Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Origins of Sufism & Ancient Bactria

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"Among the Sufis there is a saying: “All roads lead to Balkh.” It is – or was – the esoteric capital of the world. It is claimed that there are – or were – initiatic brotherhoods based in the city with lineages going back deep into ancient times before the Greeks, Persians, Indians, Arabs, Turks and others, adapting to the coming and going of changing empires. The Sufis will often say that Sufism came before Islam and will be Sufism after Islam too. This is the spirit of Balkh, an enduring ancient legacy fed by diverse streams of influence over the last 2500+ years at least."

"There is also a tradition that Dzogchen,and Padmasambhava, come from a place called Oddiyana in Shamballa. Texts from this same Tun huang site identify Oddiyana as "Shamis en Balkh" in modern day Balkh, Afghanistan where many ruins, Buddhist stupas and monasteries exist. This is the town oft associated with Padmasambhava, and Rabia and Rumi as well. Although Padmasambhava is usually thought to be Indian, it is possible that he is from the Afghanistan region also associated with his name."....http://home.earthlink.net/~drmljg/id17.html

“All roads lead to Balkh,” uttered Gurdjieff, referring to the Sufic origin of all systems. Yesai Narai writes, “Balkh is the town often associated with Padmasambhava, and Rabia and Rumi as well. Although Padmasambhava is usually thought to be Indian, it is possible that he is from the Afghanistan region also associated with his name.”

Balk is the homeland of Baha ad-Din Naqshband, the greatest of the Khwjaghan Masters. Baha al-Din Walad of Balkh (d. 1230 CE), meaning "the splendor/glory of religion from Balkh" is the designation of the father of Jalal al-Din Balki, more commonly known as Jalal al-Rumi, famed author of the ‘Persian Qur'an/Bible’, the Mathnawi.

Elevated/raised is Persian bala and sham is Persian candle. ...CANDLE (Pers.-Ar. šamʿ). The Arabic word (Ar. also šamaʿ) literally means “beeswax” (Ebn Manẓūr; Dehḵodā), for which Persian uses mūm (Dehḵodā, Moʾīn, s.v.).

"from the Sufi writings of the great Persian mystic Suhravardi. As he puts it, the doors of heaven at the top of Mount Qaf (the cosmic mountain) open on to Na Koja Abad, which literally means "no where place" - a place beyond all places, a place that is nowhere because it cannot be pinned down to a spatial limitation. It belongs to what the Persian Sufis would have called the Malakut - or their Zoroastrian forebears would have called Hurqalya - the world of pure angelic intelligences. So is this the world that Trungpa Rinpoche's consciousness penetrated when he looked into his mirror in deep meditation and told us he saw Shambhala?".....http://www.chronicleproject.com/james_george_searching_for_shambhala.html

Rumi was born to native Persian speaking parents, likely in the village of Wakhsh, province of Balkh (parts of now modern Afghanistan and Tajikistan), and in the year Rumi was born, his father was an appointed scholar there. Greater Balkh was at that time a major center of a Perso-Islamic culture and Khorasani Sufism had developed there for several centuries.

Balkh was referred to as the “Mother of Cities” and the “Elevated Candle” (Sham-i-Bala) and it was in Balkh that the great Prophet Zoroaster was born. It is said he is also interred there, according to the Persian poet Firdousi. For many years, Balkh was the central hub of the Zoroastrian religion....http://home.earthlink.net/~drmljg/id17.html

Sufis refer to the candle symbolically as the “divine light” and the “light of the divine guidance,” whereas the Koran is sometimes called “the divine candle” or “the candle/light of God” (cf. Koran 61:8, “the light of God”; and Jalāl-al-Dīn Rūmī, Maṯnawī VI, p. 391 v. 2082, “the candle of God”; see also Sajjādī, pp. 290-91; Gowharīn, VI, pp. 76-80; Melikian-Chirvani, pp. 117f.).

The Gurdjieffian J. G. Bennett published speculation that Shambalha was Shams-i-Balkh, a Bactrian sun temple. Idries Shah, who believes that "it could be derived from Shams-i-Balkh, the Bactrian Sun Temple, the ruins of which can still be seen at Balkh near the northern frontier of Afghanistan" (J. G. Bennett, Gurdjieff: Making a New World, p. 26).

The Sanskrit and Tibetan Shambhala has also been identified by Alexandra David-Neel, who spent years in Tibet, with Balkh in the far north of Afghanistan the ancient settlement known as "the mother of cities". Present day folklore in Afghanistan asserts that after the Muslim conquest, Balkh was known as the "Elevated Candle" ("Sham-i-Bala"), a Persianisation of the Sanskrit Shambhala.

"Like Dzogchen, Sufism uses exquisitely rich metaphors which Dzogchen practitioners may find both beautiful and insightful as they study the View. Through a sample of the ecstatic poetry from Fakhruddin 'Araqi's work, Divine Flashes (Lama'at), we hope such an opportunity is afforded. Both Dzogchen and Sufism are diamond-like Wisdom Teachings grounded in the Radical Primordial Reality. The goal of Sufism is to become the perfect mirror of the Formless through the purification of the heart."

"The Divine Flashes is especially beautiful as it intersperses poetry with lyrical prose, often with the former an ecstatic rendering of the latter. Furthermore, there is a sense in which the Divine Flashes is a union of the Western and Eastern Schools of Sufism. The Divine Flashes was inspired by one of Ibn 'Arabi's major works The Bezels of Wisdom. Born in Spain, Ibn 'Arabi is considered by many Sufis to be the greatest of all Masters and his writings are revered as great treasures. Fakhruddin 'Araqi was one of the most preeminent figures of the Eastern School, which was especially regarded for its musical and poetic expressions and was enriched by the great spiritual jewels of the East, including both Hinduism and Buddhism. "'

Balk is the homeland of Baha ad-Din Naqshband, the greatest of the Khwjaghan Masters. Baha al-Din Walad of Balkh (d. 1230 CE), meaning "the splendor/glory of religion from Balkh" is the designation of the father of Jalal al-Din Balki, more commonly known as Jalal al-Rumi, famed author of the ‘Persian Qur'an/Bible’, the Mathnawi.

According to Idries Shah, the Sufi philosophy is universal in nature, its roots predating the rise of Islam and the other modern-day religions, save for perhaps Buddhism and Jainism; likewise, some Muslims consider Sufism outside the sphere of Islam.

The Parsee leader, Meher Baba asserted that Sufism pre-dates the Islamic prophet Muhammad, having begun with the prophet Zoroaster of Persia,.Meher Baba designed Sufism Reoriented as a universal spiritual school which recognizes a central core of divine love at the heart of all spiritual systems.

A Parsi or Parsee is a member of the larger of the two Zoroastrian communities in the Indian Subcontinent, a member of the other being an Irani. According to tradition, the present-day Parsis descend from a group of Zoroastrians of Iran who immigrated to India during the 10th century AD, to avoid persecution by Muslim invaders who were in the process of conquering Persia/Iran. At the time of the Arab invasion of Persia, the dominant religion of the region was Zoroastrianism. The Iranians rebelled against the Arab invaders for almost 200 years; in Iran this period is now known as the "Two Centuries of Silence" or "Period of Silence".After many failed attempts to free the country from Arab domination, the Iranians were forced to either pay heavy taxes (Jizya) or to convert to Islam, the latter being the ultimate goal of the new rulers and thus the easier way.During this time many Iranians who are now called Parsi rejected both options and instead chose to take refuge by fleeing from Iran to India.

The Persian word darvīsh (درویش) is of ancient origin and descends from a Proto-Iranian word that appears in Avestan as drigu-....Dervish literally means "doorway" and is thought to be an entrance from this material world to the spiritual, heavenly world.

The whirling dance or Sufi whirling that is proverbially associated with Dervishes is best known in the West by the practices (performances) of the Mevlevi order in Turkey, and is part of a formal ceremony known as the Sema. It is, however, also practiced by other orders. The Sema is only one of the many Sufi ceremonies performed to try to reach religious ecstasy (majdhb, fana). The name Mevlevi comes from the Persian poet, Rumi who was a Dervish himself.

Gurdjieff recieved his knowledge. Specifically from Naq'shabandi sufi orders

SEMA.....stems from the root-verb meaning acceptance by tradition, from which derives the words سَمْع (sam‘un) and اِسْتِمَاع (’istimā‘un, listening)...The Sama represents a mystical journey of man's spiritual ascent through mind and love to perfection. Turning towards the truth, the follower grows through love, deserts his ego, finds the truth and arrives at perfection....Any poetry, even the erotic, can be used for this ceremony. However, the listener's heart must first be pure, or the dancing components of sama' will make these people full of lust instead of love .... Another state that people hope to reach through sama' is khamra, which means "spiritual drunkenness".

Some practitioners and teachers of the Five Tibetan Rites have adopted some of the movements from the Sema (the Dervishes religious ceremony - such as spinning anti-clockwise and holding one palm facing upwards and one pointing downwards....Although they both spin, the First Rite and the Sema (a religious ceremony) have different outcomes and vary significantly in technique. The Dervishes spin to induce a trance-like ecstatic state, whereas the Tibetan 1st Rite is performed to stimulate the vortexes into action....In the Tibetan First Rite, both palms are facing downwards towards the floor. The Dervishes however, place their right palm upwards to receive the power of the heavens, and their left palm turned downwards to direct this energy into the earth. They see themselves as the conduit of God’s power and do not try to hold onto or direct that power....Another variation is that Tibetans spin clockwise whereas the Sema is performed anti-clockwise. ....perhaps should spin clockwise in the Northern Hemisphere and anti-clockwise in the Southern Hemisphere...the universe is full of spinning vortexes....

There is a movement art in Sufism that is quite famous: The Whirling Dervishes Many strict Muslims misunderstand whirling meditation, and they find it to be blasphemous since there is singing and dancing involved. .....

"Buddhist Yogis, Shaiva Bhaktas and Yogis, Ismailis and Sufi s:....Eurasiatic Mystic Cialogues with Mount Kailāśā as their Axis....article by Professor Adrián Muñoz in the preceding issue of this Journal on the relationships between Islamic and non-Islamic mysticism in India, to traditions derived from the Dzogchen of Mount Kailāśā or akin to the latter, and various forms of Buddhism. I mainly explore the relationships between Ṣūfīsm and Ismā‘īlīsm, and between these and Buddhist, Hindu and Bönpo Dzogchen and Tantrism.....the infl uence of Shenrab’s teachings on other traditions."...http://www.saber.ula.ve/bitstream/123456789/34703/1/articulo7.pdf

Sufism cannot be called a religion, because it is free from principles, distinctions, and differences, the very basis on which religions are founded; neither can it be called a philosophy, because philosophy teaches the study of nature in its qualities and varieties, whereas Sufism teaches unity. Therefore it may best be called simply the training of the view.....The word 'Sufi' implies purity, and purity contains two qualities. Pure means unmixed with any other element, or in other words that which exists in its own element unalloyed and unstained. The second quality of purity is great adaptability.....The Sufi shows his universal brotherhood in his adaptability. Among Christians he is a Christian, among Jews he is a Jew, among Muslims he is a Muslim, among Hindus he is a Hindu; for he is one with all, and thus all are with him. He allows everyone to join in his brotherhood, and in the same way he allows himself to join in any other. He never questions, ' what is your creed or nation or religion?' Neither does he ask, ' What are your teachings or principles?'......http://wahiduddin.net/mv2/IX/IX_32.htm

"Meher Baba asserted that Sufism pre-dates the Islamic prophet Muhammad, having begun with the prophet Zoroaster of Persia,....Murshida Carol Weyland Conner is Head of Sufism Reoriented"

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Email....okarresearch@gmail.com

John Hopkins.....Northern New Mexico….November 2012

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