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THE QALANDAR WAY
By, Saleema Eileen Giltinan
“Write with abandonment. Don’t care about the how or why simply write!”
The only constant on the Qalandar path is Divine Love/Truth in varied and unlimited expressions. Living these expressions, learning about them and loving each one that appears before our eyes, this is the way of the Qalandar. It is the path of variety, of unlimited possibilities, of constant letting go of pre-conceived ideas, personalities and mortal folly.
It can be excruciating and painful to watch our cherished castles crumble. Qalandars cry and die daily, some second by second, as the false sense of self struggles to express itself in vain. All sense of separation must be seen for what it is – a lie about God, a lie about what Love has made. Those who call themselves Qalandars know that the title and even the line (silsila) is just a word/symbol, a “way” to feel a connection to our spiritual family. Qalandars do not “fit” into a grove or adhere to any one specific way of doing things. We are loners who love all paths that lead to Truth. We hide ourselves from others by embracing blame and diversions, not to deceive, but because the depth of our experiences, our longings, our states and stations are alien to those around us. Some Qalandars choose not to care if others label them insane. These choose non-conformity and learn how to live on the outskirts of society. Others choose to speak and act in ways that allow them to fit in and function in a world they find abrasive and alien.
No single path can contain a Qalandar. He or she flourishes in diversity. The Qalandar sees the signs and symbols of Truth everywhere and loves to explore them wherever they appear. Qalandars are not confined within any one religion. Yet, he or she knows how to uncover the jewel of Truth in every religion or spiritual path.
My dear Qalandar friends, little has been written about us. Although we are few, we are growing in number. The light of our silsila is shining brightly, calling us one family. Together we walk alone embracing all we encounter, for we know that there is only One. Those of us who walk among the sleepers know that we too knew (and depending on our state, still know) how to sleep. Those of us who choose the cloak of seeming insanity know isolation’s whip and bear its lashes. Our steps are sometimes labored and our tears hide themselves within our hearts. We know no human can soothe or quench our insatiable thirst for the Beloved. We stumble and fall often, but no matter! Each step, regardless of how feeble, leads us onward and upward. So we trudge on, confronting the lies of the little self, of false senses, and dissipating them in the air of Love’s breaths. Every inhalation is filled with Light and each focused exhalation is filled with Love. Those of us who choose to enter worldly interactions must learn how to do so with boundless humility and a love that leans on forbearance, steadfast remembrance of the allness of God, and childlike purity and innocence.
Picture a Qalandar sitting among friends. The conversation commences and soon becomes filled with worldly words, fears, tales of sin, sickness or death. Humans sit together, enmeshed in a net of false perceptions. Their words share stories of separation, anger or fear. Of course, each interaction is unique, but the key is to stay conscious of Divine Presence even if the sense perceptions deny it. In the midst of conversation “let go and see the Presence of God” becomes our mantra. Some Qalandars have no desire or need to fit into society. These can dance and sing in abandon alone or in a crowd. He or she does not care if they are shooed away, ignored, shunned. The garb of the world means nothing to them.
The disguised Qalandars wear the acceptable garb of the many, though they hold firm to the spirituality of the few. Their spiritual words sound foreign to most. Some choose silence. Others sometimes fall into the pit of folly and join in the zombie-like conversation. But, as their tongue strums its false notes it tastes a sour flavor and the Qalandar heart feels empty and alone among their so called friends or family. Sometimes the question arises, “why do I even try to join in, to converse, to mingle, to engage?”… The answer comes, “because the patchwork robe is not for you. You are hidden within my kirka, honor it and rejoice in your anonymity.” Spiritual strength lies in one’s ability to remain in the conscious Presence of God. Although we appear to wonder alone, we are not alone. Our fellow Dervishes (teachers and students), those living in the world and those we call "Hayaat" are walking with us. Patchwork and pashmina intermingle as our silsila sways and meanders through the many pathways of the One.
“Just say it clearly!” is not an option for most Qalandars. We speak in symbols. We can’t help it, it comes naturally. It is our way. Yes, some of us know how to be brief. As the symbols speak to and through us, we all do our best to translate, write, and humbly share the love we feel.
Copyright@2-27-2014 Saleema E. Giltinan ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
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