Today, Theophile the Younger and his friend the Elder went to Malik’s place, since Malik had invited the young man to pursue his approach to Sufism.
As they were walking, the Elder explained:
– Our friend is a Muslim, and his way, Sufism, has succeeded in integrating Christians, Hindus, Jews, Buddhists and non-religionists, without asking any of them to convert to Islam. Sufis consider their spiritual training as a journey of the soul. For a seeker, the Path goes through various stages, through various stations.
Both friends entered a house with pure and spotless walls. There, Malik was waiting for them, quietly seated on a shimmering silk carpet. After some customary words, silence took place.
Then Malik invoked God directly:
– La ilaha illa Allah.
Theo said to himself: No embellishment, please. Get straight to the point!
Cautiously, the young man remained fully aware. He observed the man who was sitting in front of him. A soft transmission began to touch his heart and the familiar feeling comforted him. It compensated for his grim-looking interlocutor. He noticed there was a slight smile on the Elder’s face. He understood Malik was mentally touching every single point in the region of his heart, ending up with the point situated at the heart of the brain.
Malik – I can see that the Elder has been training you in meditation of excellence. Such an advanced practice is for those who are seeking for Reality, who see the Truth of God in every single thing and who constantly acknowledge the Presence. I have put you directly in connection with God, and the invocation I used means “No god but God, which could also be translated as ” No reality but Realitty”.
The Elder served each one a cup of tea. Theo relaxed. He felt as if he had been having a test.
Malik answered his thought:
– I had to check our level of communication. I can see that the Elder has trained you well.
Theo could feel his chakras beat and shine in his chest and head.
Then Malik made a drawing of the five subtle centres. Theo immediately recognized them.
Malik – Each centre responds differently to the dhikr (invocation), Malik explained. These five subtle centres correspond to some levels of consciousness of the heart. They belong to ‘the world of the will’ (the heart region or pindesh). The centre of the head is the centre of the higher consciousness and of the communication of the soul with the Divine. It belongs to ‘the world of Creation’ (cosmic region or brahmamandal). These five subtle centres are the veils that are both obstacles and guards. The spiritual guide has his disciple progress from one chakra to another by using transmission, ‘Tavaijoh’, to purify and illuminate these chakras.
Turning towards the Elder, Theo asked:
– Are these chakras the same as ours?
The Elder – It couldn’t be otherwise. They are universal, but they can be used differently.
– The heart, is given the name of God ‘Allâh’, his vibration. The sound, ‘Shabd’, touches the aspirant’s soul. Transmission gets the soul moving towards the second centre, ‘Rûh’, the spirit. There, the Name is forgotten, and the aspirant is in the Presence. As the aspirant progresses through the subtle centres, the Presence gets deeper and deeper and is there practically at all times. The aspirant is lost in God. At the same time, he/she becomes more and more intuitive. The disciple has now access to Knowledge.
Theo. – What is the use of dhikr?
Malik – Dhikr (invocation) is uttered to direct the aspirant towards God and only God. The word is there to state and bear witness to ‘Tawhid’, Oneness. The soul then remembers its original nature called ‘Fitrah’ and the pact, ‘Mithâq’, it made with God before it was incarnated. Then the aspirant becomes absorbed into the Divine and when the time comes and, God willing, he merges, ‘Fana’, with Him.
Theo. – But afterwards? What happens afterwards?
Malik – It is ‘Baqa’; the disciple sees God in all His creatures.
Our Way considers there are six pillars, which I am going to spell out. Listen to them very carefully with your heart.
Immediately, Theo made himself available and half closed his eyes.
Malik softly uttered the invocation, the dhikr:
Allâh Hu … silence
The Meditation, Murakabe, Malik transmits … silence
The heart’s consciousness, Qualib i yukuf … silence
Preserving the spiritual bond … silence
The Bond of Love … silence
The Cheik’s (Master) company
Theo. – What about Meditation?
Malik – We call it ‘Murakabe’ and it consists in meditating on God’s omnipresence, everywhere and in all things. We call that meditation the ‘heart guard’: we remain focused on the heart, being undisturbed by our mind and its illusions. We meditate until the ‘divine secret’ is revealed to us. We also call it ‘contemplative attentiveness’. By persisting in observing the heart, human beings will become conscious of their own reality, the one God imported into their hearts. That will allow them to understand the Truth of God, His Essence, His Name.
Oh Sufi, if you purify the mirror of your heart,
A door will open within your self,
And God’s radiance will shine over you.
Moreover, repeating the bond word ‘La ilaha illa Allah’ makes our minds return to their essential nature, ‘fitrah’, and it polishes our hearts. The heart can easily oxidize, and that is why we polish it thanks to dhirk and repentance. Once the heart has been cleared from its clouds, it can see all the lies as well as the Truth.
Theo. – We also use a cleaning practice. You evoked a spiritual Master. What does his role exactly consist in?
Malik – At every learning stage, a master is required. He must be perfectly sanguine in the issue he teaches. In the domain of music, the gifted ones participate in development programs and sometimes they may even benefit from a specific course with a music master. If they show talent and enthusiasm, they might be accepted as disciples. That master, though will accept very few of them. Such virtuosi are already technically well advanced. They are just looking for that little ‘extra’ that will make the difference. In spirituality, that difference is God.
Theo. – Has not God stated, in the Koran, that everybody can now access Him directly?
Malik – That’s correct, but who could? Who can manage to free himself from the tyranny of the ego? A spiritual master is supposed to have totally merged with God. He is a being without a being. He is at once totally human and totally divine. He has attained perfection in his imperfection. Whenever he accepts to guide a disciple, it is to initiate him.
Theo. – Do you mean that the disciples a spiritual master accepts are very few?
Malik – When a spiritual master accepts to initiate a brother or a sister, he takes full responsibility for his disciple. That is the reason why the Master shows great caution before committing himself. He will assume his disciple’s slightest mistake. He must be ready to give him everything, including his very life. A Master has totally surrendered to God. In fact, he is God’s servant and his disciple’s servant. The bond that has been established is a heart-to-heart bond, a bond of Love.
Theo. – Does the Master stand for the ‘Universal Man’?
Malik uttered the hadith:
“He who sees me, he sees the Truth”” … silence …
Theo was familiar with that way to communicate the Elder used. It is essentially a non-verbal communication.
So, he knew Malik was addressing him from within.
Theo broke the silence:
– I’d rather access God through Love.
Malik did not respond:
Without love, nothing is possible … silence …
He is this world mirror,
He is the Reality of everything … silence …
Theo. – What would you recommend to a spiritual seeker?
Malik – He who seeks for God must go ahead on the path, and start with turning his defects into qualities. For that, he daily interiorizes, looking within for the Real. He also purifies his mind and cultivates the virtues God offered to man. Thus, he will go from ‘the certainty of his Vision’ to ‘the realisation of Certitude’.
Theo. – What is that Certainty?
Malik – The introspection I mean is gradual. The seeker starts with the laws religion has dictated in order to define what should be done and what should not be done. The following stage involves faith and ends up with the spiritual certitude, with the Quintessence.
Theophile the Elder
An excerpt from Dialogs with Theophile the Elder
Theophile the Younger’s initiation