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The Fragrance of Love: Sufic Wisdom

Collected by Omer Tarin , Qadiri-Chishti-Nizami  © 2021

 Table of Contents

 

:-  Preface

:- Some selections of Punjabi Verse by Hazrat Baba Farid (QS)

:-  Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya Mahbub e Ilahi (QS)

:- Lesson 1

:- Lesson 2

:- Lesson 3

:- Lesson 4

:- Lesson 5

:- Some Sufi and other anecdotes and quotes

Appendix

 

 

Preface

 

Bismillah ~ In the Name of the Beloved Source of All Life and Being

 

It is good to retake stock of excellent advice:  'That person is truly in a sorry state who considers himself good and pious''.[Advice of Sufi saint Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya 'Mahbub i Ilahi' RA; narrated in Fawad al Fuad]

 

Many people are interested in the theories and the practice of true and proper Tassawuf (Sufism) but not all find it easy to follow the Path, the Way; or, quite often, they have several misconceptions about what, really, Sufism and is meant to do.  

 

This small brochure or booklet is about the real practice of Tassawuf/Sufism , and the depth and sincerity of the readers intentions and involvement with the texts given, are crucial to the degree of awakening generated  insha’Allah. Individually or collectively , you are all welcome to dwell on these words and think about them and try to act simply and directly on their advice.

 

Above all, in each and every moment of your lives, keep the Remembrance of the Beloved at the center . For as the Hadith  avers: ‘’ No people sit in a gathering remembering God, But the angels surround them, mercy covers them, tranquility descends upon them and God remembers them before those who are with Him."  [Sunan Ibn Majah 3791]

 

Many blessings ,

 

Omer Tarin (Qadiri-Chishti-Nizami)

 

 

  1. Selections from Punjabi poetry -- Hazrat Baba Farid Ganj Shakar (QS)

‘Shalok’ poems by Hazrat Baba Farid ud din of Pakpattan (1173-1265). ‘Baba Farid’ needs no introduction, he is equally venerated by Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs of the Punjab, in what is now India and Pakistan. He is accounted to be one of the earliest poets of Punjabi and a pioneer in developing this poetry.

(translated by Omer Tarin, Qadiri-Chishti-Nizami, © ‘’Mahi’’ journal of Punjab Studies 2017)

 

Shalok No 2:   Standing on the threshold of Darveshi [the Sufi Path], I consider how I have reached so far. And I see how hard it is to attain to this. For I carry this bundle of [worldly/aristocratic] etiquettes and where do I throw this?

Shalok No 3: I can neither guess, nor can I understand what this world is and what its ways; but my Lord did well [to save me from this worldliness] of I would be burning now [in hellfire].

Shalok No 10: Look what’s happened O Farid! Your life’s sweetness has turned to gall. Except for My Lord, whom can I relate my sadness to?

Shalok No 11: Watching these scenes [of the world] my eyes have become tired; listening, listening to these, my ears din.  My life’s crop has now ripened close to harvesting, and its taking on quite another hue.

Shalok No 18: [O Farid], what are Love and Greed? Love and Greed are two entirely separate things; for where there is Greed how can Love be?  Let us speed past Greed, for this broken-down hovel cannot offer us shelter [from rain].

Shalok No 19: Why do you wander from jungle to jungle?  Walking on thorns wounding yourself?  The Lord dwells within [you]; so why seek in the jungle?

Shalok No 24: The street is full of mud, my Beloved’s house is far, and I carry a promise [with me];  [so now what] ?- If I walk on, my little blanket gets wetter and if I don’t, then my promise lies broken.

Shalok No 25: O alright, so get wet my blanket! God keep the rain falling if You will! I shall certainly go meet my Beloved and not break my promise.

Shalok No 34:  I do not fear if my youth goes, so long as Love lasts; how many young lives have withered away at the loss of this Love.

Shalok No 35: Anxiety is our bedframe and grief our bedrope; and Separation is the quilt we wear. This is our life, O True Lord! See!

Shalok No 40: Again and again, we beat the drums [to measure/tell the time] and the drum every hour gets punished; so the heart is also like this [the drum], it takes so much punishment and it spends the hours in pain.

Shalok No 41:  Shaykh Farid has grown old, his being has begun to quiver [with age]; so even if he lives for a hundred years then what [for one day he must die]?

Shalok No 50: Some people they carry the prayer-mat on their shoulder, wear a soft woolen cloth at their throats and speak sickly-sweet words; On the outside, they shine like the moonlight and within, like darkest night.

Shalok No 51: O if you tear up this body you will find not one drop of red blood! For those who have become dyed red in the Lord’s hue, they have no redness [of blood] left in them.

Shalok No 57: [O Farid] these pavilions, palaces, mansions, attach not yourself to them!  For when you die they will bury you in dust and [then] you will know nothing else.

Shalok No 58: O Farid! Dwell not upon palaces and wealth- dwell on the scene of [your] death and burial; for it’s wiser to think of where you are headed.

Shalok No 61: Black my clothes, black my guise, full of [black] sins I wander and people call me ‘Dervish’.

Shalok No 62: It [the harvest/crop] has burnt to cinders without water [no amount of water will make green again]; so is that soul, which has turned away from the Lord, it will stay the same [not find the Lord again].

Shalok No 65: The wild goose landed in the field of barley and the people went to scare it away; not knowing that the goose does not even eat this barley crop. 

Shalok No 66: They flew, flew away, the birds that had come to the lake; so [in time] will the lake also go away [dry up] and the lotus flower will remain alone.

Shalok No 77: [With old age Farid] , these all have gone- teeth, legs, eyes and ears; and also, like precious pearls and jewels, my dear ones [friends].

Shalok No 78:  Farid! He who does evil [unto you] reward with good and do not let anger fester; [and then] no evil shall disturb you, you shall stay content.

 

 

  1. Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya Mahbub e Ilahi (QS) and the Chishti-Nizami Order

(© Dargah Sharif Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya, Delhi, India, 2016)

A writer once said that, ‘’In every age there are the Wise Ones, the Great Sages and Saints, who shine like beacons of light in the darkness around them’’. This description fits the life of Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya (RA) exactly. He was undoubtedly one of these saints and beacons of light , a source of wisdom for all of medieval India and for the rest of the world, too, thereafter. One of the great luminaries of the Chishti Sufi Order, he was also the founder of the branch of that order that is today known as the Chishti-Nizami. His predecessors were Khwaja Fariduddin Ganjshakar, Khwaja Qutbuddin Bakhtyar Kaki and Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti, Ajmeri. In that reverse sequence, they constitute the initial spiritual chain or ‘silsila’ of the Chishti order in the Indian subcontinent.

Hazrat- His Holiness- was born as Syed Muhammad Nizamuddin, in a Muslim Syed Bukhari family, in direct descent from the the Most Exalted, the Most Blessed Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) in the year 1238 AD/CE, in the town of Badayun, in India. When he was still very young, his father passed away and his devout mother, herself a lady of considerable spiritual attainment, decided to take the child to the city of Delhi, to continue his education both spiritual and temporal. Some details of his biography are mentioned in the later, famous work the ‘Ayn I Akbari’ written in the 16th century by Abul Fazl, a vizier and advisor of the enlightened Mughal Emperor Akbar the Great; and also in various other accounts by his disciples (murids) and other scholars. It is noted in all these accounts, that even as a young man, his ‘light’ like qualities seemed to shine about his person and he was a person of great integrity and honesty, devoted to Islam and to his quest for the Truth.

Several incidents occurred , during the youth of Syed Nizamuddin, that convinced him that these were signs from the Divine, parts of his quest for Truth, and that he would find his true and sublime spiritual master and mentor, in the figure of Hazrat ‘Baba’ Fariduddin Ganjshakar (RA) , based at Pakpattan (then called Ajodhan) in the Punjab region. He thus set off there and found his master, who was awaiting him, and who welcomed him with much love and affection and accepted him at once into his training. After a few months training, Baba Fariduddin advised Nizamuddin to return to Delhi, and continue his regular theological studies there and to keep visiting him from time to time; and meanwhile, both the mentor and the disciple retained a strong spiritual bond, or link, and it is said that many ‘special teachings’ were thus communicated to Syed Nizamuddin sahib by Baba Farid sahib, via this distant mode of contact. A strong flow of ‘’Baraka’’ (Divine Blessing) linked them at all times.

In due course of time, carrying on both his worldy and inner/spiritual education, Syed Nizamuddin attained a great degree of wisdom, both inner and outer and was soon recognized by many people in Delhi and elsewhere as a person of unique qualities. No one could fail to be moved by his presence and grace and his personal generosity, compassion for the poor and needy and for all people and creatures, of all creeds and beliefs. He himself is said to have remarked ‘’If you do not have the courage and generosity of the Lion, then you have nothing to do with the Tariqa [path of Sufism]’’ _ and he amply evinced these qualities in himself. His persona so developed, that, during one visit to his beloved Shaykh/Murshid Baba Farid, at Pakpattan, he was formally invested by him as one of his main ‘Khalifas’ (spiritual successors/representatives) ; and on returning to Delhi, he soon found out that his master had passed away.

This process- the passing away of the master Baba Farid and Hazrat Nizamuddin’s investiture as ‘khalifa’ (successor) bore significant results and repercussions. Till the time of Baba Farid, the Chishti Sufi Order in India (i.e. today’s India, Pakistan and Bangladesh) was one entity, but now it evolved into two separate but closely linked schools, or branches i.e. The Chishtiyya-Nizamiyya, headed by Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya (RA) at Delhi, and the Chishtiyya-Sabriya, led by Hazrat Khwaja Alauddin Sabir Kalyarvi, at Kalyar, India. The essential teachings of both branches remained the same, but the teaching methodologies evolved separately, as per the guidance of both these teachers. And with this step, we mark that Hazrat Nizamuddin came into his own, truly and fully, as a ‘Waliullah’ one of the great saints and friends of God/Allah.

There are many spiritual events and miracles linked to this latter phase of Hazrat Nizamuddin’s life and to go into all of them would be to diverge from our main theme. Indeed, Hazrat sahib himself strongly discouraged his ‘murids’ (followers/disciples) from showing or displaying these to the general public, which might be misled by such things. However, we can briefly mention one or two here. The first, and a very important one, was the establishment itself, of Hazrat’s entourage at Ghiyaspur, a small village on the outskirts of main Delhi city itself. At that time, Delhi was the seat of the Muslim Delhi Sultanate (prior to the Mughal empire) and though the main city itself was well-patrolled, its environs were in a rather lawless condition, with many bandits and robbers, and it was a dark environment, where people/travelers and even big caravans coming with goods to Delhi, could get lost or be looted. Hazrat Nizamuddin probably realized this state of affairs and , intuitively , felt the need and desire to shift out of Delhi city proper, and establish his base close by . Thus, it is said that though the spiritual advice of his mentor, he moved to a small village Ghiyaspur, which is now known as the ‘Nizamuddin’ area of greater Delhi. The moment he shifted there, the banditry and the darkness and evil started to recede, and indeed, all the travelers and caravans that used to travel towards Delhi by night claimed thet they used to see a strong bright light, almost like a beam or ray of sunlight , guiding them; and that this light used to be emitted or emerge from the location of Hazrat Nizamuddin’s residence. Thus, Delhi and its environs became truly ‘enlightened’ in more ways than one. Hazrat had his ‘Khanqah’ (Sufi abode/lodge) here, a place where people from all walks of life were fed and cared for, where he imparted spiritual education to others and nearby he had his own quarters. Before long, the Khanqah became a place thronged with all kinds of people, rich and poor alike. A center or ‘Markaz I Tajalliyat’ (a place where enlightenment and divine marvels were common) . Another example is his complete faith and trust in Allah, the Creator and Divine Provider of all Sustenance (Tawakul) . He was legendary for his generosity, humnitarianism and wit. According to one online Sufi source, ‘’At the ‘langar’ (mess hall) of his residence, his Khanqah, excellent food was served each day to all visitors. His compassion was reflected in the Khanqah rules, which preserved the dignity of all those who ate there. Dervishes were advised ‘First eat, then talk’; they were not allowed to ask if a visitor was fasting or needed food; they were even instructed to eat two meals, one after the other, if needed for the guests sake. Such rules made it impossible to discern who was hungry, in need, or who took food just for the ‘Baraka’ or blessings. ‘’ Many people were amazed by this perpetual feast, day and night, and some were even suspicious, where was Khwaja Nizamuddin getting all this food and money from? The fact was, due to the Master’s presence and his blessings and prayers and his complete and utter trust in God/Allah, the food came from all directions, from unknown sources- and it is by the Divine Grace, still coming and shall keep on coming till the Final Day of Judgment , to feed anyone who requires the saint’s help.

This vital dimension-of altruism, and humanitarian love and compassion for the needy, is part of the larger spiritual values and ideals that Hazrat inculcated into his dervishes/followers and it is always even today, one of the centerpieces of the Chishti-Nizami principles of practise. While there are many such enumerated by Hazrat in his lectures and notes to his followers, the following are the Key Practices , as enumerated in the ‘’Fuwaid al Fuad’’ (discourses) of Hazrat, as given in the translation by Dr Zia ul Hasan Faruqi (1998 ed) : -

  • Emphasis on renunciation and having complete trust in God.
  • The unity of mankind and shunning distinctions based on social, economic and religious status.
  • Helping the needy, feeding the hungry and being sympathetic to the oppressed.
  • Strong disapproval of mixing with sultans, princes, nobles, the rich and famous & etc.
  • Exhortation in making close contact with the poor and the downtrodden
  • Adopting an uncompromising attitude towards all forms of political and social oppression.
  • A bold stance in favour of ‘Sema’ (mystical music) and ‘Qawwali’ (devotional songs) which some people considered un-Islamic; but Hazrat differentiated between ‘divine’ music, used for a certain responsible purpose, with certain distinct effects; and random ‘secular’ music, which could easily be abused .

Point Number Four above, had a very forceful impact indeed, in Hazrat’s own day and age . At a time when many people, even Sufis , depended on the royal or courtly favor, to get benefits, Hazrat Nizamuddin very clearly rebuffed the kings, nobles, courtiers and all, and did not go to them or seek their favors- many of them , indeed, came to him, at his humble chambers, at the Khanqah, but they were never treated with any special favor and were just treated normally like anyone else. In the words of NM Sangarani, ‘His [Hazrat’s] vision of the world was marked by a strongly evolved sense of secularity, democracy and kindness’. His strong rejection of the rich courts and palaces of kings and nobles, resulted, in the view of scholars like Anne-Marie Schimmel , ‘’In a paradigm shift’’ (Mystical Dimensions of Islam, 1975)- quoting the 14th c historian Barani, she goes on to say that ‘’…his influence on the Muslims of Delhi was such that [it changed] their outlook towards worldly matters. People began to be inclined towards mysticism and prayers and remaining aloof from the world.’’ Indeed, we may say that not only Muslims, but all the people of Delhi, and many from all over India, regardless of religious creeds, adopted these special teachings.

We have seen how many people were attracted to the beliefs and teachings of the noble Shaykh and saint, Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya ‘Mahbub I Ilahi’ (RA)—such was his rank and degree of sanctity that , unlike most saints, he was not classified as a ‘lover of God/Allah’ but, indeed, as a’loved one’; rare indeed, by any standards. These teachings, while uplifiting many people, all over the world ever since the times, of Hazrat himself, also resulted in producing many notable ‘khalifas’ (successors/representatives) of Hazrat, who carried on his sublime work even after his passing away in April 1325 AD/CE (17/18th Rabi us Sani 725 Hijri) – almost all of these attained saintly status themselves, later on: Hazrat Nasir ud din Chiragh Dehlvi, Hazrat Aakhi I Siraj Aina I Hind, Hazrat Burhanuddin Gharib, Hazrat Jalaludin Bhandari, Hazrat Syed Mahmood Kashkinakar and so on.

Last but not least, we cannot forget that most loving devotee of Hazrat Nizamuddin, i.e. Hazrat Amir Khusro, the ‘Tooti I Hind’ (Parrot of Hind/India) who immortalized his saintly mentor and teacher in his verse and music. A true genius of the age, he gained many blessings from the Master and remains even now, unseparated from his presence, buried near the ‘Dargah Sharif’ (resting place /saintly abode) of Hazrat Nizamuddin, within the same compound. Yet, more on that score, later Insha Allah.

It is a proverbial saying in the Punjab that ‘’A good person’s life touches many lives and enlivens them’’. In the case of Hazrat Nizamudin Auliya (RA), of Delhi, we can say that the very excellence of his life and being, touched and transformed not only individual lives, but also whole generations, across the eons, and the process still goes on. Even today, the fragrance of his dear beloved presence wafts to us all, at the Dargah sharif shrine and at his ‘Chilla’’ (hermitage/seclusion cell) nearby. And the whole world goes there, even today, day and night, to be blessed.

 

Lesson 1

Here is a lesson shared from long ago. During the early stages of my inner training, my master used to give me , and some other students, some practical chores to do around our training center-- small chores, like sweeping the floor, or cleaning the windows, or dusting the furniture etc. We all thought, ''Aha! The Master is testing us, how we react in our ego, our 'Nafs', to these tasks- he is checking us for arrogance, for any signs of or feelings of superiority ''. So we all put in extra efforts to be humble, to do our work with interest and to show our lack of pretensions. I became especially proficient in all these tasks allotted to me, from time to time. I worked extra hard, took special pride in doing my tasks in what I deemed an 'excellent' or 'admirable' way. Each time the master saw my work, and praised it or smiled or said something nice or complimentary about it, I was so elated! The master had praised me! - Yet, at other times, when the master ignored me or paid more attention to another student or praised someone else, I noted- or began to note - a sudden surge of anger, of indignation within me. As if I should always be the recipient of the Shaykh's praise and his attention; as if I was, in some way 'special'. I saw this , and other illusions, grow and deepen within me and I began to understand, then, something of what the Shaykh had really been trying to do, to show. All those other, inner, deeper levels of the ego and its demands and cunning manifestations , level upon level, layer under layer, emerging . In every thing, even in the pretense of 'humbleness' and in the supposed 'integrity' and 'hard work' , the ego was latent ; it was planning , coveting, seeking, wanting, tripping me up. It was all a sham. I was all sham. The 'work' that we had begun , was now showing us- showing me-- how much I really lacked, how much was needed , what a marathon life-long effort it was.

When I took this thought to the master, he smiled and said ''Ah son. This is only the beginning. We first look in the mirror and see or note some defect/s. And then , slowly, begin to correct it. The problems are two-- first that we begin to replace one defect with another, because the ego does not like to be exposed and wants to remain in control; and secondly, we develop a complacency , that we are 'involved' in the work, in self-correction, so all is ok now. Be awake, be alert to this. The work is never done. Move beyond these thoughts and imaginings. Be present in every moment.'' 

Are we sustaining that presence now, in this moment, this second, this breath? Watch and see. This seemingly docile pussy-cat ego, which suddenly pounces like a tiger. 

 

Lesson 2

Many years ago, one of my spiritual teachers always used to say (to remind us) to '''Turn from things , to the Lord of things''. I think this was originally a quote by someone, possibly Mevlana Rumi; but it seemed especially relevant in our modern contexts, too. Back then, in the 1980s, the world was going through several major changes and people, individuals, all over, were also victims to the growing, proliferating 'rat race' all over the planet. Things-- material quests and desires-- were taking up more and more of popular thoughts and actions/activities. Humans were inexorably being distanced from their Living Source of Being. A sort of jaded emptiness was seeping insidiously through lives, relationships and much more. Today, as I turn around, everywhere, East and West, North and South, this has all multiplied manifold. The whole world seems today to have come to a point where it is nearly collapsing with the weight of insanity, greed, sorrow... and it all the more important to 'relocate' our focii (or focus, individually) back to the Truth, to Reality; back to the Center, the 'Lord' of all things, all Creation, back to the primal Unity and, to be integrated and stable, away from all these divisive little things that are ruining us. Think about this please. Feel it within your own selves. Many blessings.

 

Lesson 3

I asked my Master (Shaykh/Murshid) a while ago, about the difficulties, from time to time, of following the Path or Way . In response to which, Hazrat narrated this small but well-known anecdote:

''A person came to Hazrat Imam i Zain ul Abidin [Imam i Sajjad] AS and expressed a desire to make 'bayah' and follow him as a disciple or murid. To which the Imam said '''You may join us on two conditions-- first, you will have to do things that you will not want to do; secondly, you will not be allowed to do things you may want to do.''

It is 'WANTING ' which deters us from the Way, the Path of Truth. So rein it in.

 

Lesson 4

In life, we are often reminded of mortality, of our sheer vulnerability, by the illness and infirmity that we undergo. 

During my recent medical tests, I was reminded of the guidance of my dear teacher and a long ago conversation that we had. Which is relevant to this predicament.

 

After my teacher suffered a long and dangerous ailment, I visited him and saw him moving very slowly with the help of a stick . Seeing my face, my dear teacher smiled and said’ ‘’What my son? Letting yourself go into the abyss of emotions and sentiments?’’ I realized the Present moment and stopped and bowed. ‘’Sir, a lesson here too’’. My teacher beamed and said, ‘’In every thing. In every moment. In living and dying. Do you know how much my consciousness awoke via this experience? What seems like frailty and weakness turned into strength, as each labored step punctuated with this stickfall, cleared and focused my mind to the One. To the realization here and now; and the realization of passing beyond this, too. ‘’

My teacher then repeated a famous Sufic example : One evening, a Sufi Sage/Shaykh was sitting in silent meditation beneath a tree. Some Bedouin passed by and addressed him and asked , ‘’How are you O Shaykh? ‘’ . The Shaykh replied ‘’I am like a man who was born in the morning and grew old in the evening and must die at night’’. The Bedouin stopped and looked at him, perplexed, ‘’But is that not the condition of all men, O noble Shaykh?’’ The Shaykh replied: ‘’Yes. But how many of them realize it?’’

Haqq la illaha illallah.

 

Lesson 5

Winter time, with short days and long nights, is a time for introspection. And I'm also often given to thought nowadays. Today, very early in the morning at 'Fajr' [morning prayer] time , when I woke up and said my prayers and sat on my prayer rug meditating I suddenly was aware and conscious of a great thankfulness, in general. My whole family was asleep , and only one small bulb was on, lighting up the immediate space around me and my prayer rug. I was so thankful, first of all, for that little light! :) Lighting the darkness in the early dawn hours, when so many people around me, and all over the world, lacked such basic amenity. I was thankful for my soft prayer rug, the work of many skilled hands and long hours , on which I knelt so easily; I was thankful for the small room heater which I turned on, after my prayers and the kettle which boiled water for my tea, and the beautiful china tea-cup and the small , lovingly wrought tea spoon -- all these things , labors of love! How many ways does Love manifest itself!  3 -- I have been thinking this all day since. And, leaving aside so many big blessings (life itself for example) I have dwelt upon so many small, little things, that I am thankful for, in each second, in each moment, each breath of my being- not just material things but all sorts of things. I feel that we should remain awake to these , too, and hold on to them. And express our gratitude, big and small, in adequate ways , diverse ways. What are you thankful for? Have you thought of this recently? And expressed gratitude? Maybe kissed a favorite tea cup? Or a fragrant rose? Or a dear one? ...


Some Sufi (and other) anecdotes and quotes

 

’Detachment is not that you should own nothing, but that nothing should own you.’’
— Hazrat Imam e Ali ibn Abi Talib (KA)

*****

One day the sun and a cave struck up a conversation. The sun had trouble understanding what “dark” and “dank” meant and the cave didn’t quite get the hang of “light and clear” so they decided to change places. The cave went up to the sun and said, “Ah, I see, this is beyond wonderful. Now come down and see where I have been living.” The sun went down to the cave and said, “I don’t see any difference.” (Traditional Sufi anecdote)

******

''There are two aspects of individual harmony: the harmony between body and soul, and the harmony between individuals. All the tragedy in the world, in the individual and in the multitude, comes from lack of harmony. And harmony is the best given by producing harmony in one's own life.'' (Hazrat Inayat Khan, Chishti-Nizami RA)

******

'Hail, O Love that bring us good gain —
you that art the physician of all our ills
The remedy of our pride and vainglory,
our Plato and our Galen!
Through Love the earthly body soared to the skies:
the mountain began to dance and became nimble.''
[ Hazrat I Mevlana Rumi , QS, Mathnavi, Bk 1, 23-25] 

 

 

‘’We shape clay into a pot,

But it is the emptiness inside that holds what we want’’ (Sufi anecdote)

 

******

 

Mullah Nasruddin and the stone (from the tales of Mullah Nasruddin)

At a gathering where Mullah Nasruddin was present, people were discussing the merits of youth and old age. They all agreed that a man's strength decreases as years go by. Mullah Nasruddin dissented.

"I don't agree with you gentlemen," he said. "In my old age I have the same strength as I had in the prime of my youth."

"How do you mean, Mullah Nasruddin?" asked somebody, "Explain yourself."

"In my courtyard," explained Mullah Nasruddin, "there is a massive stone. In my youth I used to try and lift it. I never succeeded. And I still cannot lift it now.''

******

A man cut down a tree one day. A visiting Sufi said to him: ‘Look at the fresh branch that is yet fresh and happy, unaware that it has been cut off the tree now’.

‘One can be ignorant of the damage one has suffered, but there will be a time when one realizes the truth. Meanwhile one cannot reason with it and understand it’.

This severance and ignorance is the current state of human beings.

[from Shaykh Fariduddin Attar]

******

'Rose petals let us scatter
And fill the cup with red wine
The firmaments let us shatter
And come up with a new design''
[Hafiz] —

******

A passerby ran to where a Dervish sat deep in contemplation, and said:

"Quick! We must do something. A monkey has just picked up a knife."

"Don't worry," said the Dervish, "so long as it was not a man."

When the passerby saw the monkey again he found, sure enough, that it had thrown the knife away.

[Sufi story]

 

 

A Sufi was praying in the mosque. While those around him were praying "May God grant me faith," ; he muttered "May God grant me plenty of wine." The Imam heard him and asked angrily why instead of asking for faith like everyone else, he was asking God for something sinful? The Sufi replied, "Well, everyone asks for what they don't have."
[from a Bektashi Sufi tradition]

*******

Mullah Nasruddin again

One day, Nasr-ed-din borrowed a big earthern pot from his neighbor. Later on, in the evening, when he returned it, he also handed gave a smaller pot back with the borrowed one. ''What's this, Mullah?'' the neighbor asked. ''Oh ! Your pot gave birth to this little baby pot! So I brought it along!'' . The neighbor was perplexed but happy to receive a free pot this way. 

A little while later, Nasr-ed-din again borrowed the big pot from his neighbor but did not return it even after a week or so. His neighbor stopped him one day , on the road and asked, ''Mullah, where is my pot that you borrowed? You never returned it?'' Nasre-ed-din looked sad and said ''Oh-- I'm so sorry to inform you that the pot died, and I had to bury it.'' ''Died?!'' shouted the neighbor, ''Died? How can a pot die? How can you say that?'' 

''Well'', replied Nasr-ed-din, ''If it can have baby pots , then it can also die. You never questioned me when I returned the pot the first time, along with the little one''.

*******

Zen experience 

After the Zen master Bankei had passed away, a blind man who lived near the master's temple told a friend:

"Since I am blind, I cannot watch a person's face, so I must judge his character by the sound of his voice. Ordinarily when I hear someone congratulate another upon his happiness or success, I also hear a secret tone of envy. When condolence is expressed for the misfortune of another, I hear pleasure and satisfaction, as if the one condoling was really glad there was something left to gain in his own world.

"In all my experience, however, Bankei's voice was always sincere. Whenever he expressed happiness, I heard nothing but happiness, and whenever he expressed sorrow, sorrow was all I heard."

 

 

APPENDIX – BESHARAT INSTITUTE UK , A SUFI PRACTISE SHARED ©

 

The three-step breathing space

 

Instructions

 

Step 1: Becoming aware

 

Becoming more aware of how things are in this moment by deliberately adopting an erect and dignified posture, whether sitting or standing and if possible, closing your eyes.             Then bringing your awareness to your inner experience and acknowledging it, asking yourself:

 

  • What body sensations are here right now?
  • What moods and feelings are here?
  • What thoughts are going through the mind?

 

Step 2: Gathering

 

Then re-directing your attention to focuss on physical sensations associated with breathing. Bringing the mind to settle on the breath, wherever you feel it most vividly. Tuning into these sensations for the full duration of the in-breath and the full duration of  the out-breath.

 

Step 3: Expanding

 

Then expanding the field of awareness around the breath, so that it includes a sense of the body as a whole, your posture and facial expression.

 

As best you can, bring this wider awareness to the next moments of your day.

 

The breathing space provides a way to step out of Automatic Pilot and reconnect with the present moment. Each time we do a breathing space we become aware of the breath and our wider experience.

 

The Spiritual Genealogy   (No 1)

Tariqa/Silsila of the Ishq-Nuri branch of the Chishti-Nizami Order 
1. Via Rasul Allah Sayiddiina Hazrat Muhammad e Mustafa (SAW) 
2.Sayiddina Imam e 'Alī ibn Abī Tālib (KA) 
3. Khwaja Al-Hasan al-Basrī (d. 728, an early Muslim theologian and Sufi)
4. Khwaja 'Abdul Wāahid Bin Zaid Abul Fadl (d. 793, an early Sufi saint) - ancestor of some of our shaykhs* 
5. Khwaja Fudayl ibn 'Iyād Bin Mas'ūd Bin Bishr al-Tamīmī
6. Khwaja (Sultan) Ibrāhīm bin Adham (an early Sufi ascetic)
7. Khwaja Hudhayfah al-Mar'ashī (Sadiduddin) 
8. Khwaja Amīnuddīn Abū Hubayrah al-Basrī
9. Khwaja  Mumshād Dīnwarī  (Alawi) 
10. Khwaja Abu Ishaq Shamī (d. 940, founder of the Chishti order proper came to Chisht, Afghanistan, from Syria)
11. Khwaja Abu Ahmad Chishtī
12. Khwaja Abu Muhammad Chishtī
13. Khwaja Abu Yusuf Nasir-ud-Din Chishtī (d. 1067)
14. Khwaja Qutab-ud-Din Maudood Chishtī (Abu Yusuf's  son, d. 1139)
15. Khwaja Haji Sharif Zindani (d. 1215)
16. Khwaja Usman Harooni (d. 1220)
17. Khawaja Mu'īnuddīn Hasan Chishtī Ajmeri (1141-1230) ‘Gharib Nawaz’ (first to come to India)
18. Khwaja Qutab-ud-Din Bakhtyar Kaki (1173-1228)
19. Khwaja Farīduddīn Mas'ūd Ganj Shakar ("Baba Farid", 1173 or 1175 - 1266)
(After Farīduddīn Mas'ūd, the Chishti order diverged into two branches)
20  (a) Chishtī Sabri, who follow Khwaja Alauddin Sabir Pak Kaliyari (Sabiri/Sabriya branch)
20  (b) Chishtī Nizami who follow Khwaja Syed Muhammad Nizāmuddīn Auliyā. (Nizami/Nizamiya branch)*
(Of the Chishti-Nizami branch, the following are our teachers) :
21. Khwaja Naseeruddin Chiragh Dehlvi 
22. Khwaja Kamaluddin Banda Nawaz
23.. Khwaja Sirajuddin Allama
24. . Khwaja Ilm ud din 
25. Khwaja Mahmood Rajan
26. Khwaja  Jamal ud din Juman
27. Khwaja  Hasan Muhammad 'Nuri' 
28. . Khwaja Shamsuddin Muhammad Qutub 
29. Khwaja Yahya Madani 
30.. Khwaja Kaleemullah Jahanabad i
31. Khwaja Nizamuddin Aurangabadi
32. Khwaja Fakhruddin 'Fakhre Jahan' 
33. Khwaja Nur Muhammad Maharvi  
34. Khwaja Muhammad Sulaiman Taunsvi 
35. Khwaja Allah Baksh Taunsvi
36. Khwaja Hakeem Shuja ud Din al-Ansari 
37. Khwaja Syed Zaman Shah, Gilani
38. Khwaja Syed Mubarak Ali Shah
39. Khwaja Khaled Mahmood Siddiqui sb, Chishti Ishq-Nuri * (Founder Ishq-Nuri branch) 
40. Khalifa Omer Khan (Nizami)  , Chishti -Nizami, Ishq-Nuri, and  also Zenji (Rinzai School 71st in that lineage)
(The Teaching goes one, by the Beloved's Grace AH)

 

The Spiritual Genealogy   (No 2)

Tariqa/Silsila of the Qadiri-Chishti-Nizami (Habibie) order
1. Via Rasul Allah Sayiddiina Hazrat Muhammad e Mustafa (SAW) 
2.Sayiddina Imam e 'Alī ibn Abī Tālib (KA) 
3. Khwaja Al-Hasan al-Basrī (d. 728, an early Muslim theologian and Sufi)
4. Khwaja 'Abdul Wāahid Bin Zaid Abul Fadl (d. 793, an early Sufi saint) - ancestor of some of our shaykhs* 
5. Khwaja Fudayl ibn 'Iyād Bin Mas'ūd Bin Bishr al-Tamīmī
6. Khwaja (Sultan) Ibrāhīm bin Adham (an early Sufi ascetic)
7. Khwaja Hudhayfah al-Mar'ashī (Sadiduddin) 
8. Khwaja Amīnuddīn Abū Hubayrah al-Basrī
9. Khwaja  Mumshād Dīnwarī  (Alawi) 
10. Khwaja Abu Ishaq Shamī (d. 940, founder of the Chishti order proper came to Chisht, Afghanistan, from Syria)
11. Khwaja Abu Ahmad Chishtī
12. Khwaja Abu Muhammad Chishtī
13. Khwaja Abu Yusuf Nasir-ud-Din Chishtī (d. 1067)
14. Khwaja Qutab-ud-Din Maudood Chishtī (Abu Yusuf's  son, d. 1139)
15. Khwaja Haji Sharif Zindani (d. 1215)
16. Khwaja Usman Harooni (d. 1220)
17. Khawaja Mu'īnuddīn Hasan Chishtī Ajmeri (1141-1230) ‘Gharib Nawaz’ (first to come to India)
18. Khwaja Qutab-ud-Din Bakhtyar Kaki (1173-1228)
19. Khwaja Farīduddīn Mas'ūd Ganj Shakar ("Baba Farid", 1173 or 1175 - 1266)
(After Farīduddīn Mas'ūd, the Chishti order diverged into two branches)
20  (a) Chishtī Sabri, who follow Khwaja Alauddin Sabir Pak Kaliyari (Sabiri/Sabriya branch)
20  (b) Chishtī Nizami who follow Khwaja Syed Muhammad Nizāmuddīn Auliyā. (Nizami/Nizamiya branch)*
(Of the Chishti-Nizami branch, the following are our teachers) :
21. Khwaja Naseeruddin Chiragh Dehlvi 
22. Khwaja Kamaluddin Banda Nawaz
23.. Khwaja Sirajuddin Allama
24. . Khwaja Ilm ud din 
25. Khwaja Mahmood Rajan
26. Khwaja  Jamal ud din Juman
27. Khwaja  Hasan Muhammad 'Nuri' 
28. Khwaja Shamsuddin Muhammad Qutub 
29. Khwaja Yahya Madani 
30. Khwaja Kaleemullah Jahanabad i
31. Khwaja Nizamuddin Aurangabadi
32. Khwaja Fakhruddin 'Fakhre Jahan' 
33. Khwaja Nur Muhammad Maharvi  
34. Khwaja Muhammad Sulaiman Taunsvi 
35. Khwaja  Muhammad Ali Khairabadi
36. Khwaja Habib Ali Shah (Wali e Dakkan)
37. Khwaja Hafiz Ali Shah Habibie
38. Khwaja Habib Ali Thani Habibie
39. Pir Khwaja Afzal Nizami (Dargah Sharif Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya)
40. Omer Nizami (Murid) , Qadiri-Chishti-Nizami (Habibie)

 

 

 

                                                       TAMAM SHUD                   

A Morbid Attachment
Sartre