Maharaj has been very lovingly invited to Deva Sharif, the shrine of the great Sufi saint Hazrat Hajji Waris Ali Shah, by the Warsi family, who are caretakers of the shrine. It is 40 kilometres from Lucknow in Barabanki. Even before we can see the beautiful shrine, we can feel the aura of love radiating from it.
Maharaj is greeted very lovingly and escorted into the large and beautiful shrine, where he stands a long time in silent prayer before the tomb of the saint. Then he is led outside to a smaller mazaar, the tomb of the late father of the Warsi family. Again he stands silently praying over that tomb. Afterward, Rai Singh told us that he saw the father sitting on the tomb, speaking with Maharaj. When he asked Maharaj what they were saying, Maharaj reported that the father was telling him, “Don’t pray before me. All honour and respect are to be given to Hazrat Waris Ali Shah.”
Then Maharaj and the rest of us are taken into the saint’s inner chamber, where Maharaj is seated on the saint’s own gaddi beneath a picture of the Holy Ka’bah. The Warsis bring their whole family for his blessings, reverently kissing his hand. The yellow-robed ascetics and qawwals (spiritual singers) of the shrine also join our group. Maharaj gives them a long and lovely talk about the non-sectarian spirituality of saints. In part, he says,
For one who becomes a saint, there is no sectarian religion. He has merged with God. He will see Allah even in the trees, in the flowers, in the oceans, and within himself as well. Sectarian religion is limited to the human sphere, but the dervish rises far above that.
Living in such a holy place as this, always keep your mind pure, and make your body pure as well. Whatever prayer you say, do it with love. Whatever is devoid of love is not worship.
The saints appear at times when there is little blessing upon the people. When they come, they open the door of blessings. The spread of religion and the extent to which people are worshipping is only by the blessings of these holy people.
Such saints do not live much on a worldly plane. They are one with God. When they feel that they are to bless someone, they open their eyes and look upon the person with merciful gaze. When that glance is cast upon a person, he becomes a believer. Why? The Nur of Allah is falling upon the saints twenty-four hours a day. Light develops in their eyes, in their thoughts, in their speech.
Wherever saints live, light falls upon the land also. The blessings penetrate all the way to the underworlds and up to the heavens. If you go to that place even after hundreds of thousands of years, you will still receive blessings there. It is not because a person’s body is enshrined there. It is because the Light of God had come to that place.