Monday, June 29, 2009

Aik Alif | Bulleh Shah

Parh parh ilm te faazil hoya
Te kaday apnay aap nu parhya ee na

(You read to become
all knowledgeable
But you never read yourself)

You read so many books
to know it all,

yet fail to ever read your
heart at all.

Bhaj bhaj warna ay mandir maseeti
Te kaday mann apnay wich warya ee na

(You run to enter temples and mosques
But you never entered your own heart)

You rush to holy shrines to play a part,
Would you dare enter the shrine of your heart

Larna ay roz shaitaan de naal
Te kadi nafs apnay naal larya ee na

(Everyday you fight Satan
But you never fight your own Ego)

You are quick to attack the evil one,
yet pride is a battle you have not won.

Bulleh Shah asmaani ud-deya pharonda ay

Te jera ghar betha unoon pharya ee na

(Bulleh Shah you try grabbing that which is in the sky
But you never get hold of What sits inside you)

You grab for a star you can control,
yet fail to grasp the light in your soul.

Bas kareen o yaar

(Stop it all my friend)

Let the race end, my friend

Ilm-oun bas kareen o yaar
Ik Alif teray darkaar

(Stop seeking all this knowledge my friend
Only an Alif is what you need)

Stop trying to be the one who knows,
for 'God is One' you need to know.

Bas kareen o yaar
(Stop it all my friend)

End the race, my friend

Allah Sayyaan Allah Sayyaan
(God is the Master, God is All)

God is All we need! God is All!

Nee main jaanaa Jogi de naal

(I shall follow the Yogi {ascetic/sufi})

Follow the wandering dervish!

Jo naa jaane, Haqq ki taaqat
Rabb naa devey us ko Himmat

(Those who deny the Strength of Truth
Lord does not give them courage)

If you deny the power of all that's true,
God will not grant strength to you.

Hum Mann ke darya mein doobey

Kaisi nayya? Kya manjhdhaar?

(We have drowned in the river of Self
the boat and the flowing waters do not matter)

We are lost in this river of self,
no boat or streams are of any help.

Bas kareen o yaar
(Stop it all my friend)

End the race, my friend

Ilm-oun bas kareen o yaar
(Stop seeking all this knowledge my friend)

Stop trying to know it all, my friend.

Allah Sayyaan Allah Sayyaan
(God is the Master, God is All)

God is All we need! God is All!

- English Translation and Lyrics originally in Punjabi | English in bracket is approximate literal translation. A more poetic rendering in bold by Naomi.

Performaned @ Coke Studio | Internationally celebrated Pakistani folk musician Sain Zahoor performs this sufi kalam (verse) in Coke Studio with Noori and other musicians.

> Watch him perform (Video) : a great mix of folk and modern musical traditions

> Download the audio as mp3. | Video as Quicktime video.

In the life of Bullah Shah, the great saint of Panjab, one reads a most instructive account of his early training when he was sent to school with boys of his own age. The teacher taught him Alif, the first letter of the Arabic alphabet. The other boys in his class finished the whole alphabet set while he was mastering the same letter. When weeks had passed, and the teacher saw that the child did not advance any further than the first letter Alif, he thought that he must be deficient and sent him home to his parents, saying, 'Your boy is deficient, I cannot teach him.'

The parents did all in their power for him, placing him under the tuition of various teachers, but he made no progress. They were disappointed, and the boy in the end escaped from home, so that he should no longer be a burden to his own people. He then lived in the forest and saw the manifestation of Alif which has taken form in the forest as the grass, the leaf, the tree, branch, fruit, and flower; and the same Alif was manifested as the mountain and hill, the stones and rocks; and he witnessed the same as a germ, insect, bird and beast, and the same Alif in himself and others. He thought of one, saw one, felt one, realized one, and none else besides.

After mastering this lesson thoroughly he returned to pay his respects to his old teacher who had expelled him from school. The teacher, absorbed in the vision of variety, had long ago forgotten him; but Bullah Shah could not forget his old teacher who had taught him his first and most inspiring lesson which had occupied almost all his life. He bowed most humbly before the teacher and said, 'I have prepared the lesson you so kindly taught me; will you teach me anything more there may be to learn?' The teacher laughed at him and thought to himself, 'After all this time this simpleton has remembered me.' Bullah Shah asked permission to write the lesson, and the teacher replied in jest, 'Write on this wall.' He then made the sign of Alif on the wall, and it divided into two parts. The teacher was astounded at this wonderful miracle and said, 'Thou art my teacher! That which thou hast learnt in the one letter Alif, I have not been able to master with all my learning,' and Bullah Shah sang this song:

Oh! friend now quit thy learning,
One Alif is all thou dost need.
By learning thou hast loaded my mind,
With books thou hast filled up thy room.
But the true knowledge was lost by pursuing the false, So quit now, O friend, the pursuit of thy learning.

Every form seems to be derived from another, all figures being derived from Alif, which is originally derived from a dot and represents zero, nothingness. It is that nothingness which creates the first form Alif. It is natural for everyone when writing to make a dot as soon as the pen touches the paper, and the letters forming the words hide the origin. In like manner the origin of the One Being is hidden in His manifestation. That is why Allah, whose name comes from Alif, is hidden under His own manifestation. The same form of Alif is the figure one in English, and in both aspects this form reveals its meaning. This meaning in its various forms is seen in all aspects of nature. As Omar Khayyam says:

My soul said, 'I desire the mystic knowledge:
Teach me if it be in thy power.'

I said, 'Alif.'

She answered, 'Say no more; If one is at home,
a single letter is enough.'

- Alif, Inayat Khan: The Way of Illumination

Symbology of Alif

In Arabic numerology or Abjad, the Alif represents the number one and belongs to the element of fire, therefore illumination.

It symbolizes the selfness of God as well as His unity. The Arabic letter Alif is equivalent to the letter 'A' in the English alphabet or Alpha in Latin. It is the first letter in the Arabic character set. The letter also takes on the archetypal value of the whole alphabet, which it begins and is thus also identified with Adam, the archetypal man or father of humankind.

Alif is the first letter in the Name ALLAH.

If we take away the first letter which is Alif we arrive at: Lillah. If we now take away the first letter Laam from Lillah we arrive at: Lahu. If we now take away the next Laam from Lahu we arrive at: Hu - the Divine Pronoun, pointing to the Real Being - the Real Alone.

La ilaha illa Hu - there is no other reality but Hu

# Reference:
. Alif | The Way of Illumination by Hazrat Inayat Khan
. Sufi Symbols
. Alif the Alphabet
. Aik Alif lyrics and translation
. Coke Studio
. Bulleh Shah | Sade Vere Aay Kare
. Zen Sufi Koan from Alice in Wonderland
. Ibn Arabi | Paradox of One
. Aik Alif via Youtube Pin It Now!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

a personal sharing on Tawakkul

Wa 'amma bi ni'mati Rabbika fa-haddith

and as for the Grace of your Lord - proclaim it!
- The Quran 93:11

Wa Taawakkal alal Azizir Rahim

And rely on the Mighty, the Singularly Compassionate One.
- The Quran 26:217

we seek refuge in the Real from all false self-pride,
indeed perfection and praise belongs to the Real

This is a very personal story on Tawakkul or reliance of God, and about grace that flows from the Real. The reluctant speaker of this story claims no personal glory of it as all Glory is for God alone.

This incident happened near the end of last year, close to November 2008 to be precise. At that time I was living in Los Angeles (LA) in a beautiful neighborhood in the Valley. In my wandering an opportunity arose that I am to visit a particular east coast town (which later to become my dwelling place for the next six months or so, hometown of a small sufi community). My hosts in LA were beloved students of the same sufi teacher we love. The incident is from the morning of my flight from LA to the east coast town. My flight was an early morning one and I had to leave even earlier to reach the airport. Since I didn't have a car, let alone drive, my host agreed the previous day that she will drop me to a particular bus stop where I could take the airport destined bus.

The morning arrived, I packed and gathered my belongings and was waiting for my host to wake up and take me to the airport. Time passed and she didn't. I was feeling shy to disturb her sleep and call her up (she has been very generous to me, God bless her), so waited further more till I couldn't any longer. It was quite late, so I had to decide to pick up my bag and to take a walk hoping that somehow I will catch a taxi outside. I used my cell phone to reach a cab company but the network was bad and the only lines I could reach were all engaged. As I was walking out of the neighborhood towards more accessible road hoping to find an empty taxi, I looked at the watch and noticed that if I can't find a taxi within few minutes I will surely miss my flight. The airport is quite a distance and even after call, the taxis take their usual time to pick up their customer. LA is huge.

I was almost certain that unless I am helped in extra-ordinary fashion, I am going to miss my flight for sure - which I couldn't afford, I had to go where I needed to go. So when I failed to even call a taxi and the time I had in hand was too little to reach the airport, let alone finish all the check-in formalities, I was made to enter into a state of tawakkul that I don't remember experiencing before in the intensity I experienced that moment. As I walked towards the main road I abandoned all thoughts of how and what, all worries concerning this and did my zikr (sufi remembrance practice). I used a famous prayer line of the Prophet, upon him be peace, "Hasbun Allah wa Ni’mal Wakil." which translates closely, "God alone is sufficient and He is the Best Disposer of affairs." I repeated this single recitation, 'Hasbun Allah wa Ni’mal Wakil' all my way till my walk reached me at a cross road.

Now before I share what happened next, let me try to share the situation of my heart at that moment because it taught me few secrets, including the secret of prayer that is answered in extra-ordinary way. I felt my total helplessness and was made to realize that only God alone can help me in that particular circumstances. This is a state of the heart, a certain space which is often compared as one who is drowning in a shipwreck and has nothing to hold on. From that kind of urgency I was made to utter that prayerful recitation. I completely trusted and relied on God with all my heart. I tasted a drop of tawakkul deeply at that moment.

And something really interesting happened. No sooner had I reached the cross-road by walking, dragging my suitcase by hand (by that time another precious ten or twleve minutes are gone) just then, an airport shuttle arrived which are booked in advanced for door to door pick up.

I was so surprised to see it, never the less relieved and thanked God. I ran to it asking its driver if he could drop me to the airport even though I didn't call in advance to book it. The driver was more surprised than me, seeing me arriving at the right time to sync with his arrival. He asked how did I know that he will arrive there to pick someone else from the neighborhood? I smiled nervously and said I didn't know! Then he graciously picked me, then we went to the person's house for whom the van really arrived and headed towards the airport.

The story can end here, but there are more surprise to it which unfolded even in the aiport. But those details can be summed up by the fact that I got my check-in done just in time even though the airport was extremely busy due to thanksgiving holiday, I was favored to process my check-in earlier as some people ahead of my line was cancelled for some unknown reason and I knew, I just knew that if I was late even by 7 or 8 minutes, I were to miss the flight.

Now going back to the prayer of tawakkul, "Hasbun Allah wa Ni’mal Wakil" - the statement contains the seed of the secret of reliance on God. "Hasbun Allah" - God is Sufficient, "wa Ni'mal Wakil" - He is the Best of Disposer of Affairs - together explains the message of Tawakkul. That particular day taught me personally what it means to abandon all and rely solely on God and how things can happen through His grace alone.


Wa Qullil Hamdu li-Llahi Sayurikum ayatihi fa tarifunaha:
Wa Ma Rabbuka bi Ghafilin Amma Ta'malun

And say, "Praise be to Allah Who will show you His Signs so that
you shall know them. And your Lord is not heedless of what you do."
- The Quran 27:93

Fa Tawakkal ala-Llah: Innaka 'alal Haqqil mubin

So trust in Allah, for you are on (the Tao of) Manifest Truth.
- The Quran 27:79

"The human mind keeps wandering and branching away into different valleys. If someone follows his mind in all those wanderings, Allah does not care which valley ruins that person. On the other hand, whoever has Tawakkul in Allah, He will be sufficient to save the person from those wanderings." (Reported by Ibn Maajah)

"If you had to adopt Tawakkul on Allah in the proper meaning of Tawakkul, then He will bestow Rizq (sustenance) to you in the same way as the birds are being fed. They emerge (from their nests) in the morning hungry and they return in the evening satiated."

"Allah Ta'alaa condemns powerlessness / hopelessness. It is incumbent upon you to take a stand with hope and intelligent resolve. If you are overpowered in a matter, then say, "Sufficient is Allah for my means and He is the best supporter." (Reported by Abu Dawood)

- Blessed sayings of the Messenger of God, upon him be holy benediction

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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Tawakkul | complete dependence & sacred trust in Allah

And when someone puts all his trust in Allah, Hu shall be enough for him. - The Quran 65:3

And put your complete trust [in Allah], if you are indeed believers.
- The Quran 5:23

There are various degrees of trust in God. Of them one is that you should put your trust in God in all your affairs, being well-pleased with whatever God does to you, knowing for certain that He does not cease in His goodness and grace towards you, and that the command therein rests with Him. So put your trust in God, leaving that to Him and relying upon Him in regard to that and everything other than that.
- Islamic sacred tradition

We ought to offer ourselves entirely to Him, studying only His good pleasure, not our own ... O complete submission of a disinterested soul; most sweet and tender in that the soul's whole feeling is divine! To attain to this, is for the soul to be deified; as a small drop of water appears lost if mixed with wine, taking its taste and color; and as, when plunged into a furnace, a bar of iron seems to lose its nature and assume that of fire; or as the air filed with the sun's beams seems rather to become light than to be illuminated. So it is with the natural life of the Saints; they seem to melt and pass away into the Will of God. - Christian mystic St. Bernard on 'the Love of God'

Sufi sage Al-Sarraj gives a definition of the Tawakkul of the chosen of God, which he attributes to another sufi saint, al-Shibli, to the effect that, "you should be to God as if you were not and God should be to you as One Who Was and Is and Shall Be to eternity," and elsewhere he says the Mutawakkul (the people possessing the quality of dependence on God) should put his trust in God as the birds do.

"So I tell you, don't worry about the food or drink you need to live, or about the clothes you need for your body. Life is more than food, and the body is more than clothes. Look at the birds in the air. They don't plant or harvest or store food in barns, but your heavenly Father feeds them. And you know that you are worth much more than the birds. You cannot add any time to your life by worrying about it.

Don't worry and say, 'What will we eat?' or 'What will we drink?' or 'What will we wear?' The people who don't know God keep trying to get these things, and your Father in heaven knows you need them. Seek first God's kingdom and what God wants. Then all your other needs will be met as well."

- Teachings of Christ, Gospel of Matthew
The stage of Tawakkul involves that of complete dependence upon God and trust in Him which is the natural consequence of renunciation of this world and the abnegation of the individual will.

Abu Talib says of the people of Tawakkul that they are the elect of God, whom He has chosen, and these put their trust in Him, and are contented with Him, and so they rest from the troubles of this world and the next. The true dependence is the one who knows that his Lord's provision for him is better than his own for himself, and that his Lord can see him (and know his needs) better than he can himself.

Then he ceases to think of what is, or to be concerned with what shall be, and he takes no thought (for himself) for to God belong the results of our affairs, and in all cases He is worthy of praise and thanks.

Dhul al-Nun was asked concerning Tawakkul and he said that it means getting rid of earthly masters and the removal of motives, i.e. true dependence on God means that we should no longer let earthly things or earthly influences weigh on us, nor let our actions be the result of interested motives, and he added that dependence meant bringing the self into obedience to God and withdrawing it from the power of controlling its own destinty.

"No one can serve two masters. The person will hate one master and love the other, or will follow one master and refuse to follow the other. You cannot serve both God and worldly riches."
- Teachings of Christ, Gospel of Matthew

Al-Ghazali holds that Tawakkul is a question of faith in the unity of God. Since God is the sole cause of all that exists or can exist, and all His acts are the result of His perfect goodness and wisdom, and all things depend on His power, then the servant can in perfect trust give up his will to the Divine Will and abandon himself to God, trusting in Him to provide for all needs. To him tawakkul is practically identical with Sufi concept of tawhid or unity. As the infant knows only his mother's breast, so the one who trusts in God knows only his Lord's care and in His hands is as the dead body in the hands of those who parepare it for burial. So we reach the doctrine of quietism, very characteristic of early Sufis, and very possibly founded on the teaching of Christ.

- Quoted from Rabia: The Life and Work of Rabia and Other Women Mystics in Islam by Margaret Smith

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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!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Tere Ishq Nachayaan Kar Ke Thaiyya Thaiyya

A revelation came to the Blessed Prophet David, peace be upon him: "O David, I remember those who remember Me! My Garden of Bliss is for those who obey Me. I visit those who long for Me and My special favor is for those who Love Me!" - Sacred Abrahim Tradition


Cheti Bawdi Ve Tabiba,

Nahin Ta Main Mar Gaiyaan
O Tere Ishq Nachayaan

Kar Ke Thaiyya Thaiyya

Appear in haste O my Divine Healer
Else I am dying in holy rupture!
Your Ishq (Love Divine) makes me
dance in sacred ecstasy.

ole Chup gya ve suraj, bahar reh gyi laali
ve meN sadqay hovaaN, deveN muR je vikKHali
arewa! meN bhul gayiaaN, tede naal na gayiaa.

The sun has set yet the glow remains outside,
I'll give my life for a glimpse of You.
Ah! how mindless I'm! I didn't rush to You!

Cheti Bawdi Ve Tabiba,
Nahin Ta Main Mar Gaiyaan
Tere Ishq Nachayaan
Kar Ke Thaiyya Thaiyya.

Appear in haste O my Divine Healer
Else I am dying in holy rupture!
Your Ishq makes me
dance in sacred ecstasy

Aes ishqay di jhaNgii, vich mor boliiNda
saanooN qibla te kaaba, sohna yaar daseeNda
saanooN ghaa'el kar ke, pher khabar na layi aa

Cheti Bawdi Ve Tabiba,
Nahin Ta Main Mar Gaiyaan

Amidst our sacred passion, peacock will be singing (one day)
My search from nothing to all, will reveal my Beloved (one day)
Taking away my heart, never You asked about my state!

Appear now O my Divine Healer
Else I am dying in this holy rupture!

Bullha shoh ne aaNda, menooN Anayat de boohay

jis ne menooN puv'aaye, cholay saavay te suhay

jaaN meN maari hai aDii, mil piyaa hai vahi'yaa

Cheti Bawdi Ve Tabiba,
Nahin Ta Main Mar Gaiyaan

Bulleh losing his self, became the fragrance of his Master Inayat
He has given me new life, so became I the face of his Presence only,
This ruptured heart has made me a fearless vagabond.

Appear now O my Divine Healer
Else I am dying in this holy rupture!

- Original Lyric by Sufi Poet Bulleh Shah
A New Poetic Rendering by Chandra Mohan Thakur and Sadiq Salim

[>] Download and Listen this song "There Ishq Nachayaan" by Queen of Sufi Qawwali, Abida Parveen

Sufi Doctrine of Love: The secret that makes everything whirl in the universe

The repeated verse in this sufi Qawwali is "Tere Ishq Nachayaan Kar Ke Thaiyaa Thaiyaa" which closely translate as "Your 'Love Divine' has made me dance in Ecstasy" is an expression of the Sufis which also symbolizes the cosmic design where everything is whirling. For the Sufis the circular motion of the atoms and the celestial bodies are all Signs of ecstatic whirling due to an undeniable love that set everything into their motion. The Sufi doctrine of love suggests that everything in the universe is whirling because of the attraction of this pure love (ishq).

Its not only the atoms or celestial bodies, its also the blood circulation in our body which whirls around the heart. This primordial love can be traced back in the sacred traditions. The primal reason of creation is expressed in the sacred tradition of Islam where God speaks through the Messenger, "I was a Hidden Treasure and I longed to be Loved, so I brought forth the Creation to Be."

The song captures the ecstasy of the divine lover and complains of separation, complains of the ruptured heart and asks the Divine Who is the Healer to come and rescue the lover. Bulleh Shah (original name Abdullah Shah, born 1680), was a Punjabi Muslim Sufi poet, a humanist and philosopher and immensely popular still these days. In this Qawwali he expresses his pure love and ecstasy for his spiritual teacher, the eminent Sufi saint, Shah Inayat Qadri. Infact this song, like many devotional song start from one's own spiritual master and transcend to Divine Master (Fana fi Shaykh to Fana fi Allah).

# Further:
. Tere Ishq Nachaya by Farid Ayaz and Abu Muhammad
. Tere Ishq Nachaya: Pakistani Sufi via Youtube (lovely visual)
. More translation of Bulleh Shah's poetry
. Another lyrics of Tere Ishq Nachayaan

# Sung by Different Artists via Youtube:
. by Abida Parveen
. Wadali Brothers
. Akbar Ali
. Waris Shah
. Sain Zahoor
. Vikramjit Singh Sahney
. Sona

# Related:
. Sade Vere Aay Kare
. Rebel Sufis of Punjab Pin It Now!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Chinese Gleams of Sufi Light


"God has not assigned to any man two hearts in his breast" (Koran 33:4). The Howless Presence, who has given you the blessing of being, has placed within you only one heart, that you may be one-faced and one-hearted in love, turning away from other than Him and turning toward Him - not that you should make one heart into a hundred pieces, each piece wandering after a goal.

O you who've turned to the qibla of faithfulness,
why make the shell into the kernel's veil?
Its not good for your heart to run after this and that -
with one heart, one friend is enough for you.

The meaning is that the imageless Imperial Majesty has bestowed upon you your image, and He entrusted not but one heart to your image. Why do you not have one heart and one bearing, reject the things, and run to the Lord? Do not make one heart into a hundred divisions, each division following a selfish intention, thereby making your heart into a scrapbook.


"Dispersion" is that you scatter the heart by means of attachment to numerous things. "Gathering" is that you turn away from everything by witness the One. A group supposed that gatheredness lies in gathering the causes, and they stayed in endless dispersion. A band knew for certain that gathering the causes is among the causes of dispersion, and they emptied their hands of all.

O you whose heart has a thousand troubles from all!
Your heart will have trouble finding ease from all.
Since the heart gains nothing but dispersion from each,
give your heart to the One and cut yourself off
from them all!

As long as you dwell in dispersion and doubt,
the Folks of Gathering see you as the worst of men.
No, by God, no - you're not a man, you're a monkey,
but out of ignorance, you don't see your own

"Division" means to bring about number through occupation with the diverse things and the consequences of affairs. "Collectedness" means to return from the image to the One with clear seeing. Some people have doubted this meaning and have said that colletedness means to collect all the conditions. They did not know that by collecting all the conditions, their hearts were finally drifting into division. Only the wise men discerned with certainty that collecting all the conditions certainly leads into division. They washed their hands of the conditions and cast them aside.

O traveler, speak not on every topic!
Run only the road of reaching the Lord of lords.
The cause of dispersion is the world's causes -
don't try to gather the heart by gathering causes!


The Real - glory be to Him and high indeed is He! - is present everywhere, gazing in each state at the manifest and nonmanifest of all. What a loss - that you have lifted your eyes from His countenance and look at others! You have left the path of contentment with Him and pursue another road.

She came at dawn - that heart-taker of fevered lovers.
She said, "O heavy load on my thoughts!
"Shame on you! I look in your direction,
but you've turned your eyes toward the others!"

We've run in love's path all our life,
we've tried hard for union all our life.
A glimpse of Your image is better for the gaze
than the beauty of all the beauties of our life.

The Real Lord is timeless and placeless, but He always looks at the inward and outward of the ten thousand beings. Alas, you people do not see what He sees, but instead you see other things. You do not walk the Tao of the Real Lord, but instead you walk different paths.

- from Chinese Gleams of Sufi Light

Wang Tai-yu's Great Learning of the Pure and Real and Liu Chih's Displaying the Concealment of the Real Realm - Translation by Sachiko Murata / image credit

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Thursday, June 18, 2009

All is Gift of Love | Naomi

All is Gift

Each day as the sun rises over the green earth, nearly perfect in the creation of a day, I open my heart and dwell in the holy silence of an eternal moment of pure presence of pure love when all is new, and I am taken up in an embrace of love, enraptured in the gaze of eyes that see through me from a heart and soul that are gracious enough to share this miracle with me.

As poor as I am, I have nothing to give except to surrender to the visions that appear before me in valleys of dancing color and light. I long to share the joy of it all, but nothing is mine to give or guide in the divine will that exists beyond my own, for we are particles that move and dance in this beauty, like tiny sparking flames in the fire of dawn.

All that I am, I have made known to you, beyond that, we are poured out like wine by divine hands beyond our own. We are the gift, offered as the bread of life, the wine of the heart, and the feast of the spirit. We are the fruits of heaven. We are not the givers, but that which is given to each other, particles of a creator, the perfect host, that is broken and offered as our very life..even our breath is not our own, but the divine breath that moves through us. The crumbs on the table of the earth are divine crumbs that embody the radiance of the divine.

I have seen rainbows in the pools of water that gather after the rain, and I have seen the glow of light hidden in the night. I can only witness to what these eyes allow me to see. I have nothing to give that is my own, for all that I am, all that I have, all that I see is given to me... the same as it is given to you.

Life is the crowning glory, a chain of the blossoming beauty of sacred moments gathered like wildflowers from the divine meadows.

Love is So Very Near to You, My Dear

Love has come to invite you, to incite and excite you, to draw those curtains aside that you hide behind when you close the blind and confess your loneliness. When you think no one hears your muffled cries and tears, love listens and glistens and quiets your fears.

Love is so very near to you, my dear.

Love longs to chase away your sadness, replace it with gladness, erase the shadows from the night and embrace your heart with light. Love wants to say this is a day for you to come away and play, for love would truly rejoice at the sound of your voice! Make a decision to grant me the vision of your grace-filled face in this somber place!

Love is so very near to you, my dear.

Love implores you to open the door to explore and to feel more than you ever have before, to fill your eyes with surprise and share the bliss of a kiss, to dance and take a chance, for Love wants to serenade you and promenade you around the town in a golden gown and a glowing crown of joy!

Love is so very near to you, my dear.

- Guest post by Naomi, via New Mother, New Earth Night Songs
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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Higher Knowledge: Enriching & Enabling Factor

Most people would agree we all want to live in a kinder, more humane world. A world where there is respect for human life, economic resources are shared, and the old and infirm are treated with dignity. In each of these areas there is room for improvement. Economically, many are still without the basic necessities of life and go hungry. Even in the richest country on earth, often the sick go untreated.

Further most would agree, somehow, as a planet we need to work together to share our natural resources and improve our collective circumstance. It is at this point, when we try to identify and prioritize what areas need improving and how we are to accomplish this all, we start to disagree and things break down.

Rationale or linear thought is able to tackle some of these problems, offering possible solutions; however, this form of thought is not able to solve all problems. It has limitations and, in some areas, is like the cart and horse that is without a driver and going around in circles. Generally, for problems which involve the needs of divergent groups, there is no balancing factor and the needs of one group bounce unsuccessfully against the needs of others. In situations like this, self-interest repeatedly rears its head and there appears to be no corrective. Many are slow to accept that the needs of the individual are bound to the needs of the many.

What is the corrective to this harmful self-interest? What factor reconciles the needs of different nations while sharing the earth’s resources in an ecologically sound manner?

The balancing factor is higher knowledge or knowledge that is spiritual in nature and tied to our collective higher destiny. It must be added to the mix and used with our other capacities to find solutions. Higher knowledge will not replace common sense, experience, hard work, or economic imperative. That is not its function. It is an added capacity which integrates and works alongside others.

The spiritual traveler maintains humanity is evolving to a higher condition. This evolutionary process is according to Design, and is purposeful and directed. The outcome of this process is better individuals who are more complete, balanced and better able to serve others. This higher state of being can only be reached when the integrating factor is added. This is holistic thought or increased spiritual capacity. It is attained one traveler at a time and only by entering upon a path to spiritual completion. Better people make a better world. More complete travelers make sounder decisions and are equally concerned about their neighbor and themselves.

Many paths are sacred and all travelers have the potential to reach higher. The higher consciousness teaches we are connected and have within a Divine spark of energy. As we come to understand this and be one with this energy, we experience our connectedness to others and are better able to serve. Spiritually, this oneness links us and we take positive, holistic, action. Better people select honest, hardworking representatives. These representatives combine to form a useful government that participates in a richer, more humane world.

If we are truly committed to making a better world, we start with ourselves. We seek to create the best version of our self and use all our talents. This includes added spiritual capacity and higher knowledge.

Yes, this planet can be a wonderful place to live. Yet, we must work together and solve our mutual problems. This willingness to work together comes naturally to some and for others only after a personal catastrophe or natural disaster of some kind. For many problems facing us, this coming together of people is essential. We are one family and must remember our common heritage or in time our planet may be lost.

Added spiritual capacity and higher knowledge is the missing ingredient and enabling factor. Each of us must take personal steps to add this element to our lives and fully embrace the higher potential in all the great religions. Then, the needs of the many will more easily reconcile with the needs of the few.

Once there was a traveler who walked the highway in search of Truth. He stopped at every town and inquired. Sometimes, the answers he received appeared to be useful and at other times, they did not. Always the advice he received was targeted at his worldly life: get a job, marry and have children. Or don’t work, live in a monastery and become a recluse.

Somehow, these pieces of advice did not satisfy him, so, he kept searching. One day as luck would have it, he encountered a wise man who said, “The answer lies within.” So for many years, this traveler with the help of the wise one examined the inner world and came to see these experiences as part of the answer.

Slowly, he realized, what good is spiritual knowledge if it is not incorporated into the world? So he settled down, found a job, married and raised a family. As he worked, celebrated and worried, he came to see a truly spiritual life is a life that serves others and is guided by the unseen forces. And according to Design, he found real knowledge, used this knowledge in the way it was intended and the world about him benefited.

- Guest Post by Dr. Stewart Bitkoff

Also by Dr. Bitkoff, A Commuter’s Guide to Enlightenment (Llewellyn, 2008) and Journey of Light: Trilogy (Authorhouse, 2004); these books are available on or from the publisher. To contact author go to

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Monday, June 15, 2009

A Catholic Among the Sufis

Father O'Halloran wrote, "Why should someone like myself, from the Christian Tradition, take an interest in, write a paper on, 'Master and Disciple in the Sufi Way?'

Precisely because, first the Sufis regard Jesus as their exemplar par excellence, and yet deny that he founded or intended a Church - or a series of Churches - which would eliminate the master-disciple teaching function. There are today, indeed, a vastly increasing number of people, who have arrived at the same conclusions as the Sufis: that, far from willing the abolition of the Master-Disciple relationship, it is this which would have been the Way preferred by the Founder of the Faith.

Discipleship. Those of who were reared in the Christian Way, if we were to be honest, think of the disciples of Jesus Christ and hanker for a status like unto what must have been that of those who followed the Mater all those centuries ago, in Palestine.

On the face of it, the Sufis' insistence that Jesus was one of them seems almost bizzare to those reared in either Christian or a Moslem environment. For the Christian, unaware that most Church dogma is man-made and not divine in any reasonable discernible manner, the Church constitutes Christianity. For the (orthodox) Moslems, too, Jesus may have been a Prophet, but there is no need for a Master of the Way, least of all one chosen from a competing religion.

In any case, the notion that the Sufi Way is more like the ancient school of Jesus than modern Christianity is just will not go away. Signs of this assertion are everywhere. The most recent concern about Gnostic and other beliefs about Jesus driven out of currency by the triumpth of one sect of the Christians reflected this well.

... Is it possible, it is being asked on all sides, that the Kingdom of God which is within us is the mystical experience, the accessible cognition of the divine? Is it possible that the saying that all men are divine is connected with the Sufi notion that there is a divine spark in all human beings, and the task of humanity is not so much to be "saved", whatever that may mean, but rather to discover exactly what that means and to experience it?

The Christian theoreticians of the Middle Ages, it is obvious, were not in a position to anticipate that one day (and that day is now here) scientists would be able to explain their raptures and sensation of beliefs - those things regarded as proofs of religious truth and even of rank - and to duplicate these experiences in the laboratory. But how is it that, without laboratories, the Sufis were able to deny the permanent nature of these experiences and characterize them, in terminology strikingly reminiscent of contemporary psychology, as delusory and induced by well-known excitatory methods?

This is the chief embarrassment which a modern Christian feels when he reads Sufi documents of a thousand or more years ago. As to whether his embarrassment or his desire for truth is stronger, will determine his reaction and continuing concern for the matter."

- by Father F. X. O'Halloran | from the book, The Sufi Mystery - a compilation of writings by Ameer Ali, Sir Richard Burton, Robert Graves, Idries Shah and many. It deals with authentic and mutated schools and others and their literature over a very wide area of geography and belief. Sufi theories and practices are examined, visits to Sufi centers are described, the relationship of master and disciple investigated, and links with other systems noted.

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Saturday, June 13, 2009

undertsand these symbols and fall to the ground

"When a seed falls
into the ground,
it germinates,
and becomes
a tree:

if you understand these symbols,
you'll follow us,
and fall to the ground,
with us."

~ Rumi

Teaching of Death of Ego before Death

"Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth
and dies, it remains by itself alone;
but if it dies, it bears much fruit"

~ Jesus (John. 12:24)

"Die before death and be born again in the new life. Then you can know Me well."

~ Sacred tradition of Islam, al-Tirmidhi

Parable of Seed in Quran and Gospel

... You see them bowing down, prostrating, seeking the grace of God and acceptance. Their marks are on their foreheads from traces of prostrations. This is their likeness in the Torah. And their likeness in the Evangel (Injil) is of a seed that sends forth a shoot and strengthens it so it rises firm upon its stalk, delighting its sowers ..
~ The Qur'an 48:29

The disciples said to Jesus, "Tell us what Heaven's kingdom is like." He said to them, "It's like a mustard seed, the smallest of all seeds, but when it falls on prepared soil, it produces a large plant and becomes a shelter for birds of the sky." ~ Thomas 20

Knowing thyself

"Man 'arafa nafsahu faqad 'arafa Rabbahu"
One who knows one's self has known one's Master

~ Saying of blessed Messenger, Muhammad

When you come to know yourselves, then you will become known, and you will realize that it is you who are the sons of the Ever Living Father. But if you will not know yourselves, you dwell in poverty and it is you who are that poverty.

~ Christ, Gospel of Thomas

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Friday, June 12, 2009

Why Praise?

In Sacred Praise of the Nameless One Who gave us radiance in our mother’s womb and the radiance where we long to return at the end of our journey

Glorified is the Divine (SubhanaHu), and immeasurably beyond what they speak in their incapacitated imagination. The seven heavens and the earth and all that is within them glorify the Divine and there is not a thing that does not exalt Hu by Hu’s sacred praise; yet you fail to understand their glorification. Surely Hu is Forbearing, Ever-Forgiving (Inna Hu kana Haliman Ghafura).

- Meditative rendition of verses 43-44 of Surah al-Isra, 17th Chapter of the Holy Quran

Every spiritual path on the face of earth from time immemorial, if one can point to, among many things have one commonality. They all praise and glorify. What does they praise and glorify? If its God centered, mostly they praise and glorify the Divine Being, no matter what name their language ascribe unto That. Every Muslim begin their prayer by saying, “Every Praise is unto Allah, Sustainer of all worlds”. Every Christian knows very well the Lord’s prayer and the blessed utterance of Christ, “Nethqadash Shmakh”, Hallowed be Thy Name.

In Jewish tradition we find in the beautiful Chanukkah blessing:

Barukh atah Adonai, Eloheinu, melekh ha'olam
Blessed are You, Lord, our God, Sovereign of the Universe.

Even certain Buddhist sects greet each other by glorifying the Eternally Awake One, Amitabh Buddha (Eternal Light). In Pure Land Buddhism for example Namu Amida Batsu is the Adoration for Amida Buddha and the goal of enlightenment of Pure Land Buddhism to reach the remembrance of the Name of the Ultimate Heavenly Buddha.

You enter Gita, you enter the sacred text of any spiritual path, you listen to the oral tradition of Native Indians, you will find this common thread. We praise and glorify the Nameless One Who has many Name.

The Final testament thus testifies on this by pointing to multiplicity:

Unto every community have We appointed [different] ways of worship (praise, adoration), which they ought to observe. Hence, do not let those draw you into disputes on this score, but summon unto your Sustainer. - Quran (22:67)

Quran goes on to say that not only every human community have their way of praise, adoration but everything that is in the heaven and earth praise and glorifies God.

In surah al-isra of al-Qur'an (17:44) it is said:

The seven heavens and the earth
and all beings therein declare His glory:
there not a thing but celebrates His praise;
and yet ye understand not how they declare His glory!

The question often arises, Why do we praise and glorify? If you look at prayer books of any religious path, they all begin and end with praise and glorification. What is the point? Is God a dysfunctional narcissist being that asks the creation only to glorify and praise endlessly (a common complaint of the agnostic and atheist friends)?

Secret of Praise

In this dual world where we come to face everything in their dualistic nature, day with night, light with darkness, matter with anti-matters – it is not surprise that praise can also be discovered as genuine and in its opposite. The genuine praise comes from authentic feeling of gratitude and that is the kind of praise that found its way into religious or spiritual traditions. In order to understand the sacred praise, we aught to look at the genuine praise, not the other kind. Regarding the other kind, the praise which is not genuine, which is only to fulfill ritual is likened as dirty laundry. The Prophet said, “Worship which is not genuine and does not come from the heart, the angels throw such prayers and praise on the face of the worshiper like a dirty laundry. (to mean not acceptance)” Such praise doesn't ascend and we are not talking about such praise within the boundary of organized ritual that is disconnected from heart's harmony.

The messengers, the prophets, the sages and the gnostics, from whom we inherited the blessed words of genuine praise are the ones who understood the secret of praise. From the truly God realized one, we may partake in the fragrance of secret praise. Often time at moments in our life when we truly observe a Sign in the external world where our heart center opens, we also come face to face such moments, some call them aha moments. And our being then praise spontaneously. We are talking about such praise. Again one may ask what is this secret of praising the Divine Who in one sense is utterly independent of the creation?

The secret is YOU.

God Ideal

In our faith or belief in God, we approach a God Ideal which is very unique. That is why its said that there are as many path to God as are the numbers of human breath. This is because God Ideal unveil to us in different degrees according to our consciousness.

What is God Ideal? For man, God or the Divine, no matter what tradition it is, represent the Highest Ideal or the Highest embodiment. Whatever quality or attribute we see in this world, nothing is perfect but its Perfected Ideal meets in God Ideal. We think of beauty, we think of perfection, they all falls short in this existence and in God Ideal they all meet. Human imagination fall short of Infinite, yet every Infinite hides inside God Ideal.

The Divine is like the Sun, human existence is like the moon, reflecting the light of Sun. Even when the moon disappears into the daylight, its still beholding the reflection. Even when our life is clouded with human shortcomings, even when veil of ignorance keep us separated - we are always reflecting the light of Divine, holding it inside our heart. Heart of man is the shrine of God and God is our Ideal Self, the only Self that is Real.

Thus every sacred praise is remembrance of our true Ideal Self. When we praise God, we remember our Ideal Self, we remember from the Source from where we borrow our attributes of Love, Compassion, Mercy, Justice, Beauty, Majesty, Nourisher, Peace. Thus the giving of praise is partaking in Our Essential Self. Every praise is a reminder and an opportunity to transcend our limitations and a call for freedom from every bondage. Blessed sufi master, Hazrat Inayat Khan wrote:
"In the Bible and also in other scriptures we read that we should glorify the Name of God. But is God raised higher by man's worship of Him, or is He made greater by man's belief in Him? The answer is that God is independent of all that man can do for Him. If man worships God, believes in Him, and glorifies Him, it is for man's own good; for belief in God serves the greatest and only purpose in life. That purpose is the attainment of divine perfection, and it is for its fulfillment that man was born."

Again about the connection between our God Ideal and our self, Hazrat Inayat Khan wrote, “The need of the God-ideal is like the need of a ship in which to sail through the ocean of eternity. And as there is a danger of sinking in the sea without a ship, so there is a danger of falling prey to mortality for the man without a God-ideal.”

The example of Beauty in God Ideal will be helpful in understanding:
The principal teaching is that the heart of man is the shrine of God, to recognize God in one's own heart, to feel His existence, presence, virtue, goodness, all manner of beauty. .. The secret of life is this: to produce beauty in ourselves. When beauty is produced in the heart, then all that breaks the heart vanishes and the whole universe becomes one single vision of the sublimity of God. - Religious Gatheka 13, Message of Christ, Hazrat Inayat Khan (unpublished)

Thus by praising God, we praise the Reality from where we come from and where we must ascend to discover our true Self. This is where our human beauty meets the Jamal, the Beauty Divine. In praising God we praise our most authentic part, the essence of divine breath that is within us.

Praising the Divine, pathway to dissolving the separations

I was asking a wise friend, tell me why we praise. She replied in one sentence, “Because only Allah is Praiseworthy.” In one sentence she summarized it all. But when further asked to share more of her gnosis, she gave a parable, “When we taste honey, we can praise the honey, or we can praise the bee or we can praise the Maker of the bee – who in Reality is the Real Maker of both Bee and Honey.” If we limit ourselves only to praise honey, by praising the part, our focus lie at that level. But if we praise the Source, we go beyond the small divisions, we go beyond all separations.

“The strange thing is”, she said, “when you praise Allah, you praise everything.” By praising or appreciating only the drop we miss the Ocean, so we praise the Ocean that includes all drops.

Everything is included in that Sacred Praise and when you praise everything you love everything. Thus praise of God teaches one to love everything between the heaven and the earth, teaches us to dissolve our separations. "When we devote ourselves to the thought of God, all illumination and revelation is ours", said Inayat Khan. Thus when we enter into the sanctified space of sacred praise, our inner self ascend towards that illumination of the True Self. Every ascent of the Moon is sacred praise of the Sun that illuminates it.

Alhamdulillahi Rabbi al-Aalamin.

All praise descend from and ascend back to One,
Lord and Cherisher of the Pluriverse.

What a miracle!
The "Namu-Amida-Butsu" (Sacred Praise of Eternally Awakened One) fills the whole world!
And this world is given me!
This is my joy!
"Namu-Amida-Butsu!" (Adoration for the Eternal Light)

- Pure Land Buddhism

# Reference:
. God Ideal
. Be Beautiful
. Namu Amida Butsu
. Lords Prayer in Aramaic
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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Irfan of Hamd | Gnosis of Sacred Praise

Al ḥamdu liLlāhi Rabbi l-'ālamīn
All Praises ascend to Allah, Sustainer of the Pluriverse
- Quran -

We come spinning out of nothingness,
scattering stars like dust.
We rarely hear the inward praise song,
but we're all dancing to it nevertheless.
To praise is to praise how one surrenders
to every tunes of the symphony celestial.
- Rumi, Sadiq -

It is reported that Ja'far Al-Sādeq has stated that, saying Al-Hamdulillāh is praising Hu (IT) by ITs Divine Qualities as Hu has praised Hu (ITself); for the root word Hā-Mim-Dāl contains: Hā as in Wahdāniat (Divine Oneness), Mim as in Mulk (Sovereignty, Power to prevail) and Dāl as in Daymoomyat (Everlasting Duration). So that whoever recognizes Hu (IT) with Wahdāniat, Mulk and Daymoomyat has recognized Hu (IT) truly.

Ibn Ibrahim stated: Al-Hamdulillah is in three different ways:

1. When Allah gives you, you recognize that Hu (IT) has given.
2. That you are satisfied with what Hu (IT) has given.
3. That as long as you have strength in your body you will not disobey Hu (IT).

Allah has extolled praise upon Hu (ITself) and commenced Hus (ITs) Book by praising Hu (IT) without allowing another to do the same. He rather forbade self-praise through His Book and His Prophet : "Therefore do not attribute purity to your souls; Hu knows him best who guards (against evil)." Qur'an Al-Najm 32

Thus the meaning of "Praised be the Sustainer (Rabb) of the Worlds" is that Allah states: " start praising Myself before any creature of the Worlds praises Me". My Praise to Myself occurred in the Azal (Sempiternity) without causation, while My Praise of the Created is tinted with/related to causation.

It has also been said: that since Allah knew that Hus (ITs) worshipers would not be able to Praise Hu (IT) as Hu deserves to be praised, Hu Praised Hu (ITself) with Hu (ITself) in Azal (Sempiternity) as expressed by the Chieftain of Messengers in his saying: "I am unable (through the limitation of my humanity) to praise You"

It has also been said that Hu praised Hu (ITself) in Azal (Sempiternity) as Hu Knew of the bounty of Hus (ITs) Gifts to ITs worshipers and their inability to Praise Hu as Hu deserves to be praised. Hu then praised Hu (ITself) on their behalf so that they can more completely enjoy Hus (ITs) Bounty as Hu has taken away from them the burden of being under obligation to Hu (IT).

Al-Hamdulillāh is the word of every thankful person. "And the conclusion of their prayer will be: Praise be to Allah, Lord of the Worlds!" - Qur'an Yunus: 10

If we were to be asked as to the reason for the presence of the letters Alif & Lām in Al-Hamd (AL being article 'the') and why the word does not just come without AL as in "Hamdan lillāhi rabbil ālameen"? We would relate that it has been said that the presence of the letters AL serves a meaning that is not served by the word Hamd without them. Their presence indicates that all praises and complete gratitude are due to Allah. If AL were to be left out, it would not be clear that the praise is addressed to Allah and to no other.

For the meaning gathered from "Hamdan lillāh or Hamdun lillāh" is "I give Allah some praise" which is not the interpretation of "Al-Hamdu lillāhi rabbi ālameen"- the mother of the Qur'an- which when properly interpreted reveals that All Praise is given to Allah for Hus (ITs) Uluhia (Divinity), ITs bounty to ITs Creation on whom Hu (IT) has bestowed unequaled gifts in the Din (Religion), Duniā (World), near future and the Hereafter.

Some of our Sufi Masters have stated that Al-Hamdu Lillāh is even a statement of Magnification (Kibryā') of Allah as : "For Hu (IT) verily is all creation and commandment" Qur'an Al-aaraf : 54

Hu (IT) is then the Giver of Praise (Al-Hamed) and the Receiver of Praise (Al-Mahmood) and all and everything reflects Hus (ITs) State of Glory and all are watered from the same source. Our Imam Maturidi stated that, Allah has praised Hu (ITself) to teach Creation (how to do so), and no harm in that as Hu (IT) is the Deserving of Praise because of Hus (ITs) Dhāt (Divine Essence) as no failing or imperfection can affect Hu (IT).

Allah’s saying: All praise due to the Lord of the universes, is Allah’s offering of Divine Gratitude to Hu (ITself) on behalf of the slaves since Hu (IT) knows that they are unable to offer such gratitude by themselves. Also this antecedent praising establishes an Adab (Etiquette) as a grateful obligation for them to praise Hu (IT).

Persian poet and mysticsaint Sa'di said:
Each follicle of hair an endowment from Hu
How could I ever offer my true gratitude?

- Credit: Untired with Loving | From an exegesis of Hamd or Praise of Opening Sign of the Last Testament (Surah al-Fatiha) | Translation from classic texts by Dara O. Shayda, Hind Rifai M.D.

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Gamble everything for Love

To a frog that’s never left his pond, the ocean seems like a gamble.

Look what he’s giving up: security, mastery of his world, recognition!

The ocean frog just shakes his head. “I can’t really explain what it’s like where I live, but someday I’ll take you there.”

If you want what visible reality
Can give, you’re an employee.

If you want the unseen world,
you’re not living your truth.

Both wishes are foolish,
but you’ll be forgiven
for forgetting
that what you really want is
love’s confusing joy.

Gamble everything for love,
if you’re a true human being.

If not, leave
this gathering.

Half-heartedness doesn’t
into Majesty.

You set out
to find God, but then you keep
stopping for long periods
at mean-spirited roadhouses.

In a boat down a fast-running creek,
it feels like trees on the bank
are rushing by. What seems

to be changing around us
is rather the speed of our craft
leaving this world.

- From Rumi – Selected Poems
Translated by Coleman Barks with John Moyne

No matter what critics criticize Coleman for making-over Rumi's poem into American English, there is no denying of the sweetness and beauty. Coleman has absorbed the beauty well. Translation is never an easy job, specially translating a foreign language of a totally different era that carries its own culture, heritage and life style of thousand years and more. By transforming metaphors and imagery which captures the imagination of modern western readers (more appropriately American readers) from that of 13th century Persia is almost a mission impossible. But Coleman has done that well and he deserves its full credit.

In this very poem Coleman with the help of John Moyne has used some beautiful imagery which perhaps have many different alternative words to convey the same meaning. I particularly loved the words or combination of words , 'mean-spirited roadhouses', 'reaching to Majesty' . Coleman used majesty in small letters, whereas Capitalizing it into Majesty conveys the real meaning to any student of Islam / Sufism, as they know that Majesty is a quality of the Divine, thus gives a good hint what Rumi originally pointed towards. And the way Coleman finished the poem introduce us to the true genius of Coleman.

I don't understand / read persian except very little, thus I have very rare chance to know what and how Rumi expressed the end of this particular poem. But the imagery that Coleman chose is great mastery:

In a boat down a fast-running creek,
it feels like trees on the bank
are rushing by. What seems

to be changing around us
is rather the speed of our craft
leaving this world.

That imagery, that selection of words: "the speed of our craft leaving this world" carries such a lovely dimension to it. Uniqely Coleman! Pin It Now!

Monday, June 08, 2009

Meher Baba | on How to Love the Divine

To love God in the most practical way is to love our fellow beings. If we feel for others in the same way as we feel for our own dear ones, we love God.

If, instead of seeing faults in others, we look within ourselves, we are loving God.

If, instead of robbing others to help ourselves, we rob ourselves to help others, we are loving God.

If we suffer in the sufferings of others and feel happy in the happiness of others, we are loving God.

If, instead of worrying over our own misfortunes, we think ourselves more fortunate than many many others, we are loving God.

If we endure our lot with patience and contentment, accepting it as His Will, we are loving God.

If we understand and feel that the greatest act of devotion and worship to God is not to hurt or harm any of His beings, we are loving God.

To love God as He ought to be loved, we must live for God and die for God, knowing that the goal of life is to Love God, and find Him as our own self.

Meher Baba, may God be well pleased with him

To learn the scripture is easy

To learn the scriptures is easy,
to live them, hard.
The search for the Real
is no simple matter.

Deep in my looking,
the last words vanished.
Joyous and silent,
the waking that met me there.

- Lalla (Lal Ded), mystic poetess from 14th century India
English version by Coleman Barks, Published in Women in Praise of the Sacred: 43 Centuries of Spiritual Poetry by Women, Edited by Jane Hirshfield

# Resources via Message from Masters . Links
. More Photos of Meher Baba via Flickr
. Poetry Chaikhana Blog Pin It Now!