Seeking Truth within

By Manzoor Chandio
Sept 17, 2008
WHILE reading biographies of Sufi saints, we find a majority of them kept moving from one place to another, from one region to another in quest of spiritual fulfilment.
Maulana Rumi was born in Balakh, now in Afghanistan and then part of Persia, but he moved from his ancestral place to Konya, Turkey. He is buried there.
Shah Latif kept moving his entire life from Hinglaj, in Balochistan, to Girnar, in Gujarat, and Jaisalmir, in Rajasthan.
Unlike these two great Sufi saints, Sachal Sarmast, spiritually in communion with both of them, almost remained confined to his native village Daraza in Khairpur district. He was born and raised there. He lived for 88 years in the village. Finally, he was buried in the same village.
Shah Latif, in search of truth, explored the entire Sindh on foot and met people from all strata of society, particularly yogis, jogis and samis. His focus was on ordinary men and women.But Sachal was a kind of Sufi who found truth within himself.
Like other Sufis, Sachal recognised no outside authority. He said: “Through virtue and vice, none knows God.”
Sachal Sarmast was a descendent of Caliph Umer Farooq, but he never took pride in his ancestry. Sachal believed that God is everywhere and He witnesses his own manifestation everywhere.
“The kalima did not make me a Muslim, nor did the faith come from Arabia.”
For that reason he expected other people to come to Daraza to have a meeting with God.
The Mullahs and Sufis have remained in perpetual conflict in Sindh, popularly known as the land of “Swa lakh buzrag and darveesh”.
From time to time Sufis challenged the Mullah order and condemned the religious schism. Among all these saints, according to Professor J. P. Gulrajani, Sachal was the most forcible in his language in condemning formal religion.
He said:
So long as these mosques,
These so-called holy places,
These raised towers, do not crumble into dust,
So long the path of spirit cannot be seen clear.
The Mullahs sentenced Sachal Sarmast to death and declared him an apostate because he had challenged their authority over the faith. For that reason his disciples included Hindus and Muslims of all sects.
Sufi poetry should be seen as communication between souls, not the bodies. Sachal says: “I am born of none, I am brought up by none.” Then he questions himself. “How did you then come to be here?” His answer: “I left the heavens and came to earth”. “But why?” he questions again. “Ah, I could not be contained in heaven’s chair.”
God says I’m nearer to you than your jugular vein. Then where is He?
Sachal Sarmast believes that God lives within ourselves and there is no need to search Him here and there.
He says:
He for Whom I sought the readers of the stars,
Behold! He was with me.
He for Whom I sought the Oracles,
He was with me
He for Whom I ran on many paths
He was with me
He is not a guest, but the Dear One is always with me:
None is so near as He.
He for Whom I passed sleepless nights,
He was with me
I looked for Him here, I looked for Him there,
But looked not for Him in my own being
He for Whom I shed tears of separation,
He was with me.
Oh Sachal! Seek not far, know thyself
He for Whom I was gathering presents
He was with me.
—Verses translated by Prof Gulrajani.
manzoor.chandio@dawn.com

1 comment:

AamirRaz said...

We really need to do (write) a lot so as to reveal to others what the people of Sindh have been and are thinking.

Nice blog. Keep posting.