"The Pillar of Fire"
by Dafna Mordecai
Pir Zia Inayat-Khan
Interspiritual Discussion at
in upstate New York, at New Lebanon, Seven Pillars is the center for Sufi teacher Pir Zia
Inayat-Khan who has said of it:
is needed now is a new house of wisdom, one for all of the great traditions of the world,
as well as the burgeoning wisdom in science, in the arts, in all that comes from the heart
of human experience."
Pillars House of Wisdom was established in 2007, drawing particular inspiration from the
Sufi teachings of Hazrat Inayat Khan, the interspiritual work of Br. Wayne Teasdale, and
the cultural creativity of William Irwin Thompson.
Seven Pillars Website: http://www.sevenpillarshouse.org
Seven Pillars is dedicated to the fostering
of beauty and depth in human culture. We seek to cultivate awareness of the unity of
existence and the qualities of heart that naturally arise from this awareness: nobility of
character, genuine civility, and creative optimism.
Seven Pillars maintains four
primary areas of focus:
Cosmology: Pursuit of a
re-enchanted scientific worldview that reconciles rational inquiry with the wisdom of the
Revelation: Study of the
prophetic message of the worlds great spiritual traditions, and gleaning of the
essential contemporary guidance of this message.
Mysticism: Awakening of latent
faculties of perception through disciplines of concentration, contemplation, prayer and
Chivalry: Nurturance of a
deepened conscience and advancement of an enlightened activism.
Seven Pillars organizes
dialogues, media, courses and events related to these themes, with the purpose of
enhancing the ability of individuals to actively participate in the flowering of a world
civilization grounded in the awareness of the unity of existence.
The Sufi Message of Hazrat
Khan (1882-1927) was an Indian-born musician and mystic, often cited as the first teacher
to bring Sufism to the West. Inayat Khan grew up in a house frequented by poets,
musicians, and spiritual thinkers of many traditions. Later he underwent intensive
mystical training at the hands of a Sufi master. These experiences endowed him with a
penetrating appreciation of the essential unity of all religions and, more fundamentally,
the unity of existence.
In 1910, Inayat
Khan left India for the West. Over the next sixteen years he traveled widely,
from San Francisco to Moscow, performing classical Indian music, lecturing on the
spiritual dimensions of the problems and opportunities of modernity, and training
initiates in the inner culture of Sufism. Amidst the crisis of conscience that followed
the First World War, Inayat Khans movement sought to transform the cultural
assumptions that had created the monster of militant nationalism. Part of this response
was an interfaith service called Universal Worship, which, through lighting of candles and
readings from scriptures of the world's great religions, portrays at a single altar the
sweeping vista of the human encounter with the divine.
Second World War, Inayat Khan's daughter, Noor Inayat Khan, a writer of children's books,
served heroically as the first woman wireless operator in Nazi-occupied France. Betrayed
to the Gestapo, she was executed at Dachau in 1944, and was posthumously awarded Britain's
George Cross and France's Croix de Guerre. Additional information on Noor's life can be
found in the book, Spy Princess: The Life
of Noor Inayat Khan.
eldest son, Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan, continued his work as head of the Sufi Order
International, and became an internationally recognized spiritual teacher and master of
meditation. In his lectures, retreats, and books he drew extensively on the world's
mystical heritage, as well as on music, science, and psychology. Additional information on
his life can be found at www.universel.net.
Brother Wayne Teasdale, and the InterSpiritual Movement
Pillars' Website: "A Christian sanyassa in the tradition of Fr. Bede Griffiths,
the American Catholic monk Br. Wayne Teasdale (1945-2004) pursued the ardent dream of a
movement of people of all faiths devoted to an emerging vision of civilization premised on
the oneness of life. He envisioned a community without boundaries forging deep bonds by
dreaming, thinking, and working together, and in this way consciously participating in the
transformation of the world.
We are at
the dawn of the new consciousness, a radically fresh approach to our life as the human
family in a fragile world. This birth into a new awareness, into a new set of historical
circumstances, appears in a number of shifts in our understanding. . . . Each of these
shifts represents dramatic change. Together they will define the thought and culture of
the Third Millennium. Perhaps the best name for this new segment of historical experience
is the interspiritual age. Taken together they are preparing for a universal civilization:
a civilization with a heart. Br. Wayne Teasdale, The
Zia with photographic tribute to Br. Wayne Teasdale