Sunday, December 16, 2012

Two Kind of Meditations of Sufi Spiritual Techniques

Sufi Meditation Manifest
It is not so easy to find descriptions of Sufi method written by Sufis for Sufis. SUFI SPIRITUAL TECHNIIQUES is a rare translation made by J. G. Bennett, who was proficient in Turkish language from a small pamphlet in Osmanli Turkish published in Istanbul and long out of print. It is used as a manual by Dervishes of the Naqshabandi Order of Sufis. It mentions various spiritual exercises which are mostly taken from Persian manuscripts of the 15th and 16th centuries, the translation of which into Turkish became very popular during the 19th century and had a fresh vogue after the partial relaxation of restrictions upon the practice of Sufism in Turkey after the death of Kemal Ataturk.

This booklet titled, Sufi Spiritual Techniques is made available in this post as PDF download and I am quoting a small section from this book that provide a general introduction to Sufi Meditation practice.

   

Meditation

There are two kinds of meditation. The first is avâm that is the meditation of the common folk. The other is khawas which is the meditation of the elect.

The Common Meditation. 
The person who is God’s servant performs all that Almighty God has commanded, and in all that he does, and in all his states, remembers that God sees and knows. He must believe with a firm faith that God is eternally self-subsistent.

The Higher Meditation. 
The seeker after Reality sees in all things the Secret Oneness of God and continually cognizes this presence with Attraction and Love.

The first meditation is called the Faith of Vision, and the second is called the Faith of Reality.

The seeker who aspires to perform the second meditation should withdraw to a lonely place apart from people and cleanse himself. He must represent to himself that the entire existence of the revolving world from firmament to the uttermost depth is nothing at all. He must empty himself of all rules and conditions and think of himself as alone in the Presence of God. If this meditation takes root with him, the seeker whoever he may be, becomes aware of the Perfection of God. In order to attain this state, he must drive out of his heart everything that is not reality – that is God. The prayer taught us by our Prophet is in this wise – “O my Lord let me not be occupied with the things that Thou hast forbidden and show me the reality of things.” We are taught to ask for God’s forgiveness in the words: “O my Lord, I beg for forgiveness, pardon me and let no harmful things enter my mind.”

In this meditation, it is necessary to picture oneself turned towards God from all directions. A sacred verse says this:


Within and without – He is there
And God has turned all things to him.
The seeker must needs believe that he is with God in his soul.
Within and without – He is there.
He must meditate as if he were beholding God in every place.
If the seeker does not reach a certain rank
It means that his longing only goes so far.


According to Naqshbandi Path, there are six foundations such as: Repetition of Divine Name (Zikr), Meditation (Murakebe), Heart Consciousness, Keeping Contact, Bond of Love and Conversation with the Sheikh (Sohbet).

Bond of Love consists in the affection that unites the seeker to his master. If this state does not arise, the seeker can gain no benefit from his guide; but there is more than this to be discovered.

On the Naqshabandi path, the bond is of four kinds:
1. The seeker pictures in his heart, the face of his master and annihilates himself in it. As the lover sees the face of his beloved in his own face and loses himself in it, so does the seeker look upon his master. Through the bond they made, he takes on the very being of his master. The seeker’s soul is lighted up and shines with the light of his master. If the seeker perseveres in this way, in a short time he becomes a perfected man like his sheikh.

2. He fixes his attention lovingly upon the spirituality of his master. He ascribes so exalted a rank to him that he separates him from the rest of creation. At this moment, the spirituality of the master manifests interiorly within the seeker. It raises the seeker above the creation. Slowly, slowly the seeker begins to acquire the state of the sheikh.

3. The seeker represents, in his mind’s eye, the spirituality of his guide as a circle of light and pictures himself in the centre of that circle. Such an ecstasy takes possession of him that he goes out of himself. At that moment, the spirituality of his sheikh is reflected in the light of the heart. From this reflection, a light appears in the heart of the seeker and draws him on towards perfection.

4. The seeker seats himself as though he were in the presence of his master. He brings an image of his master before his eyes. But here the seeker must know that the spirituality of the master never separates from his image and whenever and wherever he call son it that spiritual image will help him. If the seeker, coming into the presence of the master, annihilates his own self-hood and binds himself to that presence, the master can in a single instant raise him to the degree of Illumination.

All these bonds are given by love to those who love.


To read in full download SUFI SPIRITUAL TECHNIIQUES, English translation by J.G. Bennett
Originally published in “Systematics” January 1970 
(the PDF has some minor typographical errors)

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