Author and Sufi teacher, Phillip Gowins, writes here of the important role that Sufi master Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan played in bringing the Sufi path to the West. He also describes his own progress and adventures along this path.
“The aim of the 1,500-year-old spiritual tradition of Sufism, it has been said, is “the elimination of all veils between man and God.” In June 2004, Sufi Master Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan died peacefully at his home in Paris, France. As leader of the Sufi Order International which first brought Sufism to the West in 1910, Pir Vilayat had spent more than 40 years teaching this and other truths of Sufism to audiences in Europe, the United States and Asia. For 25 years, Sufi teacher Phillip Gowins was able to take advantage of the many visits of Pir Vilayat to the New York region. Thus The Sovereign Soul: Sufism: A Path for Today is a homage to the Master, providing as it does an introduction to the ancient stream of wisdom embodied by Sufism, but present in other religions and humanistic philosophies as well, that Pir Vilayat was able to impart to students around the world. The Sovereign Soul is also a description, always concrete, often humorous, of the mystical path that Phillip Gowins himself has pursued over the years. With many examples and exercises, he shows us how we can practice the spiritual life ourselves. The path he lays out is strewn with pitfalls and pleasures alike. He tells us how we can avoid the one and enjoy the other, and attain to love and self-mastery in the increasingly complex 21st century.”