November 22nd, 2009

Dr. Javad Nurbakhsh: The School of the Absolutely Real


This ‘school’ has two phases, fanã’ (‘annihilation’) and baqã’ (‘subsistence’), the reaching of fanã’ being equivalent to entering the kharãbãt. We have already seen that when the disciple reaches the end of the Tariqa, he arrives first at the contemplation of Divinity. This is the stage of fanã’, or death to self, of which there are two kinds, outward and inward.

Outward fanã’ is the annihilation of the acts of the disciple by the manifestation of the Divine Will. The disciple reaches a stage in which he is drowned in the sea of the Divine Acts, to the extent that he sees the Divine Will in everything that happens and not his own will or that of others. At this stage he is deprived completely of free-will.

Inward fanã’ is the annihilation of the attributes and the being of the Sufi. At this stage at times he contemplates the Divine Attributes, in which his own attributes have become annihilated, and at times he contemplates the Being of the Divinity, thus annihilating his own being. At the beginning of inward fanã’, the disciple is deprived of all sensation; but gradually, according to his capacities, he becomes aware of the outer world, even though his being has ceased to exist. His inward state is annihilation in God, while outwardly he is present in the external environment and completely aware of what is happening around him.

Baqã’ consists of subsistence in God and is realized when God gives a new will to the disciple directly from himself, in order to replace that which had become annihilated in the course of the path. This subsistence, or ‘permanence’, is obtained in exchange for inward annihilation, which consists of the disappearance of the being and the mortal attributes of the disciple, which are like a veil separating him from the Real. At this very advanced stage God does not veil the world from the Sufi nor does the world veil God; no sort of separation exists any longer and duality is transformed into Unity.

— Dr. Javad Nurbakhsh


Opening photograph from Serpentskirt

41 Responses to 'Dr. Javad Nurbakhsh: The School of the Absolutely Real'
Filed Under: Sufi Wisdom
  1. Elena remarks:

    The second type of act-the inward fana- sounds very similar to what happened to me. It was a very depressing time, and my ego energies were supper low, barely existing I simply had no definition of self to hold on to. Mind you I was not religious or spiritual at the time.
    And one day while walking in the park I looked at the sun and was overcome with this sense of vastness of the world and the universe and how amazing it all is. That feeling hasn’t left me since.
    Something similar I think is found in the work of Bill Viola where he references the Via Negativa in Christianity as a way of getting in touch with divinity.

    November 28th, 2009 at 8:16 pm
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