Thursday, April 5, 2012

In life as in death, there is no Reality, only Experiences

What is death? Reality or experience?
There is no reality,
Only experiences,

Because we are all tiny little universes of our own accord. By our antecedents and habits, we create the world. If we look for beauty, we will find beauty. If we love, we shall find love. But alas, if we are hateful, we shall find hate, and if we are ignorant, lo, the World is created in ignorance! I guess that is why the Christians often say, let ye not cast the first stone. Because after all, how do you judge and cast a stone at an entire universe? But Man are impetuous creatures, so we often judge.

There is no knowledge,
Only courtesies,

Because however true your knowledge may be, however exalted are the truths that you think you have found… nobody will listen to you if you are serving your truths in a dirty cup of manners. And what is the best cup for serving truths? Why, sincere courtesies of course. Because there is also something called assumed courtesies. I wish I could reassure myself that sincere courtesies can be cultivated. But how can you cultivate sincerity? You either have it or you don’t. It is not something we can engineer in our mind. It is something that God plants in your heart. And He does as He wishes.

There is no god
But God,

So, the Muslims say. Meaning that there is no reality but Reality (God), there is no truth but Truth (God), there is no knowledge but Knowledge (God), there is no beauty but Beauty (God)… Hehehe. I think we get the picture. So what do we have? - Nothing really, just experiences. Like I said.

And Muhammad
Is the Messenger of God.

If left to my own accord, I think I would go mad. I may be very noble (good luck with that)- I don’t lie (I do), I don’t cheat (I do), I don’t envy (I do) nor do I covet what is not mine (Oh boy, do I do that). In other words, I could really be a decent specimen of humanity. But however decent we may be, let’s face it, we need SOME structure. And that structure is the rituals and forms of the religions. And the rituals and forms have been done fine and perfectly for us through Muhammad (pbuh) the Messenger of God. So I don’t worry about when to pray, how many cycles I need to pray, in which direction do I need to pray and how do I cleanse myself for prayers. Can you imagine the tiring and endless experimenting you need to do to find something as lovely and natural as the prayers of the Prophet? And the wonderful thing is that there is no end in the perfection of your prayers - as each holy scripture you recite, each posture you take, and each praise you sing out is nothing but one more step on a ladder to the Divine Presence.

And when will all this climbing to the Divine Presence end? Will we ever reach it in this lifetime? Gee, I don’t know the answer to that. But I think God is not holding back for no good reason – He does it because He loves to see us chasing Him. And I suspect that if we actually know what He has in store – The Hidden Jewel, the holy grail, the face behind the veil, the princess in the tower… we would not regret one moment in the quest. For it is indeed like a quest in a fairy tale.

Unlike Shaykh Raja Ashman ibni Sultan Azlan Shah (Ku Ash), we may not all be princes or princesses. But we are all knights, squires and ladies-in-waiting to the spiritual court of Fatima az-Zahra(ra), beloved daughter of the Prophet. And in a royal court, we have to keep our adab (courtly courtesies and good manners)…

And in adab, Ku Ash, as they say, is a natural.

Thank you for dropping in, sunshine. I love it when you do.

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I didn’t know of Ku Ash before now. But when I first saw his picture I was profoundly struck by a very rare feeling that began with ‘his face looks so royal’, and came to find out he actually is. I thought, if that reality shines through a small picture of him in simple Sufi clothing, then perhaps another profound feeling I have is real, that his exalted status as Shaykh is also simple clothing for a true and very rare Prince in the spiritual world, beyond all religions.

His physical life was clearly a Jewel that communicated the essence of God, as much of a bridge for adults as his beloved candies were for the children, perhaps suggestive of even sweeter gifts to come. It reminds me of how our physical presence and actions and words are the jewels of communication, but it is always the essence of God’s indescribable Silent Love that is being communicated. Shaykh Raja Ashman’s life itself, and the sweet memory of him, will continue to always be a shining bridge for, as a favorite quote says: ‘Things that are real are given and received in Silence’.

The sadness and grief from his unexpected passing must be unbearable. It is deeply sad for me too and I didn’t even know of him before now. Thank you for sharing his beauty with the world.