>In search of a Saint.

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Faith is just a conversation with the Unseen
” Lo, I am with you always means when you look for God,
God is in the look of your eyes,
in the thought of looking, nearer to you than your self,
of things that have happened to you
There’s no need to go outside.”  Jelaluddin Rumi
Once was stone, now its green

I set off down past the Bangalore Fort, cross under the busy Mysore Road flyover, narrowly miss being flattened by a bus and walk up the crowded Avenue Road. I am on yet another journey ( what’s new), searching for the shrine of Hazrat Manik Mastan Saheb Saherwardi (RA).On the 10th day of the holy month of Mohurram ( for Shia Muslims ), people of all faiths gather at this over 200 year old shrine for the Urs, to commemorate the Sufi saint who lies buried here. He is one of the four great `Mastans’, the others being Hazrat Kale Shah Mastaan Saheb (RA), Bangalore, Hazrat Tipu Mastaan Baba (RA) – Arcot Shareef and Hazrat Tawakkal Mastaan Saheb (RA), Bangalore.

Sit for a while in peace

The shrine is right off the noisy main road but once I step in there is only silence. The courtyard is dusty, empty but for the sound of someone beating metal furiously. On either side of the whitewashed pathway leading to the main shrine which is painted green, a few men are at work, welding, hammering, soldering . They look at me with some degree of curiosity. An unaccompanied woman ( albeit with her head covered ) is perhaps not a daily occurance here. Yet no one stops me.

Locking away the pain

I walk in through the low doorway, into a cool, quiet room supported by solid pillars carved out of stone, now painted green. The space reverberates with an intense, unmistakable energy and the power is palpable. I am overwhelmed by its strength and simplicity. I have been in many shrines and holy spaces across the city, but none have resonated like this. I ask if I can sit for a while and permission is granted with a smile, so I settle down in front of a little altar with locks strung all around it – so many troubles to leave behind here. In front of me is the dim sanctum sanctorii, a room where the saint sleeps under a `ghilaf ‘ (or `chadar‘). Scented white `moghra‘ flowers and rosebuds are strung everywhere and the air is heavy with the fragrance of loban and incense sticks. As I sit there people of various faiths, caste and class come in to pay their respects. Vermilion paints a distinct mark on their foreheads but they are totally and completely welcome. This to me, is the true test of oneness.

Enter and find what you seek
A site of prayer is called by different names for our different Gods who sadly, we call upon  differently.  But  try as we might to fight the truth, in the end,  it is one Source that we all bow our heads to. Should not doors therefore, be kept open for all ? 
 
It occurs to me that none of us in our fervor, has ever bothered to ask God what He wants to be called. In whose home He wants to live. Who He wants to welcome into His space. Mighty uncivil of us. We are temporary guests in His world and we overlook the wishes of our divine Host. But if we had asked, I am sure His answer would have been ” Everywhere. Everyone”.
 
The Dargah is at the lower end of Avenue Road, on the right, before the City Market.Thursday, Friday and Saturdays are good days to visit.
 

Hazrath Tawwakkal Mastan Saheb Dargah can be found here.

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