153. Shah Sahib. Part one
A man of God, died last week.
He was called Shah Sahib. His original name was Noor Alam. My brother first met him a few years ago in Data Durbar (the popular name of the shrine in Lahore, Pakistan, of Data Gunj Bakhash, also called Data Sahib, an 11th century mystic). At that time my brother was very sick. He was vomiting blood and had abdominal pain. He fell down in streets couple of times and was taken to a hospital. He was diagnosed with cancer (although that part is not documented). One day he met a durvesh (Muslim ascetic) in Data Durbar. He brought some food for the durvesh. The durvesh said do you have cancer? My brother replied in affirmative. The durvesh said that in a far flung area a Qalander lives; only he has the ability to cure you. That durvesh was Shah Sahib. My brother took that journey, and met the Great Mystic (see Foreword to book 2, blog 53), who cured him.
On his second visit to the Great Mystic, the Mystic enquired about the health of Shah Sahib. That shows that the mystic not only knew Shah Sahib but held him in great regard.
When my brother had his meeting with the yogi who always wore dark glasses (blog 64), Shah Sahib knew, on his own, that my brother had met the yogi. He is the one who told my brother that the yogi’s glance can burn.
On one occasion, he told my brother that he spent many years in mountains of Kashmir with his spiritual guide.
Shah Sahib read Part one of my books. His remark to my brother was that nobody will know anything about Islamic mysticism from this book. He said it not in a critical way but in a sad way. I did not know anything about Islamic mysticism; therefore I had briefly mentioned the little that I knew in one blog (blog 32). It was his remark that prompted me to read more about Islamic mysticism which resulted in several blogs in parts 2, 3, and 4.
Shah Sahib read part 2 of my book. My brother told him that I wanted his impressions about part 2. First he was amazed at the notion that I wanted his opinion. He said, “It is a very good book. He has understood mysticism correctly (blogs 93-95). He should not worry about other people’s opinion. He has this duty, he should just do it.”
I made a tape of the Urdu translation of some of my poems and recorded them in my own voice. I told my brother to ask Shah Sahib if he would want to listen to them. He said “off course, I want to listen to them, but in private. Give me two hours.” They were in Data Durbar. When my brother came back he found Shah Sahib in Juzzab (smadhi).
Here are excerpts from my recent notes:
10/17/14. Shah Sahib is very sick. He is likely to die. He has diarrhea. This is his second such illness. On his previous sickness he stayed with my brother. My brother looked after him. He washed Shah Sahib’s soiled clothes himself, instead of giving them to a servant for washing, because the servant may have felt repugnance.
He is not eating anything. He was sick prior to coming to Lahore, but he insisted to coming to Data Durbar, as if he wanted to say goodbye. He is staying with somebody else but it is my brother who is looking after him for the last 5-6 days. He told his life story for the first time.
He was born near Pakputtan. His name is Noor Alam. Both his parents died when he was a child. He had an elder brother who wanted him to become a laborer, but Shah Sahib wanted to study. He was in fifth grade at that time. He left the house and came to Pakputtan and lived there for several years, because there was free food available in the famous shrine over there. He did kitchen work (washing dishes, etc) in a hotel and also studied. He passed his matriculation (10th grade) examination in 1970, by getting about 550 marks.
He saw the people around the shrine and became disenchanted with them because they were frauds and cheats. He hated the residents over there because they preyed upon the gullible villagers.
He moved to Lahore and settled near Data Durbar, because there was free food available at the shrine. There, also, he saw deceit, but to a lesser degree. He bought some books and studied. He prepared for F.A. examination. A leader of the Shrine Trust noticed him. He was touched by his zeal for education and his poverty. He gave him a room in the Shrine. One day he was sick, and the exam was very close. As he was weeping, a holy person came to him and did a daam(a spiritual prayer for healing ). He got well the next day. He passed his F.A (12th grade) in 1972. He gravitated towards that holy person, who guided him towards spirituality.
To be continued