Written By: Anima Jain
Edited By: Divyajyot Joshi
“Fret not where the road will take you. Instead concentrate on the first step. That is the hardest part and that is what you are responsible for. Once you take that step let everything do what it naturally does and the rest will follow. Don’t go with the flow. Be the flow.”
Spirituality is a term whose meaning is as wide and as deep as the ocean. On 9 October Jaipur Book Lovers (JBL) took a dive into its deep waters. Embarking on the journey of spirituality and sufism the JBL had its 38th meet-up at Diggi Palace. When this topic was selected everyone was a bit hesitant and unsure about what it entails. After a lot of discussion on what to read, everyone was ready with their personal take on spirituality and Sufism.
As the meet commenced, everyone put forward their ideas of spirituality and sufism. The topics ranged from Vedas to the Sufis; from the alchemist to Rumi, from Tao to the Bhagvad Geeta, From Freud to the little prince. This meet up demonstrated that spirituality can be found anywhere and everywhere.
‘The more you read about Sufism the more you have to listen. But the more I read about Sufism the more I unlearned. Because that is what Sufism does to you, it makes you erase what you know, what you are so sure of. And then start thinking again. Not with your mind this time, but with your heart.’ Elif Shafak.
Sufism is a way of purifying the heart. It is to have a direct experience of God through love. Sufis believe it is possible to draw closer to god and to fully embrace the divine presence in this life only. While in the starting of this journey no one knew what Sufism was now the book lovers had a lot to say about Sufism and Rumi, a famous Sufi poet. While some compared the mystic Sufi teaching to the vedantic philosophy and found them to be identical others were in love with the beautiful Sufi poems and quotes. The symbols used in Sufism were discussed as was ‘Sema’ the mystical Sufi dance.
“Raise your words not voice. It is the rain that grows flowers not thunder”. Rumi
As the journey reached its conclusion a heated discussion followed as it does every time there is a conversation on religion or spirituality. The question raised this time was whether Sufism was a property of Islam as it came from Islam. While some held the view that it was Islamic in nature others disagreed saying it was a way of life different from Islam. Although no conclusion could be reached on this topic everyone agreed that the reading for this meet up had been an interesting ride that changed their views and opened their eyes to many new ideas and philosophies and brought them a little closer to themselves. Reading for spiritualism or sufism was a soulful discovery and Jaipur Book Lovers immensely enjoyed going on this ride.
“I have been a seeker and I still am. But I stopped asking the books and the stars. I started listening to the teachings of my soul”. Rumi
Few books that caught everyone’s attention in this meet up were:
- Forty Rules Of Love By Elif Shafak
- The Way Of The Sufi By Idries Shah
- The Little Prince By Antoine De Saint-Exupry
- The Alchemist By Paulo Coelho
- Walking Up By Sam Harris
- Soul Fury By Colman Barks
- Bhagvad Geeta
In the 22 years of her life Anima has always enjoyed reading. Anything and everything she could lay my hands on. Food and books are the most cherished comforts of her life.