In this exploration of the profound spiritual practice of Itlak Yolu, the Sufi path of annihilation, Nevit Ergin examines the three main facets of this path: zikr, fasting, and mental suffering. Sharing experiences and discussions with Hasan Lutfi Shushud, renowned Sufi saint and final guide of Gurdjieff's disciple J. G. Bennett, the author illustrates how suffering-"the searing fire of contrition"-is the most effective instrument of spiritual progress, for it is suffering that burns the Self. He explains how faithful practice of zikr and fasting will bring on this kind of suffering when the student is ready and will make the suffering tolerable. He shows how once the Self is annihilated higher levels of perception take hold and one finds oneself on the path to sainthood and immortality.
Interwoven throughout with sayings by Shushud, Sufi parables, and poems by Rumi, Ergin shares the unique Itlak perspective on the major questions of every seeker: the true nature of love and religion, life and death, and other major spiritual questions. The book also includes an essay on annihilation and absence in Rumi's philosophy and biographical portraits of Hasan Lutfi Shushud by other aspirants who met with him.
NEVIT O. ERGIN is the English translator of the complete Divan-i Kebir-all 44,829 verses of Rumi's opus. He is the author of Tales of a Modern Sufi and co author, with Will Johnson, of The Forbidden Rumi and The Rubais of Rumi. A Turkish-born surgeon, Ergin has been an initiate in the Itlak path of Sufism under the tutelage of Sufi master Hasan Lutfi Shushud since 1955. He lives in California.
This book is not intended to interfere with the pleasures of life here and now, nor is it intended to question the validity of any conflict of any size or shape.
This book humbly attempts to address the eternal ignorance of the origin of life (birth), the end of life (death), and the in-between. Since all roads eventually end up on a dead-end street . . . since, in the words of Mevlana, we build constantly mud houses on the water, is life really worth living?
Nevertheless, life is very precious. We have as our only capital, our body.
This book presents a possible alternative to this dilemma. Instead of wasting life in time, throwing our body into the ground, it describes a way to go beyond time to immortality, a way to work with the body to reach Absence.
My special thanks to Millicent Alexander, Andrew Moyer, and Meral Ekmekcioglu for all of their support and dedication. Without them, this project would never have been born.
**Contents and Sample Pages**
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