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Solitude is best sought from within, not in seclusion.

It is mistaken to withdraw into seclusion, deprive oneself of everything, and then claim to be virtuous; what counts is to live among society but still remain virtuous.

Music has countless properties, most of which have yet to be discovered.

My approach resembles a new field of medicine that is based on years of asceticism, experimentation, and research; in reality, it is the synthesis of my personal experience.

A pure heart shelters love and light, not hatred and darkness.

Music has an extraordinary effect on everything, even minerals and plants.

There are two things on which my time was well-spent: the tanbur and spiritual practice.

Life in this world revolves around one principle: respect for the rights of others.

In the process of spiritual perfection, selfishness, egoism, and conceit are among the worst flaws.

Good intentions alone have spiritual merit, even if the opportunity to actualize those intentions does not transpire.

A true human being is one who rejoices in the happiness of others and shares in their sorrows.

True meaning must be inherently realized; it cannot be conveyed through words.

The tanbur has a language of its own that resonates with contemplative thought.

Throughout my tenure as a judge, I always sought to reform offenders rather than to exact retribution.

Chance and coincidence do not exist; there is a cause and a reason for everything.

The more we expand and deepen our knowledge, the more we become aware of our own insignificance.

Delve within, for therein lies the key to all that you seek.

What greater pleasure than being prepared to align oneself with His will.

This is not a path of words, but of deeds; only through action can progress be realized.

Regardless of our religion, what is expected of us is to be a true human being: one who has a good disposition, moral integrity, and sound intentions.

One should live in such a way so as to never have to conceal anything from anyone.

The spiritual journey can be summarized in two points: attention to the Source and service to others.

We have but one wish: that He enable us to always realize His will, and that His will be the source of our aspirations.

Willpower is the key to access all levels in spirituality.

"Truth" transcends any proof or persuasion; it stands as its own proof.

Solitude is best sought from within, not in seclusion.

It is mistaken to withdraw into seclusion, deprive oneself of everything, and then claim to be virtuous; what counts is to live among society but still remain virtuous.

Music has countless properties, most of which have yet to be discovered.

My approach resembles a new field of medicine that is based on years of asceticism, experimentation, and research; in reality, it is the synthesis of my personal experience.

A pure heart shelters love and light, not hatred and darkness.

Music has an extraordinary effect on everything, even minerals and plants.

There are two things on which my time was well-spent: the tanbur and spiritual practice.

Life in this world revolves around one principle: respect for the rights of others.

In the process of spiritual perfection, selfishness, egoism, and conceit are among the worst flaws.

Good intentions alone have spiritual merit, even if the opportunity to actualize those intentions does not transpire.

A true human being is one who rejoices in the happiness of others and shares in their sorrows.

True meaning must be inherently realized; it cannot be conveyed through words.

The tanbur has a language of its own that resonates with contemplative thought.

Throughout my tenure as a judge, I always sought to reform offenders rather than to exact retribution.

Chance and coincidence do not exist; there is a cause and a reason for everything.

The more we expand and deepen our knowledge, the more we become aware of our own insignificance.

Delve within, for therein lies the key to all that you seek.

What greater pleasure than being prepared to align oneself with His will.

This is not a path of words, but of deeds; only through action can progress be realized.

Regardless of our religion, what is expected of us is to be a true human being: one who has a good disposition, moral integrity, and sound intentions.

One should live in such a way so as to never have to conceal anything from anyone.

The spiritual journey can be summarized in two points: attention to the Source and service to others.

We have but one wish: that He enable us to always realize His will, and that His will be the source of our aspirations.

Willpower is the key to access all levels in spirituality.

"Truth" transcends any proof or persuasion; it stands as its own proof.

About Ostad Elahi

Ostad Elahi was an influential thinker, jurist, and musician who founded an innovative approach to the pursuit of self-knowledge and existential meaning. Born in a remote village in Western Iran, his remarkable journey began as a classic mystic steeped in age-old ascetic practices. In time, he would leave behind his retreat to test his ethical principles in the midst of society, engaging a life of public service as a distinguished jurist. Following his retirement, he authored several scholarly treatises on the basis of his ongoing research and personal experience. His work extracts the quintessence of the great religious traditions and provides an existential roadmap that is compatible with the lives and mentalities of modern human beings.

Judicial Career

Throughout his career—from Examining Magistrate in the District Courts to Chief Judge of the Criminal Court of Appeals—Ostad Elahi had to repeatedly overcome the corrupt influence of wealthy merchants and powerful landowners wielding significant control over a nascent Ministry of Justice after the fall of the Qajar dynasty. His refusal to compromise his integrity or succumb to such pressures, despite threats to his personal safety and frequent transfers to undesirable posts, led him to conclude that the whole of the twelve years of asceticism he endured prior to joining government service had less spiritual value than a single year spent in the judiciary striving to fulfill his duty.

Philosophy and Thought

According to Ostad Elahi, there is more to human beings than a physical body endowed with intelligence. One’s real self, or “soul,” is not limited to a biological existence, nor does it perish with the demise of the body. Endowed with reason, willpower, and a moral sense, this self bears an innate capacity for transformation and the attainment of a higher state, one which Ostad deems to be the very purpose of our existence and describes as “Perfection.” His novel philosophy delineates the cognitive conditions and ethical principles required to undertake the stages in the soul’s process of spiritual perfection, which culminates in the realization of one’s full humanity.

Musical Influence

By the age of nine, Ostad was already recognized as a peerless master of the tanbur, an ancient Kurdish lute reserved for devotional purposes. Not only did Ostad transform the art of tanbur through his modifications to the instrument—adding a third string, innovating new playing techniques using the fingers of both hands, and introducing a novel resonance tuning—but he also elevated this ancient musical tradition to a learned art form by assembling a repertoire of over a hundred pieces. Ultimately, the profound impact of Ostad’s music reflects the embodiment of a lifelong pursuit of self-knowledge in the quest for existential meaning and transcendence.