The spiritual retreat of Mir Maghmud
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
Joseph Hanway - describing the spiritual retreat of Mir Maghmud
With this intent Maghmud undertook to perform the spiritual exercises which the Indian Mahommedans, who are more addicted to them than those of other countries, have introduced into Kandahar. This superstitious practice is observed by shutting themselves up fourteen or fifteen days in a place where no light enters.
The only nourishment they take is a little bread and water at sun-set. During this retreat they employ their time in repeating incessantly, with a strong guttural voice, the word Hou, by which they denote one of the attributes of the Deity. These continual cries, and the agitations of the body with which they were attended, naturally unhinge the whole frame. When by fasting and darkness the brain is distempered, they fancy they see spectres and hear voices. Thus they take pains to confirm the distemper which puts them upon such trials.
Such was the painful exercise which Maghmud undertook in January this year; and for this purpose he chose a subterraneous vault. In the beginning of the next month, when he came forth, he was so pale, disfigured, and emaciated, that they hardly knew him. But this was not the worst effect of his devotion. Solitude, often dangerous to a melancholy turn of thought, had, under the circumstances of his inquietude, and the strangeness of his penance, impaired his reason.
The source of the experienceOrdinary person
Concepts, symbols and science items
Activities and commonsteps
Loneliness and isolation
Suppression of learning