We may call it the “come to Sri Aurobindo moment“. It is a psychic awakening, a distinctive phase in life when the mind falls in rhythm with the elegant cadence of Sri Aurobindo’s elongated sentences, when the heart feels gladdened reading the sensitive and sublime insights of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother and little by little, one begins to grasp and live their teaching. Zackaria Moursi, Egyptian by birth, came across a book on Integral Yoga while studying in Germany in the 1960s. In this article, he describes how that book launched him on the spiritual path.
Shaikh Fariduddin Attar (1145-1221 C.E.) was a mystic Sufi poet of Iran. Born in Nishapur, he was initiated into the Sufi lore by Sheikh Mujd-ud-din of Baghdad. When he was about forty-five years old, he “saw” the future greatness of a teenage boy Jalaluddin Rumi who had come to meet him. He blessed Rumi and presented him with a copy of his work, the Pandnama. Attar was executed by a soldier after Genghis Khan invaded Persia. During his lifetime, he wrote over 114 books on Sufism, the most reputed of which is the Tajkerat al-Awliya (Memoirs of the Saints of Iran, Egypt and Arabia) which documents the lives of about one hundred and forty-two Sufi saints of his era. Selections from this book were translated by Bankey Behari into English. These are a few noteworthy excerpts from Behari’s book (page numbers follow in parentheses)
Akbar (1542-1605) was the third Mughal Emperor who ruled over much of Northern and Central India. The family was Turko-Mongol in origin. Akbar, after ascending to the throne at the age of fourteen, cemented his power with successive victories over insubordinate local chieftains. He was a great patron of art and culture, somewhat analogous to Lorenzo the Magnificent of the House of Medici, who nourished the artistic community in Florence and turned the city into a locus of the Italian Renaissance. Akbar was known for his syncretic and liberal religious policy. Hindus, Muslims, Jains, Buddhists, Zoroastrians, and even Jesuits who had travelled all the way from Europe by sea to spread Christianity graced the royal court of Akbar. When he was thirty six years old, he had a mystical experience which seems to have been a turning point in his life.