AN INVESTIGATION INTO THE PREVALENCE OF
THE HINDU YOGAS IN SUFISM
By Jalaledin Ebrahim M.A. Ph.D (c)
With the recent proliferation of translations into English of the love poetry of Mevlana Jalaluddin Rumi and Hafez, Sufism, which is the esoteric or mystical dimension of Islam, has been widely considered, in the popular literature, a “bhakti” tradition, in which, “the aim of bhakti yoga is to direct toward God the love that lies at the base of every heart” (Smith, 1991, p. 32).
On further investigation, a deeper appreciation of Sufism can be gained by comparing and contrasting the combinations (or lack thereof) of the Hindu yogas in the paths of several renowned Sufi Masters, such as Mansur Al-Hallaj (d. 992), Jalaluddin Rumi (d. 1273), Hafez (d. 1389), and Ibn al-Arabi (d.1240), who was known as the Shaykh al-Akbar, the greatest Sufi Master and the Seal of the Saints.
This paper seeks to explore the paths of these Sufi Masters within the framework of the four Hindu yogas and their relationship to the “stations of the heart” presented by a Sufi sheikh of the Jerrahi Order, Dr. Robert Frager, (1999) in “Heart, Self and Soul: The Sufi Psychology of Growth, Balance and Harmony.” Frager explains the contribution of Hakim al-Tirmidhi (d.ca. 932) to the theory of Sufism’s “four stations of the heart”: the breast, the heart, the inner heart and the innermost heart.