Caravanserai Magazine Archive

Published 1988-2000 semi-annually on behalf of the Sufi Movement International by the Sufi Movement in Canada.


1988 Volume 1. Back Pages

The renovated Dargah Inaugurated

The renovated and enlarged Dargah Sharif or tomb of Pir-O-Murshid Hazrat Inayat Khan was inaugurated at a ceremony on March 29 of this year, in New Delhi. We are happy to include two reports on the work in India: a note on the Hazrat Inayat Khan Memorial Trust by deputy administrators of the Trust, Wali and Walia van Lohuizen, edited from the souvenir booklet ‘The Radiance of Love, Harmony and Beauty,' and some personal notes made by a long time mureed on her first visit to the Dargah.

The covered space around the mazar [tomb] measures about 34'xl9.5' having openings on all the walls except ...the north wall toward the service lane [which has] prayer panels. The openings of all these walls are having white marble stone Jali in pentagon design with a five pointed star, apart from marble tiles cladding outside and inside both.

A cut out measuring 9'x9' has been provided in the middle right above the mazar proper. This cut-out is covered with a golden yellow fiberglass dome, laid over a raised square in an arch-shaped structure so that it is easily noticeable...

— New Delhi architects M.A.U. Khan and M. Elahi

About the Dargah and the Trust

The Hazrat Inayat Khan Memorial Trust, located in New Delhi, has been created for religious and charitable purposes. It is founded on the Sufi Message of love, harmony and beauty, as brought by Hazrat Inayat Khan (1882-1927).

The goal is two fold: to unite all people longing for love, harmony and beauty; and to create not only a physical opportunity for this to happen, but also to create the appropriate atmosphere.
The original first activity of the Trust was — and remains — to take care of the Dargah (memorial tomb) of this Sufi saint and master, who worked for human brotherhood, religious tolerance, mysticism in daily life, the unity of religious ideals, and a practical life philosophy. [...]

During the last ten years the Trust has worked to make the Dargah a dignified place and has begun making it suitable for the Sufi work. It is becoming a place of peace and happiness suitable for silence and meditation, a home for everybody looking for inner experience, its atmosphere charging every open-hearted visitor with exaltation and new energy. It is intended to become an ecumenical meeting ground in the real sense of the word for Hindus, Buddhists, Parsis, Sikhs, Jains, Jews, Christians, Muslims, and all others with sympathy in their hearts. At the same time, it must serve as a place of help for our fellow men.

Here everyone can feel at home and free, and can meet people from other circles on 'neutral' yet warm and inspired ground. It is a centre for the spreading of the ecumenical Sufi Message of love, harmony and beauty [which is] a Message of universal brotherhood and tolerance, a basis for inter-religious brotherhood, a platform for inter-communal understanding and a spiritual centre.

Gradually, the land around the Dargah had become completely occupied by temporary dwellings. To enlarge the area for our direct use was a very difficult and expensive task, because the Trust wanted to help the tenants living on the spot in acquiring better accommodation. In certain cases the Trust has given some help to tenants starting businesses.

In this way it also became possible to make some space available for the social, medical and educational programs of the Hope Project Charitable Trust, another Sufi organization working in the name of Hazrat Inayat Khan. The work of this Trust is to provide free social services to those living in the community around the Dargah.

This is quite in the tradition of Sufi Dargahs in India; as well as spiritual activities, the material requirements of those in need are also provided for.

In 1988 the new Dargah building was inaugurated. It was constructed around the original mazaar (tomb) by ASEMA Architects and Tirath Singh Contractor in close contact with the Trust. Its simple design, beautiful materials and harmonious proportions may be a symbol for the scope each individual has for the design of his life and the development of his heart. With this new building new opportunities are opening up.

Even before that time the activities of the Trust had grown steadily and become more intense. During a greater part of the year there are daily prayers and meditations, weekly qawwali concerts, weekly classes of the Inner School; each month Universal Worship is held [...] Occasionally there are concerts of spiritual classical Indian music, [since] music plays such an important role in Inayat Khan's Message. There are regular lectures and courses and the free distribution of food to the local population. There is a small library in a preliminary form, on the fields of Sufism, philosophy, psychology, mysticism and comparative religion.

Further activities are envisaged. The first of these is realized by the publication [in India] of the series of volumes on the Sufi Message by Hazrat Inayat Khan. In the near future the Trust hopes to publish a Sufi journal: 'The Alchemy of Happiness.' Brotherhood meetings will be organized amongst followers of different religions in order to increase mutual tolerance through understanding and realization of the essentials we have in common. Courses will be developed on the Sufi Message on subjects such as: the unity of religious ideals, moral culture as the way to God, the development of personality, the tuning of mind, heart and spirit, etc. Further opportunities will be created to participate in meditation, silence, prayer and spiritual music in order to develop the feeling of sympathy within so that it may radiate. In 1987 the Circle of Friends of Hazrat Sufi Inayat Khan was inaugurated. It is open to all those sympathizing with the Sufi Message of today, who feel stirred by the ideas and ideals of love, harmony and beauty, balance and tolerance, understanding and moral culture; those who look for spiritual development yet standing in the world; who want to strengthen the unity with other friends in order to share and contribute to the development of these ideals within oneself, amongst one another, and around, on a foundation of ever growing sympathy.

Individual Dargah Pilgrimages

As part of an expanding program of service, the Hazrat Inayat Khan Memorial Trust is now offering assistance to Sufis wishing to make pilgrimage to the Dargah of Hazrat Inayat Khan.

This assistance is offered on a trial basis to supplement the group tours organized by Ameen Carp and Shahabuddin Less. For now, the offer is only possible when Wali and Walia van Lohuizen are in Delhi. During these times, visitors will be able to share in daily prayer and meditation sessions, courses and concerts.

Wali and Walia will be most willing to help organize or guide your retreat. They can also help with practical matters, such as making reservations for cheap and decent lodging, giving advice about meals, and the possibility of other activities in India. Plans are also under consideration to improve existing facilities at the Dargah to allow for some private retreat space during the day.

Wali and Walia will be in Delhi from October 5th to November 12th, and again in February and March of 1989.

Report from India

Murshida Hayat Stadlinger was a young girl in 1926 when an inner voice directed her to join her family in Paris. She had heard Pir-O-Murshid Inayat Khan speak in America, and she hoped in Europe she might find the opportunity to hear more. She managed at last to find Fazal Manzil in Suresnes as the Summer School was drawing to a close. She was initiated in the Sufi Message, and treasures to this day her membership card, signed by Murshid himself. Shortly after her initiation, however, Murshid left for the east, where he passed away on February 5th, 1927. Murshida Hayat now lives in Oakland, California, and this year she had the opportunity to visit India, on the occasion of the Urs, the commemoration of Murshid's passing. It was her first visit to the dargah or tomb, which has recently been enlarged and rebuilt through the efforts of a number of dedicated mureeds. While in India, she generously kept notes for Caravanserai, and excerpts follow.

The Urs

We arrived just before 11 am — group had been in meditation since 6 am! But they finally straggled in from the land of ... where they had been & and assembled around our dargah.

A native orchestra began — & did they play for about an hour [...] led by an ancient who talked to the orchestra. Occasionally I heard "Inayat" and/or "Hu." [...]

This really is a holy place — serene & forceful. Yesterday when I came to it — alone — & crept in it to give my salaams & greeting to Murshid, the force was so tremendous & powerful, I could scarcely stand it. And so serene! The little birds fly around, coming in from a feathery tree visible through openings in the ceiling — not directly over the dargah — but on either side of the cupola. And now and then a beautiful little chipmunk flitted its way through. It is a loveable place.

After lunch [...] the children gave a performance. The lower floor was filled with people [...] There were different singers, and then a little orchestra. And a cute dance by about 6 or 8 little girls, all dressed for the occasion in charming saris & other equipment. One youngster had trouble — constant trouble — with her balloon trousers. They kept sliding down from the waist. And every time she came to the fore, she hitched her trousers. I'll bet she was wearing the bloomers of a big sister for the occasion [...]

A Dutch couple, Wali and Walia have an apt. at the other side of this walled enclosure [...] They seem to be at the head of the committee to care for the tomb. Beautiful people [...] oh, so sincere & conscious of their responsibility [...]

Before the ceremony, or at least somewhere along the line, someone took a snapshot of me & the elderly, much bearded Indian grandson of Murshid's teacher [...] We stood just in front of the side of the dargah, which was so impressive with its curtain of garlands plus all the garlands of roses we had placed against it [...] I got permission from Walia to have a garland of roses from it to take home to give our groups in California as a memento. She was pleased to give them to me at the end of the evening concert, which followed the Universal Worship.

[...] So much for the Urs. It was a magnificent experience & brought me close to many Sufis [...]

Leadership structure revised

Murshid Zade Hidayat Takes Larger Role

In January of this year, Murshid Karimbakhsh Witteveen, General Representative of the Sufi Movement, announced certain changes to the leadership structure of the organization. The structure had last been revised in 1982, when a committee style leadership was adopted. This was the result of an agreement which was to lead, it was hoped, to a unification of the Sufi Movement and Pir Vilayat Khan's Sufi Order International. For various reasons, that unity has not come about, although efforts toward contact and cooperation are still being made.

Murshid Karimbakhsh's announcement read, in part: To adapt the cooperative leadership to the evolving needs in the new situation, it is desirable to concentrate the leadership of the activities in one of our leaders, while maintaining the principle of decision making on a consensus basis; focusing together on the inner guidance by Pir-o-Murshid Hazrat Inayat Khan. This would give greater strength and unity in developing the activities of the Sufi Movement along the lines given by Pir-o-Murshid.

We feel that Murshid Zade Inayat Khan, Pir-o-Murshid's second son, with his deep commitment to the Message and devotion to the ideal of brotherhood, should now take over the leadership of all esoteric and exoteric activities. Accordingly, he is now acknowledged — in the official terms of the by-laws of the activities of the Sufi Movement — as:

Pir-o-Murshid of the Esoteric School of Inner Culture named Sufi Order; Seraj-un-Munir of the Religious Activity of the Movement named Universal Worship; President of the section for Social Work named World Brotherhood; Inayat of the Healing Activity of the Movement named Spiritual Healing;
Head of the Activity of the Spiritual Symbology (including Zirat).

Murshid Zade Hidayat Inayat Khan — who expressed the wish to continue to be addressed as Murshid Zade, in the way his father used to call him — will exercise these leadership functions in consensus with the Representative General, who will remain responsible for the organization and administration, and a general leadership council which [...] will be responsible for the overall guidance and supervision of the activities of the Sufi Movement
The leadership council now consists of Murshid Karimbakhsh Witteveen, Murshid Zade Hidayat Inayat Khan, Shaikh-ul-Mahshaikh Mahmood Khan and Murshida Shahzadi Musharaff Khan, with Murshida Ratan Witteveen as secretary.

Murshid Karimbakhsh concluded:

We pray for divine guidance in our work and appeal to all leaders and mureeds to give their full support and allegiance to the leadership so that we can cooperate with love, harmony and beauty for the great aims of the Sufi Movement as set out by Pir-o-Murshid Hazrat Inayat Khan.

Sufi work in Brazil

In 1921, Shabaz and Nuria Best and their daughter Joyce sailed from England to Brazil, as Shabaz had been asked by the Bank of London and South America (now part of Lloyds) to take up a post in their Rio branch.

Both Shabaz and Nuria were direct disciples of Hazrat Inayat Khan, and when he heard of this transfer Murshid told them that the real reason for their journey was to take the Message to that country.

The family lived in Rio de Janeiro until 1952 and during that time, Shabaz and Nuria initiated many mureeds, held weekly services of Universal Worship, Healing services and Mureed classes, and also arranged to have translated and published several of Inayat Khan's books. When they left to return to England, the work was handed on to a small group of faithful mureeds, of whom now only one is still alive, Helena Passos Rist.

Dona Helena has done wonderful work over the past years, revising the original translations into more modern Portuguese and adding several further volumes, all of which have been published, again by her efforts. At the same time she has translated many of the mureed papers and holds regular classes, Healing services and Universal Worship, in spite of ailing health and increasing blindness. She is working on another translation at the moment, but the books already published in Portuguese are: The Inner Life; The Purpose of Life; The Mysticism of Sound; Health; Confessions; Life After Death; Character Building; The Art of Personality; Mental Purification; The Way of Illumination; Cosmic Language; Education; The Mind World; Music; The Alchemy of Happiness; Sufi Teachings and Gayan.

The response to these books all over the Portuguese speaking world has been most encouraging, and Dona Helena receives many letters asking for guidance and also asking that Centres be set up in their particular cities. Unfortunately there are not enough people trained as yet, able to carry out this additional work or go to these different cities. However, undoubtedly the books are answering a heart-felt need amongst the Brazilian people and also wherever Portuguese is spoken, and it is hoped that in time it will, indeed, be possible to start new Sufi Centres within that large country.

There is still much work waiting to be done, as in so many other places too, but it is always encouraging to know how much the Message has spread already, and we greet our Brazilian brothers and sisters and wish them much happiness and success in the wonderful work they are doing.

— Virya Best

Berlin Centre to Host Murshid Karimbaksh

Although forced to go underground during the 1930's and 40's, the Berlin Centre is one of the oldest Sufi Movement centres, having been founded in the time of Hazrat Inayat Khan. Today the Berlin Centre continues to work for the spreading of the Sufi Message. As well as a full program of regular activities, the centre will host the Sufi Movement's General Representative, Murshid Karimbakhsh Witteveen for three days in January, and Ameen Carp for three days in April. The program for Murshid Karimbakhsh's visit is: a class for mureeds on Friday, January 27th; a public lecture on Sufism on Saturday, January 28th; a Universal Worship ceremony on Sunday, January 29th. For more information on this and other activities, contact Wakil or Petra-Beate Schildbach, Menzelstrasse 9,1000 Berlin 33, telephone 826 45 34.

New Representative in Switzerland

Congratulations to Karima Sen Gupta who has taken on the job of National Representative in Switzerland. She will be ably assisted by her husband, Kabir, and replaces Mangala Bernouilli, remembered for many years of devoted service to the Message. For information on activities in Switzerland, write to Karima at Bleimattweg 18, CH - 4104 Oberwil.

'Orange Volumes' to Get New Life

Many mureeds owe their interest in the Sufi Message to a chance encounter with the words of Hazrat Inayat Khan in one of the 'orange volumes.' In recent years, however, these much-loved books have become harder to find on bookstore shelves, and some, such as Volume VIII, Sufi Teachings, have gone out of print entirely. This situation is expected to change with the announcement of a new agreement between the Sufi Movement and an English firm, Element Books.

Beginning in 1989, Element Books of Shaftsbury will be the world wide distributors of the volumes. The company has a proven track record in esoteric literature, and connections around the world. At the same time, work is under way to re-publish the volumes in a revised, expanded format, with soft covers rather than hard. Element Books has advised the Movement that the economy of soft covers is essential to secure commercial sales.

The revision of these volumes is a separate task from that of the Nekhbakht Foundation, which is producing the carefully annotated, scholarly editions of the 'Complete Works' series. The orange volumes contain material which was heavily edited in some cases, and it is the intention of the Movement's Publications Committee to move back toward the original, while retaining a consistent, accessible style. Volume II, The Mysticism of Sound, is now ready and is being printed.

The Sufi Movement is active in Mexico.

A centre in Ciudad Juarez, in the northern province of Chihuahua has been in existence for the past ten years, under the guidance of Sr. Hafiz Roberto Castillo. Sufis come from both Juarez and the city of El Paso, just across the Rio Grande river in Texas for classes and Universal Worship. In 1987 Sufia Sill introduced the Sacred Element Dances there. Hafiz and his son Puran have made some progress translating the works of Pir-o-Murshid Inayat Khan into Spanish; as these become available they are being forwarded to the International Secretariat, for the benefit of others seeking information on the Sufi Message in Spanish


Alabanza a Tí, Supremo Dios,
Omnipotente, Omnipresente,
Todo penetrante, el Unico Ser.
Tomanos en Tus Paternales Brazos,
Levantanos de las densidades de la tierra;
Tu Belleza adoremos,
A Tí gustosamente nos rendimos,
Misericordioso y Comprensivo Dios,
El Señor Idealizado de toda la humanidad.
A Tí solamente adoremos, y hacia Tí
Solamente aspiramos;
Abre nuestros corazones hacia Tu Belleza,
Ilumina nuestras almas con Tu Luz Divina;
jOh, Tú, La Perfección de Amor,
Armonía y Belleza;
Todo Poderoso, Creador, Sustentador,
Juez y Perdonador de nuestras faltas,
Señor Dios del Oriente y del Occidente,
De los mundos del arriba y de abajo,
De los seres visibles e invisibles;
Vierte sobre nosotros Tu Amor y Tu Luz,
Da sustento a nuestros cuerpos, corazones y almas,
Usanos para el proposito que Tu Sabiduría elegido,
Y guíanos por la senda de Tu propia Bondad,
Acercanos a Tí en cada momenta de nuestra vida,
Hasta que en nosotros sea reflejada
Tu Gracia, Tu Gloria, Tu Sabaduría, Tu Gozo y Tu Paz.




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