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Contents Message from the National Representative




Divine Love by Hazrat Inayat Khan


The Meaning of Love by Rumi


Poems by Ibn Arabi & Rumi


Poems by Hildegard of Bingen & Kafia


Shah Baz by Hazrat Inayat Khan


Dimensions of the Heart by Zubin


Divine Love & Love of the Divine by Zubin


UN International Day for Peace 21 September 2017


Experiencing the Divine by Nuria


The Witch as Teacher in Fairy Tales book signing & talk, photos and poster


Melbourne Winter Retreat & International Summer School posters




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Beloved Sisters and Brothers - Summer 2017 Such a lot has happened since I last wrote. Our financial year end accounts are complete and we are currently proceeding with our virtual AGM, which should be finished before Christmas. I visited Perth in September, where I gave a talk and workshop at the Jung Society about my book. I stayed with our Sufi sister Hilal, who just happens to be the librarian for the Jung society. She has the library at her lovely home, so I had access to so many old books and manuscripts. After the workshop on the Saturday we had a Sufi gathering for a meal at Hilal’s house, with a beautiful Zikar afterwards. It was great to catch up with Nirtana and Rashida again too. Following this I met up with Zubin in Brisbane, in early October, to give my talk and workshop to the Jung Society there. This was well received and there was much interest in the Sufi message. After this I visited Shakti and Barb for a couple of days, so I have had some lovely connections with our Sufi sisters while up in Queensland. I was so well looked after and felt very cared for. A wonderful experience. Then, finally, at the end of October, I gave my talk at the TS Bookshop in Melbourne. This went well, to a full house, and we had a book-signing afterwards. Some people requested a workshop for next year and the bookshop seem to be happy to organise this. Meanwhile, I seem to be finding new and interesting ideas, which allow me to delve deeper into the ancient myths. These eventually appear in my blog if you are interested. Rev Helen Summers from the Interfaith Centre of Melbourne invited me to take part in a magical International Peace-day celebration, - walking the Labyrinth by candlelight, at the Melbourne Edge. We have also presented a Universal Worship service for the Interfaith Centre, on the topic of Experiencing the Divine. So now we are coming up to Christmas and the coming of the Divine Child to Light up our lives. With love and blessings, Nuria National Representative Sufi Movement in Australia

PS Just a reminder that I will be visiting the Canberra Jung Society in early March 2018 to give my talk and workshop again. Please come if you can, as I will be updating my talk (and the workshop). Page 3 Spirit Matters Volume 21 Issue 4 December 2017

Editorial The love that we experience through spiritual practices such as zikr, fikr and meditation, that grows out of the bliss that is awakened in our heart centre is best described as divine love, as it is beyond the nature of earthly or human love. Sufis have called it Ishq or Ishq-e-Haqeeqi which has been translated as the real love or the love of God (Allah). Ibn Arabi (1165-1240) who was an Andalusian Arab Sufi mystic, scholar, poet and philosopher wrote the following impassioned words in the Futuhat: By God, I feel so much love that it seems as though the skies would be rent asunder, the stars fall and the mountains move away if I burdened them with it, such is my experience of love. Jalal-ud-Din Rumi (1207-1273) was a Persian poet and mystic and he wrote many poems expressing his ecstatic mystical love and his yearning for union with the Infinite. The concept of divine love exists in the Abrahamic religions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, but doesn’t feature in Buddhism, although it could be argued that the Buddhist teachings of compassion for all sentient beings and the practice of lovingkindness is akin to divine love. In Hinduism the spiritual path known as bhakti yoga which focuses on the loving devotion to a god is based on the concept of union of one's true self (Atman) with true Reality (Brahman). Divine love, known in Greek as agape has been defined as both the love of God and the receiving of God’s love. It seems to me that a spiritual path must be based on love, as it stimulates spiritual development and it defines our humanity and spirituality. Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941) the Bengali poet, philosopher and mystic wrote the following words: We do not love because we do not comprehend, or rather we do not comprehend because we do not love. For love is the ultimate meaning of everything around us. It is not a mere sentiment; it is truth; it is the joy that is at the root of all creation. In love all the contradictions of existence merge themselves and are lost. Only in love are unity and duality not at variance. Love must be one and two at the same time.

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Divine Love Hazrat Inayat Khan From Volume V, Spiritual Liberty, Part IV, Love, Human & Divine Love is directed by the intelligence. Therefore each person chooses his object of love according to his evolution. That appears to him most deserving of love which is in accordance with the grade of his evolution. There is a saying in the East. 'As the soul is, so are its angels.' The donkey would prefer thistles to roses. The consciousness which is awakened to the material world has its object of love only in earthly beauties. The consciousness active through the mind finds its object in thought and among the thoughtful. The consciousness awakened through the heart loves love and the loving ones. And the consciousness awakened in the soul loves the spirit and the spiritual. Silent love, which is the divine essence in man, becomes active, living, on seeing the vision of beauty. Beauty may be explained as perfection, perfection in every aspect of beauty. Not love alone is God or the essence of God, but beauty also, even in its limited aspects, shows itself as glimpses of the perfect Being. The mineral kingdom develops into gold, silver, diamonds, rubies, and emeralds, showing perfection in it. The fruit and flower, their sweetness and fragrance, show perfection in the vegetable kingdom. Form, figure, and youth show perfection in the animal kingdom. And it is the beauty of personality which is significant of perfection in the human being. There are some people in this world whose life is absorbed in the pursuit of gold and silver, gems and jewels. They would sacrifice anything or anybody to acquire the object of their love. There are others whose life is engaged in the beautiful vision of fruits, flowers, flowerbeds, and gardens. Perhaps they have no other interest besides. There are some who are absorbed in the admiration of the youth and beauty of the opposite sex, and nothing else seems to them worth more. There are others who are won by the beauty of someone's personality, and have entirely devoted to the one they love both their here and their hereafter. Everyone has his object of love according to his standard of beauty, and at the same time each one loves the perfection of the divine Being in a certain aspect. When the seer sees this no one, wise or foolish, sinner or virtuous, remains blameworthy in his sight. He sees in every heart the needle of the compass that turns to one and the same Being. 'God is beautiful and He loves beauty,' as it is said in the Hadith. Man is never capable of loving God in heaven when his sympathy has not even been awakened to the beauty of the earth. A village maiden was on her way to see her beloved. She passed by a Mullah who was saying prayers. In her ignorance she walked in front of him, which is forbidden by the religious law. The Mullah was very angry, and when she, returning, again passed near Page 5 Spirit Matters Volume 21 Issue 4 December 2017

him, he scolded her for her mistake. He said. 'How sinful, O girl, on your part to cross in front of me while I was offering my prayer.' She said, 'What does prayer mean?' He said, 'I was thinking of God, the Lord of the heavens and of the earth.' She said, 'I am sorry, I don't know yet of God and His prayers, but I was on my way to my beloved, and thinking of my beloved, I did not see you praying. I wonder how you who were in the thought of God could see me?' Her words so much impressed the Mullah that he said to her, 'From this moment, O maiden, you are my teacher. It is I who should learn from you.' Someone once came to Jami and asked to be his mureed. Jami said, 'Have you ever loved anyone in life?' He said, 'No.' Jami said, 'Then go, and love someone, and then come to me.' It is for this reason that great teachers and masters have often had difficulty in awakening the love of God in the average man. Parents give their child a doll so that the child may know how to dress it, how to be kind to it, how to look after it, how to love and admire it, which trains the child to become a loving mother in the future. Without this training the later course would be difficult. Divine love would be as strange to the average person as the cares of motherhood to a girl who has not yet played enough with dolls. A mureed had been a long time in the service of a spiritual guide, but he could make no progress and was not inspired. He went to the teacher and said, 'I have seen very many mureeds being inspired, but it is my misfortune that I cannot advance at all, and now I must give up hope and leave you.' The teacher advised him to spend the last days of his stay in a house near the Khankah, and every day he sent him very good food and told him to cease the spiritual practices and to lead a comfortable and restful life. On the last day he sent the mureed a basket of fruit by a fair damsel. She set the tray down and immediately went away, though he wished to detain her. Her beauty and charm were so great, and he was now so much disposed to admire and was so much won by them, that he could think of nothing else. Every hour and every minute he longed only to see her again. His longing increased every moment. He forgot to eat, he was full of tears and sighs, finding his heart now warmed and melted by the fire of love. After some time, when the teacher visited the disciple, with one glance he inspired him. 'Even steel can be molded if it be heated in the fire,' and so it is with the heart which is melted by the fire of love. It is love's wine which is called Sharab-i Kauthar, the wine found in the heavens. When the intoxication of love increases in man, people call him blindly in love or madly in love, because people wide-awake to the illusion of the surface consider themselves to be the only ones wide-awake. But their wakefulness is to the delusion, not to reality. Although the lover is called crazy, his craze for one object of the world of illusion makes him gradually free from all delusion around him. If he succeeds in attaining to this he enjoys his union with the beloved in his happy vision. Then no time is needed to lift from his sight the veil of the one object which he loved. As is said in the Quran, 'We will lift the veil from thine eyes and thy sight will be keen.' Page 6 Spirit Matters Volume 21 Issue 4 December 2017

It is natural for a lover to become infatuated with someone whom he admires, with whom he desires union. But no one object in the world is so perfect as fully to satisfy the aspiration of the loving heart. This is the stumbling-block that causes every beginner in love to fall. The successful travelers on the path of love are those whose love is so beautiful that it provides all the beauty that their ideal lacks. The lover by doing this in time rises above the changeable and limited beauty of the beloved, but begins to see into the beloved's inner being. In other words, the exterior of the beloved was only a means of drawing the love out of the heart of the lover, but the love led him from the external to the innermost being of the ideal of his love. When in the ideal the lover has realized the unlimited and perfect Being, whether he loves man or God, he is in fact in either case a blissful lover. In this the journey through the path of idealism is ended and a journey through the divine ideal is begun, for the God-ideal is necessary for the attainment of life's perfection. Man then seeks for a perfect object of love, idealizing God, the whole Being, the Infinite, who is above all the world's lights and shades, good and ill, who is pure from all limitations, births or deaths, unchangeable, inseparable from us, allpervading, present always before the vision of his lover. When love is true it takes away selfishness, for this is the only solution to wipe off the ego. The English phrase 'to fall in love' conveys the idea of the true nature of love. It is a fall indeed from the pedestal of the ego to the ground of nothingness, but at the same time it is this fall which leads to a rise, for as low as the lover falls so high he rises in the end. The lover falls in love as a seed is thrown in the ground. Both appear to be destroyed, but both in time spring up and flourish and bear fruit for the ever-hungry world. Man's greatest enemy in the world is his ego, the thought of self. This is the germ from which springs all evil in man. Even the virtues of the egoist turn into sin, and his small sins into great crimes. All religions and philosophies teach man to crush it, and there is nothing that can crush it better than love. The growth of love is the decay of the ego. Love in its perfection entirely frees the lover from all selfishness, for love may be called in other words annihilation. 'Whoever enters the school of lovers, the first lesson he learns is not to be.' Unity is impossible without love, for it is love only which can unite. Each expression of love signifies the attainment of union as its object, and two things cannot unite unless one of them becomes nothing. No one knows this secret of life except the lover. Iraqi says in his verse, 'When I, without having loved, went to Kaba and knocked at the gate, a voice came: 'What didst thou accomplish in thy home that thou hast come forth?' And when I went, having lost myself in love, and knocked at the gate of Kaba, a voice said: 'Come, Come, O Iraqi, thou art ours.'' If there is anything that works against the vanity of the ego, it is love. The nature of love is to surrender; there is no one in the world who does not surrender. The world of variety, which has divided life into limited parts, naturally causes every lesser one to Page 7 Spirit Matters Volume 21 Issue 4 December 2017

surrender to the greater. And, again, for every greater one there is another still greater in relation to whom he is smaller, and for every smaller one there is another still smaller, in relation to whom he is greater. And as every soul is by its nature compelled to surrender to perfection in all its grades, the only thing that matters is whether it be a willing surrender or an unwilling surrender. The former comes by love, the latter is made through helplessness, which makes life wretched. It moves the Sufi when he reads in the Quran that the perfect Being asked the imperfect souls, the children of Adam, 'Who is thy Lord?' They, conscious of their imperfections, said humbly, 'Thou art our Lord.' Surrender is a curse when, with coldness and helplessness, one is forced to surrender. But the same becomes the greatest joy when it is made with love and all willingness. Love is the practice of the moral of Suluk, the way of beneficence. The lover's pleasure is in the pleasure of the beloved. The lover is satisfied when the beloved is fed. The lover is vain when the beloved is adorned. 'Who in life blesses the one who curses him? Who in life admires the one who hates him? Who in life proves faithful to the one who is faithless? No other than a lover.' And in the end the lover's self is lost from his vision and only the beloved's image, the desired vision, is before him for ever. Love is the essence of all religion, mysticism, and philosophy, and for the one who has learnt this love fulfills the purpose of religion, ethics, and philosophy, and the lover is raised above all diversities of faiths and beliefs. Moses once begged the Lord God of Israel on Sinai, 'O Lord, Thou hast so greatly honored me in making me Thy messenger, if there could be any greater honor I should think it this, that Thou shouldest come to my humble abode and break bread at my table.' The answer came, 'Moses, with great pleasure We shall come to thy abode.' Moses prepared a great feast and was waiting eagerly for God to come. There happened to pass by his door a beggar, and he said to Moses, 'Moses, I am ill and weary, and I have had no food for three days and am at the point of death. Pray give me a slice of bread and save my life.' Moses, in his eagerness, expecting every moment a visit from God, said to the beggar, 'Wait, O man, thou shalt have more than a slice, plentiful and delicious dishes. I am waiting for a guest who is expected this evening, when he is gone, then all that remains I will give to thee that thou mayest take it home.' The man went away, time passed on, God did not come, and Moses was disappointed. Moses went the next day to Sinai and grieved bitterly, saying, 'My Lord, I know Thou doest not break Thy promise, but what sin have I, Thy slave, committed that Thou didst not come as Thou hadst promised?' God said to Moses, 'We came, O Moses, but alas, thou didst not recognize Us. Who was the beggar at thy door? Was he other than We? It is We who in all guises live and move in the world and yet are remote in Our eternal heavens.' Whatever diversity may exist among religions, the motive of all has been one: to cultivate and prepare the human heart for divine love. Sometimes the spirit of guidance drew the attention of mankind to see and admire the beauty of God in the firmament, Page 8 Spirit Matters Volume 21 Issue 4 December 2017

sometimes in the trees and rocks, making them sacred trees, holy mountains, and purifying streams. Sometimes it has guided men's attention to see the immanence of the Lord among the beasts and birds, calling them holy animals, sacred birds. When man realized that there is no one in creation higher than himself he gave up his worship of the lower creation, recognizing the divine light most manifest in man. Thus by degrees the world evolved to see God in man, especially in the holy man who is God -conscious. Man, with his limited self, cannot see God, the perfect Being, and if he ever can picture Him, he can best picture Him as man. For how can he imagine what he has never known? 'We have created man in Our own image.' Krishna to the Hindus, Buddha to the Buddhists, was God in man. Angels are never pictured in any other image than that of man. Even the worshipers of the formless God have idealized God with the perfection of human attributes, although this is only a ladder to reach the love of the perfect God, to which by degrees one attains. This is explained very clearly in a story of the past. Moses once passed by a farm and saw a peasant boy talking to himself, saying, 'O Lord, Thou art so good and kind that I feel if Thou wert here by me I would take good care of Thee, more than of all my sheep, more than of all my fowls. In the rain I would keep Thee under the roof of my grass-shed, when it is cold I would cover Thee with my blanket, and in the heat of the sun I would take Thee to bathe in the brook. I would put Thee to sleep with Thy head on my lap, and would fan Thee with my hat, and would always watch Thee and guard Thee from wolves. I would give Thee bread of manna and would give Thee buttermilk to drink, and to entertain Thee I would sing and dance and play my flute. O Lord my God, if Thou wouldst only listen to this and come and see how I would tend Thee.' Moses was amused to listen to all this, and, as the deliverer of the divine message, he said, 'How impertinent on thy part, O boy, to limit the unlimited One, God, the Lord of hosts, who is beyond form and color and the perception and comprehension of man.' The boy became disheartened and full of fear at what he had done. But immediately a revelation came to Moses: 'We are not pleased with this, O Moses, for We have sent thee to unite Our separated ones with Us, not to disunite. Speak to everyone according to his evolution.' Life on earth is full of needs, but among all the different needs, the need of a friend is the greatest. There is no greater misery than being friendless. This earth would turn into heaven if one had a desired friend in life, and heaven, with all the bliss it offers, would become hell in the absence of the friend one loves. A thoughtful soul always seeks a friendship that lasts long. The wise prefers a friend who will go with him through the greater part of his life's journey. The miniature of our life's journey may be seen in our ordinary traveling. If, when we are going to Switzerland, we make friends with someone who is booked for Paris, his company will last only so far, and, after that, all the rest of the journey we shall have to go alone. Every friendship on earth will go so far and then will stop. Our journey being through Page 9 Spirit Matters Volume 21 Issue 4 December 2017

death, if there is any friendship that will last, it is only the friendship with God which is unchangeable and unending. But if we do not see and cannot perceive His Being, it becomes impossible to be friends with someone of whom we are quite unaware. But God being the only friend and friendship with Him the only friendship that is worthwhile, the wise first seek the friendship of someone on earth who can guide them to the divine Beloved, just as a lover would first find someone belonging to the household or among the acquaintances of the fair one with whom he desires friendship. Among Sufis many attain to the God-ideal through Rasul, the ideal man. And one reaches the door of Rasul through Shaikh, the spiritual guide, whose soul owing to devotion is focused on the spirit of Rasul and so is impressed with his qualities. This graduated way becomes clear to the traveler on the path of the attainment of the divine Beloved. The friendship with Shaikh has no other motive than guidance in seeking God. As long as your individuality lasts it will last, as long as you are seeking God it will last, as long as a guidance is needed it will last. The friendship with Shaikh is called Fana-fi-Shaikh, and it then merges into the friendship with Rasul. When the mureed realizes the existence of the spiritual qualities beyond the earthly being of the murshid, that is the time when he is ready for Fana-fi-Rasul. The friendship with the Shaikh is friendship with a form, and the form may disappear. A person may say, 'I had a father, but now he is no more.' In fact, the impression of the father whom he has idealized remains in his mind. The devotion to Rasul is like this. His name and qualities remain though the earthly form is no more on earth. Rasul is the personification of the light of guidance, which a mureed, according to his evolution, idealizes. Whenever the devotee remembers him, on the earth, in the air, at the bottom of the sea, he is with him. Devotion to Rasul is a stage that cannot be omitted in the attainment of divine love. This stage is called Fana-fi-Rasul. After this comes Fana-fi-Allah, when the love of Rasul merges in the love of Allah. Rasul is the Master who is idealized for his lovable attributes, his kindness, goodness, holiness, mercy. His merits are intelligible. His form is not known, only the name which constitutes his qualities. But Allah is the name given to that ideal of perfection where all limitation ceases, and in Allah the ideal ends. A person does not lose the friendship with the Pir nor with Rasul, but he beholds murshid in Rasul and Rasul in Allah. Then for guidance, for advice, he looks to Allah alone. There is a story of Rabia, the great Sufi, that once she beheld Muhammad in a vision and he asked her, 'O Rabia, whom dost thou love?' She answered, 'Allah.' He said, 'Not His Rasul?' She said, 'O blessed Master, who in the world could know thee and not love thee? But now my heart is so occupied with Allah alone that I can see no one but Him.' From those who see Allah, Rasul and Shaikh disappear. They see only Allah in the Pir and Rasul. They see everything as Allah and see nothing else. Page 10 Spirit Matters Volume 21 Issue 4 December 2017

A mureed by devotion to the murshid learns the manner of love, standing with childlike humility, seeing in the face of every being on earth his Pir's blessed image reflected. When Rasul is idealized he sees all that is beautiful reflected in the unseen ideal of Rasul. Then he becomes independent even of merit, which also has an opposite pole, and in reality does not exist, for it is comparison that makes one thing appear better than the other, and he loves only Allah, the perfect ideal, who is free from all comparison, beyond this ideal, then he himself becomes love, and the work of love has been accomplished. Then the lover himself becomes the source of love, the origin of love, and he lives the life of Allah, which is calledBaqi bi-Allah. His personality becomes divine personality. Then his thought is the thought of God, his word the word of God, his action the action of God, and he himself becomes love, lover, and beloved. Hazrat Inayat Khan The Meaning of Love Both light and shadow are the dance of Love. Love has no cause; it is the astrolabe of God’s secrets. Lover and Loving are inseparable and timeless. Although I may try to describe Love when I experience it I am speechless. Although I may try to write about Love I am rendered helpless; my pen breaks and the paper slips away at the ineffable place where Lover, Loving and Loved are one. Every moment is made glorious by the light of Love. From Love Poems of Rumi by Deepak Chopra

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I am the slave of passion and the slave of the Beloved. The fire of passion burns my heart And the One I love is in my mind. Passion has seized hold of the reins of my heart So wherever I turn my gaze Passion is facing me. Ibn Arabî

My Burning Heart My heart is burning with love All can see this flame My heart is pulsing with passion like waves on an ocean my friends have become strangers and I’m surrounded by enemies But I’m free as the wind no longer hurt by those who reproach me I’m at home wherever I am And in the room of lovers I can see with closed eyes the beauty that dances Behind the veils intoxicated with love I too dance the rhythm of this moving world I have lost my senses in my world of lovers From Love Poems of Rumi, Deepak Chopra

The Temple of Love The temple of love is not love itself; True love is the treasure, Not the walls about it. Do not admire the decoration, But involve yourself in the essence, The perfume that invades and touches youThe beginning and the end. Discovered, this replace all else, The apparent and the unknowable. Time and space are slaves to this presence. From The Love Poems of Rumi by Philip Dunn

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Love abounds in all things, excels from the depths to beyond the stars, is lovingly disposed to all things. She has given the king on high the kiss of peace. Hildegard of Bingen

Divine Love By Kafia Doris Airey

To be as soft as the pinkest of rose petals And as hard as the protective, sharpest thorn This is Divine Love To be as vulnerable as a newly hatched robin And as bold as the colours on the parents’ breast This is Divine Love To be as fragile as the spider’s etheric silk shimmering in the morning dew And as powerful as an oiled steel springs supporting earth quake prone skyscrapers This is Divine Love To be as aloof as a majestic, soaring eagle merging with the ever-changing heavens And as peaceful as a dove while deeply knowing all the beauties and horrors on earth This is Divine Love To be as radiant and healing as feathers of a caring awakened heart And as destructive of darkness, as the talons of dawn seeking sunlight This is Divine Love To dance and sing as unashamedly as a bird of paradise in a sunlight bower And to be able to grieve empathetically at a friend’s dark loss This is Divine Love To be as pliable as a pelican’s fish filled pouch And as inflexible as a kingfisher’s dagger beak breaking waters’ mirrored surface This is Divine Love To be as open as the whitest snow drop in the spring stirring warmth And as closed as a prey filled armoured crocodile jaw This is Divine Love To be open and balanced to all of Nature’s moods And live and love fully in the Service of the One This is Divine Love - This is Divine Love! Page 13 Spirit Matters Volume 21 Issue 4 December 2017

Shah Baz by Hazrat Inayat Khan Shah Baz. The wondrous bird, the Wanderer, After his many years of travels far and wide Returning called a meeting of his friends From hill from sea, from lake from countryside.

Disease comes never there, and Death himself Dwells evermore without that happy gate, No caste nor creed nor fortune can divide, For all are equal, free and fortunate.

The gulls came from their nests among the cliffs, The ducks and herons from the marshy lands, The eagle from his eyrie in the sky, The ostrich from the burning desert sands.

There heavenly Houris pour the Cousir’s wine, That flows for all and cheers and satisfies; And therefore am I sent to give the world The tidings-I, the Bird of Paradise.

All gathered to receive him. Peacocks danced To sow their joy and many a nightingale Poured forth his welcome in harmonious verse, While choirs of skylarks sang their cheerful tale.

And though I linger here to tell my tale, For that far country is my spirit fain; My wings are spread for flight; I have declared My message; and I seek my land again.

Then spoke Shah Baz and said: Far have I sped, From pole to pole in anxious search I passed, Till, worn by travel and by suffering The haven of my soul I won at last.

The birds pressed round; some ardently desired To seek that far away and longed-for shore, Some unbelievers scoffed, some doubted him, Some dreamed of it, desiring more and more.

How can I tell the wonder of that land! The sun is dim before its heavenly light, And time with all its bondage is unknown, No day is there, no dawn, no eve, no night.

Then said Shah Baz: Whose heart and will are firm, Whose patience is long suffering, whose desire No disillusion or despair can quench, Whose resolution will not faint nor tire,

The Sun, the Moon, and all the planets pale With the radiance of that light-filled sphere, And earth and water all co-mingled are, No hills, no separating seas appear.

O’er many lands and seas and ocean wide Through forests, through temptation’s snares that lie Thick on the path, this pilgrim soul shall fare To gain the land of truth and liberty.

Unchanging is the season and serene; The happy airs that breathe of peace and home Know neither cold nor storm, and over all There bends the kindly sky, an azure dome.

And ponder, ere upon the difficult way You set your foot, what dangers may arise; He who loves safe and idle ways of ease Shall never win the Land of Paradise.

The raindrops are of pearl: fair are the hills, With gleams of gold their shining summits glow, The foaming ocean is a sea of milk, The ever-brimming streams with honey flow.

And many flinched and failed. The chosen few Followed Shah Baz in hope; some strayed aside And lost the path, some feared the endless sea, And tiring, fell upon the hills, and died.

And fair the lordly palaces arise, Carven by cunning skill with many a gem Encrusted and adorned, each haughty hall Wearing a diamond roof as a diadem.

But some attained, and after many days Their tears were done; their weariness, their sighs, Were all forgotten as a dream at morn, Within the happy groves of Paradise.

And there we strive with bitter chance no more; For life flows onward in a tranquil stream, And care and haunting sorrows fade and pass Like the remembrance of an evil dream.

Thus Allah sayeth to the hearts of men: My Messenger I have inspired and sent To lead you to the Land beyond the World: O hear and heed, consider and repent! (translated from Urdu by Jesse Duncan Westbrook)

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Dimensions of the Heart retreat at the Dargah in 2017 There seems to be a good fit between this newsletter topic, Divine Love, and the Dimensions of the Heart retreat at the Hazrat Inayat Khan centre in Delhi this year. Thirteen participants completed pre-retreat exercises directed toward awareness of our body, heart and soul. This poem by Kabir indicates the effect. I have tasted all kinds of sweets Like the Lord’s name none is so sweet In a moment it spreads through the whole body And transforms to gold as if by feat. We retreatants were one from Delhi, five Australians and seven Europeans, all of whom could be accommodated in individual rooms in the Hazrat Inayat Khan centre. As the week unfolded each line of the following quote from the Vadan was explored through in depth practices and readings. Man’s ideal shows the height of his heart; man’s understanding shows the depth of his heart; man’s perception shows the length of his heart; man’s sympathy shows the breadth of his heart; but the fourth dimension of man’s heart is seen by all that it contains within itself. Each day we explored the inner world and its interrelationship with the outer. We considered the ‘crown” of beauty and its necessary support, the ‘throne’ of modesty. We learnt that if one can appreciate beauty then that beauty is within them, and if we can serve the ideal in our heart with beauty, it will be transformative. Personally I deepened in relation to the ideals expressed in the prayers Pir, (Inspirer of my mind, consoler of my heart, healer of my spirit) and Nabi, (A torch in the darkness, a staff during my weakness, a rock in the weariness of life) and increased the intention to explore what it means to serve these attributes of our guides with beauty. In expanding the dimensions of the heart, we made a little of our journey which is part of the great journey toward the perfection of divine love and love of the divine. Zubin

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Divine Love & Love of the Divine By Zubin

The first impression on arrival at the Hazrat Inayat Khan Memorial Trust Centre in Delhi in November 2017, was of abundant growth despite very hot dusty conditions. The dargah was vibrant with the memories of Murshid. The newly developed accommodation building, to which many have contributed over the last three years, was one of wonderment. The reception area which was once a dusty lane is now a beautifully proportioned marble tiled entry to a three storied building, with patios on each of the upper levels. The impressive faรงade has both historic and modern elements. The accommodation building comprises two double rooms, four twin rooms, two singles and a robust dormitory for three to six people. The impact is one of uplifting beauty and a feeling of gratitude to the Maker, Molder and Builder of the Universe for this wondrous building.

Street view of the new accommodation building

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Facade of the new HIKMT accommodation building

Entry foyer for the new accommodation at the Dargah

Second floor accommodation

Abundant growth at the Dargah

After the blessing ceremony we observed the integration between the old and the new, the small cobblestone paths and the marble tiles. The point was made that the path is sometimes cobbled, grey and stony. There may be obstacles, but with belief in God, reason and perseverance, hopes may be realized. The next stage of the building program was foreshadowed. It is the sweetness of hope that makes the object seem sweet. Hopefulness for the spread of the message of Love, Harmony and Beauty fills one’s heart. The very process ultimately teaches that seeking God’s love is the goal that our heart desires, and we learn that God is seeking us. This is expressed in the poem A Lover Who Wants His Lovers Near, by Rabia of Basra (in Love Poems from God by Daniel Ladinsky) He is sweet that way, trying to coax the world to dance. Look how the wind holds the trees in its hands helping them to sway. Look how the sky takes the fields and the oceans and our bodies in its arms, and moves all beings towards His lips. God must get hungry for us; why is He not also a lover who wants His lovers near?

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UN International Day for Peace 21 September 2017 The International Day for Peace was celebrated at Federation Square in Melbourne on 21 September this year and the theme was Together for Peace: Respect, Safety and Dignity for All . The event was sponsored by the Victorian Multicultural Commission and supported by United Religions Initiative, Faith Communities Council of Victoria, Victorian Council of Churches and Islamic Council of Victoria. Thanks to the Reverend Helen Summers, Founder and Director of The Interfaith Centre of Melbourne for the following email and photos: We received several emails from people who said how much they appreciated the prayers, Cath Connelly's beautiful harp music and the labyrinth walks. We had people who stayed all day until the very end of the Candlelight Walk! Over 200 people of diverse faiths came to walk the labyrinth or sit and meditate throughout the day. The numbers were fewer than expected but the depth of experience of many participants made us realise the true value of the event. We had Sunni and Shia women who walked together and appreciated the calmness and clarity of mind they experienced. It was the first time they encountered the labyrinth and walked. As a positive result, Batul Gulani and I will create some labyrinth workshops for Shia women. I have attached a few images from the video at Walking Together for Inner and Outer Peace: on the timeless path of the labyrinth. With many thanks, Helen

Murshida Nuria Daly speaking

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People walking the labyrinth

Experiencing the Divine The homily and sacred readings from a Universal Worship service given by Murshida Nuria Daly on Sunday 12 November 2017 at the Interfaith Centre of Melbourne. We all have experience of the Divine, even though we do not always recognise the experience as such. Sufis believe that we are part of the Divine One, and so the Divine is part of all of us; our mind is part of the Mind of God, our heart, within the Heart of God. So to experience the Divine we need to turn inward. As a drop in the ocean of the Divine, how does the drop experience the Ocean? All the great Beings such as Krishna, Buddha, Zarathushtra, Moses, Jesus, and Mahomed and many others ‘known and unknown to the world’ have had a direct ‘seeing’ of the Divine and this has been described in the readings we have just had. It is almost impossible to describe these experiences, except perhaps in poetry. There are many similarities, and yet some differences, related to the time and culture of the peoples perhaps. Fire and Light Arjuna in the Bhagavad-Gita described the Supreme Personality of the Godhead, as unlimited and full of glaring, brilliant, radiance. It was glaring like the sun and its many faces were rapidly changing. although being faced with a living God is terrifying. Because Arjuna has been able to experience this, as a human, means that we too can have this knowledge. The experience is not something that can be described – we catch it in a glimpse of the whole universe in the beauty of nature, when we are open to receive it. It is a peak experience, which can guide our whole life. Zarathushtra too, experienced the Divine (Ahura Mazda) as Fire: – Ahura Mazda’s first thought blazed into myriads of sparks of light. It is interesting that the Ahura Mazda brings with him, his daughter, the Divine Feminine, the enlightened guide, full of love and compassion. Moses too sees God in flames of fire, from within a bush – but it was a fire which did not burn or destroy. This is a mystery! In the Koran the Light (Nur) is also spoken of as being everywhere, neither from the East or West, even though flame touched it not. Again Light without flame. ‘Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth’, says the Koran. This Light is Nur the Uncreated Light of God. Physical light is but a reflection of the true Light in the world of reality, and that true Light is God. We can only think of God in terms of our phenomenal experience, and in the phenomenal world, light is the purest thing we know. But light is dependent on so many things – energy, space and time. The perfect Light of God is free from any such defects. The lamp is the core of the spiritual Truth, the glass is the transparent medium through which the light passes, but protects the light from moths (low life or motives in man), gusts of wind (passions). So the spiritual Truth has to be filtered through human language or human intelligence to make it intelligible to mankind. Glorious illimitable Light, cannot be described or measured – it illuminates the mind and understanding.

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Meditation – turning inward. It is while Siddharta was sitting under a jambu-tree, pondering life, death, and the evils of decay, while concentrating, that he became free from confusion. All desires vanished from his heart and perfect tranquillity came over him and a deep compassion filled his heart. So we are given the hint that it is by concentrating that we can achieve this state of ecstasy and knowing in ourselves. His inner voice showed him that everything contains its own opposite – where there is heat, there is the possibility of cold, where creatures feel pain there is also the faculty of pleasure. We must seek the great deathless lake of Nirvana in which to purify ourselves of these opposites and rise above them into unity. If we do not find it, it is not the fault of the lake. It is interesting that Ahura Mazda also brought with him, love and compassion, so these are common to both religions. And Zarathushtra asserts that silent meditative thought is best for mankind. Known and recognised. I find it very moving that Moses was called by name by his Lord – he was known. In our own experience of God there is also this deep sense of being known and deeply accepted, even loved. It is as if God is holding out his hands to us. We can communicate with God, Just as Moses did on Mount Sanai. Moses answered, ‘Here I am!’ I think this means that we should respond to the call of God, and let him know we are hearing Him. Being faced with a living God is terrifying! “Take off your sandals” says the Lord. This is a sign of respect and humility – the ground was made sacred by the Divine Presence, and so it was proper to take off his sandals. Moses was in the presence of the Divine. When Jesus was baptised by John in the river Jordan, he experienced the Divine directly, as the heaven being torn open and the holy spirit descending on him like a dove. And Jesus heard the voice of the Lord saying “You are my son whom I love; with you I am well pleased.” This was a powerful experience of being known, like Moses, and being loved as a son, and of having pleased his Lord by his very being. John had foretold that one would come after him, who would baptise us all with the holy spirit. All of these prophets were known and named by the One – the Divine, as are we all. The Divine knows each one of us. It is said that if we take one step towards God, then God takes a hundred steps towards us. In our prayer Salat, we say:O Messenger, Christ, Nabi, the Rasul of God! Thou whose heart constantly reacheth upward; Thou comest on earth with a message as a dove from above when Dharma decayeth, and speakest the Word that is put into Thy mouth, as the light filleth the crescent moon. All the messengers of God have had a direct experience, often in a time when the social order was in decay – when the world was in chaos. Their understanding of the message of God when taught to his followers, eventually became a religion. But it is this direct experience of the Divine, which speaks to us in the same way, when we understand and accept the Truth we are being shown. Page 20 Spirit Matters Volume 21 Issue 4 December 2017

We shall read from the Hindu Scripture After seeing this universal form, which I have never seen before, I am gladdened, but at the same time my mind is disturbed with fear. Therefore please bestow Your grace upon me and reveal again Your form as the Personality of Godhead, O Lord of lords, O abode of the universe. The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: My dear Arjuna, happily have I shown you, by My internal potency, this supreme universal form within the material world. No one before you has ever seen this primal form, unlimited and full of glaring effulgence. We shall read from the Buddhist Scriptures While the prince was pondering on the problem of evil, he beheld with his mind’s eye under the jambu-tree a lofty figure endowed with majesty, calm and dignified. “Whence comest thou, and who mayest thou be?” asked the prince. In reply the vision said: “I am a samana. Troubled at the thought of old age, disease, and death I have left my home to seek the path of salvation. All things hasten to decay; only the truth abideth forever. Everything changes, and there is no permanency; yet the words of the Buddhas are immutable. I long for happiness that does not decay; the treasure that will never perish; the life that knows no beginning and no end. Therefore, I have destroyed all worldly thought. We shall read from the Zoroastrian Scriptures Then I realised You as Bountiful, O Mazda Ahura, When the Good Mind encircled me. His question was: “Which party will you claim as your own?” Zarathushtra replied: “Henceforth, I will consecrate my homage to your Fire, And as long as I am able I will meditate upon Your Truth.” “Therefore grant me Truth whom I invoke.” Then Ahura Mazda replied: “I come to you with my daughter, Armaiti, (full of love and compassion). Place before us your searching questions for by that questioning you will gain the Sovereignty by which you will obtain understanding. We shall read from the Jewish Scriptures Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the far side of the desert and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Page 21 Spirit Matters Volume 21 Issue 4 December 2017

Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up. So Moses thought “I will go over and see this strange sight – why the bush does not burn up.” When the Lord saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, “Moses! Moses!” And Moses said, “Here I am.” “Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.” Then he said, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.” At this, Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God. We shall read from the Christian Scriptures At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptised by Jothn in the Jordan. As Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.” At once the Spirit sent him out into the desert, and he was in the desert forty days, being tempted by Satan. He was with the wild animals, and angels attended him. We shall read from the Scripture of Islam. Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth. His light is like a niche wherein is a lamp, the lamp encased in glass, the glass as if it were a shining star. From a blessed tree the lamp is kindled, whose oil is neither from the East nor West, whose blessed oil would well-nigh shine out, even though flame touched it not! It is light upon light. Allah guides into this light whom He wills; and Allah sets forth Parables to men, for Allah is the knower of all things. We read from the Gayan. In the brightness of day and in the darkness of night what didst Thou not teach me! Thou hast taught me what is meant by wrong and what is called right. Thou hast shown me the hideous face of life, and Thou hast unveiled before me life’s beautiful countenance. Thou hast taught me wisdom out of utter darkness of ignorance. Thou has taught me to think after my thoughtless movements. Thou playest with me, my Beloved Lord and Master, hide and seek! Thou closest mine eyes and Thou dost open them.

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The Witch as Teacher in Fairy Tales Photos taken at Nuria’s talk at the Theosophical Society in Melbourne on the 21st of October 2017, and the book signing afterwards at the bookshop.

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Spirit Matters December 2017  
Spirit Matters December 2017  

Newsletter of the Sufi Movement in Australia