Hzrt Bayazid Bistami (R.A) says

Rah- e -Tasawwuf ( The path of Sufi mysticism )


HAZRAT BAYAZID BISTAMI SAYS:
1. It is only the beginning, if an arif possess the
qualities of the Almighty


2. Inner knowledge without love is worthless.


3. Almighty God knows the heart of His saints. There
are a few who are unable to bear the burden of
the inner knowledge, hence He has kept them
occupied with worship.


4.God bestows three qualities on those who are dear
to Him: generosity like the river, kindness like the
sun and hospitality like that of the earth.


5. The Almighty God appoints a Pharaoh over those
He accepts, so that he may cause them difficulties.


6. Keeping company with good people is better than
having virtues and keeping company with the
wicked is worse than having vices.


7. Strive in your struggle, but keep the eyes on His grace.
8. He is an arif, who cannot be corrupted by any
religion or custom and through whom all impurities are cleansed.


9. When people asked him what a dervish is, he
replied: He, who has found a treasure in the lotus
of the heart, would be a disgrace to the life
hereafter but he, who has found the ‘pearls of
love’ in this treasure, is a dervish.


10. When people asked him, when will man reach
the Almighty God, he replied, “by annihilating the
self within”.


11. When people asked him, “how have you achieved
all that you have”, he replied, “by collecting all the
worldly goods, tying them with the chains of
contentment, putting them in the slings of sincerity
and casting them away in the river of despair”.


(TAZKARAT-UL-AULIA)

The life pattern of the mystics.

The mystics are, in a way, like the sun. They also give light and dispel darkness. They inspire, guide and teach.

Nobody worships the setting sun. But, unlike the sun, even when the mystics die and depart, they are adorned and extolled.

Like the rays of the sun, they make no distinction between man and man. To them, there is no East or West and no border or birth.

Likewise, a mystic believes in service rendered to the people, belonging as they do, to different sects, groups, and communities.

A mystic is, in fact, above the distinctions of caste, creed, colour, religion or region.

A mystic believes and believes firmly, what Hamlet says to Horatio:

“There are more things in Heaven and Earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”

A mystic is an institution in himself. His lifestyle serves as a beacon light. The eminent poet H.W. Longfellow truly says:

“Lives of great men all remind us We can make our lives sublime, And, departing, leave behind us Footprints on the sand of time…”

To a mystic, life is a great gift. Life then, being a gift, it is for us to make it or mar it, use it or abuse it, assimilate it or dissipate it.

Right use of life is necessary for creative living. Life is a constant search for new avenues.

The mystics lead a calm, placid and serene life. They prize the gift of life, and as such, they offer thanks to their Creator, Who has bestowed the gift of life upon them.

They have pity for those who do not use the gift of life in a befitting manner.

They are a peace -loving people, who abhor selfish-ness. Sri Ramakrishna very aptly says:

“The first sign of knowledge is a peaceful nature, and the second is the absence of egotism.”

Everyone of us, whether high or low, rich or poor, literate or illiterate, is given some gift to be utilized and used rightly. If the gift so given is not used rightly, it ceases to be a gift. The gift, so given, is to sustain the man. If not used properly, and at the opportune time, it does not lift,but lowers the man.

The mystics know how to use the gifts. The right use of a thing is an achievement, indeed.

The character of a man is best judged in a time of crisis. How he acts and reacts in a time of poverty and penury, in a time of degradation,deprivation, despondency, and in a time of some loss , sorrow, suffering and misfortune, proclaims the type of man that he is.

The mystics accept with a smile whatever comes in their way, for they take it as coming from their Friend, and as such, it is a gift from their Beloved.

The mystics take the crisis, calamity or misfortune as a normal course of human life. Where is the sea which may not have ebb and tide? Where is the sun and the moon which may not undergo eclipse some time or the other? Where is the steam of crystal clear pure water, which may not have mud in the bottom?

In moments of darkness, they act as normal persons. They do not show worry, anxiety, care or fear in face of danger.

Every one of us undergoes, at times, emotional strain. An ordinary man is cowed down, but a mystic, gifted with insight and endowed with spiritual vigour and force, remains normal, sane and sober.

To meet a challenge and to face a problem with fortitude and courage is the distinguishing mark of the trait of character of those evolved spiritually.

Everyone has some problem or the other. The problem may be big or small, but,it poses a threat to inner harmony and peace.

I do not think that there is any person, who may claim to have no problem. I do not believe that there can be any life, so barren, as to have no problem.

To have a problem is the sign of a vibrating life. To solve the problem is the sign of self-mastery.

To have a problem is good, but to be a problem is bad.

The mystics are not the slaves of passions. They take the problem as the spice of life. They seek the solution in self-adjustment.

To a mystic, success and failure do not matter the least. They come and they go. They are passing phase of life. They are to him relative terms.

To him, success implies the arduous pursuit of the goal, which is nothing, but to get rid of the double self. Double self is an impediment to inner purification and inner illumination. One cannot serve God and Mammon at the same time.

There are two types of life-the outward life and the inner life, or we may say the material life and the spiritual life. One cannot embrace both. He has to take one and leave the other.

A mystic aspires for inner unity, harmony and peace. He wants to free himself from the shackles and burden of double self. Double self implies divided self. Divided self leads to divided attention and divided pursuits, with the result, that it becomes an impediment to his onward march to unification.

The process of unification is beset with uncertainty and difficulties. Sometimes, the process is long, demanding patience. The process of unification does not admit of any reason or rhyme. It knows of no dogma or doctrine. But what it requires is the search and the quest.

Unification, is true, comes slowly and gradually. But sometimes, it so happens, that, it comes all of a sudden. Sometimes, it comes through mystical experience. Intellectual insight is another powerful influence.

Inner discord is inner conflict. Like any other conflict, inner conflict is tormenting. Sometimes the life of a person is changed suddenly. How does it happen? What is that force, vigour or stimulus that does this astonishing feat?

Love changes the life of a person to such and extent as nothing else can. To those, who lead an inner life, love is a sustaining power. It is a supreme passion. To the mystics, love is a gift-an invaluable gift. The guiding star of love is the signpost.

Love, to be really love, should be free from all considerations. It should be such that,

it never alters;

it never falters;

it never barters;

it is above all possessions;

it seeks nothing;

it gives everything;

it pays the price; and

it prepares for any sacrifice.

Ambition is another stimulus. Revenge is another. Devotion is also an aid to the process of unification.

Process of unification calls for self-control. Hence, one should get rid of lust, greed, avarice, and above all, of anger and worry.

Anger and worry are the great impediments. They are the symbols of the divided self. Anger is the brute in man. As regards worry, what is the hurry to worry about? Plato says:

“Nothing in the affairs of men is worth worrying about.”

No healthy man would like to walk on crutches. Everyone wants to walk on his feet, and not to creep. To a mystic, so long as we are under the influence of our inner enemies, which are no other than greed, lust, anger, malice and worry, we remain paralysed and as such, we cannot stand and walk. We can only creep.

Anger and worry are the two formidable enemies of relaxed living and inner peace.

Instead of anger and worry, the life of the mystics is characterized by patience and the spirit of tolerance.

The eminent Sufi poet Hafiz of Shiraz has something relevant and important to suggest. He says in one of his verses thus:

” The comfort of the two worlds constitutes the commentary of these two words, With friends kindness, with enemies courtesy.”

The mystics are essentially persons, fired by imagination. What William Blake wrote is true in the case of the mystics:

“To see a world in a grain of sand, And heaven in a wild flower, Hold infinity in the palm of your hand, And eternity in an hour.”

They are idealists and actuated by an ideal. They are men of vision, who design a different world from the one we live in.

To call them men of force, vigour and of lofty character, endowed with dignity of manner, purity of heart, sublimity of thought, felicity of expression, noble deeds, simplicity, sincerity, humility, sympathy, and integrity, is not exaggeration. But, it is a factual statement supported by their precepts and practices.

The mystics are men of character. They exhibit such noble traits of character as industry, sobriety, indifference to pain and pleasure, sterling honesty of purpose, truthfulness, kindness, mercilessness, courage, goodness, and uprightness in all its phases.

Good life implies good character. About good life, George Herbert says thus:

“A handful of good life is worth a bushel of learning.”

To the mystics, character is their invaluable asset. Genius commands admiration. But, what is it that commands respect?

A man may be very rich, but it is not necessary, that he may be kept in respect by others. There may be a leader, who may be praised, but not necessarily respected. There may be an officer, who may be feared, but not respected.

It is, in fact, character, which commands respect.

What is character after all? Character has been defined as “one of the greatest motive powers in the world”.

Wealth has nothing to do with the elevation of character. High and noble character does not depend upon the acquisition of knowledge and learning. In fact, “Intellectual culture has no necessary relation to purity or excellence of character.”

Genius commands admiration, character secures respect. Genius is a product of brain-power, whereas character is a product of heart-power.

In all countries and in all ages, men of genius are admired, but men of character are followed. The fact is, that it is heart, which in the long run, rules in life.

A man should not be judged by his material possessions, but by his ideals, ideas, purpose and by his outlook on life.

A mystic is primarily an introvert. He abhors fame and does not care for name, Sanctity and piety cannot seduce him.

To be good in one thing. It is, indeed, good. But to do good is another thing.

It is undoubtedly, better.

The pious run after piety. The virtuous seek salvation.

The learned want learning. The holy ones extol virtue.

But the mystics seek Grace, Love, Pleasure, and Nearness of His, Who is their Beloved.

“Thy will be done” is their Beloved.

” Thy will be done” is their watchword.

Hafiz says very aptly:


“The Pious desired the wine of Kausar,

and hafiz the cup (of love):

Let us see, Between the two,

What the choice of the omnipotent is likely to be.”

A mystic is a person of integrated thought. The pattern of his integrated thought makes him a person of integrated personality. His positive approach towards life adds lustre to his inner life, and thus, he comes to possess and exhibit the priceless virtues of contentment, hope, belief and faith.

He composite personality denounces division and separation, and announces the coming of the Friend to take His Abode in his heart.

A mystic is endowed with creative insight. His consciousness extends beyond rational consciousness.

Once a mystic is initiated in the mystic order, he takes his own place, and bids farewell, willingly, to the world of history and time. He has found his place in the world of eternity and timelessness.

To him his spiritual guide is the director, teacher and preacher at the same time. His world is law. The silken chords of love and devotion, bind the two together. The displeasure of the spiritual guide is fatal for the spiritual disciple.

The disciple is the beneficiary of the blessings of his spiritual guide. Through his kindness and attention, he the disciple, comes to acquire and extension of normal consciousness, the awakening of latent powers and the widening of vision.

Armed thus, he furnishes vital driving force to society and acts as an harbinger of better morals, better manners, better norms and better standards, in other words, of better life. He constitutes the backbone of society.

A mystic is not to be judged by his external life, for we do not know what he has within. Hafiz, thus implores:

” Regard not his (Hafiz’s) external poverty; for it is, That Hafiz’s heart is the treasury of the love of his.”


To a mystic, every moment of life is precious. Life is not meant to be wasted Hafiz says:

“Hafiz! permit not to pass life in folly vain, Strive and know the value of dear life now and again.”

The mystic states

Once a person has been initiated in a mystic order, he is said to have taken a “new birth”. There are certain signposts on the Mystic Path, which is the Path of self-illumination.

Egocentric life has pitfalls. It should be given up. Union with the Godhead is necessary. One should be prepared for asceticism. Detachment leads to inner illumination. Renunciation of the things of sense is conductive to perfection. Renunciation implies not to desire anything, not to ask for anything, not to aspire for anything, not to keep anything and not to long for anything. In other words,

The mystic states

Once a person has been initiated in a mystic order, he is said to have taken a “new birth”. There are certain signposts on the Mystic Path, which is the Path of self-illumination.

Egocentric life has pitfalls. It should be given up. Union with the Godhead is necessary. One should be prepared for asceticism. Detachment leads to inner illumination. Renunciation of the things of sense is conductive to perfection. Renunciation implies not to desire anything, not to ask for anything, not to aspire for anything, not to keep anything and not to long for anything. In other words, if you want anything,Want nothing.

If you want to possess anything,

Possess nothing.

If you want to be attached to anything,

Be attached to nothing.

If you want to rely on anything,

Rely on nothing.

In short, “Nothing”, should be replaced for “Anything”.

The result of the end of egocentric life, asceticism, detachment and renunciation of the things of sense is the loss of ‘Self’, and the gradual realization of the immanence of the temporal in the eternal and of the eternal in the temporal and the growing awareness of the phenomenal world of matter and individual consciousness as being only a partial reality, which is a manifestation of Divine Glory.

If we go a little more minutely and carefully through the edicts, we find it written, that, give your Thoughts to the Supreme Reality;

Hands to sublime deeds;

Eyes to the Manifestation of Divine Glory;

Life to His Remembrance;

Mind to all;

Inner experience to none;

Heart to the One;

Smile to everyone; and

Inner experience to none.

Footprints

Right use of energy, intelligence and talent is strength. The building blocks are within you. Search and find them.

Self-help is conducive to personality development. Do not be half-alive and half-dead.

Joy of creative living comes from work, duty and service, and by making fuller use of your potentialities.

Undertake your own renovation first before you renovate your residence.

Give dynamic orientation to your life.

Make your appraisals and effect your won changes.

No one can solve your problems for you. You have to do it yourself.

Adjustment means the insight to understand yourself and the world you live in.

Contentment is compensation for sorrow.

Silence is conducive to inner harmony.

The desire for seclusion is the beginning of wisdom.

Opportunity is the appearance of the Angel of Help.

Envy is self-imposed punishment.

Jealousy is to be in a jail of your own creation.

A greed man is ever in want.

To be charitable is to be Godly.

Simplicity is ideal beauty.

Consistency is harmony in thought, world and deed.

Obedience to Divine Will makes a man free from worry, care, fear, and anxiety.

Knowledge is a search for self-perfection.

Anger is an occasional fit of madness

Sorrow, Suffering and Pain act as your stern teachers.

Waste of time does not admit of any compensation.

Be your own friend.

Idleness is slow poisoning.

Attachment to worldly pleasures should be capable of detachment.

Generosity generates goodwill.

Success is the child of positive thinking.

See the mark and see the ball and hit.

Do not demand certainty.

Control of mind is freedom.

Control of tongue is safety.

A wise man conquers not only his enemies, but also himself.

Enlarge the horizons of your living through the fuller use of the power within.

A mystic finds his joy in the pleasure of his Friend.

Remembrance is the supreme expression of love. A mystic loves his Friend beyond words. He is not willing to forget Him even for a short time, for that to him is death. He is ever, absorbed and engaged in the remembrance of his Friend. It is as it should be.

The greatest tribute to Love is, in fact, Remembrance.


I ask Thee to give me Thy grace;

I ask Thee to show me Thy face.

 

I ask Thee to save me from sorrow;

Let it be Today and Tomorrow.

 

I ask Thee to enable me to serve;

The poor and the destitute who deserve.

 

I ask Thee to give me confidence and courage;

Let nothing retard, prevent to hinder.

 

I ask Thee to show me the Straight Way;

The way of those who remember Thee night and day.

 

I ask Thee to make me an instrument of Thy will;

And make my heart pure and mind still.

 

I, the unlettered, the untutored without skill;

Be ever prepared to submit to Thy will.

 

 



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 mystic insight into death.

I summon you to the Mansion of Love, where minds are united and where sorrow is unknown.

The society of Mystics, as you know, is a voluntary association, composed of those persons, who have chosen to follow its aims and objects. It cannot bring any coercion. It is incapable of any legal sanction. It is for the members to exhibit the underlining idea of the Society in their everyday life and in their day-to-day conduct.

Sands of time

We try to glorify God by our prayers and supplications. It is a good way, no doubt. I do not deny it. But, the best way to glorify God, is by offering Him our Thanksgiving. This requires stable mind, sublime thoughts, good actions, and above all, the spirit of cheerfulness.

Cheerfulness should be distinguished from mirth. Mirth is a passing phase. It comes and goes. It does not last long, whereas cheerfulness is lasting. It is a way of looking at things and happenings.

Mirth is an act, whereas cheerfulness is a habit of mind. Troubles come to every man. To suffer is the lot of man. Troubles, tribulations and trials, if received cheerfully and borne patiently, lose half their intensity, vigour and force.

Cheerfulness is born of optimism. It is foolish to worry about the future, which is unborn. You do not know what is in the womb of time. Why feel worried about it? Hope for the best. It is just possible, that the Future may bring for you something, which you were looking for. Why have morbid imagination? Why have pessimistic outlook?

It is neither wisdom nor foresight, to take a telescope to see things which are dimly at a distance. It is enough, if you see things, which lie close at hand.

Dr Samuel Johnson, whose biography, written by Boswell, I often read, has very aptly observed:

“The habit of looking on the best side of every event is worth more than a thousand pounds a year.”


Mournful Chants

I went through a period of some bereavements in my family which cast me in gloom. It was the first case of anguishing separation, which I experienced in my life. I felt myself helpless to prevent this catastrophe. A strange feeling overtook me. It was a mixed one.It was feeling of helplessness, combined with sorrow which knew no bounds. Death does not grant time.Once it comes, it does not go empty-handed.When I was thus plunged in sorrow, my cheerful disposition did not desert me. I implored for peace and patience. And I was given serenity of mind and calmness of thoughts.

Sorrow taught me a new lesson, that in the face of helplessness, patience was best. Sorrow gave me a new experience, and it was that we should live in this world,as if it is an inn, or a hotel, or a waiting room at some railway station. We should be ever prepared to move on, and on, to our destined goal, which is no other than the grave, where we are buried, or the crematorium, where a dead person is burnt.

Sorrow, also, gave me a new knowledge of this short lived life, And it was, that life was fleeting and nothing was lasting. We should be a little careful. We should not hope too much, and neither we should pitch our hopes too high.

Too many, and too high hopes, end in frustration, leading to loss of faith.

Sorrow took me to explore the mystery of life and death. I pondered over the helplessness of man, his ignorance of himself, his lack of self-knowledge and his wanderings in the labyrinth of time.

The truth dawn upon me that, in life we should be ever prepared for surprises.

Death does not come by appointment.

Everyone of us is an actor. We have to play our assigned part on the stage of the world, and, then, retire into oblivion

People are afraid of death because it is shrouded in mystery.

Like time and tide, death waits for no man. It may come at any moment, at any time and at any place. So, it is better to be ever prepared for death. The knock of death is not heard.

We see flowers blossoming, giving fragrance and then withering. Withering implies the death of a flower. But, for flowers there is a time, when they become withered.

Leaves of trees fall in Autumn. The sun sets in one direction and at a time fixed.

The moon appears and disappears at a time fixed.

The twinkling starts have their settings regulated and fixed. but, man, the vicegerent of God on earth, has no time fixed, when he will have to leave the stage of the world, where he has been acting for a long or a short time, where he had been playing different roles, and where he had been assuming different professional names and different vocational nomenclatures.

Statement of truth

People are afraid of death, as children are afraid of going into a dark room. The mystics are not afraid of death. The love of their Friend has made them unmindful of death. Every lover wants to be united with his beloved.

The mystics are so much engrossed and absorbed in the Absolute Beauty, that the attractions of the world has ceased to attract them.

What counts to a mystic is his Friend, the vision of the Friend, and the nearness of Friend leading to the ultimate union with the Friend.

A mystic has his Friend as the object of his veneration and adoration. His joy lies in meeting the Friend.

Death, to the mystic, furnishes an occasion for being united with the Friend. The day of death, thus, is a day of rejoicing for a mystic. It is, as if, it is a day of wedding for the mystic.

A mystic is always prepared to welcome death. He keeps himself in readiness to meet his Friend.

It is said of a certain illuminated person, that when he fell ill and all hope of recovery was lost, he was told of the approaching death. The man promptly replied:

“O, no I am not the least afraid of death. Why should I fear it? How nice it is to meet death. Death will take me to the one, who always stood by me through thick and thin, and who has been bestowing His favours upon me irrespective of my transgressions.”

The Sufi saint Hazrat Ahmed Bin Khizaria (R.A) was asked some questions when he was bout to die. He apologized by saying:

“I crave your indulgence. Please, leave me to myself. You cannot imagine my mood of expectancy. For the last ninety-five years, I have been knocking, and now, that door will open soon. I can ill afford any disturbance now. I do not know what is in store for me.

I do not know what it will bring. Whether it will bring the glad tidings of heaven, or the bad news of hell. I have no time left. I have no leisure. I cannot now answer your questions.”


Of another Sufi saint, named Abu Wasi, it is said, that seeing him sinking his wife began to shed tears. The saint seeing this, said to his wife,

“Listen to me. Do not weep for my sake. Weep for thy sake. So far as I am concerned, I tell you frankly, that I have been weeping for the last thirty years for this day to come.”


According to the mystics, man is living in darkness. The world thrives on his foolishness and lack of wisdom. Had he been wise, he would not have given his heart to the world.

Love of the world prompts fear of death.

The mystics hold, that the world is a dream. So long as we are in this world, we are said to be in a dream. We will wake up from the dream in the world Hereafter. This period of sleeping in dream and awakening in the world Hereafter , is a transitory period. Death likes in-between this period.

Death, thus, is a bridge. taking us from the world of dream to the world of Reality. Friends, power, prestige, wealth, treasure and influence are helpless before death. They are incapable of saving an individual from death.

Death takes its own course, when it wills.

The glamour and gaiety of the world, derive charm and attraction, from the people who are unmindful of death.

Death is forgotten when world is worshipped.

What are those things, which make one forget death. They are, undoubtedly, wealth, material possessions, lust, and family.

The one who loves Mammon, loves the world. And the one who loves God, death is dear to him.

A mystic keeps the idea of death uppermost in his mind.

To a mystic, the thought of death frees him from the attachment of the world. When he finds that attachment of the world is trying to take him in its grip, he concentrates this thought and attention upon death, and thus, escapes from the approaching spiritual suicide.

The mystic code of life lays down certain guidelines. Life is a bubble. It is short. It is not wise to be attached to it. It is not good to be proud of this short life. It is better to provide for life Hereafter.

If one forgets death, he cannot provide for life Hereafter.

The question arises, how to remember death. The mystics suggest, that constant remembrance of death is possible, when one does not love the world.

For this, one has to wipe out the carnal self.

One has to learn a great deal from the death of relations and friends. Those who were enjoying honour and fame, are now lying in grave.

It is not wise to fix worldly hopes on wealth and treasure.

Graveyards should be visited, so that one may learn that the silent city is the work of death.

A visit to the hospital to see the ailing patients, is also rewarding. Not only does it evoke sympathy for those in trouble, but it also minimizes the attachment of the world, and gives a fillip, though it be temporary, to the remembrance of death.

The holy Prophet Mohammed (Peace be upon them) has enjoined us to think of death. Tradition runs thus:

“Think oftener of death since it saves thee and purifies thee from sins.”

So long as the world looks better, death appears dreadful. To think of death is to lose the love of the world. To fix attention on God is to be detached from the world.

The reality

A certain person went to see a saint. The man expressed his desire to meet another saint, who was living at some distance. The saint said to the man:

“I am sorry to inform you that the saint whom you want to see, is dead.”

The man was sorry to hear it. He said, then, he would like to go to the house of the saint to offer his condolences. Taking leave of the saint, with whom he was talking, he reached the house of the saint, who was pronounced dead.

He was greatly surprised to see the saint hail and hearty.

The man had his eyes fixed on the saint. He was dumbfounded. The feelings of doubt and diffidence, combined with surprise, had landed him in strange situation.

The saint, seeing him in a state of amazement, thus asked him, “Why are you so amazed? What has surprised you? Tell me. Let me see whether I can solve your difficulty.”

The man narrated what he had heard from the saint, whom he had visited first, and said that he had come there with the intention of offering condolences, and was surprised to find him [the saint] alive. He paused and then in a low subdued tone said:

“How is it that, that saint gave me wrong information? I have been reposing my confidence in him, and believing always what he said. How can he tell a lie? I cannot reconcile myself with this idea.”

Hearing this, the saint consoled him and said to him in a soft voice and gentle tone thus:

“You need not be confused. Seeing your emotional agitation, I am constrained to say, that the saint who told you that I was dead, was correct. Inf fact, at that time when he told you that I was dead, I was engrossed in worldly ideas, forgetting the remembrance of God. What will you call a man, who has forgotten the remembrance of God? Is he dead or alive? He cannot be alive. He is dead, of course.”

According to a Tradition, when the Angel of Death came to prophet Abraham to take his life, he thus said to him:

” Have you ever seen a friend, who takes the life of his friend?”

The Angel of Death was ordered by God to say:

” Have you ever seen a friend who hesitates to meet his friend?”

Hearing what the Angel of Death said, Prophet Abraham said to the angel,

“Now take my life.”

Death, being an occasion of meeting the Friend, is fervently greeted by the mystics.

To them, to be truthful means to express a desire for death. Those who die for Truth, occupy a different position.

The martyrs,as they are called, enjoy a higher position than the ordinary people.

Suicide is condemned as cowardice. It is treated as against the spirit of religion. It is not only immoral, but also antisocial.

LAST WORDS

The first word that Lord Jesus Christ uttered on the cross was:

“Father forgive them; for they know not what they do. “

The second world was:

“To-day shalt thou be with Me in paradise.”

The third word was

“Woman behold thy son.”

The fourth word was:

“My God, My God, why has Thou forsaken Me.”

The fifth word was:

“I thirst.”

The sixth word was :

“It is finished.”

The seventh and the last word was:

“Father, into Thy hands I commend my spirit.”

The historic words, which the famous Sufi saint Mansur Hallaj uttered before being crucified are:

“And these Thy servants who are gathered to slay me,in zeal for Thy religion and in desire to win They favour, forgive them O Lord, and have mercy upon them…”

Implications

Death is not a monster nor something dreadful. It is a bridge leading into the Beloved.

The Sufi saints emphasize that it is better to die before physical death. A seeker should be like a dead body. The dead body is looked after by those living. The dead body is given a bath by the living person. It is shrouded in a coffin by those living. It is laid in the grave again by living persons. A dead body has nothing to do.

A seeker should be dead to the world before he meets his physical death.

This requires self-control, spirit of self-surrender and self-discipline.

The inevitable hours

The day may come soon or late, when the grate Landlord will terminate our tenancy, and ask us to quit what we have been occupying, and shift to a country from which nobody returns.

The Angel of Death will come to us some day. We should be prepared for that day to receive him. Let us receive him cheerfully.

The moment cannot be averted, when the Angel of Death will come and demand back the loan of life. We should repay it with added interest, of good actions and noble deeds, and give it back with cheerfulness characterized by grace and manifested by perspiration on the forehead and smile on the lips.


The smile of the flower this one thing shows;

That its life is short and now it goes;

Man comes and departs with all the woes;

But when and where this no one knows.

..Unknown

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 thought pattern of the mystics.

Praise be to God, Who has enabled me to talk to you once again. I feel better, happier and strong again. I feel better, happier and stronger after my recent illness, which was termed by some as very serious, and by others, as a fatal malady, which threatened to cut short my days of life.

I find myself filled once again with an abundant supply of life’s creative forces. I have renewed vigour, vitality, force and enthusiasm, and may I say, that I have a desire to meet you, to talk to you, to exchange ideas and greetings with you.

I assure you, that during all this time, I was with you.It is true, that I was not with you physically. But it is equally true, that I was with you in thought. Thought often took me to distant lands, and far-off countries, where some of you live and work.

Thought travels at a tremendous speed, which no jet can compete with.

It was a pleasure for me, indeed, that thought took me to your doorstep.As soon as I entered in, I found some of you, sitting by the fireside, engaged in talk, and I found some of you seeing the television and enjoying the cricket match, or some feature or documentary film. I met some of you in a scented garden, where you had been for a stroll.

I met some of you, returning home after the day’s toil and trial, and narrating with some sense of satisfaction, the short and simple triumphs of the day. When you were narrating those tales of wonder and excitement, it appeared to me that you looked like a hero, or may I say, a conqueror, just returned from the battlefield after wining a victory over odds, just for a day.

I assure you, that each day is a life in itself, and if you make right use of the day, you make right use of life.

But, I am a little sorry to say, that I found some of you,who appeared to be dismayed, downcast, and desperate.

Why are they desperate: Why have they lost interest in life? Why have they lost zest for life? Why is life an endless agony, as a dark night to them? The reply is not far to seek. Their negative thoughts, like scorpions, are tormenting them. If they change the trend of their thinking. I am sure, they will be able to change their mode of life.

The fact is that, we have an outward life, and we have inward life. Our outward life is dependent upon our inward life. The saints and the mystics have emphasized the importance of a better type of inward life.

There can be no doubt,that outward life is a reflection of inward life.

The saints and the mystics first cleaned and purified their thought, in order to get a better and positive type of inward life, and they, thus, renewed a right spirit within.


“As you sow, so shall you reap.”

Is an old adage. Likewise, we can say that as you think, so you become. If you sow the seed of positive thought, you will reap a rich harvest of a better and nobler life.

The dominating thought habits of the mystics constitute the spirit of mysticism.

What the modern man has forgotten to his own detriment is the value of the art of positive thinking.

To a mystic, his positive thoughts are his best equipment. They are, in fact, a cause of inspiration and strength to him.

The principle of cause and effect governs our thinking also. If we think positively, we live happily. If we think positively, we live successfully. Our thinking makes us a conqueror or conquered. Positive thinking gives added energy, stamina and strength.

In other words, positive thinking will make our personality positive. giving us the joy of living, and giving others, at the same time, the benefit of our positive suggestions, But, if on the other hand, we have, unfortunately, allowed ourselves to be besieged by negative thoughts, we are not the only person to suffer, but others who come in contact with us also suffer. We make our life as well as the life of others, chaotic and miserable.

Negative thoughts lend a negative complex and colour to our life. They make our life a burden, and a source of private nuisance to others.

From what I have said above, it is evident that thought control is of vital importance.

Thoughts control implies self-control. Self -control implies self-discipline. Self-discipline means a trained mind, disciplined habits, self-respect, mutual-respect, self-knowledge, self-reverence, balanced judgement, harmony and the spirit of toleration.

Self-discipline points to the desire of an individual to rule over himself and to govern himself, which means, that he has come to assume the power of a sovereign, and now, he at last, wears the crown, studded not with diamonds and precious stones, but with the invaluable virtue of self mastery.

Self-mastery, let me tell you, implies a positive mental attitude, which is of great use and consequence. It is a trusted friend, a good companion, and a reliable guide.

The positive mental attitude is the creation of positive thoughts. Thoughts is important. It is said, that thought rules the world. Such being the case, it is necessary then, that we should cultivate positive thoughts.

Our positive thought is our humble contribution to the welfare, advancement, peace, prosperity and happiness of mankind.

The way to get a good life is to be armed with good thought. By good life is meant a life of virtue and happiness. Good thoughts imply positive thoughts.

Spiritual life is not merely the practice of penances and asceticism, but the cultivation of positive thoughts- thoughts of love,kindness, sympathy, and service.

Right thinking precedes right action. Right action precedes right living. Right living exhibits the spirit of compromise, thankfulness, gratitude, contentment, and above all, the spirit of self-control.

To give a good thought to someone is better than to offer him a precious gem.

A good thought is like the fragrance of a flower. It is capable of giving new dimension to our life.

A good thought is a grace and a blessing. We should welcome a good thought as we welcome a guest.

Man is responsible for his own misfortune. He himself invites trials and tribulations. He gets what he thinks. He reaps as he sows. His outward life is determined and planned for him by his inward life. Inward life is the result of his thoughts. If he holds the positive thoughts of courage, determination, cheerfulness, mercy, generosity, patience, perseverance, love, forgiveness and hope, he will exhibit the same qualities in his outward life.

On the other hand, if a person holds the negative thoughts of hatred, revenge and malice, he exhibits the same traits in his outward life.

The fact is that an individual becomes that upon which he concentrates most.

An individual’s self-image is carved out by his thoughts

The thoughts of fear and of illness, and , in fact, all negative thoughts are more dangerous than snakes and scorpions. They are like wild beasts, and as you know, we should keep ourselves from them at a safe distance.

People have fear of death, of loss of livelihood, fear of loss in business, fear of being criticized, fear of failure, and above all the fear of losing popularity and affluence.

Such fears are imaginary fears. they have no leg to stand upon. Once the thought of these fears is magnified and concentrated upon for long,they become a reality. such abnormal fears should be resisted.

Thought of illness is suicidal and dangerous. Health implies harmony. The negative thoughts disturb harmony, and bring about ill-health and physical trouble.

Those, who cherish and nourish negative thoughts for long,become peevish and are deprived of hope- hope for a better life, better living, better business and better time. Sometimes, it so happens that they meet a premature death.

Negative thoughts create excitement. The excitement, so caused, has a great bearing on life. Besides other things, like indigestion, insomnia, and rheumatism, the breathing becomes swift, with the result that life becomes short.

Health depends upon positive thoughts . What is health after all? Health is a delicate fabric. Health is harmony and adjustment. When the mind, body, spirit and soul work coherently, the result is health. Once, the harmony is disturbed, the result is illness.

Inner conflicts brings diseases. Our mind rules our body. Disease and health derive their source from our thoughts. Thought of disease leads to disease. Thought of health keeps us healthy. High blood pressure is a common disease,which is a creation of the age of Anxiety. Those who live in confrontation and tension, suffer from high blood pressure.

Tension is brought about by thought. Thoughts of resentment, revenge, malice and envy affect the body in such a way, that it is deprived of the power of resistance.

Thoughts of anxiety and worry sap the energy and render the body weak.

Thoughts of fear are just enough to shoot a man down. He does not require any bullet, or a sword to be wounded or killed.

Negative thoughts, impure thoughts, and selfish thoughts create blood poisoning.

Thoughts of fear, of doubt, of diffidence, and indecision do not give anything except pessimism, and loss of hope.

Hence, to be healthy and successful, it is necessary, that we first conquer fear, doubt and diffidence.

Guidelines

Positive thoughts give coherence and fundamental unity to life, with the result, that an individual, entertaining positive thoughts,leads a placid, calm and serene life. His life is not disturbed by outer distractions. He enjoys peace and tranquility of mind.

When the procession of life is orderly, marked by serenity and tranquility, then the powers which lie dormant and passive in an individual, become awakened and alive. He then receives intuition, inspiration and welcome manifestation. He begins to lead a creative life and living by which, not only he is benefited but others too derive benefit from his thoughts.

A person of positive thinking is like a bright lamp, shedding light all around.

If we have positive thoughts, we may not stop the tempest or avert the storm, but, we can at least, save the boat from being drowned.

Failure and success are the result of thought. Our thought pattern determines the pattern of our life. In other words, the pattern of our life is carved for us by our thoughts.

Achievement is the reward of concentrated positive thought. A well-directed thought, coupled with resolution, determination and perspiration, can secure for us our object, which we want to achieve.

If we sincerely desire a thing, we shall get it. If we aspire for a thing, we shall achieve it.

Happiness is an achievement. Good life is an achievement. But, they cannot be achieved without good and intense positive thoughts.

Our thoughts spin and weave the garment of our outer life. Outward life is a reflection of our inward life, and inward life is what it has been made by our thought pattern.

A man’s character is manifested in his thoughts. What his thoughts are, that is his character. What his character is, that he is, in fact.

Thus thought is destiny.

The mystics had their thoughts and attention ever fixed upon higher aims and objects, and better ideas and ideals.

It has been said that ” Resist not evil”. If we concentrate our thoughts on evil, then evil will be actualized and made real. So, as Tennyson says:

“Think well! Do well will follow thought, And in the fatal sequence of this world,An evil thought may soil thy children’s blood;But curb the beast that would cast thee in the mire, And leave the hot swamp of voluptuousness, A cloud between the Nameless and thyself.”

Our mind is a garden, and we are the gardener. Our life is a little Joint-Stock Company, and we are the Managing Director.

The thought forces mould and shape character. Man is a creative force and a power. Out of our thoughts,grow circumstances. Our thought-forces attract the things, that we most love and cherish.

With every good positive thought, there comes the seed of opportunity.

Opportunity changes circumstance.

The fact is,that an individual attracts that only, which he is.He does not attract that which he wants.

You may have read “Macbeth”,written by Shakespeare.

It is a famous tragedy.
Macbeth asks the question:

“Canst thou not minister to a mind diseased,
Pluck from the memory a rooted sorrow,
Raze out the written troubles of the brain, And with some sweet oblivious antidote
Cleanse, the stuffed bosom of that perilous stuff Which, weigh upon the heart?”

And do you know what is the reply? It is :

“Therein the patient must minister to himself.”

People in modern times are asking the same question:

“canst thou not minister to a mind diseased?”

The answer is the same. It is obvious and simple. You must look to yourself. You yourself are your physician. You yourself are the architect of the edifice of your life. Do not look to external help. Help yourself. You alone can reform yourself. You alone can shake off your negative thoughts and replace them by positive thoughts.

Thus, thereby, you can have calm thoughts. Your positive thoughts will give you faith and a radiant personality.

They will stimulate your will, kindle your imagination, and inspire you with new ideas. They will give you a new hope and a reborn assurance. They will rekindle new aspirations.

Intelligence should be rightly used. That intelligence is best, which teaches us to avoid failure. Once we have learnt to rise above failures, we have unfolded a great mystery. Let us learn to avoid the things which lead to the narrow and deep pit of failure. You must not allow, then the loss of hope.

Feelings of loneliness, uncertainty, insecurity, anger, resentment, inferiority and indecision, should be resisted and overcome.

” Let each man learn to know himself. To gain that knowledge let him labour. Correct, those failing in himself Which he condemns, so in his neighbour.”

It has been said that a man is known by the company he keeps. If a person keeps company with feelings, which do more harm than good, he will be known as an embodiment and an emblem of those feelings. Thus, he will be known by his enemies more than by his friends, who are the feelings of love, tolerance, disinterested service and optimism.

The eminent French philosopher montaigne has very aptly said that:

” A man is not hurt so much by what happens as by his opinions of what happens.”

We may form any opinion that we may like. But, before we do so, we should realize our responsibility and the consequences.

Pure thoughts are necessary for self-awareness. Self-awareness is the hallmark of a trained mind and a cultured man.

Confrontation, in whatever shape or form or guise it may appear, is sure to deprive an individual of the sense of proportion and perspective. But, self-confrontation will be a dismal failure, if it is not factual and is not backed by sincerity.

Help comes from various sources, and it comes in different guises. It may assume the form of advice, or sympathy, guidance and encouragement. Advice and guidance date back from time immemorial. The doctor and the lawyer give professional advice to their patient and their client receptively. The spiritual guide extends specific advice to his spiritual disciples. The priest gives advice from the pulpit, and the politician exhorts the people from the platform. The expert in any field is also liberal in his advice.

But, the fact is that no amount of exhortation and advice and counselling and guidance and encouragement and sympathy will do you any good permanently, unless you yourself are willing and prepared to change your thought pattern and your feelings.

The mystics have controlled their thoughts. They do not allow their mind to wander. They do not allow the thoughts, that they do not like, to enter their mind. You can do the same.

Suggestions

Perhaps, you want to know, as to how you can change your thoughts, and how you can have vibrating, illuminating and inspiring positive thoughts, which will give you power to change the circumstance. Thoughts, which will serve as a soothing balm, protecting you from confrontation, and shielding you from tension, and the thoughts, which will give you the wings to fly.

The first and foremost thing is that you must know the method, which I prefer to call the Law of Substitution. Substitution is as important as discretion. Discretion means, that out of two things, one must pick up the one, and leave the other. It also means, that out of two situation, in which a person finds himself to be, he may prefer one to the other. Substitution means, that out of two things, one thing should be taken out and the other placed in its place.

Acting on the Law of Substitution, we should transmute any negative thought into its positive opposite thought.

Thus, thoughts of hate and dislike should be transmuted into thoughts of love and goodwill.

Thoughts of fear should be replaced by the thoughts of confident trust, and that of poverty into abundance, and that of evil into good.

Thoughts of egoism should be transmuted into the thought of altruism. Thought of selfishness should be replaced by the thought of kindness, and thought of revenge should be transmuted into the thought of forgiveness.

Thoughts of indecision and infatuation can be overcome by the exercise of discretion. The thought of vanity should be replaced by the thought of simplicity.

Once you have learnt to change the thought pattern, you have, indeed, discovered the fountain of happiness, bliss and peace, flowing within you. It requires an effort. Thus, you should try to transmute the thought of gloom into cheerfulness. Thoughts of anxiety and worry should be replaced by the inspiring thoughts of inner satisfaction and inner certainty.

The thought of anger should be replaced by the thought of self-control. The thought of cruelty should give place to the thought of mercy.

In short, negative thoughts and negative feelings should be replaced, dislocated or displaced by substituting their opposite.

The Law of Substitution helps us to entertain counter thoughts. When you are seized or besieged by tormenting thoughts, negative thoughts, negative feelings, and by the thoughts you do not want to entertain, then leave your bed, or your table or your room and go out to some garden, or to some park, or fountain, or to some place offering natural beauty. Enjoy the fresh air, and see the flowers smiling, and hear the birds, singing on the trees. you may walk or sit on the carpet of green grass.

You may also, on such occasions, engage yourself in some hobby, in which you feel deeply interested. You may play games or you may go out for boating. You may start reading a book of poetry, or some other book, or you may read some religious book. You may also begin to pray.
You may sing some beautiful song, or you may hear music.

Meditation is another way of driving out bad thoughts. Do one thing at a time, and have one thought at at time. Relax you body and mind.

Have a compartmental mind and open the cupboard of the mind, giving you good thoughts, and close the cupboard of the mind giving you bad thoughts, at your sweet will.

Take the Universe as your own, and love it, and also love the animals, and the birds, and love also the trees, the plants and the shrubs.

Do not be over ambitious. Curtail your desires. Try to have good company, good friends and good associates. Ignore the trifles of life. Do not be over sensitive. Do not feel too much. If yo do not feel, you will feel that nothing has happened

Avoid arguments and discussions. Concentrate your thoughts on lofty aims and ideals and higher pursuits. Be by yourself everyday for some time. Be interested in people, and in the environment, in which you live and work.

Let thoughts of happiness, prosperity, and progress, Divine Grace, thankfulness, and gratitude be your constant companions.

Do not concentrate upon an undesirable thought for long, and the thought will die out itself. Do not allow wandering thoughts to enter your mind, and once they have entered, do not allow them to stay in your mind. For this, it is necessary, that you should practise concentration. You may also have recourse to meditation.

Signposts

Latent power lies hidden within us. Let us discover it, find it, and seize it. We are capable of making our life interesting, successful, happy and useful. The saints and the mystics, by their precept and practice, have shown, that lofty, noble, illuminating and inspiring thoughts, can alone give peace of mind, so very necessary for a good life.

There flowed powerful waves of positive thoughts from the convent, monastery and retreat of the saints and the mystics, giving to and conferring upon the people, a positive approach to life and inner peace. Let the same flow from you, from your bedchamber, antechamber, and from your drawing room and dining room, rendering people better and richer, and making the world a happy heaven of repose.

Do not carry a heavy burden upon your shoulders. It will do you no good. Forget the burden of the worries of Yesterday. Ignore the cares of Tomorrow. Just learn to love int he Present.

In the interest of better living, in the interest of world peace, in the interest of social harmony, in the interest of universal brotherhood and fellow feelings, in the interest of world solidarity, and in the interest of national integration and friendly international relations, we should try to mould and shape our life in accordance with the pattern of life and thought of the saints and the mystics. Of course we can. And we must.


Suffering and sickness do not bind, Jolly and Gay, I myself find; The troubles around, I do not mind, I know, I know, god is Just and Kind.


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 Mystic Law and practice of self-surrender

Suffering is also a phase of life. It is of great consequence. A mystic treats suffering as a gift, coming from the Friend. As we prize a gift given by someone, likewise, the mystics prize suffering.

To be patient and preserving in suffering is the crucial test of the character of a person. When God Almighty, in His Discretion, wants to test us, He sends suffering.

To Suffer is the human lot, but to bear it with fortitude, patience, and courage requires the high watermark of human endeavour and perseverance.

Our faith is not a lamp meant to shine in dark nights only. When the lamp of life is shining, and it has dispelled darkness, even then, we require guidance and sympathy and faith.

Religion is a pick-me-up in times of stress and storm. It gives courage and extends sympathy to those besieged by suffering and sorrow. Every religion has words of comfort. Every religion. has in it, the heart-beat of Divine love.

When those whom we love, leave us permanently, we, of course, feel the pangs of separation. No doubt it is sad, but, there is not way out. It has been rightly said, that “what cannot be cured must be endured”.

Death is inevitable. It must come to everyone sooner or later. And,

“Life, like a dome of many colour glass,

stains the white radiance of eternity,

Until Death tramples it to fragments.”


Life is brief and transitory. The sea of life, is sometimes boisterous and sometimes, calm. When it is boisterous, we should wait, watch and show patience, and when it is calm, we should show utmost gratitude to God Almighty. It has been said, that by offering thanks, the blessings are increased. It is perfectly true. It is like living in a success atmosphere. You must know that like attracts like. Likewise, success attracts success.

Life is a complex phenomenon. It has been said:

“Tomorrow and tomorrow, and tomorrow Creeps in this petty pace from day to day

To the last syllable of recorded time;

And all our yesterdays have lighted fools

The way to dusty death; out, out, brief candle

life’s but a walking shadow; a poor player

That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,

and then is heard no more; it is a tale

Told by and idiot, full of sound and fury signifying nothing.”

In mystic terminology, to be blessed, means in implies to be happy, prosperous and favoured.

It is no doubt true, that, every suffering or unpleasant thing that God Almighty and Merciful, permits to come, and cloud our life, has blessing within it. It is wrapped in it, but, we are not inquisitive to know it or eager to find it.

The things, which we do not like, and which we take as discouragement are, indeed, conductive to higher goals, better ideals and noble attainments.

It is not enough,that we should sit with people in their hour of trial and suffering, and merely sympathize with them. But, what we should do, in fact, is that, we should strengthen those in suffering, so that they may bear and endure their suffering with patience and courage, and with simile on their lips. The best service, that we can render them is, that we should try to so fortify them against discouragement and so strengthen them, as to enable them to score a victory over their sorrow and suffering.

We should be ever conscious of God’s unchanging love. We must believe in the promise of God, and have full and unflinching faith, that whatever happens is for our good. If we believe thus, it will give us comfort and peace.

It is true that,

“Blessed are they that mourn”

And then there is the promise:

“Blessed are they that mourn; for they shall be comforted.”

To bear sorrow and suffering without grudge or murmur lends beauty to character and conduct. The fragments of beauty in character and conduct, apparent and real, or hidden and unnoticed, mould and change life in a way and to and extent, that is beyond human under standing. It has its own reward. And, what is the reward? The reward is transfigured life, having within it, balance, judgement, insight, and above all indifference to pain and pleasure. Thus, what is good, true, lovely, beautiful and worthy has come to occupy a place in life.

Sorrow and Suffering are not the things to be dreaded. They, in fact, should be treated as friends. They convey a message- a Divine message.

The dark clouds bring us rain. Rain, in its turn, makes flowers fragrant. Grass is made green. Rain is also useful for crops. Likewise, it can be said of sorrow and suffering that they make the heart sympathetic. They tune the heart, chasten the emotions, purify the sentiments, and thus, give a new colour and content to personality.

With the approach of night, we think, that the time for rest, after the day’s arduous labour, has come at last. But, night,not only furnishes the time for rest, but also enables us to see the shining starts above. The darkness of night brings with it thus the glory of the stars.

Suffering, likewise, has its won reward. It gives us courage, faith, energy, skill and above all, love.

To forget pain, the sorrow and suffering which one may have found himself to be entrenched and wrapped in. It is important that the patient is in the midst of so much love, affection, regard and attention.

The mystics have made experiments with sorrow and suffering. Their experience is that the more one concentrates on sorrow and suffering, the more they become painful. It is better then, to ignore them as far as possible. They should be checked and controlled and should, in no way, be allowed to cast their pernicious shadow upon human life.

Another very potent, plausible and powerful antidote to sorrow and suffering,that the mystics have discovered, is to entrust their affairs to God. They say, let us place all our problems at the feet of the Master, and He shall look after them.

The mystics have learnt not to have any will of their own. Not “I” but “Thou” is their dictum.

They say, that when a drop of water is thrown into a river, the drop loses its identity. The drop becomes a part of the river. It is difficult to distinguish the drop.

The mystic practice, or we may say, the mystic technique of self-surrender, gives force, vigour and stamina to their life. Once they surrender themselves to God, they have ceased to have any will of their own.

The mystics want to die before the actual physical death. Just as a dead body is in the hands of those living, likewise, the mystics treat themselves to be at the mercy of God.

The spirit of self-surrender has taught them to accept everything with a smile. This makes them indifferent towards pain and pleasure, joy and sorrow, poverty and plenty, abuse and praise.

They have ceased to depend upon external life, external means and outward circumstances. They derive strength from within.

The spirit of self-surrender leads them, and guides them to Self-Realization.

Self-Surrender requires Self -Discipline, Self-Control, and Self-Abnegation.

The “I” has ceased to exist. Its place has been taken by “Thou”.

Our lust, avarice and greed, and our very selfishness and desire for acquisition and possession, are the things which keep alive and sustain materialism. They give it fillip, impetus, force and vigour.

Self-Surrender implies, that one has freed himself, and that lust and desire have ceased to be a motive force for him. He is no more kept restless by lust and search for worldly triumphs and successes, and neither is he the least moved by failures.

To rise above success and failure, pain and pleasure, sorrow and suffering constitute what may be termed as the spirit of self-surrender.

Suffering comes in various guises, shapes and forms. There is a lot of bitterness, discord and disruption in everyday life, resulting in a change of normal life and normal behaviour.

Physical suffering can be cured by a surgeon, or a physician, but mental suffering must be cured by the person himself.

Bereavement in the family, bad family life, loss of hope, anxiety, worry, imaginary or real apprehensions and fears, prolonged litigation, meagre resources and maintenance of a large family, taking intoxicating drugs, frequent ailments, etc.., sap the energy and make the resistance-power weak. When the resistance-power is at a low ebb, there is every possibility of a person falling prey to some dreadful disease.

International, national, local and social problems, instead of being discussed, and debated, rationally, and logically, in a clam and peaceful atmosphere, are made a pretext for rousing public sentiments and opinion, and taking the issue to the streets.

Let us conserve energy for constructive work. Let us treat all the happenings, events, accidents and incidents as being directed by an all-powerful Unseen Hand. We should treat them as inevitable. As they are inevitable, there is no way of escape.

“There is Divinity that shapes our end.”

The way to overcome difficulties, hardships, sorrow and suffering, is to be content with what happens and to exhibit the spirit of patience and perseverance in such difficult times. It is better to desire solace and comfort from moral principles and religious injuctions.

Let us avoid, as far as possible, those conditions and things, which bring sorrow and suffering to our doorstep.

The pursuit of greed and avarice results, ultimately, in the loss of energy.

There is a French proverb, which says:

“When all other sins are old, avarice is still young.”

We need not be afraid of affliction, Burton holds that,

“As threshing separates the wheat from the chaff, so does affliction purify virtue.”

Guthrie welcomes affliction and troubles in another sense. He says:

“As in nature, as in art, so in grace: it is rough treatment that gives souls, as well as stones, their lustre. The more the diamond is cut, the brighter it sparkles; and in what seems hard dealing, there God has no end in view but to perfect his people.”

The mystics have shown a marvellous spirit of Self-Surrender in times of difficulty. Instead of resisting the trouble, they have accepted it as coming from the Friend.

Self-Surrender is indeed a powerful weapon, which they mystics use to combat the unpleasant things in life.

Self-Surrender implies a perfect union and oneness with God Almighty. Self-Surrender implies loss of ego. It results in the happy blending of action and inaction.Non-attachment to action or desire results in indifference, making them neither accepted nor rejected.

Self-Surrender implies, that a person has ceased to exert his will, and that he has entrusted himself to the Will of God.

Thus it is, that the replacement of human will by the Divine Will, or we may say, the substitution of the Divine Will for the human will, is what is termed as Self-surrender.

Self-Surrender brings about a noticeable change in human life. Tension and inward conflicts are replaced by harmony and peace. There is light, joy and love in life. The soul has won liberty from the very many limitations. The liberated soul now shows and exhibits consent and will.

Self-Surrender confers grace, bestows enlightenment and gives strength. Once a person takes to Self-Surrender, he draws and attracts to himself everything that is merited, decided and sealed.

Strange to say that, when we are ill, we surrender ourselves to the physician, and when we undergo an operation, we surrender ourselves to the surgeon. When we are involved in litigation, we surrender ourselves to the lawyer, who acts and pleads on our behalf in a court of law .

In other words, in crucial moments of our life, we voluntarily, surrender ourselves to a person, whom we think and suppose to be an expert.

We are content to be guided by his expert advice.But how strange is it, that we hesitate to surrender ourselves to our Creator, who is All-Knowing, All-Powerful and All-Wise.

Indifference towards the world and its problems in the keynote of the life of a mystic.

It has been very aptly said:

“I have not loved the world, nor the world me I have not flattered its rank breath, nor bowed To its idolatries a patient knee, Nor coined my cheek to smile, nor cried aloud In worship of an echo; in the crowd ,They could not deem me one of such; I stood Among them, but not of them.”

It is better, then that we should lead a chaste life. Let us pay due attention to the advice or suggestion, which says:

“Nor love thy life, nor hate; but what thou livest, Live well; how long or short permit to heaven”.

We should not aspire for more.It is enough, if the pattern of our life exhibits Faith, Hope Contentment and Courage, and is fortified by the spirit of Self-Surrender.


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 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).

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