By Pranav Khullar
To enter the sanctum of Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti to offer the customary ‘chadar’, the ornamental spread, is to touch the core of the Sufi, the one for who the heart is the true shrine of God. You enter a sacred space where all distinctions dissolve, where the “power of now”, as Eckhart Tolle puts it, seems to draw into its vortex all other outer preoccupations of the mind. Such is the magnetic call of the heart of the Khwaja that seekers and pilgrims alike have sought inspiration and blessings from Ajmer Sharif through centuries.
The spectacle of the nazrana or offerings at the tomb is symbolic of human ego bowing down to the austere and compassionate spirit of the Khwaja. You can feel your heart expand as you experience liberation suffused with a mystical love even as the mehfils and the qawwalis rise to a crescendo, creating the right ambience.
The Urs of Ajmer serves as an annual reminder of the need to humble the individual self in the presence of the divine. For such was the faith of the Khwaja himself in the need to surrender to God through service to others while leading a strict spartan life himself, that this became the Sufi way of transcending the ego.
The stress on generous sharing and serving is embodied in the cooking and serving of large quantities of kheer. The milk pudding is prepared in two large cauldrons to be distributed later as ‘tabarruk’, the blessed food. His uncommon love for the common man, his defining religion in the context of service to all, has earned the Khwaja the epithet of Garib Nawaz, the benefactor of the poor.
While his own simple life was a living example of all that he believed in, his teachings reflect a rare compassion for all, transcending all barriers. He would say: “Develop river-like generosity, sun-like affection and earth-like hospitality.” His message was carried forward by Chisti Silsilah disciples like Bakhtiar Kaki, Baba Farid and Nizamuddin Auliya.
A true friend of God must learn to be as generous as the river that does not discriminate between good and bad, belief and disbelief. A true friend of God must develop sun-like affection for all. Doesn’t the sun bestow its light and warmth on all, irrespective of divisions made by man?
Unless we’re generous and compassionate, we would continue chasing shadows, getting deluded all the time. Mother Earth cradles us all in her lap, generous to a fault, giving all to her children. Only when we emulate this quality can we curb our acquisitive nature and become loving and giving, believed the Khwaja. Only then would the “Wahdut-ul-Wujud” — Unity of Being — be realised here.
This can happen only when the heart is immersed in silent remembrance — dhikr-i-khafi — of God, not merely through recitation but with remembrance. Compassion is cultivated not merely by the swirling of the body but by the swirling of the soul, for only then would the dance of the dervish be truly understood. It is the selfishness and ego of man which has to be swirled out, and cosmic love swirled in through surrender.
The Urs (death anniversary) of the Khwaja is but an occasion to seek and restore one’s faith in humanistic values by reaching out to all, just as the Khwaja has beckoned one and all through the passage of time.
Source: The Times of India, New Delhi
There is no denying that Sufi shrines have been, throughout history, harbingers of peace, love, compassion and harmony. As for the sanctum of Khwaja Gharib Nawaz, it is a true symbol of religious harmony and spiritual large-heartedness enshrined in Islamic faith.
It represents the true version of Islam that reflects in the lofty concept of Wahdat-ul-Wajud- Unity of Being, which serves the greater causes of humanity rather than limited interests of Muslim community. It is high time for Muslims in India to follow in the footprints of Khwaja Gharib Nawaz, if they really want to exhibit the true spirit of Islam. Living in peace and harmony is the dire need of the hour that can be better fulfilled if we resort to the noble teachings of Khwaja and his peaceful ideology.
The Islamic view on this subject is aptly conveyed in the Quran in the following verse:"God calls to the Home of Peace" (10:25) This means that according to the holy Quran, peace and harmony must prevail in all human society. Allah Himself is Peace. He intended this world to be peaceful, and only a peaceful place will be able to receive His blessings.
It goes beyond saying that after mosques, the holy shrines of Sufis are the most peaceful places where we rejoice in sheer grace and unlimited bounties of Allah. The author Pranav Khullar has rightly pointed out to it saying that "seekers and pilgrims alike have sought inspiration and blessings from Ajmer sharif through centuries"