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.

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