Remembering Dr Javad Nurbakhsh

Since data wise went back in time to October the 10th and came back again I would like to rewind and remember a great man who passed away on that date.

Dr Javad Nurbakhsh the Master of Nimatollahi Sufis order from (1953 until when he died Oct 10th 2008) was born in the city of Kerman.

To be honest I ( a de facto atheist) am not very qualified to speak of such a great man but given that as a young man who was very lost I found shelter in his house and being in the company of those who have so much love gave me solice I thought I would use the coincidence of rewind to the anniversary of his death as a rewind for myself and speak of him.

Dr. Nurbakhsh was born in the city of Kerman, Iran on the 10th of December 1926. He was initiated into the Nimatullahi sufi order at the age of sixteen and appointed its sheikh at twenty.

After obtaining his Psychiatric degree from the Sorbonne, Dr. Nurbakhsh was appointed professor of psychiatry at the Tehran University school of medicine, a position which he held until he retired, along with that of director of the Iranian Medical Council, president of the Iranian Association of Psychiatrists, and head of the Ruzbeh Psychiatric Hospital. He was also an honorary member of the American Psychiatrists’ Association. Nurbakhsh also supervised the World Congress of Psychiatry for the World Psychiatric Association when it was for first hosted in Iran.

He produced 37 scientific works in the field of psychiatry, as author, editor and translator, along with many articles in scientific journals and a compendium of instructional brochures for the use of researchers, professors and students.

He left Iran following the Iranian revolution in 1979, first for the United States, where he established several sufi centres or hostels known as khanaqahs, then moved to Britain in 1983 and settled there. Dr. Nurbakhsh’s work in reviving and organizing Sufism through the Nimatullahi order continued until his death in Britain in 2008.

Selected Statements by Nurbakhsh on Sufism 

“The basis of Sufism is consideration of the hearts and feelings of others. If you haven’t the will to gladden someone’s heart, then at least beware lest you hurt someone’s heart, for on our path, no sin exists but this.”

“Sufism is a path towards the Truth where there are no provisions except Love. Its method is to look solely in one direction, and its objective is God.”

“True lovers prefer the Beloved’s desires to their own, being content with whatever the Beloved desires – ‘be it cure or pain, union or separation.'”

“…if you encounter a human being who claims to be a Sufi and behaves contrary to the human code of ethics, do not ask, “What kind of Sufi is this?” Rather, it would be better to ask, “What kind of person would this have been had he not been a Sufi?”

“The capital of the Path is, in truth, nothing other than sincerity. Sincerity has been defined as `showing yourself as you really are’ and `being inwardly what you show yourself to be’.”

Dr Nurbakhsh has mentioned that before Islam there was a code of Chivalry that existed within our culture and that had survived in Khorasan and this code was integrated with Islamic practices.

My personal experience of this great man

Kind, wise with a gentle smile and hospitable. When I approached him and nagged like a ninny about my horrid life he calmed me and said “It doesn’t matter”, “It doesn’t matter”. It took me a while but I think I figured out what he meant.

I would like to think that even though today I consider myself in line with dawkinian views that I took away something good from those years.

Every time I contemplate on the wonders of nature i.e. how some Orchids evolved to mimic insects, or how some parasites drive insects to madness and the insect goes on top of the blade of grass so that it gets eaten by a mammal and the parasite is passed on, or finding the golden ratio in all aspects of lives I wonder what mother universe is hiding in her palm and how much I took away from those years at Khanaqah.

If we are mother universe’s consciousness then perhaps we are also her seconded Guardians!

I leave you with one of Dr Nurbakhsh’s interviews where he explains the two path of Nothingness and madness:-

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