Among all the quests I’ve been on in my brief life, there’s been one quest that’s perennial – a never-ending exploration. It began about the time I started to gain awareness of my own peripherals, a consciousness of the soul. A distinction between good and bad, a search for an identity; an inner being. A terrestrial recognition of the sublime, a force that’s visible, yet mostly invisible and one that has a magnetic draw powerful enough to ignite a spark which has the propensity to reveal all that’s hidden, albeit creates a thirst for more and more – and oddly enough, the more you satiate that thirst, the more it intensifies.
Bulleh Shah says, “The lilac seed emanates a reverent fragrance within, the seed implanted by the one I worship”.
At times, I turn to the poetry of the great Bulleh Shah for his ideology puts a lot into perspective; strangely enough he was cursed an outcast most of his life, accused of being a sacrilegious lunatic, a mystic who led people towards “shirk”. As time has passed though, his ideology reflects anything but. But, it is people like Bulleh Shah who inspire me. People who abandon their outer worldly appearance and pretentious persona as they dissolve more and more into their inner being in the same quest that has nurtured me for years on end now. Unfortunately, I was never as courageous as Bulleh Shah to abandon my worldly affiliations for the dissolution of the self to a sublime convergence with the “One”.
The attainment of an inner expose, a revelation that bares one’s self to one’s own self for the attainment of an inexplicable virtue of peace and tranquil as of the one experienced by yogis, sufis, dervishes, romantics, perhaps even monks. A place where the outer gleam of worldly possessions fails to attract one into compromising one’s sublime inner virtue. The tepidity of the ugly world becomes a mere illusion, a weak mirage that disappears upon proximity. The only recognizable entity left is one’s true, naked inner being that is above all worldly falsehoods.
That’s the journey, the life of soul-searching that led me on the path I chose to tread all those years since the age of twelve; all the supposed adventures I’ve experienced, the friendships I’ve harbored, the relationships I’ve nurtured, all part of that quest. And yet, here I stand 28 years later, worse than I was when I started; no idea of my true calling in life. No idea of the true color of my soul.
What should have been a self-gratifying convergence with the one within, still a fruitless journey perhaps for the search of something that’s bigger than me in stature, something more majestic than I can perceive. Fareeda Khanum sings in one of her classic ghazels, “I have not adorned any, yet I hear the familiar sound of anklets from my feet”. To express this in an analogy, I was not the one to invite this sojourn unto myself, yet it became a quest bigger then I had envisioned. One time for example at the age of fifteen, during a worldly affair as insignificant as a cricket match, I whispered to that majestic force I was seeking, and miraculously I became the MVP of that match. At other times, I have found myself in difficult life situations and I have summoned the help of that invisible force and again, inexplicably, I have come out of that unseemingly situation unfazed.
Faraz says, “Neither are you God, nor my love for you divine. If we are mere mortals, why do we hide behind countless facades”.
That invisible light I have sought after all my conscious life aside; I have failed to understand human nature. People themselves, to be more specific. People are pretentious, people are fake. People are misinformed, people are misguided. People are forlorn. I have concluded that people are nothing but a hindrance in that monumental quest to liquidify in the quagmire of that unspoken, unseen, and intangible magnetic force that beckons one’s soul to see a reflection of itself in the structure of its own majesty.
When that glorious state is reached, one laughs not to please others, but for joy, one cries not for sympathy, but when sad, one sighs when sad not when choked by pollutants, one prays to appeal, not to fulfill empty rituals, one respects for grace, not out of fear.
Bulleh Shah says, “Surrender to God. It will lead you to mystic abandon, and help you to get attuned to the One, It’s the truth that Bulle has gained, it’s all in one contained”.
An all-seeing pair of specs that can see well beyond the ritualistic smoke beams of a society whose entire fabric is woven by the cocoon of hypocrisy. Years have transformed into decades, and yet the quest continues. An unsettling inner turmoil to seek that invisible force that defines the last three decades of my existence. The yearning to become one with the sublime.