Caravanserai Magazine Archive

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


1990 Volume 5. "Back pages"

Summer School in Holland

The 1990 Summer School at Murad Hassil was the best one ever, according to some sources. Certainly it was well attended, with strong interest both from Holland and other countries. Although largely dedicated to mureeds, a portion of the Summer School was open to interested people, and attendance during some of these days passed 120. This year there was a large contingent from South Africa, who brought their own sunshine with them, as well as a sizeable group of German Sufis, and smaller numbers of Italians, Swiss, Swedes, Turks and other nationalities. As in the past, there were classes in the Zikar of Inayat Khan, symbology, healing and the Universal Worship., as well as sacred readings and daily walking Zikar. There were two excellent concerts, and a very interesting presentation by Walia van Lohuizen on art and spirituality, which began with a composition by Murshid-zade Hidayat Inayat Khan. The Summer School concluded with a moving ceremony, in which nearly twenty people were welcomed into the Brotherhood activity.

The dates for the 1991 Summer School have not been set yet. For information, contact the nearest National Representative, or the General Secretariat in The Hague.

Highlights of the International Council

The annual meeting of the International Council was held prior to the commencement of the Summer School in Holland. Some of the highlights include:

Petra-Beate and Wakil Schildbach, from Berlin, report that, with the unification of their country, they are now able to carry the Message into areas previously closed to them. "Spiritual liberty" is a theme especially appropriate to the times.

Speaking for Julian Grindon-Welch, who was unable to attend, Virya Best noted that the Sufi Movement in England remains small, partly because of many other spiritual groups active there. There are, for example, eleven Sufi organizations alone, not to mention many Hindu, Buddhist, Christian and new age groups. Nevertheless, with only 16 active mureeds, England was able to contribute £240 to the International Fund, and £750 to the Book Publishing Fund. She also gave a brief summary of the work in Brazil. In Rio de Janeiro there are classes, Universal Worship and healing activity; four new healing conductors have been inducted, and one member has moved to Belo Horizonte on Minas Gerais, and started a healing group there. One of the most important aspects of the Sufi work there has been the translation into Portuguese of Murshid's work but this has been severely hindered by an annual inflation rate of more than 3,000%.

Latifa Grotepas noted that the Sufi work in South Africa grows steadily and slowly. There is a new centre in East London, and there was a long weekend gathering at Easter. The biannual South African summer school is planned for next April or May, dates not yet certain.

Indra Pedrazzoli reported that Italy continues with only the centre in Milan, but as the works of Pir-o-Murshid Inayat Khan are starting to appear in Italian, she hopes this will help to spread the Message.

Reporting from Canada, Nawab Pasnak said that the centres there are growing slowly, and that major contributions to the Movement include the organization of the Rocky Mountain Sufi Camp, and the publishing of Caravanserai. He also noted a continuing friendship with the Sufi Movement in Mexico, which may soon have another centre.

Karima Sen Gupta [see 'Swiss Movement'] said that one major difficulty in producing the German-language Sifat was obtaining news from other centres and countries.

Wali van Lohuizen reported that there were three new centres in the south of Holland, and that two Brotherhood meetings had been held at Murad Hassil in the last year, each drawing about 120 people. He also noted that Karimbakhsh Witteveen had been invited as a Sufi and an economist to take part in an Amsterdam conference, "Spirituality, Science and Art in a Changing Economy." Other major speakers included Fritjof Capra, David Boehme, Rupert Sheldrake and the Dalai Lama.

Childhood Memories

This summer saw the simultaneous publication, in English and Dutch, of a small volume of childhood memories by Murshid-zade Hidayat Inayat Khan, called Once Upon a Time. It is a highly personal collection of reminiscences, which give a fascinating glimpse into what was certainly a most extraordinary household. In Hidayat's words, the vignettes are offered, "in an earnest longing to communicate some aspects of the fairy-tale atmosphere that prevailed in those days, when our Beloved Father was with us."

Once Upon a Time has been warmly received, and a second, expanded English edition should be available by the New Year. The Dutch version was compiled by Munir Rooke; the English version is published by Wine Press, of the Sufi Movement in Canada. Both versions are available through the General Secretariat.

Letter from Switzerland

In Switzerland we have two Sufi centres, one in Basleat the northwest border, the other one 350 km away, in the opposite corner, near Lugano and the Italian border. There are also a few individual mureeds in various parts of the country. Basle is a very old centre, existing for many decades—in fact, since before the Second World War. It is a small but active centre. We meet every week for classes, meditation, healing and zikar. We have a Universal Worship service every second month, in a beautiful big room of a Yoga school. Lugano is a quiet young and vivid centre, which also has regular meetings every week, and a Universal Worship once a month. There is a close connection with the Sufi Centre in Milano, and they occasionally have joint activities.

In February of this year, we took part in a large 'Esoteric Faire' at Zurich. It was an interesting experience. Many people came to our stall and we had a lot of god talks with interested people. We were also able to hold a Universal Worship service in one of the Congress halls, which was very well attended. We plan to do it again next year to become more known in Switzerland.

In May we had the first meeting for all Swiss mureeds near Lugano, in which the mureeds of Italy also joined. Karimbakhsh and Ratan Witteveen came from Holland and we spent four very beautiful and inspiring days together.

From the Basle centre the German language Sufi magazine 'Sifat' is edited and sent not only to Switzerland, Germany and Austria, but also to a number of other countries where German speaking mureeds live. From the centre near Lugano, the Italian language Sufi magazine, 'Gemme sul Sentiero' (Jewels on the Path) is edited.

With hearty greetings and love, Karima Sen Gupta

Dargah News

When Pir-o-Murshid Hazrat Inayat Khan passed away, his body was placed in a tomb on the outskirts of Delhi. In recent years, this dargah has been the focus of a great deal of effort toward restoration and expansion, but to accomplish anything in India is not always easy. After many months of patient queuing, meeting and pressing forward, it is now permitted for the Dargah Foundation in India to receive donations from abroad, and to have its own bank account, which will of course simplify the financing of the various projects underway there. Donations to the Dargah, to help the interreligious work connected with the Dargah, and to help the poor in the neighbourhood may all be made either to the Hazrat Inayat Khan Memorial Stichting or to the Dargah Fund, both of them care of Karimbakhsh Witteveen, General Secretariat. Please specify the intended use of your donation, if it is important to you.

It is also reported that the Dargah is somewhat easier to reach now. A new access road has replaced a very muddy alley leading to the dargah, which used to keep some would-be visitors away. The road was built by the city of Delhi at the direction of the Lieutenant-Governor, after repeated requests and visits. There is also a new wall around the dargah, improving its appearance.

October saw the release of the last of the 'orange volumes' in the Indian edition. Now all of the 'Sufi Message of Hazrat Inayat Khan' (not to be confused with the 'Complete Works' volumes), including an index volume, are available in low-cost paperback format. These are not for sale in bookstores outside of India, but they are available to mureeds and centres through the General Secretariat. This publishing project is particularly useful inasmuch as Sufism in India is given a scholarly acceptance not always found in the west, and these volumes will no doubt appear regularly in bookstores there.

Finally, Wali and Wali; Lohuizen report that the Urs, anniversary of Murshid's passing marked this year by a day and long seminar on The Sufi Ideal in Life - Mysticism as an Integral Force. Some fifty people attended and ten papers were delivered from western Sufis and six from ans. Another major seminar is being planned for 1992.

Healing Activity

Work is underway to produce g lines for healing conductors and Healing Activity, similar to the t lets available for the Universal Worship. This compilation is being by Salim Lange, in close collaboration, with Ratan Witteveen and Murshid-zade Hidayat Inayat Khan. Hopefully the revised and updated guide will be available by spring.

Murad Hassil

It was reported in these pages last' that the walls of Murad Hassil, Universel at Katwijk, Holland, been recovered, and that the next m project here would be the construe of a mureeds house. The covering to seal and insulate the building, which was being endangered by storm driven salt-spray. The mureeds' house is to provide accommodation for pilgrims or those on retreat. Although plans now ready, progress on this much needed addition has been delayed provincial authorities. Specifically because the Universel is located within a very important water preserve, and every precaution is needed to keep the groundwater from being contaminated, the authorities have raised questions about the drains, and want expensive work done to strengthen them. However, the Murad Hassil committee feels that this work is unnecessary. Subhan van Lohuizen has been endeavouring to reassure the authorities, but this summer the situation still remained unclear.

It was also noted this summer that the dome on the Universel was in need of repair. The translucent synthetic is wearing thin in places, but it is hoped that a protective plastic coating can be applied which will not diminish the light entering the main hall.

As for the covering, one sad but unavoidable consequence was the disappearance of the shell mosaic flying heart donated by South African Sufis when the Universel was first built. Now, Karimbakhsh Witteveen has asked artist and sculptor Mussavir Achterberg to design a new flying heart for the outside of the building. Mussavir has completed one design already, but it proved difficult to execute; the design shown here was conceived for wrought iron, and the technical problems of fixing hundreds of kilos of metal to the outside wall proved too taxing. We look forward, however, to seeing Mussavir's design on the walls of Murad Hassil at the next Summer School, perhaps in paint or mosaic.

Publishing News

As reported here earlier, the re-issue of the 'Sufi Message of Hazrat Inayat Khan' series, commonly known as the orange volumes, is proceeding, but more slowly than first envisioned. Volume II is in production, as is Volume VIII, now revised and so much expanded that it will be printed as Volumes VIII and XIV. Students will be happy to know that these new editions will each be indexed. The next to be revised will be Volume VI.

In other languages, the Italian edition of Mental Purification should be out by this autumn, and a companion edition of Health is planned, as well as a condensed audio-tape version of both books. For Dutch Sufis, there is a new cloth-bound translation of Gayan, Vadan, Nirtan. Ameen Carp reports that a German distributor has been found, and they are now ready to begin translation.

Finally, the Indian paperback series is now complete. For more details, see 'Dargah News.'

Canadian Retreats

Rocky Mountain Sufi Camp, the annual gathering at Lake O'Hara was well attended this year. Special guests included Hidayat and Aziza Inayat-Khan, and mureeds were offered detailed lectures and practice sessions on concentration and breath, as well as the opportunity to do the Zikar of Inayat Khan each night. Dates for the 1991 camp are June 5th to 11th, and some reservations have already been received. If you are interested in this Sufi event, please write for information now, as space is strictly limited to sixty people.


Rocky Mountain Sufi Camp is also looking for someone interested in working with children. This is a challenging job, requiring love of children, creativity and a dedication to the Sufi Message.


And finally, last August, Sufis in the Vancouver area held a four day zikar retreat. The retreat was held on a wilderness island, part of an eagle preserve, and was attended by about fifteen mureeds from Vancouver, Edmonton and Calgary. The retreat was praised enthusiastically by all, and there are plans to repeat it next year, perhaps in July.


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