An Original Sangitha
Murshid Samuel L. Lewis
(Sufi Ahmed Murad Chisti)
This paper was classified as a Sangitha by Murshid SAM.
The papers on this level from Hazrat Inayat Khan were withheld
from him by the Sufi Movement et. al., so he wrote his
“An Original Sangitha” has been added to the title—Ed.
1. The pupil who has completed his progress in fana-fi-Sheikh, who has successfully demonstrated his response to human love, who has expressed the divine wisdom in his daily life, who has attained to such a degree that he is willing and able to assist others, may be prepared for the initiation in fana-fi-Rassoul.
2. No mureed and no non-mureed is entitled to this initiation in fana-fi-Rassoul without having shown great evidence of Grace. But this initiation is to be distinguished by all means from concentration upon Rassoul. Some mureeds and some non-mureeds may have a concentration upon Rassoul, without it being in any way a part of fana-fi-Rassoul. Christian disciples will enter the path of Sufism with a great love in their hearts for Jesus Christ and will desire to concentrate upon him or have a picture of him in their rooms or otherwise show reverence. This is permissible, but it is not fana-fi-Rassoul. Followers of other faiths may show a corresponding love and respect for Rama, Krishna or Buddha; this love is never to be criticized and it is to be encouraged, but it is not fana-fi-Rassoul—and sometimes it may develop into fana-fi-Rassoul.
3. Among disciples those of the Bhakti type may show more aptitude for fana-fi-Rassoul than other types, and may have a concentration upon Rassoul at an early stage of development. But unless this practice is balanced by some others, they are liable to become ecstatic and too other-worldly to do much good to themselves or others while on earth and thus with all devotion fail to complete their earthly mission. Nevertheless, in their morning and evening exercises they may be given the concentration of their hearts, provided that during the rest of the day they recognize fully the teacher on earth. If they fail to recognize the teacher on earth, their love may become so strange as to be over-intoxicating and not protect them from a malicious thought form that may assume the spiritual guise of their Beloved.
4. Concentration on Rassoul in Murakkabah does not constitute fana-fi-Rassoul. Fana means losing the consciousness of self. Tasawwuri Murshid is considered a very high and advanced practice in Murakkabah, which makes the disciple realize that there is a servant (Khalif) of God upon earth. When he attains proficiency in that, then his concentration on Rassoul prepares him for real progress in fana-fi-Rassoul; otherwise it may stand in the way.
5. The esoteric grades and practices in Sufism have been determined after thousands of years of effort. It is only that in the new day followers of all religions are admitted to the same path and broader room must be made for all of them, that none who seek need be turned away.
6. The concentration on a picture or statue of Rassoul must be recognized as a lower aspect of Murakkabah than when one concentrates upon an ideal only the name of which has been given and this in turn is lower than fana-fi-Rassoul when one surrenders all to Rassoul and there is no longer concentration on such.
7. While the exercises in Murakkabah do not of themselves constitute fana-fi-Rassoul, they prepare the way for it. In Murakkabah one spends a few minutes having an ideal which is being impressed upon the mind. It is true that the heart-feeling must dominate. The orthodox devotee holds the thought with more or less feeling but he has before himself the thought of self. The pure devotees does not have this thought of self and that is the reason why there have been many Christian mystics who have reached a high degree of development but who have not always been able to transmit their blessed state to others. Sufi mysticism differs from Christian mysticism not in approach or principle but in being a science and an art.
8. At the other extreme is Bhakti Yoga which depends most entirely upon the self-effacement in the ideal in the unseen even to the degrees that humanity in the seen is ignored. This is not the true fana-fi-Rassoul. One need not decry Krishna-worship, it is excellent, but it is not complete. Krishna did not teach exclusiveness, Krishna proclaimed his being in all. Between the science and art of Bhakti Yoga on the one hand and the humanitarianism of Christianity on the other comes Sufism combining both these features.
9. Sufism does not exclude the devotion of Christians to Jesus Christ nor of Hindus to Lord Krishna. There are schools of Sufis, especially in south-Eastern Europe, which opened their doors to Christians. Mohammed himself was a Christian in a certain sense. The difference is that the Christians having no sustaining stream or chain of succession could not transmit the perfect teachings, and the Sufis have been able to preserve them. Followers of Krishna in India also have been submitted into Sufism and men like Kabir have perceived the truth in all esotericism.
10. In fana-fi-Rassoul the devotion to the Lord is at all times, not only at one moment. Sufis say that God alone exists. It is a mistake to distinguish sharply fana-fi-Sheikh, fana-fi-Rassoul, fana-fi-Lillah. Love is love, life is life, effacement is effacement, God is God. There are grades, it is true, but what really happens is that each stage of fana carries with it a corresponding grade of baqa, or realization and it is the growth in realization that matters. It is possible even in fana-fi-Sheikh to have the experience of full illumination, under love and grace.
11. When concentration absorbs life it becomes contemplation. To the contemplative there is no special hour or time of devotion, all is devotion, all is sacred. Then one lives for the ideal, the ideal is ever before one, one becomes absorbed in the ideal—this is the true practice of fana-fi-Rassoul.