Dropping veils

Hazrat Inayat Khan told the story of a certain ruler in India who used to spend a great part of his night in prayers and meditation. A courtier, concerned for his welfare, once said to him, ‘Majesty, you have so many duties during the daytime, listening to petitions, giving justice, meeting with ambassadors, ruling the land with care and attention.  Would it not be better to allow yourself some rest in the night-time?’  ‘You do not understand,’ said the king. ‘In the night, I pursue God, and in the daytime, He pursues me.’

Spirituality is not commerce; we do not follow the Sufi path because we think we can get something from it–and if we do think so, we are grasping at sunlight as if it were gold, and then opening our hands to find them empty. Nevertheless, there are consequence to our actions.  The ‘laws’ and methods taught to us by the wise are not arbitrary, but practical.  If we neglect them, there will be suffering; if we follow them, our efforts will produce effects.

It is usual that at the beginning of our search we must work with imagination.  As we do not yet ‘know’ God, we must imagine His perfection, and use that ideal to lead us from our prison.  The mystery is that this can work, but it does–only because the bars of the prison are no more real than our imagined ideal.  However, there may come a moment when we realise that the Perfection we have been imagining is present–unseen, ungrasped, but nevertheless absolutely real, independent of our efforts and visualisations.  And when this stage arrives, the method of practice shifts.  What is needed now is to discard everything that veils that Truth–our concepts and attitudes, our thoughts, our feelings, everything, so that the immanent Perfection can shine unimpeded.  Reciting a sacred word is no longer an act of creation; it is one of discovery, made possible by absolute humility.

In this step, the presence of the illuminated souls, whose companionship we solicit in the Invocation, is of great assistance, for they have been privileged to drop the veils of ‘me’ and ‘mine,’ allowing the light of Reality to reflect in the mirror of non-being.  Then, while engaged in practice, the seeker can allow these great souls to repeat the words, and simply focus on listening–which means, vibrating in response to their call.

8 Replies to “Dropping veils”

  1. Huma

    Thank you Beloved Murshid for all of This.Your posts are little bright lights on this sacred path.An invisible thread binds us all together like beads in a neckless.The emptiness in our chest is for that , so the Jeweller can do his beautiful work. The Message comes through you beloved Murshid Nawab like the thread from the hands of the Jeweller!At the end of this no thread or beads or hands or holes , just One…

  2. Zora Floren

    Thank you dear Nawab. I do love “grasping at sunlight as if it was gold”. I can see it so clearly probably because I’ve done it. Is it appropriate to ask you about the Jungian idea of Active Imagination? In that empty, waiting state, advice seems to come. It feels surprising and fresh. But how to navigate the line between inspiration and delusion is probably my question.

    • Nawab Pasnak Post author

      Dear Zora, thank you for your note. I don’t know anything about Jungian ideas, but perhaps this will somehow touch your question: the Spirit of Guidance always speaks to us in our own terms. Or, perhaps it is better to say, it speaks, and perforce we hear it in a way we can understand. I could not cloak divine guidance in a Chinese language because I don’t have the necessary cloth. So, the difference between inspiration and delusion lies in how well we have swept the house, so to speak. If the house is clean and well kept, the guidance will inspire us with beauty and wisdom. If we have not done our work, the guidance may come mixed with a lot of impurities, and the result will be less helpful. And what is the sweeping? Regularity of prayer and practice.
      It’s also worth mentioning that trust is important in this. Speaking of intuition, which might be thought of as the root of the plant, with inspiration as the stem and revelation as the flower, Hazrat Inayat said that it speaks to all, but if we don’t listen to it, if we don’t trust it, the voice diminishes, becoming less and less audible. And trust, of course, is not the consequence of mental analysis but something recognised in the heart.

      • Zora Floren

        Ah thank you dear Nawab. A thorough answer and clear as a bell calling me to practice. Yes, trust in the heart is the nubb of it. Surrender to the wisdom of the heart and listen – it’s a long learning for me. And then you follow with the Kabir poem. Again that pure toll of a bell.

  3. Kadir

    Dear Nawab, thank you very much for this inspiring post. I was especially triggered by the last paragraph, about allowing ‘the great souls to
    repeat the words”, so that we as a practitioner can listen. I wondered if
    you could elaborate on that a bit more (although it might be something to
    experience). The presence of great souls in doing practices is an element
    which I tend to overlook. Is that what you meant?

    • Nawab Pasnak Post author

      Dear Kadir, many thanks for the kind note. The post really refers to this: When repeating a sacred word, instead of struggling to refine and perfect the beauty and power of the word in my own consciousness, with the proper form of abandonment it is possible to open the heart and consciousness to the thousands and millions of times it has been repeated by illuminated souls, for whom it is not an imagination but an experienced reality. Then the repetition is not a statement, but a precious listening.

      • Kadir

        Thank you very much Nawab, in this way it is perhaps similar to listening to (and even reading) sacred texts of masters, saints and prophets. Indeed a way of dropping views an being receptive.

        • Nawab Pasnak Post author

          Yes, but there is a difference in the consciousness between the reading and/or listening mind and the one which is praying. Prayer helps to lift us to a spiritual level that we don’t often reach otherwise.


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