Fostering Unity and Love: The Essence of Sufism in Jammu & Kashmir

When all religions, all festivals merge into each other with love and the personality surrenders itself, then the person who emerges is the real Sufi, said the Lieutenant Governor of Jammu & Kashmir, Shri Manoj Sinha participating in the National Convention on Sufism in Srinagar. The person within whom the sitar is playing for Allah the Father, the lotuses of the beauty of existence have bloomed, that is Sufi. In many parts of India as in other parts, Kashmir also has a very old tradition of respecting all spiritual places. Jammu and Kashmir is not called Paradise on Earth only for its geographical beauty but there are many other reasons, LG said. And what I understand is that at this place, the Supreme Father God or Allah becomes our gaze. Kashmir’s glorious past has attracted people of all creeds, all religions of the world and accepted all that was great in human understanding. That’s why be it Islam, Hinduism or Buddhism, the virtues of all the three religions and the good things and the qualities that all three religions had, the good things and the humanism involved in them. There was tolerance, communal harmony, peace and respect for them, rooted in the soil of Kashmir. That’s why the whole world used to look at Kashmir with respect. Before the advent of Islam and Sufism in Kashmir, Vasugupta composed the Shiva Sutras. And one of his sutras says that the soul is pure and one who understands this is a Sufi. To such an awakened Yogi, the whole world appears to be the effulgence of my rays. Reiterating this point in different words, Kalhana has written in Raga Tarangini that there is not a place on the land of Jammu and Kashmir which is not a pilgrimage. And this is the glory of this earth. The substance which is rare even in heaven is very easily accessible in Jammu and Kashmir. Respect for all religions, respect for all forms of worship has been an ancient tradition of Kashmir on this land of arrows, heroes, Sufis and sages. Syed Bulbul Shah, Mir Sayyid Ali Hamadani in later years has further strengthened the bond of love and unity in the society. A famous poet of Jammu and Kashmir Mahjoor, has written let both Hindus and Muslims mix together, leave discord and let love flourish and he says that… हवा को बहुत सर-कशी का नशा है मगर ये न भूले दिया भी दिया है ये मिस्रा नहीं है वज़ीफ़ा मिरा है ख़ुदा है मोहब्बत मोहब्बत ख़ुदा है It is the tradition of this country which since time immemorial has established faith in mutual love of human beings, Vasudev Kutumbakam and fundamental unity of society. I remember and many of you will remember, LG said that when Swami Vivekananda said in the World Assembly of Religions, I feel great about such a religion which has taught the whole world tolerance to all earthly blessings. He laid great stress on this point, emphasising the spirituality of the Hindus, the compassion of the Buddhists, the hard work of the Christians, and the brotherhood of the Muslims and that these must be reflected in our practical life. Yogini Lalleshwari said in her poetry.. शिव व्याप्त हैं थल-थल में तू हिन्दू औ’ मुसलमान में भेद न जान, प्रबुद्ध है तो पहचान अपने आपको साहिब से यही है तेरी पहचान । Lord Shiva’s abode pervades the place. That’s why we don’t differentiate between Hindu and Muslim. If you are enlightened then know yourself. That is the true identity of Sahib. This is the best confluence of Shaivism and Islam. Apart from Jammu and Kashmir, you cannot see this excellent confluence of Shiva devotion and Islam in any corner of the world, LG said. This is the land where both Hindu and Muslim gurus have been getting equal respect in this tradition. In the Puranas, there is the message of Prophet Muhammad that everything moves according to its own nature. There is no conflict between them. And it is written in the Puranas that it is not in the power of the sun to catch the moon nor can night come before day and everyone’s swimming in a circle. I believe that Sufism is the root of unity in society, LG said. Sufi is the worship of God, Allah and love is the foundation on which the building of humanity can be built as it is in its pure form. I understand that Sufism is also a means of establishing a relationship with the whole of existence. The day every man becomes ready to invite the whole of existence within himself without any discrimination, that day he becomes a Sufi. Where distinctions have disappeared, many paths have been transformed into one path, there only one religion remains and that is Sufism i.e. pure love.

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