Thursday, December 16, 2010

Pilgrimage to Hearts


The people of God are of two types, 
Those who see they are being made to journey, and
Those who see themselves doing the traveling. 
- Traditional Sufi Saying


Known as people of Heart (ahl al-Qulub), a Sufi seeker's pilgrim is pilgrimage to hearts. Pilgrimage (ziyarah) to Hearts is those journeys in which one is set out to find, meet and sit with human beings who possess a living heart. And by 'living heart' Sufis refer to hearts having the quality of being awake and alive either by the Remembrance of the Beloved or by the qualities of the Beloved or both. For those who have the vision that penetrate the ordinary, can realize the reality (haqiqa) spoken by the Seal: "the difference between the one who remembers his Lord and the one who does not is like the difference between the living and the dead."

Ziyarah to Hearts which are alive by its drinking from the Fountain of Immortality, which is Remembrance of the Beloved, is very much an important part of a seeker's seeking. In fact many Sufis began their journey in the Path of Purification (Tasawwuf) by their successful completion of their pilgrimage to the possesor of Hearts. At such journey's end they meet a True Human Being, whom the mystics of Bengal calls, Moner Manush - the Man of Heart. The human being in whose presence one may realize truth.

For the Sufis, a pure heart where the Divine qualities resplend is nothing less than the Kaba of Mecca, the first house of humanity built and dedicated to proclaim, remember and glorify the Name of God. Within the valley of human vessel, it is the Heart which is the Temple of the Most High, the Sanctified Abode where the King has its visitation.

The Divine Voices cries out: "Neither my Heaven nor my Earth contains Me, but the heart of my faithful believer contains Me,' this because the heart is a mirror in which the manifested 'Light of God' is at each moment reflected on the scale of the microcosm.”

The great mystic Ibn Arabi said, "The mystic Kaba is the heart of being. God says 'The Temple which contains Me is in your heart.' The mystery of the Divine Essence is no other than the Temple of the heart, and it is around the heart that the spiritual pilgrim circumambulates."

Heart of human being becomes sanctified when within it the Lord is remembered, God's qualities are assembled and most importantly the heart which receive the Light of God's grace frequently. Thus the journey to seek, find and be with the people of pure heart is like journey to the sanctified house of Kaba.

Not every Hajj made by every aspirant pilgrim is accepted. Similarly not every pilgrim to Hearts is meet with success. The succcess and reward of such pilgrim to Hearts comes when the aspirant are made to meet the truly luminous human beings, the one is human to the full extent. The greatest reward in such pilgrim is meeting with the possessor of sincere hearts. A seeker journey of thousand miles is worth taking even if it means to find a single human being who possess a heart which is graced by the love-glance of the Beloved. 

I will walk a thousand leagues in falsehood, that one step of the journey may be true. - Junayd

There is nothing in the heaven and earth which is more miraculous than the miracle of being a true human being, to embrace our full potential of joy, peace and bliss in becoming a complete human being with our unmatched uniqueness as who we as individual are. Rumi says beautifully: 
Each of our eternal individualities is a word, a divine Word, emitted by the Breath of Divine Compassion. When this Word penetrates the mystic's heart... that is, when the 'secret of his Lord' unfolds to his consciousness, when divine inspiration invests his heart and soul, 'his nature is such that there is born within him a spiritual Child (walad ma'nawi) having the breath of Christ which resuscitates the dead.'
Thus our quest to find and be near those unique individuals who are reborn as a Spiritual Child having Christ-like miraculous purity of spirit - is the pilgrimage to hearts.

Qadiri Sufi Master, Bawa Muhaiyaddeen taught the following on the Real Miracle:

If you have within you the qualities of a bull, a donkey, or a tiger, that's the image you project on the outside. Whatever quality is inside, you exhibit the same quality on the outside and then you take pride in that trait. As your thoughts give more and more energy to the illusions you harbor about yourself, you give reality to them by acting them out and admiring what you've done. If you are harboring any demonic or ghost-like qualities, you act them out by performing various miraculous feats. But using these occult powers is just a manipulation of the energies belonging to the five (base) elements. Such feats are not true miracles.

Flying in the sky or walking on water are the actions of birds and fish, not the work of human beings. The crane stands on one foot for eight hours merely to catch a fish, so if you stand on one leg for eight hours, is that a miracle or is it just a yoga technique? The snake lives in a hole in the ground, holding its breath for inordinate amounts of time, is that miracle? That too is just yoga. You are simply exhibiting the actions of birds and animals?

The camouflaging ability of certain insects and animals and plants, the quality of being invisible of germs and viruses, to walk on fire, to shoot up into the sky, to reach the moon .. None of these things are real miracles. To become a true human being is a miracle. To become a good person is a miracle. To become a wise person is a miracle. For the flower of the heart to bloom is a miracle. For fragrance and light to come into that flower is a miracle. For a human being to find peace, equality, tranquility - that is a true miracle. That is the work of a true human being. If you can become such a being, that will be a wonder, all lives will bow in awe to that wonder. You will be able to understand everything. That knowing will come from within yourself. To reach this station is the real miracle.

May we all come to take some time off to seek and find and to be with such sincere hearts and love those who are loved by Allah. May our journey be made sanctified by the presence of the sanctified ones.

Ekbar dhorte pele Moner Manush, 
Chere jete aar diyona!

Once you have met a True Human Being,
Let him not disappear from the horizon of your Heart.
- Traditional Baul Song of Mystics of Bengal, credit Dohar



Indeed, the whole world is imagination,
while He is the Real in Reality.
Whoever understands this
knows all the secrets of the Spiritual Path.
- Ibn Arabi

La maqam illa Allah.
La maqsud illa Allah.

There is no other way-station but Thee O Allah.
There is no other destination but Thee O Allah.



- Sadiq M. Alam
Islington, Central London
December 15, 16, 2010

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