A Dervish Story – Tale of the Three Questions

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A certain Sultan owned everything a man could wish for and still he did not know the purpose of life. The answer to three questions made his life difficult:

1. What should I do?
2. With which people should I do the things God asks me to do?
3. When should I do it?

The Sultan asked the advice of all kinds of wise people, and then he was told that there was a Chishti dervish, who lived far away, and who might give him a satisfactory answer. The Sultan immediately left and after a journey of several weeks he met the dervish. The dervish was cultivating his own land. He was a simple man, but no simpleton, as he was reciting a Persian quatrain over and over again:

Kaarist waraai ‘elm raw aanraa baash
Dar bande gohar mabaash raw kaan raa baash
Del hast maqaame gaah begozaar o biaa
Jaan manzele aakherast raw jaan raa baash .

There is a work beyond knowledge, realise that, go!
Do not work to get jewels, be the mine, go!
The heart is a temporary abode, leave it and come!
The soul is the final abode, realise that, go!

The Sultan was however not interested in Persian poems and asked his three questions to the dervish. The dervish did not answer him and continued with his work. The Sultan became angry and said: “Don’t you know who I am. I am the Sultan of Sultans”. But this did not make any impression as well and the dervish continued doing what he was doing.

A heavily wounded man suddenly appeared and he dropped to the ground in front of the dervish. The dervish said to the Sultan: “Help me to carry this man to my place!” “I’ll help you,” the Sultan said, “but will you answer my questions afterwards?”

“Later!” the dervish said and together they brought the wounded man to the hut of the dervish and took care of him.

“And now I’d like to receive the answers to my questions,” the Sultan said. “You can return to your palace,” the dervish said, “because you have already received the answers to your questions. As to what to do, you should do what comes to you on your path. As to with whom you should do it, the answer is with those who are present. And as for the when to do it, you should do it the moment it takes place”.

This is the way it is with ancient truth, always chiding us to focus on the here and now. Perhaps that is a clue. I see the great beauty, hard work and gritty truth of the Sufi path and it resonates very deeply with me. I imagine myself a Dervish on some dark road with just my wits and what I have on my back with me, alone but never alone. I desired to know their ecstatic experience of the Divine in my everyday life and then I realized as I admired the beautiful green covered mountain to the East during a quiet moment, I had found it.

Image – Dervish – Bebe Brookman

A Dervish Story about Reality

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I am continually amazed as I learn about how other cultures view themselves across time and how similar their hopes, fears and dreams are to my own and my generation’s. There is not much new under the sun it seems. Every generation grapples with its mortality and shares its hopes and fears to try to provide some illumination or warning perhaps to the generations to come.

I have hopes and fears too. I set them aside in my life and I have accepted my place in a world and reality much bigger than the one I can sense. Much bigger than myself. I know I am limited in my awareness, so I assume I know nothing fully. I accept and know that my awareness stretches beyond my senses in ways I can not consciously understand. That makes life mysterious and mystical for me, which I need. So I am not totally agnostic, nor do I totally believe or know anything. I am a swirling mix of sense, memory, emotion, mind, heart and something more I can’t put my finger on.

Across the eons I see a golden thread that binds our religions, myths and traditions together. It is a message of hope, love, acceptance and embracing of one another in our difference. It challenges you to look beneath the surface of things and to be ever mindful of the intention you use to manifest these hopes, dreams and fears that can overwhelm us. I have my experience from which to view all of this and I am compelled to seek others’ perspective as well. You can clearly see the forces that sought to separate and those that brought men together across history. I am throwing my lot in with the dreamers and the those that seek to remove the separations and walls between each other. This Dervish story speaks of much respect across religions and an appreciation for the common dreams we all share no matter our race or creed. I know in the end Love is the only thing that is real and the creeds of man will be shown to be the stepping stones that they are.

The People Who Attain

– from Idries Shaw’s Tales of the Dervishes

Imam el-Ghazali relates a tradition from the life of Isa ibn Maryam(Jesus).

Isa one day saw some people sitting miserably on a wall, by the roadside. He asked: ‘What is your affliction?’

They said: ‘We have become like this through our fear of hell.’

He went on his way, and saw a number of people grouped disconsolately in various postures by the wayside. He said: ‘What is your affliction?’

They said: ‘Desire for Paradise has made us like this.’

He went on his way, until he came to a third group of people. They looked like people who had endured much, but their faces shone with joy. Isa asked them: ‘What has made you like this?’

They answered: ‘The Spirit of Truth. We have seen Reality, and this has made us oblivious of lesser goals.’

Isa said: ‘These are the people who attain. On the Day of Accounting these are they who will be in the Presence of God.’

Commentary

Those who believe that spiritual advancement depends upon the cultivation of reward and punishment themes alone have often been surprised by this Sufi tradition about Jesus.

Sufis say that only certain people benefit through powerful dwelling upon gain or loss; and that this, in turn, may constitute only a part of anyone’s experiences. Those who have studied the methods and effects of conditioning and indoctrination may feel themselves inclined to agree with them.

Here Comes The Sun

Sharing a beautiful poem from Hafiz to brighten your day as it did mine.

Root in Each Act and Creature
– Hafiz

The sun’s eyes are painting fields again.

Its lashes with expert strokes
Are sweeping across the land.

A great palette of light has embraced
This earth.

Hafiz, if just a little clay and water
Mixed in His bowl
Can yield such exquisite scents, sights,
Music – and whirling forms –

What unspeakable wonders must await with
The commencement of unfolding
Of the infinite number of petals
That are the
Soul.

What excitement will renew your body
When we all begin to see
That His heart resides in
Everything?

God has a root in each act and creature
That He draws His mysterious
Divine life from.

His eyes are painting fields again.

The Beloved with His own hands is tending,
Raising like a precious child,
Himself in
You.

Way of The Fool

foolish

Wandering in the desert
Wise as serpents
Gentle as doves
Clever and quick
Smart and sharp
Bubbling creation
Seeing around the corner
Holding the line
To the Golden future
Non-linear
Spooky action
Here then not
Fear and impurities
Dross removed
Loving All
Light shining
Nothing can stand
Before our Song
Endymion rises
Hear the song
No teachers needed
Learn

The Way of The Fool

Amazing New Sufi Jams

I am in love with these beautiful powerful meditative songs. I am new to Sufi music. Any suggestions are much appreciated. Here are a few of my favorites. Who knew? Give them a listen.

I feel these moving up and down my spine tickling my soul. What is this new thing? Her voice, bliss.

I REALLY LOVE THIS COLLECTION BELOW. I have never felt vibrations like this, into me and out the wormhole in my head to where I truly dwell. Enter in, Enter in. These are mysteries only you can plumb. Know Thyself and be True to You.

Hey, I will try anything once. I think this collection is Divine. I am just getting through it. Enjoy.