Muhammad Raheem Bawa Muhaiyaddeen was a revered Sufi saint from the island of Sri Lanka who for more than fifty years selflessly shared his knowledge and experience with people of every race and religion and from all parts of the world. He first came to the United States in 1971 and established the Bawa Muhaiyaddeen Fellowship of North America in Philadelphia. Since then branches have spread throughout the United States and Canada, as well as in Sri Lanka, Australia and the U.K.
Little is known of the personal history of M. R. Bawa Muhaiyaddeen prior to his emergence from the jungles of Sri Lanka over fifty years ago at which time he was asked to teach. He rarely spoke of himself in any way, never deviating from his focus on the one God.
Since Truth has no limits or boundaries or compartments, it can never be confined to or owned by any religion. Thus, although totally unlettered, to a Hindu he would talk about God in detailed terms of Hinduism; to a Jew or Catholic he would talk about God in detailed terms of Judaism or Catholicism, to a Muslim in terms of Islam. But to an atheist who was a car mechanic, he might talk about God in terms of cars - in whatever terms the individual could best grasp the explanation. His actions were a living example of the Truth about which he spoke. He was the example of that Truth, in whatever form might be needed for the moment. He sometimes described himself as an "ant man," or as a being tinier than the tiniest ant.
M. R. Bawa Muhaiyaddeen is no longer physically with us. He passed away December 8, 1986. However, the real essence of M. R. Bawa Muhaiyaddeen is alive and very well. To find a teacher who is a true and absolutely pure guide is to find the rarest of the rare, one who is completely surrendered to God's qualities, one in whom there is no gap between what he is and what he says, one who is the truth about which he speaks. To find such a one is to find a pure mirror through whom we can see and be transformed into our true selves. Such a perfect Guide lives in his connection to God throughout all time. This connection is never born and can never die. This connection is the Sheikh and the teachings of God's Truth.
The living presence of M. R. Bawa Muhaiyaddeen is very much here and at his resting place at the Fellowship Cemetery which is about an hour outside the city. In Philadelphia there are thousands of video and audio tapes which can be helpful to one's growth. And also there is the loving support of the Fellowship family. The people who are here now had years of close personal access to M. R. Bawa Muhaiyaddeen--formally during the discourses which were open to the public, and informally during the numerous spontaneous song or question and answer sessions, during cooking, farming, construction, or just relaxed chatting of the "children" with the Father of their Wisdom.
Muhammad Raheem Bawa Muhaiyaddeen, a Sufi mystic, can best be remembered for his efforts to bring unity through understanding to the faithful of all religions.
Little is known of his early personal history. Records of his life began in the early 1900's when religious pilgrims traveling through the jungles of Sri Lanka first caught glimpse of a holy man. They were overwhelmed by the depth of divine knowledge that he imparted. Sometime later a pilgrim invited him to a nearby village, and with that began his public life as a teacher of wisdom.
Throughout Sri Lanka, people from all religious and ethnic traditions would listen to his public discourses. Many consulted him on how to conduct life's affairs, including public figures, politicians, the poor, and the learned.
In 1971 Bawa Muhaiyaddeen accepted an invitation to visit the United States. Here, once again, people from all religious, social and ethnic backgrounds would join to hear him speak. Across the United States, Canada and England, he won recognition from religious scholars, journalists, educators and world leaders. The United Nation's Assistant Secretary General, Robert Muller, asked for Bawa Muhaiyaddeen's guidance on behalf of all mankind. Time Magazine turned to him for clarification during the hostage crisis in 1980. Thousands more were touched by his wise words when interviewed in Psychology Today, the Harvard Divinity Bulletin, the Philadelphia Inquirer, and the Pittsburgh Press. Wherever he went, he tirelessly answered the many personal and mystical questions that people brought to him until his death on December 8th, 1986.
For fifteen years, M. R. Bawa Muhaiyaddeen authored over twenty books and the Fellowship he founded recorded thousands of hours of audio and video discourses. The Bawa Muhaiyaddeen Fellowship now serves as a thriving community dedicated to studying and disseminating the vast treasury of his teachings. You are warmly invited to attend meetings at the central branch in Philadelphia on Sundays at 10 a. m. , or call 215-879-6300 for details on branch meetings nearest you.
The name Muhaiyaddeen literally means 'the giver of life to the
true belief.' And indeed Bawa Muhaiyaddeen did spend his life awakening
and strengthening faith in God within people's hearts. Though he
was an unlettered man, he was able to guide and inspire people from
all walks of life.
Many scholars and leaders from the Islamic, Judaic, Christian, Hindu and communities considered him to be a true saint.