Meditations on the
Diwan of Shams-i-Tabriz
Murshid Samuel L. Lewis
(Sufi Ahmed Murad Chisti)
Toward the One, the Perfection of Love, Harmony, and
the Only Being, United with All the Illuminated Souls
Who Form the Embodiment of the Master, the Spirit of Guidance.
Sangatheka Series II: Number 5
Beloved ones of God:
There is a poem from the Diwan of Shams-i-Tabriz, the great Pir-o-Murshid, which reads as follows:
1. Clear thy heart of another if thou desirest that it be my abode.
2. Cast not thy glance upon another if thou wishest to behold my face.
3. Strive earnestly by self-denial toward thy true self that thou mayest become myself.
4. Close thy heart like the shell when the thought of me is in thee.
5. I am the flame in the crowd that attracts many moths to its light.
6. Burn myself if thou hast my fragrance in thee.
7. Illumine thyself within by my light.
8. If I am without thou seekest me.
9. I am rejoicing in the pain caused by the arrow of thy grace that has pierced through my soul.
10. See the power of Shams’ arm if thou hast my strength.
1. To clear the heart must be more than a moral. The Sufi does not only say “clear the heart of all save God,” the practices bring this about. The continuance of Zikr and Fikr not only entices the atoms of the room, but also the atoms of the body, as in Nimaz. Therefore the very atoms and cells of the physical heart tend more and more to a certain motion, and this helps the atoms of the mental heart to a certain memory, and this works in consonance and rhythm with the true heart so that fixation on God becomes a habit as well as a moral and a practice.
2. The practices of concentration hold one to a single thought, to a single idea. It is not only to repeat “Toward the One.” In the lessons on concentration, it is always “Toward the One,” but the one in the first stage is a physical object, and in the second stage is a mental subject, and in the third stage an ideal, and finally one raises this ideal until it is the God-Ideal—this is the purpose and aim of concentration in the realization of “Toward the One.”
3. At the same time, self-denial is not a mere negative moral, to deprive oneself of pleasure and comforts. Self-denial is a positive progress, wherein one attunes himself to the will of the Sheikh, then of the Murshid, then of the Holy Rassoul, and finally one finds in his own understanding that there is only one Embodiment of the Master, of all the Rassouls and Murshids in his Hierarchal chain.
4. The Sufi’s thoughts are on God alone, but self-surrender is not utter abnegation. This is a great mistake that many people make. The Blessed Buddha said that Nirvana was neither being nor not-being. While the Sufi practices fana, or self-denial, it is the denial of the Nufs, and the final goal is baqa-i-fana, subsistence-in-absorption, to let the light of God shine through one’s personality that others may see and glorify the Father which is in Heaven. Self-denial is the denial of Nufs, and the utter surrender to God, but at the same time it brings Mastery over creation.
5. It is God which is the Light and Flame, which is the only power working. God uses instruments, and the talib prepares to be such an instrument, for in this he realizes the purpose of his life, which is a fuller life. As God is Infinite, instead of self-denial being the contraction of one into zero, it is the expansion of one to Infinity, only one must not think of it this way, it comes naturally.
6. When the Diwan says: “Burn myself if thou hast my fragrance in thee,” he means more than surrender to God. So many people talk about surrendering to God’s Will, but how do they know God’s Will? If they did, it would no longer be a surrender—it is a surrender, but also it is not. One surrenders to a foe, but the soldier who follows his captain and his general, has he surrendered? No, he is the follower, the servant of that leader. Therefore the Sufi is the servant of God.
7. “Illumine thyself within by my light.” This illumination comes on all planes, even on the physical planes in the form of purity and also the recognition of the light which descends upon him. When one repeats, “Pour upon us Thy Love and Thy Light,” this becomes a living reality. As one responds more and more to his heart’s impressions, these words burst into living beauty.
8. “If I am without thou seekest me.” One does not see God without until he finds Him within. All the practices of receiving impressions and Guidance in the silence, in meditation, in the practices, are steps until one can hear the Voice of God, not only in the temple, but in the market place, not only within his own heart, but in all forms.
9. “I am rejoicing in the pain caused by the arrow of thy grace that has pierced through my soul.” Very often it is only through pain that the soul awakens. Pain is a warning, but it is only used by Allah Who is Mercy and Compassion when all other means fail. The parent correcting his children uses kindly means and only takes the stick as a last resort. So it is with Allah, and a study of life will reveal this.
The Sufi suffering pain or disease or hardship, seeks the cause. Very often it is a trial given to develop some characteristic or quality which he will need in his next endeavor. Without that quality he would fail, and if he does not recognize it and develop that quality, Allah gives him an obstacle which we call pain. But in reality it is an exercise, just as gymnastic work is an exercise for the body or concentration or memorizing for the mind. An athlete may suffer pains many times before his contest, but he does not give much attention to them. The Sufi is an athlete in the contest of life, and he recognizes the pains and hardships as exercises given to strengthen him so that he may serve Allah in some manner. Therefore pain may be a greater blessing than pleasure.
At the same time, by this one should take caution in the use of the healing powers, which should be employed chiefly for those working in God’s cause. By holding this power in reserve, each can help the other in the hour of trial, and bring about the Brotherhood of Mankind in the realization of God.
10. “See the power of Shams’ arm if thou hast my strength.” The name Shams means sun, and the word is identical with the Hebrew Shemesh which we call Samson, who was the embodiment of the solar strength in human form. The name Shams was given him because he reflected only God in his being and therefore even the energy of the sun was not greater than the spiritual power which flowed through him.
Shams-i-Tabriz was not only one of the greatest of Sufis, but one of the greatest souls who ever came on earth, and it was through his efforts and teachings that not only the Maulavis but other schools drew great inspirations. All Sufis are in debt to him.
This last line describes the condition of baqa-i-fana, of God living in the human form, the Nufs being utterly trained and powerless, and at the same time the true personality being gifted with the power of the universe to serve God and do His Will. This is the highest state possible and the goal of humanity.
To save the world is not an easy task; to save the world is not an essential task. To calm the heart is not an easy task; to calm the heart may be an essential task.
He who would strive to save the world in troubled times must calm the surface of his heart and devote himself to the one aim. Any other aim presents two aims before the heart. Therefore it is better to seek to be untroubled or to devote oneself to the dissolution of troubles.
Calmness and indifference are the swords of the master. Calmness and indifference are the poisons of the ignorant. He who has never known pain in his heart cannot become a master of calmness. Master of calmness is he who communicates calmness to others.
The false indifference is icy cold; the true indifference has solar-heart-warmth.
Wishing is not prayer, willing is not prayer, and blind surrender is not prayer. When one’s wishes are granted, that is because he is in tune with the times; when one’s will leads to success, that is because he is in tune with the times, and when one’s blind surrender appears approved, that is because he is in tune with the times. But how many, occasionally in tune with the times, are more often not in tune with the times and their wishing, their willing and blind surrender leads to naught.
The master is master of the times, controlling the times to his own ends but not necessarily removing the turmoil of the times. The tornado which does not run its course may rise again. The volcano which does not fully erupt does not become extinct. The clouds which are seemingly disturbed still remain as atmospheric moisture.
To pray successfully against unjust wars one must pray equally for a just peace to follow those unjust wars.
What is a just peace? When a single injustice is done against a single man in an unlimited universe, injustice is done. This shows the stupendous difference between the heart of God and the heart of man.
The words of Christ have remained on the printed page; the heart of Christ has returned to the soul of the universe. But the faithful accept resurrection.
How many are interested in the resurrection of the body; how few are interested in the resurrection of the heart.
He who sympathizes with the pains of the soldier-wounded and does not sympathize with the pains of the beloved of the enemies’ dead knows neither the meaning of war nor the significance of peace. War is two, peace is one, the rest is commentary.
The radio, the newspaper, the radionic communications have infinitesimalized space of body and space of mind, but the atoms of the heart are just as far apart when there is no understanding.
Superman remains totally ignorant of the dragon’s teeth which produces more and more men of evil until the root-of-evil was uncovered. Superman has not yet made a single person happy.
The hero of the day is Superman, the hero of the universe is Superheart. Superman is the creation of the imagination of man and Superheart is the creation of the truth of the universe.
The world prays to God and demands a magician. The world prays to God and makes its will known, so God grants this will and the will-of-God does not descend to earth.
But the will-of-God does descend to earth to seek adjustments because of the calamities which have come from the granting of selfish wishes.
Mercy and compassion are the delight of God and comforts are the delights of man.
As the prayers of man all over the earth are not in harmony one with the others, so the granting of those prayers are not in harmony some with others, and in the granting of prayers all must receive what everyone has demanded, in the name of the Lord, so a few receive momentary satisfaction and a number receive longer satisfaction while God, so to speak, is granting every selfish and unselfish prayer, with their selfish and unselfish results.
Every time one prays, seeking unwisely, he permits every other person to pray, seeking wisely or unwisely, and receives, in turn, not only the answer to his own prayers, but the answers to all prayers of equal validity.
The words “thy will be done” come to life in blessings to those who surrender to God, and in torments to those who have not surrendered to God.
Mischief is not only the result of the actions of the evil-minded, but also of those of narrow horizons.
To have your noble prayers answered and to escape the calumny of ignoble prayers, ask for Divine Guidance before praying, and realize the significant equality of all before God.
Prayer concerned with manifested forms is like the opening of Pandora’s box, which brought all gifts and all pains.
Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and self-satisfaction is the tomb of wisdom.
Calmness of heart may bring to the world all the fruits and delights which once graced the garden of Paradise.
To love one’s own is ignorance, to love the world is selfishness, to love humanity is wisdom, and not to love is death.
Criminals should not be judged by their viciousness so much as by the limited circumstance of their love-nature. It is the expansion of the heart-love-nature which produces true virtue, and not the studied “doing good” of the misguided.
The fathoming of the depth of mind does not add one iota to the heart; the fathoming of the depth of heart does not detract one iota from the mind.