"The Night of Power
is better than a thousand months." Sura 97.3.
Some dervishes roam from mazar to mazar. In contrast
with dervishes attached to one of the many branches of the ancient orders
who meet in their respective convents, these wandering dervishes gather
near mazars, mostly outside the cities. Their meeting places are always
places of power. Considering the strong tomb cult which they observe one
could name them tomb Sufis. They call themselves baba, fakir and malang.
The appellation dervish and qalandar is less used and the title Sufi not
al all. Not infrequently did I meet dervishes who referred to themselves
as mast qalandars. They are despised by the townsmen, but also feared and
consulted in secret. Villagers have a deep respect for them and tell many
wonderful stories about them. The Way of the wandering dervishes is still
much alive in Afghanistan, Pakistan and India. Writers on the history of
Sufism trace their origin to Muhammad ibn Yunus as-Sawaji who in the thirteenth
century introduced the shaving of beard, head hair and eyebrows, and Yusuf
al-Andalusi who imposed the rule of perpetual travel on his disciples. A
disciple of the former, Khidr Rumi, is said to have introduced the Qalandari
order in India. Besides these two founders, the Way of the wandering dervishes
was also influenced by Turkoman babas who wandered in a non-conventional
manner from tomb to tomb and to whom were ascribed various miraculous powers.
But before the origination of these orders it was already an established
tradition among dervishes to wander from place to place in search of knowledge.
Khanegah dwelling Sufis disliked qalandars for their individualistic behavior.
The orthodox resented their heretical tendencies and rulers saw in them
a threat to social order. Qalandars accused sheikhs of creating a cult around
their person. Sheikhs stated that qalandars "seek to destroy accepted
custom." They retorted that they discarded social conventions because
they were obstacles and that the blame they incurred by their rude manners
protected them from being bothered by crowds of devotees. Often the indifference
shown by wandering dervishes to the personage of a king resulted in their
execution or exile. Qalandars were notorious for their aggression. Historical
records, mention many conflicts.
Most of the babas are easily distinguished
from the multitude by a striking turban, a long uncut beard and many rings
on their fingers. Some carry an axe or a staff on which are fixed different
paraphernalia, or a scepter with the hand of Ali on top. Other fakirs just
look like ordinary beggars. To judge who is a beggar for alms and who is
a beggar for Allah is not always easy. The following anecdote tells of a
pilgrim who visited a shrine and who found only dirty looking beggars as
attendants there. Thinking that the true dervishes had deserted the mazar,
he did not stay long. The same night he had a dream about the shrine which
puzzled him, and the next morning he went back. Approaching one of the beggars
and looking into his eyes he saw the whole world and the universe, the past
and the future reflected and contained in the eyeballs of the beggar. The
vision was so overwhelming that he had to look away from it.
the malangs have a pir (Pir (Persian): literally elder. In dervish parlance:
Spiritual Master), living on earth or in an unseen dimension, whom
they unconditionally obey. A wandering fakir may settle at a fixed place
for years or till the end of his time on earth when commanded to do so.
A baba very rarely becomes the head of a large group or organization. A
sincere baba only accepts a disciple after having got clear indications
of a supernatural character. The fakir requested me not to disclose the
location of his mausoleum. If individuals were to meet him they should be
directed by other means than 'address on paper'.
All the fakirs I talked
to claimed to have had an experience of an other world. Some of them whom
I came to know for a longer period were in permanent communication with
hidden entities. They were all convinced that these entities had, at one
time in their life interfered directly and decisively. Having experienced
to the utmost the limitations of their ordinary human mind and will, some
had surrendered completely to these hidden forces, in such a way as to ask
them for permission whenever taking a decision. The entities respond in
various ways. Either they appear in dreams, send a messenger, give a sign
or interfere directly. A malang in Pakistan told me of a presence on his
right shoulder who gave him signs whenever required. Sometimes the entities
remain silent and this means that they do not agree and that no permission
can be granted. It happened that a friend of the fakir expressed the wish
to photograph the interior of his mausoleum. The fakir replied that personally
he had no objection but that he had to ask the consent of the entombed saint.
Days and weeks passed and no answer was given. Still the fakir's friend
insisted on photographing the tomb. Finally after months of silence the
fakir yielded to his friend's desire and told him that he could try to photograph
but warned him not to expect too much. When the film was developed it turned
out to be overexposed. A new film was put into the camera with the same
result. No further attempts were made against the will of the saint.
If babas have strange relations in other worlds they also have very eccentric
friends in this world. The fakir was regularly visited in his mausoleum
by a gang of smugglers. The leader was a curious man who spent much money
in donations to mazars and dervishes. Once I was present when the gang came
in. After they had paid their respect to the mazar their leader tried to
persuade the fakir to accept money for the restoration of a wall showing
many cracks that endangered the whole edifice. Whereupon the fakir as usual
replied that he first had to ask the saint for his consent. In the meantime
the youngest of them had prepared a hashish pipe. Because the fakir rarely
smokes and then mostly alone, they all went outside. The fakir had made
tea for them. While pouring the tea in cups he said in English: "Special
tea." They all laughed. Then he distributed the excellent sweets which
they had brought with them. An animated and joyful conversation about famous
saints and shrines followed. When they had left the fakir remarked: "He
is good man; maybe one day he will become a dervish. There is light in his
While talking about 'powers' the fakir omitted to define
these forces more clearly. When questioned about it he gave the impression
that such a question was irrelevant. Mostly by powers the fakir meant psychic
energy emanating from hidden entities, persons, places and objects which
help to develop spiritual qualities. In other circumstances he personified
The following passage illustrates a 'bestowing of powers'. An
old dervish living in a tomb was dying. The fakir invited me to accompany
him for a last visit to his friend. When we arrived already a dozen men
were squatting near the dying man who was speaking in a low raw tone, describing
visions. His agony lasted for a whole day and night and shortly after sunrise
he died. He had expressed the wish to be buried next to his pir some thirty
kilometers away. Money was collected and an ambulance was hired to transport
the corpse. The ambulance was full of dervishes doing zikr or being absorbed
in their inner world. After the burial the fakir and I walked past some
simple tombs. We were back in the village in the late afternoon. Round about
ten in the evening I went to bed. I lay on my back with closed eyes, when
suddenly a radiant head of a dervish appeared whose white effulgence was
so strong that it caught my breath. The face flashed out to reappear a second
time and came so close to me while emanating such a brilliant power, that
my heart was about to break. It felt as if it was held under water. The
next morning when I narrated the vision to the fakir, he said that he also
had seen the face around the same time. According to him it was a powerful
dervish who had died five years ago and past whose tomb we both had walked
the previous day. He had known the dervish very well. The fakir then recounted
me a wonderful happening. One day the dervish had called him and given him
his clothes to wash. While he was washing he had experienced such a tremendous
upsurge of powers that it had cost him a superhuman effort to finish the
If I had not talked about the vision, the fakir would not have
mentioned it either.
My relation with the fakir was entirely governed
by the will of hidden forces. Never did the fakir do anything without consulting
the saint. He said that his real father and mother were the saint in the
tomb. He showed not the least intention of ignoring 'the signs from the
invisible'. On the contrary, he had eradicated any personal desire and volition
in himself in order to become a neutral receptacle and vehicle for the Powers.
It seemed as if he had died long ago and as if some other entity was using
his body as a means of communicating with ordinary mortals.
that the heart must be clean, that unless the heart has attained that quality
all effort comes to naught, and that difficulties may arise when one contacts
the Powers with a troubled heart.
To interfere with the decisions of
the Powers is taboo. Once the fakir had to intervene on my behalf when I
was unable to leave the compound of the mausoleum because strange forces
kept me there. However much I tried I could not go beyond the dried mud
walls which surround the mausoleum.
On two occasions the previous days
the fakir had indirectly hinted at what was about to happen. Twice he had
joked about a man that had been caught by the Powers and kept spellbound
by them. But I had not related this to my person. So it happened that a
few days after his humorous remarks I came back to the mausoleum to find
a visitor there whose aim it had been to thwart my relation with the fakir.
At first I did not mind but when I observed that the man was still obsessed
by hatred and jealousy, I reasoned that his place was not with us. I waited
for a reaction from the fakir, but he didn't do anything. His apparent indifference
caused me to doubt the real meaning of the situation. But whenever I contacted
the mind of the man I felt intense bad vibrations. Because the atmosphere
between us became worse and as the man showed no intention of going away
I decided to invoke the entombed saint. Murmuring a zikr I approached the
tomb, lifted up the silk drape, put my forehead against the bare stone and
said deep in my heart that if the man's purpose was really negative, he
should be removed from the mausoleum. No sooner had I expressed these thoughts
when a tremendous power manifested itself. The atmosphere became unbearable.
A seemingly endless and insupportable length of seconds passed and then
I heard the man get up and quickly leave the mausoleum. I remained for some
time under the drape doing zikr and then went to sit next to the fakir.
His eyes were wide open and the hairs on his forearms were standing up.
With a fixed gaze he said: "Powers have come." He looked entranced
and I saw that he was reciting a formula.
The air was vibrating strongly.
I began to ponder on what had happened. This was a mistake. Instead of surrendering
to the powers I began apprehending the event with concepts. Gradually I
became aware that I could no more bear the forces that I had conjured up
myself. I stood up and said to the fakir that I intended to go out and visit
another tomb in the neighborhood. All he replied was: "Take my cap."
As I left the mausoleum adjusting his headgear on my head, a terrible pain
developed in my head. Coming near the mud walls that surround the shrine
my limbs became numb and stopped obeying me. Except for the pangs of pain
in my head I felt completely insensible, as if I had no more a physical
body. I was unable to go beyond the compound; an invisible force held me
under its spell. Completely overpowered I sank down against the wall facing
the door of the mausoleum and the open-air tomb of the fakir's mast pir
next to it. Slowly a whitish transparent substance materialized above it
and took the bright shining shape of the pir. He stared impassively at me.
The effulgence was so strong that I was incapable of looking at it. Closing
my eyes I still saw the unbearable light. I was paralyzed by the invisible
power with my head bursting with pain and burned by the light of the apparition.
In a defensive reflex I covered my eyes with the cap of the fakir. The pain
and the burning light subsided. I heard an inner voice say: "When your
heart is not clean, you can not bear the sight of it." Again I tried
to look at the brilliant body of the mast pir, but again I was obliged to
cover my eyes with the cap. My resistance broke, inside me everything collapsed,
tears came to my eyes and I began kissing the cap. I understood how my self-centeredness
had prevented me from grasping the secret of the fakir and how it caused
me now to suffer. I had to stop relating everything to the same nucleus
in me. I had to interrupt feeding and fortifying a structure of concepts
and affects that I used to call 'I'. I beheld the vision of my mind as a
closed fortress with small windows and iron doors that had to be transformed
into a lofty white marble pavilion without walls, supported only by thin
marvelously sculptured pillars, through which everything could enter freely
and unobstructed. I heard again an inner voice, the voice of the fakir,
saying: "You have to become nothing. This world is nothing." I
had to stop interpreting, I had to stop comparing. I had to stop saying
that I had to stop anything. I worked hard in my mind to remove all obstacles
that impeded the light from shining through me. Slowly the pain and the
burning feeling faded. I had to efface myself. I had to maintain a state
in which I didn't make any distinction between me and what I perceived.
Whenever I surfaced and tried to face the effulgence of the pir's body the
pain and uneasiness came back. At last I gave up any attempt to be or remain
anything. I felt a last tension vanish, and with that all bodily awareness
disappeared. I became some kind of empty and transparent being. I could
look at the light without feeling any pain or joy. I was even perceiving
more directly and totally. I thought that I had died, but without really
thinking about it. It was as if another body and mind had taken over in
me. I experienced another mode of being. Especially my consciousness had
changed considerably. I was in a state of full awareness without thinking,
feeling or willing anything. I remained in that position for about an hour
until an attendant of the fakir came out of the mausoleum and told me to
go inside. I got up with difficulty. Walking was almost impossible; it was
as if I were dragging an immense load. The fakir was still doing zikr in
the same posture as when I had left him. "You are a king," I said
to him. He answered with a neutral voice: "I have nothing. The Powers
have everything." He told me to come and sit next to him and do zikr.
More than once I was convinced that I had died, that I was perceiving through
some other mind that had not yet left my physical body.
After some time
the fakir spoke: "To leave the tomb now is impossible, the Powers have
caught you; it is impossible to do anything by your own will, you need their
permission. The Powers are acting directly by themselves." Two other
babas were present. To one of them the fakir gave an order to bring me a
glass of water. The fakir was able to contact the Powers at will at any
time. On such occasions he would incline his head, pronounce a formula,
and gradually a psychic tension would arise, perceptible by all who were
present. A hardly bearable pressure that suppressed all normal mental activity.
One had the sensation of sitting in a vacuum. Then a blank ensued, followed
by a piercing of that pressurized vacuum.
The fakir stood up, his eyes
wide open, and while reciting phrases in Arabic put both his hands on my
head and ordered me to drink the water. Slowly the numbness disappeared
and I could again feel my physical body. An invisible force made me stand
up. At the same moment one of the babas also jumped up and came towards
me in dancelike mechanical paces. Still possessed by the invisible force
I began to move in identical movements towards him. We both seemed to be
willess creatures commanded by invisible hands. We performed a weird dance
composed of strange gymnastically gestures and movements that ended in a
double embrace, performed by both of us. By each embrace when our chests
touched I felt a strong irradiation of energy. His face was completely transformed
and I recognized with the certitude of inner sight that he was a badal or
Changed One. The fakir interpreted our possessed dance as an approval from
the Powers. He elucidated that They had intended to show me certain things.
They had lifted a veil to make me understand some secrets.
When I told
him that I had thought that I was about to die or become a mast, he laughed.
He narrated me then how he himself had been sick and vomiting for a month
until his heart had become pure. He made a difference between ordinary diseases
having no spiritual implications and physical and psychical afflictions
sent by the Powers. These non-ordinary diseases have as their purpose to
annihilate the false ego structure. He again insisted that the heart had
to be clean of ordinary mental tendencies if a dervish wanted to become
a recipient of divine qualities.
Some dervishes say that if one really
wants to change one must not be afraid of hurting oneself. By that they
do not mean ordinary suffering which is quite useless, but a suffering that
is equivalent to the pains of agony. In order to advance on the Way one
has to be prepared to die many times. If one's interest in Sufism is only
caused by the desire to avoid pain, one will not gain anything.
Bakr Shibli it is known that he forced his disciples to undergo hard spiritual
practices. Once somebody speaking in favor of a disciple said to Shibli: "If
you continue with these hard practices, Ahmad will surely die." On
which Shibli replied: "To waste time and befool yourself with easy
practices is not better than to die during a hard practice." Always
the fakir interpreted extraordinary happenings, no matter how terrifying,
as opportunities when "powers are given", or as inevitable and
necessary incidents "to clean the heart". Yet this was not invariably
A man arrived in the necropolis and went to live near a
tomb in the vicinity of the mausoleum. The man visited the fakir regularly
and complained often about jinns who caused all sorts of psychic disturbances.
The fakir never replied. One day he came in and asked the fakir for a protection
against the jinns. He advised him to leave the necropolis, but the man insisted
on being given a charm or ritual to defend himself. The fakir refused blankly.
When the man had left the fakir explained: "His heart is veiled. He
must learn to understand that he is not fit to receive powers now. He is
not mad because of jinns. If I tell him he will not believe me. That man
thinks he knows already too much and because of that cannot learn anything
more about himself. He is not really asking for help. It is all the same
for him if he behaves normally or if he remains in this crazy state."
One day a women of about forty years old, living in the nearby village,
showed a radical change in her behavior. She began to dress herself as a
malang and became less and less talkative. Her otherwise normal way of moving
became rigid and mechanical. She seemed to suffer but did not complain.
Her visits to the mausoleum increased. When someone suggested that she was
becoming a mastani or women mast, the fakir disagreed. When I spoke to her
she answered in an impersonal tone.
One evening she came in very late.
The fakir made her a glass of tea. As it was already dark and unsafe for
a woman to walk the distance to the village she asked the fakir if she could
stay with us. To my surprise he refused. He called an attendant and arranged
that she could sleep somewhere else.
When I asked him why he had refused
to give her hospitality, he replied: "Her state is not good. Jinns
have caught her, she is in their power. The area around here is full of
tombs and jinns. She has perhaps done something wrong. Not all tombs are
housing saints. She does not know."
Two days later she came again.
As the mausoleum was very dark inside it was necessary to have a lamp burning
if one wished to write or read. She sat down, near the prayer niche in which
a lamp was lit, so that the light shone on her back. She did not utter a
word. After some time I looked up at her and saw her head and shoulders
enveloped in an aura of tiny transparent bat-like beings. They had mouse
ears, sharp teeth and wings. Their monstrous heads were as big as their
bodies. It was as if they were observing me. In order to see them better
I slowly approached and squatted in front of the woman. She did not move.
The little monsters grew restless, their thick wings began to quiver. Suddenly
I saw two of them jumping in my direction and felt something like a weak
electric current. Horrified I made a protecting movement with my right hand.
The fakir had all the time been looking at us while doing silent zikr. "I
see many animals around her head.", I remarked to him. He nodded affirmatively
and said: "Many jinns are on her. They are bad ones. You contacted
them and maybe one of them is now on you and will cause you trouble. But
you have protection. She has not; they eat all her body and mind. I will
ask the Powers tonight."
After she had left, the fakir advised me
to change clothes, wash them and have a bath. He dropped the subject and
continued his silent zikr. That night I was unable to sleep, half awake
dreams and images made rest impossible and twice I saw one of the little
monsters hanging close to my face. I decided to sit up and pass the night
doing zikr. The next morning the fakir said that he had dreamed about the
woman. He had seen her walking on the path leading from the mausoleum to
the village. She had gone off the path towards a bush, had urinated and
taken some rest on an unmarked mound. "That place is a tomb,"
he commented, "but it is full of jinns, like the ones you have seen.
Nobody goes there, but she does not know."
In the afternoon the
woman came in with her arm in a bandage. She had fallen from a flight of
stairs. She started sobbing, her body began to shake and she stretched herself
out on the floor in convulsions. Her breathing was very loud. We were both
looking at her, when I saw a grey mass coming out of her abdominal region
that came floating as a small cloud in my direction. I was fascinated. On
a sign of the fakir I made a quick backward movement. He was muttering a
formula. The grey floating mass disappeared through the open door in the
heavy afternoon light. The woman continued to visit the mausoleum for some
time and then vanished from the village.
Whilst in Jenne, Mali, in 1975,
1 was shown a lane where since 1943 no person had endeavored to enter because
of malevolent jinns. I was warned not to enter the street and disturb the
jinns as this would endanger my health and that of others.
combats among dervishes are a not uncommon phenomenon. Knowing that the
gift of miraculous powers is vouchsafed to persons who have attained a higher
stage of being it is expected and considered natural that they should perform
extraordinary acts. One can not expect normal things to happen when real
dervishes meet. Spiritual combats among dervishes should be interpreted
as a form of non-ordinary communication.
There are many stories of impostors
being unmasked during a psychic duel. I know of a psychic attack executed
on the person of a dervish which aimed at freeing his mind from obscuring
pretentions. The victim was a disciple of a well established sheikh. Having
become engrossed with ideas of spiritual superiority, the dervish showed
more than often disrespect towards others. One time he received the hospitality
of a baba but displayed much disdain in his behavior towards him. In the
evening while the arrogant dervish was doing his exercises the baba penetrated
his mind in such an overpowering way that a state of fearful madness was
caused. This humiliating situation lasted for about half an hour. Terrified
the dervish fled in the middle of the night, accusing the baba of practicing
Every Thursday a hakim, possessing magical knowledge, used
to come to the fakir's place to give consultation and write charms. The
hakim had selected the place because of the powers emanating from the tomb
and the fakir. When he took the habit of bringing food with him and asking
the fakir to prepare it for him with his own hands, the fakir began to resent
this form of vampirism and refused to transmit power to the hakim through
the substance of the food. By refusing to empower the doctor, bad vibrations
arose from the hakim and relations between them became cool and distant.
One evening when coming back from a ziarat the fakir found himself surrounded
by four hissing snakes drawn up in a square. Reciting a subduing formula,
he stepped towards one of the snakes. It shrank backwards so that the fakir
could get out of the magic square. Three snakes vanished but one pursued
him. When he arrived at the mausoleum the snake managed to get inside, and
continued to menace him. The fakir repeated the formula uninterruptedly
for a seemingly endless time, till suddenly the snake began to make agonizing
convulsions and turned on its back: under the snake's hood the fakir recognized
the face of the hakim with protruding eyes. The following day being a Thursday,
the hakim showed up rather late and in a tired mood. As the fakir had just
prepared coffee for visitors, a glass was also presented to him. Still in
doubts about the true heart of the hakim, the fakir decided to request the
Powers immediately for a sign to reveal to him the real intentions of the
doctor. There still was the possibility that the hakim was a real dervish
sent by the same Powers to test him. He put it that should the doctor be
allowed to drink the coffee it would mean that he was a real man, and that
if the reverse happened, his intentions were egotistical. The fakir made
a promise to the Powers to submit himself to the outcome of what would happen.
Being engaged in conversation with the other visitors, the hakim was holding
the full glass in his left hand. Several times he brought the glass to his
lips without however drinking a single drop, when quite unexpectedly for
no reason at all he put it back on the floor and to everyone's amazement,
the coffee spilled over the floor without the glass having turned over.
Other stories of supernatural contests between dervishes have a chivalrous
and playful character. For instance in the hagiography of Haji Bektash it
is told that when the saint was travelling westward, a powerful Sufi went
forth to meet him mounted on a lion and using a poisonous snake for a whip.
Haji Bektash, unrolling his prayer carpet, seated himself on a big rock
and commanded it to move. When the two met, they dismounted and had a friendly
The fakir did not specify whether certain facts had happened
in a dream, a vision or in this world. He made me understand that after
all it was unimportant whether things had happened in a dream or in the
Alam-i-Arvah. What counted was the right attitude towards what was happening.
When drinking our tea one morning the fakir told me that he had seen me
the previous night carrying a bucket of milk to his mausoleum, while the
spirits of powerful babas were assembled around the tomb. Thereupon he invited
me to spend a night with him.
After hours of special incantations and
zikr the tomb itself transformed into a recumbent lion. This perception
lasted for several minutes, followed by a sudden sharp shout of "Ya".
Next appeared small dense fumes above the tomb and around us. I was fixing
the vast space of the mausoleum without however looking at a specific object.
Though I was using my eyes, it seemed that I was not perceiving through
them. The vaporous shapes formed a minaret-like column close to the tomb.
With the spiritual help of the fakir the zikr reached my heart. There was
a gradual psychic piercing. I stopped feeling myself as a compact body;
a sensation of floating apart overwhelmed me. The certitude that I was going
to die that night erupted in my consciousness. Slowly I reclined until I
lay on my back. The objects of my perception became remote and at the same
time sharply delineated.
Suddenly I had a vivid vision of myself fighting
a monster. The next moment I was surrounded by a swarm of hissing monsters.
Clawing and biting they attacked me. Simultaneously from a punkah (punkah:
a fan used especially in India that consists of a canvas-covered frame suspended
from the ceiling and that is operated by a cord) emerged colorful
doll-like creatures. They approached up to a certain distance to watch how
the monsters assaulted me. I tried to repel them, but could not avert being
ripped open. I was fighting for my life. I felt my forces fade, the struggle
became desperate. Their piercing jaws and claws dismembered me. Control
over my body became discoordinated. The devouring of my body lasted for
about half an hour. All the time the colorful jinns remained in the background.
At last, when also my bones were disintegrating, I gave up and was willing
to die. I became surprisingly quiet. The monsters receded for a moment and
then it happened: my astral body separated itself from my physical body.
I saw my exhausted and mutilated body lying on the ground among other objects
in the mausoleum. I perceived also the hazy shape of my astral body. The
next instant my mind detached itself from my astral body and I became some
sort of 'pure consciousness'. I distinguished very clearly my astral form
hovering above my physical body. My detached mind had no body. I was only
seeing and knowing without a body. I was not looking with my eyes, I was
looking by another organ of perception. I realized that I was in a further
state than a mere out-of-the-body projection. The air around me became full
of brilliant particles. My process of thinking happened without feeling
my thoughts. I knew that I could go further. Fascinated by the radiant space
around me, I was drawn towards something beyond the dimension wherein I
had moved in a physical body, to a world of endless possibilities, a dimension
of liquid radiant matter ready to take any shape or nothing at all. Although
I was still aware of a sequence of happenings, past and present events began
to exist simultaneously side by side. I had some difficulty in accepting "that
the present moments and images from my memory were getting off the time-track.
I was now in a sea of a whitish light, at the threshold of something indescribable."
There followed a timeless moment of radiant matter, then my mind shot back
into my astral body and my astral body reentered my physical body. The monsters
were waiting. In a final attack they tore my body to pieces; my mind exploded.
The monsters vanished and the colorful jinns began putting the pieces of
my cut up body together. They all looked very happy. Good jinns of life!
When they had put my body together they disappeared. The fakir was still
sitting in the same posture. The atmosphere in the mausoleum was extremely
pure and airy.
That night had begun like all previous zikr nights. Before
starting his incantations he had again told me that he had expelled all
bad influences and warned me not to leave the mausoleum. He had not suggested
or predicted in any way what was going to happen.
The object out of which
had come the colorful jinns, was a punkah or fan hanging near the tomb.
Originally fans were presented to a saint for use in the hot season. When
the saint had died, this usage was continued and fans were hung over his
tomb as a token of respect to his presence. Most of the fans which one sees
nowadays hanging on walls and pillars of tombs are simple color-prints,
representing Mecca and Medina, glued on decorated cardboard, but some made
or designed by babas are divinely inspired. They are believed to attract
and emanate powers to keep away disturbing influences and to mirror their
benign influence over their possessor. When I showed a veneration for the
punkah inhabited by the jinns, the fakir made one especially for me and
magnetized it during a fortnight. He stressed that the fan reflected only
powers and no jinns.