Glimpses: Homage to a Living Saint

Musharaff Khan, the youngest brother of Hazrat Inayat Khan and later Pir-o-Murshid of the Sufi Movement, returned to India on a pilgrimage in the 1930’s.  In the following passage, he tells of an unexpected visit to a ‘living saint’ in obedience to a command from the spirit of Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti.  Readers may recognise  the term ‘Wali Allah’ from Hazrat Inayat Khan’s description of the spiritual hierarchy, as a certain level of mastery and responsibility.

Paying Homage to a Living Saint

After paying homage to the Khwaja Saheb Chisti of Ajmer, we arrived in Ahmedabad and had to change trains and therefore had to pass the night there.  I had just a little sleep and in that sleep Khwaja Saheb appeared before me with such a radiant countenance and commanded me not to proceed with my journey until I could pay my homage to the living Wali Allah in Ahmedabad. I told this experience to my companion who also had great faith and she told me we must do according to this sign and not proceed our journey.

But we did not know anything about how to reach this living Wali Allah; we were both strangers, knowing nothing about that town. And here we can see the Spirit of Guidance: I was looking for a horse carriage to engage, and I had to pass many of them which were waiting outside the station; and after having passed so many there was one driver among them who appealed to me and gave me the impression that he must be a very pious man, and that I should engage this carriage.

I said to him, “Look here, I would like to engage you to show us this historical town and to become our guide in showing this town.” He was very pleased and he was willing to help us. During our visit to the historical places I asked him if he knew if there was a well-known Zinda Wali [living saint, living friend of God] dwelling in that town. This driver was Muslim, and he declared to me, “Yes, sir, there is a living Wali Allah to be found near this town, but he is detached from worldly care and has sought solitude, and in that solitude he is dedicating his meditative life. If people are fortunate and if it is commanded by God then this Wali receives them, otherwise he is always living in his solitude.”

I said to him, “It is possible you could take us there?” He said, “Yes, sir, I will surely take you there, but His Holiness is living outside the town.” I said that I did not mind, that we would like to go and pay our homage to him.

I asked him also if it was possible for us to buy some fruit or to offer him some money. He replied that the sage was not attached to presents or coins, that he had very little care for worldly things, and that he loved his meditation and prayers and the solitude, that was all. ” I cannot even tell you if he will receive you, but if you are fortunate enough then it will be possible.”

I said, “Never mind, let us go.” All the same on the way we bought a basket of fruit for the sage, and we took it to his home. On the way the coachman told us about the sage, as he knew him a little, that he had many disciples, even some thousands, and that they were coming from different parts of India, even from Afghanistan and Kabul. His age was about eighty-five or more; during his life he had earned his livelihood with great hardship, and from that he had built his own house where he was now spending  his life in meditation and devotedly living the inner life.

This all gave us a still greater longing to pay our homage and we were convinced that he must be very true in his evolution on the path of divine Light. Arriving at his dwelling-place we saw a house built in a very old-fashioned way and whitewashed outside. It was in a little village out of the town; the street was called Kutsjai Arab and his name was Sayed Amir Hassan. As we came near to the house we felt a very strong atmosphere and vibration, carrying the perfume of incense very strongly. There was nobody to be found and where the sage was sitting there was a closed shutter. Our driver went in that direction and he started loudly appealing to His Holiness, saying that there were two souls who were going to pay their homage. “They are coming form very far,  and I hope you will grant their wish and will not disappoint them.” He was shouting this through the closed shutter. Then a young man appeared, bringing the message that His Holiness would come and receive us. We were sitting on the stones in the verandah. The young man brought two chairs for us, but we refused to sit in that way; we said we would like to sit at the feet of the sage.

And when the sage appeared we found his countenance radiating with light and were thrilled in his presence, full of tears and emotions He had a grey beard, and was wearing a white cap and spectacles and was seated on a little stool. He seemed a most illuminated soul. We felt in his atmosphere the warmth of his love. In his presence we felt most uplifted. After a long silence the saint put me a question, and when we heard him speak, it is difficult to describe it, there was such a tenderness and sweetness in his voice. He said, “How do you happy to come here?” I answered, “Your Holiness, it was the longing of our soul to pay our homage to you and you are surely aware of our being guided here.” Then after a little silence I spoke to him of my brother Inayat Khan who had brought the Sufi Message to the West in order to bring better understanding  between East and West, and how we had come  in order to go to Delhi to pay homage to his tomb. “We beg to ask you if you will be so kind as to pray for us and for our right Guidance in the Message of Love, Harmony ad Beauty.” He answered us that those who are walking in the path of Truth have no fear! And he also said, that the true Message of Jesus Christ will again be revealed and known to the lovers of Truth. He meant that the rigidity of some of the Christian sects would disappear.

After this talk we again had a silence. Then he mentioned a certain Sufi practice and said that I had been entrusted this sacred prayer, which I ought to increase more than ever before. I said to him, “Certainly, I will increase it.” This gave me the evidence of his openness in the inner consciousness, that he knew my particular practise and my state of evolution.

After another silence he opened his eyes ad gave us his glance with the expression of blessing. And he gave the gesture of, “And now you may leave.” This is a mystical expression of continuing the same rhythm in the spiritual path, when they say this with their gesture. So we obeyed, and in great emotion we took our leave. Even our driver was in the same condition. We felt highly exalted and we knew we had received the blessing from the living Wali Allah, the living Saint or Master.  My father and also his brother Zafar Khan had the same experience of a a vision which I had after visiting the tomb of Khwaja Chisti, but in a different way.

—from Pages in the Life of a Sufi
Musharaff Moulamia Khan

One Reply to “Glimpses: Homage to a Living Saint”

  1. Ameena

    Thank you to share those words, gave me great inspiration, as something told deeply in my being, as were a message form myself in those words.
    God bless our steps on the path, without any fear, the hearth full of hope, courage, love And faith!


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