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The Zephyr May 2018

Dear Companions on the Path,

I hope this finds you well. All is well here in Richmond, where we are still soaking up the numinous vibrations of the Wisdom of the Prophets gathering that took place here a few days ago. It was a marvelous culmination to the series of symposia we hosted over the course of the last three years dedicated to the mystical traditions of Hinduism, Buddhism, Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Our aim in these meetings was to explore the deep historical and philosophical connections between Sufism and the world’s great revealed traditions. Much was intellectually confirmed in our gatherings, and still more was spiritually tasted. My book Mingled Waters chronicles in two dimensions what our gatherings lived out in three.

A sparkling sketch of last weekend’s gathering, from the magic pen of Misbah Noor, is here.

Earlier, in April, the Astana hosted the Board of The Inayati Order, North America, a wise and dedicated group of workers for the Sufi Message whose organizational stewardship is a boon to us all. Still earlier in April we held an open house in which our special guests were Dr. Carl W. Ernst, one of my scholarly mentors, and his wife Judith. Dr. Ernst read enchanting poems from his forthcoming book on Hallaj. Judith is the author and illustrator of a retelling of a Jataka tale that she dedicated to Pirzadi-Shahida Noor.

Speaking of Noor: to my great happiness, Noor’s mystical drama Aède of the Ocean and Land is now in print! I cannot recommend it enough. Noor was, as you know, a great saint and mystic, and keen readers will discover her inner teachings encoded within the adventurous narrative of the play. I regardAède as a kind of terma, a “treasure text” that is not revealed until its time has come. It is an auspicious sign that it has appeared at this juncture—a sign that Noor is watching over us.

Yours ever,

Sarafil Bawa


The Aède of Ocean & Land

New from Suluk Press, May 2018

In dramatic form, Aède shines a revealing light on Noor’s life and thought, reflecting her unique assimilation of the spiritual teachings of her father, Hazrat Inayat Khan. In Aède, Noor combines elements of Greek myth, Sufi esotericism, and personal experience to produce a gripping and surprising retelling of the Odyssey of Homer. The protagonist wrestles with monsters, colloquizes with nymphs, and sails the Mediterranean in search of home. Will Ulys reattain domestic bliss in Ithaca—or does another destiny await him?


The Astana full of Sufi friends for Wisdom of the Prophets: Sufism & Islam, May 3-6, 2018. Perhaps our happiest gathering to date!
See here for the full photo album

Gayan Commentary

Music of the Spheres: Gamaka Commentaries, Gayan

“There is nothing else in life which pleases me more than pleasing others, but it is difficult to please everybody.”

There are three reasons a person may have for trying to please another. The first is strategic: one wishes to win, or keep, a friend, and avoid making an enemy. Keeping the people around one happy, as far possible, generally has the effect of smoothing one’s life path.

The second reason a person may have for to trying please another is to be thought well of. Very often, one’s self image is bound up in other people’s opinions. One thrives on positive attention and withers under censorious glances.

The third reason is honest altruism. This motivation transcends the dark insecurities that overshadow the mind. One wishes to please others because one realizes, deep down in one’s heart, that every other is another oneself.

But even if one’s motivation is the purest, pleasing others is not always easy. As Hafiz says, “Love seemed at first an easy thing—but ah! the hard awakening.”

Sometimes by pleasing one person one displeases another; there are cases when one cannot please both at once. The attempt to please everyone is a noble one, but in the end one must follow one’s conscience and do as one believes best.

See the full commentary on the Inayati Order website, and please check back for updates.

Astana Open House Weekend

We hosted our first Astana Open House Weekend, April 14 & 15, with special guest Dr. Carl Ernst of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

Click here to see the full photo album.



Inayati Spring Scholarship Appeal

Please help support scholarships for our upcoming programs! 

Over the past months, we have actively been accepting candidates into two programs, Inayati Emergent Leaders to launch in two weeks (first session May 26-30 with 37 students) and our newSuluk Academy Class to launch in the fall (first session Sept 11-16 with 30 people already accepted into the class!). We have also been closely collaborating with our new Inayati Young Adult Council about how to support “young adult” involvement in all of our activities.

This spring, please help us raise $20,000 for our Scholarship Funds. Over the past three years we have granted $30,000+ in scholarships, for all ages and for all programs. We need to replenish these accounts for future students.

If you feel so called, please donate through the link below, choosing the scholarship fund you would like to support under “Gift Choices.”

There are four scholarship related options: Suluk Scholarship FundEmergent Leaders Scholarship FundYoung Adult Scholarship Fund, and Inayati General Scholarship Fund for all other programs. Please contact us if there are any questions. Thank you for your generous, kind support!

Inayati News of Note

Between the dates of July 1st and 10th, a special Summer School will be held in the Khankah of Fazal Manzil in Suresnes, France. The program will include lectures, meditations, silences, readings, music, and zikr. Shaikh al-Mashaik Mahmood Khan will be present from the 3rd onward. Details may be found here.

Inayati Order Upcoming Events


The Mysticism of Sound & Music Online
With Pir Zia Inayat-Khan & Special Guests
Richmond, Virginia & Online Anytime
Wednesdays, 2-23 May 2018

The Alchemy of Happiness w/ Pir Zia
The Abode of the Message, New Lebanon, New York
31 August – 2 September 2018

Making One’s Own Nature w/ Pir Zia
Berkeley, California
29-30 September 2018

Making One’s Own Nature w/ Pir Zia
Cambridge, Massachusetts
1-2 December 2018


The Spiritual Message of Mawlana Rumi
Middle Eastern & South Asian Inayati Community Gathering
Konya, Turkey
13-19 July 2018

Zenith Institute
Olivone, Switzerland
23 July – 18 August 2018

Growing Wings w/ Pir Zia
Katwijk aan Zee, The Netherlands
24-26 August 2018

Angelic Lights w/ Pir Zia
London, England
17-18 November 2018

Please see our Inayati Order Programs Calendar for more event listings. New dates and online courses will be announced in March.