Acknowledging the Divine Presence – Lama Foundation
The following is a transcript of Sufi Spiritual Revivalist Younus AlGohar’s discussion with residents of the Lama Foundation in Taos, New Mexico.
When we live in luxury and comfort, we become accustomed to it. It is very hard to then take your hands off that luxury and comfort.
We are Sufis. My Master Lord Ra Riaz Gohar Shahi was here in 1997, 22 years ago. In the same hall, sitting in the middle on the armchair, supervising the Sufi Zikar. This is what brought me back here – to share my Sufi thoughts with brothers and sisters like you here.
I was always inspired by Murshid Sam Lewis who said, ‘The Sun will rise from the West.’
It is remarkable to see how people in the United States of America are turning away from the luxurious and glamorous lifestyle and living here. This is an absolutely impeccable Sufi practice and it is wonderful to see how dedicated you are. What you are doing today – living away from the charms of the world and negating yourself – that is the first lesson in spirituality.
In the Sufi path, the most important things are purgation and purification of the Lower Self (Nafs) – which is the root of all evil – and at the same time, Activation of the Spiritual Heart. It is the Spiritual Heart which actually lets us connect with God. With the Activation of the Spiritual Heart, we are able to communicate with God and receive messages from God. The first step towards the spiritual journey is the awakening of the Spiritual Heart. This is the threshold of sainthood.
When I say, ‘The heart must be awakened,’ it means the spiritual functions of the heart must be restored. The spiritual consciousness of the heart has to be obtained. That, of course, comes with the help and teachings of the Spiritual Guide. A Spiritual Guide is delegated by God to implant the seed of love in the hearts and souls.
Rumi said, ‘Your heart is like a mirror, you just need to polish your heart. When your heart is polished, anyone that comes in front of it will reflect in it.’
So finding God has been made really easy by our great Sufis. [We have to] polish our hearts and bring an eternal shine upon the screen of the heart. When the heart is perfectly polished, then the divine manifestation takes place.
The heart is always covered with a lot of layers of heedlessness, worldly desires, lust and many other things. When you are courageous enough to part with the comfort of the luxury, you’re already half a saint.
This is why Prophet Mohammad said, ‘Cleanliness is half of the faith.’
When the body is dirty, we wash it with water and apply soap. When the hearts are dirty, that dirt is of heedlessness, desires and comforts [of the world].
I would like to salute the determination of the individuals who are already living like hermits. They’re really courageous people. Once you become accustomed to the luxuries and comforts of the world, it’s a trap. It’s not easy to come out from the customary luxury and comfort.
Half of the job is already done when you are living in such remote places.
Now what you need is to learn to polish the heart. When the heart is polished, you don’t need to find God. With a polished heart, wherever God is, he will show up in the mirror of your heart. In order to polish the heart, what we need is eternal remembrance of God which is conducted by the heart itself.
According to the Koran 13:28, ‘You will find content in Zikar Allah (in the remembrance of God)’.
Those who are not Sufis often misunderstand this verse from the Koran and they carry out the Zikar (invocation0 with their tongue. It is to do with the heart.
The Sufi path starts with the Activation of the Heart.
Mevlana Rumi said, ‘If the heart is polished and Zikar Allah is established therein, then your heart is like the house of God (Bait ul Rab). Your heart is the Divine Empyrean.’
To bring God in the heart is very important in spirituality.
Most people think that bringing God in the heart is just a metaphor. How will God come in the heart? We don’t know where God is. Well, we don’t know where God is, but Murshid Sam Lewis knows where he is. My Spiritual Guide, HDE Gohar Shahi, knows where he is.
They tell us, ‘Before we are able to bring God in our hearts, we need God’s permission – whether or not God likes us. Whether or not we are worthy of his friendship. Whether or not we are worthy of his love.’
It is the Spiritual Guide who communicates with God, presents his disciple and asks God if he wishes to love this disciple.
God’s name that we say with our tongue is just a word. But when it is granted by God himself, through a Spiritual Guide, then that word has divine energy, light and a spirit. That name of God can talk and walk. It is then implanted in the throbs of the heart and then the divine chemistry starts to work. Articulation of the name of God starts with the synchronisation of the name in the beating system of the heart.
When it is implanted, you have your heart remembering God nonstop – whether you are sleeping, talking to somebody else [or] engaged in any other activity. Even if you are not thinking about God or making any effort to remember him – when the word God, Ram, Allah [or] Bhagwan is implanted in the heart, the heart learns to say the name of the God. Ram, Bhagwan, Elohim, Yahweh are all beautiful names of God. Some people are more prone to word Allah; others want to say Yahweh and the others want to say Elohim. Whichever name of God you have in your language and in your religion, it doesn’t really matter.
What matters is that the name of God must enter the heart because the heart is the place of love. Love is not a verbal claim.
You people – such wonderful, beautiful people you are. You have left behind all the luxuries. This is a practical example that you have that spark of divine love in your heart. You have that spark. All you need to do is to kindle and give rise to the flame of love inside the heart.
In no time, you will recognise the presence of God within yourself. Nothing is outside of yourself.
God said, ‘I am within you, but you do not know how to see me’.
So we need to learn to acknowledge God’s presence. We need to learn to have this ability with which we can spot the presence of God. All Sufis may be sitting quietly and people think they are saying nothing – but their heart is engaged in the remembrance of God. When the heart is activated and it is engaged in the eternal remembrance of God, then we turn to the soul and we activate the soul as well.
There are seven souls inside our body. Each of them must be awakened and activated with the name of God. There are so many names of God. According to the Koran, there are 99 names of God. Then we have different names in the Bible, Torah and Psalms of David.
All names which we use to call upon God are worthy of great respect. However, in order to obtain the spiritual grace of the remembrance of God, we want to make sure that Zikar enters the heart.
If you try to eat food but your lips are sealed off, do you think the hunger will go away? No. If you put the food in your nose, your eyes and your ears, you will still be hungry because the food must go through your mouth to enter your stomach. If the food doesn’t enter the stomach, it is not going to benefit you. In a similar way, the remembrance of God must enter the heart. Only then will it show it’s exuberance, magnificence and it’s a manifestation.
Today we are very happy to tell you that we have been delegated to share the method of implanting the name of God in your heart. It is so romantic! You will just be sitting but your heart will be repeating ‘Allah’. Even when you are not thinking about him, your heart will be pounding his name.
This practice, in which your heart engages in eternal remembrance of God – there is a purpose for it. It’s not just a form of worship.
There’s a reason we eat. Some people eat because they want to enjoy their food, others eat so that they can stay alive and continue their spiritual journey. If we do not eat, we cannot survive.
Similarly, this eternal remembrance of God is divine food to your heart and soul. When this eternal remembrance takes place in the heart and God’s name is synchronised; the heartbeats repeat the word ‘God’ one after another which generates divine light. That divine light is food to our heart and soul.
Then starts the process of spiritual progression. We eat food physically so that our body is well. But for the heart and for the souls, we also need food. They are ethereal beings, their food is divine light.
All of us have energy in us and we benefit from each other’s energy, but divine light is different. Divine light is something that our heart and soul will live on. Our heart and soul will be nurtured with divine light. That divine light will come from the remembrance of God when it is conducted in the heart.
There is a lot to say about Sufism and a lot to discuss spirituality. But the most important thing in a Sufi’s life is that his/her souls are energised and spiritualised in a way that, even if you are sleeping, your real you are awake.
Sultan Haq Bahu said, ‘Some people are awake and they are engaged in worship but in the eyes of God, they are sleeping’.
Although they appear to be awake and are engaged in worship, in the eyes of God they are heedless.
Why? Because it is not your body that God looks at, it is your heart that God looks at. But your heart is not engaged in God’s remembrance, only your body is. Some peoples’ hearts are engaged in God’s remembrance and they are sleeping – but in the eyes of God, they are awake because their hearts are awake.
This is the threshold of a Sufi, that he or she is able to engage in God’s remembrance in such a way that he or she doesn’t have to make any physical efforts. Even if you make physical efforts, what will happen when you fall asleep?
Sultan Haq Bahu said, ‘A lover is never heedless of the beloved.’
When we fall asleep, we are heedless of everything, even ourselves. So, a Sufi is a true lover because when a Sufi’s body sleeps, his or her souls do not sleep. They are still engaged in the remembrance of God. A Sufi’s heart becomes the true recipient of the divine messages.
There are many Sufi orders in this world: Naqshbandi Sufi order, Sahaurwardi Sufi order, Chishti, Qadri etc. They have different names, but the principles and teachings of each and every Sufi order is the same: Activation of the Heart.
With this message and gift of God, we are here to serve you. We believe you are our brothers and our sisters in love and on the Sufi path. We are here to unify with you in love, peace and to commemorate the Sufi path given to the people in the West.