Power (exoteric)

From An Interview with Shamcher Bryn Beorse

J=Jelaluddin Boru, S=Shamcher
J: Do we have power over the elements?
S: We don’t have power over them. If we behave right they will gladly cooperate with us. The elements have much more power than the present civilization. We have very little power even over ourselves, even over our health and bodies. We are almost morons in the way we behave, and the elements are much more effective in their operations than we in ours. Although we could become even better than the elements in time…

J: Can humans concentrate on bringing rain?
S: Of course. Don’t you know that the Indians have done that for ages with their dances? Their dances express what they deeply feel. But it is not really the dances but their minds which are enticed by the dances which are making the rain…

J: This is what I’ve always heard you say about exoteric forms. It is not the dance but what the dance invokes… Would you speak on obsession and exoteric forms?
S: Yes. The exoteric form is the outer ritual that you see. For example, people taking part in parades, and the rituals one uses at devotional services. These are what one would call obsessional when the persons doing it are not aware of the symbolism and essence within it. They think that the services and the parades themselves are the essential meaning, and this may be dangerous.
The more so when the exoteric form involves the structure of society, and how that structure interacts with peoples’ lives.
I already gave you the example where the government believes itself capable of deciding which scientific technologies are important enough to be developed, whether they know anything about the particular technology or not. By adhering to the form of the society, or what people have come to believe is the form, people resign themselves to the decision of the government without questioning the process by which the decision has been reached, and hence we are stuck on the rather low level of technological advancement that we have today.
This goes for church organizations too, the way people will believe that a man simply because he has the title of Bishop or something must be right.
In sufi organizations of course, we are supposed to be better off than this because we are particularly aware of the unity of things. But there is even there some of this happening, and there are people who take it very seriously when someone who seems to have a higher responsibility says something. But actually the “higher responsibility” in the given situation means nothing more than someone had the particular idea that something should be said. Everyone has the right to say what he feels, in fact it is his duty to see that it gets said. You have the right not to believe that a certain thing must be right or wrong simply because a certain person has said it. Everything which is expressed in words is of rather inferior quality anyway. And it should be remembered that nothing that has ever happened is important, it has been made to be important.

J: It would seem that the exoteric form and the authority of the hierarchy are actually the lesser part of the Message. Like they are the discriminatory part of the mind which divides things into compartments so they may be communicable in words. But it is really the heart, the essence and the feeling which is the most important… How does this fit in all the recent talk of “resigning initiation” from the sufi order, Shamcher?
S: No one has a right to tell a person what he should or should not do, but the person himself. And as for initiation, initiation is as much as the initiated one accepts of the initiation, and nothing else and nothing more. Some are now afraid that initiation obliges a man to acknowledge his membership in a certain order. An initiator may think so, but in that fact I feel sorry for him. The only thing that initiation makes is a contact, which may be very important, or it may be rather unimportant, it all depends. For instance, initiation into the Sufi Order may mean that your spiritual contact has been cleaned up. That now you are better able to keep out the undesirable spirits and be close to the sincere, knowledgeable and desirable ones. Anyone can get in touch with Inayat Khan or his teacher, Seyyed Madani, or any of the spiritual beings, for example, but if you are initiated it is easier because you have been reminded to them. Your name has been told… and so from that point it is easier to be in contact with them. It may be easier the more sincere you were in the moment of initiation. But once you have had that initiation no one can take it away from you. It goes beyond lifetimes…

J: So in a sense initiation is being completed in other realms, something much more than where anyone could simply say whether one is officially a sufi or not.
S: Yes, it should be that. It isn’t always. It depends on both the initiate and the initiator. It is meant to attune your vibrations to the Order, and it sometimes does.

J: Would you say that from the original moment of Bayat every successive step on the sufi path is really a movement towards freedom, a movement towards what you’ve called elsewhere the fluid future, dispensing of the rigidities and obsessions that have prevented one from their natural contact with God?
S: That’s really true. Excellent! One who was initiated by Inayat Khan would say that…

(Click here for a random post from somewhere else in this blog.)