The Zahuri Sufi Web Site
Notes on 'The Thought Patterns of the Mystics'
Notes on editing.
The very basic printing facilities available in Ajmer, at the time the original
lectures were printed, led to various typesetting errors - which despite a
lengthy correcting process often still appeared in the final publication. In
reproducing the lectures for the web site we attempted to correct these.
In a very few cases we have slightly ammended the syntax of some
sentences to make it read more smoothly for the native English speaker -
but only where the meaning is quite unambiguous.
Notes on style.
Zahurmian tended to write these lectures in a very inspirational mode. He
worked furiously with a completely focussed and attentive mind. As far as
is known the quotations were drawn from his prodigious memory without
external reference to the original texts he quoted from. In some cases I
have given references.
He tended to prefer short, pithy, paragraphs often containing no more than
one sentence. This seems to have the effect of giving more power to each
thought and is an integral part of his 'voice' or literary style. We have tried
to maintain this in editing the text.
Notes on content.
In his emphasis on a good life as being one of virtue and happiness we
can see that Zahurmian's view of positive thought contained two
intertwined elements. One was concerned with the force, focus, or strength
of thought - the other with the moral content of thought. There are people
who emphasise positive thinking as being a powerful tool but do not
always link it with virtue as he does here. Thus we may be encouraged by
such persons to use focussed, concentrated, "positive" thinking to gain
material wealth, power, or some other personal ambition. There is a
classic joke which (with variations) runs along the lines of:-
"I can't do it" (loss of hope)
"Why be negative, be positive"
"I am positive that I can't do it"
The essence of the joke lies in the different use of the word positive. The
first use urges hope ( a positive thought) the reply uses the 'positive' to
mean being emphatic (having more force or power).
It would be fair to say that Zahurmian's concept of positive thinking
incorporates the need for more focussed and powerful thought but he
implicitly and explicitly links it with values such as goodness, love, hope
The law of substitution.
This technique prescribed here by Zahurmian certainly has its roots in a
Nor can Goodness and Evil
Be equal. Repel (Evil)
With what is better:
Then will he between whom
And thee was hatred
Become as it were
Thy friend and intimate.
Qur'an 41:34 (Yusuf Ali translation)
Though he has not referred to it here Zahurmian will have been familiar with
an technique described by Mevlana Jaluddin Rumi in the Masnavi. In this
he suggests that we treat even negative thoughts as guests.
Every day, too, at every moment a (different) thought comes, like an
honoured guest, into thy bosom.
O dear soul regard thought as a person, since (every) person derives his
worth from thought and spirit.
If the thought of sorrow is waylaying (spoiling) joy, (yet) it is making
preparations for joy.
It violently sweeps thy house clear of (all) else, in order that new joy from
the source of good may enter in.........
Whenever the thought of sorrow comes into thy breast anew, go to meet it
with smiles and laughter,
Saying, "O, my Creator, preserve me from its evil: do not deprive me but
let me partake of its good!*
Essentially this also follows the Qur'anic injunction of repelling negative or
evil thoughts with good - in this case seeing the potential good hidden
within the negative thought.
*Mathnavi book 5. line 3676 (page 220 in vol 3 of the three volume Gibb
Memorial set). Translation by R.A.Nicholson.
Macbeth Act 5, Scene 3. (I have altered one or two commas from the
lecture to conform with the printed Shakespearian text)