Saturday, March 1, 2014

118. Amma, Mufti Sahib  

I have mentioned Amma (literally, means mother) in blog 3, when a seeker dreamt about her. He was in great distress at that time. She consoled and guided him in that dream to a centuries old room. She had died sometimes earlier.
               One day the seeker saw, in the graveyard adjacent to the tomb of Mian Mir, a mad woman sitting under a tree. Nobody would go near her because she would throw stones on anybody who tried to come near her. Something in her struck the seeker. The seeker was endowed with this gift of recognizing holy persons, and holy persons recognize something in the seeker and allowed him to have their company. Her clothes were clean, an oddity in a mad person. He tried to approach her, but had to retreat, in the face of stones and volley of angry words. He tried to go near her another day. The woman said, “It is you again” and threw a stone. The seeker sat down behind a grave, far from the reach of stones. The woman said “so you are afraid of stones, alright, you can come near, I won’t hit you”. After that the seeker would visit her every 1-2 weeks. He noticed that during sitting or sleeping, she would always keep her face towards Mecca, where Kaaba, the holiest site of Islam, is located.
               She had meager belongings. It included a kaffan (burial cloth) for herself. She told the seeker that it had been washed with aab-a-zamzam (water of zamzam well, located in Kaaba)
               One day it was very hot. The seeker asked her whether he should bring water for her. She said, “Yes, bring it from the faucet”.  The seeker brought a glass of water. She drank some water, and then gave the glass to the seeker and said; “you drink too”.  The seeker also drank. In mysticism, it is considered a great gift, if a saint offers you something to eat, or his own clothes or shoes
               One day, after amma’s death, the Qalander who trained the seeker, sarcastically said to the seeker, “even amma’s water failed to transform you”. How did he know the incident? The seeker had not told him. This is a proof that amma was a spiritually exalted person and not a mere mad woman
               One day the seeker found her deathly sick. It was very cold. She was lying under the tree without any cover. The seeker went home and brought a blanket. Amma refused to use it, saying “God will provide her”. The seeker brought a packet of biscuits. She threw the packet away, saying something like, “My Allah will give me biscuits, if He wants to”. The seeker informed the Mufti Sahib (mentioned below) that the amma was dying. Later that night Mufti Sahib had a dream in which he was told to bury her under the same tree where she lived, and wrap her in the kaffan, she had carried on her head for many a miles. Her grave is located under that tree.
               A man kept vigil the night she was dying. The seeker asked him how he was related to the mother. The man said that some years ago, as a boy, he got paralyzed. Amma during her wandering happened to visit his village. His elder brother carried him to the mother. Amma told his brother to leave the boy, overnight, with her. She gave him gur (brown sugar candy). The strength in his legs came back gradually, and in a few weeks they came close to normal. After that incident he lost interest in the world, and with her permission, followed mother in her wanderings. He was not allowed to stay with her at night or where she camped. Eventually amma arrived in Lahore. She liked the tomb of the famous saint, Mian Mir. There was running water in the faucets for pilgrims. Free food was distributed, and there was a hundreds of year old graveyard, where there was solitude and shade. He would visit mother every day or two. Mother would give him money to buy her food and other provisions.
               I have mentioned in blog 64 of a person who had been wandering for 25 years in his spiritual quest. His guide brought him to the mother’s grave and told him the story of mother. The wanderer expressed the desire to do meditation at the grave. As I remember, he meditated over there for 2-3 days. The guide asked him what was happening. He replied amma’s asthan (a Hindi word for site) is showing him worlds.
               The proof of mother’s greatness is evident by these incidents: her helping the seeker as recited in blog 3, Qalander acknowledging her spirituality in the leftover water incident, Mufti Sahib having a dream directing him what to do with her dead body, her curing the paralysis of the boy, the experience of the 25 years wanderer when he meditated on her asthan , and finally the old man’s (mentioned in blog 117) desire to visit her grave.

Mufti Sahib.  I have mentioned Mufti sahib, above, in my foreword to book 2, (blog 53), and in blog 112. He was posted, by government, as the mufti (religious scholar) at the shrine of Mian Mir, the famous sufi saint. As such, he led the Friday prayers.
Mufti sahib was a simple, humble man. He was a poor man. The government salary barely met his, and his family’s, needs. I have narrated in blog 112, the two incidents, when his tearful prayer to feed the guests, and to visit his family at Eid, were instantly answered by God. Mufti sahib himself used to say that God listened to him. When, for the first time, he visited Kaaba (the holiest site in Islam) he did not find in himself the courage to enter the holy building (house of Allah), and sat outside for a week or two. He prayed to God “make me Yours”
When I asked Mufti sahib, through an intermediary, to look into my affairs and see what the reason for my lack of spiritual progress was. He gave the answer, “everybody, eventually, gets it, some early and others late. He is doing alright”. At another time, I conveyed to him, that I am not getting the Lms (touch of God). I thought, that Mufti sahib may find it blasphemous (in orthodox Islam it is an evil thought, because God and man cannot come physically close). But no, according to the intermediary, the Mufti sahib went into almost an ecstasy, and exclaimed, Lms! Lms!

 He had the power to alleviate common sufferings like headache, scorpion bite, etc, by performing dum on the sick person. The dum, is an Islamic spiritual process, bestowed to an authorized person, by his murshed. Certain Quranic verses are recited. The relief of sickness is temporary. A person cannot perform a dum on himself. Mufti sahib would make his daily round of the sick and needy, and do dum, if needed. He did it for free.
               As an example of the healing power, here is an account by Brunton, in his book, ‘a   search in secret Egypt’: Among the other activities of……..was the practice of healing. One day I watched a demonstration. A man came to him with rheumatic pains in the left thigh. He gently stroked the latter for a minute, recited a prayer from the Quran, for another minute, and told his patient that the pain would soon go………..There was certainly a diminution of the pain, although it was difficult for me to ascertain whether this was a permanent relief or a temporary one”. Sheikh Abu Shrump bestowed two powers to Brunton, one over evil genii, and the other a healing power. The Sheikh got these powers from his ancestors, and traced it back to the holy prophet Muhammad pbuh. Another Sheikh ( Moussa) gave Brunton power over snakes and scorpions ( he used this power many times)         
               Mufti sahib’s superior, a petty Govt. official, ordered Mufti sahib to charge people for dum, and to share the money with him. Mufti sahib refused. He said, “I will not make Quran a source of income”. The officer was not mollified. He received a transfer order to another shrine at Pakputtan.
               An influential person asked Mufti sahib that should he approach some officials to get the order cancelled. Mufti sahib said “No, my days in Lahore, are now complete”

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