Meditation on Salat

Toward the One, the Perfection of Love, Harmony, and Beauty,
the Only Being, United with All the Illuminated Souls
Who Form the Embodiment of the Master, the Spirit of Guidance.

Papers for the Jamiat                                                                                                       No.2

The meditation on Salat is to be performed each year at the opening of the Jamiat or at the beginning of Summer School, or there may be two such meetings. It may also be used on the resumption of class work in centers where there are more than three persons in the Inner Circle at such places where there is no Murshid. Where there is a Murshid, it shall be performed or omitted at the Murshid’s discretion, but if omitted, another meditation shall be substituted, the form and legend according to the direction of the Murshid.

There must be at least three persons at such a meditation as someone must act as Muezzin. The Muezzin will hold a watch and gong. If there is a Murshid or Pir-o-Murshid present, either that one will recite Salat or direct the Muezzin to do so, but in the absence of a Murshid, the Muezzin will lead.

It is necessary that all mureeds be seated at least five minutes prior to the commencement of the service, even the Murshids. Therefore it is well that all be seated fifteen minutes prior to the hour, except the Murshid and Muezzin who should be in their places at least five minutes prior to the hour. From 11 in the morning to noon, or from 5 to 6 in the afternoon are the best periods; otherwise from 3 to 4. These correspond to the hours of prayer in the Islamic religion, but besides that the nature of these hours is naturally conducive to the purpose of the meditation.

One reason for entering early is to permit the Murshid five minutes to regulate his own breath, to get it in rhythm for the spiritual rhythm of the Murshid is most important. The Muezzin must also carefully time his breath and note the interval in seconds of one breath and three breaths. These should be deep without being long, just of average length. The length of one breath shall be called one Pala, and the length of three breaths shall be termed 3 Palas.

At three palas prior to the hour, the Muezzin strikes a gong or some other instrument once, and exactly at the hour twice, leaving an interval or one pala or one breath between the two strokes, whereupon the leading Murshid or Muezzin says Salat, beginning with the first words:

1. Most Gracious Lord, Master, Messiah and Savior of Humanity

The talibs assume a prayerful attitude and address Allah inwardly in the aspect of Rabb, or Lord. This meditation and each of the following meditations and concentrations continue two minutes, there being 30 such divisions or serbas, requiring exactly one hour for the performance.

At 3 palas prior to the 2 minutes, the gong is struck once, and at the end of the two minutes, it is struck twice, with an interval of 1 pala between the two strokes whereupon the Leader continues as the sound dies away:

2. We Greet Thee With All Humility

The meditation is “I am not,” which is fana, effacement. This form is effacement in
Allah, fana-fi-lillah. At three palas prior to the next two minutes the gong is again sounded, then at the following minute interval the two gongs with 1 pala time between them. This continues through the hour and between the one gong and the two strokes the talibs watch their breath to make the next adjustment.

3. Thou Art the First Cause and the Last Effect,
The Divine Light and the Spirit of Guidance, Alpha and Omega

The idea is now baqa, that Allah is the Subsistent, the Only Being. This is the same principle as is in the beginning of the Invocation, which is said by the Murshid or Leader immediately after entering the meditation hall, therefore somewhat prior to the Meditation on Salat. In other words, after considering: “I am not,” one considers: “Thou art.”

4. Thy Light Is in All Forms, Thy Love in All Beings

This is Nuri Mohammed, which is not to be confused with any particular being, although it presents the Primal Adam. This may be considered as God in the highest aspect of Thought, as opposed to Feeling. Besides that, after the consideration of “I am not,” the negation of the first person, comes “Thou art,” the affirmation of the second person, or the opposite of the first person, and these are united in the third person, which idea is expressed in the syllable HU. But God wishes to become known also, and so all forms and beings arise from the Nuri Mohammed, and these are next considered:

5. In a Loving Mother

Concentrate on a loving mother, either one’s own or someone else’s who, because of motherhood, has radiated love and life to her children, and perhaps to others. A living mother is preferable to one who has entered a higher plane, and this holds true of the next four subjects, one in the flesh is preferred.

6. In a Kind Father

Concentrate on some father, who because of his being a father, has been kind-hearted to his children and to others.

7. In an Innocent Child

Concentrate on a child who has preserved angelic qualities. Do note concentrate on anyone who is sick or to help him, but concentrate on one who is making others happy. In these concentrations the idea is to draw a sympathetic current, so one can imbibe through the breath the same desirable qualities as manifest in such persons and at the same time recognize and realize that all these desirable qualities are aspects of Allah, though veiled.

8. In a Helpful Friend

Concentrate on one who has helped you or has helped others. Do not concentrate on one needing help, or who is sick or invalided. Do not concentrate on any Murshid or Sheikh unless a Pir-o-Murshid is present, but it is permissible to concentrate on any mureed present or not present. In other words, for the 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th divisions each has his own concentration.

9. In an Inspiring Teacher

This is Tasawwuri Murshid. In the presence of the Pir-o-Murshid all unite in concentrating on the Pir-o-Murshid and the Pir concentrates on the previous Pir-o-Murshid. In the absence of a Pir-o-Murshid, all present concentrate on the Murshid who concentrates on the Pir-o-Murshid. If there is neither Pir-o-Murshid nor Murshid present, the Khalif or Leader opens the meeting in the name of a Murshid who is the subject of Tasawwuri. One does not concentrate on a Khalif or Sheikh in this serba.

10. Allow Us to Recognize Thee in All Thy Holy Names and Forms

Allah has first been recognized as Rabb; as Baqa, the Only Being which is His condition called Ahadiat, and as Nuri Mohammed, or his condition called Wahdaniat. These are hidden aspects. Then came the concentration on the manifested qualities of Allah in the 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th and 9th sections and now is the transference to the manifested forms of Allah as distinguished from qualities.

At the same time all form a Single Embodiment, but the mind may bring a division; otherwise Allah could not be recognized in form, only above form. It is the purpose of mind to understand Allah is in form that the mind can comprehend, besides being in Essence which the mind cannot conceive.

11. As Rama

Try to visualize Rama as being present in some form and remaining in the Meditation Hall. Try also to feel his presence. The better one can visualize, the more he enters Tasawwuri Rama.

12. As Krishna

The same direction is followed for Krishna. There will be a difference in feeling and the talib should try to remember the experiences, but the feeling is the most important. This makes it possible to draw the spiritual qualities and faculties from the Holy Ones which is the purpose of this service. However, notes are not copied until after the service.

13. As Shiva, 14. As Buddha, 15. Let Us Know Thee as Abraham, 16. As Solomon,
17. As Zarathustra, 18. As Moses, 19. As Jesus, 20. As Mohammed

The same directions continue as the names of each of the world Teachers is called. When the first gong is sounded remove the thought of the other, but retain any vision, for sometimes they remain in vision as it is true that they enter the Meditation Hall. Wherever the accommodation is made for the Holy Being, there is he.

When the two strokes are sounded and the name read, visualize the character as the words of Salat are spoken. In this way the great spirituality and holiness comes to one through the chain of the Hierarchy which is most important.

21. And in Many Other Names and Forms Known and Unknown to the World.

Now concentrate upon other world teachers and the chain of Sufi Murshids. Sometimes they will come in vision or feeling, but the talib remains passive to God; recognize God first and form as an aspect of God.

22. We Adore Thy Past, Thy Presence Deeply Enlightens Our Being,
and We Look for Thy Blessing in the Future.

The concentration is now on the Unity of all the Holy Ones in Chain, on the union of the Murshids, present in spirit or form with them, and on each one’s individual union with the Chain through the Murshids. This is something like the Invocation, but with one difference—that is, the purpose is here to receive individual help and inspiration through the Chain.

23. O Messenger, Christ, Nabi, The Rassoul Of God!
Thou Whose Heart Constantly Reaches Upward, Thou Comest on Earth With a Message

This concentration is on our Holy Murshid Hazrat Inayat Khan, who has united in his personality all the mysteries of all the Holy Ones of the past, and transmitted this teaching and their perfection to us.

24. As a Dove From Above When Dharma Decayeth

The concentration is on a Dove, which may be felt or perceived through the breath, with the feeling of union with that Dove. This is to enable each talib also to become a Message bearer and thus serve the Message. First the Messenger is considered and then the transmission of the Message and then the becoming of the Message which is the next concentration:

25. And Speakest the Word That Is Put Into Thy Mouth

These three concentrations are fana-fi-Rassoul, absorption onto the qualities of the world teacher, first in form as himself, next in the symbol of the Dove and now concentrate with the Sufi Symbol on the tongue. This enables one to think Holy Thoughts and speak sacred words.

26. As the Light Filleth the Crescent Moon

One visualizes a crescent moon in the forehead filling or being filled with light.

27. Let the Star of the Divine Light Shining in Thy Heart
Be Reflected in the Hearts of Thy Devotees

One visualizes a star of light in one’s own heart, and feels it radiating light and love. These last three concentrations are connected, the one in the mouth representing the purification of the physical body, the moon for the mental purification and this for the purification of the heart. These are the blessings with breath, water and blood referred to in the New Testament.

28. May the Message of God Reach Far and Wide, Illuminating

One now concentrates as being within the Sufi Symbol. Feel one’s heart as the heart, and feel the star and crescent there, and the wings extending beyond one, that one is radiating light. This is the continuation and completion of the three others, and as they represent the concentration for body, mind, and heart, this may be called the concentration of the soul.

29. And Making the Whole Humanity as One Single Brotherhood

Now a concentration is necessary to bring all the mureeds together who have been attuning individually to God and the Holy Spirit. This concentration is fana-fi-Adam, which begins by feeling union with those above, then with those doing the same work—one’s fellow mureeds—and this in itself accomplishes union with the whole humanity.

30. In the Fatherhood of God

But the last concentration perfects Attributes, Sifat, and now the return to Allah is necessary, as qualities come from Allah and in the final concentration one returns to the first idea, making a completion and expressing the words of Qur’an, “From Allah we all come, and to Him we all return.”

This last concentration continues for the full two minutes to the hour when the Muezzin strikes twice, with the usual interval of one pala between the strokes. This completes the meditation, but no one rises for five minutes. During those five minutes the talibs will come from their meditation and those who have messages or notes or inspirations may begin to write them at once.

At the end of five minutes the gong is again struck twice, the Pir-o-Murshid (or Leader) and the Muezzin immediately leave, and then those mureeds who have nothing to record or who have competed their records. The others remain, 15 minutes being allotted to this purpose, during which time no one may enter the Meditation Hall for any reason whatsoever. The Holy Ones may be in meditation.

If for spiritual reasons persons stay longer, the period is extended. It is well not to use the room for any purpose except meditation until the next hour is completed, unless Zikr be performed at the discretion of the Pir-o-Murshid or Murshid, during that time.

A resonant gong is the best instrument but a cymbal may be used, or a drum specially devoted for sacred purposes or even a vina or lute if there is a competent musician to act as Muezzin, but a gong or cymbal is always safe.

This meditation is detached from all other services except perhaps Zikr, so for the whole hour prior to its performance no one should enter the Hall except for meditation or Zikr. This means three hours preservation of spiritual atmosphere.

There should be no healing services that day or the day prior, but there may be two days before or on the day after. Neither do Khifayats and Shifayats attend this Meditation. In Salat one receives from God in Name and Form and gives to God above Name and Form, while in healing one receives from spirit above Name and Form and gives to Name and Form. The Khatum and not Salat is especially for those on the healing path.

Both of these aspects are united in Saum where one receives from God above Name and Form and gives to God above Name and Form. Saum is therefore not used in Concentration, because Concentration is connected with names and forms. Saum may be used as meditation for all mureeds, but in Saum it is the movements which are important, while in Salat it is the thought movements which have value corresponding with the physical movements of Saum.