Sunday, September 25, 2011

More Dreams Sent Our Way

Mazaar of Bawa Muhaiyaddeen: Photography by Lou Wilson

1.
Dreams, Sufis say, speaking of "true dreams" (ar-ru'yâ as-sâliha), are symbolic messages which arise from the knowledge hidden in the center of being. In the wilderness of unknowing through which the seeker travels, these encoded messages give a forecast and a foretaste of things to come. They are often the only indication which points in the direction the seeker needs to proceed. Not all dreams are "true dreams"; most dreams are spun, Sufis say, by the needs of the lower self, or by the mind churning the events of the day. Such dreams are usually confused and fragmented, and are characteristically called "dreams in confusion" (adghâth al-ahlâm). But occasionally there appears a dream, or a series of dreams, which bears the hallmark of a true knowledge, a knowledge which, though concealed from mind and sense perception, responds directly and instructively to the true needs of the dreamer's soul. Such dreams often have an aura of numinosity which doesn't require interpretation. Their meaning looms clear on the inner horizon. They have a feeling quality which touches the dreamer and awakens in him dormant emotions, perceptions, a new insight into the direction his life is taking. The dreamer, if he is sincere in his quest for truth and meaning, will listen, understand, and respond to the inner taskmaster who reveals himself in the dream, and who knows him better than he knows himself.

Ibn al-'Arabî, the 13th-century Andalusian mystic, whose formulations of mystical knowledge have left a lasting impression on the Sufi tradition, describes the paradoxical nature of that hidden knowledge to which, "until it is unveiled instant by instant," consciousness has no access. He writes:
God deposited within man knowledge of all things, then prevented him from perceiving what He had deposited within him. This is one of the divine mysteries which reason denies and considers totally impossible. The nearness of this mystery to those ignorant of it is like God's nearness to His servant, as mentioned in His words, "We are nearer to him than you, but you do not see" (56:85) and His words, "We are nearer to him than the jugular vein" (50:16). In spite of this nearness, the person does not perceive and does not know. No one knows what is within himself until it is unveiled to him instant by instant. 

- The Taste of Hidden Things: Images on the Sufi Path, by Sara Sviri


2.
Mystics and Sufis take a deep interest in dreams. For the Sufi Mystics, their archetypal guide Prophet Muhammad, upon him be peace, was an interpreter of dream and would regularly ask his companions about their dreams. A number of important decision in his life-time was taken based on dreams, significant of them was electing the method of calling people to prayer, which was conveyed in dream of his companions. Even though it was a time of direct revelation, yet Prophet's decision to be guided by inspired dream of his companion remains as a powerful indication of his reliance on true vision (ru'ya) or dreams.

In this blog I have shared few resources on dream and have been following a series on sharing spiritual dreams. Sometime back I posted part of Coleman Bark's interview where he describes how he had a vision of a mysterious being who later turned out to be Bawa Muhaiyaddeen, his spiritual guide.


... I had this dream in which I was sleeping by the Tennessee River. That's where I grew up outside Chattanooga.

And in the dream a ball of light rose off of Williams Island. And I woke up inside the dream. It was one of those lucid moments when I was awake, and yet I was still asleep in the dream but I had woken up inside the dream. And this ball of light came over and clarified from the inside out. A man was sitting inside the ball of light. He raised his head and he said, “I love you.” And I said, “I love you too.”

And the whole landscape then felt drenched with dew. And the dew and the wetness was love. And somehow, that was all there was to the dream, but it felt like something got settled there.

And then about a year and a half after that I was traveling up north to do some poetry readings. I stopped in and met Jonathan Granoff. He took me to see his teacher there in Philadelphia. It was Bawa Muhaiyaddeen. And he was the man in the dream, who was sitting there in a ball of light. He told me to do this Rumi work. He said it had to be done.


The post that shared Coleman's remarkable dream of Bawa Muhaiyaddeen, thanks to Google, has attracted few others seeker who happen to be inspired to share their own experience with Bawa Muhaiyaddeen in the realm of dream. Shaykh Bawa, may Allah bless his soul, while alive in this world was known to appear in many people's dream, including in people's dream who later became his student. He continues to appear in dreams of seeker, even after Allah has veiled him from the world. May Allah bless all sincere seekers and guide their journey.


"If you treat other lives as your own life and live within the resonance of God's compassion, 
wisdom will dawn and you will know yourself.
If you know yourself, you will know that God lives in you and you live in God."

~ Bawa Muhaiyaddeen ~
may God protect and sanctify his Sirr


Following are couple of dreams that was sent our way by readers of this site, my heartfelt appreciation to them both. 


3.
Dimas Tandayu from Indonesia shares the following:

I fell in love when the first time I read Sheikh Bawa writings. It's like my heart finding what it's looking for. Until one day I meet Sheikh Bawa in my dream.

In that dream I visit Sheikh Bawa maqam (final resting place). But he's not there. I tell to my self that I must meet him. Then I sit in front of his maqam and saw a garbage near his maqam. I stand up to clean out this garbage and took it out to the outside of the grave.

When I came back the grave has disappeared, Sheikh Bawa was sitting over there instead. It was a joyous moment when I saw him. Then we talk together and finish when someone come.

And about months later I consulted my dream with my friend who has joined a tariqa (sufi path). She said that a Wali (friend of God) never dies. Their spiritual energy is alive to guide human being. Beside her explanation, something happen in my heart. My love for Sheikh Bawa was growing greater and greater. I can feel his love in me. Alhamdulillah for all things that happen to me.


4.
Adam Tham from Malaysia shares:

Coleman Barks' dream encounter with the saint Bawa Muhaiyaddeen is so inspiring. I have similar experience with Sheikh Bawa 2 years ago. I am a Chinese Muslim convert residing in Malaysia. I have never heard or read of this Holy Saint before my dream in 2009. I have had this recurring vague dream of visiting a place or a dark room, but the vision was never clear.

In one of these dreams, I found myself in a room filled with bronzeware - bronze plates with arabic calligraphy- something like a souvenir plate placed on a wooden stand. I seemed to remember "knowing" there were people in another room meditating or performing dhikrullah.

As I turned to move, I accidentally knocked down one of the bronze plate and I stooped to retrieve it. Before I could do it, man of dark complexion helped me. As I looked up at him, the only vision I could remember is the pair of the most penetrating and lovely eyes I have ever seen. The eyes sparkled like dew drops on a blade of leaf reflecting a being of pure energy of love. These eyes were so rivetted in my brain that I seemed to see them every where I went.

I did not realised that these eyes belong to the saint Bawa Muhaiyaddeen until I did a google search on Muslim Meditation, and found this lovely portrait of the saint with the same lovely eyes.

Until now, I do not know the meaning nor the significance of this dream. I gave thanks to Allah (Alhamdullilah) for this dream and having met this saint in my dream.


5.
And finally is a sufi story on dream interpretation from the Chishti Sufis of India.

Every Thursday a fellowship of spiritual seekers would meet. Abdur Rahim Khan-e-Khanan, a renowned mystic and poet, was a member of that fellowship. One Thursday evening as they assembled, one of them said: "Friends I have a dream to share". Others waited with their usual calm and grace.

"I saw a vast open space", he began, "and there was a great fire raging. I saw the figure of Krishna right in the middle of that fire, and the figure of Ram outside of the circle of fire as if he was about to enter."

One of them immediately responded: "Is it not obvious what the dream means? The fire you saw was the fire of hell; Krishna has already been thrown into it and Ram was soon to join him."

At this daring interpretation there was an air of unrest in the fellowship. Abdur Rahim Khan-e-Khanan, the mystic and poet, was sitting with his head bowed, his hands joined resting in his lap. After a long pause he lifted his head and looked towards the person who had interpreted the dream, and with a gentleness and clarity that shone like a sword of light, he said: "Friend, if you allow me, I should say that you have committed two very grave mistakes: first you have abused the figures which our Hindu brethren hold in great respect and devotion, and this is morally wrong from the Islamic point of view, and also generally we should not speak ill of someone else's beloved. The second mistake you have committed, is spiritual: you have shown a strange haste in interpreting a dream which should be regarded as a sign from the realm of the unseen."

The fellowship, thus alerted by these words of wisdom, felt refreshed as if a heavy burden had been lifted from their souls. They all looked at Abdur Rahim Khan-e-Khanan sitting once more with bowed head, hands together in his lap. He lifted his head again and said: "Friends, there is another way to look at the dream. Let us regard the fire that you saw in your dream as the fire of love; then we understand that Krishna, being the archetype of perfection in love, should be in the centre of that fire, and Ram, being yet a novice and a seeker, was still standing outside the fire." (credit)


# Sharing of Spiritual Dreams Series:
1) The Beloved's ways are beyond this heart
2) Initiation isn't about suffering, but stepping up
3) Dream of Bawa Muhaiyaddeen and soul's calling out
4) Dream of Secret Garden and of Unfathomable Recognition

# Further:
* Interpretation of dreams in Islamic Tradition
* Dreams of Insight from Futuh al-Ghaib
* Dream of a Sufi Wayfarer | Journey to Find Water 
* About Muhammad Raheem Bawa Muhaiyaddeen
* Secret Shared by Sufi Master Bawa Muhaiyaddeen | Jonathan Granoff
* Bawa Muhaiyaddeen Fellowship

# Bawa's teachings / writings:
* A Book of God's Love by Bawa Muhaiyaddeen (downloadable PDF)
* Islam & World Peace: Explanation of a Sufi by M. R. Bawa Muhaiyaddeen (downloadable PDF)
* Books by Bawa Muhaiyaddeen
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