Saturday, December 31, 2022

Sufi-Master Sheikh Eşref Efendi's Visit to Krishnamurti Foundation during his "Peace Tour to India" is Remarkable!

By New Age Islam Staff Writer 31 December 2022 Sheikh Eşref Efendi, the founder of World Peace Institute of Sufism based in Berlin, Germany and Ambassador of the High Sufi Council of Jerusalem Holy Land, is currently on what he calls the 'Sufi Peace Way to India'. This month-long visit of a global Sufi Master who is also a recipient of several Peace Awards from the EU and is the founder and head of Sufi Centre Rabbaniya, Germany, has been sending out a strong message of peace and dialogue to several states in India. The Sufi Master landed in India on 17th of December, 2022 and since then he has been indefatigably travelling across the country to substantiate the two points precisely: 'peace within and peace outside'. Notably, he has also been actively engaged in the dialogue in various interfaith and intercultural events held recently in Delhi, Jaipur, Ajmer Sharif (Rajasthan), Hyderabad, Odisha and West Bengal. Significantly, in Uttar Pradesh which is the heartland of Hindus and Muslims living together in several pockets, the Sufi-Master chose to visit the holy land of the River Ganges, historically known as Kashi-Banaras-Varanasi in different periods. On 28th of December, Sheikh Eşref Efendi arrived at the Krishnamurti Foundation, an acclaimed educational, cultural and spiritual institution of international repute in Raj Ghat of Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, which was established by an Indian Mystic and Master of Realities, J Krishnamurti, popularly known as JK in the West, especially in the European Countries and the UK, and more particularly in Germany and Switzerland. Accompanied by an Urdu scholar and senior journalist, Dr. Afzal Hussain Misbahi (Assistant Professor & Section Incharge of Urdu Section, MMV, Banaras Hindu University), the Sufi delegation of Sheikh Effendi was accorded a warm welcome at the Krishnamurti Foundation in Varanasi. On this occasion, Mr. Kumar Radhakrishnan, the principal of the Krishnamurti School and his colleagues and associates welcomed the seven-member Sufi delegation with great cordiality and hospitality. The delegation included the Mufti of Darus Salam, Tanzania Sheikh Al-Ahaad Musa Salim who is also the President of the Inter-Faith Council of Tanzania. As part of their planned visit, the Sufi entourage found a willing host in Krishnamurti Foundation India (KFI). Before we proceed ahead, it is important to know the background of KFI, which has been present in the sacred city of Varanasi for over 90 years. Krishnamurti (1895-1986) whose life and teachings spanned the greater part of the 20th Century, is regarded by many as one who has had the most profound impact on human consciousness in modern times. He was a Sage with a unique way of communicating, which essentially unravels the human problems for one to see clearly and overcome. In the words of Publishers Weekly: Few modern thinkers have integrated psychology, philosophy, and religion so seamlessly as Krishnamurti. Breaking away from organized religions, he spelt out his mission: 'to set man absolutely and unconditionally free'. He travelled around the world giving talks, writing, holding discussions. He talked of the things that concern all of us in our everyday life; the problems of living in modern society, the individual’s search for security, and the need for human beings to free themselves from their inner burdens of violence, fear and sorrow. At the age of 14, he was adopted by Annie Besant, the President of the Theosophical Society, and was brought up and groomed to be the World Teacher. Now the Krishnamurti Foundation in Varanasi, runs a fine CBSE boarding school called Rajghat Besant School guided by the philosophy of J Krishnamurti. The intent of the school is to develop an environment free of fear and comparison that will allow the natural blossoming of children under the watchful eyes of caring teachers. As succinctly put up by my friend and thinker, Mr. Vishwanath Alluri, Director of the KFI, Krishnamurti was simply an educator of life and a master of reality whose remarkable philosophy of education and peace continues to add more significance to our spiritual life and thoughts. In his dialogue at the KFI, Sufi-Master Sheikh Esref invoked the divine intent of creation and the special place human beings occupy in the spiritual scheme of things. He reflected upon humans being created in the image of God, endowed with free will and allowed to choose between good and bad. He prevailed on the listeners to not hurt others either physically or psychologically and to keep away from things that corrupt human beings. To a listener’s query if belief in almighty is necessary to love another human being, the Sheikh alluded to the interconnectedness of everything including the cosmic powers and that one cannot be seen in isolation of the other. The mission of the Sufis, he said, should be to bring people of all faith traditions together through their travel and sermon should be seen juxtaposed to the efforts of the school to educate young children in the spirit of goodness. Education must endow a child with an ability to view the world with her or his own eyes yet not prejudiced by others’ or ones own experiences. To relate without a preconceived notion based on another’s identity is manifestation of pure love. In that, the work of the Sufis and the school must be seen as complementary to each other. In his conclusion, Sheikh Efendi said that the relationship of man with the Creator and all His Creations is deeply connected and interrelated. If a person is engaged in good deeds, there will be naturally abundance of peace and prosperity, but if a person is indulged in wrongdoings, heavenly calamities will fall on him. He emphasized that the difference between man and a beast is that man is rational. So, he has to work with reason. If a person does not work with reason and does not control the 'self', then he turns into a beast. Remarkably, Sheikh Eşref Efendi is also popularly known for his Zhikr sessions and spiritual talks on the serious topics of eschatology, Ilm Akhir Az-Zamaan (knowledge of end times) which relate to the Armageddon as mentioned in the primary Islamic sources. One could be forgiven for feeling that the end of the world is nearer than ever. With talks of a nuclear Armageddon rearing its head every now and then, one cannot but help feel this way. No doubt, some observers like Steven Pinker, Harvard Professor of Psychology point to the 21st Century being among the most peaceful in a long time statistically. But anecdotally, an average person confronts fault lines on the basis of religion, ideology, politics, caste, gender, sexual orientation, nationality and many others in reaction to which he must choose one way or the other. He is torn between his loyalties yet must choose. What could he do? It is in times like these that sane and soothing voices are needed to help us hear our inner voice. One such voice that has been preaching inter-religious harmony is the Sufiland of Sheikh Esref Effendi situated on the boarders between Germany and Switzerland. Inspired by oneness of God and unity of mankind, the Sufiland is a harbinger of universal love and respect for all faith traditions, as instructed in the Qur'an. To sum up, bringing the Sufi delegation to Rajghat School of Krishnamurti Foundation would go down well in its history as J Krishnamurti himself was an ardent advocate of dialogue. But his idea of dialogue was not conventional and it needs to be heeded today. He says on Dialogue in 9th Chapter of his book ‘In the problem is the solution’: "In investigating these questions we are going to have a dialogue, A dialogue is a conversation between two people. You ask a question, the speaker answers it, then you respond to that answer, and when you respond to that answer, the speaker answers to your response. In this process of questioning and answering, the very answer is being questioned. This keeps going till both the questioner and the speaker disappear altogether and only the question remains. It is very important that the question remains suspended as it were, and as the question remains, it gains vitality, energy. What is important is that you must ask questions, if you are at all serious. The answer may be correct or incorrect, but you must respond to that answer, and when you respond, the speaker questions what you have responded to. We generally want the answer to be comfortable, suitable, convenient; but in questioning and answering, all that disappears. We try to find out what is true, what is factual, what the correct answer, the correct response is. To find that out, you and I must totally disappear and only the question must remain. You get it?" URL: New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism

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