Sufi Movement in South Africa Newsletter 125 April 2010
The Sufi temple in Cape Town has been in use for 30 years and now needs a facelift!
2011 SUMMER SCHOOL IN SOUTH AFRICA The dates and venue have just been finalised! It will be from Saturday 9 to Sunday 17 April 2011. The main venue is the Schoenstatt Retreat Centre in Constantia (a pleasant leafy suburb of Cape Town, about 10km away from the Sufi Temple). Schoenstatt is a Catholic Church centre, much used for all sorts of retreats, seminars and training courses. It has extensive lovely garden grounds and secure parking. There are several venues for meetings, dining rooms and accommodation. We will be allocated our own meeting hall with a little tea kitchen and a pleasant veranda and also our own dining room. The accommodation is simple but adequate. Single rooms are available at no extra charge. A few rooms have a private bathroom but for most rooms the toilet and bathroom are a few steps away. The whole place is immaculate. It is hoped that most delegates will stay there, but it will be possible to come there just for events, and for events and meals. The costs are very reasonable but have not yet been finalised. Registration will be in the afternoon of Saturday 9 April, followed by supper and the first event on the programme to set the tone: The Confraternity Service. The programme will end with a Universal Worship at the Sufi Temple on Sunday 17 April. Most of the programme will take place at Schoenstatt but some of the events will of course be at the Sufi Temple in Newlands. Schoenstatt was chosen as a venue for itâ€™s a retreat-like atmosphere. This can engender a togetherness that is difficult to achieve in an urban environment, where all are commuting to and from homes, guest houses and other accommodation.
NEWS FROM THE CAPE TOWN CENTRE Personal • Martin and Angela van Rensburg suffered a family tragedy when in March their son Paul, who had been sailing and living on his yacht for over 15 years, went missing off the coast of New Zealand. A lengthy search was unsuccessful. However, two weeks later the yacht was found, way off course, without Paul but with his faithful dog alone but alive and relatively well, on board. The weather had been rough and Paul must have fallen overboard. Angela and Martin and their son Gerry flew to New Zealand from Cape Town, and their daughter Bridget joined them there from Arizona, to be together over such a difficult time. All thoughts of love and sympathy go out to them. • In November a funeral service was held for Una Bloch, who faithfully attended Universal Worship for decades. • A Sufi funeral service for Ncebakazi Mpofu, who passed away aged only 35, was held in March. Her sister Thobeka Mangwana has long been a member of our group, and warm condolences go to her and her family. Pringle Bay is a village an hour’s drive from Cape Town, where Waldo spends part of each week. The village now has its own little Sufi group. There has been a monthly meeting for some time, and several Sufi weddings and house blessings. Millie Jones is the first mureed of this group, and recently Nikita and Blaiz Roxburgh (9 and 6 years old respectively) were received into a well-attended Universal Worship at the Temple in Newlands. Their parents, Yulande and Pierre Roxburgh, were initiated a few days later. And Millie and Charlie have just had a baby – warm congratulations! The Message spreads …
The Temple continues to host a variety of events over and above the Sufi programme. Just one example: in October Frances Schwarting spoke at a workshop of business and other leaders developing their leadership skills, under the auspices of an NGO called “Common Ground”. She introduced them to the Temple and to Sufism, and then facilitated a session on the theme of turning within. Classical Indian music is gaining in popularity in Cape Town, and another well-attended sitar and tablar concert was held late last year, as well as a music evening where the group Desert Rose performed music from various religious traditions.
The Sirkar Sufi Universel – 30 years old and needing a facelift!
After more than 30 years in constant use, the Temple building needs a thorough overhaul. Because of its unconventional roof, working on it is a daunting and unusual job. After a complex investigation kindly undertaken by Fritz Andreas, the trustees of the Sirkar Sufi Trust have accepted a quote from a company which can address all aspects of the repairs. Its workers will access the higher portions of the roof from the outside by means of ropes and pulleys, working from the adjacent trees! The work includes major structural repair, water-proofing of course, and many other items. We are grateful and delighted that Fritz has agreed to oversee and manage the contract, and he will be there every step of the way. The accepted basic quote is for R250 000, and so …. Fund-raising is in progress!!! For the Cape Town group this is a huge amount. It is heartening that the Gauteng and Durban groups are being very supportive, and donations from them and others have already been received. The South African Sufi Movement has been blessed in that it has not had to be proactive in fund-raising since the building of the temple. However, on this occasion all are asked to help in some way, once again for the Temple. All contributions, big or small, will be warmly welcomed! They may be handed to Eric, or by cheque to the “Sufi Movement in SA”, or by direct payment into the account of the Sufi Movement in SA at FNB Bank, Plumstead Branch code 201109, account no 50271490647. For overseas donations the bank Swift code is FIRNZAJJ. It is hoped that the repairs will be done this winter over a period of about two months. During this time the temple will be unavailable for any meetings, and alternative venues are being arranged so that the programme of activities can continue uninterrupted. While work is in progress the temple will be much missed by all, and we are already looking forward to returning to our beloved temple after its facelift. Meanwhile, please support the work to be undertaken with your thoughts and prayers… This closing prayer of the Confraternity Service is about much more than a building, but is still appropriate: O Thou, the Maker, Moulder and Builder of the Universe, build with Thine Own Hands the Universel our Temple for Thy Divine Message of Love, Harmony and Beauty. Amen
The Universal Worship
Dear Cherags and Cheragas, This is a short note to express the greatest possible appreciation for your long and loving service to the divine Sufi Message of God for the present epoch. Your readiness to take part in the Universal Worship and to serve in lots of other ways is beyond value and is surely appreciated by all, not only those who attend the Services but also those who work continually for the Message in all planes of existence. As we read in Murshid’s words, religions today seem to exist in name and form only. But during every lighting of the candles the light and essence of each religion is rekindled and during the blessing your hands become the hands of the Message blessing the whole humanity. This underscores the unique importance of the Universal Worship. At the Sufi centre in The Hague, there is a pause of about 10 seconds between lighting each candle. This is most beautiful as one gets the feeling that the light in the inner spheres also has a better chance to kindle. It would be nice if we could do this here also. Regarding the Christmas service, there are usually children present, so it would be nice to keep the texts and sermon short and suitable for younger children. In respect to all the religions represented on the altar it would be wonderful if their message and messenger could be honoured on their respective holy days, for example: Diwali Hindu) Buddha’s birth (and death) Yom Kippur (Hebrew) Jesus’ birth Mohammed’s birth Murshid’s birthday
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The Universal Worship is the instrument for spreading the Message of the present time throughout humanity. It was the dream of all the prophets, and the wish of all the wise. Thank you for your contribution to this greatest of ideals. Waldo van Essen There is a South African book called “Indaba my children” which is about African culture, religion and Ubuntu. In this culture the wisdom is not in books but is passed on from generation to generation verbally. Among many things it describes the moment when the Elder has to pass on this wisdom to those around him: “The old one begins his story - the old story which he knows he must repeat exactly as he heard it, so long ago, without changing, adding or subtracting a single word.” When in India recently, an old friend of the Sufi Movement, Professor Ali, a very well-known and highly respected personality at the university in Delhi and very well-versed in the books of the Sufi Movement, called these “The Opus of Hazrat Inayat Khan”. An opus is described in the dictionary as “a musical composition”. Every one of Murshid’s words is a note in this celestial composition and represents the original teachings of the Divine Sufi Message of God for this epoch. These words are the greatest treasure that exists on the face of the earth today, where they are so sorely needed. The most self-effacing and totally humble of Souls himself said: “Do not change my words, form or phrase unless it is most necessary. Even so, most carefully avoid all changes which can be avoided; otherwise you might lose the sense of my teaching, which is as essential to the Message as the perfume in the rose. If the form in which I give my teaching seems to you not as correct as it ought to be from a literary point of view, do not mind, let it be my own language. There will come a time when there will be a search for my words. Just now if my words are not accepted as the current coin, they will always be valued as the antique.”
A good analogy comes from the film “Amadeus” (meaning God’s love) which shows Mozart’s music through the words of the then court composer Salieri. He says: “Here is the voice of God. “I was staring through the cage of those meticulous ink strokes at the absolute beauty. “This is music as no music is ever finished; displace one note and there would be diminishment, displace one phrase and the structure would fall.” The greatest service we can render the Message of today is to be the faithful trustees of the Opus of Hazrat Inayat Khan so that when its notes are antique, they will be easy to find by the present and future souls searching for the ultimate truth, so helping to bring humanity closer to the fulfilment of its creation. Waldo van Essen Rumi says in his great book, the Masnavi, that the reason why a child cries the first moment after it is born on earth is because it realizes its exile from the higher spheres. 'It is unhappy because it finds itself in a different sphere, a different world. The soul seems captive in this mortal body. There is a beautiful story in the Qur'an which explains symbolically the idea of the captivity of the soul. It says that God made a statue of man, of the first man, and asked the soul to enter into this body. And the soul refused saying, 'Lord, I do not want to be imprisoned in this physical body.' Then God told the angels to sing and dance, and on hearing their song and with the rhythm of the dance the soul went into ecstasy, and in that condition it entered the body. Rumi says that the reason why every soul is yearning to attain something is that it is in exile, a captive in this physical body which for a while it considered to be itself, with which it identified itself, but which in reality is not itself. It is only a garb, but because it has identified itself with this garb it is unhappy; it has lost that freedom which belonged to it, which was its own. The Sufi Message of Hazrat Inayat Khan Volume XII – The Vision of God and Man
www.sufimovement.co.za Editor: Doreen Gough: firstname.lastname@example.org or PO Box 39086 Garsfontein East 0060 South Africa 7