Pir Shabda Kahn brings gentleness and humor in transmitting the rich lineage of Sufism since 1969. He has been the Pir -- spiritual director -- of the Sufi Ruhaniat International since 2001. This universal Sufi lineage traces from Hazrat Inayat Khan and Murshid Samuel Lewis.
Pir Shabda has studied and performed North Indian classical vocal music under the guidance of the late master singer Pandit Pran Nath. He is also a disciple of the illustrious Tibetan master, the 12th Tai Situ Rinpoche.
As Pir of the Sufi Ruhaniat International, Shabda directs the Jamiat Khas (the Ruhaniat leader circle), directs the SRI Board of Trustees, and is the spiritual director for the Dances of Universal Peace worldwide. He has a regular zikr meeting in Marin County, California, and travels the world throughout the year spreading the Sufi Message of Love, Harmony and Beauty. He brings warmth, rich experience and clarity through his service as Pir. He shares his teachings and music to support seekers on their path to awakening. (More...)
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.
Pir Shabda's Schedule
Pir Shabda's Music Selections
Madhuvanti Zikr - We went into the recording studio in Mother India, February 15, 2010, to record the Afternoon Ragas CD with accompanying Indian Master musicians, Ustad Kamal Sabri on Sarangi and Ustad Rafiuddin Sabri on Tabla. Several of the woman from our sufi pilgrimage joined me at the studio. During the break I asked the musicians if the were willing to improvise with me on the Zikr using the afternoon Raga known as Madhuvanti, with the women singing a 4 part ZIkr I wrote in the Madhuvanti Scale. This is the result!
The 99 Beautiful Names Sung Together - Vocal recitation of all the Names in the Moroccan fashion by Sidi Ali Sbai. Sidi Ali, friend and colleague of Pir Shabda, has been reciting Qur'an at mosques since age 10 and is internationally known, and he agreed to sing all of the 99 Beautiful Names.
PIR SHABDA'S ARCHIVED TALKS - Audio files are provided in mp3 format. Click play buttons to start listening, or download first to your computer.*
Cambridge Talks, March 2012
Part 1: Thursday Evening Intro
Pir Shabda introduces the topic of the weekend: "Opening to the Inner Life," explaining that the first birth brings us into these bodies, while the second marks the beginning of the quest to awaken the inner life. Pir outlines the qualities of the spiritual life and suggests that preparing ourselves for death is preparing ourselves for life, and vice versa. The session concludes with the group learning "Kadosh, Kadosh, Kadosh..."
Part 2: The Purpose of Life
Pir Shabda asks participants to sense into their deepest intentions, to clarify the purpose of life. He carries us through the topic of the universal wound, separation, and he describes the qualities of awakening as relaxation and effortlessness and shows how these result in freedom from attachment and aversion. Pir reflects on his 40-plus years of practice and how that helped him to meet the death of his son, Solomon, and he concludes with some descriptions of the Tibetan bardos.
Part 3: Death as Presence of God
Pir speaks about value of reciting opposite and complementary qualities, emphasizing development of strength and courage via practice of the Names associated with those qualities. He offers gratitude to those involved with Physicians of the Heart, then introduces equanimity as the next theme for this session. Pir Shabda relates experiences with SAM and Pir Vilayat and concludes with acknowledgment of our precious family and shares reflections on learning of son Solomon's death upon arriving to India.
Part 4: Breath & Negative Emotions
Pir reviews relaxation and effortlessness, "Easetarianism," adding that learning from the natural breath could be one's sole practice. Beginning with belly breath w/darood, moving to heart w/fikr, exploration and discussion of breath and emotions follows, including reminiscence of SAM's use of fiery expression - without separateness. Pir suggests forgiveness of others and self as a topic of study for every mystic: as all unskillfulness results from "causes and conditions," develop compassion; make friends with yourself and trust your own guidance.
Part 5: Wazaif, Feeling at Home
Pir Shabda encourages us to feel at home wherever we are and introduces the all-embracing and gently penetrating practice of Ya Rahim / Ya Ra'uf as antedote for the "common wound" of separation and for individual wounds we may habitually protect. He leads the group in topics related to preparation for dying, as well as living, with discussion about forgiveness, affection, and completion of the inner life's purpose: to make friends with whatever arises and to awaken with compassion for the sake of all beings, including oneself.
Raga Concert in Murad Hassil, the Sufi Temple in Katewihk Holland, on the occasion of the Federation of the Sufi Message Gathering, April 2011
Interview with Pir Shabda on Sufi Radio, KWMR Community Radio in Point Reyes, CA, July 2010
Talk on the 99 Beautiful Names of Allah, Sufi Symposium, June 27, 2010
Cultivating the Inner Life - Developing Motivation, Compassion and Ease, August 2, 2009
Pir Shabda fearlessly dives into the struggles and questions at the heart of our human experience, beginning with an inquiry into our purpose and suggesting ease as the ideal strategy for action leading to enduring happiness. Recorded at a Sufi Retreat in Portland, Oregon.
Part A: Pir discusses the origins and nature of the new wazifa book and works with Ya Qadir and Ya Muqtadir.
Part B: Shabda shares Hazrat Inayat Khan's message to "seek continually an answer to every question that arises in the heart." He works with the wazaif, Ya Waasiya and Ya Waleeya, as well as the pairs, Ya Malik and Ya Malik-al-Mulk. Having described the value of action and activism, he concludes by addressing the similarity among Vipassana and Tibetan Buddhist practices with Sufic self-effacement methods.
Scotland Talks, June 2009
Part A: Setting the tone of the talk with a poem from Hazrat Inayat Khan's Gayan, Pir Shabda talks about the path of fana, self effacement, and leads retreatants into concentration on wazifa practice, anticipating the publication of the book, Physicians of the Heart, explaining its history and development and deepening in practices with various wazaif.
Part B: Opening with "la ilaha illa'llah," Pir Shabda then addresses concerns about resistance, suggesting we make friends with our life and invite our resistance into our practice in order to help overcome it. With the sense that life itself becomes the teacher on the path of love, strength may be developed with the wazifa pair Ya Qawiyy, Ya 'Aziz.
Part C: Pir Shabda begins by sharing advice on spiritual living which Inayat Khan spoke in Edinburgh 90 years earlier. Continuing with the theme of the strength and capacity needed, Shabda describes three main pillars of this lineage and explores emotion and breath and then leads the group into meditation practice, explaining options for posture and importance of focus with calm abiding, then bringing the breath to the heart.
Part D: Recalling the title of the retreat, "The Art of Being Human," Pir Shabda gently brings focus to the third pillar, encouraging participants to see life as an adventure, to cultivate an attitude that brings passion and energy, ease and effortlessness to one's life. He describes the awakened condition as optimistic and not based on circumstances, and he compassionately addresses questions from the group.
Part E: Leading in with zikr, Pir Shabda introduces wazifah pairs that have broad usefulness, beginning with Ya Malik, Ya Malikal Mulk, an angelic presence that holds everything in Light. With tenderness and humor, Pir addresses questions and describes wazifah practice as "broadcasting sound onto your cells." He follows with Ya Ra'uf, Ya Rahim, which touch our narcissistic wounds, gently penetrating to the deepest places and healing with Love.
Holland Talks, June 2009
Part A: Shabda begins by asking to hear the beautiful names of all present and follows with an introduction to the new book of 99 Beautiful Names. He sets the intention to bring inspiration for unfolding our unique purpose and offers insights in wazifa practice on strength.
Part B: Pir guides the search for our essence and highlights the discovery that everything we experience is God, sharing teachings and stories from Hazrat Inayat Khan, Tai Situ Rinpoche, the Buddha, and others.
Part C: Shabda emphasizes valuing everyday life and leads wazifa practices. This delightful talk includes the "good news" that the soul, our essence, is already perfect and cannot be stained.
Zikr of Blessing, August 17, 2009
Recorded in the Dome at Lama Foundation with Pir Shabda Kahn, accompanied by Ravi Austin Babcock, Krishnadas Rayfield, Habib Bishop and Elaine Sutton.
Open Talk: Nine Gates, May, 2007
In his characteristically penetrating and humorous style, Shabda leads the group through a journey of exploration with discussion, grounded insights into the human condition and experience, and readings of masters from various religious traditions such as Hazrat Inayat Khan of Sufism. He begins by discussing the path of the heart, the origins of Sufism, and a brief overview of his Sufi lineage. He moves from there into discussing the core motivations at the heart of all living beings, the role and approaches of the spiritual path and strategies for happiness. (108 MB)
The Importance of Breath, May, 2007
An open talk at Nine Gates. Building on the words of Hazrat Inayat Khan, "In rhythm with life's conditions and in tune with the Infinite," Pir Shabda guides the listeners through many exercises of breath to reveal the importance of this "pendulum" in the path of the Sufi.
Our Human Search, March 4, 2006
With the thesis, "Passion for the Goal, Patience with What Arises," Pir Shabda offers a vibrant and humored investigation of what we are searching for in our lives with all of our actions. Sharing teachings of scholars from around the world and throughout time, he offers food for thought. Asking and answering questions of the group's participants, he provides opportunity for grounded insight. Recorded in Ashland, Oregon.
Prescott, Arizona Talks, March 3, 2006
Part 1 (58 minutes, 59.4 MB)
Diving into the life experiences and questions of the participants as well as the wisdom of great teachers, Pir Shabda reveals the importance and empowerment that arises when one can connect with our innate desire for the true happiness of awakening because we can shape our actions more skillfully toward this goal.
Part 2 (59 minutes, 55 MB)
In his characteristically pragmatic approach, Pir Shabda explores our relationship to ego and offers techniques and guidance about how to move through the tendency toward self-grasping.
Part 3 (31 minutes, 29.2 MB)
What is a Sufi? Using extensive quotes from Hazrat Inayat Khan, anecdotes from his own experiences, and the integral role of the breath this is a tender and thorough discussion of the path of Sufism.
Murshid Sam's Birthday, 2006
In this touching gathering, students and friends of Murshid Sam honor his life on the occasion of the anniversary of his Birthday. Recounting anecdotes from his teachings, relationships with teachers, and family life, the honored guests include Murshid Wali Ali, Pir Shabda, and Sheikha Sara Morgan and Murshida Mariam Baker. Fairfax, California.
The Path to God, Jan 20, 2006
Set to the syncopated rhythm of the rooster call characteristic of the island of Kauai, this recording is a talk in which Pir Shabda delves into our innate human thirst to know the Divine and into the specific nature of the Divine. Additionally, the effects that a close relationship with the Divine offers, as well as the tools that will help us "see the altar of God everywhere," are explored in a most joyful and intimate manner. Kauai, Hawaii
Raga Bhairavi/the Melodic Zikr: 3-part series, April 2008
In this three-part series, recorded at the annual Federation of the Sufi Message Gathering at the Abode of the Message, Pir Shabda Kahn guides the listener in deepening our understanding of the Melodic Zikr set by Hazrat Inayat Khan in Raga Bhairavi with a special focus on its inclusion of both the flatted and the natural second notes. He expounds upon the history of the development of this piece from earlier and later versions written in the hand of Pir-o-Murshid.
Inviting us with his skillful guidance into the experience of learning to sing this beautiful raga and zikr, Shabda expands our experience with an excellent overview of the nature of Raga Bhairavi itself with its particular use of all twelve notes of the scale. Additionally, his talks present general principles of raga theory and practice, including the 16-beat rhythmic structure and tempo in which the Melodic Zikr is set, as well as improvisation.
Concluding each session, he plays archival recordings as examples of Raga Bhairavi's many possible expressions, culminating with Pir-O-Murshid Inayat Khan singing Bhairavi to conclude this wonderful series. Naturally, Shabda's witty and deeply insightful comments on the power of this music and practice inform the mind and elevate the heart.
Part 1 (53.8 MB)
Part 2 (63.3 MB)
Part 3 (61.5 MB)
TALKS BY OTHERS
12th Tai Situ Rinpoche: 2/9/2010
A talk given by the 12th Tai Situ Rinpoche to our Hazrat Inayat Khan URS Pilgrimage Group in Sunder Nagar, New Delhi on February 9, 2010. The subject was developing and refining our meditation in life.
Karen Armstrong: Talk at the San Francisco Jewish Community Center - 9/25/2009
Excellent talk by Karen Armstrong: Understanding the universality of Religious Ideals, overcoming fundamentalism, developing Universal Compassion, and introducing her "Charter for Compassion."
Karen Armstrong: Understanding Islam and the West - First Unitarian Church, San Francisco,2/21/2008
Karen Armstrong: Judaism, Christianity, Islam: Mysticism, Fundamentalism and the World - Saturday, February 23, 2008, Presidio Golden Gate Club, San Francisco
Part 1 (67.6 MB)
Part 2 (65.5 MB)
Part 3 (78 MB)
Part 4 (67 MB)
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