Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Remembering Vilayat Inayat Khan | a Sufi Sage of our time

Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan1.
"If indeed love is the magical trigger that sets off the explosion of life as the cosmos, it remains the mysterious imperative spurring our human endeavors, evidenced by the scruple of creative minds for perfectionism, and points to our ponderings concerning the meaningfulness of our lives, our strivings, our frustrations, our disappointments, our disenchantment, and perhaps our reenchantment.

Moreover, it is the power of unconditional love that gives us the resolve to uphold a person's pride while acquiescing to their flaws and follies. The great paradox is by loving one's ideal of God espied in a person, one helps that person to honor his/her real self.

Therefore it is love that makes God a reality."

- Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan (19 June 1916 - 17 June 2004)

Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan remains as one of the most gifted sufi sage of our contemporary time. His soul departed from this plane of existence just 5 years back on 17th of this month, thus many students and lover of Vilayat Inayat Khan remembered him and commemorated the date as Urs (the death anniversary). Innanillahi wa inna ilaihi rajiun - Indeed we are from Allah and to Him is the return journey.

"I must say, it has been such a joy to share with you the encounter of our thoughts sparking each other. The mission - the meaning of the Message of the future, all of it has been exciting and overwhelming, and I am very grateful for your sharing with me. There is a word - from the moment that one has broken bread at the same table, one is linked by a special link, and that's the reason for the Mass. The Mass is the sacrifice for eating at the same table together, and we have been sharing this wonderful bread and wine at the same table, and that establishes a link between us that can never be broken, so that we can always find each other. So, I will just say that you can find yourself - you can find me in your heart; and I can say, I can find you in my heart. God bless you." - Pir Vilayat lnayat Khan, Suresnes, 27 January, 2004

. Life of a Sufi Sage

Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan was the eldest son and successor of Hazrat Pir-o-Murshid Inayat Khan, founder of the Sufi Order in the West. He traced his spiritual lineage through a long line of Sufi pirs (masters), but his teaching was free from any religious bias or attempt to proselytize. His teaching brought the timeless contributions of the ancient Sufi mystics and poets together with the discoveries of psychology and science. He rejected absolutely any attempt to treat him as a 'guru', taking pride in the strong, independent and creative qualities of those drawn to be his students.

Pir Vilayat was born in London in 1916, and spent most of his early years in England and France. He graduated from Paris University with a degree in psychology, studied philosophy at Oxford University and music at l´Ecole Normale de Musique de Paris. Pir Vilayat later traveled to the East where he underwent rigorous training in meditation, including long periods of seclusion devoted to spiritual exercises. He also studied the esoterica of the major world religions and the meditation techniques associated with them.

The Rapture of Being | an Interview with Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan

Dr. Jeffrey MISHLOVE: It's really a pleasure to be with you. You know, in your writings you often describe the struggle, the conflict that we humans engage in as we're caught in between our dual nature. We're locked into a finite body, each with our own life story and melodrama, and yet simultaneously we're like God; we partake of the entire cosmos.

Vilayat Inayat KHAN: Yes. I call that reconciliation of irreconcilables. It's very difficult for our minds to accept this dual nature of identity, and I think we're cutting right into the main problem of psychology. I think most people have a bad self-image, or overcompensate, or don't know how to assess their value in any way. Because it's very difficult to accept what my father calls "the aristocracy of the soul, together with the democracy of the ego"; or he calls it "the greatest pride in one's divine inheritance, and humility about one's inadequacy in bringing it through, and yet still accepting the divinity of one's being" -- I think as Christ said, "Be perfect as your Father."

MISHLOVE: Somehow, listening to you talk about this peculiar dilemma that we humans are in is making me feel that the whole thing is very humorous.

KHAN: Yes, I think there's some point about laughing about things we don't understand.

MISHLOVE: But it's almost ironic somehow, and maybe quite ridiculous, that as cosmic beings we're always finding ourselves in such dilemmas.

Pir Vialyat at MeditationKHAN: Yes. Well, the Sufis say, "Oh, man, if you only knew that you're free. It's your ignorance of your freedom that is your captivity." And I would add, if only you knew what the potentials in your being are, you would realize that it's your ignorance of those potentials that limit you to the inadequate sense of your self-image, or your inadequate self-esteem -- denigrating yourself.

MISHLOVE: As I look through your writings, I get a sense that there's just vast almost infinitudes, when we talk about human potential and the levels of being. In a sense what you seem to do is look at the spiritual writings of every religion and tradition, and somehow assemble them all together so that it's as if we have choirs of angels and layers and layers of spiritual vibrations interpenetrating us, and that's who we are, rather than these tiny people living out their lives.

KHAN: Well, you're interpreting my teaching better than I could do. You're saying it very beautifully indeed, and that is how I feel. I also include not just the religions but the teachings of, for example, C.J. Jung.

.. MISHLOVE: It's almost as if anything wonderful about ourselves that we can imagine, that we are.

KHAN: Yes. Well, there's a great power in creative imagination. Now of course there's a difference between creative imagination and fantasy, and I try to get as clear as possible about the difference. I think creative imagination is somehow monitoring the programming of the universe, and fantasizing is getting alienated from the overall order. And when I talk about an order, I don't mean a static one; I'm talking about the dynamic order.

MISHLOVE: It's almost as if perhaps fantasy is only the first stage of creative imagination at best.

KHAN: I think that it probably does play a part in the active imagination, because, as you probably know, Dr. Prigogine, who is one of the leading scientists of our time, in Brussels, calls creativity a fluctuation from sclerosed equilibrium. So the order of the universe could be looked upon as it could be static, if were not continually being fluctuated away from its equilibrium. And that is what we're doing in our creativity. I call it exploring "What if?" How would it look if we looked at this problem in a different way than we've been looking at it so far? That's creative imagination. (> full interview text)

The Crux of Spiritual Practice

The crux of spiritual practice is the sublimation (not the crushing) of what is commonly called the ego and... the false notion of the self that needs to be replaced by the ego of God. - Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan

May God bless the soul of Vilayat Inayat Khan and be pleased with him.

# Further
. In Memoriam
. Pir Zia Inayat Khan: Reflections on the Life of Pir Vilayat
. Universel | A Course in Meditation
. Central Universel
. Translating Spirituality Into Real Life | An interview with the late Sufi master, Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan.
. Passing of the Pir
. Wisdom Child
. Jabarut by Pir Vilayat Khan
. Sufi Remembrance Project
. Sufism in the West Pin It Now!