The Mystics view of suffering

To the mystics, to control and to alleviate human suffering is a radiant type of prayer, and the best type of charity. They do not want to see suffering in any shape or form. Long before the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals was established, the mystics have shown utmost mercy and kindness to animals, and birds also.

It is said of a Sufi Saint, that, once some visitors came to him. He asked one of his disciples to spread the dining carpet and serve food. The guests took food. The dining carpet should have been folded after the food, but the host was surprised to see that it was not folded. He asked his disciple to fold it. The disciple however kept watching the dining carpet. The host again asked him to fold the dining carpet. This time he informed the host, his spiritual guide, that there were some ants on the dining carpet. As soon as they left the dining carpet, he would fold it. His spiritual guide was immensely pleased with the reply and said “verily, such a person deserves to be called a Sufi”.

In developing countries like India, there is a lot of preventable distress looming large on the horizon. Fire, famine and flood on the one hand, and dirt, disease and drought on the other hand, have deprived the people of the feeling of security. Being thus deprived of social, and economic security, they exist and drift. They, in fact, do not live. Take for instance malaria. Malaria has been the enemy number one of the rural masses. It has caused more harm than other catastrophes like fire.

Everyone of us, whether rich or poor, literate or illiterate is in a position to do something for others. If we give a smile, it is, also, a philanthropic act. If we give a word of comfort and cheer, it is, no doubt, a sublime gesture of goodwill and mutual understanding.

Let us resolve firmly, and make it our principle, that everyday, we will render some silent service to others without the hope of reward.

Humanism implies that we should learn to live for others. To a mystic, pain and pleasure imply a different connotation. Pain and pleasure are the two sides of a coin. Pain and pleasure are not lasting. They are short-lived and are fleeting.

A mystic is not the least afraid or worried of sorrow and suffering. To him, they are the gifts of the Friend. To him, sorrow and suffering are a test of his perseverance, power of endurance and patience.

To a mystic, it is only in suffering that we are purged and purified, and made strong, firm and determined to do His Will.

To a mystic, it is only when a person is put in the furnace of troubles, tribulations and suffering, that he becomes what he is capable of becoming.

Vermilion, when pressed, gives colour.  frankincense, when put on a fire gives fragrance.

Musk when rubbed gives its smell.

The wood of aloes, when burnt, gives off its smell.

Saffron, when rubbed, gives colour and fragrance.

Likewise, a person, when he undergoes suffering without grudge or murmur, attains perfect bliss, and becomes a different person from what he was before.

A mystic is not the least afraid of death.

Death, to him, is a means of getting eternal life.

Death is a bridge leading to the Friend.

A mystic yearns for self-earned peace.

Where there is hatred, thee is tension,

Where there is love, there is peace and co-operation,

Doubt should be replaced by faith,

Injustice and injury should be pardoned,

Despair should give place to hope,

Darkness should be replace by light.

They mystics hold that, unless we love, how can we be loved.

Unless we give, how can we receive.

Unless we pardon others, how can we be pardoned.

We should pray for greater understanding and appreciation of other people’s points of view.

It is not wise to throw stones from a glass house.

Instead of frittering out energy in frivolous pursuits and idle chatter, let us try to acquire and adopt an attitude towards life, which is at once, more refined, positive and informative. Organize by all means,

Pardon Week;

Forgiveness Week;

Charity Week;

Mutual help Week;

Every week should be, for you, a harbinger of better life, better living and better business.

If possible and convenient to you, try to go to the hospitals and serve, in whatever way you can, those suffering from some malady.

We should not be afraid of suffering. Suffering is a spice of life. To suffer is to be strong. 

Trials, tribulations, suffering and sorrow should be faced with a smile. They, in fact, are useful, as they serve as stern teachers. They impart to us the invaluable lessons of achieving success through patience. They mould us into a frame of mind which is conducive to simple living and high thinking.

Suffering and sorrow are useful as they develop character, lead us to the Fountain of Bliss, and introduce us to a type of virtuous life. They, above all, teach us patience and confer upon us Divine Grace and heavenly merit.

Let me tell you one important thing.

Unless you think well, you cannot act well, and unless you act well, you cannot live well.

It is better to forget the past. Learn to live in present. Instead of ‘taking arms against a sea of troubles’, take arms against malice, greed, lust, hatred, hypocrisy and ill-will.

Let us forget injury, and forego injustice. Let us be firm. Let us fulfill our promise.

A Day of Silence;

A Day  of Thanksgiving;

A Day of Forgiveness;

A Day of Self-introspection;

A  Day of Courtesy;

Everyone of us is in search of joy and happiness. People have different standards by which they judge happiness. To some, happiness lies in pomp, glory and show. There are others who hold that wealth is the perennial source of happiness. Such type of happiness is not lasting,enduring or durable. It is fleeting and short-lived.Such type of happiness is imaginary.

Real happiness is different. Let real happiness descend upon you, and sit with you and smile.

I tell you that happiness has no geographical boundaries.

It has no localities. It is neither provincial nor peculiar.

Real happiness demands a price. To be really happy, one must do his duty diligently and honestly, and dispense justice. 

The one aspiring for real happiness must be humble, meek, gentle, unassuming and simple.

Charity and love constitute other sources of real happiness. In order to enjoy real happiness, others should be made happy.

The tears in another’s eyes should be wiped away. The wounded heart should be healed. The bruised spirit  should be given the ointment of sympathy. Suffering should be shared. The tale of woe, wherever told, should be supplemented by the story of success and joy.

Vice should be abjured, and virtue should be extolled. Therein lies real happiness.

We must never detest suffering and sorrow. Our life may be distracted, disturbed, dark or gloomy, yet we must know and understand that the procession of our life has been ordered and arranged by the God of Infinite Mercy,Benevolence and Power.

Let us derive inspiration from what John Pomfret has said:

“Heaven is not always angry when He strikes, But most chastises those whom most He likes.”

Let us listen to the advice, given by an eminent poet, H.W.Longfellow:

 

” O fear not in a world like this,

And thou shalt know ere long,

Know how sublime a thing it is,

To suffer and be strong.”

 


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). Alternatively you can subscribe to our blog for updates.

The mystical surgery

I want to talk about a topic, which has great relevance in the life of a mystic. In modern times, surgical performance is looked upon as a marvellous feat of human ingenuity and skill.

Surgery has been defined as the manual treatment of injuries of disorders of the body. It is operative therapeutics. A surgeon is a medical man, treating injuries, deformities and diseases by manual operation.

There are also plastic surgeons who try to improve the physical images of men, women and children. They try to remove disfiguring scars. They eliminate excess tissue and wrinkles from the skin. It is a good work. People feel worried about their physical deformity, and they feel happy after the deformity is removed.

We hear, now and then, about the operations conducted in hospitals and nursing homes. An operation may be major or minor. It may be successful or unsuccessful.

The surgery about which I want to talk to you is not conducted in an operation theatre in some hospital where doctors and nurses work together. But the surgery which I have in mind is conducted elsewhere. It is performed in convent of monastery. It is done by a person whom we do not call a surgeon. But, instead, we call him a Spiritual Guide. He is a physician and a surgeon both.

For every moral and spiritual ailment, he suggests a prescription, and for every injury and deformity of soul, heart, and mind, he uses his subtle surgery with the utmost caution and skill.

According to him, diseases of the body are not so dangerous as the diseases of soul, heart and mind.

He holds that physical deformities are nothing as compared to deformities of life and living.

To remove such type of deformities is not easy. It is an uphill task. It calls for the co-operation of the surgeon and the person who wants the deformities to be removed.

The deformities cannot be removed unless there is change of heart. Change of thoughts is necessary. Change of outlook is also necessary. The view of life needs to be changed.

In other words, there should be internal change and transformation.

A spiritual guide is more like a shepherd, who looks after his flock of sheep.

He is like a physician, who treats different patients suffering from different diseases, in a different way.

He is like an umbrella, giving shade and shelter to his disciples, and protecting them from the rays of the sun and the storm and the rain.

He is like a sheltering tree, under which his disciples sit and enjoy well-earned rest and respite.

His love for his disciples is flower-like.

He hates nothing except falsehood.

He fears nothing except, fear itself. He teaches , guides and inspires his disciples.

The progress and happiness of his disciples, constitute his source of inner satisfaction and joy.

He loves and he is loved.

He, in his moments of exaltation and ecstasy, asks his followers to embark on an exciting tour. In this tour, they need not  cover a long distance. It need not be a tiresome tour. But, it is undoubtedly an exciting and an interesting tour.

It is a tour of Self-Discovery. It constitutes introspection.

Its watchword is “know thyself”.

Once the tour is undertaken, some hidden things are revealed. The tour gives an insight and leads to the discovery of the imperishable treasure lying unnoticed and points to the magnificent power, lying dormant and hidden within.

As soon as an individual has embarked on the Voyage of Self-Discovery, he is amazed and surprised to find that everything is within.

Man is kingdom in himself. The body is the surface. The heart is an oasis. The mind is a garden. The legs are the vehicles. The hands are the implements and tools. The veins are the rivers. The artery is the rivulet. The blood is the ocean.

The glands are the mountains. The scars are the hills. The moles are the sandy dunes. The wrinkles are the plateau. The hair are the trees. Perspiration is the rain. We breathe. Our breath is the air. Our fast breathing is the wind. Our slow and rhythmic breathing is the gentle breeze.

So, what is there that is not in man? If only one may try to discover, he will find that there is everything in man.

One is liable to exclaim with Wordsworth:

“Enough of Science and of Art;

Close up those barren leaves;

Come forth, and bring with you a heart,

That watches and receives”.

If you have that heart, which “watches and receives”, you will say the same thing which Hamlet said:

 

“…I have of late – but wherefore I know not – lost all my mirth, foregone all custom of exercise and indeed, it goes too heartily with my disposition that this goodly frame, the earth, seems to me a sterile promontory, this most excellent canopy, the air, look you, this brave o’erhanging firmament, this majestical roof fretted with golden fire, why, it appears no other thing to me than a foul and pestilent congregation of vapours. What a piece of work is man! how noble in reason! how infinite in faculty! In form and moving how express and admirable! In action how like an angel! In apprehension how like a god! The beauty of the world! the paragon of animals! And yet, to me, what is this quintessence of dust? man delights not me – no, nor woman neither.”

The voyage  of Self-Discovery will reveal that our life is a combination of good and evil. As Shakespeare has said:

  “The web of our life is of a mingled yarn, good and ill together: our virtues would be proud, if our faults, whipped them not and our crimes would despair, if they were not cherished by our virtues.”

For our misfortunes and troubles we, sometimes, blame our luck and sometimes our stars and place all the blame on external factors and circumstances, not realising that we are responsible for what we have done.

Our wrong actions result in painful reaction. Every cause has its effect.

The heart which “Watches and receives”, will, there can be no doubt, agree with what Shakespeare wrote:

“This is the excellent foppery of the world, that when we are sick in fortune-often the surfeit of our own behaviour-we make guilty of our disasters the sun, the moon, and the stars: as if we were villains by necessity, fools by heavenly compulsion; knaves, thieves and teachers by spherical predominance, drunkards, liars, and adulterers by an enforced obedience of planetary influence; and all that we are evil in, by a divine thrusting on! An admirable evasion of whoremaster man, to lay his goatish disposition to the change of  a star..”

If we go a little further in your interesting voyage of Self-Discovery, which you have undertaken, you will find that man has, within him, sentiments, emotions, feelings and the will. They are the guiding forces within. Heart is the abode of love and hatred.

Mind, the noble mind-the vivacious mind-the elegant mind manufactures thought for us-good or bad.

Man has got his own self-image. It may be of self-knowledge, self-respect, or self-reverence, self-control, or self pity. They are such powerful invisible factors, that they can make or  mar the life of an individual.

It has been aptly said:

“Self-reverence, self-knowledge, self-control,These three alone lead life to sovereign power, Yet not for power (power of herself would come uncalled for), but to live by law; Acting the law we live by without fear.”

The exciting feelings, too, are quite at hand. The glamorous intuition, the sublime inspiration and the healthy imagination are ever prepared to take an individual from the multitude, and place him apart, with those who are known and respected for their contribution to human welfare and happiness.

In the life of everyone of us, some glorious moments come, which make our life happy, bright and gay.

The sun-splashed day comes and goes. The dark clouds come and pass.

Then, there are exotic days and exotic nights, having their own traditions.

People pulsate with life and vigour, burying their dead past deep, and looking eagerly forward to bright day and a moonlight, ushering in a bright future, which may bring with it a new message- a message of “Know thyself”, “Self-knowledge”, “mutual love”, “mutual respect”, “mutual understanding”, “mutual adjustment”, “live and let live”, “love” and “toleration”- in other words, of humanism.

How to harness this hidden power for constructive purposes, and how to use it best for one’s own harmonious and balanced development, as well as for the benefit of others, is the problem, which the spiritual guide and teacher solves for his disciples.

He understands the ailment of each and prescribes a prescription according to the malady.

To some, he points out the Path of Service. To others, he recommends the Path of Self-Surrender. There are others, however, for whom he thinks that, Silence is best. He would ask some of his disciples to sit in seclusion for some time.

For those suffering from the malady of egoism or self-conceit, he recommends a unique treatment. The “forgive and forget” treatment is an efficacious treatment. Such people, suffering from such disease should try to win over the hearts of the people, and get their good wishes. They should forgive their enemies for their past enmity, show them amity and let there be no disparity.

To some, he suggests Fasting.

To others, he recommends Prayer and Remembrance. Ascetic practices are also meant for a few patients, who have physical strength, stamina and vigour.

To some he points out the Path of Renunciation. He emphasizes that whatever the spiritual ailment may be, the Path of Love is sure to restore the patient to normal spiritual health.

To those suffering from lust, greed and avarice, he prescribes one world prescription- “Contentment”.

He suggests a new Code of Conduct. This Code serves as a beacon light on the path of the seeker of Truth. He suggests to his disciples that they should try to have a receptive heart, and a trained mind.

Friends and foes should be loved alike. Let the people abuse and admire. It does not matter much.

Those who prosecute and persecute should be treated as engaged in their part-time job.

Those, who ever moan and bemoan and, talk of poverty and penury, should be left alone to enjoy the futile exercise of their morbid imagination.

Those, who boast of their influence and wealth, should be left alone to worship the two unfaithful goddesses in placid peace and in their own troubled heart.

Frustration is a deep wound, which is healed gradually and slowly. Frustration implies lack of Hope , Belief and Faith. Go to and be treated by Hope, nursed by Belief, and ultimately, operated upon by Faith.

Pessimism is a compound fracture. Let there be bandage of uplifting and encouraging thoughts, inspiring ideas and noble ideals.

Depression is a simple fracture. Depression implies lack of control of thoughts. As you think so you become. Depressing thoughts make you depressed. Indigestion also leads to depression. So, it is advisable to eat less and digest more.

Fresh air, gentle walks, pursuit of hobby, literature and poetry, serve as an antidote to depression.

Fear, Craft and Avarice are the wrinkles on the face. Such wrinkles can be removed by Courage, Sincerity and Self-Satisfaction.

Greed is an ugly scar on the body. Greed leads to exploitation and manipulation. It is a negation of happiness. This scar requires the attention of an eminent surgeon, who can be no other than an inspired spiritual guide.

Egoism and Selfishness are the enlarged glands. Let them undergo and operation at the hands of Altrusim, and Benevolence.

A Gland is a major sin.

Pride and prejudice are the injuries, caused by a sharp-edged weapon They require the ointment known as “Humbleness, Meekness, and Humanism”.

Injustice, Hypocrisy, Deceit, and Duplicity are the other injuries, caused by a blunt weapon. A different ointment called, “justice, Sincerity, Fair Play and Frankness” is sure to heal such injuries.

Self control

Self Control is a sovereign remedy for many ills of omission and commission.

To have self-control means to have control of the mind and to have an iron-will and dogged determination.

It is self-control, which gives dignity to life.

Tongue should be controlled. More injuries are caused by the tongue than by the sword.

Thoughts should be controlled, and passions, emotions and sentiments, likewise, should be controlled. Desires should also be controlled.

Meditation

Meditation is also useful. Those who have no concentration, those who have a grasshopper mind, those who have negative thoughts, those, who cannot control their mind, for them meditation is best.

It should be done in a secluded place and preferably in the daytime.

During meditation one should sit at ease with his eyes closed, lips closed, ears closed and tongue tight. Silence of soul, mind, heart and tongue is necessary. Time and place should be fixed.

What one should meditate on during meditation differs from person to person. The spiritual guide should be consulted before undertaking meditation.

Guiding-posts

Will should be direct rightly.

Sentiments should be regulated correctly.

Emotions should be controlled properly.

There can be no good life without good living.

 

Milestones

Be gentle, firm and loving.

Do not creep but walk.

Run and do not feel tired.

Smile and tears are also a part of the game called life.

Be generous, but not ostentatious

 

The question and Answer

Some members have asked me as to how, and in what manner, they should remember me after I am dead and gone. I am furnishing them the information required:

People may boast of their pomp and power,

But, I want to live in an ivory tower;

They may sing of their wealth and treasure,

ut I am happy to enjoy my leisure;

They may enjoy a glittering goblet on green grass,

But, I find myself placed in a different class;

They may feel proud of their family and valiant deed,

But, I do not believe in colour, caste or creed;

They may tell tales of their romance and love,

but, I think I have still to wait, watch and serve;

They may talk of their influence and fame,

but, to me, they go by the same door by which they came;

They may be interested in domination and strife,

But, I want to lead a carefree, simple life;

They may extol their ambitions and show,

But, I am content with what my Great God may bestow.

I am happy and satisfied to lead my life with the Bride of poverty of exquisite beauty, guiding me to the path of simple living and high thinking.

I do not expect anyone to talk about me and tell tale, which I have told today, after I have ceased breathing.

It is enough, if you remember me as one who loved you well and loved you wisely too, giving you a sense of direction, proportion and perspective, a goal and a definite purpose.

I am neither  in hurry nor in worry. I am ever in relaxed frame of mind

I  am thankful to get and receive whatever my Great God of Glory and Majesty in his Infinite Grace and Abounding Generosity, may gracefully give, or bestow.

 


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). Alternatively you can subscribe to our blog for updates.

The Mystical Capsules

 

 

At the very outset, let us pray and invoke the help and Guidance of God that, He may give us strength and the courage of our convictions to stand and uphold our ideal of a better and happier world. A world where there are no invidious distinctions of caste, creed, clan or colour, where misunderstandings disappear, where people have learnt to live in harmony and peace, where people have learnt to appreciate each other’s point of view, and where the spirit of tolerance and forbearance serves as a check and a brake on the acquisitive and aggressive instincts of men and women inhabiting the globe.

 

How we should live, move and work in this Age of stress? Why should there be famine, where abundance lies? Why should there be lack, when there is no lack in the higher realm? Why should we be cruel to our sweet self?

We are the world’s beautiful ornament. Let us hear the music of life, but we should not hear it sadly. But, when we hear it, we should be calm, collected, placid and happy. There should be no moaning, groaning, sighing, wailing and weeping. When we hear the music of life, let us laugh and smile. Then,

“Come, my friend, tis not too late to seek a newer world.”

Let us be

“Strong in will to strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.”

You may have seen people, taking a rich diet, containing proteins, vitamins and minerals. They take milk, malt and cocoa. They try to take a nutritive diet in order to compensate for the leakage and loss of energy.

Some people take medicated oil massages, which to them is an effective treatment for muscular dystrophy, paralysis, strokes, arthritis, sciatica, lumbago, gout, rheumatic complaints, and for post-polio conditions. They think that the medicine, medicated oil health massages serve as a preventive medicine to relieve them from aches and pains and to tone up their circulatory system. Moreover, there are so many people who are victims of nervous shocks and heart disease.

It may give them temporary relief, but it cannot effectively cure the disease. The disease is not caused mainly by the deficient diet, but is mostly due to other causes. It may be due to anger, hatred, fear, excitement, feverish activity, tension, anxiety, exhaustion, fatigue or worry.  Physical rest is not enough. What is needed is mental rest. Let the mind be at peace.

So it is better:

  • To fix some time, when you are all alone.
  • To stop the machinery of the mind for some time-maybe even for a few minutes.
  • To forgive and forget.
  • To forget past failures and disappointments, and to forge a bright future by your own unaided efforts.

It is not wise to brood over the past. Let us manufacture our happiness. It is not and it cannot be manufactured for us anywhere else. All our happiness is self-created. And for all our unhappiness, we are ourselves responsible.

Nothing can enter in our life, unless we so allow anything to enter. Can anyone enter your house without your permission? I do not think so. And if anybody may so enter, you will treat the person as a trespasser, and will try to eject him either by the intervention of court, or by your own efforts.

Mystics have been careful to see, that nothing enters their life, which they do not like, or which they think is not conducive to their happiness, spiritual advancement or to their inner joy.

You decide whether you are to be happy or unhappy. I am sure you will decide to be happy. Once you have chosen happiness as you object or goal, then discard unhappiness, and also discard all those things which bring unhappiness.

Let us then, like the mystics, wait on God to renew our strength.

To be happy, it is necessary that we should have calm thoughts, tranquillity and peace of mind, a clean soul, a trained mind, a receptive heart, and also eyes, that see romance in everyday life, and in the common places.

In order to be happy, we should have a child’s heart and spiritual simplicity. Displaying childlike simplicity in middle or old age denotes a genius. Indeed, “A light heart lives long.”

It is better to avoid super-sophistication. The mystics have walked on the surface of the earth with its many roads, lanes, and by-lanes, paths, and by-paths with measured steps. They have been active in the performance of their duty. Their eyes were in search of truth, and they utilized their tongue for preaching and propagating, what they thought best in the interest of the failing and tumbling humanity, and in giving discourses so varied and various.

The mystics are impregnated with idealism. Thus, they are idealists. They have their own ideas and ideals. They have their own dreams and devotions.

You may also have dreams by all means. But, do not have day dreams. Try to make your dreams a reality. Dream by all means, of plans and schemes to make your life noble and sublime. Your dreams and visions should aim at making your life useful to you and to others.

Have an ideal in life, and pursue it vigorously and assiduously.

Let us plan our life according to the mystic pattern. Let us plan and dream accordingly. Let us chalk out:

Perennial happiness plan;

Live in peace plan;

Service without reward plan;

Conserve energy plan;

Forgive and forget plan;

Getting better and better plan;

To be true in faith plan;

To be firm in belief plan;

A new dignity and sense of purpose plan,

To have a future with promise plan,

Liberation of our soul plan;

Overcoming temptation plan;

Turning misfortune into fortune plan.

Why hesitate then? Come, visualise, act and plan. Make your life beautiful. You must feel like singing a song. Let your life be as bright as the moon and as beautiful as a star sprinkled night.

Mysticism, being the cry of the soul, is a part of Universal History. The other part is setting an example of better living, contributing substantially to human happiness, ensuring safety, and security to men and women, encouraging the common love and self-confidence, working towards improvement of dental, physical, mental and spiritual health, and encouraging wholesome recreation among youth and soft conversation among old person.

A mystic’s involvement does not end here or there. It has identified itself with human happiness, human welfare and human progress, through various devices and services to the community, like:

Meeting the needs and requirement of youth.

Reclamation of antisocial elements.

Rehabilitation of the displaced person.

Sober advice to the business community to observe ethical standards in their enterprise.

Freeing women from bigotry, superstition, and narrow mindedness.

Providing social equality and equality of opportunities. Acting as a co-ordinating link between the masses and the classes.

It is a total involvement.

Mystic culture should be like a coin and it should be in circulation. One side of this coin should have inscription-“Self-image” and the other side of the coin should bear the inscription-“Devotion to the cause”.

Do you understand its implications? It means that, your self-image is of great importance to you. And you cannot be a man with a mission, unless you are devoted to the cause.

Let us take a short trip to the glory of the immemorial mystic culture. Let us walk through the shadowy lanes of the centuries gone. We are out to witness the programme, depicting the spiritual heritage of mankind.

Time will tell you stories,that will astonish you. Day will tell you stories of the adventure of living. Night will tell you stories of people, who have searched, and ultimately found their real self.

There is a stupendous panorama of romanticism. Romance combined with love, lent beauty and harmony to life. Lives simply lived, having no flashes of the so-called awe—inspiring majesty, became the focus of attention for myriads of people.

The life of a mystic is a festival, which is neither rustic nor traditional. It has, within it, the throbs of the aspirations of the people, who are in search of truth, and it has a wealth of the history of mankind, trying to overcome temptation. At times, it seems as if some musician is singing a melodious song, and thereby, creating new horizons.

Proceeding further, we find that the city gate of the Palace of Truth has still the throbs of those who lived, worked and died for a noble cause.

Their life displays a treasure of exquisite mystic handicrafts, with which you can adorn your life.

 

Leadership is not merely the matter of occupying a high rank, or sitting in the Upper or Lower House of the Legislature. It implies the power of inspiring confidence in men and women, who are meant to be trained to live and to work together in harmony and peace.

The Prophets and saints have been the real leaders of men. They inspired people by precepts and practice.

Prophet Mohammed (PBUT) lays down that:

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

And

“The best of alms is that which the right hand giveth, and the left hand knoweth not of.”

Lord Jesus Christ advises thus:

“Be not afraid, only believe”.

And,

“Take ye heed, watch and pray; For ye know not when the time is.”

According to Lord Buddha:

“Happy is he who has overcome all selfishness: happy is he who has attained peace and happy is he who has found the truth.”

 

Lord Krishna suggest thus:

“Let not thy peace be disturbed even if thou art ridiculed or ill-spoken of by others.”

 

Guru Nanak Sahib lays down:

“They 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.”

 

If you read history carefully, you will find that, ignorance, superstition, bigotry, lust for power, and ambition have done more harm than all the wars waged so far.

Every failure can be turned into success. To be dejected or despondent means and implies to be overpowered by failure.

Search is always rewarding.

Zeal wants devotion.

Love wants sacrifice.

Honour barters.

Beauty alters.

Favour falters.

Fortune is blind.

Future is uncertain.

Our belonging to a mystical order involves justice, honesty and sobriety in our individual life.

A mystic always makes an earnest endeavour to keep himself close to the Source of Grace, and to make everyday a day of thanksgiving and a day of opportunity for him.

It is true that God helps everybody, but it must be remembered that He has a special care for those who belong to the household of faith.

Birds have wings. They fly with wings. You, too, have wings. Why not fly with them? You, too can fly with your two wings-Faith and Belief.

Sometimes, our life is visited by a crisis. A crisis lasts so long as we sit and ponder over it. But, as soon as we stand up and act, the crisis is diffused. The very crisis becomes an opportunity. Let us avail the opportunity afforded by crisis.

Let us pray, that God may grant us the prop of Faith, the treasure of Hope, the bliss of Peace, the ecstasy of Joy emanating from Divine Love and the Glory of His vision.

Let us not pitch our hopes too high. Hope is a good companion, but an erring guide. When the ship of Hope sinks, there is nothing left, but a string of bubbles, marking and pointing out the spot, where the ship of Hope has just sunk.

Our prayer, then should be:

I want nothing beyond what I am given.

All I crave is love.

All I seek is Thy Pleasure.

All I long for is Thy Grace.

All I want is sympathy.

All I desire is understanding.

All I yarn is happiness.

All I ask for is courage.

There are beautiful moments in life, which deserve a gift of love.

Let us give someone we love, something rare and useful, combining devotion with foresight. A piece of good advice is a good gift, indeed.

Avail every opportunity.

You are a builder. Your build under the vigilant eye of the Architect of the Universe. Build for better life, and build for better living.

Do not brood over your suffering. Face it before it is too late. Do not think, that you are born in a paradise. But, think that you are born in the world with all its suffering. You must take the world as it is.

Shakespeare thus describes life:

“The web of our life is of a mingled yarn, good and ill together; our virtues would be proud, if our faults whipped them not; and our crimes would despair, if they were not cherished by our virtues.”

Life does not require a soft bed. It can be beautiful with sunshine, and colour, the wind and the clouds. It can also be made a dark lane, where there are no shadows.

The mystics, by their smile, have shown, that to them, there is no difference between life and death.

In the short span of life, try to occupy a driver’s seat. When you are, thus, seated, how can anyone take you to a place where you do not want to go?

Fact-finding may be a good thing, but fault-finding cannot be justified on any account. The mystics have always refrained from disclosing, or exposing the faults, shortcomings or limitations of others.

In fact, sainthood means covering the shortcomings of others with a thick cloth.

It is better to be born lucky than rich.

Your positive imagination is your good friend.

True love is unchanging. It has no caste and no colour. It is the same in the East and the West. And, it will be the same for ever.

Our lifestyle should exhibit a model of restrained emotions. In Nature, we find joy and not sadness. Let the beauty of Nature sink into the mind and relieve us of memories sad. Let us understand the eloquent teachings of Nature. Let Nature be your teacher. The eminent English poet Wordsworth thus says:

“One impulse from the vernal wood,

Can teach us more of man,

Of moral, evil and of good,

Than all the sages can.”

 

We go to a physician, when we are ill. When we are under his treatment, we follow his suggestions. We show our confidence in his skill, and we co-operate with him. For the solution of our problems, let us repose our implicit faith in the Great Physician, and I am sure your faith will reward you amply.

The best way to shoot a lion is to go up and shoot. So go up and shoot the brute in you, which is more ferocious than the lion.

Let us search, and find out the new lights in and around us.

Do you hear the clarion call of the glorious morning?

 

The clarion call of the glorious morning, is to the effect, that you are mine as I am yours, and so I am here to give you glad tidings and a report.

 

The starts that shine over you, do not come to you. You look to the start above, that are shining over you.

Time will tell you truth, the whole truth, nothing but truth.

It is good to get love, but, it is better to give love. Words give colour to your thoughts, and love gives sweetness to your words.

By all means, let the wise world peer into our life, and analyse one by one, our shrieks and our moans. But, let it not mock over us, and ridicule us, after we are dead and gone.

Some mystics stare in frank amazement at their surroundings. They find a peculiar sort of sophistication above them, which does not pleasantly impress them. Neither be artful or artificial in your bearings.

Indignation, frustration, sorrow and suffering, worry and woe, anxiety, fear and pain are a part and parcel of human life.

It is the price that we have to pay of being born.

Let us take courage in both hands, and overcome them before we go to sleep again.

If you exhibit patience, you will emerge as bright as the moon after the eclipse.

Here are some mystical capsules for you. Take one capsule a day. You may, or may not keep the doctor away. But, I think, that you shall get better and better every day.

 

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

The Nightingale said to the Rose in words simple and plain,

Thou are torn and split, and I in anguish ever complain;

Why I do not see the face of the Friend, I cannot explain,

Though the Friend as a gift of love has given his pain.

 

 


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). Alternatively you can subscribe to our blog for updates.

 

Tackling Tension

I Invite you again to share the sweet smell of Beauty’s rose. The gifts of unthrifty loveliness are free. Let us share them among ourselves.

I feel happy and jubilant that we have come close together once again. Community of interest, mutual love and regard and concern for each other constitute the silken cords binding us together. We share the same outlook. We hold firmly and tenaciously the same ideas and ideals and fundamental convictions about life and its problems.

We, as members of the respective Sufi orders (Silsila’s) are guided by common aspirations, dreams and devotions and a common sense of obligations.

We stand for human brotherhood and individual dignity and for the growth and dignity of human personality.  We have to remember that we have to discharge our duties and our obligations under any circumstance, even in the tough and tumble, pressure and stress and storms besetting modern life.

It is unfortunate that we have not as yet been able to give a new orientation to the classes and the masses, and have made no definite, contribution to make their life happy, jolly and gay. The mystics have, in the past, by their precept, personal example and practice, changed the tenor of life of the people. They freed them to a great extent from inner conflict, tension, worry and anxiety.

Life is a voyage on an ocean, and we are the floating vessels upon this vast ocean. A little negligence or a little carelessness will no doubt drown us. Let us follow then the law of this ocean so that we may save ourselves from being wiped out or drowned.

People find themselves in disgrace with fortune. They moan and they groan. Life to them is a fitful fever. Instead of finding a cure, treatment or solution, they want to sleep, never to get up again.

Man’s anxieties and fears have landed him in a position, where he has to strive and struggle, not only with himself, but against the environment in which he lives and moves.

We have seen and heard people saying:

“I am worried.

I am anxious.

I am not happy.

Life has no charm for me.

I have my own problems which defy solution.

To me life is a burden.

Cares and worries have robbed me of happiness.

Man is not meant to be a victim of adverse circumstances.”

 

According to Epictetus:

  ” If a man is unhappy, this must be his own fault, for God made all men to be happy”

It is true that we are prone to melancholy. Omar Khayyam in one of his quatrains laments:

” We sojourn here for one short day or so, And all the gain we get, is grief and woe, And then, leaving life’s problems all unsolved And harassed by regrets, we have to go.”

Tension has now become a universal phenomenon. Maladjustment of life is a common human experience. Life has become a constant struggle against the environment, both internal and external.

Tension is an emotional state, which is both unpleasant and apprehensive. It has become a common disease. Millions of prescriptions are dispensed for psychotropic drugs to combat tension.

People differ, of course, in their tension proneness. Hereditary endowment plays a great part. Discipline, training, self-control and nervous system are equally the determining factors.

The present age has been termed as an “Age of Anxiety.” The politician, the philosopher, the psychiatrist and the psychologist peer into the mist, and wonder what the end of man on earth will be. Anxiety and tension have now come to occupy a prominent place in the vocabulary of everyday life, and thus, it is a new concept and a new phenomenon. It is a product of the modern competitive age with its concomitants of insecurity, political upheaval, social disorganization, economic crises, rapid change in the social setup, leading to swift and sure birth of new ideas and values.

Tension and anxiety are the twins, having connection with the higher nervous system function. Anxiety may be either active or passive. In the case of passive anxiety, there is slow breathing and a slow heartbeat, but in active anxiety, there is faster breathing, a swift heartbeat and an increased muscle tension.

Tension is infectious. In Persian, there is an aphorism which says:

  “A Sad heart makes others sad.”

Tension may be due to environmental factors. Inherited factors play a prominent part in predisposition to tension, but the influence of environment cannot be ignored.

The difference between fear and tension is that fear is related to some object in the environment, but tension relates to inner factors. Tension may be due to the loss of some bond of affection with another person, or the loss of a loved one. Danger of loss, suffering or the pain of mourning leads to a state of tension. It may also be due to a reaction to stress or fear.

They mystics have viewed the state of human beings with sympathy. They have tried to console the afflicted man and to take him out of the whirlpool of misery. According to the mystics, man has invited misery by his own misdeeds.

A person should not be tense or terse but should be the reverse.

Men have refused to listen to the voice of truth. The human heart, which was originally an abode of peace, became disturbed and agitated like the surface of the sea under the action of a storm. His evil inclination landed him in a stage of tension, anxiety and worry.

The avarice, just, agreed, desire, pride and pelf have brought misery upon mankind. They have lost respect for piety, faith and morality. Man was thus robbed of happiness. His innocence was snatched from him – the innocence, which was of great consequence, and was an invaluable pearl beyond all earthly evaluation.

The mystics firmly hold and believe that the state of tension leads to a spiritual shipwreck. The treasures of eternity are lost. What remains and is saved is worth less -idle tears, repugnant remorse, a sickly body, a damaged nervous system and bruised heart.

Tranquility is undoubtedly the banquet of life. It confers upon us serenity, solemnity, sobriety and above all, grace abounding.

We have to learn a great deal from nature. Nature speaks but we do not hear. There are flowers so delicate and so beautiful giving a nice smell. Amongst flowers, the rose is considered the best. But, there is a rose flower, that perishes in the garden.

As Gray says:

” Full many a flower is born to blush unseen, And waste its sweetness on the desert air.”

There is yet another rose flower that forms part of a garland, and the garland is round the neck of a bride or bridegroom. There is another rose flower, which is in the buttonhole of the king or some dignitary. And then, there is another rose flower, which is offered as a mark of respect, devotion and affection at the tomb of some saint.

In spite of the different types of treatment meted out to the rose flower it is contented with its lot. There are no shrieks. It gives smell to all persons. It is to all alike, hostile to none. This self composed state, the mystics say, has given it inner beauty. It has learnt to surrender itself.

Now, let us take another aspect of the rose. There is no rose flower without a thorn. Its thorns teach us that to achieve any great thing in life, it is necessary to undergo some sort of suffering and severity. Let us, then be a little severe towards ourselves. Let us not be drawn by temptations.

The thorns of a rose point out the mortification which a person has to face in life. The thorns prevent the rose from being trampled underfoot or plucked easily by an unscrupulous person.

Likewise, our trials and tribulations protect us from temptations. They fortify us and give us added courage to face and overcome the trials and tribulations of life.

The rose blossoms and then fades away. It teaches us that earthly glory is short- lived. Personal possessions are not going to last long. Personal beauty is a perishable possession and so its loss should not cause anxiety.

The perishable nature of a rose points to the shortness of life. The life of a rose is very short, and so is human life, fleeting and short. We must not, then, attach any importance to things which are not going to last. What is important is that we should try to be like the rose, giving smell to friends and foes, not caring the least how we are treated and where we are placed in life.

Tension is now a universal phenomenon. To combat it and to overcome it, many institutions and groups came into existence. Religion came to the rescue of the afflicted, sorry and sad and careworn man. Tribal organizations were formed. Professional groups and caste groups tried to alleviate the suffering of the toiling and tumbling humanity.

The origin, formations, developments and consolidation of various groups marked a step forward, towards the goal of achieving a good life and better living for an individual

The groups are of different types, having different objectives in mind.  There are political groups, professional groups and familial groups and other groups.

The political group assigned the cause of man’s tension to political systems. They demanded more rights for the people. They hold that the political system should be such that it may give security to life and property and it may protect their rights. According to the exponents of the political groups, participation of the people in the day-to-day administration is necessary and imperative in order to save them from frustration.  The muscles of democratic choice must be used with caution and care.

The economic group tenaciously holds and affirms that the cause of man’s tension is economic exploitation. They want that exploitation should be replaced by co-operation. According to this group, the economic condition of an individual determines for him his life.

In Persian there is an aphorism which says:

 “In precarious livelihood implies a confused heart.”

Thus, the economic groups lay stress that the economic system should be reformed and economic institutions be reorganized, in order to enable them to perform effectively their duty of securing for an individual a rational standard of living, employment and sense of security which may save them from being a victim of tension, fear, worry and anxiety.

The mystics have not been silent spectators, sitting on the fence and calculating the weather, watching the tragedy being shown on the screen of the wold. They came out of their ivory tower to the rescue of man.

Their approach to the problem of human suffering is different and at variance from what others have suggested. According to them, happiness comes from within. They think that thought is a potent instrument of change. As a man thinks so he becomes. They want to change the man from inside.

They assigned themselves the task of man-making. They emphasized that desire, inglorious competitive spirit, and the desire to dominate others, constitute the chief causes of man’s tension, fear, worry and anxiety. It is true to say that:

” We live in deeds not words; in thoughts not breaths;

In feelings, not in figures on a dial,

We should count time in heart-throbs.

He most lives Who thinks most, feels more deeply, acts the best.”

Let the people co-operate with others in their efforts to achieve their own standards of value. People should have an aim in life. An aimless life is like drifting on a sea, not knowing where to land. It has been said and said wisely:

“Not grief nor pain, but lack of aim, Leads mortals to despair.”

The mystics recommend honest recreation, right use of leisure, a taste of literature, art and poetry, and a spirit of thankfulness. Let us then act in a way befitting the dignity of man:

 

” When on life’s billows,

You are tempest tossed,

When you are discouraged,

Thinking all is lost,

Reckon up your blessings,

Count them one by one,

And it will surprise you

What the Lord had done.”

 To the mystics, joy and sorrow are like the two sides of a coin. Life without sorrow is a meaningless conception. How can there be a sunshine without shadow? Can there be a rose without thorns? But a mystic is thankful that at least thorns have a beautiful flower. Sorrow is the lot of man and to subdue it requires the skill of man. Cowper gives this message.

 ” The path of sorrow, and that path alone, Leads to the land, where sorrow is unknown.”

Karen lays down thus:

“So, verily,

With every difficulty

There is relief.

Verily, with every difficulty

There is relief.”

Shelly shows the spirit of optimism when he says:

” The trumpet of a prophecy! O, Wind, If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind.”

Man is responsible for his own suffering. If he is unhappy it is his own fault. Marcus Aurelius expresses his views on human destiny thus:

” The gods have put all the means in man’s power to enable him not to fall into real evils. Now that which does not make a man worse, how can it make his life worse.”

According to Goethe:

“Care worn man has in all ages Sown vanity to reap despair.”

Epictetus offers his own solution. He says:

   ” I am always content with that which happens, for I think that what God chooses is better than what I choose.”

The eminent mystic poet and Sufi saint, Hafiz of Shiraz, has different  solution to offer:

” Bear with patience Hafiz, the hardships of night and day.

At last, thou shalt someday achieve thy object in some way.”

And he also suggests:

 “O Hafiz, from the autumnal winds in the garden of the world, do not feel sorry and forlorn, Think properly, where is the rose without a thorn.”

The worry of Hamlet was a strange type, from which so many people still suffer. Hamlet in his spiritual agony utters:

” O God, God,

How weary, stale, flat and unprofitable Seem to me all the uses of this world. Fie on it ah fie, ’tis an unweeded garden That grows to seed, things rank and gross in nature, Possess it merely.”

The greatest harm that tension, fear, worry and anxiety cause is that they deprive an individual of concentration, inner harmony, inner joy, the spirit of thankfulness, and the power of making quick decisions, so very necessary in the modern world of swift changes.

According to the mystics the way to avoid tension, fear, worry and anxiety, is to follow and Practise the following code of conduct. Practice  them one by one, and after you have mastered it, proceed to the next.

Learn to obey before you issue orders.

Avoid idle chatter and frivolous talk.

Pass some time in the fresh air.

Cultivate hobbies.

Do you work and leave the result to God.

See what you have become by hard work, and not what you have got by hard work.

In times of stress show patience.

Cultivate the spirit of toleration.

Expect nothing from people.

Have an ideal in life and pursue it vigorously.

Try to live in the present. The past is dead.

The future is still unborn then why worry.

Have a fewer wants.

Concentrate on things that really matter.

Remember that forgiveness is power.

Avoid avarice and greed.

Cultivate taste for good society.

Have an optimistic outlook on life.

Perform your social obligations.

Realize that when days of happiness and affluence are gone, the hard time is not going to last very long.

Breath slowly and rhythmically.

Let Courage be your sword and Patience be your armour.

Avoid over excitement.

Abstain from revenge, malice, jealousy, rancour and ill-will.

Take every day as a new day, bringing to you a new message.

Pray and believer that your prayer is heard and accepted.

Praise others in public, and if you criticize them at all, do it in privacy.

Happiness also demands some sacrifice.

Make a concerted attack on your house, and try and turn it into a home sweet home.

Live and let other live.

Do not magnify your worry or anxiety by thinking too much and too often on it. Ignore and forget it as long as you can and it will die out of itself.

Read good books and enjoy good poetry.

Cultivate the spirit of self surrender.

Take pain and pleasure as constituting the normal course of life.

Follow the rule:

” Let one thing lead to another.”

Love all, hate none.

Do service without the hope of reward.

Mutual competition should give place to mutual co-operation.

The problem of worry should not be studied in a hurry or in isolation. An attempt should be made to overcome tension, fear, worry and anxiety by mystical canons. A spiritual approach is required to face the problems offered by the Brave New World. To overcome them, do not run away and say “I cannot”, but stay on and say with a smile,

  “I Can”; “I Can.”

******

 

Abstain, O abstain from tension, fear and dismay:

Look up, and see the broad light of the day;

Take it as thy birthright to be jolly and gay,

Awake, and arise, and find the way.

 

 

 


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 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

c1c2c526aa7cb17a04294bef0e73b915--my-heart-happy-heart
 
 
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).
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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