Sunday, July 24, 2011

Moth And Flame Sufi Metaphor

Moth And Flame Sufi Metaphor Image
1.

a candle has been lit

inside me,

for which

the sun

is a moth.

- Bahauddin Valad


2.

In sufi literature one of the most loved metaphor is moth and flame. The moth's annihilation into the flame has been drawn again and again as an analogy for the seeker in the sufi path who seeks annihilation into Divine Essence. The sufistic term for the annihilation or passing away into Divine is Fana.

In the poem quote at the beginning of this post, from The Drowned Book, Maarif, the genius of Bahauddin Valad (father of Rumi) uses moth in a surprisingly beautiful metaphor. Here the analogy emphasizes the brightness of one's inner light that makes the sun look like a moth, apparently a small insect.

3.

Moth and Flame analogy is also used to symbolize self-transformation. In a sufi story by Fariduddin Attar (adopted from the book, Essential Sufism), its described in this following fashion:

One night, the moths gathered together, tormented by their longing to unite themselves with the candle. They all said, 'we must find someone to give us news of that for which we long so earnestly.'

One of the moths then went to a castle and saw the light of a candle within. Upon returning he reported what he saw, but the wise moth said, 'he has no real information to give about the candle.' Then another moth visited the candle, passed close to the light, drawing near to it and touching the flame with its wings. He too came back and explained something of what union with the candle meant, but the wise moth said to him, 'your explanation is really worth no more than your comrade's.'

A third moth rose up and threw himself violently into the candle's flame. As he entered completely into its embrace, his members became glowing red like the flame itself. The wise moth saw from afar that the candle had identified the moth with itself and had given the moth its light. He said, 'this moth alone understand that to which he has attained. None other knows it, and this is all.'

4.

Moth: I gave you my life.

Flame: I allowed you to kiss me.

- these two lines from the twentieth century Sufi Master Hazrat Inayat Khan explains the meaning of love between God and humankind through the simple and ancient Sufi metaphor of moth being consumed in the flame of the candle. ("Hafiz by Gertrude Bell")

5.

Someone asked, "What is love?". I answered, "you will know when you become (lost in) me!"

"- Rumi"

Sufi path being a path of personal experience and self-realization teaches that meaning can only be derived from life when one goes through the process of seeking truth, knowledge and the self. Sufis are expected full, active participants in their lives. They seek to experience God by fully experiencing themselves. As one old Sufi metaphor goes:

"There are three ways of knowing a thing. Take for instance a flame. One can be told of the flame, one can see the flame with his own eyes, and finally one can reach out and be burned by it. In this way, we Sufis seek to be burned by God." (credit)

6.

God tells Moses, "I want burning, burning... Those who pay attention to ways of behaving and speaking are one sort. Lovers who burn are another" (from Rumi's Mathnavi)

In sufi path, often the spiritual master ignites the flame of love. In his excellent book Love is a Fire: The Sufi's Mystical Journey Home sufi teacher Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee, may God be pleased with him, writes:

Shams i Tabriz was the spark that ignited the fire of divine love within Rumi, who summed up his life in two lines:

And the result is not more than these three words:


I burnt, and burnt, and burnt.

Shams had awakened in him a fire that could only be satisfied with union, with the ecstatic loss of the self in the presence of the Beloved. And Rumi knew how precious is this fire, this burning within the heart:

It is the burning of the heart I want; this burning

which is everything.

More precious than a worldly empire, because

it calls God secretly, in the night.

7.

If we trace back this mystical love affair which is aflamed into the heart of seeker and through this alchemy an ordinary human being becomes an ashik or divine lover - we can trace back to the life of the Prophet Muhammad, the mystic master to whom goes back all the sufi lineage.

The way Prophet Muhammad, may divine peace of union be with him, initiated this divine love into the heart of his holy companions are unparalleled in the history of mankind. No other Prophet or illuminated human being had so much love implanted for their teacher by his own companion in the very lifetime. And it manifested in their giving away everything for his sake. The Divine love took shape into illuminating love for the holy face of their beloved master. Their giving away everything, all worldly attachment for the Prophet is like the annihilation of the moth into the flame. Because true love in the sufi path is what prefers the beloved before the lover. It is when 'Thou' is transmuted for 'I'.

And this is reflected in the affirmation of the prophet when he said, "By Him in Whose Hands my soul is, none of you will truly believe until I am more beloved to him than his immediate family." In another place he says, "None of you will truly believe until I am more beloved to him than his family, wealth and all the people."

The holy companions of the Prophet loved him so much that after they departed from his presence, when they came back they complained that even through they were at their home, they felt 'homesick' by the absence of his presence.

There's a Prophetic saying: "Abu Bakr (one of the most nearest companion and friend of the Messenger) was not considered as superior over the other people because of his fasting and voluntary contribution of his almsgiving only. On the contrary, he was honoured by his strong loving belief (iman) in his heart."

Safwan ibn Qudama, a companion of the Prophet said, "I emigrated to the Prophet and went to him and said, 'Messenger of God, give me your hand.' So he gave me his hand. I said, 'I love you.' He said, 'A man is with the one he loves.'

This is the secret of love's alchemy. 'One is united with those whom one loves.'

Pointing back to the metaphor of the Moth and Flame where the attraction of the Flame is dearer than anything else is comparable to the Quranic verse which points to the Real Object of Love as compared to transitory objects of the passing world: "Say: 'If your fathers or your sons or your brothers or your wives or your family, or any wealth you have acquired, or any business you fear may slump, or any dwelling-places which please you, are loving to you than God and His Messenger and struggling in His Way, then wait until God brings about His command." (9:25)

8.

Our Prophet's way is Love,

We are the sons of Love, our mother is Love,

My God is Love.

I have come only to speak of Love.

- Mevlana Rumi


The sect of love is a religion to me.

- Yunus Emre, humanistic sufi poet and philosopher of Anatolia

# Further


. Prophet of Love "(i loved this story)"

. On loving the Prophet

. Love of the Prophet

. Love of God, Rumi's Philosophy

. Habib Allah: The mystery of the beloved one

. Love and Lover transformed: The Sufi Path to God (pdf)

. The Soul Bird Symbol in Sufi Literature

. Wings drunk with ambrosia

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Monday, July 4, 2011

Bridging The Gap Between Different Religions

Bridging The Gap Between Different Religions Image
In one of the blog, I expressed my thought on bridging the gap between different religions. This is something which draws me very much from my earlier understanding of world religions and philosophies. At the end of the post i wrote, "Reading Upanishad is greatly inspiring me to research on it and write something in order to bridge the gap between Islamic monotheism, Sufi philosophy and Vedant Hindu philosophy."

This triggered two comment, one from Mark Walter, another from Hijabi Princess. Mark liked my thought and he said, "This is a great gap that needs to be bridged: the gaps between religions. "Hijabi Princess said, "Bridging gap"... I wonder what that means... If that means increasing the understanding, awareness and tolerance about other religions, then I am totally for it! (Infact I consider this century to be THE century of racism in the basis of religion). But IF "bridging gap" means trying to merge the ideas of religions and re-defining the central ideas of religions from your own perspective... I would step aside... True religions are of the people, for the people, but not by the people, it is by the Lord of the people!

What I really mean by bridging the gap:


I personally believe that in every single religion has a purpose (as everything on earth has purpose, including human life). There may be distortion of the teachings and idea (because of time or by materialistic controllers) of a particular religion, but the underlying philosophy is always for the good of mankind.

Thanks Hijabi for pointing out two paths how bridging the gap between religions can be done. First we should increase our understanding, awareness and tolerance about other religion. And every religion on earth asked its follower to respect other religion. "How can you respect if you are not aware? How can respect come in practice if you are not tolerant? "

Now in order to do that, FIRST WE SHOULD REMOVE ANY PRECONCEIVED NEGATIVE NOTION ABOUT OTHER RELIGION. Most of the time, the follower of one faith gets a very negative, all bad, all condemning idea about other religion from their own religious community or church. Have we ever cared to learn that religion from that faith^As perspective?

For example, how many Muslims asked or tried to learn by reading Hindu texts, why on earth, Vedantic (Hinduism) which is a very strong Monotheistic religion worship so many deity in the form of idols? What is their point to support idol worshiping? The answer is almost none.

Now one of my idea of 'Abridging the gap' is to read and understand by being very neutral. And what I do is when I want to learn about Hinduism, I pick up one book or two by a Hindu writer, not from a Christian writer criticizing hHinduismism is so bad. Isn^At that reasonable.

SECONDLY, merging the idea of religions is some thing which is of higher order. Prematurely its hard to appreciate the underlying truth of all the religions. It requires opening of heart, opening of mind and a higher perspective. It will come only when we take ourselves one step higher than day to day conventional religious practices, rituals, dogmas; because these are only the outer appearance.

But the good news is human intellect is in evolution and we have matured enough now to grow and act like one global village. As publication, communication, exchange of ideas improved across humans, it will inevitably bring us to that point where all faiths will come to learn from each other, will share form each other. That has happened in the past. And it will happen in the future as well. And by the grace of God, and by the promise of His messenger, ultimately the whole world will realize the truth before the end of this world. There will come a time and most probably the Messiah will fulfill that mission, when the whole human race will submit to one common understanding (or you can call it religion)

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Saturday, July 2, 2011

Buddhism In China

Buddhism In China Image
Grand Buddha, Sichuan (Szechwan) province, China (Flickr/Jean Huang Photography)

Jean Huang has captured brilliant images of CHINA. An amazing pool of Buddhist photos from INDIA and KATHMANDU is now available. See also WN Abram's INDIA gallery and Siebe's THAILAND collection.

There are 19 major religions in the world today. These 19 religions are further subdivided into approximately 270 subgroups. There are about 34,000 subgroups listed under Christianity, which when lumped together has two billion followers. Catholicism is the largest group. The two billion figure includes Roman Catholicism, Protestantism with many subdivisions, and Eastern Orthodox Christians from Russian and Greek Orthodox churches, as well as Free Church members. The world's major religions are nominally:

* Catholicism (lumped with Christianity)
* Buddhism (with more than one billion uncounted Buddhists in communist China)
* Islam (over one billion followers), Hinduism (over 800 million, almost all in India)
* Indigenous traditions (shamanism, Shinto)
* New faiths (Baha'i, Nichiren) and cults

Worldwide there are fewer than 15 million Jews. They are disproportionately represented so as to make Judaism seem like a world religion. In fact, it is so small as to be insignificant. But like Jainism, which strongly associates with Hinduism, it makes a disproportionate impact. Information on the geographic distribution of religions and their major traditions is widely available on the Web. Source

* Humanity's Original: SUMERIAN SPACE GODS
* India-China-Pakistan: KASHMIR CONFLICT CONTINUES
* Learn Japanese to learn about Taoism, Zen, and Shinto

The oldest organized religion was Sumerian translated here in cartoon form with real scripture.

AGNOSTICISM - ATHEISM - BAHA'ISM - BUDDHISM - CANDOMBLE - CAO DAI - CATHOLICISM - CHRISTIANITY - CONFUCIANISM - CULTS - DEISM - GNOSTICISM - HINDUISM - HUMANISM - ISLAM - JAINISM - JEHOVAH'S WITNESS - JUDAISM - MORMON - PAGAN - PANTHEISM - QUAKERS - RASTAFARI - RELIGIOUS TEXTS - SANTERIA - SCIENTOLOGY - SHAMANISM - SIKHISM - SPIRITUALISM - TAOISM - UNIVERSAL LIFE CHURCH - UNIVERSALISM - ZOROASTRIANISM

You also may enjoy this free books:

Dean Hildebrandt - Essay On Enochiana
Helena Petrovna Blavatsky - Studies In Occultism

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