Friday, February 28, 2014

117. Data Gunj Bakhash. Part 4

1.      One time this mote was puzzled by something Data sahib did. He (Data sahib) had some problem. He went to the tomb of Ba-Yazid Bistami’s, a highly advanced mystic. There he stayed for 3 months and did great austerities. He would take bath 3 times a day and do his ablutions 30 times a day. I have narrated this incident in blog 62
This mote could not figure out the purpose of these baths and ablutions. Surely, cleansing of the body won’t solve the riddle. I asked a spiritual person. His answer did not satisfy me. This riddle gnawed on his mind, too. One day, he saw a saintly person doing multiple ablutions in the tomb of Data sahib. He kept this practice for several days. The spiritual person thought that the saintly person might be sick because ablutions are required after going to bathroom. He said to him “Sir, are you sick? Should I get you some medicine?”
The saintly person smiled and replied “no, I am not sick. As you probably know, for most spiritual practices, you are required to do an initial ablution, even though, one may not need it”
               They were sitting hardly 10 yards from Data Sahib’s tomb. My spiritual friend instantly knew that Data sahib provided him the answer through that saintly person.

2.       One day, last year, an advanced disciple of Data sahib went to Data Darbar. There was a strong police presence at the tomb, for fear of bombers. Police removed people who were trying to sit on a nice, tiled, corridor. The disciple saw a 90-5 year old man being forcibly removed from that area by 2 policemen. Few hours later, he once again saw the same old man being removed by the police. Next day, he saw the same incident being repeated. He enquired from the policemen, who said that they have removed this Baba( old man) 3-4 times but he reappears. God knows how he comes back (climbs the wall?). As the disciple was leaving, the old man said, “You moorakh (foolish person in Hindi), what kind of host are you? Ask him to call me. I do not have enough time”. As  the disciple left, in a flash, he received Data Sahib’s message. “Bring him in and look after him”. He  told the old man that Data Sahib is calling him. He also entrusted somebody else to look after him (tea, food, etc). The old man had a sheet. He covered himself in that sheet and stayed like that for about 48 hours, near the railing of the tomb. The attendant was worried that the Baba might have died, but there was some movement under the sheet.
               As the Baba finished, the disciple asked him whether he would like to go to Mian Mir? Baba said, yes, take me to Miray. He prayed on Mian Mir tomb, in a Hindu fashion. Then the Baba said, take me to the old lady’s grave, whom you buried. The disciple took him to amma’s grave (hardly anybody knows who amma was and where was she buried ). Then he asked for water. The disciple brought water from the same tap, he had brought for amma, couple of years ago. The old man drank some water and poured the rest on the grave. Then he asked to be taken to Bhati Gate. Over there, he said “Son! Your duty is over. Whenever we go to a place, we pay homage to certain people, sites” he patted the disciple on the back, lovingly. The disciple asked, “Where are you from? He said we have no country or religion. When I was 25-28 years old I came here and was benefitted from this place (Data Darbar)

3.  . Many Sikhs from India come to attend the annual urs of Mian Mir, because Sikhs have special attachment to Mian Mir, a Sufi saint of Muslims, because the foundation of golden temple in Amritsar (the holiest site of Sikh religion) was laid by Mian Mir. Last month, at urs, many Sikhs came. One night at about 2 AM, one Sikh came to a disciple of Data sahib, who happened to be there. He said, “ Before coming I sought permission from my guru. He told me to seek you at the tomb. He gave your description and said “ he will be wearing a woolen white shawl and will have a scar on right eyebrow”. The disciple  asked to meet him at Data Durbar at a certain time that day.
The man was present at Data Durbar at the appointed time. The disciple took him to the window which gives a view of the tomb. The man threw some things (petals?) on the holy tomb.  The disciple asked him if there was something else that he wanted. The man said, he wanted some Faiz( gift). The disciple  got him consecrated tabbarrak (white powder ) from the Durbar and took him to the cellar, where both prayed to Data Sahib.
This incident proves that the disciple was a special mureed of Data Sahib, whose duties included helping and guiding special persons, because it was his description which was given to the Sikh pilgrim.


Thursday, February 27, 2014

116. Data Gunj Bakhash and Islamic Mysticism

There is very little in literature about the methods employed by Sheikhs/sufis (name of mystics in Islam) in pursuit of God-realization. Shahab has mentioned some details of his training with ‘ninety’ in his book, but not of the actual methods. A person who wants to embark on this journey needs to know, what should be the posture? Where the gaze should be pointing at? Should the eyes be open or closed? Should the room be in complete darkness or lighted? Where should the aspirant focus his thoughts on? How to control the wandering thoughts? What should one be saying? Should one recite some Quranic verses, and if so, what verses? Should one be busy in supplications to God? How long should the marakba (meditation) be everyday, and at what time? Should one forget about marakba and just say optional prayers (nuffels) whole day? Should one quit the world and go in isolation? Should one abstain from sex with one’s wife? Does one need a teacher ( murshed). Should one be completely quiet or make audible sounds, such as chants? Should one synchronize one’s repetitions with breathing? Should one take the path of service to other human beings, instead of marakba?
       I have not followed this path so cannot add anything
      The only place where some details are given is in the book Kushaful-mahjoob, by Data Sahib, in his chapter, “training of the mureed (disciple)”. The book is difficult to understand because of the unfamiliar language and terms (it was written in 11th century). I will try.
      He writes:
 When a seeker quits the world and comes to an accomplished mystic for training the trainer adopts the following 3 years, stepwise method, to make the disciple obedient (respectful) and habituated. If he stays steadfast and strong during this period, well and good, otherwise he is told to leave because he is deemed not suitable for this path. First year is spent on service to humanity; second year is devoted to serve God in the form of austerities and asceticism, and the third year in protecting and strengthening the heart.
Service of humanity means that he should consider himself servant of everybody and everybody his superior. In other words, without exception, he should consider everybody better than himself. It is incumbent upon him, that he should not consider himself a superior person because he is serving and helping others; that is the way of kings and rich.
Similarly, service to God can only be correct, if the person forgets the rewards of this world and the next world. He should be oblivious to all other concerns, and continue his worship and prayers, single-mindedly. Whenever someone worships God for something else, then he is worshipping himself and not God.
One can only protect his heart if one strengthens the heart by making himself above joys and sorrows, so that at the time of worship, he can devote himself wholeheartedly to God.        
When the disciples develops these three qualities, he is allowed to wear the gudri (robe)
When the teacher is ready to award his disciple the gudri, he should make sure that the disciple has passed both the ups and downs of this path, with perseverance and steadfastness. Has he enjoyed the joys of bliss during marakba, and the bitter pangs of despair during aridity? Furthermore, the teacher should ascertain the level to which the disciple is likely to rise. Would he be one of those who regress, or those who rise to mediocrity, or will he become one of the accomplished? If he is likely to regress, then he should not make him his disciple right from the start. If he is likely to be caught in the middle, then he should make efforts to advance him by further training. If he is not ready after three years, the guide may have to delay the permission to wear gudri, till he becomes ready to wear it after further training.
               Wearing a gudri is somewhat similar to wearing a coffin. Just as a corpse wearing coffin has given up all the joys of life, similarly a person wearing a gudri, vows to spend all his life in performance of duties demanded by God. He is there only to serve God. He has to abstain from all worldly desires”.
                 Prophet Muhammadpbuh said; a sheikh (mystic) is to his people, what a prophet is to his ummat (Diaspora, followers)
              All that I wrote above are Data Gung Bakhash’s own words. I just want to stress the importance to certain injunctions of tareekat, which he has mentioned, and seem to be opposite to the view of shariat, such as:
               1. Quitting the world
               2. Abstaining from worldly desires, such as sexual intercourse, acquiring wealth or power, devotion to one’s family, etc. Mystics are special persons, travelling on a path, which is like no other path. They have different standards. Perhaps they understand, why God, in Quran said," Your possessions and your children are but a trial (fitna) for you"

Maybe all these strict conditions are only during the training period. Almost all mystics return to the world, at some time. They devote that time in teaching others and helping the sick and the poor.
Data Gunj Bakhash himself was in a married state for one year. He writes “I became infatuated with a beautiful woman, and was a completely captive of this state for a year. I was near to loosing even my religion but then God had mercy on me, and emancipated me”  

I have discussed the mysticism, in depth, and its difference from religion, in my blog 93-95

There are three standard paths of mysticism (blog 26), the path of love, the path of wisdom, and the path of action. In this mote’s opinion, Islamic mysticism should be considered, the path of obedience (to Allah).