The following is the transcript of Sufi Spiritual Revivalist Younus AlGohar’s speech at the NUWTC’s ‘Leaders in Action for Global Transformation’ symposium in Phoenix Arizona.
I’m here to share my thoughts, my energies, and some divine spiritual philosophies from the East. There are spiritual philosophies from the West and then we have our own brand of spirituality which may be slightly different, but we can benefit from both. Today I will be sharing with you the spiritual sciences with the help of which we may be able to awaken our spiritual subtleties in the body.
We believe there are seven different souls inside our body.
For a long time, as a student, I used to think there is only one soul in the body. One day, I met with a boy who was not able to speak; his parents took him everywhere [to get cured] but his power of speech was never restored. Then we went to see a Spiritual Master.
The Spiritual Master said, ‘The soul which is responsible for sustaining the power of the speech in the body is defective.’
Then I came to know that there are more souls in the body that just one.
In the East, there are a lot of people who exemplify Sufism. They have their own ways and culture; most of the time, spirituality is mixed with the culture. That is why it becomes difficult for everybody to embrace it. For example, in India, we have a different brand of spirituality. Gandhi used to be known as a ‘half-naked fakir’ because this was his spiritual attire. Then we have Hindu spirituality and Muslim spirituality.
The majority of people who are interested in spirituality in the West are aware of Rumi. He always spoke about love and the beloved and how to live your life with all the blossoms of love and harmony.
When I met my Spiritual Master, he made a cocktail. He took bits and pieces from all different cultures and came out with a brand new spirituality. This was so everybody is able to embrace it and reap the spiritual benefits and grace out of it.
Religions Have Lost Their Glory
A lot of people today have become wary of religion, God and Jesus. I understand this is not because they have any grudge or personal vendetta against God or Jesus Christ. This is a pretty natural phenomenon. [This happens when] you practise religion for many, many years, and you do not get anything from that practice. Rather, you feel like you have been caged with different philosophies and you find very little space to manoeuvre your own life. You are told that the things you want to do to enjoy your life are sins and that you cannot do it.
On the one hand, people are not getting anything out of the practice of the religion, so they become non-recipients of any spiritual grace that may be rendered by the practice of that religion. On the other hand, they are caged by different laws – societal and religious laws – [telling them] ‘you cannot do this, you cannot do that’. They become wary of this concept of sin.
People call upon God when they need help and God doesn’t reply. Then one day they lose hope. We call upon Jesus to help and Jesus doesn’t help, so we lose hope. When religions do not do anything good to improve the quality of our life, we become wary of these religions. And sometimes religions become monsters.
The ideology of religion can be adulterated in a way that it becomes a monster.
Sometimes religions have a very limited perimeter for us to manoeuvre. Sometimes, we see that religions are creating divisions and problems rather than assessing our spiritual needs and necessities. Bearing all this in mind, we tell ourselves, ‘I am better off without religion.’ This has been a trend for the past 100 years now.
People in the West have shunned the practice of religion, but where I come from in the East, people have a blindfold. They don’t get anything out of the practice of their religion but still, they are clung to that practice.
Some of them are given radicalised views. They are told, ‘Do you want to go to paradise? Wear a jacket full of bombs, blow up somewhere and let 100-200 people blow up with you. This will be a gateway for you to enter paradise and 72 virgin damsels are waiting for you.’
This is terrorism. But terrorism is just a branch of a monstrous religion when the religion loses its glory, meaning, spiritual power and regime. When spirituality is missing from religion, then that religion becomes a monster.
When we call upon Jesus and Jesus doesn’t attend to our call [multiple times], we will have a very bad and negative conjecture about Jesus. We will think, ‘Jesus is just a character from mythology because when we need him, he doesn’t reply, he doesn’t help.’
In order to know the truth, you have to adopt spirituality. We heard it on the grapevine that there is somebody and he lives somewhere above the skies. We heard about it, but seeing is believing.
When we go to the mosques, churches and synagogues, we are told to believe in what we cannot see and sustain that belief. Sustaining that belief is known as faith. Even if he doesn’t ever help you, we have to have faith. Now this slogan is fading away. We are living in the 21st century.
We have all the luxuries and comforts of life – we can make it rain, we can reach Mars, we have been to the Moon, we can fiddle with human genes, we can know in advance what diseases a baby will have by studying the gene – we are so advanced so do we need God now? Do we need Jesus? If we need Jesus, why do we need him? Is he going to buy us a mobile phone or improve the quality of our internet?
We cannot deny the existence of God. The proof is our own self. Somebody must have created us. Our existence cannot be a coincidence.
The problem is the messengers and the great spiritual masters who would teach us how to spiritualise our life, how to enlighten and awaken our souls and then find the spiritual proximity with God – those masters are here no more. What we have are just orators who tell us stories, ‘When Jesus came this happened, when Prophet Muhammad came that happened.’
We talk about the miracles – things which our intellect cannot even perceive. We keep reading these far fetched stories. We are bemused by the study of the miracles which took place in remote history.
But this is what it is. This is the story is every religion. If you go to a church, they will tell you stories of Christian saints, Lord Jesus Christ and Mother Mary – but why don’t we see those miracles working today in our age? We have stories from the era of Moses in which God would send food from above the skies. We have stories on the era of Abraham and Adam. But we do not see these things anymore. This is why we do not relate to Lord Jesus Christ. This is why we do not relate to the miracles worked by Jesus in history – because we do not see them today.
When you go to church, you [will be] just thinking about God but you are told that you are speaking with God. So many different things have been added to the academic side of religion which never existed. Everything has been glamorised.
Often times we talk about meditation, well the very word ‘meditate’ means ‘to think deeply’. Do we have to learn how to meditate? We already know how to think deeply.
True meditation is a transcendental spiritual journey. This happens when the souls are enlightened, energised and have been localised with divinity.
As a Muslim, I was told, ‘On the Night of the Ascension, Prophet Mohammad physically flew from his bed. He went to Jerusalem and he went up to the sky. Physically, he went to see God.’
It’s difficult isn’t it, to relate to all this? Because we have never seen such things happen in front of our eyes. Our intellect only accepts things that we can see and experience. What we cannot see or experience doesn’t really fit in our head.
We say, ‘Yes, okay. I must believe because this is my religion, so it must have happened.’
But we cannot relate to such things. All these different beautiful people, like Adam, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, they all went. And we are just living in the wilderness of ignorance.
Today I have come here to tell you that we have found the truth. What Adam, Abraham, Moses and Jesus said was right. What Jesus did was right and what Mohammad said was right.
We do not know the right knowledge and we do not know the whereabouts of divinity – this is why we are left in a lurch. We have no clue how to love God.
The Heart is the Place of Love
And love is the most misinterpreted and misunderstood word. You will meet a man one day, fall in love and after some time, you will find out that he was sleeping around. So, where is the love? That’s not loving, is it? We have assumed that if we take care of somebody, we actually love them. But what about nursing homes where nurses take care of the elderly people and get paid for that care? That’s not loving.
It’s funny. We always enjoy it when we hate somebody – but we don’t get to enjoy it when we love somebody. We have to sacrifice a lot in order to keep that love alive. You have to admit: love always demands a lot of sacrifices. How much will you sacrifice in the name of love? There is a limit. One day, finally when you see that you are left with nothing, you let go of this [so-called] love.
Love is a substance. Love is divine. The place of love is the Spiritual Heart.
My mobile phone doesn’t work without power and connection. In a similar way, this Spiritual Heart has very profound potential. When it is revived, awakened, spiritualised and energised, this will work with divine energy. When it is energised with divine energy, it starts to show off its spiritual functionality. This heart works like a mirror.
Rumi said, ‘If you polish your heart, which is like a mirror, then anyone who comes in front of your heart will reflect in your heart.’
And my Master [HDE Gohar Shahi] said, ‘When the heart is awakened and enlightened, this will be our tool of communication with God, with Jesus.’
I didn’t believe it until I found it.
I’m not a very religious man. I used to play cricket in college (I still do), but then one day I was totally fed up with religions. I was a very religious boy; because at a very young age, my father used to tell me, ‘You have to go to the mosque every day, five times a day, or you will go to hell.’
So, as a child, I had this fear instilled in my heart that I must go the mosque five times a day or else I would go to hell.
Then one day, when I went to the mosque, the Muslim priest was telling us a story of Prophet Muhammad.
He said that Prophet Mohammad said, ‘If you take a shower five times a day, will there be any dirt on your body? No. So going to the mosque five times a day is very similar to taking a shower five times a day. When you go to the mosque five times a day, there will be no sin on you. There will be no dirt on your heart.’
I did it for years and years but I still found there was dirt in me, I still had my crooked ways. I felt I was still bad inside my heart. I felt I still wanted to deprive others of their possessions if I didn’t have them. That was really alarming. I was asking myself the question, ‘Was what I was told really right?’
These practices of religion appear to be so important and essential but without spirituality, no religion will work any good on any of you or me. Because spirituality is the soul of religion.
Spirituality is greater than any religion. If you have adopted spirituality, then you do not need any religion.
Spirituality is all about enlightening and awakening souls. Some people in the East said that yoga was a spiritual practice and I was really confused.
I asked my Master, ‘Is yoga a spiritual practice?’
My Master said, ‘Why do you ask?’
I said, ‘Because I don’t see any soul getting involved in the practice of yoga. We are just stretching our body – are we stretching our souls as well?’
And my Master said ‘No, no. Yoga is good for the body and mind, but the enlightenment of the soul is a different ball game.’
I said, ‘What is spirituality then?’
I did a masters degree in Organic Chemistry and Physical Chemistry, so I was very argumentative at times. I used to think the function of the soul is to sustain life in the body, that’s all.
But my Master told me, ‘No, no, no. There are two different sets of souls: celestial souls and terrestrial souls. We share terrestrial souls with animals and all other different kinds of creatures, like stones, trees and animals.’
We share the same types of souls with all these living objects. The stone and mountains have the mineral soul. The trees have the mineral soul plus botanical soul. The animals have [the mineral and botanical soul as well as] the animal spirit.
If we only have the same amount of souls as animals do, then why do we have intellect? Why do we speak and animals do not speak? We have some different souls in human beings because if we [only] have the same souls that animals, trees and stones do, then why don’t they speak or have the [same level of intellect as us]? Well, there is always room for argument. You can say ‘They are intelligent,’ but no animal was a scientist.
We have something superior given to us by God in comparison to what has been given to the animals. The additional thing we have in us as human beings is a set of celestial souls. When it comes to sustaining life in the body, we have similar amounts of souls that the animals do: the botanical spirit, mineral spirit and animal spirit. We have all these souls too in our body. These three terrestrial spirits are responsible for the growth and for sustaining life in our body.
But the set of celestial souls that have only been given to human beings – their function is different.
It was so fascinating when Jesus said, ‘God created man in his own image.’
Ever since I read this I thought, ‘I am like God because God created man in his own image. If I have fingers, God must have fingers. If God didn’t have fingers, I wouldn’t have them. God must walk the same way that we walk because God created man in his own image.’
That was really fascinating. I said to my Master, ‘[If] God created man in his own image, then why do we need any religion? We are God’s image already.’
Then my Master said, ‘God created you and everybody else in his own image, but you need his character now.’
We don’t behave like God. What was missing is God’s character. God is oftentimes forgiving. God is love. God is full of compassion and empathy.
A lot of people are losing their grip on empathy, sympathy and compassion these days. This is not because they have shunned the practice of the religion; this is because the divine characteristics in us are diminishing day by day because we have stopped the practice of spirituality.
In order to behave and live like God, God has given us a set of celestial souls: five in our breast and one lies in our head (the Third Eye). When the [soul in the head] is awakened and enlightened, then we are able to see God. We are able to see Jesus, Abraham and Moses – all these great personalities were the wonderful teachers of spirituality.
When I met my Master, I was exposed to naked spirituality in which your heart and all the spirits are awakened and enlightened, and with them, you make spiritual journeys. You think about making a spiritual journey and they come out of your body. You will be sitting in your chair and they come out of your body. They look like you and they take the shape of your body.
One day Rumi went to the mosque and he was praying. His Master came and said, ‘You are praying alone. Where is all of you gone?’
Rumi said, ‘What? Where is all of me gone?’
‘You are not just one, you are many.’
He was really intrigued by this knowledge. ‘What? Am I many? I just know myself.’
When he was exposed to the spiritual sciences, he was told that there are seven souls inside his body and yet another nine different souls are given birth by these seven souls [to make a total of] sixteen. With spiritual nourishment and spiritual practice, all these souls – one after the other – develop this ability to come out and make journeys.
Then one day, Rumi went to the mosque again after 15-20 years and he was in the prayer. His Master came and he said, ‘Now you are many.’
He said, ‘how?’ and he saw that there were 16 men like him standing behind him.
If one of your souls was nurtured and fully grown when you were 20 – and it came out – then that soul will stay, forever, 20.
So, you have these souls in you. Then when you have attained this spiritual status, then you think about God, ‘Where is God?’
Then one of the souls will leave your body. You will be sitting in your chair or in meditation and one of the souls will leave your body and see God. These souls will reach God and access God. These souls will access Jesus. These souls will change our lives and our lifestyle.