By Anuradha Kamath
April 27, 2018
SUFIS are anchors of humanity, so is Muhammad Azeem Barkhia, who is popularly known as Qalander Baba Aulia (RA).
He spread the message of tolerance, peace, and love for humanity while urging people towards God-consciousness. His Urs is celebrated on January 27 every year under the supervision of the current patriarch of the order, Khawaja Shamsuddin Azeemi. The Urs activities span two days. The Spiritual Workshop is held on the first day; and on the second day, devotees pay tribute to Qalander Baba (RA) by visiting his shrine in the morning and then an address by Khwaja Shams-ud-Din Azeemi in the evening. The annual Spiritual Workshop is an intense full-day activity designed to expand the consciousness of people. It seems to be a perfect demonstration of unity in diversity, as people of various nationalities, socio-economic status, educational and religious backgrounds contemplate on their existence as individual consciousness and their collective impact. In this workshop, the coordinators of the workshop facilitate the exchange of views on one’s unified existence as souls.
Love becomes a common language. Everyone is treated equally and fairly. No one is considered more accomplished or branded a failure. The Langar (communal meal), too, brings people together and induces a realization that the body and mind need much more than a piece of bread to survive. In fact, it needs a high vibrant spiritual energy, which, in the Urs, seemed to be emanating from every corner of Surjani Town, charged by the Saint’s benevolence and love. Khwaja Shamsuddin Azeemi, as an ambassador of peace of inter-faith harmony, has established an extensive network of meditations halls in Pakistan and internationally. His teachings assist people to transcend beyond the boundaries of mind and operate through their hearts. A staunch advocate of women rights, he believes that if woman doesn’t strive towards knowing her spiritual capabilities, she’ll remain far away from realizing her true potentials. His book, 101 Women Saint is a must read in this regard. In 2015, the British magazine, Watkins Body, Mind and Spirit, listed him in the “100 most influential Spiritually Influential Living People” for his efforts towards rising human consciousness through Meditation
On the second day of Urs, people get imbibed with his call for unity, peace, acceptance, and love in the name of God as he addressed the annual gathering. His message reverberated in the air, “Unless you discover yourself, you cannot discover God in your heart. One who dies without discovering his soul ends his life no different from any other creature or animal. Being the vicegerents of God, it is time we all took this responsibility seriously through initiating a daily routine of Muraqaba (Meditation), Zikr (Remembrance of God), Tafakkur (contemplation) on the signs God has left for us in this universe through His marvellous creations.” The simplicity of his message was profound. The smiles of exuberant joy began to play on the faces of the participants realizing what they seek is not far away but within their own selves.
The participants, who come fragmented, return back as a whole. Voids cease to exist for a feeling of completeness overtakes each heart. Differences melt and oneness transpires amongst people with the realization that they are all from a unified origin – Prophet Adam and Eve. The participants anchor themselves to his call, “Hold on to the rope to God tightly together; Think, speak, act and live as the Prophets and men of God. They live in dependency of none but God.” The Saint brought us one step closer to God, yet again this year. I only know that the Urs is a ceremony of reunion with God. For me, it is an endeavour to bead each one of our souls into a formidable strong chain — Silsila. Khwaja Shamsuddin Azeemi, through his 60 years into this mission, has been driving every soul beyond barriers of caste, creed, opinions, beliefs, religions, and nationality towards the common point – God’s love.
Anuradha Kamath is based in UAE.