The Zahuri Sufi Web Site
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 and compassion.
The law of substitution.
This technique prescribed here by Zahurmian certainly has its roots in a Qur'anic
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
*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)
Notes on 'The Thought Patterns of the Mystics'