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MY GLORIOUS FORTNIGHT WITH SIR SULTAN MUHAMMAD SHAH

 
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 26, 2004 7:49 am    Post subject: MY GLORIOUS FORTNIGHT WITH SIR SULTAN MUHAMMAD SHAH Reply with quote

Ya Ali Madad,

The following is an article written by late Dr. Nathoo, who had many physical contacts with Imam Sultan Muhammad Shah. I have known him and do believe that he has accurately related the gist of all the incidences and conversations he had with the late Imam. However, I do not share his interpretation of some of the Imam's statements particularly in regard to knowledge and enlightenment. Towards the end he does indicate that he might have been wrong in this regard. I will leave it to the readers to interprete the incidences which are worthy of reflection.

MY GLORIOUS FORTNIGHT WITH SIR SULTAN MUHAMMAD SHAH

Our Imam Sir Sultan Muhammad Shah, came to my surgery in Nairobi in 1945 for a dental treatment. He must have had a very psychic mind. I say this because soon after he entered my surgery, the first question he asked was, “Dr. Hassan, what are you reading?” I was rather surprised as, at that time, I was just finishing a book called “Divine Life” by Sree Arvindo of Pondicherry. This book was sent to me by my school friend, Lawrie Pinto (now known as “Udar”). Pinto and I were close friends in Bombay at the Elphinstone College Hostel. We met again two years later in London where he was studying Aeronautic Engineering. He was a very religious Roman Catholic and a regular churchgoer. He was also a great entertainer. He had a flair for remembering and singing any song which he heard only once. Often I joined him at a church service both in Bombay and then in London. It was more for his company on my part than for any religious sentiments. We left London in the same month. I left for Nairobi and he for Bombay in 1934.
I did extremely well in my profession but Pinto had no great scope in India during the British Raj in his field. However, during World War II he became a trainer for pilots in the Indian Air Force somewhere near Madras. There he came under the influence of Sree Arvindo and received his “Enlightenment” from him. He gave up his very important job as a trainer and joined the Ashram at Pondicherry. It was then that he sent me the book “Divine Life”.
The Imam said that he too had read the book and asked me what I thought of it. I told him that my friend appeared to be very happy and enthusiastic about Sree Arvindo and had sent me the book as a present. He had also invited me to visit him at the Ashram. Then the Imam quoted to me a hadith which I had never heard before, “Receive knowledge even it be in China”. Then he told me that if I ever received “Enlightenment”, I should on no account give up the Chain of Immamat and Islam. Also I should never ever retire into an Ashram as the Holy Prophet (May Peace Be Upon Him) had strictly forbidden anyone to retire from the world. I told him that I had no intention of going to India and I never went to Pondicherry where my friend is now the head of the Ashram and also it’s chief engineer. I am still in contact with him.
During his following visits I gave the Imam two books by Bernard Shaw, then just published – “Everybody’s Political What’s What” and “A Black Woman in Search of God”. The first book was more than 450 Pages. He returned it in three or four days. I thought that he had returned it unread because he probably did not like it. He said that he had finished it in three nights. So I asked him, when did he get time to read as I knew from my late brother, Count Ibrahim and Sir Eboo, that he was extremely busy with the communal work, meetings and parties. He often retired very late at night. He said that he seldom slept for more than an hour at night, especially when he had something interesting to read or if he was engaged in some interesting work.. Then he told me that he could read nearly a hundred pages an hour. I asked him how he could remember if he read so fast. He told me that (as I had the book in my hand), I could ask him questions as to what was said on a specific page. He said that he had such a memory that he could remember even the page number or where a particular episode occurred. I did not of course test him but I was simply amazed that anyone could read so fast and remember everything. He had a highly trained photographic memory. Later on in 1951, when my wife and I were invited to tea with the Imam at his Ritz Hotel suite, he asked me something about some people. I said that I was very bad at remembering people as I was not particularly interested in other people’s affairs. He told me that if he met 200 people at a party, he could remember everyone who was introduced to him by his first name even after 20 years. Then he named all the sixteen people who sat down on his table in 1946 when my wife and I went to lunch with him at his Caledonian Road residence in Nairobi in 1946. Several such lunches were held during his visit. He also told me that if he read a thing once, heard a thing once or saw a thing once, he never forgot it. Later on I discovered on several occasions that he was quite true.
In 1946, I went to Dar-es-Salaam for the Diamond Jubilee celebrations. At the end of the celebrations there was a magnificient procession put up by the community which we were watching from some friends’ balcony when suddenly the Imam arrived with the Begum Mata Salamat. The balcony was at a very strategic corner. When the procession had passed by, the Imam asked me when I was leaving for Nairobi. I said “Early next morning”. He turned round to the Begum and said, “Doctor THINKS that he is leaving tomorrow morning”. He said this in such a strange tone that I told my wife that the Imam did not think that we would leave the next morning. When we came home, my wife’s brother became involved in some family problem and we were simply obliged to postpone our departure for 2 or 3 days. Next evening I received a surprise: a message that my wife and I were invited to Imam’s residence for after dinner coffee.
After the coffee, the Imam told me that he had a complicated or precision denture in his mouth. He had been to the local dentist for help but was not satisfied. The Begum had to go to South Africa and it was she who used to help him fit his denture every morning and remove it at night. He asked me whether I could stay in Dar for a fortnight to do the Begum’s chore. Of course I eagerly agreed although I had quite a full appointment book in Nairobi. He told me that I should visit the residence every morning as soon as I was up and go again just before retiring.
On the first morning I arrived at 6.00 a.m. and knocked at his bedroom door. He was already up and had managed to insert the denture himself. I felt rather ashamed so the next morning I arrived before 5.00 a.m. He had told me at the last visit not to knock but just enter the bedroom. As soon as I entered, I saw him sitting facing the wall with a tasbi in his hand, dressed in a white juba (gown) and a white kasida (puggree), praying and meditating. I stood there in respectful silence wondering in my mind whether, as an Imam, did he have to meditate and pray like an ordinary person. After a few minutes he rose and straightaway asked me a question, “Doctor, you are surprised to see me doing my ibaadat? Do you know that Hazarat Paygamber (the Holy Prophet) and Hazarat Ali never missed their prayers and Ibaadat? Who am I before them?” Later on I realized that I never had to ask him any questions: he answered them as soon as they arose in my mind; it was as if he were reading my mind all the time. This happened on a number of occasions. During my visits to the residence we had many discussions especially on community and spiritual matters and he always gave me the answer before I had a chance to ask any questions.
The first thing he had told me on his own was, when he was in my surgery in Nairobi, why he had recently modified the original Ismaili Kalma where the Kalma ended with words, “Amirulmominin Ali Sahi Allah” to “Amirulmominin Aliullah”. He told me that some leaders of the sister community had told him unofficially that if he modified the Kalma to “Aliyun Vali Allah”, they would all come into Ismailism. “Aliullah” was the most that he could accept.
Then he told me why all the community property, contributions, etc, were transferred to his personal name, It was because if the property was left in the name of the community and if there was any dispute in the future, there would be nothing but dissention and expensive litigation. Today I realize his wisdom. In all the money contributed by the community out of their faith and in Allah’s name, the Imam has the sole power how to use it in the way he thinks fit. This has eliminated many differing views and disputations and money wasting bureaucracy which are plaguing all other public charities in the world. He also said that there would never be any open elections in the community for any post. If he allowed any elections, the community would breakup in a fortnight. How right he was!
There were many other talks and incidents which took place but I am giving here the gist of a few. He also told me so many things about his personal life. Also a lot of things about other family members and his race horses. He named a horse after me, “Nathoo” which won the Irish Derby in the early fifties. I have never understood why he told me so many things as by nature I am not a very “sympathetic” person or a good listener. Looking back reminds me that, because of me, the theme of his Diamond Jublilee speech at Dar-es-Salaam was “Dentistry”.
He told me that people often asked him if he was God. He said, “I am everything to everybody. If you consider me God, I am your God. If you consider me your Spiritual Father, I am your Spiritual Father. If you consider me your Imam, I am your Imam. If you consider me only your friend, I am your friend and so on. It depends on your faith. You, too, are a different person to different people: you are son to your parents, a father to your children, a brother to your siblings, etc. But anybody who considers me God at a Shariati level is no better than a “Bhut Parast”(idol worshipper or an iconolater). At the Marfati level, this question does not arise”.
Talking about Islam and on telling him that I was reading Yusufali’s English translation of the Holy Quran, he said that it was not necessary for the Ismailis generally to read it as it would only confuse them. In the matter of the Ismailis praying only three times daily instead of five times and not keeping Rozas generally in the month of Ramadhan, he told me two things: that in the Qur’an there was no specific mention of the number of daily Nimaz. It was only a tradition (Sunna); the other was that there was a hadith where the Holy Prophet had said that if during his lifetime the people of Arabia observed 90% of his injunctions, 10% would be forgiven. But after his death, if the followers observed even 10%, 90% would be forgiven. This hadiths are confirmed in a book on the life of the Prophet by Martin Lings which I read only recently. This hadith makes Islam the most liberal religion. Later on he quoted this hadith to a banker of Pakistan when the banker wanted some guidance on running a bank. One could not run a bank without charging or receiving interest even when dealing with the Muslim clients in Pakistan. In reply he said that only usury was forbidden, not the legitimate interest. His ideas about Islam and his interpretation of the Holy Qur’an were most liberal and won the admiration of anybody who met him. His chapter on Islam, “The Islamic Concept and My Role as Imam” in his “Memoirs” is most enlightening, especially on the spiritual aspect.
At the end of the fortnight when the Begum returned, I went to take my leave. He thanked me most profusely and told me that he was very well aware that I had sacrificed a valuable fortnight from my work. He asked me what he could do for me in return. I said that it was a great pleasure and privilege to me to be able to serve my Imam and to have the chances of learning so many wonderful things about the religion and other community matters. It was an eye opener. What I wanted was only his blessings. He told me that he knew of my interest in spiritual matters and that all my desires in life would be fulfilled. On hearing this, I simply broke down, tears running from my eyes. He laughed and laughed and the more I cried the more he laughed. My tears were the tears of JOY. In other words, I was completely blessed out. I did not know what “bliss” was then. I realized this after I received the “KNOWLEDGE” many years later. Also I never realized until recently what his blessings meant. Nearly 30 years after his blessings, I was fortunate enough to receive Enlightenment without any ibaadat or any change in my life style: by accident at the hands of a so-called Teacher of Perfection who happened to visit my home town, Nairobi. I did not have to go to China (?) or India. I would never have had the courage to go to any Teacher without the hint or guidance of the Imam, i.e. to receive knowledge even be it in China. He considered “Knowledge” or Enlightenment above anything else in his life. This could be seen from his “Memoirs” and his early Dar-es-Salaam firmans ‘Usul-i-Din’ of 1899. I went to this teacher of Perfection as, ever since my college days, I used to go to lectures arranged by the Theosophical and International Meditation Society all over the world as I had intuitively felt that I would come across such a Teacher one day during my life time. The following are the exact words in “Memoirs”: “If the Holy Spirit ever grants any of us that Enlightenment, he can being thus blessed, have the Power which Christ had but to the overwhelming majority of men this greater love is not a practical possibility.”
In all my life, I have never come across anybody with such a dynamic, lovable and divine personality. It was always a joy to talk to the Imam as he had the gift of making you feel that he was your personal friend and that he had known not only you but all the members of your family and friends all his life. Even his worst enemies were full of admiration for him if they had a chance of ever having a personal chat with him.
During a talk he told me that, even in Europe, over a score of people including the local residents came to him daily for advice and guidance. Often he asked a person, “I gave you this advice 20 years ago. Did you act upon it?” It seemed as if he never forgot anything.
I also know from my personal knowledge that the Imam took regular exercise, even in his old age, and was above average golfer. He was very fond of food. His every word was either full of wisdom or wit. Between him and the Begum the conversation was sparklingly funny and witty which made his guest laugh hilariously. He was in good health when I saw him for the last time in 1953, It was a great personal loss to me when I did not see him again because of his illness. His passing away was a greater blow to me than the loss of my own father. Meeting him reminded me of Shakespeare’s lines about Brutus from Julius Caesar which I read in my school days:-
His life was gentle, and elements
So mix’d in him that Nature might stand up
And say to all the world, THIS WAS A MAN.


Dr. H.E. Nathoo
5 Sydney Street
London SW3 6PU
28th July, 1988



After reading the above article, a very learned Ismaili friend of mine, who is a London graduate, told me most emphatically that I should try to give the KEY OF ENLIGHTENMENT to our Ismailis as he himself got the ENLIGHTENMENT through reading my translation of ‘Bhraham Prakaash’ and by my talking to him. He got no more from the Teacher whom I had recommended. Only recently I too have realized that I may have the KEY as one or two other people said the same thing: that they were able to see LIGHT after my personally explaining to them our Ginans. Until now, I was under the impression that one had to go only to the gifted(?) teacher for it. I was also completely blind to two or three other Ginans, viz: “Chila Chhodi” and “Dhanare Ghaddee Jo din Sant Padhariya” etc. I have also translated these Ginans. In order to have this great gift of Allah, i.e. Enlightenment, one must have a hankering for it and one must be prepared to give up one’s ego or our “false concepts” as the late Imam says in his firmans of 1899. The KEY is staring at us in all our Ginans but we are all blind without someone explaining the hidden techniques contained in our ancient Ginans and Imams’ firmans. We must all say to ourselves, “What good if our Pirs saw the LIGHT: we all must try to see it ourselves.” The late Imam had made it quite clear to us that we could go higher than our Pirs if we tried. I have a feeling that the Imam knew of this in 1946 when he told me that all my wishes in life would be realized or fulfilled. Like Allah, IMAM KNOWS ALL!
Yaa ali Madad!
15th October 1990.


Dr Nathoo Passed away in 2003.
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shamsu



Joined: 15 Apr 2003
Posts: 644

PostPosted: Mon Jan 26, 2004 6:42 pm    Post subject: EXCELLENT ARTICLE Reply with quote

EXCELLENT ARTICLE

THANK YOU FOR POSTING IT HERE

ENJOYED EVERY WORD

THANK YOU AGAIN

SHAMS
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 27, 2004 8:24 am    Post subject: Re: EXCELLENT ARTICLE Reply with quote

shamsu wrote:
EXCELLENT ARTICLE

THANK YOU FOR POSTING IT HERE

ENJOYED EVERY WORD

THANK YOU AGAIN

SHAMS


I am glad that you enjoyed it. These kind of incidences are useful in esoteric traditions. They inspire allegiance to the Mursheed and also serve to allude to the posibilities of other ways of perceiving reality. Reality is multifaceted and cause and effect is only one 'window' through which to perceive reality. There are many other 'batini' ways, which make life more interesting.
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Guest






PostPosted: Tue Jan 27, 2004 9:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

While I am at it, I thought of the appropriate verses from the Ginan, "Bhaaio bharame na bhuliye" which can be referenced at the Ginan Section, and which conveys the message of unlimited 'batini eyes'. Here they are...

ejee be be lochan sarave ne, veedyaa lochan trann
sapat lochan dharam naa, juo veechaaree jan - bhaai-o.....11

veedyaa - knowledge, learning sapat - seven jan - person

Every individual has two eyes and the (secularly)learned has three eyes. Seven eyes are attained through religious practice, reflect upon this fact, o friends.
ejee laakh lochan chhe gnaan naa, jenu(n) vaar na paar
aatmaa tatv ne je ollakhe, te chhe saarmaa(n) saar
bhaai-o...................................................12

Through 'gnaans'(Divine knowledge and wisdom), one attains one hundred thousand eyes and the possiblities of multiplying are infinite. The one who attains the understanding of the mysteries(essence) of the soul, is the best among the best(of mankind).
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kmaherali



Joined: 27 Mar 2003
Posts: 19309

PostPosted: Sat Feb 07, 2004 10:34 am    Post subject: Preamble to Braham Prakash Reply with quote

The following is the preamble to the translation of Braham Prakash done by Dr. Nathoo, which can be referenced at the Ginan Section. I thought that this would add perspective to his views on enlightenment and knowledge and also serve to emphasise the essential purpose behind the post on his glorious fortnight with Mowlana Sultan Muhammad Shah. It will also I hope make us aware of the Divine inspiration behind the work.

PREAMBLE TO THE TRANSLATION OF "BRAHAM PRAKASH" BY DR NATHOO.

"Braham Prakash" literally means "The Light of Brahama" (The Divine Light) or in the Ismaili parlance "NOOR" or Noor-E-Ilahi (God's Light), etc. Between the age of 10 and 12 years I read all the Ismaili Ginaans through the encouragement of my late mother but by the time I was 50 or 60 I had forgotten most of them except those sung occasionally or regularly at the Jamatkhanas. I had completely forgotten the above Ginaan and did not know if this Ginaan even existed until one morning I had a vision. When I was doing "Ibaadat" at the Parklands Jamatkhana, I heard angelic voices shouting "Read Braham Prakash, Read Braham Prakash!". I had not heard this Ginaan in the JK and had quite a job to get hold of a copy. When I did read it I was amazed at the Practical Instructions it contained on the technic of "Ibaadat" or Noor realisation. I immediately took the liberty of translating it in simple English (and adding my own comments at the end of each stanza in brackets) for the benefit of those Ismailis who do not understand Gujerati or who have only a poor knowledge of the language. The technic gives step by step hints for the realisation of "Noor" which is the highest wish of every devout Ismaili. I thought that merely reading alone may inspire some people to go more into it. For the sake of brevity I have translated only a few lines bearing on the practical aspects and leaving a detailed translation to people who I am sure have more time and resources at their disposal.
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ShamsB



Joined: 04 Aug 2004
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 04, 2004 1:13 pm    Post subject: Dr. Nathoo's book Reply with quote

Is it possible to purchase the book by Dr. Nathoo?

Shams
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kmaherali



Joined: 27 Mar 2003
Posts: 19309

PostPosted: Wed Aug 04, 2004 1:22 pm    Post subject: Re: Dr. Nathoo's book Reply with quote

ShamsB wrote:
Is it possible to purchase the book by Dr. Nathoo?

Shams


I am not aware of him writing a book but he had written several short articles and I have a few. The translation of Braham Prakash that appears in the heritage site is adopted from his translation. he also translated many other Ginans in light of his mystical experiences. I have had a lot of discussion with this man about spiritual matters. An interesting character.
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farhatnoorali



Joined: 18 Feb 2004
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 21, 2006 9:33 am    Post subject: meaning of braham paraksh Reply with quote

Ya Ali Madad
i am trying to find the translation of braham paraksh.. but couldn't find it in ginan section
May Maula Bless you,
regards,
farhat
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kmaherali



Joined: 27 Mar 2003
Posts: 19309

PostPosted: Fri Jul 21, 2006 4:36 pm    Post subject: Re: meaning of braham paraksh Reply with quote

farhatnoorali wrote:
Ya Ali Madad
i am trying to find the translation of braham paraksh.. but couldn't find it in ginan section
May Maula Bless you,
regards,
farhat


YAM,

It can be accessed in this Forum under:

Ginans -> Complete Translation of Bhrahm Prakash

http://www.ismaili.net/html/modules.php?op=modload&name=phpBB2&file=viewtopic&t=587&start=0&postdays=0&postorder=asc&highlight=prakaash

At present it is on Page 2 of the Ginans.


Last edited by kmaherali on Sun Nov 18, 2018 1:53 pm, edited 1 time in total
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NT



Joined: 30 Aug 2005
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 20, 2006 12:34 am    Post subject: Re: Dr. Nathoo's book Reply with quote

Ya Ali Madad,

Guest wrote:
Then he told me that if I ever received “Enlightenment”, I should on no account give up the Chain of Immamat and Islam.


I don't quite understand this statement. My (very limited) understanding of "Enlightenment" is that one experiences Allah / one recognizes the Imam for what he is. Wouldn't the experience of Enlightenment, therefore, only reinforce the validity and importance of the Immamat and of Islam? Upon being blessed with "the knowledge" and realizing the truth, how could one give up either the Chain of Immamat or Islam?

kmaherali wrote:
I have had a lot of discussion with this man about spiritual matters. An interesting character.


If permissable, would you please post some other topics of discussion you've had with Dr. Nathoo and give us some of his insight?
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kmaherali



Joined: 27 Mar 2003
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 21, 2006 5:35 pm    Post subject: Re: Dr. Nathoo's book Reply with quote

NT wrote:
Ya Ali Madad,
I don't quite understand this statement. My (very limited) understanding of "Enlightenment" is that one experiences Allah / one recognizes the Imam for what he is. Wouldn't the experience of Enlightenment, therefore, only reinforce the validity and importance of the Immamat and of Islam? Upon being blessed with "the knowledge" and realizing the truth, how could one give up either the Chain of Immamat or Islam?



Enlightenment is a relative concept. There are many levels of enlightenment before the ulimate expeience of 'Fana fi Allah'. There are mystics in other traditions who have the powers of giving temporary boost to consciousness and hence claim that they are the true guides. As can be discerned from the anecdote, Dr. Nathoo was in quest and had knowledge of the various other traditions which claim to give instant enlightenment. In moments of darkness one can get disillusioned and get attracted to such gurus who claim to give instant enlightenment. This is what the Imam was eluding to when he was saying that get knowledge from wherever but do not forsake the chain of Imamat.

I think the Imam was not alluding to Dr. Nathoo only but to all Ismailis who seek knowledge from other mystics and even attend their 'Sat Sang' gatherings. So we may seek knowledge from others so long as we do not compromise our loyalty to the Imam and if we conduct our quest in that manner we will realize that other traditions only reinforce and deepen the understanding of our own tradition.
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moiz.ashiqali@yahoo.com



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PostPosted: Fri Jul 25, 2014 5:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

nice article
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