Saturday, July 22, 2006

Native Indian Mysticism and Sufi Spirits

Sufis are the mystics. I was reading the spirituality of native american people and was deeply touched by their way of seeing the Beloved God. And was amazed to see the Sufi spirit and Sufi ideas in their approach to spirituality.

Lets read from "The Soul of the Indian" by Eastman, Charles Alexander (1911)
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THE GREAT MYSTERY

THE original attitude of the American Indian toward the Eternal, the "Great Mystery" that surrounds and embraces us, was as simple as it was exalted. To him it was the supreme conception, bringing with it the fullest measure of joy and satisfaction possible in this life.

The worship of the "Great Mystery" was silent, solitary, free from all self-seeking. It was silent, because all speech is of necessity feeble and imperfect; therefore the souls of my ancestors ascended to God in wordless adoration.

It was solitary, because they believed that He is nearer to us in solitude, and there were no priests authorized to come between a man and his Maker. None might exhort or confess or in any way meddle with the religious experience of another. Among us all men were created sons of God and stood erect, as conscious of their divinity. Our faith might not be formulated in creeds, nor forced upon any who were unwilling to receive it; hence there was no preaching, proselyting, nor persecution, neither were there any scoffers or atheists.

There were no temples or shrines among us save those of nature. Being a natural man, the Indian was intensely poetical. He would deem it sacrilege to build a house for Him who may be met face to face in the mysterious, shadowy aisles of the primeval forest, or on the sunlit bosom of virgin prairies, upon dizzy spires and pinnacles of naked rock, and yonder in the jeweled vault of the night sky! He who enrobes Himself in filmy veils of cloud, there on the rim of the visible world where our Great-Grandfather Sun kindles his evening camp-fire, He who rides upon the rigorous wind of the north, or breathes forth His spirit upon aromatic southern airs, whose war-canoe is launched upon majestic rivers and inland seas -- He needs no lesser cathedral!
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If you are somewhat familiar with sufi philosophy, you can readily see the Sufi ideas so deep in the native american philosophy.

Sufis are ultimate mystics who see Beloved God as 'the Great Mystic' and one saying of Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him goes very well here, "God says: Man is My secret and I'm his secret".

Being a natural man, the Indian was intensely poetical. And Sufis are the most gifted poets in the world. Sufis love solitary and they truly understand the value of solitude. As Rumi says, "Which is worth more, a crowd of thousands, or your own genuine solitude? Freedom, or power over an entire nation? A little while alone in your room will prove more valuable than anything else that could ever be given you."

Silent and solitary rememberance of God (zikr) is an essential practice of the Sufis. They look into the Final Testament (The Quran) as well for inspiration: Indeed Remembrance of God is the best without doubt.
The Quran: 029.045

Sufis also believe in direct communication with God. Infact they believe it so much that they sees God as their Beloved, nearer than anything else. Thus the need for priest, clergymen are eliminated to communicate with the Divine.

Sufis also don't seek the temple or any ritualistic places of worship to sing the praise of God. For a Sufi- Heart is the most sacred space in the entire cosmos, so much so that they believe that Heart is the Throne of God. Thus they turn inside to the heart where the Beloved God is ever present.

This also shows that true spirituality doesn't depend on faith, dogmas or language. It matters little what your faith is ... and to make things clear, let me add 'The Sufi sees the truth in every religion'.

As one friend comments, all spiritual paths are streams flowing into the same Ocean. How true it is!

Source:
"The Soul of the Indian" by Eastman, Charles Alexander (1911)

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