- letters from Moineddin
September 12, 1979
This letter is Moineddin’s answer to Mansur’s letter of September 8.
I spoke in the intro to the previous letter about the fana/tassawuri issue.
I should remark about an unrelated incident Moineddin brings up out of the blue in this letter: the day Murshid died and Mansur brought food for everyone, and no one ate it. It hurt Moineddin that no one partook of the food I brought. He imagines this event planted “the seeds of your long-standing dissociation from the Ruhaniat…”
In my ecstasy on that day [ecstasy because I imagined Murshid pushed me away to protect my sensitive soul from the pain of his passing. Murshid, p. 18], even though I thought I was practicing tassawuri Murshid (he always fed his disciples), the disciples’ rejection of my food was not a conscious factor in my choosing the Sufi Order over the Ruhaniat years later when Pir Vilayat issued his Declaration.
My choice was based on my desire to be free to function as I was inspired to function; namely, to share with others what Murshid had given me.
And because Pir Vilayat had done me wrong, I knew he would leave me alone.
The Ruhaniat was a new creation which, I felt, didn’t need my input to find its way. And although I traveled as a Sufi Order Sheikh, my heart home was always California and today’s elders of the Ruhaniat I always considered my spiritual brothers and sisters, regardless of how they felt about me.
September 12, 1979
I can only agree wholeheartedly with everything you say concerning “fana Inayat.” Your comments are balanced and clear—yet there is a sense of limitation too, which I am sure you realized as you penned each word. I could respond, but it would only be of the same nature: limited by the very words the mind would use in its attempt to clarify principles, remembrances and deep feelings based on one’s realizations.
Murshid used to say, “I am the proof of Hazrat Inayat Khan.” But even if all Murshid’s disciples were to relate all their experiences and realizations, inner and outer, it would only be a thimble full of water compared to the ocean.
In a similar vein, I overheard Murshid tell Allaudin about a notion the American composer, Henry Cowell, had: “No matter how perfect and seemingly complete a musical composition may be, at best it can only serve to show the infinitude of perfection and completion that was not expressed.” It’s rather like Murshid’s lesson with regard to kinetic and potential energy.
So, rather than launch into a tome of commentary on your words concerning aspects of fana, allow me to quote a few words of Elisabeth de Jong-Keesing from her new book, Inayat Answers: ‘Fana may be compared to the Buddhist term for the ultimate goal, Nirvana, in that it represents an annihilation of the individual’s limited qualities, and fusion into the Whole. This fusion is reached through graded experiences. First the individual personality, then the spirit, then the innermost being, the soul, accomplish fana on their own plane of being…”
And a quote from Hazrat Inayat: “In this condition of Nirvana or highest consciousness, however, one is conscious all through the body as much as of the soul. During this experience a person lives fully.”
Nor should we forget that it was Pir-O-Murshid’s yell at Murshid during the Six Interviews that gave our Murshid the key to mastery in this life. Wali Ali will attest to that.
Like I say, instead of responding with a tome (which I seem to have already begun…), let me simply enclose a copy of Murshid’s paper called “Risalyat.” I haven’t even read it recently, but it does take up matters involving the stages of fana; and one’s first impression upon reading your letter was to send you the Risalyat paper. Perhaps you already have the paper; but you may not, as my secretary only found it last year in the mentorgarten files after much rummaging around. I consider Risalyat to be a Sangitha-level lesson.
I would prefer, Mansur, that you write to Wali Ali and ask him to put some energy into your proposed November 4-5 workshop at the School for Sufi Studies. You see, I have for two years now not been connected in any way with that school, and I made my position clear to Wali Ali at that time. In fact, one’s various concentrations in many realms have been dropping away one by one as the body continues to deteriorate. Last night I gave what may be my last public Sufi meeting; and while I plan to inaugurate this year’s Githas tomorrow night, I have slipped several notches physically and mentally since your visit, so I may drop the Githa class too unless some dramatic turn-around takes place. I do plan, inshallah, to carry through with my Darshan set for the 22nd of this month; but even Darshan is almost too much. The only factor in my favor is that Darshan is given in the mornings—a time when one has a modicum of urouj energy. But evenings are proving to be just too damned rough.
It is difficult to convey to a healthy man the vicissitudes of mind and body that one struggles to live through, but the above should give you some idea.
On the subject of your vision of a shrine for Murshid near Navajo, Arizona, let me be frank. No, I feel no connection whatever with your concentration there—though I can certainly appreciate my friend’s vision. To be even more frank, I am somehow reminded of the day Murshid died, and without apparently asking anyone present about supper arrangements, you went ahead and bought Chinese food and brought it back to the hospital for people to eat. It pained me to see that no one wanted it. The ironic thing is that most of us ended up going to the Starview for supper that evening. In a way, I see the seeds of your long-standing dissociation from the Ruhaniat having been planted in such wise.
But, God bless you, your have worked and loved hard to fulfill more than a narrow Tassawuri Murshid based more or less upon raw initiative. The promise of love, harmony and beauty has been borne out, alhandulillah! I think all of us have experienced the journey from Murshid’s rugged and radioactive exterior to his Heart-of-Hearts. A real Murshid contains all the fanas, and it able to impart them, through Grace, to capable disciples as they advance from capacity to greater capacity.
In answer to Pir Vilayat, I would remark the words of his blessed father: “There is one Teacher and that is God; we are all His pupils.”
With love and blessings,
P.S. Mansur, just as I lay down for my afternoon nap, shortly after finishing the preceding letter, I realized something. When you said “…the feeling was, even in the being of Hazrat Inayat Khan, one of limitation—like a painter, say, who can reproduce Van Gogh’s perfectly…” I realized that you weren’t talking about fana, but about tassawuri. Tassawuri can lead to that feeling, in my experience; because the attunement itself is limited to the limiting factors in the mind and heart of the practitioner. Tassawuri is mostly based on the effort of the disciple.
But real fana is something else. It’s all grace, and there is no limitation as we conceive it or even feel it. If one is in fana-fi-Sheikh one experiences everyone one encounters as the very image and being of their Sheikh, all veils stripped away, no obstructions. And if the being of one’s Sheikh has also been bathed in the reality of Rassoul, then fana in one’s Sheikh can also manifest in the disciple seeing his or her Divine Ideal in everyone—or even as Murshid says in Crescent and Heart: ‘And the stones were my Avatars, each blossom, my Prophet, my Rassoul.” And so on. That’s fana; the other is a stage of Tassawuri.