Tuesday, April 18, 2006

The Mystic trek

A perfect person does not disclose the secret of Friend
Bakhtiar Khaki

During the weekend I went on a spiritual-trek. I am not a religious guy but spiritualism fascinates me a great deal. Still I rarely go to shrines, neither do I visit any reverned places of worship. I believe in the goodness of spirit.

My friend's mom wanted to visit the tomb of a famous Sufi saint. Perched in the labyrinthine bylanes of Merauli in Delhi, the place oozes a marked difference from the imposing Qutub Minar nearby. Just beyond the fashionable Qutub Colonnade, where designers meet occassionally to talk artificially over endless sparkling glasses of champagne and beyond the faintest idea of many tourists to Qutub, lies the modest tomb of Khawaja Qutub Uddin Bakhtiar Khaki. I didn't know the place existed before Sunday.

We had a tough time looking for the place -- me, wasy and his mom. Our car led us to dead-ends. Luckily, we chanced across a guy -- Azhar -- who happened to live in the precincts of the shrine. The good samartian led us to the place and told me an interesting tale on our way. (My journalistic instincts to enquire). Back in the year 1200 AD, a lady accused the mystic of making her pregnant. She made the accusation -- egged on by the sufi's foes -- in Emperor Illtutmush's court. The godman was hauled to the King's courtyard. Stunned, he simply said, 'Let the unborn speak'. The embryo then muttered, this man is not my father.

I do not believe in myths. I think the tale is largely made up but Azhar said it with extreme faith. Miracles do happen -- I trust -- but my rationale doesn't absorb these allegories. Luckily, after a short while we made it to the outer-enterance of the shrine.

It is a mystic heaven. Lost in a million attirs (perfumes), the place sways to Qawalis ( devotional music) sung by impromptu singers -- who were the least melodious. One has to wade through a motley of shops -- cubby-hole types -- and across a succession of mendicants to the actual tomb, which is situated atop a small hill.

History amazes me. A 12th century mystic. Super-natural powers. Saintly. An author and a poet. Lover of Music. Humane. Spiritual. Chant-er of God's name. Traveller. Guide. Mentor. Protege'. One word: Exhilarating!

The joint turned out to be mysterial with no grandeur. Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims pray at the shrine. Girls in jeans. Aunties in saris and Maulanas in beards. It is a mixed brew. There are graves littered all over the place. Amazingly, the hilltop is clean. Men read Quran on staircases. Qawali's belted from the nearby cubby-holes, mainly re-takes of popular hindi songs. People come -- pray, weep, reflect and leave. Some bow. I remained quiet, noticing the small crowd. Taking mental notes.

900 years later, one feels good inside to travel the same paths. Touching the same stones. Climbing the same hill. And perhaps experiencing the same highs!

sameer bhat
Descending from Prophet Muhammad's grandson -- Imam Hussain -- Khaki was born in 1173 in Transoxania (modern-day Uzbekistan and southwest Kazakhstan).


anjali said...

Author -- poet -- and now looks like Sam set to become a mysctic.

Alec, Tennesse said...

That is fascinating. It tells me so much about the spiritual side of the East, thats very fascinating.


Dr Anil K Jha, Ranchi said...

You can write very good travalogues. I advise you to travel very often.

Dr. Anil kumar

Asim Choudhury said...


That was an excellent piece. Keep it up.


deepti said...

I love mysticism. It felt good to read about Khaki. Plz write on such topics more often.

Additionally, I run a niche' travel maagzine. Can I re-publish your write-up. You can get in touch with us at:

Travel Mag India

Abhishek said...

hey Sam,
I feel very happy to see your knowledge and intrest in every sector..
Keep it up baby...

With Warm Regards,

yana, bangalore said...

The best part about reading a blog is that it articulates the true feelings of a person. Unlike a news-paper, where a lot of trimming and editing is carried out before a write-up is finally presented to the audience. Ofcourse the general sentiments of the people at large must be respected but I guess blogging is a brilliant, candid medium of communication.

Gisis Khajawi said...

another gd piece.