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The Path: Sufi Practices by Dr. Javad Nurbakhsh

To walk the pages of Dr. Javad Nurbakhsh’s book The Path: Sufi Practices is to be taken away from everything but the truth. In a word, this is the sufi way. Arguably, the most comprehensive account available of Sufism in the contemporary world, The Path’s subject, aim and goal is the very transmutation of the heart itself. Never less than clear and practical, each essay takes us through the stages required of the initiated disciple in order to purify the ego, become free from psychological conflicts and be cleansed of egotistical qualities.

Particular light is shed on the master/disciple relationship, as Dr. Nurbakhsh writes, “The master is the Noah of the ark of the voyagers of purity and the basis of illumination and revelation for those (disciples) who are faithfully carried away by the spiritual wind.” If the Sufi’s aim is to reach a state of selfless, constant remembrance of God, then, the dhikr (the repetition of one of the names of God) is the key to its attainment. Dr. Nurbakhsh’s book maps out in concise terms what it is to become emptied, to let go of negative emotions and to attain to a consciousness that polishes the heart. Sufism, we discover, is a mystical path towards the Truth where one is left with no provisions except love. Included is a rare glimpse into the Sufi ritual of sama, described here as the practice of listening with the ear of the heart to music and poetry that might best be grasped as one being in a state so deeply plunged in love that there is no taint of self left in awareness. In this way, the sincere Sufi hears the call of God. This exceptional book is as much an educational tool as it is a manual for any seeker on the path of practical spiritual inquiry.