Spirit Matters All light is for us, inspiration is for us; why not use it as long as we know how to use it to make the best of life?
Hazrat Inayat Khan
THE NEWSLETTER OF THE SUFI MOVEMENT IN AUSTRALIA, INC. Volume 15, No. 2 ~ Winter 2011
Spirit Matters ... Winter 2011 F
WHAT’S IN SPIRIT MATTERS THIS SEASON? Page 3-4 Letter from Nuria, the national representative of the Sufi Movement in Australia 4 The passing of two beloveds 5 Poem - ‘She who is God’s presence’ - by Talibah Josephine Lolicato 6 Book Review of The Unknown She by Hilary Hart - review by Rashida Judith Murray 7 Poem - ‘Winter Breaths’ - by Nuria Irene Daly 8 Film Review of Al-Ghazali: The Alchemist of Happiness - review by Rashida Judith Murray 9 Sufi Reading - Conscience - by Hazrat Inayat Khan 10 Poem - ‘The Day with a White Mask’ - by C.S. Lewis 11-13 Universal Worship - Homily on ‘The Unity of Religious Ideals’ - Nuria Irene Daly 14 Universal Worship - Sacred Readings on the topic of ‘The Unity of Religious Ideals’ 15-17 ‘The Fairy of the Dawn’ : A Roumanian fairy tale with a Sufi/Jungian interpretation - Nuria Irene Daly 18 A retreat in the west 19 Upcoming events - The Sufi Message of Remembrance retreat - September, Sydney 20 Upcoming events - The Hidden Desire retreat - November, India 21 Contacts
A note from the editor
MEMBERSHIPS & SUBSCRIPTIONS
For those of you who have been waiting and wondering what has happened to the Winter issue of Spirit Matters, I do apologise. The more mundane aspects of life have been taking up more of my time lately, and I’m afraid the newsletter has been slipping behind.
Membership to the Sufi Movement in Australia is open to all. If you find yourself drawn to the ideals of universal spiritual brother-and-sisterhood, you may be interested in becoming a member.
You may notice that this issue looks a little different. Yes – a new format. I’ve been experimenting with a new program so you may see more changes over time as I learn new skills. I hope you like the new look. Feedback is, of course, welcome.
The Sufi Movement in Australia offers Don’t forget that you are always welcome to contribute, an annual Sufi summer retreat, classes in centres around Australia, and a quarterly newsletter. so if you have something in mind for Spring, please warm up your typing fingers and get started soon! In addition, members are affiliated with the International Sufi Movement, Happy reading. its teachers and activities. Love, Sakina
Annual Membership Fees Single-$75 Family-$100 Please contact the treasurer for more details (see the back page for contact details)
Front cover image from Rashida Judith Murray. Quote from “Will Power”, In an Eastern Rose Garden, vol vii.
Spirit Matters ... Winter 2011
LETTER FROM NURIA, the national representative, Sufi Movement in Australia Beloved Sisters and Brothers We are already into a Melbourne winter proper this year. It has been cold and wet and there has been some snow in the Alps already, and we have even had the first dusting of snow in the Dandenong mountains – very early for us. I am writing this on the Queen’s Birthday weekend which is traditionally the opening of the ski season. This year the snow bunnies are having a ball! Every morning lately we wake to a dense fog and what could be the ash plume from the Chilean volcano. Azad is a bit worried about his flight on Friday, as he is off to visit his family in Ireland leaving on 17th June. I will be here on my own this winter and I plan to make a journey We were also asked to take part again this year in the inward and be on a ‘retreat’ of sorts while he is away. Buddhist festival for light at Federation Square in the city. This was organized partly by the Interfaith Centre in Melbourne. The topic was Peace, Harmony, Quite a lot had happened here in Melbourne. First and the environment. The order of the event was as of all I took part in a ‘conversation with leading follows: religious and spiritual representatives’ in Melbourne on the topic of ‘Faith Development. It was organised • Venerables chant «Ode to the Triple Gems» by Rev Helen Somers of the Interfaith Centre of • Venerable Jue Yao, Buddhist Tradition Melbourne. Other speakers were: • Shaykh Hazem Omran, Islamic Tradition • H.H. Vishwaguru Mahamandaleshwar (Naqshbandi Sufi Order) Paramhans Swami Maheshwaranda, Founder of • Alka Khare, Jain Tradition Yoga in Daily Life • Dr Nicholas Coleman, Christian Tradition • The Right Reverend Philip Huggins, Bishop • Dr Visier Sanyu, Naga Indigenous Tradition of the Northern and Western Region, Anglican • Brother Tim Whiting, Brahma Kumaris World Diocese of Melbourne Spiritual Tradition, • Freeman Trebilcock, Tibetan Buddhist, Founder • And ourselves (The International Sufi Movement of InterAction in Australia), of course. • Moderator: Dr Nicholas Coleman, Head of Religious Education, Wesley College It was interesting that both Shaykh Hazem Omran We had a really interesting, deep and meaningful discussion in which all of us were really talking about the same thing – it was a wonderful example of ‘The Unity of Religious Ideals’ in action. At the end we dealt with some more interesting questions. Some time ago I had been in a forum with Swami Maheshwaranda, so I was a little apprehensive at my being on stage with him again. This time I was able to stay focussed and concentrated and found the Swami absolutely delightful. It turned out that he has founded an Ashram in Vienna and taught there for over 30 years. He has also taught in Eastern Europe and the Czech Republic where my father’s family originally came from. We had a great talk and a sharing of the heart.
and I said Hazrat Inayat Khan’s prayer for peace. We also spoke on the environment as part of creation, in a very similar way. We had a good laugh about this synchronicity and the Shaykh invited me to his group to do Zikar with them. Unfortunately I was unable to attend as it was on the other side of town, quite a distance away.
We mourned the death of our Sufi sister Ghazal (Desiree van den Berg) who died very suddenly on Easter Monday. Quite a few of us attended a memorial service for her on 4th May. We set up the Universal Worship altar in the funeral home chapel at the request of her family. Sufia and I both gave eulogies. It was a very moving service. continued on page 4
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For me it was very sad occasion especially as I had not yet got to know Ghazal very well. She had attended Safa’s group in St Kilda with Sufia and had only just joined our group in Sandringham. She told Sufia that she was looking forward to participating in the group more and getting closer to us.
life, as well as being able to experience Murshid as our Friend and Teacher in our everyday life. Please don’t forget our Hejirat retreat in September, 23rd – 27th. It promises to be a truly lovely and inspiring retreat. We already have one person registered!
Many of us here in Australia took part in a simultaneous anniversary of Universal Worship timed so that all countries partaking would perform the service at the same time as the first one in London 90 years ago on the 7th May. For us in Melbourne it was at 8pm. This was a very special experience.
Finally we are hoping to upgrade our web-site and make it more beautiful, dynamic and user friendly. Azad is also updating the International Sufi Movement’s database with information on birthdays, addresses and such like detail.
We have also just started up a small group once a month at Arif ’s house, so that those in the northern suburbs can attend.
Finally in closing we wish you all a very peaceful and en-lightened winter solstice!
With love, We plan to have a one day winter retreat on Sunday Nuria and Azad 10th July with the topic being ‘Sufism in everyday life’ or how to live out your practices in both action and
THE PASSING OF TWO BELOVEDS Two beloved members of the international Sufi community passed away recently: Clair or Khairunnissa Khan, and Kabir Sen Gupta. Clair is the youngest daughter of Hazrat Inayat Khan and the sister of Pir-o-Murshid Hidayat Khan, who notified the community of his sister’s passing on 4 June. He wrote that she passed peacefully, and that she “has left us a precious documentation consisting of her memories of the historical years experienced at Fazal Manzil, the old Family home in Suresnes, with reference to the golden years when her Father was among us”. Kabir Sen Gupta, pictured with Karima, his wife of more than 40 years, passed away in early July. Kabir lived in Switzerland and was well loved by his Sufi community. We give our deepest sympathies to their families and friends who have been left behind, and we offer our heartfelt blessings to Clair and Kabir for the next stage of their souls’ journeys.
Spirit Matters ... Winter 2011
POETRY She Who Is Godâ€™s Presence by
Talibah Josephine Lolicato
Prayer Full Ramblings Inspirer of my Mind Consoler of my Heart Healer of my Spirit In Thee I Feel Abundance of Blessing A decade of Unlearning resistance to prayer Tolerance towards antiquated salutations Acceptance of Anthropomorphism Acquiescent to the unnameable Mind puzzling over words Form dissolves Words inspire Life vibrates in the sounds Light breathes beyond the thought
The dissolution of Form
Witness to the Perceived
Of a path to the Divine Source
To the Holy
Consciousness becomes vast, spacious
Carried on the stream
Willingly enter the mystery
Of the Masterâ€™s vibrations
The doorway to the inner realms
Words bring harmony
Stay a while in the silence, the stillness
Experiences expose beauty
Allow the vibrations to integrate
Feelings of peace and joy are stirred
To speak and be heard
Om Ah Hung
Drink from the stillness and feed the soul
Spirit Matters ... Winter 2011
BOOK REVIEW Review by Rashida Judith Murray
The Unknown She: Eight Faces of an Emerging Consciousness By: Hilary Hart This book is a collection of stories; an eclectic mix offered by eight contemporary mystics from various spiritual traditions. Sufi, West-African Shamanism, Lakota Sioux and Buddhism are among those presented. Seven women and one man share their individual story; their personal experience of the presence of the divine feminine in their lives. An open door invites the reader to experience the rich tapestry contained within these pages. The experiences shared are of open-hearted intimacy. “Love is the divine Mother’s arms; when those arms are spread, every soul falls into them.” Hazrat Inayat Khan Hilary Hart introduces each story with a vivid description of the physical environment where the interview is to take place as well as a short profile of each contributor. In a couple of instances difficulties had to be overcome to enable the interview to be successful. Difficulties highlight the human side of being a mystic in a contemporary world. The reader is gradually and gently drawn in to the sacred space within each story and becoming part of it. The stories are for the most part, experiential. There are moments of recognition as well as chartering in unfamiliar terrain. The stories provide a delicious
banquet of what’s possible. Collectively stories weave an elemental fabric from feeling one’s feet in the earth to ascending to loftier heights, at times surreal. Unexpectedly there are times when the reader is taken to a much deeper sacred space where the Beloved is experienced in a new way and then returned again to the present moment. These stories are refreshing. There is humour amongst the pages as well, especially within Andrew Harvey’s account of how he experiences the divine feminine in his life. Difficulties on the path are shared, enabling the reader to identify with similar events. The reader can experience a wide range of feelings and emotions as there is light and shadow throughout the book that speaks to the reader at a personal and deep level. The divine feminine is mirrored to the reader providing the opportunity to seek her within regardless of gender or spiritual tradition. The stories support and encourage the reader to continue on the path and to remember the benefits of doing so. That we are all connected especially during these changing times, the reader can envision the need for the divine feminine and can recognise the continual circle of inherent feminine wisdom; the drawing in and moving out; being grounded in the heart and at the same time being open-hearted to the world around us. This book is a beautiful companion on the path and broadens the reader’s spiritual horizon. To read it enhances one’s awareness of interconnectedness. Publisher: The Golden Sufi Centre ISBN: 1-890350-06-0
Spirit Matters ... Winter 2011
POETRY Winter Breaths by
Nuria Irene Daly
Earth – birds calling and shrieking! Children calling and shrieking in the schoolyard! Why do the most beautiful parrots have such a raucous cry? Magpies and butcherbirds carolling - now warbling for the evening meaty leftovers. What a glorious melodic song! Each is part of a beautiful amber whole. Peony roots in the dark earth growing – small buds already showing. The sound of water rushing and bubbling over stones and logs. The stream almost dry for years now cascading over the flat, smooth altar-stone, in a crescent curtain to the creek below.
A deep red beam of light through drawn curtains, points back to the winter sun rising. Sun painted blood red by plumes of ash from Chile’s volcano. Red morning mist in the emerald rainforest. Strange how pollution colours sunrise! The fire of the volcano from so far away adding to the fire of the sun – rising! And on the mountain top the air gusts cold and misty, Lifting great wings – not white like the wings of the angel Earl in Saving Grace, But smoky, soft grey and Pearly. They lift up into the Ether – higher and higher until “I’’ am no longer!
Spirit Matters ... Winter 2011
FILM REVIEW Review by Rashida Judith Murray Al-Ghazali: The Alchemist of Happiness This 80 minute documentary drama presents the life of Al-Ghazali, a renowned Sufi known for his many writings on theology, philosophy and metaphysics. His beliefs and views have influenced theologians up to the present day to include some of the earlier Christian writers as well as contemporary Islamic scholars world wide. The film contains both dialogue and narrative. The past and present are interchanged as enacted scenes of Al-Ghazali’s life are portrayed as well as scenes of present day Iran. The birth and burial places of Al-Ghazali are also visited. Islamic scholars of both eastern and western cultures present their findings and points of view throughout this film.
other prominent spiritual persons throughout history Al-Ghazali left his home, his family and his wealth. He gave his clothes to the poor and ventured into the wilderness alone in search for the truth. For the next ten years he became incognito. This was a time of solitude and listening within, where purification of the heart, meditation and spiritual practices would determine his ways of living and being. He believed that Sufis were the ones who walked on the road of God and had the best methods. Al-Ghazali eventually returned home to his family and friends as well as orthodox Islam, but with a new vision. The film ends with Al-Ghazali asking his brother to bring his burial shroud as he prepares to leave this world. The death scene is one of simplicity and the viewer is then taken across the sandy desert into the sun.
Al-Ghazali was born in 1058 in Tus, Khorasan, present day Iran. The film portrays the life of AlMatmedia Production Ghazali from his boyhood years to the end of his life. He shared a close relationship with his younger ISBN 978-1-901383-23-2 brother although they were different in temperament. His brother experienced more of the mystical states whereas Al-Ghazali embraced the more intellectual side of life. Whilst their father lay dying, he summoned the local sheikh and the two boys were entrusted to him so that they could learn the path of knowledge. The story continues showing significant events throughout the two boys’ lives. At one point in his life Al-Ghazali was made the head of the Nizamiyya College in Baghdad but as time passed and his work developed his ego took reign. He used his position to accuse the hierarchy of Islam of hypocrisy. He also learned that he wasn’t practicing what he preached. This was the beginning of his spiritual crisis. Al-Ghazali, whose work meant talking at length, was forced into silence. He became speechless and motionless and illness of the soul was determined by his physicians. The story in the film is one that a Sufi can relate to even today. In the words of Hazrat Inayat Khan “It always means that you must sacrifice something very dear to you when His call comes.” Like Buddha and
Image of film cover from Amazon.com
Spirit Matters ... Winter 2011
SUFI READING Conscience by
Hazrat Inayat Khan
Part VII Tasawwuf: Metaphysics GATHA III Conscience is not only a record of one’s experiences and impressions gained in life, but it is a living voice of the heart which makes all that is in the heart, so to speak, dance in the light of justice. Therefore conscience is a world in man, a world as living as the world in which we live. And even more living than this, for the world of conscience is durable, whereas the outer world is subject to destruction. The word ‘hiding’ or ‘covering’ of a certain thing is for our limited understanding. In point of fact nothing can be covered, nothing can be hidden, since the nature of life is action and reaction. Every outer experience has a reaction within; every inner experience has its reaction in the outside of the life. In the Quran it is said, ‘Their hands and feet will give evidence of their action.’ The idea, from the point of view of metaphysics, may be thus explained, that there is no action which has not a reaction. Every outer action has a reaction inwardly and every inner action has a reaction outwardly.
would no longer have a thirst for phenomena, for there is no greater phenomenon than what is going on within oneself and the action and reaction of every experience in life which materializes and manifest to one’s view in various ways and forms. A clear conscience gives the strength of a lion, but the guilty conscience might turn a lion into a rabbit. But who is it in the conscience who judges? In the spheres of conscience the soul of man and the spirit of God both meet and become one. Therefore to a soul wide-awakened judgment Day does not come after death, for him every day is judgment Day.
No doubt the sense of right and wrong is different in every mind. The right of one may be wrong to The finer the person the finer his conscience, and grossness makes the conscience gross. It is therefore another, and for another the wrong of one may be right. The law of action is too complex to be put that one person is more conscientious about his in words. For every step advanced gives a certain doings than the other person, one person repents amount of freedom of action, and as one goes more for his mistakes and failures than another along further and further in the path of truth his person. But the most interesting thing in the law freedom is greater and greater at every step. And of life which one might watch is that the scheme yet no individual lives a life between the four walls of nature is so made that a conscientious person of his individual self, every person is related and is taken to task more seriously by the scheme of connected with a thousand ties with the others, nature for his evil-doing than an ordinary person known and unknown even to himself. Therefore the who never thinks what he says or does. It might souls do not need regard for themselves only, but seem as if even God did not take notice of his for the whole being, since every soul is a part in the wrongdoing. According to the metaphysical point whole scheme of nature. And conscience is the test of view in the soul of the conscientious God is which can voice that inner harmony in everything more awake. In the soul of the other person God slumbers, He does not take serious notice of things. one thinks, says or does, thus keeping the soul tuned to its proper note. If one were to watch one’s own conscience one
Spirit Matters ... Winter 2011
POETRY The Day with a White Mask by
C. S. Lewis (and offered by Ananda Bernadette Hogan) All day I have been tossed and whirled in a preposterous happiness; Was it an elf in the blood ? Or a bird in the brain ? Or even part Of the cloudily-crested, fifty-league-long, loud uplifted wave Of a journeying angel’s transit roaring over and through my heart ?
My garden’s spoiled, my holidays are cancelled, the omens harden;
So everything, the tick of the clock, the cock crowing in the yard
The planned and unplanned miseries deepen; the knots draw tight.
Probing my soil, woke diverse buried hearts of mine to beat,
Reason kept telling me all day my mood was out of season. It was too. In the dark ahead the breakers only are white.
Recalling either adolescent heights and the inaccessible Longings and ice-sharp joys that shook my body and turned me pale,
Yet I – I could have kissed the very scullery taps. The colour of
Or humbler pleasures, chuckling as it were, in the ear, mumbling
my day was like a peacock’s chest. In at each sense there stole
Of glee, as kindly animals talk in a children’s tale.
ripplings and dewy sprinkles of delight that with them drew
Who knows if ever it will come again, now the day closes ?
fine threads of memory through the vibrant thickness No one can give me, or take away, that key. All of the soul. depends As though there were transparent earths and luminous trees should grow there,
On the elf, the bird, or the angel. I doubt if the angel himself
Is free to choose when sudden heaven in man begins And shining roots worked visibly far below one’s feet, or ends. Image also provided by Ananda
Spirit Matters ... Winter 2011
UNIVERSAL WORSHIP Homily on ‘The Unity of Religious Ideals’ by
Nuria Irene Daly In the early days of the Sufi Movement in London, the Mureeds or students of Hazrat Inayat Khan would study scriptures of various religions which interested them, and then on Sundays, these scriptures would be read out and Murshid would comment on or talk about the readings. This eventually became formalised into this form of Universal Worship. Sufism as Murshid taught it, was about rising above the aspects of religion which were different – perhaps because of the culture, language or the age when the religions were being taught, and he believed that we should try and understand the same core experience which lie behind all religions. Eventually Murshid spoke about Sufism being a mystical path rather than a religion. As Pir O Murshid Hidayat has said the Unity of Religious Ideals does not mean the unity of religions, but a unity of the ideal behind all religions. This ideal could be called the God Ideal, or the ideal of God or the One being.
Thou art the First Cause and the Last Effect, the Divine Light and the Spirit of Guidance, Alpha and Omega. Thy Light is in all forms, Thy Love in all beings: in a loving mother, in a kind father, in an innocent child, in a helpful friend, in an inspiring teacher. Allow us to recognize Thee in all Thy holy names and forms; as Rama, as Krishna, as Shiva, as Buddha. Let us know Thee as Abraham, as Solomon, as Zarathushtra, as Moses, as Jesus, as Muhammad, and in many other names and forms, known and unknown to the world. This reflects the very same sentiments; A concept which is so hard to express and yet simple once we ‘get it’. In a sense also this Ideal can be thought of as the Supreme Consciousness, or Krishna consciousness, which is that all encompassing sense of the Divine in the Bhagavad Gita.
In Buddhism there is no concept of a God as such, but there is an idea of unity or the One. The Tathagata is the name that Buddha uses when referring to himself, and means paradoxically, both ‘one who has thus gone and one who has thus come. So Tathagata is really beyond all coming and In the Bhagavad Gita (the Hindu scripture) we going – beyond all transitory phenomena. There is heard in its poetic language, what this Divine Being a sense that Tathagata is one who has transcended or God is – everything and its own opposite. The the human condition, beyond life and death, so Ritual and the sacrifice, the healing herb and the one could say, that he is part of the One, or has transcendental chant, as well as the Father / mother been united with the One, has been illuminated or of the universe, the origin of all, Lord of all beings, enlightened. So in the Buddhist reading we heard the beginning and end and middle of all creation. that the Tathagata sees the universe face to face The entire cosmic manifestations, moving and and understands its nature. He can show the way non-moving are manifested by different activities to the Truth. The Tathagata lets his mind pervade of Krishna’s energy. Every being, or entity in the the four quarters of the world with thoughts of world – our father, mother, are nothing but Krishna. love, and thus the whole wide world , above, below This is the Supreme Absolute Truth which has to and everywhere will continue to be filled with be realised, and this realisation comes from the love. He who walks the eightfold noble path with Supreme Personality of the Godhead. unswerving determination is sure to reach Nirvana. Notice that this path is one that is taken which In our prayer Salat we say: needs determination – work. It is not easy. On the other hand we are told that the Tathagata watches So this talk is really about what this concept of the One or Allah, or Jehovah, or Yahweh or Ahura Mazda is and how we can attain this understanding and experience of what we call God.
continued on page 12
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over his children with loving care. So there is not a personal Being but the timeless Truth of Nirvana as well as the temporary illusion of samsara – the transitory realm of ordinary phenomenal existence which we think is reality. All that really exists is Nirvana – samsara is an illusion which comes from ignorance, so Samsara is what Nirvana looks like to the unenlightened person. Nirvana is realised in direct mystical experience, but is beyond that timeless conception and expression. This experience is the same mystical experience of seeing the Truth that mystics of all religions experience – the words for that inner realm of unity are different. Perhaps we could say that Nirvana is the experience of the Mind of God? The Void of Buddhism is not empty but filled with intelligence and love. A friend has put it this way: Life is suffering or dissatisfaction. It is caused by ego or small self – greed, desire. There is a way to Nirvana, which is the Eightfold Path. So we are saved from suffering to Nirvana. It is a dynamic process, and all religions have a process like this. Christianity speaks of being saved from sin and received into the Kingdom of God. In the Zoroastrian scripture we read something very similar which reflects the concept of the Mind or Thought of God which the Zoroastrians call Ahura Mazda. The reading speaks of the Ahura Mazda’s first thought blazing into myriads of light and filling the entire heavens with His creation. Thus was born the physical world and the mental world. He is the creator of Truth which upholds the Supreme Mind. We get a sense of the indestructible life essence of Ahura, the living One, and Ahura Mazda the Living Lord of Life and Wisdom. He has neither a beginning nor an end, and lives in everlasting Light. This teaching goes on to say that ‘when I hold you in my mind’s eye, I realised You, O Mazda’ We realise God by holding the ideal in our mind. And then this scripture also says of Mazda that He is the first and last of Eternity and as the Father of the Good Mind, the true creator of Truth. Almost the same words which the other scriptures use. The Good Mind Ahura Mazda is also our Good Mind and the Truth is the same truth that we can experience by striving for it. Again the God of the Torah – the Jewish scripture, and our ‘old testament’ uses the same words – ‘I am
the First and I am the last; apart from me there is no God.’ There is no other Rock. We read further on that God says: I have made you and I will carry you. I will sustain you and I will rescue you. To whom will you compare me or count me equal? To whom will you liken me that we may be compared? – Remember this, fix it in mind – I am God and there is no other. I am God and there is none like me. I have made known the end from the beginning. Isaiah in this chapter is preaching against idols, as opposed to the one God. He is explaining to his people what this God is and how their belief and acceptance of the One will help and support them, where previous beliefs and worship of idols would not help them at all. Humans were made in the image of God, so our attributes are reflections of God’s attributes in a sense. So he explains how it is ridiculous to worship idols we have made from wood, when we should be worshipping a Divine Being which is the source of all – a creator / parent. He hints that there is nothing but God in existence. And in the New testament, Jesus prays for all who believe in him, that they may be One. He says ‘Just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.’ So as Jesus experiences the love of God, so can we all have this experience of Unity with our Father and the love that this gives. Jesus personalises this for us – God is in us as we are in God. There is a lovely Rumi poem which illustrates this: Say, I Am You I am dust particles in sunlight. I am the round sun. To the bits of dust I say, Stay. To the sun, Keep moving. I am morning mist, and the breathing of evening. I am wind in the top of a grove, and surf on the cliff. Mast, rudder, helmsman, and keel, I am also the coral reef they founder on. continued on page 13
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I am a tree with a trained parrot in its branches. Silence, thought, and voice. The musical air coming through a flute, a spark of stone, a flickering in metal. Both candle and the moth crazy around it. Rose, and the nightingale lost in the fragrance. I am all orders of being, the circling galaxy, the evolutionary intelligence, the lift, and the falling away. What is, and what isn’t. You who know, Jelaluddin, You the one in all, say who I am. Say I am you.
a single cup of your wine I’m already drunk Rumi says: I no longer know the difference between image and reality Like the shadow I am And I am not Here Rumi is talking about the same thing as the Buddhists are – the illusion of Samsara and the reality of Nirvana.
We can say that Life, the universe and everything exists as thoughts in the mind of God. God thinks and it is so. The world is created by spiritual reality. The beautiful sura in the Koran which is called If everywhere came from God then there is no such Baraka or grace / blessing, or the verse of the Throne, thing as a Godless space. It is like the Sufi story of shows Allah as the fount of all beings, ever living and the little fish which wanted to know where the ocean self subsistent. The attributes of God are so different was. Of course it was in the ocean all the time. Thus from anything we know in our present world that we are we all in God or Allah or Nirvana – we just have have to be content with understanding that the only to understand and have experience of it. It is another fit word by which we can name Him is ‘He’ – the way of seeing. Sikhism says: ‘If you don’t see God pronoun standing for His name. He lives but His everywhere, you don’t see God anywhere.’ life is self-subsisting and eternal; it does not depend upon other beings and is not limited to time and space. The word used in Arabic includes not only the So when we read in the Gayan that the person who tries to prove his belief superior to the faith of idea of ‘self-subsisting’ but also the idea of ‘keeping up and maintaining all life.’ His life being the source another, does not know the meaning of religion. All and constant support of all derived forms of life. We come from the same Source and have the same core get the sense of an imminent and transcendent being experience behind them. which is ever present in the eternal now and at the As we said at the beginning, we have to make an same time intelligent, creative and loving – caring for all beings. Commentary on this sura says that the Ideal of God so Murshid says One cannot praise pantheist places the wrong accent when he says that God unless one makes of Him an Ideal. And finally everything is He. The truth is better expressed when Murshid also says that the God who is intelligible to man is made by man himself, but what is beyond his we say that everything is His. intelligence is the reality. In other words we cannot There is also the idea that Allah sees the creation with contain the concept of God in our thinking, this our eyes, and that we see Allah with those same eyes. limits God (to conceptualise God, is to dethrone God) but we can experience God by expanding our There is no duality when we experience in this way. Meister Eckhart, the great Christian mystic declares awareness through spiritual practices, mastering our personally: ‘The eye with which I see God is exactly egos and ‘being’ in our heart. the same eye with which God sees me.’ Rumi illustrates this by saying: I Am and I Am Not Not having played the game of chess I’m already the checkmate Not having tasted
The final lines of the prayer Khatum are: Raise us above the distinctions and differences which divide; Send us the Peace of Thy Divine Spirit, And unite us all in Thy Perfect Being. We are all sisters and brothers in God or Allah.
Spirit Matters ... Winter 2011
SACRED READINGS FOR THE UNIVERSAL WORSHIP We read from the sacred texts on ‘The Unity of Religious Ideals’ We read form the Hindu Scriptures Bhagavid Gita 10 Text 15 Indeed, You alone know Yourself by Your own internal potency, O Supreme Person, origin of all, Lord of all beings, God of Gods, Lord of the universe! Text 32 Of all creations I am the beginning and the end and also the middle, O Arjuna. Of all sciences I am the spiritual science of the self, and among logicians I am the conclusive truth.
what is yet to come – Yes, let him foretell what will come. Do not tremble, do not be afraid. Did I not proclaim this and foretell it long ago? You are my witnesses. Is there any God besides me? No, there is no other Rock, I know not one.
We read from the Christian scriptures. John 17 My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe We read from the Buddhist Scriptures in me through their message , that all XLIX The Two Brahmans of them may be one, Father, just as And the Buddha said: ‘The Tathagata sees the you are in me and I am in you. May universe face to face and understands its nature. He they also be in us so that the world proclaims the truth both in its letter and in its spirit, may believe that you have sent me. and his doctrine is glorious in its progress, glorious in I have given them the glory that you its consummation. The Tathagata reveals the higher gave me, that they may be one as we life in its purity and perfection. He can show you are one: I, in them and you in me. the way to that which is contrary to the five great hindrances. We read from the Scriptures of Islam ‘He who walks in the eightfold noble path with un Sura 2 Baraka / The Cow or Verse of the Throne swerving determination is sure to reach Nirvana. The 255 Allah there is no deity save Him Tathagata anxiously watches over his children and with loving care helps them to see the light.’ The ever living, the Self-Subsistent, Fount of All Beings. We read from the Zoroastrian scriptures Neither slumber nor sleep overtakes Him. The Gathas Yasna 31 His is all that is in the Heavens and all that is on the Earth, 7 Ahura Mazda’s First Thought Who is there, that could intercede with Him, unless Blazed into myriads of sparks of light it is by His Leave? And filled the entire heavens. He knows all that lies open before men and all that He Himself, in His Wisdom, is hidden from them, whereas they cannot attain to Is the Creator of Truth which know his knowledge, save that which he wills them Upholds His Supreme Mind. (to attain). O Ahura Mazda, His eternal power over-spreads the Heavens and the You who are eternally the same, Earth and their upholding wearies Him not. Further these Powers through Your Truth. And He alone is truly exalted, tremendous. We read from the Jewish Scriptures Isaiah 44 6-8 This is what the Lord says – Israel’s King and Redeemer, the Lord Almighty: I am the first and I am the last; Apart from me there is no God. Who then is like me? Let him proclaim it. Let him declare and lay out before what has happened since I established my ancient people, and
We read from the Gayan The God who is intelligible to man is made by man himself, but what is beyond his intelligence is the reality. The closer one approaches reality, the nearer one comes to unity. One cannot praise God unless one makes of Him an ideal.
Spirit Matters ... Winter 2011
THE FAIRY OF THE DAWN A Roumanian Fairy Tale with a Sufi/Jungian interpretation by
Nuria Irene Daly
This story begins with the usual ‘Once upon a time’ which immediately puts it in the realm of myth, but it also has one of those cryptic comments which makes it real and indicates that the story did happen, – in some mythological realm, (perhaps outside of time and space). The setting or cast of this story begins with an emperor who is very great and mighty and whose realm was so large that no one knew where it began and where it ended. This tells us that the emperor’s realm is more inner than outer – the realm of consciousness whose boundaries we do not know. He is a sort of father figure a bit like a childhood concept of God. However in Sufi stories the king or emperor often represents the heart. But everyone knew that the emperor’s right eye laughed, while his left eye wept. So outwardly he was seen as laughing but on the inner the left side he wept. Nobody knew why this was so and although one or two (note not many) brave men had asked the emperor, he only laughed at the question. This motif of the King who has one eye that laughs and one that weeps, is more famously known from Prophet Mohammed’s flight to heaven, where he saw Adam looking to one side and smiling, and looking to the other side and weeping. I think that this might be something to do with our inner side or God’s reaction to the good and evil of mankind.
This emperor had three sons – like morning stars in the sky – which is another hint that this tale is ‘otherworldly’. The first, eldest son Florea was tall and broad shouldered, the second Costan was small of stature, slightly built but had strong arms and a stronger wrist. The third and youngest son Petru was tall and thin, more like a girl than a boy, spoke little but laughed and sang all day long. That he sang and laughed all day would mean that he is balanced (left and right side brain if you like), but also balanced in feelings and connected to soul and the feminine. As POM Hidayat says – the soul is happy, and music is the way to the soul. Jungians would say that the soul is feminine and the spirit masculine. Petru was seldom serious but had a way of stroking his hair over his forehead when he was thinking which made him look old and wise enough to sit on his father’s council. So I would say that Petru our hero has a well integrated feminine side and that he has a degree of wisdom when he wants to ‘go there’. Petru wants to know the secret of why his father’s one eye weeps and the other laughs. He asks his brothers to ask their father but they are afraid, so he asks the emperor himself. ‘May you go blind!’ exclaimed the emperor in wrath ‘what business is it of yours?’ and boxed Petru’s ears soundly. Petru tells his brothers what had befallen him, but he had noticed that his father’s left eye seemed to weep less and his right eye to laugh more, since he had asked his question. He decided to try again, after all what did two boxes on the ears matter. He did not mind the pain and discomfort if it helped his father. So he put his question a second time and had the same answer, but now the left eye only wept now and again and the right eye looked ten years younger. Petru knew that this was so true and he wanted to continue to ask the question till both his father’s eyes laughed together. This he did, so that continued on page 16
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the emperor’s eyes were now both laughing and so he told Petru his secret! His right eye laughs when he looks at his three sons and sees how strong and handsome they all are, the other eye weeps because he fears that after he dies the sons will not be able to keep the empire together and to protect it from its enemies. ‘If you can bring me water from the spring of the Fairy of the Dawn, to bathe my eyes, then they will laugh for evermore, for I shall know that my sons are brave enough to overcome any foe.’ So here is the quest which was given only after Petru passed an initial test of accepting the boxed ears to make the emperors eyes laugh. That it is the left eye of the emperor that weeps is very significant. The left is the sinister, dark side. ‘Sinestre’ means left in French, but it is also the feminine, receptive, inner side of us, the intuitive side. I have been wondering about the meaning of these symbols. The God of our childhood certainly presents as a good God – in fact the English word for God comes from the German word gut which means good. This is the first issue we come across because if God is all good, then how come he lets all the bad things happen in the world – how come there is evil in the world? If evil is a lack of good and God is everywhere how come there is evil? So when God or our higher self, or heart, sees all that is bad in the world then perhaps his left eye weeps? We have free choice after all – a choice to follow our conscience or inner voice, or give in to our ego and follow our small self. Greed, a quest for power, a desire to look good, and many such things are ego and these are the things that we have to see in ourselves in order to combat them and become the best possible human being we can. When we see these negative parts of ourselves our ‘higher Self ’ weeps. This really is our quest. The first step is our realisation of this, so when the emperor sees that his son is pondering these things and looking inward, he is happy and weeps no longer because he knows his son will follow the quest. His other sons were not able to get that far, so although the older two sons take up the quest it was really given to Petru because he was able to understand his father. The emperor wants to leave his kingdom in safe and strong hands. There are always three sons in these fairy tales and it is always the youngest that takes up the task properly. In this story the youngest has already proved himself equal to the task that he has been
given, but it is first discussed with his older brothers. First the oldest one leaves on the quest riding the best horse in the stables. Perhaps three symbolises the many or multiplicity of people in the world. Only one is really called out of the many. Not everyone is a mystic or even wants to be one. The first brother Florea rides for three days and nights – a long time indeed; like a spirit his horse flew over mountains and valleys and finally came to the borders of the empire. The story here gives us a clue that this journey is like spirit. Here was a deep, deep trench that girdled it the whole way round and there was only a single bridge by which the trench could be crossed. This bridge can be seen as a crossing between the conscious world of the emperor to the unconscious unknown realm. Florea headed for the bridge and there he pulled up to look around him once more, to take leave of his native land. I think that this was his first mistake – he stopped and looked back! Once we are on the path we should never stop and look back. It is a bit like the story of Lot’s wife, who looked back and turned into a pillar of salt. When he turned back there was a dragon, a huge and horrible monster with three heads and three horrible faces, all with their mouths wide open – one jaw reaching to heaven and the other to earth. Florea did not wait to give battle but spurred his horse and fled he knew not where. The dragon heaved a sigh and vanished without leaving a trace behind him.
Dragons as monsters like this are said to be ‘masters of the ground’ against which heroes, as conquerors and creators must fight for mastery of the land; they are guardians of treasures and of the portals of esoteric knowledge. Florea was afraid and did not even take the dragon on and the dragon was not happy about this, which is why I think he sighed and disappeared. When we first go into silence or meditation, it is very difficult and uncomfortable, continued on page 17
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and for some people even frightening, so frightening that they never try again. It can feel like death or that they are dying.
Petru only stops for a moment when he sees the dragon, but then ‘finds his voice’ and yells at the dragon to get out of his way. The dragon does not move, so After the year and a day, Costan Petru draws his sword and took off on the same journey. charges the dragon. In an This time the dragon was even instant he is surrounded more fearful and the three heads by fire; all around him the more terrible than before. Costan seven heads spew flames. took off and rode away even It is the struggle with the faster than his brother. This often dragon which symbolises happens when we don’t fight or the difficulties that have to be overcome in gaining overcome a particular issue – it comes back even the treasures of inner knowledge, and overcoming more horrendous than before. the dragon really means attaining self-mastery. The dragon can be seen as the ego or small self in reality. Petru was now alone and so one day he told his father that he must go after his brothers. His father Yelling or commanding the dragon with the mind does not work – quite the opposite. We can’t will gave his blessing. Note that Petru told his father, our inner dragons by tricks of the mind to disappear while his brothers did not. There was a connection and let us into the realm of silence and meditation. to his emperor/heart. Neither does fighting it even if it is with the sword of discrimination. The horse neighs and rears at the This time when Petru came to the bridge the horrible sight and Petru can not use his sword, so he dragon was even more dreadful than the one dismounts and, holding the bridle and grasping his Florea and Costan had seen, for this one had sword, he still can not overcome the dragon. Petru seven heads instead of only three. Three is the first holds the bridle in his left hand (inner control) and number which indicates multiplicity – overcoming the sword in his right hand (action). He cannot see duality, but seven is the number of the cosmos and because of the fire and the smoke – the dragon is completeness. With the three of the heavens and solar (fire), so our first obstacle is fiery and energetic the soul, and the four of the earth, seven is the first but also transforming. He decides that he has to go number which contains both spiritual and temporal. back and get a better horse. It is perfection – and it is also the number of the Great Mother. The numbers are very significant in these stories or myths. Also remember that there is The horse here I think symbolises the intellect, wisdom, mind, reason and nobility, so Petru does no feminine in the story so far. not have the stability of a sufficiently developed wisdom or mind (or practice) so that he can use the sword of discrimination to overcome his ego.
THIS IS THE FIRST PART OF A FIVE PART SERIES. THIS STORY WILL CONTINUE OVER THE NEXT FEW ISSUES.
Spirit Matters ... Winter 2011
A RETREAT IN THE WEST Retreat with Murshida Tasnim Fernandez Words and pictures from Shakti Celia Genn
Above: Participants at the retreat in May led by Murshida Tasnim Fernandez (centre chair) from the Sufi Order in the United States. Here at Milmeray, on ancient Aboriginal land near Perth in Western Australia, we enjoyed five deeply inspiring days of teachings, practice and sharing with Tasnim, Sitara and Sufi friends from across
Australia. My heartfelt thanks to the Perth Sufi group for the warm welcome you gave us all, and especially to organisers Nirtana Vivienne Robertson, Hilal Olive Mason and Wadud Anne Hovane for making the retreat happen, and flow so smoothly. Below: Early morning practices led by Sitara
Spirit Matters ... Winter 2011
THE SUFI MESSAGE OF REMEMBRANCE
A celebration of 101 years of the Sufi Message of Love, Harmony and Beauty in the west. “when a person rises above all the things of the world such as power, wealth, possessions, there comes a desire in the heart, a remembrance of our origin, of the perfection of love and peace” .”
4pm Fri 23 to 12 noon Tuesday 27 September, 2011 th
At The Chevalier Resource Centre 1 Roma Ave, Kensington, Sydney NSW 2033 (Parking onsite). The retreat will be guided by experienced leaders of the Sufi Movement in Australia and will include a special focus on zikar practice.
Cost: $440 includes retreat, meals, accommodation, linen and parking. For further information please contact: Hamida - 02 9387 5263 m 0420 302 739, firstname.lastname@example.org
To register, please email participant name and phone to email@example.com and you will receive program, map, dietary needs & next of kin contact forms. Please deposit $50 by 5th August, full payment by Friday 9th September 2011 to Commonwealth Bank, Brandon Park Branch, Sufi Movement in Australia Inc, BSB 063 587 Account number 10251994, Payee Reference: Your name. We look forward to celebrating 101 years of the Sufi Message in the west.
Spirit Matters ... Winter 2011
THE HIDDEN DESIRE November 10-17, 2011
An eight-day retreat at the Dargah of Hazrat Inayat Khan, New Delhi, India UNDER THE GUIDANCE OF MURSHID NAWAB PASNAK
The hidden desire of the Creator is the secret of the whole creation. —
As is the nature of the creatures, so is the nature of the Creator. His satisfaction also lies in the realization of perfection. It was to this end that everything was created; by going through this entire process His nature was perfected, wherein lies the fulfillment of His own desire. —HAZRAT INAYAT KHAN—
This retreat is for mureeds of Hazrat Inayat Khan; some experience with the teaching style of the retreat guide is recommended. Each day involves both group practice and suggested individual exercises. The retreat is limited to fifteen places.
Cost, Deposit and Accommodation: The retreat fee is €600, or the equivalent, with 50% due upon registration, and the balance payable upon arrival at the Dargah. The fee includes food and accommodation for ten days (the retreat plus two days extra) staff gratuities, a contribution to the Staff Welfare Fund, and a donation to the Dargah. Additional contributions and donations are of course welcome. Extra days of accommodation can be arranged at a modest cost. Accommodation will be either in the Dargah retreat house or a nearby guesthouse. Food and lodging are simple, Indian style, but most rooms have western style toilets. Please note that during the retreat, accommodation can only be provided for retreat participants; those planning on further travel in India with friends or family should arrange to meet them before or after the retreat. Arrival: When planning your travel, please be aware that this year the days of November 6 & 7 are a special Muslim holiday, and out of consideration for our staff, we request that participants arrive no sooner than November 8th.
Health and Visas: When planning your trip, remember that all foreigners require a visa to enter India; a simple tourist visa is usually the easiest to obtain. Also, you may wish to discuss your trip with a doctor or travel clinic. Registration and Information: To register, or to request further information, please contact Nirtan Ekaterina Pasnak at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contacts NATIONAL REPRESENTATIVE Nuria Daly 16 Petronella Ave, Wheelers Hill. Vic. 3150 Phone: 03 9561 4861 Email: email@example.com VICE-PRESIDENT Celia Genn 2524 Old Gympie Rd, Beerwah. Qld. 4519 Phone: 07 5494 0724 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org SECRETARY Sabura Allen 19 D’Arcy Ave, Sandringham. Vic. 3191 Phone: 03 9533 4658 Email: email@example.com TREASURER Azad Daly 16 Petronella Ave, Wheelers Hill. Vic. 3150 Phone: 03 9561 4861 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org INTERNATIONAL SUFI MOVEMENT CONTACTS
REGIONAL CONTACTS AND REPRESENTATIVES ACT Talibah Josephine Lolicato 1 Sorrel Place, Queanbeyan. ACT. 2620 Phone: 02 6297 5107 Email: email@example.com NSW – GRAY’S POINT Kafia Airey 98 Grays Point Rd, Grays Point. NSW. 2232 Phone: 02 9525 0137 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org NSW – NEW ENGLAND Karim and Bahkti Parkhurst Sitara Manzil, 30 Bridge St, Uralla. NSW. 2358 Phone: 02 6778 4701 Email: email@example.com NSW – SYDNEY Hamida Janice PO Box 3371, Tamarama. NSW. 2026 Phone: 02 9387 5263 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
GENERAL REPRESENTATIVES 24 Banstraat, 2517 GJ The Hague, Netherlands Phone: +31 70 3657 664 Email: email@example.com
QLD – GLASSHOUSE MOUNTAINS Celia Genn 2524 Old Gympie Rd, Beerwah. Qld. 4519 Phone: 07 5494 0724 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
GENERAL SECRETARIAT 78 Anna Pulownastraat, 2518 BJ The Hague, Netherlands Phone: +31 70 346 1594 Email: email@example.com
TASMANIA Habiba Aubert 82 Princes St, Sandy Bay. Tas. 7005 Phone: 03 6223 6085
SUFI MOVEMENT WEB SITES International: www.sufimovement.org Australia: www.smia.com.au
VICTORIA – MELBOURNE Nuria Daly (details above)
EDITOR, Spirit Matters Sakina Kara Jacob PO Box 678, Sandgate. Qld. 4107. Phone: 0448 839641 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Volume 15, No. 2 ~ Winter 2011