Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Servant and the Master, Rumi and Abdul Qadir Geylani

PARK HERE. Many eminent people park their cars in the multi-level car-park of my soul, but two names often appear on the bumper stickers - Mevlana Jalaludin Rumi and Shaykh Abdul Qadir Geylani (note that spellings of their names differ according to the book / website that you are reading). They are revered as saints and masters of the Path (Tariqa).

ASK FOR A MASTER. I never did, but a friend of mine, Ranaz once said, “O’ Taufiq. I made a good bargain with God. God always asks us to pray to Him for help. Well last night, I asked Him to find me a true Master. A Man of God who will help and guide me through this world. If God does grant my wish, well and good, but if He doesn’t, He cannot very well then blame me if I fail to stick to the straight and narrow, right? I have got all the bases covered!”.

JALALUDIN RUMI. The great master was once reputed to admonish a seeker who was traveling to see Shaykh Abdul Qadir Geylani. “No, No, don’t go to that shaykh. Stay with me! Stay with me!”

SHAYKH ABDUL QADIR. This sublime master once said, “Whoever doesn’t have a master, I will be his / hers!” He is yours, you know. The default Shaykh. Hehehe.

Initially, I rather thought Shaykh Abdul Qadir to be an exponent of tough love. Being the coward that I am, I therefore ran to Rumi, only to find him a little err… dramatic for my taste. Hehehe. So now I bounce like a beachball between one and the other. I am no scholar though. I have never finished reading any compilation of Rumi’s work. Others however appear unable to get enough of this fellow’s prose. In 2002, Time Magazine named him the best-selling poet in the western hemisphere. Wow. Dead for centuries and still shooting arrows of love into the hearts of man.

OKAY, SERIOUSLY SERIOUS. The sinner here wishes to apologise. Firstly, for making jokes that isn’t funny, and secondly, for the flippant writing about topics, that let’s face it, are seriously serious, like religion, soul, life, hope, hubris, hate, mankind, prophets, saints, love and God. I write with levity and humour (well, my idea of humour) because my day job is a lawyer and draughtsman. I have legally serious terms coming out of my Wazoo. Nuances, definitions and interpretations of words are my bread and butter. My battlefield lies in statutory meanings, and customary usage of words. By my pen I try to bring a little certainty into the tumultuous world of commerce and contracts. It can get tiring. It is my daily relief therefore, to be able to write what I write here. 6 years ago, worn and world-weary, this sinner wrote…

167. World Weary
World weary,
The mind becomes numb,
And because it considers itself superior,
It feigns deafness to the good advice,
And exhortations of the heart.

The heart, unbowed, unbroken,
Takes its sustenance from a fountain
In the heart of a Shaykh,
Who draws sustenance
From the heart of Muhammad,
Who in turn, drinks from
The Fountain of Divine Presence,
Beyond which there is no further
Drawing or taking that we are aware of.

And Allah knows best.

YOU HIT THE JACKPOT. If you do come across a bona fide master, good for you! He will speak your name and you will think that no one has ever spoken your name in such a beautiful voice. Never have you heard your name sound so appealing… so beautiful. If people do not understand this relationship that you shall have with him, do not worry. It is your path, and only the master would understand what actually transpired…

8. The Observer
The man observed
The long line of devotees
Waiting outside the Master’s cottage.
Each entered. And in time
Each one left the cottage.
The observer approached everyone and queried;
“Are you happier now that you have met him?”

All in their turn answered, “Nay, we were mistaken.
He is not the one. He cannot help us.”

After awhile, the man left,
Convinced that the Master was a fraud,
Though he knew not, in truth,
What really transpired
Beneath the thatched roof.

BAH! HUMBUG! What people do not understand, they become suspicious of. And perhaps a little envious. This is a common perception faced by all apprentice of love in all religion. Your critics shall say that you are stupid to place someone between you and God. They shall say that man is supposed to be a servant to God and no one else. They will say that this is innovation. They shall say all this because they forget an old wise saying… “If you cannot bow to another man, how can you bow to God? If you are not a servant to mankind, how will you ever be a servant of God?” Dear friends, the best of Masters is the best of Servants and the best of Servants is the best of Masters. That is the rule, but some people will not be able to circumnavigate their mind through this Sea of Love... Not everyone are born to be sailors, you see...

13. I am a servant II
I am a servant,
But it is my Master
That supports me,
Attending to my every need,
Knowing what is best for me,
The Guarantor of my success,
My Love, My Layla.

O’ gainsayers!
Begrudge not my happiness.

For what you call the chain of servitude,
I call home.

And what you say is your mind,
I call it a prison of self-deception.

THEM ARE FIGHTING WORDS! Hehehe. Well, do not take what I write here too seriously, pumpkin. I am after all a sinner (and, OH God… a lawyer too!). But you, who are bright and fresh like a boiled egg, you would see better and travel further along the spiritual path to God. My only hope is that wherever you find yourself, perhaps atop some peak of guided enlightment, you will not forget this old sinner. You will write me a postcard, yes?

Have a good day, sunshine. Meow.

Pax Taufiqa.

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