Sufi Meditation and Contemplation
Timeless Wisdom from Mughal India
Translated by Scott Kugle and Carl Ernst
Preface by Syed Mohammad Rasheed-ul-Hasan Kaleemi
Fresh translations of three classic Sufi texts from Mughal India: The Alms Bowl of Shaykh Kalimullah Shajehanabadi, The Compass of Truth by Dara Shikoh, and Treatise on the Human Body attributed to Mu’in al-Din Chishti.These texts elucidate meditation practices and the resulting effects. All three texts are from a period that witnessed a flowering of Sufism in India with innovative personalities, diverse mystical orders and bold literary expressions.
“Meditation is the way to instill the values in the heart, to such a depth that the heart itself is transformed. The heart then is not merely an organ in the body, and is not just one’s own personal center; when properly activated through meditation, the heart opens up to reveal the very presence of God with one and with all. To find this state of loving intimacy is the advice of the Qur’an when it says, ‘So remember Me, that I may remember you,’ And according to Sufi teachings, to meditate and contemplate is the way to draw God down to you and to allow yourself to be lifted up toward God.”
—From the foreword by Scott Kugle
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Read an excerpt from Sufi Meditation and Contemplation:
“The spiritual seeker should look within with the eye of the heart to perceive his or her own truth, which is an expression for all-comprehensive spiritual reality of the self (haqiqa-yi jami`iya-yi u). In this way, the seeker keeps the essential reality of his self under observation with the heart’s eye in all actions and all states.
The seeker sees that all things that exist in the world—be they good or bad, subtle or gross, sensory or spiritual—are reflections of the all-comprehensive spiritual reality of the self, until the seeker perceives that the whole cosmos and all worlds are established and sustained through it. Then all things that are sensed or thought are mere reflections that are seen as effects of it (the all-comprehensive spiritual reality of the self).
It is as if the entire cosmos were the body and the seeker’s self were the soul animating that body. This station is known as “comprehending comprehensiveness” (jam` al-jam`). When this contemplation is powerfully mastered, the seeker will be aware of all things in the cosmos, and if they are joyful, he will feel joy, and if they are sorrowful, he will feel sorrow. This is because the soul feels the rewards and sufferings that result in the action of the body, regarding whether the body performs what is obligatory and desists from what is prohibited.” (Morsel Five from The Alms Bowl of Shaykh Kalimullah Shajehanabadi)