The fifth aphorism of the Khwajaghan is Yad Kard. It is usually translated as "remembrance".
This is correct in so far as "yad" is equivalent to the Arabic "dhikr" (to remember).
Most commentators equate this saying with the Sufi practice of Dhikr.
This is both correct and incorrect at the same time (you would think that at least once it would just be simple).
Traditionally Dhikr (zikr) can be divided into two types. The first is Dhikr-i-Jali, which is the vocal dhikr, and Dhikr-i-Khafi which is silent dhikr. The first practice takes a few different forms, from the personal practice of reciting various names of God a particular number of times, to the formal ceremony of remembrance done by most Tariqas. Dhikr-i-Khafi is done by repeating the words of the Dhikr silently to one's self or repeating the words just under the breath.
Some Tariqas, such as the Qadiri, and the Chishti prefer Dhikr-i-Jali, others such as the Naqshbandi and the Nimitullahi prefer Dhikr-i-khafi. Over the centuries there has been a bit of squabbling about which one is better.
What I find is that both are very useful and both have their pitfalls (not the least of which is pride in having the "better kind" of Dhikr)
Those who practice Dhikr-i-Jali run a risk of becoming caught up in the ceremony, the states, the intoxication of the moment. Emotional catharsis is not the point of the practice but it is a trap that can be very dangerous. This is why the leader of Dhikr ceremonies must be very mature and well trained, so that he or she can recognize these traps when they manifest in the members of the circle and direct people away from them.
For those that practice Dhikr-i-Khafi, it can lead to a very strong case of auto-hypnosis as well as a profound narrowing of attention. Often when people fall into this trap they go around thinking that they are detached when they are in fact just dissociated. Dishonest Pseudo-Shaykhs have used this phenomena for centuries as a form of mind control.
When either of these practices are done correctly under the guidance of someone who can steer the student away from the dangers, they seem to have about equal effect for self development. When both are combined it often produces faster effect but at greater risk.
Nether of these forms of Dhikr however, are what this aphorism is referring to.
There is a Third type of Dhikr that is sometimes called Dhikr-i-Qalbi (Dhikr of the Heart, though this is often confused with Dhikr-i-Khafi) or Dhikr-i-Dhati (Remembrance of Essence).
This is what Yad Kard refers to.
This type of Dhikr is not spoken outwardly or inwardly, there are no words to it nor is it a feeling or an image. It is the pure apprehension of the Divine Reality.
I imagine it would be possible to learn Dhikr-i-Dhati on one's own through some sort of special grace, or if Khidhr came and instructed someone in it. But for us regular folks it can only be learned by direct transmission from someone who has him or herself mastered it.
Anyone could be given the technique of this practice, and they could try do it for the next hundred years, but without a special ingredient it will not work. The ingredient is "entrainment" with someone who has mastered and is doing the practice. This is what is called "Inculcation of Dhikr".
I seems that the connection through "Rabita" between the student and teacher provides a conduit for some sort of "jump start" for this kind of Dhikr, but only if the student has drawn close enough in "vibratory rate" (this is sortta a metaphor here) that the entrainment can happen.
The Inculcation teachs the student how to do the Dhikr through direct experience in a way that verbal instruction cannot. This is one of the most important reasons to have a Real Teacher, though as I said, I imagine that it is possible to find some way to learn this on one's own. (I imagine that it is also possible to fly by flapping one's arms)
It is important to note here that without having a good level of mastery of the first four aphorisms the student will be unlikely to be able to develop or maintain the level of rapport necessary for this.
Also, it needs to be understood that this is not the inculcation that is given to a student when they first take Bayat. That is more like planting a seed that the Teacher hopes will take root and grow. It takes several years of work to get to the point of being able to experience this.
And a final note, because someone always comes up with the old "I don't need a guide!!!"
I can do it all on my own, after all Uways al Korani did!!!!!
All I have to do is read the right books!!!!!!!
And listen to my INNER GUIDANCE® and I will get to be a MASTER ™ without anyone telling me what to do!!!!!!!!!
Which is a nice theory. And it is conceivable that anyone could in fact do just this and maybe get to a place of real Mastery.
But most won't, sorry.
There is an old Sufi saying "No one can lie to you like you". The Teacher's job is to point out to you when and how you are lying to yourself.
There is another old Sufi saying, "The one who attempts the path without a guide has Shaytan for a guide"
According to Mohammed Shafii;
The Sufis feel that maturity cannot be achieved alone. They feel there is a need for guidance and discipline. The path is unknown, the night is dark and the road is full of danger. Dangers inelude preoccupation with selfishness, false visions, misinterpretations of mystical states, arrested development, fixation in a particular state, appeal to various drugs to create false mystical experiences and not infrequently overwhelming anxiety and insanity.But this is just a thought.
Thursday, February 16, 2006
The fifth aphorism of the Khwajaghan is Yad Kard. It is usually translated as "remembrance".
Posted by Mushtaq Ali at 9:51 AM
Monday, February 13, 2006
A good number of us (those of us who are American) have taken an oath at one time or another in our lives to To Protect and Defend the US Constitution.
I have often though about that oath in in the many years since I first took it. What does it mean to "To Protect and Defend"?
I think about it a lot more these days as I see our constitution being marginalized (George Bush seems to have said "it's just piece of paper) and the rights that so many generations of Americans have fought and died for being eroded away on the alter of greed and power.
God instructs us, through the words of his Prophet (paraphrased into English by me)
"When you see a wrong, stop it with your hand. If you cannot do that then stop it with your words. If this is not possible then at least address the wrong to God with your prayers."
When the elections come we can stop this with our hands by voting the bastards who have corrupted our country out of office (even Dibold can't keep them all in their seats). Until then we must speak out against the abuses of our Constitution, and let our elected officials know that there will be consequence to their actions, that they will be out of a job if they do not Protect and Defend our Constitution. And we can all pray that we can find a common ground as Americans and stop the divisiveness that has been fostered on us by those who want to rule rather than serve.
There is a very good article here that addresses this subject, one written by a person who has served this country in the FBI and CIA. It is worth the read.
Remember, if the constitution is set aside we are no longer Americans, we are no longer a free people and we join the ranks of political and corporate serfs found around the world.
The choice is yours, Citizen or Subject!
Posted by Mushtaq Ali at 2:06 PM
Sunday, February 12, 2006
For fun and profit.
As many of you may have noticed, there has been a disturbing trend with the religious right of all flavors to tell us why God is doing certain things. Pat Robertson, the Right Wing Religious Wanker (RWRW for short), is perhaps the most vocal of these self proclaimed interpreters of God's will here in America, and has managed to be at least as amusing as a tooth ache with his pronouncements lately.
One thing that becomes more and more apparent is the lack of critical thinking that plagues both religious "pundits" and listeners has reached epidemic proportions.
What Robertson and his spiritual brethren of all faiths are indulging in when they tell us why God is doing something is a special case of the logical fallacy called argumentum ad verecundiam, or "appeal to authority". After all, by definition, God is the ultimate authority.
This is also an example of saying things "in quotes".
As some of you may know, if you want to say something to someone, but for some reason can't say it directly, you can almost always get away with saying it in quotes.
(Mr. President, do you know what I heard in the hall yesterday? I overheard someone saying "That George Bush is an incompetent imbecile!" Can you imagine someone actually saying something like that sir? They went on to say that you were a "complete BOOB!" sir. I was highly offended that anyone would think that you are really that stupid).So the Right Reverend Robertson says what he feels in the dark hateful recesses of his black little heart, but frames them as quotes from God.
People do notice though.
Even his own co-religionists are beginning to become upset by his trying to make himself the mouthpiece for God.
I think though, that everyone should start putting words in God's mouth, after all, "What's good for the goose is good for the gander" isn't it?
So let's try out a few quotes from God.
"hurricane Katrina and the other disasters we had this year are God's judgment on the Red States for supporting all the suffering that BushCo has brought upon the world!"
Yeah, that works. So how about:
"The volcano in Alaska is God's warning not to mess with His ecology and to lay off drilling for oil where it will ruin the environment. Furthermore, it is God answering the prayers for help from the people who live in the region that will be ruined by the drilling!"
See how easy it is?
Let's try another.
The Medicare drug program is God's judgment on old people for being stupid enough to support George Bush! Furthermore the cuts that old people are about to experience in all of their Medicare programs to help fund the wars that make such profits for BushCo is more evidence of just how upset God is with them for helping to put a representative of the Anti-Christ in the office of President!"
This can be a lot of fun if you want to counter attack the religious Right. With a little research a person could no doubt find some scripture that could be twisted into support for "God's" opinions on these matters.
Posted by Mushtaq Ali at 9:31 AM
Monday, February 06, 2006
The fourth aphorism of the Khwajaghan is Khalwat Dar Anjuman, which is usually translated as "Solitude in the Crowd".
The usual meaning of this saying is taken as "To be inwardly with Allah while being outwardly with people".
Now this is a perfectly good meaning, and should not be wasted, but as with each of the other aphorisms, there are deeper meanings to be found that have somehow slipped by the wayside.
Khalwat is a Sufi technical term for a retreat, often for forty days. This time is spent in prayer (salat), remembrance (zikr) meditation (moraqebeh), contemplation (fekr), "taking account" (mohasebah), fasting (sawm), recitation (wird) and whatever else one's Teacher prescribes. The Idea is to withdraw for a time from the attachments and distractions of the world for the sake of one's inner Work.
Probably the definitive (or at least the most interesting) work on this sort of Khalwat is Risalat al anwar fima yumnah al khalwa min al asrar by Ibn al Arabi. (Just because I think he can be something of a pompous twit with all the social skills and emotional maturity of an elite class UNIX geek, doesn't mean that I haven't read everything he has written that is available to a determined scholar).
Now Khalwat Dar Anjuman must have a slightly different meaning in application, though at one level it can be seen as inwardly doing the practices of "khalwat" in daily life.
If we take a look at the root meanings of the words and their derivations we again find some interesting information.
Khalwat comes from the root Kh-L-W. The meaning of the root is "to be empty, vacant. Void" The second group of meanings from the root have to do with "isolation, vacuum, and empty places". The third group of meanings has to do with "being solitary, lonely, isolated".
Now early on, one of my first teachers told me always look for the puns, and there is an interesting one here.
If you take the sounds of the word Khalwat and derive the root as Kh-L-T you get a word that means "To mix, mingle, blend, to confuse, mix up". the second group of meanings is to "fuse or merge". The third group to "mingle with a crowd, to associate with people". The forth group, "to consist of a heterogeneous mix".
Some people have found meaning in the apparent opposition of these two definitions.
Anjuman comes from the root J-M-M. The first meaning of this root is "to gather, to collect ones thoughts, to concentrate".
The second group of meanings is "abundant, much, crowd". A third derivation from the root has to do with "rest, relaxation, gathering ones strength".
A final meaning derived from the root gives us istijmam, which means "collectedness, concentration, attentiveness".
One Shaykh, when asked about Khalwat dar anjuman said, "This is man's work, it is not for the immature, not for children. The real work on the soul starts here and most people never get to the point where they can bear it. One must first master the breath, have an idea of their real goal, and be able to hold to their intention if they expect to find solitude in the crowd".
One thing that should be understood at this point, Each of the aphorisms represent not just a good idea, or a bit of advice, but a specific practice. These practices have fallen by the wayside in most tariqas that I am familiar with but are still known and practiced by some Sufi groups that have managed to avoid political notice by way of their isolation. (and by being very, very quiet)
Posted by Mushtaq Ali at 5:06 PM
Friday, February 03, 2006
Intellect looks with logic's eye for God
Emotion holds God between dogma and doubt
The Essence speaks in a quiet voice,
Another path must be taken to seek God out
Dear friend let's come together,
in loving hearts embrace.
And drink blood red wine tonight
in memory of love's disgrace.
(Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, Mushtaq Ali version)
Posted by Mushtaq Ali at 10:15 AM