It is a great pleasure to have been asked to write an article for our Ruhaniat journal.
Today, I wish to spotlight and honor our specific transmission of Baraka.
We are so blessed to have such a lineage to call upon. From Hazrat Inayat Khan, through Murshid SAM, and Pir Moineddin Jablonski. They are all links in the Chain of Blessings (our silsila) which connects us to our lineage and with which we can connect, both in need and in thankfulness.
In addition, it is also important to honor and recognize all the G-D parents we had in those early days of our independence: Joe and Guin Miller, Frida Waterhouse, Father Blighton, Jiyu Kennett Roshi, Teddy Rich, Rev. Gene Wagner, Dr. Seo, plus all those known and unknown to us, who gave us the strength of their support and recognition.
As future historians will note, “Sufi Dancing” went from a garage in San Francisco to a worldwide phenomena. And all in just a couple of generations. Murshid SAM had the transmission to give, and his successor, Pir Moineddin Jablonski, not only had it but manifested it. His Darshan worked, as did Murshid Sams.
Sufism is all about Transmission. It is not about memorizing what has been written. Nor is it an academic treatise to be discussed. Transmission is what assists and powers us from Fana (surrender) into Baka (realization).
Murshid SAM said (in my presence) that he would be remembered in Sufi annals for his inclusion of Fana-fi-Pir (surrender to the teacher who has passed beyond) into the lineage stream. Traditionally one lists Fana-fi-Sheikh (surrender to the embodied teacher), as a start. Followed by Fana-fi-Rasul (surrender to the divine Messenger) and finally, Fana fi Lillah (surrender directly to Allah). Murshid SAM inserted Fana fi Pir after Fana fi Shiekh and before Fana fi Rasul.
This hierarchy of receiving teachings is also sometimes referred to as the “boats” that carry us: Shariat (the form of prayer for all), Tariqat (the taking on of a teacher, who then gives one practices), Marifat (when one receives ones guidance from a Rasul), and Haqiqat (when Allah gives one direct guidance).
Murshid SAM’s addition of Fana-fi-Pir came about from his deep attunement to Inayat Khan, and from his openness to the Spirit of Guidance. This allowed him to do copious, profound commentaries on Hazrat Inayat Khan’s writings, which have served us all after his passing, and which he claimed to be Inayat Khan speaking through him. Alhamdulliah!
On a personal note, for any success gained by the performance of the Absent Healing Ritual, I fully credit Murshida Bhakti Engle for her passage of the Shafia’s Baraka. Ya Shakur!
Our order, The Sufi Islamia Ruhaniat Society, was founded by Murshid SAM, under the direct orders of Pir Dewal Shareef, who gave him the instructions to organize, so as to protect and preserve his work. Murshid SAM said this in my presence.
Murshid SAM always attempted to follow his spiritual orders, thus not blocking the transmissions he carried. He felt that obedience to one’s teachers was to act as a Abdul—a slave to the Divine Will. He once remarked to me he had met the Qtub and was made an ABDUL. “It means slave,” he explained. “But it’s a very high position.”
It is this one’s humble opinion that the Dances were created so as to fulfill instructions he was given by Sufi Barket Ali, who directed him to have 10,000 Americans say “Allah!”
I bear witness to its completion: in 1970 at a “Holy Man Jam” in San Francisco, Murshid SAM led an Allah snake dance. I recall him doing a quick count of the house (there were many thousands present) and turning to Wali Ali (his correspondence secretary at the time) and saying “Write Sufi Barket Ali, and inform him I have completed my assignment.”
It is from such small ripples on the cosmic pond, that events ripen and mature.
Murshid Sam once made a comment about Paul Brunton (A Search in Secret India and A Search in Secret Egypt). His books were popular with us at the time, and someone asked Murshid what he thought about them. “They’re all right,” he said, “but I have a problem with him. His teacher Ramana Maharshi asked him to move to Prague in the early 1930’s and he refused. I blame his refusal for the war that followed.”
Tasawwuf, or Sufism, is based on following in the footsteps of the teacher so that we may receive and actualize their Baraka, and carry it forward into the next generation. It is in this surrender to the Ideal that one’s heart/mind becomes one with the Divine.
The Sufi Invocation calls upon us to embody the Message, and there is no better path to doing this than the Tassawuri Walks of the Masters, Saints, and Prophets, given us through Murshid SAM. Or, as Joe Miller said: “It can’t be taught. It has to be caught.”
Murshid SAM rarely gave walks to his non-disciples. In open meetings, he would use us as demonstrations of what can be accomplished via mureedship, sometimes as walkers, and sometimes as dancers. Dances with participants of only one element were used to demonstrate the reality of the elements in humanity. In addition, there were specific women’s dances, and men’s dances, as well as dances for mureeds only. His test for remaining in the Advanced Dance Class was not a dance, but rather one’s mastery of one of the Astrological Walks.
I observed him during a meeting dancing a partner dance with a woman, who was not a mureed, and afterwards telling her to see Wali Ali for practices, as she was initiated during their interaction. “It was the energy,” he later said upon questioning.
Transmission does not require a formal organization and may, perhaps, be impeded by it. Nonetheless, our order has saved, and organized Murshid SAM’s “work” for future generations. Thus it serves the written. Ya Shakur! May it continue to serve the living.
Once again, it was a true and real blessing to have encountered a being who manifested such deep open-heartedness and lived his connection to the Divine. My first ‘teacher,’ Mother Mary of Mt Shasta, described a real teacher: “A real teacher is like the sun. They give to all, and ask nothing in return.”
All thankfulness for the opportunity to have been with Murshid SAM for two full and overflowing years. Allah Mubarak!
I’ll close with two simple practices I tend to use when I feel in need of assistance:
The first is to call on Murshid: putting “Ya Murshid” on the breath, and allow it to move through one’s bodies.
The second is calling on the Spirit of Guidance: subvocalizing on the tone “Ya Hu” and feeling it resonate all through you.
May these be as helpful to you as they have been for me
Yours in Service to the Real,
Virginia, April 14, 2020