Caravanserai Magazine Archive

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


1989 Volume 3. "Back pages"

Dargah Efforts Continue

The area immediately surrounding the Dargah of Hazrat Pir-o-Murshid Inayat Khan has at last been cleared of tenants. This has been a long term project, as it was necessary in some cases to help the tenants find better accommodations, and make other changes in their lives. It was necessary, however, to make improvements to the Dargah and its environs.

The next step in the efforts to make the Dargah an oasis of spiritual peace is to find land some distance away for the activities of the Hope Project, which, among other things, helps feed under-nourished children. There are a number of bureaucratic problems involved in acquiring land in India, though. Government permission is required to open a bank account to receive contributions; there is a risk of squatters occupying the land; and litigation with regard to the land tides is always a possibility.

Amongst other work in India, Wali van Lohuizen reports that last April there was a two day, Urdu language seminar, ‘Sufism and its Social Relevance in the Indian Context,’ to which both he and Walia van Lohuizen presented papers. Wali's was on the subject of 'mysticism in daily life,' while Walia wrote on the subject of 'moral culture.' The seminar was organized by Sheikh Saleem Ahmed of the Abdur Rahim Khan-e-Khanan Memorial Society, a near neighbour of the Dargah of Pir-o-Murshid Inayat Khan in New Delhi.

International Council Meets

On August 9th of this year, just before the opening of the Summer School, Sufis from around the world came together at Murad Hassil for the meeting of the International Council. Although not every country in which the Movement is active could attend, there were delegates from England, Canada, Italy, South Africa, Switzerland, India, and The Netherlands. A report was also heard from Brazil.

The meeting was opened by Murshid-zade Hidayat, who said that a sincere feeling of brother-sisterhood sets the tone for our energy in doing the work of the Movement. After sending loving greetings to all those unable to attend, he concluded, saying that the watchword for our work is Courage.

The Council provides a forum where workers can compare notes and discuss issues they face in their various countries. In South Africa, for example, Latifa Grotepas reported that the four centres are very well attended, and that regular performance of the Confraternity is seen as a valuable method of supporting the Sufi Message. In England, Virya Best noted that the work of the Movement is somewhat hampered by the multitude of other Sufi organizations, as well as by certain fundamentalist sects which actively oppose any teaching not according to their own form. On the other hand, Wali van Lohuizen reported that there is no opposition to our efforts in India, where he and Walia were invited to participate in a seminar organized by another Sufi group.

The meeting also heard that some small headway is being made in other countries. Karima Sen Gupta announced that she has received some inquiries from Poland, arising from the German-language newsletter, Sifat. As well, Jemaluddin Buwalda noted that the General Secretariat receives inquiries from around the world, recently including a number from Nigeria.

Improvements Made to Murad Hassil

Murad Hassil, the Universel built at Katwijk, has had some exterior renovations done, which should make the structure more weather proof. The original construction of grey concrete block was not completely impervious to the fierce North Sea gales, and the gradual impregnation of the blocks with water and salt was posing some danger. Now the building has been steadied in a waterproof insulation, and painted.

The extensive work was accomplished thanks to a legacy from Ms. Iman Kunst, a 'Mela Tela' organized by local mureeds, and other donations, including a sculpture by Mussavira van Pallandt, which was to have been sold to the City of Amsterdam.

The renovation has changed the colour of the Universel from its original, weathered grey to a light cream, viewed by some as a loss and by others as an improvement. One consequence of the work which all regret is that the sea-shell flying heart mosaic, donated by the Sufis of South Africa when the building was first erected, has been covered up. Alternatives were considered, but it was concluded that the rescue of the mosaic would have been just too costly.

The next major improvement at Murad Hassil will be the building of a mureeds' house, offering accommodation to pilgrims or those on retreat, which should be completed within the year.

Rocky Mountain Dates Set

The dates for the 1990 Rocky Mountain Sufi Camp have been set. The camp will run from Tuesday, June 5th to the following Monday, the 11th. This marks a departure from previous years, in which the camp ran from weekend to weekend. Camp organizers regret any inconvenience this may cause, but report the change arises from a modification in policy by the lodge where the camp is held.

This will be the 11th annual camp held at Lake O'Hara, which is under the guidance of Murshid-zade Hidayat Inayat Khan. The isolation, the limited size of the gathering, and the rugged beauty of the alpine setting all contribute to a harmonious atmosphere which has been shared by Sufis from as far away as Holland and New Zealand. The camp not only helps refresh the spirits of those who come, but has also served to incubate a number of important developments, among them the Sacred Element Rituals, first choreographed here by Sufia Sill.

As the camp fills up quickly, early reservations are recommended. For more information on the 1990 camp, write to Akbar Kieken, 787 Ranchview Circle NW, Calgary, Alberta, Canada, T3G 1B1.

Murshid-Zade Hidayat Honoured

Artists Embassy International, an American-based organization, recently announced it had chosen Murshid-Zade Hidayat Inayat Khan as one of eleven select honourees at its 38tii Anniversary Celebration and Art Show Retrospective, to be held at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. The honour comes as a result of Hidayat's musical compositions, which, according to Artists Embassy International, have contributed to understanding through the arts in San Francisco and the world.

Hidayat's compositions, many on overtly spiritual themes, are well known in the serious musical world. His most recent symphony, subtitled 'The Nehru,' was commissioned by the Government of India. His shorter pieces have frequently inspired choreographers, and in particular the Poetic Dance Theatre Company, affiliated with Artists Embassy International, regularly performs to his music.

Artists Embassy International was founded in 1951 by Aldiya Clark Youngman. It is a non-profit organization dedicated to furthering intercultural understanding and peace through the universal language of the arts.

Summer School Successful

The International Summer School of the Sufi Movement, held at Murad Hassil in Katwijk, Holland last August, was once again a stirring success. In true Sufi fashion, the school retained some traditional aspects while incorporating some new approaches, and the mix appeared to satisfy both mureeds and interested people.

Among the innovations was a three day retreat preceding the Summer School [see Roshan Buwalda's report on this elsewhere in this issue], daily zikar walks conducted by Murshid-zade Hidayat, two performances of the Sacred Element Ritual as choreographed by Sufia and Qadir Voordouw, and the reception of a number of interested people into the Brotherhood Activity.

More established forms included the readings of sacred papers of Pir-o-Murshid Inayat Khan, healing ceremonies, regular zikar practice and both formal and informal Universal Worship ceremonies. There were also several excellent concerts, adding artistic grace to the days of study, meditation and exchange.

The Summer School was well attended this year, with mureeds visiting from Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Denmark, Sweden, Switzerland, England, South Africa, Canada, the United States and New Zealand as well as the many supporters from Holland. Exact figures are difficult to obtain, as many come for only a few days. On the days open to interested people, however, attendance ran to 120, bringing the main hall near capacity, and far surpassing the capacity of the dining area. Extra tables were set up in the upstairs foyer at meal times, but many diners spilled outside, where the weather was fortunately fine.

Although plans are underway for next year, exact dates have not been announced. Those wishing more information on the 1990 Summer School may write to the General Secretariat.

New Publications Available

The voluminous and wide-ranging teachings of Pir-o-Murshid Inayat Khan continue to generate new books. Readers of Caravanserai will know that the old, orange covered hardcover books in the series 'The Sufi Message of Inayat Khan' are going out of print, to be replaced by the re-edited and expanded paperback series, 'A Message of Spiritual Liberty.' Because new material is being included, though, this will not be uniform with the earlier series. The old volume VIII, for example, will be so much larger that it will be printed as the new volumes VIII and XIV. Ultimately, the new series is expected to number eighteen volumes.

For those devoted to the older series of books, however, they will still be available in an inexpensive Indian paperback reprint. When completed, this will include all thirteen volumes plus a new index. By agreement with the Indian publisher, the series cannot be sold in stores in the west, but it may be distributed through Sufi centres, for the very reasonable price of 14,50 Dutch guilders. Also available from India is the booklet produced for the inauguration of the renovated Dargah, The Radiance of Love, Harmony and Beauty. This booklet sells for 7,50 Dutch guilders. Both it and the 'Sufi Teachings' series may be purchased through the General Secretariat in The Hague.

Some works have also been translated. In Brazil, Helena Passos-Rist has translated Philosophy, Psychology and Mysticism into Portuguese, and published it at her own expense. In Italy, through the efforts of Indra Pedrazzoli, a publisher has brought out Italian editions of In an Eastern Rose Garden and Gayan and Vadan will follow soon.


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