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At Krishnamurti Foundation India, A Sufi Master Sends Out A Crucial Message

By Ghulam Rasool Dehlvi, Founding Editor

Word For Peace 

J Krishnamurti (1895-1986) whose life and teachings spanned the greater part of the 20th Century, is regarded by many as one who has had the most profound impact on human consciousness in modern times. He was a Sage with a unique way of communicating, which essentially unravels the human problems for one to see clearly and overcome. In the words of Publishers Weekly: Few modern thinkers have integrated psychology, philosophy, and religion so seamlessly as Krishnamurti.

Breaking away from organized religions, he spelt out his mission: ‘to set man absolutely and unconditionally free’. He travelled around the world giving talks, writing, holding discussions. He talked of the things that concern all of us in our everyday life; the problems of living in modern society, the individual’s search for security, and the need for human beings to free themselves from their inner burdens of violence, fear and sorrow. At the age of 14, he was adopted by Annie Besant, the President of the Theosophical Society, and was brought up and groomed to be the World Teacher. Now the Krishnamurti Foundation in Varanasi, runs a fine CBSE boarding school called Rajghat Besant School guided by the philosophy of J Krishnamurti.

The intent of the school is to develop an environment free of fear and comparison that will allow the natural blossoming of children under the watchful eyes of caring teachers. As succinctly put up by my friend and thinker, Mr. Vishwanath Alluri, Secretary of the KFI, Krishnamurti was simply an educator of life and a master of reality whose remarkable philosophy of education and peace continues to add more significance to our spiritual life and thoughts.

Recently, the KFI invited the Naqshbandi Sufi Master Sheikh Eşref Efendi, founder of World Peace Institute of Sufism based in Berlin, Germany and Ambassador of the High Sufi Council of Jerusalem Holy Land. He happened to be on what he called the ‘Sufi Peace Way to India’. This month-long visit of a global Sufi Master who is also a recipient of several Peace Awards from the EU, has sent out a strong message of peace and dialogue to several states in India through the Krishnamurti Foundation.

The Sufi Master landed in India on 17th of December, 2022 and untill January 8 2023, he indefatigably travelled across the country to substantiate the two points precisely: ‘peace within and peace outside’.

One could be forgiven for feeling that the end of the world is nearer than ever. With talks of a nuclear Armageddon rearing its head every now and then, one cannot but help feel this way. No doubt some observers like Steven Pinker, Harvard Professor of Psychology point to the 21st Century being among the most peaceful in a long time statistically. But anecdotally an average person confronts fault lines on the basis of religion, ideology, politics, caste, gender, sexual orientation, nationality and many others in reaction to which he must choose one way or the other. He is torn between his loyalties yet must choose. What could he do?

It is in times like these that sane and soothing voices are needed to help us hear our inner voice. One such school of thought that has been preaching inter religious harmony is the Naqshbandi Sufi Order. Inspired by oneness of God and seeking redress in the Qur’an, Naqshbandi Sufi masters preach universal love and respect for all faiths. The city of Varanasi was blessed recently by the visit of one such Naqshbandi Sufi Master Sheikh Esref Effendi, Founder and Head of Sufi Centre, Rabbaniya, Germany. Sheikh Esref is a recipient of the Global Peace Ambassador awards.

As part of their planned visit, the sufi entourage found a willing host in Krishnamurti Foundation India, Rajghat, Varanasi (KFI). KFI has been present in the city of Varanasi for over 90 years, runs a fine CBSE boarding school called Rajghat Besant School guided by the philosophy of Shri J Krishnamurti. The intent of the school is to develop an environment free of fear and comparison that will allow the natural blossoming of children under the watchful eyes of caring teachers.

At KFI, Sheikh Esref invoked the divine intent of creation and the special place human beings occupy in the spiritual scheme of things. He reflected upon humans being created in the image of God, endowed with free will and allowed to choose between good and bad. He prevailed on the listeners to not hurt others either physically or psychologically and to keep away from things that corrupt human beings. To a listener’s query if belief in almighty is necessary to love another human being, the Shiekh alluded to the interconnectedness of everything including the cosmic powers and that one cannot be seen in isolation of the other.

The mission of the Naqshbandi Sufis to bring people of all faiths together through their travel and sermon should be seen juxtaposed to the efforts of the school to educate young children in the spirit of goodness. Education must endow a child with an ability to view the world with her or his own eyes yet not prejudiced by others’ or ones own experiences. To relate without a preconceived notion based on another’s identity is manifestation of pure love. In that, the work of the Sufis and the school must be seen as complementary to each other.

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