Saturday, May 13, 2017

Silence and Rumi;

Move outside the tangle of fear-thinking and Live in silence; RUMI

As Jalaluddin Rumi said:
Why are you so afraid of silence,
silence is the root of everything.
If you spiral into its void,
a hundred voices will thunder messages you long to hear.
There is a story in the life of Mevlana Jalaluddin Rumi.

 He was working with his disciples in the desert, in a small monastery. A few travelers passing by, just out of curiosity stopped and went in. They saw that in the courtyard the students were sitting, the disciples were sitting, and Mevlana — Mevlana means the beloved master — Mevlana Rumi was answering them.
They got fed up, because strange questions and strange answers… they went on their way. After years of traveling, they came back, and stopped again to see what was happening. Only Mevlana Rumi was sitting there, and there were no disciples. They were really shocked — what had happened? 

They went to Mevlana and they said, “What happened?”

Mevlana laughed. He said, “This is my whole work. I crushed all their questions, and now they have no questions so I have told them, `Go and do the same to others: crush their questions. And if you find somebody you cannot manage, send him here!’”

Because when all questions are removed, you are again a child, utterly innocent. Then your mind is bound to be silent, and there is no possibility of it getting disturbed. And a great serenity comes in your being. 
Be silent,
Only the Hand of God
Can remove
The burdens of your heart
Be silent,
The one who has seen
The Beloved's Ocean
Can not and should not be roaming
Around a stream.
Be silent,
Since the Silent One
Will make everyone:
To taste, taste, taste, taste
This Wine
I took a vow of silence
And my tongue is tied
Yet still,
I'm the speaker without a speech

This is the answer. 

There are no words in it, and it is not relevant to any question in particular; it is only a state of silence.

In everyday life we are confronted with a thousand troubles that we are not always evolved enough to meet, and then only silence can help us. For if there is any religion, if there is any practice of religion, it is to have regard for the pleasure of God by regarding the pleasure of man. 

The essence of religion is to understand.

And this religion we cannot live without having power over the word, without having realized the power of silence

.Silence is an ocean. Speech is a river.
When the ocean is searching for you, don't walk
into the language-river. Listen to the ocean,
and bring your talky business to an end

The mystic Kahlil Gibran wrote:
Silence is painful, but in silence things take form, and we must wait and watch, In us, in our secret depth, lies the knowing element which sees and hears that which we do not see nor hear. All our perceptions, all the things we have done, all that we are today, dwelt once in that knowing, silent depth, that treasure chamber in the soul. And we are more than we think, We are more than we know. That which is more than we think and know is always seeking and adding to itself while we are doing - or think we are doing nothing. But to be conscious of what is going in our depth is to help it along. When subconsciousness becomes consciousness, the seeds in our winter-clad selves turn to flowers, and the silent life in us sings with all its might.

There is a great Sufi book — I would like to call it the greatest book in the world because nothing is written in it; it is absolutely empty. It is almost twelve hundred years old, and the first man who purchased it was Mevlana Jalaluddin Rumi.

His disciples were very intrigued, very curious, because he never read that book in front of anybody. When all are gone he would close the door and pull out the book, which he used to keep under his pillow, and then he would read it. 

Naturally it was creating much curiosity, “What kind of mysterious book is it?” People tried in every possible way. Sometimes a few disciples were found on the roof, removing tiles and looking underneath to see what Jalaluddin Rumi is reading, but they could not figure it out.

The day Jalaluddin Rumi died, they were more concerned with the book than Jalaluddin Rumi… and they loved the man. They loved him as Sufis have never loved any other master. Mevlana means beloved master. That word is used only for Jalaluddin Rumi and for nobody else. In twelve hundred years in the world of the Sufis there has never been a more charming, more beautiful, more loving, more human being than Jalaluddin Rumi.
But even the disciples forgot that their master had died. They rushed and pulled out the book from underneath the pillow and they looked, and they were amazed — the book was absolutely empty! 

There was nothing to read. 

But those who were very close and intimate devotees, they understood the meaning.

Words have to be dropped.
Only then can you have silence
My Heart is putting its hand
On its lips to say:
Be silent,
This is not the time to speak
This is not the place for crying.

What gives power over words?

 What gives the power that can be attained by silence? 

The answer is: it is will power which gives the control over words; it is silence which gives one the power of silence. It is restlessness when a person speaks too much. The more words are used to express an idea, the less powerful they become. It is a great pity that man so often thinks of saving pennies and never thinks of sparing words. It is like saving pebbles and throwing away pearls. 

An Indian poet says, 'Pearl-shell, what gives you your precious contents? Silence; for years my lips were closed.'
For a moment it is a struggle with oneself; it is controlling an impulse; but afterwards the same thing becomes a power.
Silence actually brings one even closer to God.....

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Hazrat Ali; Father of Sufism

Thinking about the beginning of Ramadan.
Thinking about the beginning of the Qur’an.
Thinking about the line of Imams.

Everything has a beginning.

The Qur’an begins with the fatihah. 

There is a tradition that the entirety of the knowledge of the Qur’an can be found in the fatihah; the entire fatihah is contained in the first line, bismillah ir-rahman ir-rahim, everything in that phrase is found in bismillah; all of that knowledge is found in the first letter, beh – a boat-shaped letter with a dot underneath; all of the knowledge of the beh is found in the dot, and that dot is Hazrat Ali.

The fatihah begins our prayers; it begins our interaction with revelation.

All of that is encompassed in a dot. 
That dot is Hazrat Ali. 
The first dot of the Qur’an, the meaning of the Qur’an, the beginning of the line of Imams, Hazrat Ali AS.

 Who is the king of men?
Who is the Lion of God?
 Who is the hero without peer?
Who is Hazrat Ali?

No figure in the early history of Islam, except the Prophet himself, has been the locus for so much controversy and debate as that of ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib. These controversies exist on more than one level, ranging from questions of politics and history to issues in theology and metaphysics.

I am not here to give the biography of a great man. I am not here to give a history lesson. I am here to talk of the importance of Hazrat Ali to sufi's.

Who is the Ali, the father of sufism and holder of all occult mysteries?

The last of those who are known as the Rightly Guided Caliphs, the greatness of Imam Ali is best represented by story of Khaybar. The story begins that Prophet Muhammad SAW laid seige to the fort of Khaybar, but the walls were so well-fortified that the army could not break through. The Angel Gabriel came to the Prophet Muhammad and told him to recite the nad-e ali:
Call Ali call Ali call Ali
Call Ali, the manifestation of marvels
He will be your helper in difficulty
Every anxiety and sorrow will end
Through your friendship. O Ali, O Ali, O Ali

The following passage from the Nahj al-Balaghah speaks of esoterism and the initiation:

"Here (and he pointed to his heart) I have abundant knowledge, if only I could find people to bear it. Unfortunately, I have found learners who are not faithful to it, applying it to the devices of belief in this world Thus does knowledge die out with the passing of its bearers. O God! Certainly the earth is not devoid of those who rise in honor of God for good reason, either openly and notably, or in fear and obscurity, so that the proof and clarifications of God may not be in vain. But how many are they, and where are they? They are, by God, fewest in number but greatest in rank with God. By them God preserves the divine proofs and clarifications until they entrust them to others like them and plant them in their hearts of others like them. By them knowledge enters into real insight, and they are imbued with the spirit of certainty.They consider easy what seems hard to those who lead a life of comfort, and they take to what the ignorant are averse to. They are physically in the world, yet their spirits are suspended in the highest liberation. They are the deputies of God on earth, and are those who invite people to the religion of God. Oh, how I long to see them!"

Here ‘Ali was speaking of none other than the esoteric teachings of Islam and the idea of the khawass, or spiritual elite. He was speaking of the true mystical knowledge, which can only be carried by those who are transformed by its truths. 

This is why it dies out with the passing of its bearers; books cannot convey such knowledge, they can only speak of it. He also echoes here the fact that many are called, but few are chosen, making note of those who did not make proper use of what he had taught them.

Even in the time of ‘Ali those qualified to receive spiritual teachings and pass them on to others like them were in the minority, although sanctity was of course much more widespread. 

This explains why out of thousands of Companions of the Prophet, and even of the smaller group who were closer to the Prophet, only a small handful of men were to pass on the inner teachings of Islam, with ‘Ali functioning as the main channel for this transmission

Even in the time of ‘Ali those qualified to receive spiritual teachings and pass them on to others like them were in the minority, although sanctity was of course much more widespread. This explains why out of thousands of Companions of the Prophet, and even of the smaller group who were closer to the Prophet, only a small handful of men were to pass on the inner teachings of Islam, with ‘Ali functioning as the main channel for this transmission. 

There are traditions that after Hazrat Fatima's death, he was deeply immersed in meditation and spiritual works.  Many sufi vigils and rituals trace their origin from him or his disciples. 

So renowned was Ali's occult knowledge about kabblah and astronomy that Jewish sages would routinely come and discuss meanings of astrological phenomenon with him. 

 In the  Mathnawi below by Rumi we have a reference of ‘Ali, Like ‘Ali, sigh into the well.  This refers to the tradition that tells that ‘Ali once whispered into a well the secret, esoteric doctrine taught to him by the Prophet, along with a warning against its being divulged. 

O ‘Ali, thou art all mind and eye, relate a little of that which thou hast seen!
The sword of thy forbearance has rent my soul, the water of thy knowledge has purified my earth.
Tell it forth! I know that these are His (Gods) mysteries, because tis His work (way) to kill without sword
Thine eye has learned to perceive the Unseen, (while) the eyes of the bystanders are sealed
Inasmuch as the moon (even) without speech is showing the way, when it speaks it becomes light upon light.
Since thou art the gate of the city of Knowledge, since thou art the beam of the sun of Clemency,
Be open, O Gate, to him that seeks the gate, so that by means of thee the husks may reach the core

Prophet Muhammad, the undisputed head of the Muslim community during his life, said at Ghadir-e Khumm:
He whose mowla I am, Ali is his mowla
Now, this declaration is universally recognized – it mentioned in the Qur’an:

In the Sufi tradition it is related that the Prophet once said to ‘Ali, You are of the rank of Aaron in relation to Moses, except that there will be no prophet after me

Perhaps we may examine this statement in light of the prophetic hadith stating that there will be ulama (those endowed with knowledge) of my ummah who will be of the rank of the prophets of the Children of Israel. Here we can draw a parallel between the spiritual function of at least some of the Hebrew prophets with the great saints of Sufism, lines beginning respectively with Aaron and ‘Ali.  No Hebrew prophet after the Sinatic revelation was of the same rank as Moses, just as no saint in Islam could duplicate the role of the Prophet.

Think also of the tradition of the Prophet:
I am the City of Knowledge and Ali is the gate.
The intellect – aql – and knowledge – ilm – are complementary parts of a larger ethic – the ethic of education. Hazrat Ali once said that all containers are filled when things are placed in them except the container of knowledge which expands. He standardized Arabic grammar so that the Qur’an could be understood by everyone. His sayings and writings, preserved in Nahj ul-Balagha – are full of teachings that are applicable today as when he wrote them.

The Nahj al-Balaghah is replete with passages where ‘Ali is giving answers of a theological nature to questions of the nature of God and the cosmos. Notably we find eloquent descriptions of tawhid, or the Doctrine of Divine Unity, which are expressed with in Arabic of almost matchless conciseness and power.

Unfortunately, not much remains of ‘Ali’s interpretation of the Qur’an. He wrote an esoteric commentary on the Qur’an, which is now lost, and which survives in fragments in the commentary of Jafar as-Sadiq.

Even without a great body of material directly attributable to him we still can get an idea of his understanding of the Qur’an. The Prophet said, O People, among you is one who struggles with the interpretation (tawil) of the Qur’an as I struggle with its revelation (tanzil),referring to ‘Ali. ‘Ali himself said, No verse has been revealed without me knowing for what it was revealed, and where it was revealed. 

The towering figure of Qur’anic commentary Ibn Masud said, The Qur’an has been revealed with seven readings, each with an inner meaning and an outer. ‘Ali ibn Talib knows the outer (al-zahir) and the inner (al-batin).[The Sufis have always held that each verse of the Qur’an holds meaning upon meaning, revealing truths much deeper than the surface meaning of the text, a meaning that is of course also true on its own level. Some have assigned four levels of meaning, others seven. These numbers must be understood metaphorically, of course, since in principle the meanings of each verse are infinite.

 Ibn Arabi said that each time one reads a verse a new meaning should be made clear. 

Therefore, when Ibn Masud said that ‘Ali knows the inner and outer meanings, this means that he was qualified to interpret the symbols (ayat) of the Qur’an.

The great Persian poet, Nasr Khusraw says:
The springtime of a friend of Ali is always full fo the efflorescence of Ali.
None deserves eminence and praise among the people except he who befriends Ali.
The heart of every Shi’i is protected from Satan in the fortress of Ali.
As Ali is from the Prophet’s family, the true Shi’i belongs to the family of Ali.
A hundred years of praise is not equal to even one in a thousand praises of Ali.
Courage, knowledge, abstinence, generosity: these are the qualities I revere in Ali.
Therefore, my back is bent with gratitude under the weight of the favours of Ali.
My under and outer garments are faith and knowledge, just as they were for Ali.
If you want to understand his status, reflect upon the role and the deeds of Ali:
he was a lion, the battlefield his meadow, and Gabriel was the spearman of Ali.
Ali’s cave is of knowledge, not stone, for stone does not befit the glory of Ali.
The clouds of ta’wil do not shed their droplets except on the trees and the seed-fields of Ali.
Ali had no desire for gold or silver; faith and knowledge were the choice of Ali.
There was not fault in him nor blemish in the tongue, hands and garments of Ali.
Husayn and Hasan, the Prophet’s reminders, were none other than the reminders of Ali.
Truly no one can be saved from the fire unless he comes under the protection of Ali.

So in this Ramazan on the date of his martyrdom, send blessings on the father of Sufism; the holder of occult mysteries and the savior of the downtrodden and persecuted.

Call Moula Ali to open your heart to mysteries of Quran and the universe and read the following lines Rumi wrote about Hazrat Ali

Come into the shade (protection) of the Sage whom no conveyor can carry off the Way.
His shadow on earth is like Mount Qaf, his spirit is (like) the Simurgh that circles (soars) exceedingly high.

If I should tell of his qualities until the Resurrection, do not seek (expect)and conclusion and end to them.

The (Divine) Sun has veiled Himself in Man: apprehend (this mystery), and God knows best what is right

O ‘Ali, above all devotional acts is the Way (of God) do thou choose the shadow (protection) of the servant of God

Everyone took refuge in some act of devotion and discovered for themselves some means of deliverance.

Go thou, take refuge in the shadow of the sage, that thou mayst escape from the Enemy that opposes (thee) in secret

When the Pir [master] has accepted thee, take heed, surrender thyself (to him): go, like Moses, under the authority of Khizr

God has declared that his (the Pirs) hand is as his own, since he gave out (the words) the Hand of God is above their hands.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017


I love this poem by Rumi, there are so many secrets in it that a new layer opens up to me every time I read it. It's about the dance between love, fear and surrender. 

Love Said to Me
I worship the moon.
Tell me of the soft glow of a
candle light
and the sweetness of my moon.

Don't talk about sorrow,
tell me of that treasure,
hidden if it is to you,
then just remain silent.

Last night
I lost my grip on reality
and welcomed insanity.
saw me and said,
I showed up.
Wipe you tears
and be silent.

I said, O Love
I am frightened,
but it's not you.
Love said to me,
there is nothing that is not me.
be silent.

I will whisper secrets in your ear
just nod yes
and be silent.

A soul moon
appeared in the path of my heart.
How precious is this journey.

I said, O Love
what kind of moon is this?
Love said to me,
this is not for you to question.
be silent.

I said, O Love
what kind of face is this,
angelic, or human?
Love said to me,
this is beyond anything that you know.
Be silent.

I said, please reveal this to me
I am dying in anticipation.
Love said to me,
that is where I want you:
Always on the edge,
be silent.
You dwell in this hall of
images and illusions,
leave this house now
and be silent.

I said, O Love,
tell me this:
Does the Lord know you are
treating me this way?
Love said to me,
yes He does,
just be totally…
totally… silent

Love came,
and became like blood in my body.
It rushed through my veins and
encircled my heart.
Everywhere I looked,
I saw one thing.
Love's name written
on my limbs,
on my left palm,
on my forehead,
on the back of my neck,
on my right big toe…
Oh, my friend,
all that you see of me
is just a shell,
and the rest belongs to love.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Sufi Love

In Sufism , love is an alchemical force of enlightenment; the lightning bolt which brings you back to life. 

I was dead, I became alive, I was tears, I became laughter
The sovereignty of love appeared, and I became ever lasting sovereign.

  What is such a love, and why do certain people fall so deeply under its spell that it transforms their entire being? 

  I have been fascinated by such questions for a long time and I found answers only by going into the soul-places where mortal love and immortal love meet. Romeo and Juliet were mortal and even died for love, yet they attained a kind of immortality by being allowed to live on in verse.Love is a doorway to a greater reality.

The human form of love can be, and for the Sufi is, the ladder to Divine Love.In Sufism, the beauty of one’s beloved is considered to be a representation (symbol) of the Perfection of God. No wonder then that it has the power to evoke true love in the heart of a lover!

  Sufism decrees that by learning how to love through the love of a person, the sincere Sufi could – in principle – transform his or her love of a person into the love of Allah. 

In the Hindi Film Anwar (2007), the chosen murshid (guide) advises the young protagonist of the movie Anwar, that he has to fall in love in the earthly realm in order to evolve true love for God in his heart.        

        Poetry has that elusive quality of transcending words and lightly touching upon this secret garden of the human heart.In the book, Rumi, The Persian, The Sufi, Rumi quietly murmurs and speaks from his heart about his personal experience:

Do you know who is alive?

That one who is born in love.
I am not the moon, or the universe, or thunder
Or clouds
I am all love, all love, I am all soul by your
I am full of love, flaming as a burning tree;
A stranger to everyone except love, like oil and

While Divine Love might appear to some to be completely distinct from human love, for many Sufis such as Ahmad al-Ghazali (d. 520/1126), Ruzbihan (d. 606/1209), Ibn ‘Arabi (d. 638/1240), Rumi, and ‘Iraqi (d. 688/1289), there was a continuum from human love to Divine love.

The contemporary scholars Chittick and Wilson, in the introduction to their translation of ‘Iraqi’s Lama’at, discussed this relationship of human love and Divine love.

          Speaking of ‘Iraqi’s understanding of love, they stated, “There is no irreducible dichotomy between divine and human love…There is a gradation from the love of forms, which is “apparent love” (‘ishq-i majazi) to the love of God, which alone is ‘real love’ (‘ishq-i haqiqi).

Love is the ark appointed for the righteous,
Which annuls the danger and provides a way of escape.
Sell your cleverness and buy bewilderment.
Cleverness is mere opinion, bewilderment intuition. RUMI

 To love so that nothing of you remains, is the way to enlightenment.You no longer exist.Non-being is the way to being, and love is the most adequate method to disappear.Just as nature abhors a vacuum, God also abhors a vacuum. 

You become a vacuum, and God rushes into you.

Rumi's couplet is alluding to this state.

My head is bursting
with the joy of the unknown.
My heart is expanding a thousand fold.
Every cell,
taking wings,
flies about the world.
All seek separately
the many faces of my love.

           That is the meaning when Jesus says, "God is love." I say to you: Love is God -- because it is the purification of love that will bring you to God.Love is the bridge. Love is the process of alchemical change in your consciousness.

        When you fall in love with a person you have seen a glimpse of the divine. It is not really the person that you have fallen in love with; They have been just a window, a beautiful window but still a window. You have seen something beyond, it may have been just a flash; that’s why it is so difficult to explain your love affair to anybody.If somebody asks, ’Why have you fallen in love with this person?’ it is almost inexplicable. And if you try to explain it looks absurd, even to you. But the problem is that you have not fallen in love with this person at all: you have fallen in love with something beyond.

"This woman, who is your beloved, is in fact a ray of His light,
She is not a mere creature. She is like a creator.  RUMI

       Wherever love happens it is always between you and God: sometimes you have glimpsed Him in a flower, sometimes in a star, sometimes in a song, sometimes in the giggle of a child. God comes in so many ways but all these are fragments of God.For Sufis believe that only when a person treads on the path of earthly ‘true romantic love’ and suffers in the pain of separation from one’s beloved, can one get in touch with the rend of separation from God Almighty that is suppressed in the heart of every Individual.

A true Lover doesn't follow any one religion,
be sure of that.
Since in the religion of Love,
there is no irreverence or faith.
When in Love,
body, mind, heart and soul don't even exist.
Become this,
fall in Love,
and you will not be separated again

  We hear the same answer that Ibn Arabi heard in one of his intimate conversations when he asked Allah “How could one get close to You?”And Allah responded, “Through an attribute that I do not possess”, meaning ubudiyyat, which means servant-hood

    So on this Valentine's day,
Love people and allow others to love you. Don’t create barriers. Whenever love knocks at your door, remember it is God who has knocked. Reject love and you have rejected God. 

Welcome love and you have welcomed God. 

God comes as love, flowers as love.

Begin with love so one day you can know God because without Love, we are not really alive! 

You think you are alive

because you breathe air?
Shame on you,
that you are alive in such a limited way.
Don't be without Love,
so you won't feel dead.
Die in Love
and stay alive forever. Rumi

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Ego Death in Sufism

It's grotesque irony of 2017 to write about ego when a few blocks away from me, a man completely ruled by ego is taking oath as leader of the free world, whose self -if scanned by an alien scanner - would only reveal the ruthless pursuit of his ego; riding on the waves of other egotists  with threatened ego’s resolving their identity crisis by hating anyone of different religion or color or language.
Sufism is a war against Ego, its poetry, music and discourses want to lighten the hold ego has on human psyche and ultimately destroy it completely.

Ego is not an anatomical structure. It’s not something that you will see on an X-ray. Ego is an informational structure. That’s what the term ego means: it is a Latinized translation of “das Ich,” which is German for “the I.” “The I” is “the information” that you have about you. It is a mind made created story. The story is useful but a time comes when the story becomes toxic. “The I” (ego) balances on identification with impermanent information.

So long as we do not die to ourselves,
and so long as we identify with someone or something,
we shall never be free.
The spiritual way is not for those wrapped up in exterior life. 
 Farid ud Din Attar

What Attar refers to as your external cloak is really your ego!

Ego is impermanence of form. Self-esteem, self-worth, self-view are various ego forms, various forms of information that we have about ourselves. Ego is information about our form, not about our essence.
Forms change. “How” you are at any given point isn’t fixed—it’s in constant flux.

The False Mirrors of EGO

When I became a seeker, I started asking people what they wanted in life and their answers always revolved around egoic desires: money; validation from opposite sex; validation from parents; from society------it was all ego noise. They had never gone inside of themselves to ask themselves what they really wanted to do.

Avicenna has listed these false mirrors of ego to dissolve before a seeker can identify his real self;

The Mirror of Reflection
The Mirror of Others’ Minds, 
The Mirror of Possessions 
The Mirror of Body 
The Mirror of Time, Memory
The Mirror of Beloved
The Mirror of Consciousness

We are all captives of these mirrors: we draw our egoic identity from being superior/prettier/richer than other people. Once you study yourself in these mirrors you will see that 9 of these mirrors offer you nothing but distortions - you are not how you look, you are not others’ thoughts about you, you are not your body, you are not even your own thoughts about you, and so on and so
Liberation is a liberation from all boundaries.

There is a deceptively simple tenth century book called the "Creed of Imam al-Tahawi. One of the first lessons is that God is not bound by anything, and is not bound by being not bound by anything. Sufi poets say that true humanity is not bound by anything, that your true essence is locked in a series of cages.

The cage of gender and cast.

The cage is your personal history and the notion of time and memory.
The cage of society, with its institutionalized restrictions (often on appropriate and forbidden relationships).

It’s only the 10th mirror (the Mirror of Consciousness) - the mirror of meditation - the inner mirror - that allows you to catch a true glimpse of your essential self.

Nazism or racism is stuck on the mirror of identity; glorify the one lie you and demonize the one different from you. A racist’s entire identity is defined by the chance of his birth; he is nothing beyond being white or yellow.

To begin with, the mirror gives us only an image, and this is a triviality; A MIRAGE.
You've no idea how hard I've looked for a gift to bring You.
Nothing seemed right.
What's the point of bringing gold to the gold mine, or water to the Ocean.
Everything I came up with was like taking spices to the Orient.
It's no good giving my heart and my soul because you already have these.
So- I've brought you a mirror.
Look at yourself and remember me.  RUMI

The spiritual masters tell us that if we knew the truth and had a glimpse of the divine reality, we would not bother with all the hide and seek of the ego-personality and the unhappy consequences it brings.

Nothing can kill the nafs like the shadow of the master

hold tight to his skirt for he is a good killer of your self
Your lower self is after material affairs
         how long will you trade in unworthy affairs, give them up
Someone who says ‘I am thinking to deny my lower self’
         is still captive to the lower self

And he who says, ‘God is merciful and kind’
         is also being manipulated by that wretched self

We are being warned that the most important work of the seeker is the difficult task of subduing the authority of the nafs, as it is our most dangerous enemy. One metaphor used to describe how one must deal with the self is:

Imprisoning it - killing it - burning it - and scattering its ashes.

Sufism imprisons the self. Abstaining from materialism kills it. Love of God burns it. 

Gnosis scatters the ashes of the self, eliminating all of its traces.

Until one hair strand of your being you, remains
          the business of vanity and self-praise, remains
You said, ‘I broke the idol of my mind, therefore I am free’
          this idol ‘that you are free from your mind’, still remains
                                                                              Moulana Rumi

The ego  uses everything for its own benefit, including truth, justice, fairness and even God. It even worships God to get something in return. Therefore the self needs to be dismantled.

A true believer and an infidel both say ‘God’
          but there is a difference between the two
The beggar (infidel) says ‘God’ for the sake of bread
          the true believer says ‘God’ in his very soul” 
                                                                              Moulana Rumi

If we can break through the illusion of identifying with our ego as the only reality; we would find our true sole purpose.  

Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) says:
“He who knows his self knows his Lord.”

Prophet Jesus (pbuh) says:
“One who knows all, but is lacking in oneself, is utterly lacking.” 

I hope that we can start this new year by walking away from our ego and its wars, and trying to find our true essence away from the masks and cages that ego imposes on us.