SHORT ESSENTIAL READINGS V
In Celebration of His Highness the Aga Khan’s Visit to East Africa and Imamat Day, 11th July 2011
ASPECTS OF THE ‘DIDAR’
Introduction: What does Ismaili and related Shia literature reveal about the doctrine of Imamat? What are the pre-requisites in our daily lives to maximize the benefits from the didar (lit. glimpse) of the Imam of the Time? What should our attitudes be in the presence of Mawlana Hazar Imam? These are some of the themes which “Essential Readings” is covering through short excerpts. This is the fifth in a series which began on June 25th. We welcome personal reflections, narratives and poetry relevant to didar and the East African visit from all our readers. Please submit your pieces to Simerg@aol.com with appropriate references.
ESSENTIAL READINGS (V)
|1. SUPPLICATION AND A TEST OF PATIENCE
A verse from a ginan had transformed the life of Ismailbhai Gangji. His fortunes kept on climbing both spiritually and materially. When the 46th Imam Shah Aga Hassanali Shah visited Ahmedabad, Ismailbhai very humbly presented himself in the service of the Jamat and the Imam. For the first three days of the visit, however, Ismailibhai sensed that the Imam did not appear to be pleased with the service he was rendering. These hours and days seemed like forever for Ismailbhai as he underwent untold suffering in his heart wondering why the Imam appeared to be displeased with him. He supplicated in his heart, “forgive me Imam-e-Zaman, and cast but one kindly look upon me!”
On the fourth day, the Imam summoned him for an audience. He stood meekly before his Mawla, gazing steadily at his holy face refulgent with Divine Light, while a myriad of feelings rose and sank in his heart. But this apprehension was soon to be over. “Ismail,” said the Imam graciously, “we confer upon you the title of Varas.” Ismailbhai (now Varas) was startled at the abruptness of this.
The Imam continued: “We lay upon you the responsibility of the organisation of the whole of Kathiawad.” The Imam added, “We have noticed in the past three days how patiently you can bear all things, and it is with this quality of patience and forbearance that we know you can take care of the Jamat. It is in virtue of this that we appoint you Varas for all Kathiawad.”
Varas Ismail then most humbly submitted: “Khudavind’s spiritual gift and bounty this day have been boundless. But the great onus that Khudavind places upon me is too heavy for an insignificant creature such as I am. I do not possess the merit to undertake such a great responsibility.”
Imam-e-Zaman rejoined in affectionate tones: “Varas, put your mind at rest on that score. We shall inspire you with the spirit that will carry you to a successful end in the cause of what is enjoined upon you. The inspiration will be ours, but the renown yours.”
“Amen!” said the Varas with not a word more.
Varas Ismail dedicated his time to bringing peace and harmony in the Jamat. He developed higher understanding of himself through special prayers. He became an example to others by his actions, manners and habits.
* * *
2. THE BEATIFIC VISION OF THE IMAM
The Beatific vision is of two kinds: one a physical meeting with the Imam and the other a spiritual recognition of his essence, through which God is recognized. Speaking of the second of these, Pir Sadr al-Din, in his ginan Sakhi maha pad keri vat koek janere writes:
Friend! None but a few know of the exalted station. Indeed, they alone recognize it who have found the true guide.
Friend! Within the heart, at the confluence of the three spiritual rivers, there is an imperishable light. There – a shimmering effulgence, pearls are showered.
Friend! I completely lost consciousness of my physical self when my meditation mounted the empyrean, bursting forth.
Friend! I beheld the place of the lofty throne, I saw the seven islands, the nine continents.
Friend! The religious scriptures and books cannot fathom this, for there is neither day there, nor night, neither sun, nor shade.
Friend! My Lord is not such that He can be spoken of. He is to be seen – for He is indescribable, and nameless.
Friend! How sweet is that Lord, indescribable, nameless. Says Pir Sadr al-Din, truly, with my own eyes, I have seen Him!”
* * *
3. THE BEST OF FATIMA’S PROGENY
Run to the sanctuary of the safe house,
He brings souls out of their darkness
You see him as the rising sun of clarity
By his brilliant wisdom, hearts are cured,
He manifests himself in every age
His mission is established in the world
He certainly is Mustansir, the triumphant
He is the best of Fatima’s progeny
He is God’s mercy on his servants
I have composed a poem about him
* * *
4. THE SHIPS OF SALVATION
The people of the House of Prophethood
They are that which exists forever
They are the ships of salvation for those
They are the rain abundant in moisture
The essence of their souls is knowledge
Indeed, it is their invitation which rescues
* * *
|5. MUNAJAT (SUPPLICATION)
Ya Ali Khuba Mijalas
Ya Ali Khuba Mijalas Zinat Karake
Aaj Raj Mubarak Hove,
O Ali! In the fair assembly,
Today blessed be your rule
Ya Ali Didar Lenekun Aye Shah Teri,
O Ali! To be blessed with didar
Ya Ali Tera Nasiba Roje Awal-Se,
O Ali! Your fortune from the very first day (right from the beginning)
Ya Ali Shah Kahun To Tujakun Baja Hay,
O Ali! To call you Lord is your due.
Ya Ali Takhta Ne Chhatra Tujakun Mubarak,
O Ali! May your throne and canopy (exalted position) be blessed,
Ya Ali Takht ne Chhatra sunake tere
O Ali! At the news of your Takht Nashini (Takhta ne Chhatra)
Ya Ali Maheman Khanemen Momankun Jab
In the guest-house when the celebration of your Takht Nashini takes place,
Ya Ali Teri Mubarak Badike Khatar,
O Ali! To offer greetings,
* * *
For an excellent introduction and glossary of key terms please click: Literary Reading: The Munajat – Ya Ali Khuba Mijalas
Date Essential Readings (V) posted: July 8, 2011
For other “Didar Series” posts please scroll down or click:
Short Essential Readings (I) (The Imam – Proof of God, Dazzled by the Light, Companionship on High, Unity of Imamat, Supplication)
Short Essential Readings (II) (The Didar: Life’s Ultimate Purpose, The Unveiling at Sijilmasa, the Soul, Our Spiritual Parents, Supplication)
Short Essential Readings (III) (Imam’s Essence, Ism’ul-Azam, Quhistani’s Example, The Imam – A Cosmic Necessity, Supplication)
Short Essential Readings (IV) (Aab-i Shifaa, The Good One, The Nur of Imamat, Obedience to the Imam, Supplication)
Short Essential Readings (V) (You are reading it: The Example of Ismail Gangji, Imam’s Beatific Vision, Fatima’s Progeny, Imams – Ships of Salvation, Supplication)
Short Essential Readings (VI) (The Merciful Glance, The Manifest Imam, Jawhar’s Devotion, Love for the Imam and True Faith)
1. Excerpts from Varas Ismail Gangji: The Turning Point (on this Website)
2. Adapted from The Ismailis in the Middle Ages: A History of Survival, a Search for Salvation by Shafique N. Virani, Hardcover – May 3, 2007. Also click » Ismailis in the Middle Ages.
3 and 4 are from Shimmering Light: An Anthology of Ismaili Poems, ed. Faquir M. Hunzai and Kutub Kassam, pub. I. B. Tauris in association with The Institute of Ismaili Studies, 1997. For a PDF catalogue of IIS publications please click IIS publications.
5. For complete explanation click Literary Reading: The Munajat – Ya Ali Khuba Mijalas (on this Website).
A Note to Readers: Please click Home page for other recent posts and click What’s New for links to all articles published on this blog since March 2009. Subscribe to this Website via the box near the top right of this page.
We welcome feedback/letters from our readers. Please use the LEAVE A REPLY box which appears below. Your feedback may be edited for length and brevity, and is subject to moderation. We are unable to acknowledge unpublished letters.