The green and white building with large ornate windows was burning. Flames erupting from its wooden jalis and consuming it. Not in bits, but whole. The extremely beautiful inner prayer halls of the aasthan with its carpeted floor. Papier-mache walls. The chandeliers. The wood work. The tiered roof. The small wooden steps. All turning down to ash.
The shrine in Kashmir was erected many years after the saint had left for heavenly abode. But for his followers in this valley of ours, it was a meeting point. A melting point. Here they came in flocks, everyday. Men, women and children. Weeping and wailing. Telling their Dastgeer of all their pains. And their Dastgeer listened. They prayed, and he prayed along with them. He prayed for them.
The prayers were answered.
|Photo from contemporarynomad.com|
We remember the saint and his shrine. It’s etched in our memory and our hearts. For even when the four walls have been torn down by fire, faith keeps the lamps alive in Srinagar. We are not letting go, and so is he. That’s the promise of the peer. A Sufi points you towards the Almighty. Takes you closer to the Holy Prophet (Peace be upon him). And elevates your stature spiritually. Ghaus-ul-Azam is our waseelah to God.
Dastgeer Saheb never visted Kashmir. But just like other parts of the world, the peer has his mureeds here too. The candle emits the shine, it is not shined upon. The case of candle and the moth as is the general proverb in Urdu. The moths are attracted to the light, the light not to them. 11th of Rabi-us-Saani is commemorated with reverence just as in other parts of the world. There devotees sit from one end of the road to another (because the shrine was not large enough to accommodate everyone) and pray to the Almighty, just as the peer has taught them to.
And so even when the fire ravaged the building and burnt the knotted threads there, we knew that our bond with Dastgeer Saheb is just the same as it was, even if not stronger.