Friday, November 16, 2018

American Queen Happy Thanksgiving

All Things That Matter Press once again true to its mission of supporting Literature has accepted to publish another book, the American Queen./ This book delineates the true life story of a young girl, Ora Ray Baker, born in Albuquerque, New Mexico. /She fell in love with an Indian mystic by the name of Hazrat Inayat Khan./ He was not only a mystic from India, but a Sufi Master and a great Musician./ He came to US with the intention of uniting the East with the West in God Realization./ Against the wishes of her stepbrother who was Ora Ray Baker’s ward, she decided to elope to Europe to marry Hazrat Inayat Khan who was traveling there to give lectures and concerts. /She met him in Belgium and they were married in London. /God was the king in Hazrat Inayat Khan’s soul and Ora Ray Baker became the Queen of his Heart. /They lived in London and France for a while, and then went to Russia where their first daughter was born in Kremlin./ Soon the First World War started, so they had to leave Russia and came to London. /During the war two more children were born, both boys, and one girl after a year later. /After the WW1 they moved to France and settled there in a suburb called Suresnes. /When the children were little, Hazrat Inayat Khan traveled alone all over Europe and even returned to America for a few months to spread his Sufi Message of love, unity and harmony./ Ora Ray Baker lost her Love of Life in India when Hazrat Inayat Khan went there on a tour to give lectures on Sufism, their eldest daughter was barely thirteen year old at the death of her father. /Then began the lone journey for Ora Ray Baker with all the agony of loss and grief. /She lived through the ravages of WW11. / Her eldest daughter Noorunissa became a British Spy, was arrested by Gestapo and killed in German Concentration Camps./ Finally four years after WW11 of much grief and sorrow, Ora Ray Baker died in France./ Her love, courage and perseverance still lives on in Fazal Manzil in France, her home and shrine of Love, now a Sufi Retreat./ Her grandson Pir Zia lives in Richmond, Virginia USA, carrying on the tradition of Inayati Order. /A movie was made about the life of Noorunissa titled Spy Princess, still available in video and online./ Child of Light/ First chapter explores the childhood and youth of Ora Ray Baker born in Albuquerque New Mexico./ As a young lady she is drawn to poetry and mysticism. /Her fond memories of her teen years are with her father since her parents divorced and her mother remarried. /Especially her memorable trip with her father to Manhattan illumined by electric lights invented by Thomas Edison./ Royal Musicians of India 1911/ Ora Ray Baker meets her love of life while attending a concert in San Francisco. /Hazrat Inayat Khan from India is the young musician and Sufi Master who steals her heart at first meeting. /He in return hopelessly falls in love with Ora Ray. /During this brief meeting both pledge their love to each other, Ora Ray becoming his Sharda and he her Daya./ He also becomes her teacher to give her music lessons./ Music of Love 1912/ Utterly and profoundly in love Inayat Khan proposes marriage to Ora Ray before returning to New York for a performance in Carnegie Hall. /With many joyous dreams the lovers part, while Inayat Khan promises to write to Ora Ray’s brother asking formally for her hand in marriage./ Agony Supreme 1912 (continued)/ Unfortunately, Ora Ray and Inayat Khan are separated by cruel hands of fate as she confesses her love for Inayat Khan to her brother who is her ward. /He becomes furious and forbids her ever to see Inayat Khan./ He also intercepts all Inayat Khan’s letters mailed to his sister. /Meanwhile Ora Ray falls ill and after her recovery starts sending letters to Inayat Khan. /Not knowing that he is already on a tour to Europe to give musical performances. /Despondent with grief in not getting any responses, by some lucky chance, she stumbles upon his old address in Baroda India./ Glorious Wedlock 1913/ Ora Ray writes to Inayat Khan at his address in India. /His relatives forward her letter to Inayat Khan in France where he is scheduled to give concerts. /Finally after exchange of many letters on both sides, Ora Ray elopes, landing at Antwerp in Belgium./ Two days later Ora Ray is married to Inayat Khan at the Civil Register Office at St. Giles in London, registered as Amina Begum, her new title of high rank in Sufi terminology. /They travel extensively, then make France their future home./ City of Lights Paris 1913 (continued)/ Paris becomes Amina Begum’s dreamland of love and romance with Sufism and Literature as her dear companions. / She also gets pregnant and before the birth of the baby they are invited to Moscow to meet Great Russian poets, artists and musicians./ To Russia with Love 1913-1914/ On New Year Day in Kremlin Amina Begum gives birth to a daughter. /This baby girl is named Noorunissa, but she is only five month old when the family has to leave Russia due to threat of Great War./ From Paris to London 1914-1920/ Amina Begum with Inayat Khan and baby Noor return to Paris, but soon the threat of WW1 compels them to move to London./ During the war they suffer hardships since Inayat Khan’s lectures and concerts are cancelled./ Yet joy visits them when they are blessed with a son whom they name Vilayat. /Also blessed twice again during and after the war, one boy named Hidayat and one girl Khair-un-Nissa. Again they return to France./ Heart of Europe 1920-1922/ Amina Begum and children stay in France while Inayat Khan goes on trips to Belgium, Holland and Switzerland giving lectures and concerts. /A little pamphlet of his sayings called Bowl of Saki is published in Switzerland. /Upon his return to France one of his wealthy disciples a widow by the name of Fazal Mai purchases a home large enough for his whole family. /Inayat Khan names this house Fazal Manzil./ America The Land of Destiny 1923/ Inayat Khan returns to America to give lectures and to enlarge Sufi Circle which he has had established before going to Europe. /He travels extensively in America, visiting Boston, Detroit, Chicago, New York and his beloved city San Francisco where he had met his Beloved./ Christmas at Fazal Manzil 1923-1925/ Fazal Manzil is Amina Begum and Inayat Khan’s heaven on earth./ One year they surprise their children by secretly buying a Christmas tree. /After they decorate it and light it with candles they are rewarded with joy inexpressible by watching the reaction of their children speechless with awe and wonder. /Happy times and happy travels for Inayat Khan, back in America once again./ Vilayat’s Ceremonial Initiation 1925-1926/ In America besides giving lectures Inayat Khan visits the Rockefeller Institute./ In one of his letter to Amina Begum he describes how he meets Henry Ford in Detroit who presents him with a model T Ford as a gift. /Newspaper caption: A Mystic and a Magnate Meet!/ Back in France Inayat Khan initiates his son Vilayat as his successor. /The same evening he bestows the title of Pirani on Amina Begum. /Pirani meaning literally the Queen of Pir./ Pirani Without Pir-O-Murshid 1926-1927/ Inayat Khan is invited to give lectures in Venice and from there he is to visit his homeland India./Enroute from Venice to India Pirani receives one telegram from Inayat Khan: ‘Safe in Karachi, will write.’ /Unfortunately that is his last communication since he falls ill in India. /Later, Pirani receives two consecutive telegrams, one saying he is ill and the other announcing his death at Tilak Lodge in India./ India welcomes Pirani 1928-1929/ Pirani and children travel to India to visit the grave of Inayat Khan. /After visiting the grave, Inayat Khan’s brothers and cousin take Pirani and children on a tour in India. /They visit famous sites, including Taj Mahal and Red Fort. /Extending their visits to palaces and tombs of Sufi Saints in Ajmer before returning to France./ Sufi Movement Alive at Suresnes 1929-1930/ Life at Fazal Manzil is sad for Pirani, though Inayat Khan’s disciples keep Sufi Movement alive and try their best to keep their Master’s family comfortable and entertained. /At the death anniversary of Inayat Khan, Pirani casts away her mantle of sadness and celebrates this occasion with flowers and feast for friends and disciples./ Burial of Grief before Big Storm 1931-1939/ Finally, Pirani succeeds in burying her grief and starts taking interest in her children’s education while encouraging them in their music aptitude for learning. /Time seems to move swiftly as Pirani experiences some semblance of joy in watching her children excel in music and studies. /But then the reek of war again shatters her peace./ Germany invades Czechoslovakia, forging alliance with Italy, dread of war hovering all over Europe./ Exodus to England 1939-1943/ Pirani’s world is shattering once again after gaining a semblance of peace for only a few years. /The King of Belgium abdicates and Belgium capitulates to Germany. /Now that Germany has declared war on Paris, Parisians are fleeing to south of France and Spain./ Pirani and children, with the exception of Hidayat, decide to move to England./ WW11 is in full swing while they try to settle in London./ Rubies Four Scattered 1941-1943/ Europe is smarting under the assault of Germany and uniting hands to defeat armies of Hitler./ Pirani trained as Red Cross nurse volunteers in the hospitals. /Her youngest daughter nicknamed Claire studies pathology while also helping in the hospitals./ Vilayat joins British Navy. /Noor is trained as a British spy, though none of her family know about her secret mission as she returns to France to decode messages of German spies and transmit them back to London./ Great Tragedies of WW11 1944-1946/ Pirani has become the victim of her own fatigue and loneliness while Germany keeps gaining victories. /Since months she has not received any letter from Noor, only a brief note from War Office that her daughter is in good health and sends love./Vilayat is docked on the beaches of Normandy to deliver men and weapons to the allied forces while US General Eisenhower comes to London. /Finally WW11 comes to an end May 8, 1945. /After several anguished months of hope and wait, Pirani learns about the tragic death of her daughter Noor who had died July 6, 1944 at the Natzweiler Concentration Camp./ Liberated from Life 1947-1949/ Pirani has lost interest in life, finding consolation in her poetry and solitude. /Almost a year after the war Pirani and Claire return to France. /Vilayat stays in London since he is still working. /Pirani and Claire lived in Fazal Manzil till the American Queen died May 1, 1949 in a hospital in France./ Fazal Manzil is still open to visitors in Suresnes, France, holding dear memories of Beloved Family with roots in India and America. /1947 also marks the partition of Hindustan from British Rule, into India and Pakistan/

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Quran/Hazrat Alive

Phil Harris, the publisher of All Things That Matter Press—true to its name and mission, has published Quran and Wisdom of Hazrat Inayat Khan./He is amazing, honest and affable and generous with his time, lending good advice and support./ This book is a journey into the spiritual realms of Islam and Sufism. /Endowed with the gifts of music, spirituality and mysticism, Hazrat Inayat Khan guided by the poetry of the Quran and by the Grace of God came to America more than a century ago to unite East with the West in God Realization. /His message still resonates fresh in this century twenty-one. /The wealth of esoteric and exoteric knowledge in this book can serve as the contemporary books of Quran, Bible and Torah for the People of the Book. /Love, peace and harmony is the only message in this exquisite journey into the valleys of truth from sharing to caring, to living to the fullness of one’s own divine-self within. /May every reader discover the kernels of spirituality to the fulfilment of their own faith and fealty./ ‘Many seek protection from all hurting influences by building some wall around themselves./But the canopy over the earth is so high that a wall cannot be built enough. /The only thing one can do is to live in the midst of all inharmonious influences, to strengthen his willpower and to bear all things. /Yet keeping the fineness of character and a nobleness of manner with an ever-living heart. / The need of the world today is not learning, but how to become considerate toward one another. /To try and find out in what way happiness can be brought about. /And in this way to realize that peace which is the longing of every soul and to impart it to others, thereby attaining our life’s goal, the sublimity of life. / The soul is the Spirit of God, and the Spirit of God lives within the shrine of the heart; this shrine can be closed or it can be open. /There are some things in life that open it and some that close it. /The things that close the heart are those which are contrary to love, tolerance and forgiveness, such as coldness, bitterness and ill-will, and a strong element of duality. /The world is more upset today than ever before; in many ways man seems to go from bad to worse, and yet he thinks that he is progressing./It is not lack of organization or of civilization; both these things he has. /What he lacks is the expression of the soul. /He closes his door to his fellow man, he closes the shrine of the heart and by doing so he is keeping God away from himself and others./ Nation is set against nation, race against race, religion against religion. /Therefore today more than ever before there is a need for the realization of this philosophy. /What we need is not that all religions should become one nor all races; that can never be. /But what is needed is undivided progress, and making ourselves examples of love and tolerance./ By talking about it, by discussing and arguing it will not come, but by self-realization, by making ourselves the examples of what should be, by giving love, taking love, and showing in our action gentleness, consideration and the desire for service for the sake of God in whom we can all unite beyond the narrow barriers of race and creed.’ Hazrat Inayat Khan/ Hazrat Inayat Khan Bio:/ Hazrat Inayat Khan was born July 5, 1882 in Baroda, India./ He died February 5, 1927 in Tilak Lodge north of Delhi’s Red fort in India. /His ancestry can be traced back to King Tipu Sultan. /His family was both spiritual and musical, and growing up as a young man he was interested in studying and exploring all religions. /Mentored by great musicians and saints and sages of India, finally he met his Sufi teacher, to whose teaching his whole life was indebted. /The name of that Sufi teacher was Madani, who instructed him to leave his hometown and venture abroad./ ‘Fare forth into the world, my child, and harmonize the East and the West with the harmony of thy music. /Spread the wisdom of Sufism abroad, for to this end thou art gifted by Allah, the most Merciful and Compassionate.’/ In obedience to his teacher, Hazrat Inayat Khan came to America Year 1910 to promote the message of God realization. /While giving lectures and concerts, he fell in love with an American girl by the name of Ora Ray Baker. /They were married in London March 20, 1913. /Their first daughter Nurunnisa was born in Russia, 1914, and they returned to London at the inception of WW1. /They had three more children, two boys and another girl. /They settled in Suresness, Paris, but after his death and much later at the inception of WW11, the family moved to London. /Nurunnisa became a British spy against Nazi Germany invasion of Paris. /She was captured by Gestapo, then killed in Nazi concentration camps. /Hazrat Inayat Khan’s legacy still lives in Fazal Manzil in Suresness, Paris, where he lived with his family and where his wife Ora Ray Baker, titled as Pirani, died, but their daughter Nurunnisa embalmed as Spy Princess in a movie is alive on world stage.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Horror USA

Despite the loving, generous Americans pouring support for the children torn away from their parents— jailed babies are a brand of shame on the soil of America/’Tender Age’ shelters as euphemistically dubbed by brutal policy of Trump are in fact Chambers of Horror scattered in several states, more like Concentration camps, reserved for babies who can’t defend themselves./How did America reach this sorry state of stark brutality and degradation?/It all started with Russian fascism supporting Trumpian Nazism./Invasion of America in cyberspace to begin with, blatant attacks on American values, Democracy, even on the very foundations of US Constitution./Russia stands proud and gloating how it succeeded in causing chaos and confusion in the United States, now divided into zealous factions undermining the very integrity of FBI, DOJ and Freedom of Press./Putin has achieved more than he intended, alienation of US from its long-time allies, rise of hate, racism, violence, surge of fanaticism, hypocrisy and ignorance./Republicans have become Republic of Lies to defend Trump’s continual torrent of lies, giving him free rein in Abuse of Presidential Power./Nothing is sacred to them, nothing touches their cold hearts./Trump can defy US Rule of Law, even rip the Constitution apart, they don’t care./American kids can bleed to death in schools, but their greed persists and their support for NRA grows stronger./Here comes the spectrum of Trump’s supporters: their gun culture, their false fears and phobias about immigrants, their deep-rooted hatred for blacks and minorities./These are the ulcers upon which Trump capitalized and he succeeded, thanks to Putin’s keen perception about the bruised psyche of white supremacists./Almost two years of chaos, confusion, violence, crisis after crisis, moral and ethical collapse of American values and now America has become collision center of depravity, incarcerating babies, innocent and defenseless./ Christ’s Sermon on the Mount which might change the face of America, if nothing else./These moral teachings of Christ are contemplated below by Hazrat Inayat Khan:/ 'Blessed are the poor in spirit; for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.'/’Poor in spirit' means mild in ego, and the ego is by nature tyrannical./ All the tyranny in the world is only caused by the ego./When the ego is laid before God, in other words, when the ego is illuminated with the knowledge of God, it begins to fade; for it denies its limited being and it realizes the being of God. /So it loses all its tyranny, and becomes mild, which is being poor in spirit. /This makes man's whole life heaven, both here and in the hereafter./ 'Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.'/ There is a saying in Persian, 'If your word is sweet, you can win the world.' The world is too small when meekness can win even the hearts of men, for the heart can contain a thousand such worlds./ 'Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.'/ There are only two paths: the path of light and the path of darkness. The former leads to all joy, while the latter leads to all sorrow. Not everyone understands this, but the one who understands goes in pursuit of it, for he knows that the only sustenance of his soul is righteousness./ 'Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.' /’The warmth of one's own feeling takes away the coldness from another person's heart. /Therefore, one cannot receive mercy either from the earth or from heaven, unless one has oneself awakened mercy in one's soul./ 'Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.' /This purity of heart is not only in thought, feeling, and action; it is the purity, which in the East is called Saf, from which the word Sufi is said to have come. /This Saf makes the heart pure from all that is not God, in other words, the heart must see and realize all as God and God as all. / 'Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.' /Only those who make peace in life who are unbiased, unselfish, or impartial, and this is the nature of God, before whom all, rich or poor, foolish or wise, are equal. /His mercy is upon all, and He bestows His gifts on all, both the deserving and the undeserving. /Therefore, those who follow the way of the heavenly Father are really His deserving sons./ ‘Ah! ‘tis on a tiny space of earth thou art creeping through life—a pigmy soul carrying a dead body to its grave.’ Marcus Aurelius

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Quran and Wisdom of Hazrat Inayat Khan

And He is the Forgiving, the Loving. (85:14 Quran)/ This new book, Quran and Wisdom of Hazrat Inayat Khan, to be published by All Things That Matter Press gets its breath of life from the wisdom of Hazrat Inayat Khan. /A little over a century ago he came from India to US, then traveled to Eastern and Western Europe as far as Russia in an attempt to unite east and west in love peace and harmony./ Divinely inspired in music and in knowledge of esoteric and exoteric religions he strove toward teaching God-realization, not promoting any particular faith, not even his own in which he was born, Islam. /This book contains a selection of verses from the Quran which extremists ignore, picking only the ones which they can distort to suit the fever of their own hate, malice, injustice and intolerance. / These verses need no clerics, scholars or theologians to interpret or misinterpret by the very virtue of their all-encompassing rhythm of mercy, justice and compassion. / Each Surah begins with a quote from Hazrat Inayat Khan with clear explanation. /At the end of each chapter are chunks of his lectures or contemplations./ The concept of unity in all three faiths, Judaism, Christianity and Islam is the major theme resonating in all chapters of this book borrowed from the Quran and from the works of Hazrat Inayat Khan. /The Jews, Christians and Muslims, collectively known as, People of the Book, is a recurring theme throughout this book, validated by the Quranic verses./ God Realization as taught by Hazrat Inayat Khan a decade and a century ago is another theme of universal reality which binds humankind together under the Grace of Divine blessings given to all unconditionally regardless of their piety or shortcomings. /Self-Realization coming through the discipline of spiritual understanding reaches the rungs of final theme in later chapters of this book which explore and disclose the beauty of knowing oneself inwardly for attainment of living harmoniously with friends, families and nations./ Learning wisdom from within and unlearning what we have learnt from without, leading us toward a journey in esoteric realms free from dogma and orthodoxy./ It is more important to know the truth about one's self than to try to find out the truth of heaven and hell./ It is more important to find out the truth about oneself than to find out the truth about heaven and hell, or about many other things which are of less importance and are apart from oneself. /However, every man's pursuit is according to his state of evolution, and so each soul is in pursuit of something but he does not know where it leads him. /The first sign of realization is tolerance towards others. /There are the words of Christ: 'In the house of my father are many mansions' and those of the Prophet: 'Each soul has its own religion.' /This means that according to his evolution so man knows the truth and the more a man knows, the more he finds there is to learn. In order to attain truth one must make one's own life truthful./ This is life in its moral aspect. The more truthful one is in one's everyday life the more one practices this moral despite its great difficulty, the more one approaches the only religion which there is. Truth is the very self of man. /Truth is the divine element in man./ Truth is every soul's seeking. /Therefore as soon as the clouds of illusion are scattered, that which man now begins to see is nothing but the truth which has been there all the time. /He finds that the truth was never absent; it was only covered by clouds of illusion. By changing his own nature, by making himself more truthful, he disperses the clouds of falsehood within and without, and begins to see life as it really is both inwardly and outwardly. /From this time onwards, the meaning of religion becomes clear./ When a person really wants to find the way, it is not very far from him. /It depends on the sincerity of the desire to find it whether it is far or not./ What is necessary for finding it is not much reading, or discussion or argument, but a practical study of self. /One questions one's own self: what am I? /Am I a material body, or a mind, or something behind a mind? /Am I myself or my coat? /Is this object "me," or something different? /Is this body my cover, or myself?/ There is One Truth, the true knowledge of our being, within and without, which is the essence of all wisdom. /Hazrat Ali says, 'Know thyself, and thou shalt know God.' /The Sufi recognizes the knowledge of self as the essence of all religions; he traces it in every religion, he sees the same truth in each, and therefore he regards all as one. /Hence he can realize the saying of Jesus; 'I and my Father are one.' /The difference between creature and Creator remains on his lips, not in his soul. /This is what is meant by union with God. /It is in reality the dissolving of the false self in the knowledge of the true self, which is divine, eternal, and all pervading./ 'He who attaineth union with God, his very self must lose,' said Amir. Hazrat Inyat Khan/ 'Take the first step in faith. You don't have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.' Martin Luther King Jr.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Mom Dearest

A pang of pain must be washed away inside the baptismal waters of poetry before I could write another word about my mom. She died in Pakistan, while I was here in USA./ Like the gnarled olive branches/ My soul/ Twisted in precious memories/ Gazes at my Mother/ Sick, helpless, dying—alone/ While I/ Gulfs apart in time, continents/ Write, write, write/ Boundless vacuums in life/ Empty days and dream nights/ Drift, journey, reach out/ One link to gentleness/ Mother/ How exquisitely tender/ The sense of pain/ The ribbon of reveries snaps/ Despair and isolation/ Agony most dear/ Mom dearest/ Could you tell me again/ Love hurts not/ Love is—not pain/ Would you write/ Just this once/ I live/ Love,/ Mom/ Mom cultivated in me the love for song and poetry, and love for words. / Not just words, but warm, soothing words filled with the light of joy and inspiration./ Paradoxically her love sweet and boundless became my haven and prison both for me that is./ I couldn’t endure the thought of being separated from her even for one day./ One particular incidence still brings tears to my eyes, when recollection seizes me with the pincers of loss and grief./ Though the incidence itself was not tragic!/ My cell of a prison was my college dorm, my first night away from home pressing upon me like the slabs of ice./ Mom was staying with friends, promising to visit me the next day before she returned home./ So terrified and lonesome I was in my unfriendly room that I cried myself to sleep. / The morning was no better than the night rigged with nightmares, and I had attended classes in some daze of pain and disconsolation./ A realization, rather revelation was dawning upon me that since I had never been away from mom, I had never known that how terrible and devastating this experience could be./ Afternoon was a long, dreary journey from corridors to classrooms. / And as I was hurrying back, rather fleeing to my lonesome refuge, I could see my mom sailing toward me gracefully. / In a flash, my feet had taken wings, and before I knew I had fallen into her eager embrace, weeping and sobbing./ So loud and uncontrollable was my distress that the men working in the yard had stopped their work, their eyes riveted to us./ Has someone died in your family, madam? One gardener was bold enough to ask my mom./ Since mom didn’t answer, still pressing me closer with an aching tenderness, another young man edged closer./ Why is she crying? The man stood anxious and solicitous./ Fortunately, no death in the family! Mom flashed him a sunny smile./ Just left her here last evening, and made the mistake of visiting her today?/ After returning home, mom began the crusade of instructing me in the art of living through her witty letters sealed with commandments./ This kind of learning was another painful revelation, but she guided me lovingly and pontifically. / Her letters had become my talisman, lending me the courage to graduate and then get married./ Continents away I was separated from her, but her letters kept coming, inspiring me with the need to write and befriend words which would be my friends forever./ Though the word-friends had abandoned me in my grief and misery at her death, yet I could be consoled with her words./ The beautiful memory of her had become a living proof of her love that she gave me all, becoming My All in pain and inspiration. / Mother’s day still clouds my eyes with the mists of tears, but I offer them to her sweet memory with one prayer of a caress./ Love you, Mom, Forgive!

Friday, April 6, 2018


Afghanis, though hosting a potpourri of clan, race and culture have one common ideal amongst them, and that is their spirit of independence which defies even the thought of being ruled or subjugated. / They don’t regard Americans, Russians or Europeans as enemies, but their outlook toward foreign presence in their homeland is similar toward Arabs who have been trying to rule them for the past few decades in the name of Islam, and that outlook is disgust and bitterness with a sense of hopelessness. / To understand their fear, plight or behavior, it would be beneficial for the peace of the world, if we could have a brief overview of the history of Afghanistan. / This land and its people have endured centuries of raids, massacres, marauders and fortune-hunters, and yet have remained resilient in their spirit of independence against the hurricanes of woe, tragedy and devastation./ No one has ever been able to rule the fierce tribes of this land inundated with wild, treacherous valleys and terrains with the exception of Babur, the first Moghul of India./ Babur and later Moghuls in succession safeguarded Kabul as their precious Jewel to polish and preserve until the sixth Moghul emperor in line lost this jewel as well as the jewel of India by the grand folly of his zeal, savagery and intolerance./ Roundabout of the ancient Afghanistan/ 2000 BC-1500 BC/ Aryans came to Afghanistan—the time of Rigveda/ 628 BC/ Zoroaster introduces new religion in Balkh/ 330 BC-323 BC/ Alexander conquers Persia, Afghanistan/ 120 AD/ Buddhist culture flourishes under king Kanishka. / Buddha first given a human face one hundred and seventy-five feet in width and one hundred and twenty feet tall at the mountain of Bamiyan./ 400/ Invasion of White Huns. /They destroy the Buddhist culture, and leave most of Afghanistan in ruins./ 642/ Arabs invaded Afghanistan from the western city of Herat, introducing the religion of Islam./ 970/ Mohammed Ghazni consolidated the conquests of his predecessors and turned the city of Ghazni in Afghanistan into a cultural center as well as a base for frequent forays into India./ 1219-1221/ Mongol invasion by Genghis Khan with a massive destruction of the cities of Herat, Balkh and Bamiyan. / 1273/ Marco Polo discovers silk route on his voyage from Italy to China./ 1393/ Tamerlane conquers Afghanistan./ He chooses the city of Herat as his capital, rebuilding most of the Afghanistan’s infrastructure destroyed by his ancestor. His tomb is in Samarkand. / 1504-1530/ Babur is the undisputed lord of Kabul—king and padishah. /The city of Kandahar ruled by the Persians. /Kabul in possession of the Moghuls till Year 1709/ 1709-1738/ Mir Wais Hotak frees Kandahar from the Persians. / Later, Hotak’s son Mahmud Hotaki conquers Isfahan, the capital of Persia, assuming the title of Persian Shah. / Hotaki begins the reign of terror and is murdered by his cousin Ashraf Khan, who becomes the new Afghan leader. / Hotaki’s brother Shah Husayn rules Kandahar./ Nadir Shah from Persia conquers Kandahar, Ghazni, Kabul and Lahore./ 1747-1826/ Ahmad Shah Durrani, a Pashtun from the Abdali clan elected king in a loya jirga after the assassination of Nadir Shah./ He establishes the modern state of Afghanistan from his capital of Kandahar, uniting the fragmented provinces into one country./ His rule extended from Mashad in the west to Kashmir and Delhi in the east, and from Amu Darya (Oxus) River in the north to the Arabian sea in the south. / All the successive rulers till the Year 1818 were from the Durrani’s Pashtun tribal confederation./ 1826-1838/ Dost Mahmud gains control in Kabul./ The Great Game of British and Russian Empires sue for power and influence in Afghanistan. / Dost Mahmud is deposed by British, while the city of Herat is besieged by the Persians in the Year 1837 to retake Afghanistan from the clutches of British and Russia / 1839-1842/ First Anglo-Afghan war with British. Mohammad Akbar defeats British./ 1843/ Dost Mohammed returns, Afghanistan declares independence./ 1865/ Russia occupies Bokhara, Tashkent and Samarkand./ 1878/ Second Anglo-Afghan war with British. / Amir Sher Ali refuses to accept British mission in Kabul. / This conflict brings Amir Abdur Rahman to the throne while the British and Russians establish the boundaries of Afghanistan./ 1880/ Afghan woman by the name of Malalai carries Afghan flag forward after the soldiers carrying the flag are killed by the British./ 1919/ Abdur Rahman’s son and successor are assassinated./ Amanullah Khan takes control of Afghanistan./ Third Anglo-Afghan war with British. / The British relinquish control over foreign affairs by signing a treaty at Rawalpindi./ August 1919 becomes the Day of Independence for Afghanistan./ 1919-1929/ Amanullah Khan’s father-in-law and foreign minister gains support of Loya Jirga in implementing Article 68 of Afghanistan’s first constitution, which made elementary education compulsory./ Amanullah Khan was forced to abdicate in Year 1929 by the forces led by Habibullah Kalakani./ 1929-1973/ Amanullah’s cousin Nadir Shah defeats Habibullah Kalakani and becomes the king of Afghanistan./ In Year 1933 Nadir Shah is assassinated by a Kabul student in revenge killing, and his son Zahir Shah succeeds as the king of Afghanistan./ 1973-1978/ Daoud Khan succeeds as a ruler over the Republic of Afghanistan in a military coup against Zahir Shah. / The communist People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan splits into factions, one led by Nur Muhammad Taraki and Hafizullah Amin, and the other by Babrak Karmal. / 1978-1979/ The regime of Daoud Khan was overthrown by Nur Muhammad Takaki and Babrak Karmal. / Afghanistan becomes the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan under the rule of Nur Muhammad Taraki. / Many decrees were issued under the rule of Taraki, amongst them the rights of women. / Anahita Ratebzad—a leader of the Marxist group and a member of revolutionary council reported in the Year 1978 in the famous New Kabul editorial: Privileges which women, by right, must have are equal education, job security, health services and free time to rear a healthy generation for building the future of the country. / Educating and enlightening women now is the subject of close government attention./ Meanwhile USSR sets foothold in Afghanistan by contacting to build roads, schools and hospitals. / A band of students dubbed as Mujahideen, funded by United States government to weaken the power of USSR rebel against the new reforms in Afghanistan. / Amidst the bouts of violent uprising Nur Muhammad Taraki is overthrown by Hafizullah Amin, and Russians send troops to invade Afghanistan./ 1979-1989/ Nine years of soviet war and occupation against Mujahideen leads to civil war./ Meanwhile America, CIA, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia supporting and assisting Mujahideen, including the Yemeni Arab by the name of Osama Bin Laden. / During this time of chaos and warring factions, power shifts from Karmal to Najibullah and to Mujahideen./ 1992/ Civil war in Afghanistan, the collapse of Soviet Union, and Najibullah government overthrown by Mujahideen. / Mujahideen seize Kabul./ 1996-2001/ Mulla Omar rules Afghanistan./ 2001 December/ Hamid Karzai becomes the leader of Afghanistan./ Babur biography:/ Zahiruddin Muhammad Babur was born on February 14 1483 in the town of Andijan, in the Ferghana Valley which is in eastern Uzbekistan. / Ferghana Valley is about four hundred and twenty kilometer east of Tashkent, and seventy-five kilometer west of Andijan. / At the southern tip of Central Asia it cuts across the borders of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan./ During sixteenth and seventeenth century Afghanistan’s north kingdom of Balkh was ruled by Uzbeks. /West was ruled by Safavid rulers from Persia./ East was under the sway of the Moghuls. / Babur’s father Omar Sheikh was the king of the Valley of Ferghana. / After Omar Sheikh’s death, Babur on the rung of twelve summers was thrown into the jungles of warfare against his uncles and Uzbeks. / Babur lost Ferghana—the pearl of Uzbekistan while striving toward possessing Samarkand—the pearl of the East. /He won and lost Samarkand three times, and conquered Kabul in Year 1504. / Under his reign Kabul flourished as the center of poetry and literature, commemorating this land enriched by poets, saints, philosophers and astronomers./ The most famous amongst them Rabia, Rumi, Jami and Ulugh Beg. / Rabia in tenth century was born in the city of Balkh in Afghanistan and settled in the city of Basra in Iraq./ Rumi in thirteenth century was born and educated in Balkh in Afghanistan./ Jami in fifteenth century was born in the city of Herat in Afghanistan. / Ulugh Beg, though born in Persia became the governor of Samarkand. / He wrote accurate trigonometric tables of sine and tangent values correct to at least eight decimal places, and built his famous observatory in Samarkand./ Babur himself was a poet and an architect./ Writing poetry and his own memoirs!/ Designing palaces and planting gardens. / When he conquered Delhi and Agra in the Year 1526, becoming the first Moghul emperor of Hind, he ordered the construction of grand highway from Agra to Kabul, posting couriers every ten kilometers with a fresh supply of horses for the delivery of goods and messages./ Babur died at Agra in the Year 1530, longing for Kabul. / Later his remains were transferred to Kabul by his beloved wife Bibi Mubaraka, known as the Afghan Lady, and the emperor was buried in his own garden of Shahi-Kabul amidst glorious blooms and no monument to block the sunshine./ ‘With the slaughter of multitudes/We have grief and sorrow/Every victory is a funeral/When you win a war/You celebrate by mourning.’/ Tao Te Ching

Monday, February 5, 2018

Peace Memorial Revisited

'It's not the load that breaks you down. It's the way you carry it.' Lena Horne/ Today is the 91 Year death anniversary of Hazrat Inayat Khan and his teachings are being shared all over world as a mark of reverence and celebration/He came to America Year 1910 with a message of peace, unity and harmony in all religions/ Even after more than a century ago his message of love still resounds fresh and inspiring/Below is an excerpt form his teachings which is so pertinent to our times in throes of uncertainty/ Memorial Note:/ Hazrat Inayat Khan - July 5, 1882 - February 5, 1927/ Following a bout with pneumonia, Inayat Khan departed from this world on February 5, 1927, at the Tilak Lodge, located along the river Yamuna near Delhi, India./ His burial tomb is in the Basti Nizamuddin neighborhood of Delhi./ Inayat Khan described the essence of his spiritual message with the following words, which are offered here to commemorate his life and teachings:/ Our sacred task is to awaken among those around us and among those whom we can reach in the first place the spirit of tolerance for the religion, scripture, and the ideal of devotion of one another; our next task is to make man understand people of different nations, races and communities, also of different classes./ By this we do not mean to say that all races and nations must become one, nor that all classes must become one; only what we have to say is that whatever be our religion, nation, race or class, our most sacred duty is to work for one another, in one another's interest, and to consider that as the service of God. .../ The central theme of the Sufi Message is one simple thing, and yet most difficult, and that is to bring about in the world the realization of the divinity of the human soul, which hitherto has been overlooked, for the reason that the time had not come./ The principal thing that the Message has to accomplish in this era is to create the realization of the divine spark in every soul, that every soul according to its progress may begin to realize for itself the spark of divinity within./ This is the task that is before us./ Now you may ask, what is the Message?/ The Message is this: that the whole humanity is as one single body, and all nations and communities and races as the different organs, and the happiness and well-being of each of them is the happiness and well-being of the whole body./ If there is one organ of the body in pain, the whole body has to sustain a share of the strain of it./ That by this Message mankind may begin to think that his welfare and his well-being is not in looking after himself, but it is in looking after others, and when in all there will be reciprocity, love and goodness towards another, the better time will come./ The need of the world today is not learning, but how to become considerate towards one another./ To try and find out in what way happiness can be brought about, and in this way to realize that peace which is the longing of every soul; and to impart it to others, thereby attaining our life's goal, the sublimity of life./ 'People kill each other for idols/Wonder makes us fall to our knees'/Gregory of Nyssa/ Love from France/ '5 February 2018/ Dear Companions on the Path,/ I wish you a blessed Visalat Day!/ May the peace, blessings, and love of God be with you on this special day as we celebrate the earthly and heavenly life of our guiding spirit, Hazrat Inayat Khan./ Today, in the presence of many companions here at Fazal Manzil, and joined in thought and spirit with all of you throughout the world, I am issuing a Declaration announcing that Pirzadi-Shahida Noor-un-Nisa will henceforth be included in the Silsila of the Inayati Order./ Please see the Declaration in French, German, and English./ Stimulated by the discovery of a play by Pirzadi-Shahida Noor in the Astana Archive, over the last several months I have been deeply reflecting on her life and legacy. /It has become clearer to me than ever before that the time has come for our Order to truly claim her as an essential tradition-bearer of the Sufi Message. /Tremendous inspiration can be drawn from her writings, and even more from her life, which was a real-life Jataka tale./ God willing, Pirzadi-Shahida Noor’s play, Aede of the Ocean and Land, will be published this year./ It is a fascinating spiritual retelling of Homer’s Odyssey./ At Zenith Camp in Switzerland this summer a week will be dedicated to Pirzadi-Shahida Noor, chivalry, and Aede. /Please do come if you can. And this, we hope, will just be the beginning. Yours ever, Sarafil Bawa,