Tuesday, January 27, 2009

of sufi shrines

hands raised in prayers all around me, doves circled the golden dome. peace and hope wafted from the incense sticks as i heard stifled sobs around me.  

over the weekend i visited ajmer sharif with khairul, my sister in law and some of her freinds from her office. Ajmer Sharif is a sufi shrine in rajasthan. and earlier in the evening today i visited Qutab sahib, another sufi shrine in delhi with my mom and khairul.  

i am not really into visiting shrines and honestly up till now i did not understand why people do...but maybe i am begining to get a handle on it now. the reason i suppose is that you allow yourself to be immersed in a space which is afloat with the power of faith. its a space blessed by angels and for me to feel that I had to suspend my cynicism and i stopped trying to 'put a brave face on'; i allowed myself to cry and it was that release or whatever but the vibe was gentle and so soothing, that the tears just kept on rolling. faces shone with tears and humility...absorbed in pain they clutched to hope, even if it was frayed and trampled upon. when you come to a shrine, you put yourself in a space where the air is soaked in prayers and adoration of the divine.  

the rose sellers, the fakirs (alm-seekers), the khadims (guides)...all clamour for your attention. even though you are standing in a crowd you are consious of only your own heart's voice. words float in the air and you catch a few strings and like signs from above they touch you with utmost gentleness and you feel you are blessed.  

i believe god is everywhere and not just in 'religious' spaces but places like these where millions come and pray, where every inch is stood upon and prayed...all that energy come together and bounces aoround and seeps back into you and all of that is because of that sufi who just prayed and prayed and prayed and loved the creator in a way which is beyond my comprehension; such piety, such love transcends time and space and that is what blesses the likes of me who go begging...its not the sufi but god who blesses those who come and lay respect to his lover.  

the qawalli singer at qutub sahib sang about the universality of pain and I realised just how commonplace are my desires and how often my prayers are answered. These sufi shrines have been here for centuries and people don't come here just to get the work done, so to speak but i think it is to reaffirm hope in a higher power.


anonant said...

Whenever we share our hearts message to life whether it be one of joy or pain it leaves the residue of spirit on that place. To sense it one must have an open heart. Those echos can help one find that message which in their heart needs telling.

Devika said...

What life without pain, Gulnaz?

Taken in the right spirit, it should only make one a better person :)

Good read, it was


Narendra Damle, words to speak and a heart to listen said...

cry bravely
and let your heart speak,
receive your pain
as is His gift,
laugh heartily
and let your heart sing,
forget your own heart
and His will be there.

mermaid said...

So beautifully written, Gulnaz. I too was skeptical of Hindu temples, but visiting some recently, and knowing the feeling I had as a young girl attending Christian churches, as well as the feeling of peace I now feel in the Buddhist temple...I know exactly what you mean. Faith and love in numbers surpasses all individual fear.

May your heart be pure and blessed by Allah.

gulnaz said...

anonant- thanks and you are right, when we speak honestly it echoes...thanks!

Devika- yea but it hurts ne :)

Narendra Damle- you are 1000% right! thanks! but i don't know if i am so spiritually evolved!

mermaid- thanks!! i too want my heart to become pure if nothing else...the baser emotions seem to rock the bloody thing! :)

Rhett said...

wow. nice read.

Violetwrites said...

You have a marvelous flow & rhythm.

gulnaz said...

Rhett- glad you think so :)

Violetwrites- thanks, glad you noticed it!! :)

Anonymous said...

great read ...I love it when it flows thru my being ..exceptional..