the world a place of peace, stability and co-operation with the combined and harmonized efforts of the masses and the classes. Let the society be made free from fear and tension.
The sufi mystic should be a watch dog of the interests of the poor and the downtrodden, and not a lap dog for the rich.

   The foundations

Let the Sufi mystic now build for peace, progress and human happiness, having as his foundation the conscious satisfaction of contentment, the spirit of toleration, the principle of co-operation, abiding humanism and above all, the cementing force of love.
 


To be indifferent to the people has been my way, 

They act and behave, as if, toys made of clay, 

I never care to know, what they do or say, 

In my own thoughts, I am absorbed night and day. 


(This is a series of postings to come on the subject of Sufi Mysticism. The postings will give in-depth knowledge in the complete world & ultimate sphere of Sufi spirituality. The postings are enlisted in Categories : “Sufis Spirituality” (Tasawwuf )  & in “Tasawwuf (Path  of Mysticism).
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Sufi Mystic and the Environment

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Environment

A better atmosphere should prevail in society for good cordial relations. A sober and peaceful environment is a sine qua non for the healthy growth of society. Environment, in fact, is not the outside world. Life and environment are closely inter-related. A change in human beings involves some change in its relations to environment, and a change in environment results in the the changing pattern of life.
 
Difference in environment means and implies a difference in the habits, customs, manners, and ways of living of the people, constituting the society.
On the other hand, the different ways of living and habits of the people create different environments. Correspondence between life and environments is everywhere felt and perceived.
What retains and maintains the moving equilibrium of life is the process of constant selection and continuous adaptation.
Mysticism, has as its foundations, the positive ideals. Its influence over the thoughts of men cannot be decried or denied. Its positive ideals have lent dignity to society.
Antisocial action is a negative phenomenon, born out of the self assertiveness of man, encouraged by the loosening of social controls, once potent and effective, and now in decay and decline, fostered by the dissolution of the super control of the family, helped by the individual being a unit of society, and induced by the disregard of moral and ethical codes.
No amount of lip service to the ideals of human welfare will provide shelter to man and atone the wrongs done, crimes committed and nefarious activities launched in total disregard to his obligations to his creator above and to his fellow men on earth.
The relationship of the mystic of society has been to guide, teach and inspire. This relationship was not created all of a sudden  by one stroke. It was built upon gradually, slowly but steadily, through the process of time.
It should not abrogate, or renounce or dissolve the pre-existing relationship. But in fact, it should create a positive bond, which may assume a new from and shape mainly through the settlement of a larger share of enlightenment.
Where there is no common interest and a common cause, life becomes dull, dreary, disunited, egoistic, and disintegrating. Common enthusiasm is necessary for an agreeable and stimulating social life.
 

The Ignoble setup

Now, mark with what ills the modern society is assailed. The breakdown of the moral fibre of modern society has resulted in many vices and evils. The trouble is organic and functional, both.
We see every day, in our midst, appalling poverty and fabulous wealth, existing side by side. The lopsided development of individualism is partly responsible for the disintegration, decay and decline of the modern man.
In modern times the stress on individualism, and on individual legal rights,  has led to the disruption of the old fabric of society, based on consent, self help, mutual help, co-operative effort, voluntary effort and mutual respect.
Success in life has come to be judged by exploits, economic or otherwise, and by spectacular performance on the stage of the world. There is cheap reward for empty praise. People are in search of transient calm and happy scenes, which may soothe the outer senses, bestow inward peace and lull the sense of woe.
The cosmetic culture has come to be recognized as a sign of a higher standard of living. But, it is wrong to judge the standard of living by material acquisitions. A higher standard of living, in fact, implies love for Truth, Beauty and Light; a spirit of toleration; patience; perseverance; intellectual and mental honesty; and by simple living and high thinking.
The modern society is sustained by the forces of the pulpit, the platform and the press. The modern methods of publicity, like posters, pamphlets and processions, dramas, dances and demonstrations, songs, sayings and slogans, serve to create public opinion, which is, more often neither public nor opinion.
 
The modern contractual and economic norms and standards have hit hard the solidarity of society.
The breakdown of the moral fibre of modern society has resulted in raping; plunder; sabotage; strikes; child delinquency; increasing number of offences; vice; intemperance; brothel houses; hoarding; smuggling; profiteering; black-marketing; evasion of taxes; appalling overcrowding; family breakdown; deterioration of housing standards; student unrest; absence of moral restraints; loss of community initiative and reliance; increasing maladjustment between population and food supply; a low percentage of literacy; acute poverty; indolence; idleness; frivolous suits; vexatious cases; malicious prosecutions; false affidavits; perjury; harsh laws,delayed justice; fraudulent weights and measures; increasing numbers of divorce cases; vindictive litigation; adulteration; manipulation; and exploitation.
In such an atmosphere of jarring and abhorring influence, it is difficult for an individual to work and function successfully.
There is, thus, the lowering of the standard of living and social collapse, not only of the masses but, also, of a considerable section of the intellectual and upper classes.
unfortunately, there is a complete breakdown of social controls, moral attitudes and ethical standards among myriads of people.


(This is a series of postings to come on the subject of Sufi Mysticism. The postings will give in-depth knowledge in the complete world & ultimate sphere of Sufi spirituality. The postings are enlisted in Categories : “Sufis Spirituality” (Tasawwuf )  & in “Tasawwuf (Path  of Mysticism).
 
 

The Birth of Sufi Mysticism & its functions in society.

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Sustaining Forces

The sustaining forces of a society and formal order are customs, conventions. usages, folkways, mores, norms and standards.
They serve, and are recognized and accepted as the guidelines. The individuals, comprising the society, are expected to rise up to them and derive sanction for their behaviour in society therefrom.
They, in fact, guide and control the society. They serve as social controls.
Religion, too, constitutes an important and potent instrument of social, moral and ethical progress.
There can be no doubt, that our modern society has been a uniform attempt to avoid the imperatives and social obligations, which rest upon the people.
It is an escape from reality, realism and responsibility. Love or hatred denotes an attitude;whereas friend or enemy indicates interest.
Thus, terms like love, fear, hatred, pride, sympathy, respect, homage, denote attitudes; whereas, terms like friend enemy, family, the oppressed, the depressed, connote interest.

Classifications of attitudes

Attitudes may be :
Dissociative ;
Restrictive; or
Associative.
Dissociative Attitudes
Among the dissociative attitudes may be mentioned the following: Dream; Fear; Terror; Envy; Intolerance; Arrogance; Contempt; Repugnance; Disgust; Suspicion; Malice; Cruelty; Hate; and Dislike.
  Restrictive Attitudes
Among the restrictive attitudes may be mentioned the following: Love; Devotion; Humility; Modesty; Submissiveness; Pride; Tolerance; Forbearance; Rivalry; and Jealousy.
 

Associate Attitudes

Among the associative attitudes may be mentioned the following-  Gratitude; Sympathy; Affection; Courtesy; Helpfulness; Love; and Trust.
 
 Classes of Attitudes
There are, thus, different classes of attitudes. Their fundamental distinction is to be judged by the question whether they tend to unite, or tend to separate the members of society.
 

Patterns

This Implies patterns of avoidance and approach. Thus it is that, sympathy unites, whereas hate separates.  Love Seeks to approach; whereas fear seeks to avoid, and disgust does the same.  A sufi mystic, must then encourage the attitudes which tend to unite.

The Birth of Sufi mysticism

The birth of mysticism denotes a milestone in the quest of higher values. The tumbling masses and the tired classes saw in it the fulfilment of their inner urges and aspirations.
Sufi Mysticism came like a physician, lived as a guide and friend, and ruled over the hearts of men.
Sufi Mysticism has come to stay. Its past performance indicates,that it has brought about revolutionary changes of great magnitude, and a transformation of far reaching importance in the concept of values, and ways of living and life of the people.
 
  The function of Sufi  Mysticism
The function of  Sufi mysticism, throughout the ages, has been of interpret truth, mould people into a better and cheerful frame, to encourage common endeavour, to rouse common spirit, to infuse common enthusiasm, and to reflect, or embellish common aspirations, common ideals and common dreams and devotions.
It lays stress on the development of life. It insists, that an individual should be taken out from darkness into light, and be freed from the maladies of the soul.
Apparently, the rock on which so many ships, carrying the cargo of culture and civilization, have floundered is the usual one- infatuation with material acquisition.
Unfortunately, the people yielded to the temptation of putting the pursuits of material acquisitions above the more abiding and exacting goal.
The pathological character of the people is an appropriate reflex of the sickness of society.
 

The Effect

The birth of Sufi Mysticism marked a revolutionary change and transformation in the thoughts of the people. When thoughts are changed, action is sure to be changed.
The change of thoughts led to a change in action and deed. The change, in the concept of values and way of life, produced by Sufi mysticism, led also to a profound change in the society.  The propagation of Sufi mysticism was an attempt to rescue, and to save the ailing and sick society from superstitions, materialism and ethical scepticism.
The Sufi Mysticism were, in fact an unfailing source of inspiration to the multitude  of humanity. The contribution of Sufi mysticism to world culture was multifaceted. It included religion, Philosophy, Logic, Psychology, Ethics, Sociology, Literature, Poetry, Arts and Architecture.
These constituted the external expressions and manifestations of the internal excellence in man.
The excellence in man was fostered through the teachings of mysticism, since the dawn of civilization.
An individual has now to decide how to proceed towards the higher values in modern society.  He has to decide, what does life hold for him? Is mere breathing life? Is life meant to be high-life walk, or a mere low crawl in the dumps?
Some people Feel sick tired, exhausted, disgusted and bored. But life is not meant to be boring, dull and dry. It should not be stiff, broken all round, distressed and depressed.


(This is a series of postings to come on the subject of Sufi Mysticism. The postings will give in-depth knowledge in the complete world & ultimate sphere of Sufi spirituality. The postings are enlisted in Categories : “Sufis Spirituality” (Tasawwuf )  & in “Tasawwuf (Path  of Mysticism).

Wisdom & Virtues of a Sufi Mystic & society

 

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Concentration 

Concentration is a great gift. It secures quick results and saves time and energy. The cause of unhappiness and misery of mankind has  been the striving and struggling for physical pleasures.
The rise above the sensory life means to be free from the shackles and burdens and to cease to be a slave to the mind. The mind, if not placed under the control of will, becomes tyrannous and dangerous.
It is the power of concentration which distinguishes man from the animal. Concentration is a passport to success.
Along with concentration, the power of detachment should be inculcated and acquired.
Training of mind implies regular breathing,to sit easily spine kept free and erect, and breathing in such a way that breath passes through the body to reach the mind, and controls the body.
 

The invisible helper

A Sufi mystic is fragment of the Rock of Ages, People depend upon him for he is a man of integrity. He sands firm when others fail. He is a friend, faithful, full of compassion and love. At times, he assumes the role of an adviser, honest, frank and fearless. When truth is threatened he stands as and adversary, just, bold and chivalrous.
A Sufi Mystic is a teacher who arouses a feeling for good actions.
A Sufi Mystic, equipped and armed as he is, with truth, purity, integrity, unselfishness, kindness, mercy, forgiveness and the spirit of generosity, can conquer the world and face successfully the whole universe in opposition.
Kindness in one’s own self, according to the Sufi mystic, is of great importance, for such kindness is the honey that blunts the sting of unkindness in another.
The Sufi mystic is really a free man. His detached outlook and his indifference towards things which really do not matter make him free from the customary norms and standards. He is not servant of the Sovereign. He is not interested in fame. Profit and loss are to him meaningless conceptions.
He is a free man, he is free in his actions, free in his person, and free in his time.
 

 The problem

Anxiety and worry imply lack of faith.
Self is hindrance to self-Realization.
The Panacea
Self-knowledge is wisom
Self- Control is strength.
Calmness is power.
Calmness of mind is beautiful jewel of wisdom.
Right thought is mastery.
 

Old wine for new bottles. 

 
To serve is to live.
To be humble is to be wise.
To be miser is to invite misery.
To be calm and collected is to attract success.
To continuously smile through the corridor of time is to reach the desired goal.
To Criticize others is misuse of time.
To give hope to others is to give something more than a treasure.
To possess a thankful heart is to have the parent of all other virtues.
To expect the best is to get the best.
 
In the Changed social setup the mystic has come to be looked upon as a messenger of goodwill and love. In recent years, significant advance has been made in the thinking of the people. There is, now, among them, and increasing accumulation of sentiment in favour of reform and progress.

 Democratic values

It is true that freedom, Brotherhood and tolerance are democratic values. But, it is a sad commentary on the state of modern society that these cherished ideals are not withing easy reach.
The advent of opportunity should bring with it the rise of confident, sure and chesty feeling. Every calamity should be turned into an opportunity.

Society

The harmonious working of society implies a certain degree of foresight and solidarity.
Society is an ever changing complex system. Society implies the web of social relationships. It is a system of many groupings and divisions. There are different procedures of authority, of mutual aid and controls of human behaviour.
There are laws guaranteeing individual liberty and privacy, and assuring freedom of thought, and freedom to follow any religion, profession, avocation or occupation.
Society involves both likeness and difference. It implies the sense of belonging together.
Every member of society has certain rights and certain duties. Every right implies a corresponding duty.  Every member of society, thus, is expected to seek something,and give something.
Every society has a different social system. It may be just, unjust, co-operative, exploitative or parasitical.
 


(This is a series of postings to come on the subject of Sufi Mysticism. The postings will give in-depth knowledge in the complete world & ultimate sphere of Sufi spirituality. The postings are enlisted in Categories : “Sufis Spirituality” (Tasawwuf )  & in “Tasawwuf (Path  of Mysticism).
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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