Vishnu Neppala: Jawshan Kabir Supplication

From Jawshan Kabir’s supplications, I was especially interested in the set of passages on page 47, which focus on the property of light, and the comparison of the divine to light. The reason I found this so profound was because of the intense focus on this natural property, and the significance of light in Sufi and Islamic thought, and it’s relation to God. Although God is compared in other faiths, to a divine light shining down on one, there appears to something deeper at play here, simply because of the repetitive use of the word. The first passage of this short section reads: “O Light of lights, O Illuminator of Light, O Creator of Lights, O Planner of Lights.” The repetitive use of the word “light” which transliterated is something like “al-noor”, is indicative of the message which one is ought to take away from reading this. God is meant to be equated with pure light, and that is the what is retained within the mindset of the reader after this. It also seems to create a trance like state in which after enough repetitions of the word light, we have this concept stay within our psyche and are able to make this connection time after time. The trance like state, I feel, is something which a Sufi strives for in their spiritual journey. After watching the rituals of the Turkish mystics in which they pace constantly back and forth, it seems as if this would create a closer connection with God, because after a certain point, it seems like the divine is what causing this movement, which can be applied to the reading of this passage. After reading the same word in a religious text enough times, it can create the sensation that the divine presence within us is responsible for our ability to speak these lines, and for giving us the text which is written. The structure of this passage was thought provoking. Taking away constant parts of each phrase, “O….of Light” leaves you with “Light,Illuminator,Creator,Planner”. This is a chronological order of the process by which things are disseminated. Planning comes before creation, and after the creation of light, it must be illuminated in order for humanity to experience it’s effects. This is rounded off with the phrase “light of lights” in which God is hereby the light which he planned out and is responsible for fully. God is not just part of the process, he is the process, and his divinity and self is ingrained within the light which shines on and illuminates humanity, further adding to the Sufi and generally Islamic notion that God is beyond anything comprehensible. The phrase “O Estimator of Light” which immediately follows was surprising in that it attributed an almost scientific quality to God’s actions, a sense of precision, which of course, cannot be replicated by humanity. It succeeds in creating a conception of the divine, in which He is responsible for the entire process of creation, and whose Self is ingrained within the very thing that He blessed onto humanity.