Contents Message from the National Representative
Memories of Murshid Hidayat by Murshid Nawab
Memories of meetings with our beloved Murshid Hidayat by Nuria
Memories of Murshid Hidayat by Azad
Meeting with Hidayat by Zora
Memories of Hidayat by Zubin & Kafia
Words & Thermals by Karim
Dargah Building Project by Zubin
Vancouver Sufi Retreat by David
The sacred geometry of the Universal Worship
Spiritual Liberty by Hidayat Inayat-Khan
Autumn Retreat Melbourne 2017 (poster)
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Beloved Sisters and Brothers Summer 2016 This has been a difficult year, not only for me but for many people. Our Beloved Murshid Hidayat has died at the amazing age of 99. A good Sufi age (the numbers being multiples of three, like the ninety-nine names of God). He achieved so much in his life and made the International Sufi Movement what it is today. His musical contribution towards the Movement should not be understated. His use of his father’s choice of a particular raga, has made our singing zikar a wonderful and deep practice. Together with Jelaluddin Sil, we have a legacy of a wonderful selection of wazifas, composed by Murshid Hidayat and played by Jelaluddin, which are used by us continually in our practice and are a constant (even daily) reminder of Hidayat’s gift to us. Hidayat has so influenced my life over the years as you can see in my memories of him. Then there is the ascendancy of something recurring in the world, a blatant disregard for all the values we hold dear. Truth, justice, love for our fellow man and woman, self-effacement, nobility, beauty and harmony. Where will this lead us? I hope that there will be a ground-swell of resistance and that humanity will hold to its beliefs and integrity. Nothing is certain. But as Murshid has said – we must see the good in the bad, and the bad in the good. Personally, this is also the end of an era. I have had two cataract operations, I am having skin cancers removed, and now getting over a complete hip replacement. There is a renewal and a gratitude that modern medicine can put me back together again! And there is also my mind and attitude which must keep up with my new being. It is very much on an inner level, as well as the physical. That is perhaps most difficult. Allowing self-compassion is one thing, and appreciating and receiving the love of friends and family is another. It is a beautiful thing. So I am optimistic about the new era to come – it may take time to show itself, but it is definitely on its way. Wishing you all a very happy, healthy and peaceful Christmas and holiday season. With love and blessings, Nuria
National Representative Sufi Movement in Australia
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Pir-O-Murshid Hidayat Inayat-Khan 1917-2016
This year marks the passing of Hazrat Inayat Khan’s second son Hidayat. He lived an extraordinary life, having been born into the family of a highly revered Sufi mystic. His father brought the Sufi message of Love, Harmony and Beauty to the West in the early years of the twentieth century and Hidayat continued with the teaching work as Representative-General and Pir-O-Murshid of the International Sufi Movement. Not only did Hidayat Inayat-Khan enjoy a successful career as a respected composer and classically trained musician, but also devoted his life to spreading the message of Universal Sufism. “The true Religion is the cry of the heart; the true Ideal is spiritual consciousness; the true Goal is inner awakening; the true Spiritual Path is self-denial; the true Manner is spiritual nobility; the true art of Personality is humility; the true Moral is beneficence; the true Attitude is forgiveness; the true Beloved is love itself.” Hidayat Inayat-Khan, Reflections II Pir-O-Murshid Hidayat Inayat-Khan worked tirelessly over many years travelling widely, and with true devotion to his father’s vision, inspiring, motivating and encouraging mureeds, and strengthening the work that his father undertook in the spirit of tolerance and love, and with an unfailing belief in the innate goodness and inherent divinity of humanity. I had the honour of meeting him in The Netherlands in 2007 and was struck by his intelligence and remarkable energy. He had already outlived most of his generation, and yet in his 90s he seemed to be possessed of a level of energy and a spiritual presence that eclipsed many people half his age. He seemed to have a kind of jerky, almost explosive energy that seemed to suggest a deeply spiritual soul with a fountain of creative energy to draw on. This edition of Spirit Matters is devoted, in part, to honouring and remembering the remarkable person who was Hidayat Inayat-Khan. With love and respect, Yaqin Page 4 Spirit Matters Volume 20 Issue 4 December 2016
Memories of Murshid Hidayat By Murshid Nawab
It is not easy to write memories of Murshid Hidayat. The problem is not a lack of material. We shared a great deal during almost forty years, and the storehouse of impressions is very full. The difficulty is that he was completely contradictory, and for every anecdote illustrating some characteristic, there is an answering example showing the opposite. He claimed that he was not ‘devotional,’ and hated what he privately called ‘sickly devotion;’ at the same time, devotion to his Father and the Sufi Message consumed his whole life. He could by turns be solemnity personified, and then completely facetious, his sense of humour ranging from a sly, barely perceptible twinkle to outrageously ribald earthiness. At times he was amazingly subtle – often quite beyond the grasp of the people he was dealing with, it seemed, and then he could be thunderously blunt, leaving those around him flattened. What is more, sometimes he was intentionally contradictory, to avoid being confined in any pattern. When he began to visit us in Canada, the program included week-long camps in the Rocky Mountains, where it was natural to entertain ourselves one evening with a ‘talent night,’ a not-particularly-talented grab-bag of whatever anyone cared to offer: a song, a poem, a story, a dance, and numerous skits lampooning ourselves and our ‘exotic spirituality.’ (“What sacred words does a Sufi repeat every morning?” “Ya Coffee! Ya Waffle!” We thought we were hilarious.)
One year, the daring idea came to make a skit about Hidayat himself. Someone had brought along a false nose and glasses, and a flesh-coloured rubber ‘bald head’, and then with innocent bravado, and of course without telling him why, we asked if we could borrow his coat and hat that evening. He was very reluctant, because he took excellent care of his things, and his injunction not to get ‘bugs’ on his hat was not entirely in jest, but in the end, still very suspicious, he yielded. If we had been more mature, perhaps we would not have had the nerve to make such a bold assault on the dignity of our Sufi guide – but no one laughed harder than Hidayat himself. He loved it. “Nawab! Don’t you know it’s good for the character to laugh at oneself?” And the next year, as talent night approached, he casually asked, in a roundabout way, if perhaps we needed to borrow his coat and hat?
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Memories of meetings with our beloved Murshid Hidayat By Nuria I first met Pir-o-Murshid Hidayat at International Summer School in 1999. The whole experience of being at Summer School was unique and I had no idea of what to expect. It was not like our Australian Summer school, but then again, I had only attended my first Australian Summer School in the January of that year. This was when I first met Murshid Nawab, so it was a year of beginnings for me. Perhaps I had an idea of what it was like to meet a Pir-o-Murshid, but my memory was of sitting outside the little room he was using to meet with his Mureeds, just waiting in anticipation for an interview. Of the meeting, I can still see those sparkling even mischievous eyes – so full of life and fun. It felt like I was looking into a part of myself that I had long forgotten. I think he asked me about our Melbourne group – it wasn’t important. At the end, we stood up – I had no idea at that time of the protocol of the Sufi hug, heart over heart, so I simply gave him a huge bear hug which almost lifted him from the floor. He was a small man. He didn’t object or murmur but smiled at me beautifully and I left feeling marvellous. Later that Summer School, Nawab fetched me from a choir practice – I had no idea what to expect but Nawab simply said that I was to be given an initiation (an upgrade, as the IT part of myself put it). I was taken to the small chapel next to the temple. Pir-o-Murshid Hidayat was there, with Aziza, Nawab, Azad and Murshid Karimbakhsh. Again, I do not remember what was said, except that I was being made a centre leader – certainly not because of anything I had done, or anything that I was, but simply because of the hope that I would and could fulfil the expectation that Hidayat had of me. Perhaps a fulfilment of potential. I know I was very moved and also embarrassed at being the centre of attention. No one had ever prayed over me before or performed any such ritual. I do remember that Pir-o-Murshid said the Khatum over me, and that he did this because it was his favourite prayer. It has always been mine also. The following years of attending the International Summer School were challenging for me. I was there to be trained as a leader, but I only understand this now with hindsight. At the time, all I wanted to do was to be a mureed and be a participant at the retreat. Pir-o-Murshid Hidayat had other ideas. Every afternoon at Summer school there was a Sacred Reading, and I was asked to read one of these Teachings. I was shy, introverted, and totally terrified of having to stand up on the dias in front of all the senior Sufis and Mureeds. Murshida Hamida Verlinden took me under her wing. I was drilled in the art of projecting my voice – I had to stand outside the temple and project my voice to the Heart and Wings high up on the outside wall. The next morning we were in the chapel and I was wondering who I could call on (from an inner perspective) to help me in my task. It couldn’t be Hidayat or Nawab, as they would be sitting in the front row watching me, and indeed, it was they who had put me into this situation. Suddenly I felt Murshid (Hazrat Inayat Khan) right there next to me. I understood that I just needed to put my frightened ego aside, and let him talk through me. So, that afternoon, I was robed up in a borrowed yellow robe and hooked up to a microphone. Pir-o-Murshid Hidayat was very encouraging and out I went. I managed to get up on the stage and became rooted to the spot. Hamida and Azad were standing at the back making signals. I was to move over a step closer to the microphone. I could not move – my knees were shaking too much and I was glad I was wearing a long robe so that no one could see my trembling knees. I really did put my ego aside – I have no memory of the reading, but on finding myself back in the small room with Hidayat, he thanked me with tears in his eyes, and said that as he listened to me, I reminded him of his mother, as I had done the reading. I have never forgotten that, nor have I ever been frightened or intimidated when standing in front of an audience again. What a training! Another memorable time with Murshid Hidayat was at the Conference of Sound and Music in Canada. The whole atmosphere was so warm, loving and relaxed. There was obviously a rapport and harmony between Murshid Hidayat and the Canadians which I found charming, obviously going back to the days Page 6 Spirit Matters Volume 20 Issue 4 December 2016
of Summer Camp at Lake O’Hara. At one time, I found myself sitting next to Murshid Hidayat and Aziza at a special dinner. Hidayat made a great effort to engage me in conversation and perhaps seemed to remember that my first language was German, or should I say a Viennese dialect, but that I had been born and brought up in Ireland. He was very intrigued by this and started to speak German to me, so that he could hear my peculiar Viennese on top of an Irish accent. He thought it was very funny and kept it up for a while. I never forgot that – it was funny and I could see that he was not laughing at me, but interested in the sound perhaps of this strange combination. After the conference, I had a spare day and so Jelaluddin and Fazalunissa kindly invited me to their beautiful home. Hidayat was there also and I watched while he and Jelaluddin took endless time and effort attempting to record a new version of zikar played on the viola. Clearly they were not happy with the result as the recording has never been heard. But for me it was amazing to watch as two great musicians worked together, dedicated and absorbed in their vision of how it should be. The last time I was at Summer School, Murshid Hidayat came over to our table at breakfast and challenged me as to my beliefs regarding his favourite topic – Spiritual Liberty. He explained it to me very carefully and in a way that I could understand and relate to. I ‘got it’ and what he told me has grown and informed almost everything I believe. Afterwards he simply asked – Are you with me? And I said yes! It was almost the last time that I saw him. My relationship with him was loving and clear – it remains unchanged. With all my love dear Murshid!
It was with great sadness that I learnt of the death of our beloved Pir-o- Murshid Hidayat. He had a long and fruitful life! My abiding memory of him will be of his twinkling blue eyes and his mischievous humour. At one, if not the first one, of our meetings he asked how I had come to Holland and I – being puzzled – explained that I had flown from Ireland to Holland! He replied ‘Goodness! Do they have airports in Ireland?’ I realised then that he was teasing me. So I played along and said Yes! And I played along further
by telling him that I had driven to the airport and… he then interjected ‘You mean they have roads as well?’ At that we both started to laugh and any tension or worry that we (Nuria and I) had was set aside and we had a relaxed and gentle conversation with him. When I got back to Ireland I sent him a postcard of a flock of sheep blocking a minor road with the heading “An Irish traffic jam”.
Another memory of him is as he was standing at the door after we had done the Walking Zikar in Murad Hassil ; Hidayat was greeting everyone as they exited the hall. When I reached him he caught me by both his hands and said ; “Azad, you always make me smile – you have a happy heart.” That will be my abiding memory of this very humble, unpretentious, man, as witnessed by his death and burial. ‘Ar Dheas Dé go raibh a anam” (May he rest in peace) Azad Page 7 Spirit Matters Volume 20 Issue 4 December 2016
Meeting with Hidayat By Zora In 2000 I was struggling emotionally and when I was told the retreat at Lake O'Hara in Canada might be my last opportunity to meet Pir-o-Murshid Hidayat Inayat-Khan, I felt an urgency to go. (Thankfully, Murshid Hidayat proved to be much more resilient than predicted.) Our long journey from summer to the northern winter, finally wound us up to a picture postcard chalet high in the Rockies. As I settled into a twin room under the rafters, the casement windows giving views over the crisply mirroring lake, in perfect timing, it began to snow. Ya fatah. A spectacular new beginning. The days that followed were crowded with many people, new experiences and a good measure of dismay. My room-mate observed silence in our shared space so I never had any idea who she was but one evening she was vociferous to Murshid Nawab's face. He remained calm and polite but I was mightily disconcerted. At the dinner table there were discussions about levels of initiation and inner school practices that left me feeling I was out of my depth among the big kids and wondering why I was there. On the day of my appointed meeting with Murshid Hidayat, I walked the snowy paths around the lake, less worried about marauding bears and elks than what question I might, in all sincerity, ask him. By the time I knocked on his door, I was tongue tied and terrified. Opening the door to a cosy little sitting room, there was Hidayat, patting the cushion beside him on the couch and his face crinkled in greeting. He said, "I've been watching you and I'm very impressed." Whaaat? My mind absolutely fused. Confused, I sat. He then asked me gossipy sort of questions about my fellow Australians and he chatted. My blood was starting to circulate again. I was somehow feeling like a favourite niece sitting with her benevolent uncle. I was safe and loved. How's that for an instant remedy to my life's wounds! So palpable I will never forget the healing and expansion of it. He then inquired "Do you want to ask anything?" and I heard myself say that I was finding all the inner school business very disconcerting. "There's only one inner school and it's in here" he adamantly tapped his chest over his heart. So simple. I was immensely relieved. And released. "Now, I think you want a new name, don't you?" I realised that I did but I'd never have said. "So what would you like? Hindu or Buddhist or ..." Buddhist. Did he look up a list? I can't remember. "What about YaĹ›odharÄ ? Buddha's wife." I mumbled that I wasn't sure what happened to her. He said "You know the story. Buddha was married before he went off to become a siddhi." I nodded and told him that my husband had just left me. "Oh no, that won't do then. No, no." We laughed. And did he return to his list? He asked me if I'd like to be called Zora. Oh my goodness, yes. A name that warrants a costume, a cape at least and probably a fine horse. Yes please. Ya fatah! I asked Hidayat how to spell my new name, which is how I came to the absence of the obligatory h, and despite many correctors, I have retained his spelling as it was given. It's like a spark of him I touch. A light, humorous touch. A zap. This short meeting with Murshid Hidayat was a watershed that reset my path. Through the years I still sit with him, engendering that notion of high regard and love, always smiling when I think of him and grateful. Grateful.
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Memories of Hidayat Murshid Hidayat is an inspiration who answered the question “To be or not to be?” with "Not to be is to be.” He wrote it and he lived it, constantly self effacing while holding to his course and living the Sufi message of love harmony and beauty. We are very grateful for his friendship, visits and teachings in Australia in 1990 and 1992. By Zubin
Once in the early 90s Pir-o-Murshid Hidayat and Aziza came to my house in Sydney for lunch. My daughter cooked a beautiful meal to enable me to spend more quality time with them. He enjoyed the Australian wine ( I think it was from Azim's vineyard in Orange). What I found remarkable, as this was my first meeting with him on a social level, was his humility, friendliness and sense of humour. I internally had raised him to the level of pope as I had only ever seen him heading the international Sufi meetings, and was doing hero worship, even though this luncheon was pre a business meeting. I now attempt to realise at all times that everyone is God and deserves that level of respect, irrespective that they may be awake or asleep to their identity as part of the creative force and intelligence of the universe. Hidayat taught me that day, as did Sherif Jansen my original murshid that humility, kindness, gratitude, incessant self remembering, forgiveness, a sense of humour, commitment to keeping a healthy temple (body) and altar of God (heart) and ordinariness (not to stand out) to the observers around one, no matter which culture, is all it takes. By Kafia
The Son’s Marriage
Song to Hidayat
(sung to the tune of John Lennon’s Imagine)
The son has married He flies into Her arms His sweet yearning over The son's son is also married To Her and his father married Her too But many years ago The grandson has returned From whence he came Delightful was his telling Of the Loving and the Lovers Of the yearnings Of the weddings He needs to yearn still more Before he can drown in Her arms And burst with crazy love Dancing the wedding night union In the ecstasy of merging Becoming nothing but everything A drop kissing an ocean A lover dying to love his Beloved
By Kafia Sail away your soul is free now Cruise to your reality Leave the harbour of illusion Enjoy love eternally As I place the healing flowers On a rock scribed with your name I pray for light to guide you From all your earthly pain And I pray for a safe passage To a port where peace remains How can we forget you Our hearts sing your refrains You may say I'm a dreamer But I'm not the only one Sufis all will remember you Sweet Hidayat - friend - sail on
Note: The reference to the grandson was after Pir Zia’s visit to Sydney
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“The natural thing for a poet is to let his mind float into space; and whatever it happens to touch to let his heart express it, and then what is expressed is an inspiration”1
Words and Thermals By Karim
Today as I sat outside under our ‘Winter Verandah’ on this, the first day of winter, enjoying the sunshine and clear blue skies once more, after days of dark overcast and rain, I watched as a flight of pelicans arrived high over our bird filled native gum trees; soon they were joined by whole flights of other birds whirling and turning in the air above me. As I watched the pelicans, wings outstretched, necks pulled in, and head and great beaks jutting forward they began to turn almost in unison as they found the thermal they had been searching for. Swiftly rising now, they were joined briefly by their smaller fellows in this great dance of nature, carried aloft towards heaven. Not only humans enjoy these changes, eagerly or patiently awaited even in the darkest of days when the whole earth seems to conspire to bring us relief. Bhakti and I are blessed to live in the tiny village of Milang that sits of the northern edge of the largest freshwater lake in Australia, Lake Alexandrina, named for a young princess who went on to become Queen Victoria (they considered changing the name!). The mighty Murray River reaches the penultimate stage of its long journey to the Great Southern Ocean here, seeming to be resting up prior to plunging its fresh water into the salt beyond the mouth of this great river system. We too have reached that same stage, retired now and able to put our feet up at last during these long, deeply appreciated days. Time to contemplate, to consider again the verities of a reasonably long life. I recently (re)read the Master Hazrat Inayat Khan (last issue of the Sufi Newsletter) speaking on the values of silence, and the power such in-dwelling silence gives the words of those who realise its value. He spoke of the (opening) words of John’s Gospel “In the beginning was the Word…” and some of the deeper meaning behind John’s statement. It is indeed very true that words have power. Early peoples knew for instance the power of someone’s name, and were thus careful when it was used and to whom it might safely be given. More than twenty years ago now, as teachers, my wife and I headed off to work in some of the remotest schools in Australia, indeed, on the planet! Our first school was called Wallunguru and it was an eleven hundred kilometre round trip for a cup of coffee! We worked with an Aboriginal group – the Pintupi – who were known as the ‘The last of the nomads’! Two of our fellow teachers unfortunately had the same Christian name as an Elder who had died. Their names thus became ‘kumanjay’ (unable to be spoken). It made for some interesting interactions in the classroom, I can tell you! The reason for this ‘idiosyncrasy’ – if it be so – was that to use a dead persons name would call-up the spirit of those who had died, and one may not be able to control the consequences of that. In some cultures – Judaism for example – one may not pronounce the name of God, and – of course – in Christianity we are warned ‘not to take the Lord’s Name in vain.’ Yet, in Islam, we find the opposite to be true (up to a point) where we discover the 99 Names of God, and these are both spoken of and used for their power to bring about change. However, one Name, the 100th, is supposed to be secret, or perhaps it is the 101st Name, or the 1001st Name, it doesn’t matter, the point is the same. Some words have always been considered, from the earliest of times, to have power beyond their mere written or spoken form. There is a metaphor here – given at the same time as the vision of the flight of great birds souring on a thermal Page 10 Spirit Matters Volume 20 Issue 4 December 2016
and spoken of earlier. It is this: they, the birds of the air, constantly seek out, given the right atmospheric conditions, these thermals which allow them to be carried aloft, high enough to see and open the way for the journey they wish to make, across, in this case, hundreds of kilometres of arid country, to the great inland lake to the north – Lake Eyre. Because of this ‘thermal’, they save precious time and energy by spreading their great wings and – as-it-were – hitching a ride on these currents of the heavens. Just so, we human spirits that aspire to know, to reach God, must constantly be on the lookout for our own kind of thermals, to carry us with the greatest ease to our God. John said: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. I believe this is what he meant. Like thermals, some words have particular power to unlock our own journeys home; but this is not true of all words. Like the great birds of the air I described earlier, and even their lesser brothers and sisters, we too must stay tuned-in to find our own ‘thermals.’ It has been almost twenty five years since I last regularly practised ‘Mindfulness’ meditation (ala ‘Vipassana) but I remember still very clearly that ‘concentration’ (the looking of the birds) was only a stage in the practice. Having developed good concentration/attention, one had then to relax; this ‘passive awareness’ was to allow the nature of reality to reveal itself –not an end in itself. I once read a monk in the Theravada tradition describe this stage as ‘to awaken to the deathless within’. When words (or The Word) awaken within us, this ‘deathless’ space becomes alive and powerful in a way that cannot be really spoken of, except through metaphor. These are our ‘thermals’. In reality they can only be understood in such a way. They must be lived: this is the power of the Word – this is God. “Faith and imagination are wings of the bird that flies in the spiritual spheres”2 A postscript: After writing the above piece (with the exceptions of the italicised pieces) the next morning I opened up three different texts to find that each one contained, in one form or another, a ‘bird’ motif similar to the one I had myself used in constructing the metaphor. Each piece not only confirmed the ‘inspiration’ given, but extended it in perhaps unexpected and certainly beautiful new ways. This too is the blessing of Allah when one attends truly to the inner message that we have all been entrusted with. I will finish with the 3rd and 4th of these blessings: In Chapter 14 on ‘God the Creator’ [“Ya Musawwir”] in ‘Physicians of the Heart: the Ninety Nine Names of Allah’3 we may find the following: ‘In the Qur’an it is reported that Abraham asked God to teach him the secret of life and death, so God told him to take four birds and put them on the four mountains at the four corners of the world, and to train them. …Abraham is to train the birds so that they love him so much that when he calls them from the four corners of the world they will come. So Abraham did this; and when he called, all the birds returned. The divine secret communicated to Abraham is the training of hearts. Hearts can be tuned so that they will be inclined to fly to the source when the call comes…’4 “Ya Musawwir” Number 13 in the 99 names of God, “The Fashioner of Forms” ‘The infinite is given a finite shape…’5 (For those interested in further reading and clues in relation to the inner form of the above offering) Hazrat Inayat Khan, in Mental Purification & Healing, p158; Vol. IV The Sufi Message Hazrat Inayat Khan, Christmas and New Year blessing card for 2009 Physicians of the Heart: A Sufi View of the Ninety Nine Names of Allah, pp, 214-216, by Wali Ali Meyer, Bilal Hyde, Faisal Muqaddam, & Shabda Kahn Qur ‘an, 2:260 Physicians of the Heart: A Sufi View of the Ninety Nine Names of Allah, p43, ibid.
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Dargah Building Project By Zubin Dear friends, This year at the retreat conducted by Murshid Nawab at the dargah of Hazrat Inayat Khan the topic was "Regarding the Pleasure of God". In November two men from the Netherlands, a former Melbourne resident now in Seattle, and I gathered. We admired the new polished marble floor in the dargah building where we completed our early morning practices. In the newly acquired accommodation section a floor plan with stairs and rooms was emerging. Our time at the dargah was marked by the rhythmic noise of construction beyond the retreat section, giving a sense of progress on the outer as well as the inner! Within a few days the form work was up for a second floor and we heard that four double rooms with en suites would be built there. How exciting! A ton or two of red bricks was delivered against the street wall of the dargah and enterprising staff turned the bricks into their own one metre high retaining wall. Meantime there had been a silent presence constantly at work in more ways than one! The ton of bricks was shifting from the street to the back of the property where they would be used, by a small team of workmen who patiently ferried bricks across the lawn, up the steps, past the kitchen, and up the well made concrete steps to the building site. There they were built into second story walls, and there are large private windows in both floors with a doorway to the back street. A few days later after meetings between the director, Murshid, the project manager, the architect, and others we learnt that there would be patios on both the second and third levels. In the course of ten days two additional levels had taken shape, and although there is rendering of the bricks and doors and windows required to bring the large project of doubling the size of the retreat centre to even first base, it is clear that it is in good hands and there is much appreciation for the support received to make this progress possible. Like most building projects each day adds unexpected costs and all support for this project at the dargah is greatly appreciated.
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Vancouver Sufi Retreat, The Human Rose We have recently completed the Vancouver Sufi retreat, The Human Rose. It was held at the home of Fazalunissa and Jelaluddin, with a field trip to a beautiful botanic garden in Vancouver for the nature meditations. Although small and intimate, it was a delight to share the weekend with new and seasoned friends of the Sufi Movement. The Universal Worship service was preceded by a presentation of the Universal Worship sacred geometry, a project that Hidayat initiated in the 1980s at the Lake Oâ€™Hara retreats. The drawings of the geometrical exploration are attached. It is interesting to know that Hazrat Inayat Khan himself initiated the geometrical exploration, as Hidayat recalled, by describing the formation of a pyramid over the altar as the service progresses. His life was not long enough to give us more personal guidance with this mystical concept. Hidayat encouraged us to develop his father's vision as a means to understanding the mystical qualities of the Universal Worship service. As a result, the Universal Worship can now be better understood as a visionary vehicle for experiencing the concept of the Divine Unity.
Jelaluddin is an accomplished pianist and composer. We decided to make his wonderful instrument the altar for our Universal Worship. The musical symbolism seemed to fit the spirit of the service and Jelaluddin provided the musical interlude by playing an improvisational piece on the altar itself. The theme of the retreat, being the human rose, was enhanced by photos from our India retreats where roses are spread on the tombs of the Sufi mystics. Consider sharing images from your activities and retreats around the world. Your faces are the beauty of our Sufi family. Sending love from Canada, David
Page 14 Spirit Matters Volume 20 Issue 4 December 2016
Page 15 Spirit Matters Volume 20 Issue 4 December 2016
Spiritual Liberty By Hidayat Inayat-Khan The keynote to Unity of Religious Ideals Wisdom and Purity, indicated by the term 'Sufi', have always been the source of inspiration traced in devotional worships all down the ages; and even though Sufism has often been periodically appropriated by various cultural streams during different periods of history, it has never lost its own identity. There are as many descriptions of wisdom and purity, as there are seekers on the path, but these descriptions could never be classified as being the property of just one belief. As soon as one attempts to define abstract concepts, one gets lost within the labyrinth of one's thoughts and one builds up illusions fashioned at the level of one's mind-world, assuming being in possession of Truth. Truth is not a religion, nor is it a secret school of speculative interpretations of the original inspiration revealed in all beliefs. Truth cannot be confined by descriptive terminology, nor can it be identified as being the property of one single transmission because of its universal nature. The wise restrain from making a display of their wisdom, using preferably the language of the heart when communicating with others; avoiding thereby the perpetuation of regrettable misunderstandings. Some declare having found Truth in Hinduism, others in Buddhism, Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, as well as in many other religious beliefs, known or unknown to the world at large; but when Truth is formulated at the level of individual understanding, it is then apparently diversified in various interpretations, just as pure water poured into coloured glasses gives the impression of being shaded to the colour of the glasses. In this chaotic world, where political dictatorship as well as religious dogmas prevail like dark clouds, the Message of Spiritual Liberty in our time is a call for freedom of thought from the confinement of traditional beliefs, which do not necessarily correspond to the new age. The call for 'Unity of Religious Ideals' is an awakening to a broader outlook inspired by the teachings of all religions. Diamonds are found in one, rubies in another, and more precious jewels are found in others, known or unknown to the world at large. Unity of Religious Ideals also implies avoiding such statements as 'my belief ', as opposed to 'your belief`. Religious Unity is obviously the religion of the heart; and since there are world-wide hearts, there are just as many calls of the heart, springing forth from one and the same source. This Message, inspired by the teachings given in all religions, is not only meant for one part of the world; it is a Universal Worship, also offered in line with the social world, as well as to science and to all types of individual creativity. Freedom of thought is also experienced in esoteric teachings known as the 'Alchemy of Happiness', revealed in the great Ideals of Love, Harmony and Beauty, poetically described in a mystical tale related to a magic formula used in transforming base metal into gold. This historical legend symbolizes the melting of the ego along a thorny path known as the 'Art of Personality', where false identifications are overcome when discovering the Divine Guidance as a pearl within the heart. Humility is not necessarily weakness; it is a feeling that rises from the living heart, which is secretly conscious of its inner beauty, while at the same time veiling itself even from its own sight. When the doors of the heart are open, humility awakens, finding oneself face to face with the Divine Guidance, flowing onwards as Wisdom and Purity, which reveal the true essence of all that is understood by the term 'Sufi'.
Page 16 Spirit Matters Volume 20 Issue 4 December 2016