Although for a time it appeared that the young Nur Ali would follow in the footsteps of his father’s tradition, it was not to be so. Like his father, he was respected and even venerated, and could avail himself of all the material possibilities presented by his father’s lands. Moreover, in accordance with the local custom and social norms, he could have received donations from his devotees, as did most spiritual leaders, and live a comfortable life, but he chose not to do so. On the contrary, he (like his father before him) never allowed himself to be even partially supported by his followers, nor did he permit material interests to be mixed with spiritual matters.
Eventually, changes in his perspective and manner of thinking would lead him to set aside the traditional customs of the past and to adopt a new method altogether. This bold change caused him to embrace a conventional lifestyle, without any of the outward manifestations of a mystical way of life. With this dramatic turnabout, he engaged society as though he were no different than anyone else. The white dervish garb and the long hair and beard of the mystic were replaced with the appearance and dress of respectable members of society. Henceforth, Nur Ali would pursue an ordinary life, though it was not until much later that the reason for his entry into society would be revealed.
Years later when he presented the philosophy of the process of spiritual perfection, it became clear that such a turnabout in one’s life and thought was more emblematic of a miracle than a change in lifestyle. Some adherents and acquaintances harshly criticized him for not following his father’s path and for appearing as if he were on par with others in society; some even left him for this reason. But Ostad Elahi did not abandon his goal and ultimately set forth a novel approach to spirituality that would facilitate those in search of the Truth.
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.
His true adherents and friends followed his example and conformed their spiritual approach to his—an approach that was original and unprecedented. Indeed, throughout the pages of history devout and pious mystics have always followed the example of their predecessors, without ever pursuing a path other than that which their master had followed. By revealing a course that was in effect a shortcut in this realm, Ostad Elahi opened a novel chapter, one that is the product of a natural spirituality that presents a new approach to the acquisition of self-knowledge and in turn divine knowledge.
Setting aside various social, ethnic, and traditional constraints, Ostad Elahi was an original thinker whose innovative approach liberated one from the elitist, onerous, and age-old customs of traditional mysticism. In essence, he removed spirituality from the purview of mystics and repetitive clichés alike, placing it instead at the disposal of all humanity, a revolutionary undertaking in the pursuit of spirituality.