An Exploration of Eight Ismaili Ginans on Science, Spirituality and Pluralism

ARTICLES BY SHIRAZ PRADHAN

Mawlana Hazar Imam on Ginans

SPIRITUALITY

Many Ismaili ginans relate the spiritual experiences of Ismaili Pirs and describe the meditative techniques used as an aid in the spiritual journey, and also the important milestones and inner cosmology corresponding to the different stages (maqamat). However, the Pirs emphatically have stated that the experiences of higher spiritual stations are not describable in rational language to people who are not initiated in the tariqa (path) and who have not experienced the different stations themselves. Pradhan uses two ginans by Pir Shams and Pir Sadardin to develop this theme.

PLEASE CLICK: The Inward Odyssey in Two Key Ismaili Ginans, “Brahma Prakash” and “Sakhi Mahapada”

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Imam Sultan Mahomed Shah, His Highness the Aga Khan (1877-1957), had once said that “In your heart is a heap of fireworks, if you do not light it, how will you get Light (Roshni) in your heart?” The theme of the re-orientation of the soul and its migration towards the “Country of the Beloved” is captured beautifully in “Ek Shabda suno mere bhai….”

PLEASE CLICK: Ismaili Spirituality in Pir Shams Shabzwari’s Ginan “Ek Shabada Suno Mere Bhai”, accompanied with recitation

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Continuing on the theme of spirituality and self-understanding in Ismaili Ginans, Pradhan  uses a parable from a Ginan of a young lion cub who grows up in the flock of sheep, and starts behaving like a sheep until it sees its own reflection in a pool to know its true identity.

PLEASE CLICK: An Explanation of the Ismaili Ginan “Kesri Sinha Sarup Bhulayo”

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COSMOLOGY AND SCIENCE

Are the answers to secrets that Hadron Collider will reveal already in the Ginans? Pradhan’s study focuses on a granth composed by Syad Imam Shah around 1400 CE that he regards as one of the most scientifically advanced and compact ancient document, besides the Ikhwa-al safa.

PLEASE CLICK: Cutting-Edge Science in Syad Imam Shah’s Naklanki Geeta — Are the answers to secrets that Hadron Collider will reveal already in the Ginan?

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Based on the acceptance by modern science of the Big Bang origin of our universe, Pradhan proceeds to analyse two Ismaili Ginans that have striking parallels of modern cosmology and astrophysics in them.

PLEASE CLICK: Concepts of Modern Cosmology and Astrophysics in Two Ismaili Ginans, Choghadia and Mul Gayatri

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PLURALISM AND UNITY OF MANKIND

Our happiness and satisfaction must be anchored on pluralism and the underlying unity of faiths of mankind. Pradhan explores two different old traditions which echo these messages. One is from the Shia Ismaili Ginanic tradition and the other is from the Hindu Gujarati tradition.

PLEASE CLICK: Ideas of One Humanity, Love and Peace in World Religions: Comparative Study of Ginan “Hum dil Khalak Allah Sohi Vase” with a Hindu Bhajan

Date posted: August 15, 2016.

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A Story from ‘Pyara Imam ni Pyari Wato’: Historical Memories by Sairab Abuturabi and Jaferali Bhalwani

Loving Tales of our Beloved Imams: (I) Farazdaq’s Praise and Support of Imam Zainul Abideen (a.s.)

“…This tale belongs to ages past. It goes back to the era of Hazrat Imam Zainul Abideen (a.s.), our third Imam, from whose veins was to ensue the Divine Line of the Imams. He was the Imam who, on the battlefield of Karbala, received the nass of Imamat from his father, Hazrat Imam Hussain (a.s.) with the blessing: “Through you the line of Imamat will continue till the Day of Judgment…”

Please click for story

The Parable of the Lion (and the Sheep) in the Ismaili Ginan “Kesri Sinha Sarup Bhulayo”, Composed by Pir Shams

Following his highly acclaimed piece Ismaili Spirituality in Pir Shams Shabzwari’s Ginan “Ek Shabada Suno Mere Bhai”, writer Shiraz Pradhan continues his exploration of the spiritual dimensions of Ismailism with yet another ginan composed by Pir Shams, namely “Kesri Sinha”.

Please click: An Explanation of the Ismaili Ginan
“Kesri Sinha Sarup Bhulayo”

Please click on image for article. Photo: Istockphoto.com. Copyright.

Please click on image for article. Photo: Istockphoto.com. Copyright.

Through the parable in the ginan about a lion cub who grows up in a flock of sheep and starts to behave like a sheep, the Pir seeks to encourage us to correct our own errors and recognize our true nature. Pradhan’s essay cross references other writings and ginans with a similar theme, and finally concludes with a translation of  the five verses of “Kesri Sinha” for the benefit of the readers.

Honesty – A Story by a Young Writer

“We looked around in the crowd of people and stopped at the sight of a small booth.This small booth was quite different; it was just a big piece of cloth on the ground with a few fresh-looking oranges. We walked toward the booth and saw a young girl sitting on a stool, reading next to the booth. Her mind seemed to have whirled into the story, because she didn’t even notice us when we walked toward her….” —  click Honesty by Zhang He

My father cleared his throat and asked, “How much are the oranges?”. Illustration by Natalie Chin.

My father cleared his throat and asked, “How much are the oranges?”. Illustration by Natalie Chin. Click image for story.

A Story: The Fish Who Dreamed to See the Forest

Once upon a time, a little fish lived in a pond. But she wanted to go to the forest. The pond was deep, and high banks hid the surrounding forest from her view. Wanting to see the forest, the fish would leap out of water now and then, reaching higher over the pond with the strength of her tail….Read the Complete Story

A Story from ‘Pyara Imam ni Pyari Wato’: Historical Memories by Sairab Abuturabi and Jaferali Bhalwani

Loving Tales of our Beloved Imams: (I) Farazdaq’s Praise and Support of Imam Zainul Abideen (a.s.)

“…This tale belongs to ages past. It goes back to the era of Hazrat Imam Zainul Abideen (a.s.), our third Imam, from whose veins was to ensue the Divine Line of the Imams. He was the Imam who, on the battlefield of Karbala, received the nass of Imamat from his father, Hazrat Imam Hussain (a.s.) with the blessing: “Through you the line of Imamat will continue till the Day of Judgment…”

Please click for story