POETRY AND TEACHINGS OF A CHISHTI SUFI
The book “Jawami’ al-kalim” (= Collected Words) contains the conversations of the Chishti Sufi Gisu Daraz (d. 1422 C.E.). From this book and from some other sources some conversations of Gisu Daraz, some stories, some poetry, some teachings, etc. will be presented.
Vision of Hazrat Nizamuddin Awliya
Gisu Daraz has also said that his shaykh Nasiruddin Cheragh of Delhi has told this:
“I was 12 years old when I had learnt the Qur’an by heart and when I had read ‘The Five Treasures’ and the ‘Stations’ of Hariri. I was considering to become a disciple of shaykh Ruknuddin. He was an uncle from my mother’s side who had been a disciple of shaykh ul-Islam Nizamuddin. I was teaching the sons (of shaykh Ruknuddin). One day a student asked if you have to put your knees or your hands first on the floor when prostrating during the prayers. I had not yet studied religious sciences, so I was unable to answer his question. As I did not want to say so, I told him that I would consult a certain book first and then would ask shaykh Ruknuddin about it.
I rose to go to the shaykh and stopped to say prayers in a certain mosque… I saw a tall man, with a rather dark complexion, with large eyes, a red veil, a long beard and with a long sari. He said something in a pleasant way. He was a man who manifested true majesty. He started to pray and when he prostrated, then he first put his knees on the floor and thereafter put his hands down. After having done so, he disappeared. I was suddenly quite certain that he was shaykh Nizamuddin. I left the mosque and saw my uncle with some of his friends standing at the door.
I told him: ‘I have seen your pir!”
He laughed and asked: ‘How did you see him then?’
‘I have seen a man and knew that he was shaykh Nizamuddin’.
‘What did he look like?’
So I described him completely. Tears came in his eyes and shaykh Ruknuddin said: ‘Yes, he exactly looked the same when I came to Delhi to become his mureed. You have seen him looking exactly like I saw him then’.”
The language of the birds
Gisu Daraz also remarks: My master has told this about himself (shaykh Nasiruddin Cheragh of Delhi):
‘I was a child and I learnt how to recite the Qur’an from a teacher in a mosque. A single tree was standing near this mosque. A crow came and sat down on it and all that the crow was saying in its own language, I could understand’.
Gisu Daraz also remarks: ‘The great shaykh Nizamuddin, who has died some time ago knew during all of his life no other door but the one of his teachers and the one of shaykh Fariduddin. He had learnt nothing but to be grateful for things received from God and he desired for nothing else. The blessed shaykh Fariduddin was the son of Qadi Sulaiman of Khotiyal. He was called in Khotiyal ‘the mad son of the Qadi’, as he was always occupied with God and did not talk with anyone else. He was mostly concentrated on his Lord when he was in the mosque in this part of the town. When his father died there were four brothers and the land of Khotiyal belonged to them. These brothers wished to divide this property, but Fariduddin never came to them so that they could divide it amongst themselves. One day they quite clearly told him: ‘Either you take your share or you reject it!’ He then rejected to take his share’.
Gisu Daraz proceeded by remarking: ‘Nowadays one of the villages, which belong to the waqf (pious foundation) of the shaykh, is exactly this Khotiyal, which he rejected as his share during his life’.
Four years, four months and four days
Gisu Daraz also remarks: ‘Our shaykh has told this story:
The future shaykh ul-Islam Qutubuddin was four years and four months (and four days) old. His mother gave the nanny some sweets and some money, so that she would take the boy to a teacher in that part of the town in order to receive some education. The nanny met a man on the way who asked her:
– Stranger: To whom are you bringing this child?
– Nanny: To a teacher in our part of the town in order to take him to the mosque.
– Stranger: Woman, better take him to another part of the town as there is a good teacher. When you and the child will come with me, I’ll take you there.
– Nanny: Take him to the place which is best according to you!
He guided them to a certain place in another part of the town. When the teacher saw the stranger, he folded his hands in respect to the stranger. The stranger said: ‘Mawlana. I have certain plans with this child, so give him a good education!’ He then turned around and left. The teacher went into the mosque and asked Qutbuddin:
‘Where have you met this man?’
Qutubuddin told him what had happened.
The teacher then asked: ‘Do you know this man?’ Qutbuddin answered: ‘No, I don’t!’
The teacher then said: ‘He is Khwaja Khizr!’
Gisu Daraz also remarks: ‘The noble shaykh Qutbuddin hailed from Ush, and that is why he is called Qutbuddin Bakhtiyar Ushi. Ush is a village, which belongs to Marghinan (Central Asia) and Marghinan is a small town. The future shaykh stayed for a long time in Marghinan.
It so happened that outside the town there was a big minaret, which is comparable to the minaret of Delhi (i.e. the Qutb Minar), but it was not very beautiful and it was not so often visited. Better said: it was ugly and it caused fear to arise, so no one really went there for a visit. It was said that it was a place where Khwaja Khizr stayed.
The noble master was only 16 years old when he went there during night before Friday and recited his award, in order to meet Khwaja Khizr. He occupied himself all night with the remembrance of God, but no one came. He left and went home and then he met a man who asked him: ‘Child, where have you been?’
Qutbuddin answered him: ‘Near the minaret’.
The man said: ‘But is it not a fear arousing ruin? Why did you go to that place?’
He answered: ‘I have heard that if you go there in the night before Friday and you keep yourself occupied with the remembrance of God, that you will meet Khizr’.
‘Have you met him?’
The man then asked: ‘In case you’d have met him, what would you have done?’
Qutbuddin replied: ‘I would have asked for the love of God’.
The stranger then took him to a house where a weaver lived. He called the weaver and said: ‘Master, this child has stayed all night at the place where I’m staying and he desires for something very important, so don’t disappoint him!’
‘What does he want to have?’ the weaver asked.
The stranger replied: ‘He hopes to receive the love of God’.
As soon as the weaver had heard this, his eyes filled with tears and he said; ‘For this desire we shall be the mediators. We will ask for the love of God!’
They then stood next to the future shaykh and prayed for the love of God for him.
Conversation of April 7 1400 dealing with the why of creation:
At the time of breakfast Mawlana ‘Omar-i Sa’id of Kanbhat appeared in the presence of the master. He asked:
“The work of the Creator are – as I see it – independent of any cause or any reason. The Prophet has however asked: ‘O, Lord! Why have you created the creation?’ And the elevated Lord answered him thus: ‘I was a hidden treasure and I desired to be known. Therefore I created the creatures so that I might be known’. The question with a why and its answer are – as I see it – nothing but an explanation of cause and reason”.
The master responded thus: “You should know that the work of the elevated Creator are not dependent on any cause or any reason, but they are no useless game as well, because God is wise and the Wise does not occupy Himself with a wanton game. His work is connected to wisdom and usefulness and is not without meaning and use for the general good. This wisdom has either to do with us or with Him.
The meaning of the sacred tradition you have quoted as for the part ‘I was a hidden treasure’ is ‘I was only with My self. I was alone in my Aloneness and I wished to make known My glory and My greatness’. That is why He needed an ‘other’ to whom He could manifest Himself, so that He might be known. ‘Therefore I created the creatures’. Because of this wisdom and this usefulness I manifested this form in which you can find diversity and wherein the rank of the knower and the known appears. And in the part ‘so that I might be known’ you’ll find this word dealing with knowing. It means: ‘I want to become a Knower. I was potentially a Knower and potentially the One making known and this I desired to become this in reality. The Knower knows of things, and the One making known knows of things as well of their existence”.
Then Mawlana ‘Omar-i Sa’id of Kanbhat asked another question to Hazrat Gisu Daraz, the Chishti with ‘long locks of hair’.
He asked: “Can we assume that there is change in the attributes of the Creator and that some of them are new in due course of time?”
The master responded: “The attributes are of three kinds:
1. Attributes of the divine essence, like life and power
2. Attributes of divine actions, like creation and the providing of sustenance
3. Attributes, which show a relationship, like knowing.
The idea of change taking place as for the attributes of divine actions or the relative attributes in regard to us but not in regard to Him, does not bring about a diminishing or change in His essence. God, the Elevated, was in pre-eternity not a Creator in the actual sense of the word. The messenger of God has said: ‘He was and nothing was with Him’. This implies that after his will to create the creation he became a Creator in actuality.
This description of change in his relative attributes or his active attributes exists in regard to us, but in His attributes and in His essence there is no change. He is already in pre-eternity capable to create and to provide sustenance both actual and potential. He is willing. He acts freely. He does what He likes and whenever He likes and with each attribute He likes. And what He does not like He does not do it. Change and individuation are connected to that which has been wanted and which has been created. He, the Elevated, has potential and actual power to creation and providing of sustenance, but this attributes only manifested themselves clearly after He has chosen and wanted it and all of this with a certain attribute and at a certain time…
Just assume that He would not have created the cosmos and would not have provided sustenance, then this would not imply any defect or diminishing in His divinity. It only would mean that these two attributes of Him would not have manifested itself”…
A dream about Gisu Daraz
Tipu Sultan scribbled down in a notebook (not the computer type of notebook!) 37 dreams which he had between 1785 and 1798. Some of these dreams deal with the meeting great Sufis like shaykh Sa’di Shirazi and shaykh Jami. These two dreams are presented in English by Peter L. Wilson in his “Shower of Stars”. Another dream connected with Gisu Daraz Bandanawaz, to whom his family had a longstanding attachment, has been translated by Annemarie Schimmel in “Islam in the Indian Subcontinent”:
4. Shawwal 1218:
I saw coming two aged holy persons, both being brothers, with luggage and provisions. They told me that they had come according to the orders of Hazrat (Gisu Daraz) Bandanawaz, who had sent certain sacred relics. Then they gave me a few pieces from the covers of the Ka’ba, (from the tomb of the Prophet in) Madina-i munawwara and the tomb of Hazrat Bandanawaz, a copy of the holy Koran and some sugar-candy. I took the sacred relics and raised them to my head. I then opened the Koran and found it was written in a beautiful hand.
Every page of the Koran had the name of the scribe written on it. On some of the pages I noticed the names of Hazrat Bandanawaz and other saints. Both the holy persons said to me that this copy of the holy Koran had been written by several saints and calligraphists, and that Hazrat Bandanawaz used to recite constantly from this copy. The saint had done a great favour, they added, by sending this copy for me. They also pointed out that they themselves were from among the descendants of Hazrat Bandanawaz and it was their custom to recite the fatiha at his tomb and to offer sacrifices around it. Then I read those verses (of the holy Koran) which had been inscribed in fine handwriting on the gate of the tomb. At this point I woke up. The same afternoon I offered fatiha in the name of Hazrat Bandanawaz on eleven cauldrons of sweets.
Here is a poem written by Gisu Daraz. It is his most well-known poem and it can be seen as written on the inner part of the dome of his mausoleum:
Those who are drunk from the cup of love
And are intoxicated by the wine of the covenant,
Now they occupy themselves in an ascetic prayer,
Now they serve idols and drink wine.
They deleted what they saw on the table of existence,
Except for the image of the Friend.
They have been flying beyond the throne of God,
They sat in the place of ‘no-place’,
They are ashamed to take and ashamed to refuse;
Unity and separation are no longer there,
They, the preface to the book of existence,
Became the title page to the book of eternity.
They have been freed from ‘Be and it became!’
They have become their own advent and departure.
Here is another poem of Gisu Daraz:
I saw in your face such a beauty;
I saw in God’s work perfection.
I prostrate myself for your eyebrow,
I see it as the qibla, which has been taken away.
I am eloquent and I am unable to speak –
I was dumb when seeing your red mouth.
I saw the noble young man standing in front of me,
Who had a perfect figure in complete balance.
One day I walked in the garden,
And I saw a twig connected to your body:
It is said to look like a palm tree and a cypress –
I saw it looks more alike the Tuba tree.
When Abu’l-Fath wishes to take my life,
Then I’ll be obedient with heart and soul.
– The niche of the qibla, the direction of the prayers in a mosque has the shape of an eyebrow.
– The tree refers:
a. To the Perfect Man
b. To all levels of existence: the material world, the angelic world and the world of the divine power.
Even small things of a friend of God have their effect
In the Junaidi dargah in Gulbarga, India, there is a tree that grew out of Gisu Daraz’s toothbrush. He has used a miswâq, a twig of a tree, to clean his teeth. This tree overshadows the courtyard and visitors receive a twig for the sake of blessing.
Record all the foolishness you see here
The following anecdote has been told by Gisu Daraz who describes shaykh Nasiruddin Cheragh of Delhi as a lover. He describes a completely different man from the usual depiction of a sober mystic. Probably shaykh Nasiruddin was both, but at different times.
Once the shaykh was sitting in his Sufi centre. He heard the following lines of poetry and he got into ecstasy:
Jafaa bar ‘aasheqaan gofti nakhaaham kard ham kardi
Qalam bar bi-delaan gofti nakhaaham raand ham raandi
You’ve sworn not to be cruel to Your lovers, but you are,
You’ve sworn not to write off those who have lost their hearts, but expelled by You we are.
The poet mawlana Maghis wrote a letter what had happened in this gathering. He maintained that the above couplet carried no true meaning. “To apply terms like cruel to God is heretical,” he argued, and made other statements in a similar vein. He gave a copy of the letter to mawlana Mo’inuddin ‘Amrani, who sent it to the shaykh. Shaykh Nasiruddin read it and then sent for mawlana Mo’inuddin. When the mawlana arrived, the shaykh returned the letter to him without comment. He offered the Mawlana a turban and a shirt, then gave him permission to leave.
Subsequently there was a Sufi assembly in which shaykh Nasiruddin was so moved by the following quatrain that he became manifestly agitated and began to dance:
Ma tabl-khana dush bi baak
‘Aali ‘alamash bar sar aflaak zadim
Az bahre yaki maghbacha mikhvaara
Sad baar kolaah tawba bar khaak zadim
Yesterday we fearlessly beat the drum,
We raised his flag high into the sky.
For the sake of one beautiful youth we are reviled,
A hundred times we threw the cap of repentance into the dust.
Then, still highly agitated, he went up to sit on the roof sent for Mawlana Maghis. The Mawlana was distraught. Reluctantly he paid a call to the shaykh. “Now Mawlana,” said shaykh Nasiruddin, record all the foolishness you see here!”
The picture of the Beloved
Although in his ‘Jawami’ al-kalim’ (= Collected Words) Gisu Daraz praises Hindi as a language of poetry ‘that moves and induces man to submissiveness and humility’, he chose Persian for his songs in which, following a famous line from Sana’i’s ‘Enclosed Garden of the Truth’, he claims:
Love is not in the explanations of Abu Hanifa Nu’man;
Shafi’i has no information about it.
Love is the central theme in the poetry of Gisu Daraz:
What shall I call him who denies love?
He is a cow, a jackass and a hard stone.
In the tradition of Ahmad Ghazzali and ‘Iraqi he feels that human beauty leads to divine love:
Well, you look at the beautiful one and see figure and stature:
I don’t see anything in between but the beauty and the art of the Creator.
For, as can be read in the inscribed poem in the dome of his mausoleum:
Those who have quaffed the goblet of love at the pre-eternal covenant,
Have washed from the slate of being everything except the picture of the Beloved.
Long locks of hair
There are several reasons for calling him Gisu Daraz. He had very long hair and for this reason he came to be called Gisu Daraz, which means ‘one with long locks of hair’. Another reason assigned is this, that once he was carrying on his shoulders the palanquin in which his spiritual guide and teacher was sitting. All of a sudden his locks of hair, which extended up to his knees, were entangled in the wheel of the palanquin. Out of respect for his spiritual guide he did not prefer to stop the palanquin in order to take out his hair from the wheel. His shaykh was highly pleased with him and he recited the following couplet couplet, conferring him the title of Gisu Daraz:
Whoever is admitted to the discipleship of Gisu Daraz,
By God! It is true that he is engrossed in spiritual love.
This story from the ‘Akhbar ul-Akhiar’ is said to be a legend as it has also been remarked that ‘Gisu Daraz’ is not an Indian title, and that in other countries than India, family-members of the Prophet were known as Daraz Gisu, those with long locks of hair.
If you are not with me, you are against me
Sultan Firuz (1397-1422) was informed of the arrival of Gisu Daraz shortly after he settled in the Deccan. He extended a warm welcome to the Chishti Sufi. The sultan was very interested in philosophy and when he discovered that Gisu Daraz did not share his passion he lost interest in him. Ahmad, the brother of the sultan, became however a devotee of Gisu Daraz.
Sultan Firuz appointed his imbecile son, Hasan Khan, heir-apparent and later urged Gisu Daraz to support this decision by blessing him. The latter refused, saying that Ahmad, the brother of the sultan, was destined to the throne and that there should be no interference in the divine decree. The angry sultan then banished Gisu Daraz from his khanqah near the fort.
When sultan Firuz was quite elderly he decided to blind his brother Ahmad in order to disqualify him from succession. Ahmad managed to escape this fate and took refuge in Gisu Daraz’s house. Gisu Daraz blessed him and prophesied that he would succeed to the throne. Vainly the sultan tried to suppress the growing support for Ahmad and finally he became reconciled to his brother’s accession. Firuz stood down from the throne in favour of Ahmad and was later secretly murdered. On 22 September 1422, when Ahmad finally became the sultan, Gisu Daraz was a very old man. He died on 1 November 1422.
After the late afternoon prayer the conversation was about those who are close to evil people in power. Gisu Daraz said:
“The Prophet has said: ‘God has an angel who leads the people to those who are suitable to them’. This can be seen as external, meaning that there is an angel with such a mission and it can also point to an internal quality which gets people attracted to others who are similar to them. But the Messenger of God speaks about an angel”.
The people and the world
After the nightly prayer the conversation was about the end and disappearance of the world and all who are connected with it. Gisu Daraz said:
“When in the days of Nushirvan the Just the tales of ‘Kalilah and Dimnah’ were taken from India to Iran by the wise man Buzurdshmihr, Nushirvan told him: ‘Ask anything you want from me!’ The wise man answered: ‘The goods of the world are not so valuable that I would like to have them from you. But when the king so orders, I remember a parable of this world and its inhabitants. If you allow me, then I’ll add it to the beginning of the book’. He received the permission. This is the parable:
‘A man was threatened by a mad camel, which was not smaller than an elephant. It ran in his direction and the man fled. He came to a well and jumped in hoping to be safe. He landed on a tree, which grew from the side of the well. When hanging in the branches of this tree he looked down to the bottom of the well. He saw a dragon at the bottom and in the four corners he saw snakes, a black one, a white one, a red one and a yellow one and all of them wanted to bite him. Two mice, one white and one black, were gnawing at the branches he was keeping himself attached to. When he would fall down he would fall in the jaws of the dragon or would be bitten by one of the four snakes. The strange thing then was that this man saw some honey in the corner of the well and did his best to sweeten his mouth therewith.
The mad camel symbolizes death. The black and white mice are night and day which gnaw at the branch of life. The four snakes are black bile, yellow bile, slime and blood, which bring illness when there is too much of them. Honey and the sweetening of the palate represent life and its pleasures in which people can get trapped”.
Gisu Daraz has said that breath control was essential for mureeds. In his “Khatima-i adab al-muridin al-ma`ruf bi-khatima”, he wrote: “Following the habit of stopping the breath, as is practiced by the Yogis, is necessary for the mureed, but not everyone can do it to the extent that those people can. Those who follow this habit must completely abstain from association with women. Diminution of intake of food and drink permits the performance of obligatory and supererogatory prayers in the case of one of fixed abode, and the traveller retains mobility. One should avoid idle talk. If control becomes habitual, many thoughts can be banished; thought is natural to the carnal soul”.
Gisu Daraz was extremely careful to limit the extent to which yogic practice was acceptable to the above practice. The practice should be given by an authorized murshid.
Gisu Daraz told that his shaykh, Nasiruddin, even when narrating emotionally charged stories, kept his composure and did not shed tears. One day Gisu Daraz was presented before him weeping and disturbed. He turned to Gisu Daraz, saying: “Listen! Are the ways you have adopted better than those of the travellers on the path, and he pointed to himself. Why can’t you be like them? At no time did we have a living with prestige and peace. God, the Elevated, did not give us peace and comfort at any place. We were disturbed, distracted and worried. Whatever is not in our power, we should not be worried about”.
The entire roof shook
Gisu Daraz tells that one day he saw his shaykh (Nasiruddin Cheragh of Delhi) on the upper storey of his khanqah hearing music with Khwaja Hasan, Mawlana Shihabuddin Kanturi and Mohammad Kar. The shaykh was dancing on the roof in such an ecstatic condition that the entire roof shook as he moved. Later he told Gisu Daraz that he could do no more.
Visiting the dargah of Hazrat Qutbuddin
When in Delhi shaykh Nasiruddin Cheragh Dehlavi used to visit the shrine of shaykh Qutbuddin Bakhtiyar Kaki almost regularly. When he was summoned to Sindh by Mohammad bin Tughluq he left his instructions to his disciple Gisu Daraz to go to Qutb Sahab’s grave every day.
The nearly fatal assassination of his shaykh
One day, after offering his zohr prayers in congegration, shaykh Nasiruddin Cheragh Dehlavi retired to his room for rest. There was no attendant at the door and even Mawlana Zainuddin ‘Ali, who was usually present at that time, was away. A qalandar, Turab by name (Gisu Daraz writes that he was a mad man and often visited the shaykh), managed to enter the room and began to injure the shaykh with a knife.
Gisu Daraz gives further details: “When blood flowed into the courtyard, Mawlana Zainuddin rushed into the room. The qalandar attacked him too. Then Khwaja Bashir came in and caught hold of the assailant and snatched his knife away. The shaykh, who was profusely bleeding but had not lost consciousness, anxiously cried out: ‘Whoever reprimands him (Turab), I shall be displeased with him’. The news of this incident soon spread and rumours began to circulate in the city that the shaykh had succumbed to the injuries.
People rushed into the streets, bare-headed, shrieking and crying. Physicians visited the shaykh and attended to him. Sadr-i-Jahan and Malik Nathu, the Hajib-i-Khas, came to enquire about his condition. Malik Nathu informed the shaykh that the sultan had deputed him to investigate into the matter. He requested the shaykh to hand over Turab to him. The shaykh told him that he had forgiven Turab.
Sadr-i-Jahan reported the matter to the sultan and sought his orders. Turab was set free on the recommendations of the shaykh, but when the people heard about his release, the gathered in large numbers in the streets and bazaars of Delhi with stones in their hands. Shaykh Nasiruddin summoned Malik Nathu and told him: ‘The People would kill Turab. Send fifty soldiers to accompany him and give him (Turab) two tankas also because he is hungry’. The shaykh instructed Nathu to release Turab outside the city in order to save him from the infuriated mob anxious to burst upon him”.
Patience and forbearance
Shaykh Nasiruddin, the shaykh of Gisu Daraz, was harassed and maltreated by the sultan. When the Chishti Sufi Burhanuddin Gharib heard about it, he bitterly wept and said, referring to the shaykh of Gisu Daraz: ‘What to do? Khwaja Mawlana Mahmud is so gentle and forgiving. If he so wishes, the earth would swallow the sultan, his entire army, people, horses and elephants and would yet remain unsatisfied’. He wrote a letter to shaykh Nasiruddin, sympathizing with him in his misfortune and praising his patience and forbearance. At the top of his letter there was according to Gisu Daraz this quatrain:
Taa bar sar ‘aasheqaan balaa’i narasad
Aawaaza’-ye ‘eshqeshaan bajaa’i narasad
Rav bar sar kongora sar-e mardaan bin
Naa-mardaan raa khaar bapaa’i narasad
As long as affliction does not visit the lovers,
The voice of their love does not reach the Beloved.
Go and see the heads of true men fixed on turrets,
A thorn will not prick the feet of cowards.
They are the real kings
Firuz Shah, the sultan, had great faith in the Sufis of his day. He tried to establish cordial relationships with the shaykh of Gisu Daraz. One day the sultan came to the khanqah to se the shaykh. As he himself says, his conviction was:
Most excellent is the amir,
Who comes to the door of the faqir.
The shaykh, as told by Gisu Daraz, was having his midday nap and no one informed him of the royal visitor. The sultan was stil in the courtyard of the khanqah, when it began to rain. Soon afterwards Mawlana Zainuddin arrived and informed the shaykh about the visit of the sultan. The shaykh woke up, but instead of going out to receive the sultan, performed ablutions and began to offer prayers. The sultan, who was waiting outside, got annoyed and turning towards Tatar Khan said: ‘We are not king. They (pointing in the direction of the shaykh) are the real kings’. When the shaykh came out of his room, a carpet was spread on which the sultan sat for a while and then left, rather displeased.
Gisu Daraz tells that Firuz Khan, a son of sultan Firuz Shah, came to see his shaykh with the permission of his father. Gis tutor Hatim, who came with him, was already a mureed of shaykh Nasiruddin Cheragh of Delhi. The tutor requested the shaykh to admit the prince to his discipline. The shaykh enquired if he had taken the sultan’s permission for this. The tutor made a false statement and replied in the affirmative. The shaykh then enrolled him as his disciple.
The prince was in love with a woman. On leaving the khanqah he took the woman to some hut and remained there with her for three days and nights. The sultan was worried about his whereabouts. He sent couriers to the shaykh to enquire about the missing prince. The shaykh replied that the prince had been with him in the khanqah for about an hour and that he did not know where he went subsequently. The third day when the prince came out from the hut, the sultan got the tutor and other companions executed.
People spread the rumour that the prince had obtained an amulet from the shaykh for his rise to the throne. Gisu Daraz tells this:
‘They said that the shaykh had given him an amulet and predicted that he would become sultan. The sultan did not pursue this; he winked at it. He got them thrown from the Tasawin Hill and exiled the prince to Mahana and got him poisoned there. The sultan sent a supplication to the shaykh stating: ‘As these people had shown discourtesy to Hazrat, these wicked people got the punishment they deserved. They indulged in vain talk’. After this peace returned to the khanqah, otherwise there was such concern that it cannot be described’.
Having narrated this incident which came about because of contact with the royalty, Gisu Daraz remarked:
If contact with such people is not kept,
How can such worries pester a dervish?
Gisu Daraz told his audience one day that somebody saw shaykh Nasiruddin Cheragh Delhi in his dream after his death and enquired about the treatment meted out to him by God. ‘But for my devotions in my early years’, he replied, ‘I would have been in great difficulty’.
Gisu Daraz has said that at the early age of twelve shaykh Nasiruddin developed the habit of keeping awake most of the night. When sleep overpowered him, he put some powdered pepper in his eyes and became wide-awake again to continue his prayers.
The plague was spreading and Gisu Daraz fell seriously ill. His shaykh was worried about his health. After his recovery Gisu Daraz came to the khanqah. His shaykh as soon as he saw him loudly said: ‘God be praised!’ and showered his blessings on him. His shaykh remarked: ‘It was a serious disease. God in His mercy granted recovery from it’. Some time later shaykh Nasiruddin affectionately gave Gisu Daraz flowers in both his hands. A fellow disciple of Gisu Daraz explained that their shaykh had ‘heaps of flowers lying by his side’.
The dargah of Gisu Daraz
The dargah Gisu Daraz can be visited in Gulbarga, 98 km from Bijapur. It is an extremely popular spot for a ziarat and also a centre for people attracted to Sufism. The ‘urs festival every year attracts devotees from everywhere. His tomb, built in the year of his death i.e. 1422, has walls with friezes at the top, and an elaborate parapet. The dome has been painted luxuriantly and the canopy over the grave has designs in mother-of- pearl and mirrors. Many believe that this canopy was a later addition. The mosque within the complex was constructed in the sixteenth century. It has sculpted brackets and a dome resting on a frieze. The court has a tremendous ceremonial arch built in the seventeenth century has unusual architectural and decorative details.
To finish here are some teachings of Gisu Deraz:
1. In the world there is nothing better than renunciation of the world.
2. Those who know the reality of the world, know it well that the world is nothing but a mirage.
3. For the pilgrim on the Sufi way stopping the breath is very useful.
4. One should not indulge in frivolous talk.
5. A seeker should fulfil certain conditions:
– To search for a spiritual guide.
– Courage and constancy.
– Purification of the heart.
– Lowliness and humbleness in regard to ascetic practices.
– Lawful food.
– Obedience to the spiritual guide.
– Sleeping less.
– Opposition to the self.
– No pride of pedigree or family.
– Avoidance of arguments and discussions.
– No over-emphasis on ablution and cleanliness, to this extent that prayers and rituals may not be performed in time.
– No preferment of any particular dress.
6. A seeker should prefer seclusion. He should be ever absorbed in the Friend, or he should be ever lost in the remembrance of the Friend.
7. Itikaf is of three kinds, namely fixed itikaf, perpetual itikaf and itikaf of the heart, which means that God-fearing (wo)men take to retirement for God’s worship in the corner of their heart. It may also be said, that we take to itikaf in the heart, which we have got with all our heart