Dear Companions on the Path,
Greetings from Turkey! Three weeks ago we celebrated my father’s 14th ‘Urs at his Dargah in Delhi. We listened to a recital of rudra vina, carried a consecrated chadar (brocade sheet) in procession from Murshid’s tomb to Pir Vilayat’s, and recited the Silsila and prayers. Afterward we convened at the Hope Project and discussed the continuing expansion of the project’s important work. A recent development is the creation of a center in rural Rajasthan where impoverished city children can go to experience and learn from nature.
After the ‘Urs we traveled to Gangotri in the Himalayas and stayed with the venerable Swami Sunderananad, an old friend of my father’s. We meditated for long stretches in his hut every day at 4 am and again at 5 pm. From Gangotri we hiked to Gomukh (“the mouth of the cow”), where one of the major headstreams of the Ganges, the Bhagirati River, springs from a glacier. “Make the Ganges flow backward, yogis, and you will gain a vision of God,” sings Bullhe Shah. Beside the rushing river I said a prayer for all of you, my companions on the way.
Descending from the mountains we made a pilgrimage to the Dargah of Khwaja ‘Ala ad-Din ‘Ali Ahmad Sabir, pir-brother of Khwaja Nizam ad-Din Awliya’, in Kaliyar Sharif. Whereas Khwaja Nizam ad-Din was of a gentle disposition, Khwaja ‘Ala ad-Din is remembered as “the essence of the manifestation of the Divine Power.” One could feel that power pulsing around the tree under which he meditated (or perhaps it was a descendant of his tree).
We have just left Maulabakhsh House in Baroda, where we visited the tombs of the local Sufi saints. These include, among others, Bawa Man, Ghadiyali Bawa, and Sidi Bilal. Bawa Man is said to have walked thirty miles backwards to avoid turning his back toward his murshid. The tomb of
Ghadiyali Bawa (“the clock pir”), visited equally by Hindus and Muslims, is a shrinewhere devotees hang up clocks when their prayers are fulfilled. Sidi Bilal’s tomb is mentioned in Murshid’s teachings. Legend relates that when the Maharaja ordered its demolition so that the road could be widened, the tomb moved to the side in the middle of the night.
Of course, what is most special about Baroda for us is that it is the place of Murshid’s birth. On July 5th we had the joy of celebrating Murshid’s 136th birthday in the room in which he was born.
Rooms have been thoughtfully built here at Maulabakhsh House for ashiqs and murids to stay in when visiting. You are welcome to come and sit in the serene silence of the birth room.* Murshid’s presence is very strong here.
*Please contact Harunissa Khanim Maulabakhsh in advance at [email protected] or call (0265) 2521096 (Azizunnisa Khanim Maulabakhsh) or 9376182321 (Imtiyaz Sheikh).
Astana Staff News
It has been a year since we moved our North American Headquarters to Virginia! At this one-year point we are reflecting upon, and refining, our staff structure to best meet the Inayati Order’s mission in the world. The attached letter offers details. As a highlight, we want to share that we are adding two new positions right away.
First, we are very happy to welcome Jenni Thomas as our new Digital Media Manager. Jenni is a Richmond local with extensive experience with online marketing, content management, websites, e-newsletters and lists, social media, audio and video. Jenni begins full-time on Monday, July 16th.
Also, you may have already heard that Sara Tarana Jobin is joining us as our Music Director & Special Projects Manager, part-time for the next year. Tarana is a professional orchestra conductor and Suluk graduate. Her first assignment is musical direction for Noor Inayat Khan’s play, Aede of the Ocean and Land, at the Zenith Institute camp this summer. Please welcome Tarana to the Astana’s staff!
For additional details on our staff please visit www.inayatiorder.org/staff/.
“Hail to my exile from the Garden of Eden to earth; if I had not fallen I would not have probed the depths of life.”
The story of the exile of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden describes the descent of the soul from heaven to earth. The soul first experienced life in the heavenly spheres as an angel, then descended to the mental realm in the form of a djinn, and finally incarnated on earth as a human being.
Whereas angels float in an atmosphere of pure love and light, the human being lives in a world starkly defined by opposites. The free will in the angel is slight; in the djinn it is greater; in the human being it is a formidable force.
Because the human being is free, he or she is capable of great evil. By the same token, when a human being exercises freedom to good purpose—perfecting freedom through the free offering up of oneself—the beauty that is hidden in the depths of being is revealed in a manner otherwise impossible.
Humans are subject to profound spiritual amnesia, the forgetting of the essence of reality. But precisely because we forget, we are enabled to remember. And the remembering of the One is the unveiling of the One in the One’s constantly renewed manifestation of all that is, which is the purpose of the whole creation.
A new class of Suluk Academy begins this September at the Astana in Richmond, Virginia. Suluk is a two-year course of intensive Sufi Study with Pir Zia Inayat Khan as the lead teacher.
There are a few spots left! This current class is almost full with 31 confirmed students. If you are interested in additional details and possibly applying, please email [email protected] as soon as possible. (A new class will launch in France in 2019 or 2020.)
Inayati Order Upcoming Events
The Alchemy of Happiness w/ Pir Zia
The Abode of the Message, New Lebanon, New York
31 August – 2 September 2018
Making One’s Own Nature w/ Pir Zia
29-30 September 2018
Making One’s Own Nature w/ Pir Zia
1-2 December 2018
The Spiritual Message of Mawlana Rumi
Middle Eastern & South Asian Inayati Community Gathering
13-19 July 2018
23 July – 18 August 2018
Growing Wings w/ Pir Zia
Katwijk aan Zee, The Netherlands
24-26 August 2018
Angelic Lights w/ Pir Zia
17-18 November 2018
Please see our Inayati Order Programs Calendar for more event listings.