أنا أؤمن بأنه توجـد عدالة سماويّة, وأن جميع ما يُصيبنا في الحياةِ الدنيا من مُنغصات انَّ هـو الاّ جـزاءٌ وفاق لِما أجترحناه في أدوارنا السابقة من آثـامٍ وشـرور.ولهـذا يجب علينا أن نستقبلَ كلّ مـا يحـلّ بنـا من آلامِ الحياةِ ومآسيها غير مُتبرّمين ولا متذمّرين , بل قانعين بعدالةِ السماء ونُظمها السامية.

Highlighter
أحبُّ الكُتُبَ حبَّ السُكارى للخمر , لكنَّني كلَّما أزددتُ منها شرباً, زادتني صَحوا
ليس مّنْ يكتُبُ للهو كمَن يكتُبُ للحقيقة
الجمالُ والعفّــة فـردوسٌ سماويّ .
لا معنى لحياةِ ألأنسان اذا لم يقم بعملٍ انسانيٍّ جليل .
اعمل الخير , وأعضد المساكين , تحصل على السعادة .
من العارِ أن تموتَ قبل أن تقـوم بأعمالِ الخير نحـو ألأنسانيّة .
الموتُ يقظةٌ جميلة ينشُدها كل مَنْ صَفَتْ نفسه وطَهرت روحه , ويخافها كلّ من ثقُلت أفكاره وزادت أوزاره .
ان أجسامنا الماديّة ستمتدّ اليها يـد ألأقـدار فتحطِّمها , ثمّ تعمل فيها أنامل الدهـر فتتَّغير معالمها , وتجعلها مهزلةً مرذولة . أمّا ألأعمال الصالحة وألأتجاهات النبيلة السّامية , فهي هي التي يتنسَّم ملائكة اللّه عبيرها الخالد .
نأتي إلى هذا العالمِ باكين مُعولين، و نغادره باكين مُعولين! فواهً لك يا عالمَ البكاء والعويل!
جميعنا مُغترٌّ مخدوعٌ ببعضه البعض.
العدلُ كلمة خُرافية مُضحكة.
أمجادُ هذا العالم وهمٌ باطل، و لونٌ حائل، و ظلٌّ زائل.
لا باركَ الله في تلك الساعة التي فتحتُ فيها عينيّ فإذا بي في مكانٍ يطلقون عليه اسم العالم .
أنا غريبٌ في هذا العالم، و كم احنُّ إلى تلك الساعة التي اعود فيها إلى وطني الحقيقيّ.
الحياةُ سفينةٌ عظيمة رائعة تمخرُ في بحرٍ، ماؤه الآثام البشريَّة الطافحة، و امواجه شهواتهم البهيميَّة الطامحة، و شطآنه نهايتهم المؤلمة الصادعة.
كلّنا ذلك الذئبُ المُفترس , يردع غيره عن اتيانِ الموبقاتِ وهو زعيمها وحامل لوائها , المُقوّض لصروح الفضيلة , ورافع أساس بناءِ الرذيلة .
الحياةُ سلسلة اضطراباتٍ وأهوال , والمرءُ يتقلَّب في أعماقها , حتى يأتيه داعي الموت, فيذهب الى المجهولِ الرهيب , وهو يجهلُ موته , كما كان يجهلُ حياته .
من العارِ أن تموتَ قبل أن تقومَ بأعمالِ الخير نحو الانسانيّة .
المالُ ميزان الشرِّ في هذا العالم .
السعادةُ ليست في المال , ولكن في هدوءِ البال .
كلُّ شيءٍ عظيمٍ في النفسِ العظيمة , أمّا في النفسِ الحقيرة فكلُّ شيءٍ حقير .
الرُّوح نسمةٌ يُرسلها الخالق لخلائقه لأجل , ثم تعودُ اليه بعجل .
الرُّوح نفثةٌ الهيَّة تحتلُّ الخلائق , وكل منها للعودة الى خالقها تائق .
الرُّوح سرٌّ الهيٌّ موصَدْ لا يعرفه الاّ خالق الأرواح بارادته , فمنه أتتْ واليه تعود .
أنا أؤمن بأنه توجـد عدالةٌ سماويّة , وأنَّ جميع ما يُصيبنا في الحياةِ الدُّنيا من مُنغِّصاتٍ وأكدارٍ انَّ هـو الاَّ جـزاء وفاق لمِا أجترحناه في أدوارنا السابقة من آثـامٍ وشـرور . ولهـذا يجب علينا أن نستقبل كلَّ مـا يحـلُّ بنـا من آلام الحياة ومآسيها غير م
الحرّيةُ منحة من السماءِ لأبناءِ ألأرض .
الموتُ ملاكُ رحمةٍ سماويّ يعطف على البشر المُتألّمين , وبلمسةٍ سحريّة من أنامله اللطيفة يُنيلهم الهناء العلويّ .
ما أنقى من يتغلّب على ميولِ جسده الوضيع الفاني , ويتبع ما تُريده الرُّوح النقيّة .
ما أبعدَ الطريق التي قطعتها سفينتي دون أن تبلغَ مرفأ السلام ومحطَّ الأماني والأحلام .
الراحة التامّة مفقودة في هذا العالم , وكيفما بحثت عنها فأنت عائدٌ منها بصفقةِ الخاسر المَغبون .
ليس أللّــه مع الظالم بل مع الحقّ.
ان الصديق الحقيقي لا وجود له في هذا العالم الكاذب.
ما أكثر القائلين بالعطف على البائسين وغوث الملهوفين والحنو على القانطين , وما أقلَّ تنفيذهم القول.
يظنُّ بعض ألأنذال ألأدنياء أنّهم يُبيّضون صحائفهم بتسويدِ صحائف الأبرياء , غير عالمين بأنَّ الدوائر ستدور عليهم وتُشهّرهم.
ما أبعدَ الطريق التي قطعتها سفينتي دون أن تبلغَ مرفأ السَّلام ومحطَّ الأماني والأحلام .
رهبة المجهول شقاء للبشرِ الجاهلين للأسرارِ الروحيَّة , وسعادة للذين تكشّفت لهم الحقائق السماويَّة .
الموتُ نهاية كل حيّ , ولكنه فترة انتقال : امّا الى نعيم , وامّا الى جحيم .
الحياةُ خير معلِّمٍ ومُؤدِّب , وخيرَ واقٍ للمرءِ من الأنزلاقِ الى مهاوي الحضيض .
حين تشكُّ بأقربِ المُقرَّبين اليك تبدأ في فهمِ حقائق هذا الكون .
مَنْ يكون ذلك القدّيس الذي لم تخطرُ المرأة في باله ؟ لو وجدَ هذا لشبَّهته بالآلهة .
المرأة هي إله هذه الأرض الواسع السُّلطان. و هي تحملُ بيدها سيفاً قاطعاً لو حاولَ رجالُ الأرض قاطبةً انتزاعه منها لباؤوا بالفشلِ و الخذلان .

bornagain 

Born again with Doctor Dahesh

 

FOREWORD

 

By Fares A. Zaatar, Esq.

 

            The story related in this book is a true story composed of important true facts and events; and the opinions voiced are deeply held beliefs by the author. It is, however, an extraordinary story made up of extraordinary events. For some readers, it may appear a work of fiction, at least in some of its unusual aspects. Yet, no matter how it is taken, or considered to be, it remains fascinating, insightful, and uplifting. It takes us onto a life journey within ourselves and touches upon the ever felt conflict between our material and spiritual needs, and the impossible, frustrating, balancing and compromising acts one tries so often unsuccessfully to strike between them both, when putting them on an equal footing.

            The writer of this extraordinary book is an industrial engineer by education and training and a successful businessman by occupation. He describes in the following pages his ascent from financial strains and poverty to success and affluence, with a simple, direct, lucid, and concise style. Yet such description makes up only the backdrop of the main theme and the important events he lays out. For paralleling his struggle with financial hardships, and his life journey from poverty to affluence, was another deeper, more significant and durable journey and ascent from relative spiritual unawareness and heedlessness into spiritual richness and enlightenment. The material and spiritual courses in his life were contemporaneous, and proceeded together, although the birth of his spiritual reawakening seems to predate his professional exploits. Notwithstanding that, however, when the author reaches greater self-awareness and maturity, he sadly regrets the precious time he squandered over his materialistic pursuits, when the irretrievable opportunity for greater spiritual and moral enrichment was, then and there, at his reach. It is quite moving to read, within the context of the events of this book, his bitter berating of the common adage, ”time is money”:

 

Fortunately, I was traveling with a man who did not

believe that time was meant for only making money. I was

the travel companion of a man who taught us that time is a

God-given opportunity to spiritually improve ourselves.

Time is a period intended mostly to give every creature,

man included, a chance to uplift their souls and elevate the

qualities of their Sayals.

Time is not money. Time, as Doctor Dahesh taught us,

is a span to reflect upon and to ask ourselves whether we

are morally and spiritually better off today than we were

yesterday.

           

 

            The great importance of this book is derived from its central figure, Dr. Dahesh, around whom all the events related therein evolve. It is an unpretentious, humble, and true testimony of the man, his deeds, and doctrine, written as a token of gratitude and tribute to his humanity and unsurpassed greatness, which had the fundamental effect of transforming the author’s life entirely, making him experience an actual rebirth of his self. Truth must be attested to; it must be upheld, defended, and presented to all the family of humankind, in the hope of discovering their true humanity in the durable, moral and spiritual values that may help draw them nearer to each other and discard all divisive, ephemeral, and marginal attributes, which lock them in cycles after cycles of interminable bloody conflicts.

            Like all the great reformers in history, Dr. Dahesh’s personality is inseparable from his Message. The man incarnates and reflects the Message, and vice versa. Such, for example was the case of Socrates, Christ, as well as Mahatma Gandhi; and such, indeed, is the case of Dr. Dahesh. From this perspective, also, the importance of this book is paramount. For it provides a close-up look of Dr. Dahesh by the author who had been his sole companion in his travels to twenty-three countries, and, who was closely associated with him for about twenty-five years.

            The author, being an educated, intelligent, mature and experienced man of perception and integrity, the events related by him in this book, and the opinions deriving from them, cannot be dismissed or ignored. They caused the total transformation of his life as well as that of some members of his family, his younger brother, Ali, had given his life for them.

            This book is therefore, also a true reflection of the life and inner self of the author. It is written with every throb of his heart, and with every fiber of his being. It is written with love and gratitude, but also with a deep sense of responsibility towards his fellow human beings, hoping for his words to kindle a similar spiritual reawakening in some kindred souls.

February 2, 1992

 

 

INTRODUCTION

 

            ”Introduction to Daheshism” was the title I used for a four-page article I wrote about my first encounter with Doctor Dahesh, an extraordinary and unique man who brought forth a new religious philosophy.

            I felt encouraged to write a short article on the subject when I received a letter from the Daheshist Publishing Company in New York City. They requested a concise four-page article, on how I met Doctor Dahesh and why I became a Daheshist.

            When I received that request specifically asking for the article to be written in English, a language which I did not fully command, I was a bit reluctant to do so at first. I was not sure I would be able to write effectively. Yet, in spite of my doubts and hesitations I decided to make the attempt, out of great respect for Vout, a Daheshist sister(1). For many years, Vout urged me to write in English about my Daheshist experiences, and frankly, had it not been for her incessant urgings and encouragement, I would have never thought of writing this book.

            I once explained to that remarkable sister in the presence of Doctor Dahesh who was ill at the time, that perhaps I was incapable of writing a book in English. I admitted to her that my experience in that language had been limited to writing business letters and reports. She was not deterred and insisted that I had an important story to tell. She was convinced that I would be capable of writing such a book. I am truly indebted to her for her unshakable confidence which has made this book possible.

            I am also grateful to Haimanola, a devoted and intelligent young Daheshist whose unflinching support has encouraged me to turn the original four-page article into a book. Haimanola, after reading my first article, urged me to continue and write whatever came to my mind about my experiences with Doctor Dahesh. From the beginning, she took charge of the material I sent to the Daheshist Publishing Company, and she made sure that everything I sent was accurately presented and properly positioned to be printed when the time came.

            I am also very thankful to my daughter, Suzanne, who eagerly volunteered to edit all the material I wrote. Without her help this material would have contained many grammatical errors. I also wish to thank my friend, Mr. Charles Meinhardt, who helped in the final editing of the book, and my wife Kathleen who assisted me in remembering some of the events mentioned.

            The task of writing a book about my Daheshist experience in a language which is not my own was not easy at all. In addition to that problem, I had to rely mostly on my own memory for practically all of the events mentioned, including those relating to my travels with Doctor Dahesh. Although I was his constant travel companion for over two years, unfortunately I did not maintain a diary which would have helped me to remember the exact events that took place.

           

            The Doctor’s description of those travels which he published were very helpful and they brought back the memory of the major incidents that occurred. However, they were of little help when I had to remember special occasions in which the Doctor told me certain things, or when specific revelations occurred. Sadly, I do not remember the exact words the Doctor might have used about special events mentioned in the book. Despite that, I made sure to be as faithful and as accurate as possible to what the Doctor meant and implied.

            Another difficulty I encountered in writing this book was when I tried to explain some aspects of the Daheshist philosophy and principles in terms that are easy to understand. Explaining, for example, some aspects of the nature and characteristics of the ”Sayal” was an extremely difficult undertaking(2). This fundamental Daheshist principle, which is the basis and cornerstone for understanding the Daheshist religion, is a complex concept which I have attempted to simplify. I had to spend considerable time thinking about the Daheshist concept of Sayal and how to articulate it into a comprehensible writing. I had to piece together and incorporate all the ideas I gathered from reading what was then in print of Doctor Dahesh’s inspired writings and from listening to him. I had to integrate Doctor Dahesh’s revelations and miracles which dealt, for example, with the instant realization of thoughts into concrete objects, into the Daheshist concept of Sayal. In addition, I referred to scientific articles and to the Bible and the Koran in order to make the Daheshist concepts more accessible to the reader. Even then, I had to write and rewrite about this subject several times in Arabic to clarify certain points before I was finally able to express it in English.

            What I wrote about the Sayal was only the part I could see of its whole picture, because, in my view, the final reality of the Sayal remains a spiritual secret which can never be fully understood. The final spiritual reality of the Sayal defies man’s imagination, experience and rationale. It is far beyond our conceptional ability to understand it, or even express it fully in words.

            The book begins with the circumstances which led me to meet Doctor Dahesh, and how I witnessed for the first time some of his miracles. Then, it deals with my return from the United States to live in Lebanon. It also describes how I faced difficulties in trying to earn a living there.

            In the middle of the book, I wrote about how I became drawn more and more to Doctor Dahesh and to his spiritual Message. I also wrote about my gradual awareness of the fact that the Doctor was the founder of a new religion endowed with divine revelations and miracles. Later, I described some of the travels I took with him and mentioned the unusual spiritual events that took place during those journeys. I tried to give the reader a few glimpses and insights into the unique and extraordinary reality of the man with whom I was closely associated for over twenty years. I also attempted to briefly explain some of his ideas and teachings: ideas I deduced from my long association with him.

            Toward the end of the book, I wrote about the ongoing destruction of Lebanon and the gloomy fate of civilization. Finally, I summarized what the Daheshist experience has meant to me, and what insights I have learned from Doctor Dahesh who is and will be in my heart and thoughts forever.

            The book, which I, later on, titled Born Again With Doctor Dahesh, is my own brief interpretation of the man and the philosophy behind the most illuminating spiritual Message of all times.

Salim Onbargi

December 16, 1991

 

CHAPTER I

 

            My first encounter with Daheshism began in the summer of 1963. I had returned to Lebanon from the United States and was visiting my mother and other family members to share with them moments of grief and consolation for the sudden death of my father. He had died unexpectedly a few weeks earlier of a heart attack.

            The tragic news of my father’s sudden death came to me while I was in Chicago working as an industrial engineer for a manufacturing company. I was hired for that job after almost two years of exhaustive search, deprivation, and hardship. I was just beginning to earn a decent living when the sad news came. Upon hearing it, I immediately asked the company for an urgent leave of absence of six weeks. I then borrowed a few hundred dollars and headed for Lebanon, leaving behind my pregnant wife and my baby daughter.

            I hardly began to recover from the shock of losing my father, when my younger brother Ali, who was seven years my junior, began talking to me about Doctor Dahesh, a man he admired and revered immensely. He persistently urged me to visit Doctor Dahesh with him, and on every occasion kept telling me of the wonderful and unbelievable miracles that Doctor Dahesh was capable of doing and of the new spiritual and religious Message he was proclaiming.

            At that time, I was neither interested in miracles which I did not believe in, nor in any so-called spiritual Message. I was totally happy leading a life void of any religious attachment. I was born a Moslem and as far as I was concerned, that was it. I did not practice my religion and was happy to leave it at that. I did not wish to revive memories of religious bigotry and fanaticism of the Lebanese and Middle Eastern societies which I thought I had left behind in going to America. Thus, when my brother talked to me fervently about Daheshism I did not share his enthusiasm and did not want to be involved in what I thought to be a new sect. The last thing I wanted to do was to get involved in some religious cult. It would complicate my life and distract me from the task of earning a living in a complicated and materialistic society such as that of America. I had left behind my wife and baby daughter alone with very little money to live on. I left them alone in a cruel world where having money or not having it would make the difference between living in comfort or suffering in degradation. I did not have money, and I was determined not to let anything, especially a new religious philosophy, distract me from earning it.

            Another factor which added to my hesitation about being drawn to Daheshism was the perception the family had of Ali. They saw him as a rash young man, always getting into trouble and often offending people by making the wrong decisions and saying the wrong things at the wrong time. He had upset the family by dropping out of school and defiantly marrying the woman he loved only a month after his father’s death. He was only twenty-two years old and did not have any stable means of support. To make matters worse for himself, he and his new bride moved into a one-room apartment in one of the poorest areas of Beirut. To support himself and his new wife, he took a job as an errand boy with a travel agency that paid him a meager salary which was very low even by Lebanese standards. Yet despite that I loved him dearly. He was the closest of my brothers to me and I admired his spirit of defiance and pride, his honesty and straightforwardness.

            Once I dared mention that he had made a mistake by not finishing his college education and had married prematurely without first making sure he could properly support himself and his wife. He angrily told me that he did not need my sympathy nor my advice, and that as long as God Almighty gave him a roof over his head and something to eat, that was all he wanted. Anyway, I was not in a position to help my brother at the time, for I was poor and did not have anything to spare. The only difference between Ali and myself was that he was eking out a miserable existence in a superficial society, while I was making a start in America, a country endowed with abundance and blessed with great opportunities.

            With this background of apprehension, doubts, and fear of being involved on the one hand, and on the other, wanting to satisfy my brother’s wish of visiting Doctor Dahesh, I was about to be drawn into Daheshism. The decisive moment came when my brother asked me to go with him to meet his new wife in their apartment.

            I remember climbing up the seven stories of steep winding stairs in an old decrepit building to reach his one-room apartment on the roof. We went inside; I greeted his new bride, but my heart was still pounding and I could hardly catch my breath. As soon as I began breathing normally again after that exhausting climb, I began to notice the condition of stark poverty in which my brother and his new bride lived. There are moments in a person’s life where lasting impressions become ineffaceable memories, and that was one of them.

            Leading into the one-room apartment there was a small hallway. On one side was a little bathroom, and on the other side, opposite to the bathroom, was a sink. Beside it stood a medium-sized rectangular table on one side of which were some pots and pans, a few plates, cups, and some utensils thrown inside an open wooden box. On the other side of the table lay a transparent plastic bag filled with Arabic bread, a jar of green olives, a few onions, a half-filled carton of eggs, and a few tin cans which I assumed contained sugar, salt, pepper, cooking oil, and coffee. In the middle of the table was a little stove connected to a gas container tucked under the table. There was no refrigerator in the apartment. The bedroom was used as a living-room with the bed used as a couch. There were a couple of old chairs next to a small wooden table with a metal ashtray on it. My brother and his bride were living in extreme poverty, and unfortunately, neither I nor any of our family members who wanted to help Ali were in a position to do so. We were all poor, but none of us as poor as Ali.

            After I wished them both a happy marriage and a successful life together, Ali’s wife went to prepare the customary Arabic coffee. As she was busy preparing it, my brother casually mentioned that Doctor Dahesh had visited him and his wife a few weeks ago. He asked his wife to tell me what had happened during that visit. She began by saying that a miracle of an unbelievable nature had occurred to her through Doctor Dahesh. But she was reluctant to mention it to anyone for fear people would not believe her story and would ridicule her. At any rate she began to narrate what had happened.

            One day, as she was preparing to fry some potatoes, she accidentally dropped some water into the boiling oil which splashed over her face, burning it all over. She resorted to dousing her face with water but this only made matters worse. My brother and his wife could not afford to seek medical treatment and did not want the family or anyone else to know about their predicament. The young bride stayed home and did not come out for several days fearing that someone might see her badly burned face.

            One Sunday morning as they were wondering what to do about their distressing problem, there was a knock on the door. My brother opened it and, to his pleasant surprise, there stood Doctor Dahesh with his companion, Doctor Farid Abu Sleiman. They greeted the young couple; and after a few minutes of friendly conversation, Doctor Dahesh, suddenly began to write the Daheshist prayer, and after burning it, he picked a pinch of the ash, came back to the young bride and traced the Daheshist Ramz(3) on her forehead. She said a miracle began to take place for she could feel the itching and burning sensation disappear. The wounds immediately began to heal, and by the next day, there was no trace of burned tissue left on her face, that was restored to its normal state. She was happy that the whole episode had passed away as if it were a bad dream.

            Upon hearing this story, a strange feeling ran through my entire body, and suddenly a strong desire to meet Doctor Dahesh took hold of me. If such a man exists, I thought, I would indeed be lucky and privileged to meet him. I had no reason whatsoever to doubt the authenticity of the story I had just heard. Why should my brother or his wife lie to me, and what would they gain from making up such a story. At any rate, I asked my brother to take me with him the next time he visited Doctor Dahesh. As I was leaving, Ali gave me three books written by Doctor Dahesh. I enjoyed reading all of them but one in particular, Memoirs of a Dinar, captivated my imagination and still fascinates me to this day. The book relates breathtaking adventures narrated by an imaginary golden coin, the Dinar, as it passes from one holder to the other. The events described by the coin span a ninety-year period.

            A few days later, my brother came to me happy and excited and told me that we were going to visit Doctor Dahesh that afternoon. To him, visiting the Doctor was always the happiest moment in his life. That afternoon, on the way to our appointment, I still had mixed feelings. On the one hand, I felt excited that I would be meeting such a mysterious and much talked about man, and on the other hand, I was a bit apprehensive that Doctor Dahesh might just be an overbearing and domineering person with some inexplicable mystical power.

            The taxi meandered through the streets of Beirut before finally stopping next to an old building with a large steel door. ”This is it,” Ali said to me. He walked a few steps and rang the door bell three times. The door latch was opened from above by means of a rope running from the second floor of the building to the lower floor.

            We climbed the steps to the second floor entrance of Doctor Dahesh’s residence. At the entrance stood a friendly lady who greeted us and led us to the living room through a corridor which had numerous books stacked along one side. The living room was filled with many objects of art. There were several oil paintings and tapestries on the walls; statues of ivory, bronze and wood stood in every corner of the room. Any person entering Doctor Dahesh’s residence for the first time would be overwhelmed by the imposing cultural and artistic atmosphere of the house.

            A few minutes passed. Suddenly, a man in his early fifties entered. He kissed Ali on the cheeks and then greeted me. My brother whispered in my ear that this was Doctor Dahesh. He was a handsome man, of medium height and build, of fair complexion with striking features, and tender eyes. After greeting us warmly he sat down beside us. I noticed that he was quiet, a bit shy and extremely polite. He spoke very little, and there was something about him that was kind and reassuring.

            As I sat contemplating this gentle man, a sobering thought flashed through my mind. It made me wonder about the strange relationship which bound my brother to Doctor Dahesh. From strictly an earthly point of view, they were worlds apart. Doctor Dahesh was a man of great repute, a man of wide culture and art, a prolific author of scores of books of different literary, religious and philosophical subjects. On the other hand, my brother worked as an errand boy. He had a limited educational background and was very poor. Surely, I thought, they had nothing in common. Later, I was to discover how wrong I was, for I was viewing their relationship in terms of shallow materialistic considerations, neglecting to take into account the strongest bond of all – that which binds the souls together, the spiritual bond.

            Later, I learned that Doctor Dahesh judged people not by their wealth, position or influence, but by their inner souls and their spiritual qualities. Many times, he would refuse to receive prime ministers, people of high repute and men of wealth, and yet, he would not hesitate to receive the most humble and poor of visitors.

            We sat there for a few minutes not saying a word. Then I decided to take the initiative and talk to Doctor Dahesh. I told him that Ali was very fond of him, and that he was constantly on his mind. Doctor Dahesh replied that Ali was very special, and that he and my brother were one and the same – meaning that he felt the same way about my brother.

            I told him I had read his book Memoirs of a Dinar and found it fascinating and very enjoyable. Although the book depicted mainly the darker side of human nature, it is a breathtaking odyssey of a central character, the Dinar, through which the thoughts and desires of the other various characters were communicated to the reader. It revealed human events and aspirations that were truly base and evil. Doctor Dahesh asserted that although the stories in the book were sad and horrifying, they were essentially facts of life and should be taken as such.

            As we continued talking, a lady brought in a tray of small cups of Arabic coffee. She was the same lady we had met at the entrance. Doctor Dahesh introduced her as sister Zeina. I greeted her again as I took a cup of coffee. My brother already knew Zeina and they exchanged a few words before she left the room.

            Turning to Doctor Dahesh, I remarked that the paintings on the wall were very beautiful and that I had never seen so many gathered in one place, except perhaps in a museum. Doctor Dahesh asked me if I was familiar with paintings or with art in general. I replied that I was not and really could not tell a good painting from a bad one, but the paintings he had were so beautiful that I was truly impressed by them.

            The Doctor then went on to say that ever since his youth he had always been fond of all kinds of art and as he was fascinated with it, he could not resist buying objects of art whenever he could, be it a painting, tapestry, statue, or an engraving. He was interested in anything that was beautiful and artistic.

            After our conversation he asked both of us to follow him for a brief tour of the house. Every room we entered seemed to be a miniature museum. It is impossible to describe the beautiful objects of art and the paintings that appeared everywhere. Even the house itself was unique. It must have been at least a hundred years old and had numerous rooms with extremely high ceilings. One large room in particular attracted me. It was approximately in the center of the house and was surrounded by high book shelves. To reach the uppermost shelves, one had to use a tall ladder. The shelves were stacked with books of all kinds. On the last shelves stood many beautiful and majestic stuffed birds. Some were small and exotic, while others were large birds of prey, such as eagles and vultures. In the middle of the room were two large tables with chairs surrounding them. The whole room, I assumed, was used as a library.

            As we left the room, we entered a wide corridor. It appeared to be used as a sitting room by the Daheshists and had four couches, two on each side: the couches faced each other and had many pillows on them.

            An elderly couple engrossed in reading sat on one side of the couches. As we walked past them, they looked up, and Doctor Dahesh introduced them as sister Marie and her husband, brother Georges Hadad. They were Zeina’s parents, and I found out later that they were the in-laws of former Lebanese President Bishara al-Khuri. Mrs. Hadad was also a prominent Lebanese artist and a writer. I greeted them with a nod of my head and continued to walk with Doctor Dahesh until we reached the entrance hall. From there we returned to the living room where we again sat down.

            I asked Doctor Dahesh about the amazing and hard-to-believe story of the healing miracle which my brother and his wife had narrated to me a few days earlier. I said I believed my brother, for I had no reason whatsoever to doubt his veracity; and that a healing miracle did occur. However, I admitted to the Doctor that I could not fully understand why such a phenomenon should happen in this day and age of scientific discoveries and intellectual progress.

            Doctor Dahesh replied that miracles or spiritual revelations occur in this increasingly atheistic world to strengthen the bond of faith and belief in God. We live, the Doctor said, in a period which is dominated by excessive materialism. Money and earthly possessions have replaced God in most people’s hearts and souls. This is, he said, a century of great scientific discoveries and inventions where man has devised the most sophisticated of machinery to make his life more comfortable and pleasurable. Yet, along with these material and scientific achievements, man has also made life very unsettling by inventing the most lethal and destructive weapons in history – weapons which could annihilate all forms of life on earth. People, in general nowadays, tend to believe that the only things which make life worthwhile are physical comfort, power, wealth and pleasure. Since these can only be attained through material means, the urge and motivation to acquire them have made most men greedy and sinful. Consequently most people are driven by wicked compulsions. Man’s unrestricted quest for selfish ends and material gains have made life on earth full of misery and suffering, causing crime, war, and injustice everywhere. These evil deeds are perpetrated not only by individuals, but by entire nations as well. For this reason, people need guidance or a spiritual reawakening. It is for this that spiritual manifestations occur, as a reminder that there is a living God above us all. The Doctor continued to say, that even though spiritual manifestations may vary in nature, be they prophecies, transformations of things, healings, or whatsoever, they all have one thing in common. They are far beyond the power of man and ungoverned by the physical laws of nature. They bear witness to God’s great power and glory and occur only for spiritual reasons.

            Doctor Dahesh ended his conversation, and we just sat in silence for a few minutes. I sensed it was time for us to leave for we had already taken so much of his time. Neither I nor my brother wished to burden him with further questions, so we asked his permission to leave. As I was bidding him farewell, I found myself spontaneously embracing and kissing him on both cheeks. I thanked him sincerely for his kindness and for the valuable time he had spent with us. On the way home my brother turned to me and asked: ”Well, what do you think of Doctor Dahesh?” I replied, ”The best thing you have ever done for me in your life was to introduce me to the Doctor.” My brother then said he wished I had witnessed some spiritual revelation, something unusual which would have made me a believer. He said that perhaps I should have asked Doctor Dahesh to see something, for as the saying goes ”Seeing is believing”.

            My answer to Ali was that although I would have loved with all my heart to have witnessed a spiritual revelation, I could not have asked the Doctor for one. It would have been highly inappropriate, especially since he had just finished explaining to us that revelations occur for spiritual reasons, and that they are not to be viewed as an unusual or entertaining event. Besides, the fact that I had not witnessed a revelation did not affect my deep respect and admiration for the man. Everything about the Doctor was unique and special. His sincere humbleness, kindness, and dedication to higher moral and ethical values were beyond any doubt.

 

 

CHAPTER II

 

            During the next few days I was busy preparing for my return to Chicago, to my job and family. The six-week leave of absence I had obtained was coming to an end. However, before leaving I eagerly wanted to see Doctor Dahesh again. I decided to call him, hoping that I would be able to visit him before my departure. Zeina answered the phone and then the Doctor came on the line. I asked him if it would be possible for me to see him anytime soon, since I was planning to leave Lebanon the day after tomorrow. He replied that I could see him at 2:00 P.M. the next day. I was delighted that I was to visit him the following day.

            An hour before my scheduled appointment, I decided to take a taxi and go straight to the Doctor’s house. In normal traffic conditions that trip would have taken anywhere from twenty to thirty minutes, but in those days Beirut was a bustling metropolis and the possibilities of getting caught in a traffic jam were very high. Therefore, I decided not to take any chances and to be there at the exact appointed time. Surprisingly the traffic ran smoothly that afternoon, and I found myself at Doctor Dahesh’s house almost thirty minutes ahead of time. In any case, I knew I should not go into the house before 2 o’clock because the Doctor always had visitors. I decided to walk up and down the street several times until it was the exact appointment time. My brother Ali was not with me for I had completely forgotten to ask Doctor Dahesh if he could join me. Later, when I informed my brother about my visit, he was thrilled to hear about it.

            Upon entering the house, Zeina greeted me and then led me straight to the living room. There, Doctor Dahesh was waiting for me, and beside him stood a middle aged man. He was bald, wore spectacles, and had facial features that reminded me of Buddhist monks. This time I greeted Doctor Dahesh very warmly, kissing him on both cheeks with sincere affection, as if I had known him for years. I also greeted the man whom Doctor Dahesh introduced as Doctor Farid Abu Sleiman. Later, I discovered that Doctor Abu Sleiman was Doctor Dahesh’s faithful companion and confidant. He was a prominent physician and had his private clinic in addition to a position with the health department of the municipality of Beirut. Doctor Abu Sleiman resigned his position while rejecting at the same time an offer to double his salary and a higher position as the head of the department of gynecology in one of Beirut’s general hospitals, in protest against the government’s persecution of Doctor Dahesh.

            I sat there for a few moments before Doctor Dahesh began the conversation by asking me general questions about America. He then asked me whether Ali had told me that the Daheshists have their own prayer which they do in writing on yellow papers. I answered that my brother did mention it vaguely, but I did not have a clear idea of how it was done, nor for that matter anything about it. Doctor Dahesh asked me whether I would like to learn how it was done. I replied, that indeed I would. He asked Doctor Farid to bring a blank yellow rectangular paper approximately three inches wide by four inches long and proceeded to show me how the Daheshist prayer was written. He also showed me how to fold it in a special way before burning it. That process was repeated several times until I finally learned exactly how to do it. Doctor Dahesh emphasized the importance of being precise and accurate in writing such a prayer.

            All of a sudden Doctor Dahesh stood up and asked me to write out a Daheshist prayer in which I was to ask for a spiritual revelation to be immediately manifested with the permission of God Almighty. When the Doctor asked me to do this, a strange feeling of awe and reverence ran through my whole body. I realized at that very instant that I was about to witness a miracle, something that I had often heard of from many people when they talked of Doctor Dahesh, something which until now I had not seen.

            I did exactly what the Doctor asked me to do, and after burning the prayer, he told me to pick any blank white paper from a pile which was on top of a small side table. He then asked whether I had any paper money with me. I replied that I did and asked what denomination he wanted. He said that any would do, and somehow I pulled out from my pocket a one pound Lebanese note (a Lebanese lira). The Doctor then asked me to cut the white paper to the size of the Lebanese one-pound note. I cut it with a pair of small scissors which Doctor Farid handed me. Then he asked me to write my name on the white paper and to circle it. I followed his instructions precisely, and at no time did Doctor Dahesh hand me any other papers. All he did was to give me the instructions verbally and from a distance. He then asked me to crumple the paper into a ball and to close my hand over it. He asked me to repeat the following: ”In the name of God and His Guiding Beloved Prophet, may the white paper inside my hand be transformed into a Lebanese one-pound note.” After I repeated what Doctor Dahesh had told me to say, I could swear that I felt something moving and stirring inside my closed fist. Something strange and unusual was happening. Doctor Dahesh asked me to open my hand, and when I did, to my great surprise, I found a Lebanese one-pound note. It was folded into a triangular shape, exactly like that of a folded Daheshist prayer. I was just about to open the folded Lebanese pound note when the Doctor told me not to open it yet, and that I should only open it when I was told to do so. There was a spiritual reason for this which I would later find out. For the present I was to keep it in my wallet and carry it with me all the time.

            I placed that Lebanese pound-note inside my wallet and would not open it until almost seven months later. I sat there for a few minutes, visibly surprised and amazed by what had just happened. I expressed my deepest gratitude to Doctor Dahesh for allowing me to witness such an unusual spiritual revelation. After a while it was time for me to leave. I bade the Doctor a sincere farewell, embracing him warmly, for I felt I would not see him again for a very long time. Then I shook hands with Doctor Abu Sleiman.

            In the evening Ali and his wife came over to my mother’s house to bid me farewell, for I was planning to leave for the United States the following morning. As the family gathered that evening, I related what had happened during my visit to Doctor Dahesh. No one was more pleased than my brother Ali.

            The next day, Saturday, I took a fifteen-hour flight back to Chicago. By the time I arrived in Chicago I was very tired. The trip was long and tedious. Yet, I was happy to be home with my wife and baby daughter. The next day, I was not feeling well, for I was having trouble adjusting to an eight-hour time differential between Beirut and Chicago. I needed to be well and in good physical condition by the following day. Monday was to be my first day of work after a long leave of absence.

            Thoughts of Lebanon, my mother, Doctor Dahesh, and the rest of my family seemed to run constantly in my mind. I left part of my heart behind when I left them. I loved them all and loved their innocent and uncomplicated way of life. Returning to America, with its fast-paced and materialistic way of life, depressed me. I have always felt that my cultural and spiritual roots were deeply imbedded in the Middle East, and I could never truly be happy living anywhere else.

            The mere thought of being back at the factory the next day, setting up new and more efficient work standards, did not please me. The very idea of trying to make laborers work more efficiently by taking their every spare moment and converting it into productive use for the company bothered me. At any rate, I knew this was the reality of business life in America; and although I felt some aspects of it to be inhumane and ruthless, I realized that I had to get accustomed to it if I were to survive in the United States.

            Several months passed, and I became deeply engrossed in my job and in trying to improve my standard of living. The debt I owed was paid off; my wife and I were even thinking of changing the used and unwanted furniture given to us free of charge by friends and by my wife’s relatives. Lebanon, Doctor Dahesh, and the family in Beirut were becoming nostalgic memories – memories of a serene, uncomplicated and spiritually rich way of life, which unfortunately I would never be able to find in America.

            Upon returning home from work one day, I found a letter addressed to me from a Lebanese company in Beirut. The president and owner of that company had obtained my name and address from a relative of mine who used to do business with him. He offered me a job as chief industrial engineer with a starting salary of 1000 L£ per month (about $300) for the first three months, and thereafter it was to be increased automatically to 1500 L£ per month for one year. After that, a new contract would be drawn up with a promise of a substantial increase in salary.

            I read the letter with excitement and thought the offer was not bad at all. In those days a salary of 1500 L£ per month was considered excellent by Lebanese standards. In monetary terms, that amount was roughly equivalent to what I earned in Chicago, but in Lebanon it would go much further since rent, food, transportation, and other living expenses were much lower. I wrote back to the Lebanese company asking them to confirm their offer in an official letter. I also suggested a starting date which would give me ample time to make the necessary arrangements. I had to terminate my services with one company in the United States and begin with another in Lebanon, half way across the world. Within two weeks, I had the letter of confirmation, and I immediately submitted my resignation to the U.S. company, giving them thirty days’ notice.

            The task of moving back to Lebanon with a wife and now two baby daughters, one three years old and the other five months, seemed extremely daunting. To begin with, I did not have enough money to pay for my trip back to Lebanon, and I had made the terrible mistake of not requesting travel expenses from the Lebanese company. I am sure had I asked for some travel expenses, I would have received them. Another problem was the large quantity of accumulated unsalable household items and furniture. We had no idea of what to do with them, short of donating them to the Salvation Army. My wife wanted to salvage as many household items as possible for our future home in Lebanon.

            To travel by air was out of the question. Therefore, I decided to write to one of my brothers in Lebanon who worked for the Lebanese Government. I asked him to arrange for me and my family to come to Lebanon by sea as soon as possible. He wrote back telling me that travel arrangements had been made and gave me the telephone number and address of a German shipping agency in New York. He also gave me the name of the person I was to contact. I immediately called the shipping agency, and they confirmed having received a telex from their Beirut branch. It requested them to make travel arrangements for me and my family free of charge. They told me the name of the German cargo vessel on which I would be traveling, the pier at which it would be docked, the date of departure, and the expected time of arrival in Beirut. The ship was to make a one-day stop in Tripoli, Libya. I requested the agency to provide me with all pertinent information and the hoarding passes. Within a few days I received them.

            As the departure date approached, I began to search for the most economical way to get to New York. Renting a car would be very expensive; so I started searching for an alternative. I began to look at newspaper advertisements, and one day my attention was drawn to an ad. It asked for drivers to deliver vehicles to a New York car dealer. I called the agency in Chicago which ran the ad and expressed an interest in driving a car to New York. The man in charge asked me a few questions and then told me to come over to their office to sign some forms. After that, he said I would be able to take a car and be on my way. I explained that I could not do so immediately, for I still needed at least a week to settle some unfinished business. I asked if that would be a problem, and he replied that it was not because they were constantly sending cars out to their New York branch. Whenever I was ready, I could go and select one of the cars they had scheduled for delivery.

            Two days before I went to pick up a car, my wife began to pack. She gathered all the items and packed them in carton boxes, and if I remember correctly, there were thirteen of them plus three large suitcases. My old car was sold to a friend for a small amount. It was an old car which I had bought from a car dealer a few months earlier. I also had a small television set which I sold to a neighbor. The car and the television set were the only two salable items we possessed. Nobody wanted the rest of our furniture. However, a day before our departure, we did arrange for the Salvation Army to come and pick it up along with the rest of the household items we could not take.

            Four days before the German cargo ship was scheduled to leave New York, I went to the car dealer to pick up the vehicle. There were several earmarked for delivery to New York. I was hoping to find a large enough van to hold all of our belongings. Unfortunately, there were none, but I did find a nice looking red car which I requested to drive to New York from the man in charge. To him, it did not make any difference which one I chose. He asked for my driver’s license, and when I showed it to him, he wrote the number down together with some other information. He made me sign a few forms, and then said that I had exactly seventy-two hours to deliver the car to its designated address in New York City. If I failed to show up within that time, the vehicle would be reported as stolen. I told him not to worry because the car would be delivered on time. I asked him how much money he was going to give me for gasoline, food, and perhaps a night in a motel. ”Twenty dollars,” was his reply and even before I had a chance to argue over this inadequate amount, he rudely said ”take it or leave it.” I said, I would take it. He opened the drawer and handed me a twenty-dollar bill.

            It was a sharp Buick, relatively new with very low mileage. It looked and felt expensive, and it was a luxury automobile. I had never before driven such an elegant car. After driving the car out, I immediately went to a U-Haul center and rented a medium-sized moving van. It was also to be deposited in New York within five days. I gave the attendant a small tip and asked him to attach the van to the car, making sure it held securely. He did, and I was on my way back home ready to begin the arduous long journey by early next morning, first to New York and then by sea to Beirut.

 

CHAPTER III

 

            That night we all slept at my mother-in-law’s house, and by eight o’clock the following morning on a very cold day, the U-Haul was loaded and we were all ready to begin the journey. We took some sandwiches to snack on, three cups and a large thermos filled with coffee. We also had two carry-on bags filled with baby items such as disposable diapers, jars of baby food, powdered milk and bottles. We dressed the two babies in warm thick woolen clothes, and we also took two large blankets to keep them warm. We began the journey on a cold winter day, not knowing what the future held in store; we were just hoping for the best. We took all the money we possessed which was less than six hundred dollars to help start our new life in Lebanon.

            The first three hours of the trip went smoothly. I was driving cautiously and steadily, not going more than fifty miles per hour. I could not go beyond that speed because the car with the loaded van attached to it felt very heavy, and the road conditions were not the very best.

            By the time we were half way through Indiana, I realized that the trip was going to be a rough and dangerous one. The driving conditions worsened as heavy snow began to fall making the roads slippery and hazardous. In addition, the two children began to get restless and tired, forcing us to stop the car every two hours or so, to tend to their needs. In normal conditions the trip from Chicago to New York City would have taken no more than eighteen hours including stopping for food and gas. However this time, I realized that it was going to take at least twice as long. Even with that delay, I was confident that we would be able to reach New York a day ahead of the ship’s scheduled departure.

            Almost fourteen hours had passed since we left Chicago and we were still in Ohio. At that rate, I began to get worried that something unexpected might just prevent us from making it on time to New York. The bad weather conditions did not help. We still had over five hundred miles to cover, and pressure began to build up on me to get to the ship as soon as possible. Anything could happen to us between Ohio and our final destination. If for any reason we failed to board the ship, it would be a disaster.

            The mere possibility of being stranded in New York with a wife, two children, so much baggage, and very little money horrified me. Should that happen, I knew we would be in deep trouble. First of all we would have had to find a storage place for our baggage in New York. Then, we would have to look for an apartment to live in for two or three weeks until another German freighter left for Beirut. The only other unpleasant alternative was to return to Chicago and live with my mother-in-law until the next German ship’s departure. We had no choice in the matter since we were traveling free of charge.

            For that reason, I was determined to avoid that possibility at all costs, even if it meant driving all night non-stop. I knew we would not be completely safe and secure until we boarded the ship. I also wanted to deliver the car intact before any complications arose due to the bad and hazardous driving conditions. I had violated the car delivery agreement by attaching a U-Haul trailer to the car, and I would be legally responsible should anything happen to the vehicle because of that. All these problems would simply vanish, I thought, if we could arrive in New York by tomorrow afternoon at the latest. Therefore, I decided to keep on driving in spite of the fact that everyone was becoming extremely tired.

            By midnight we were half way through Pennsylvania, but then I could no longer continue to drive. We all desperately needed some rest, especially the children. I decided to take a side road which I thought would lead us to a small town where we could spend the night. The road I took happened to be a small desolate one, bordered on either side by snow-covered farm lands. There were no houses, nor lights nor signs of any life on that very cold night. My wife suggested that we stop and check the map and find our way back to the main highway. I slowed down and tried to pull over to the side of the road, but unfortunately we skidded to the right.

            The car plus the loaded trailer veered sharply to the right, and it almost overturned in a ditch to the side of the road. We were partially submerged in the thick snow. I got out of the car to inspect the damage and I realized that we were in deep trouble. Both the car and the trailer were slightly tilted in the deep snow. I tried repeatedly to dislodge the car and set it back on the road, but it was impossible. The wheels spun and the car did not move.

            We were in a desperate situation: helpless and alone with no one around who could help. Nothing could help us in that deserted black cold night except God. We prayed with all our hearts for God to help us. In that hour of distress, I suddenly thought of Doctor Dahesh and the Daheshist prayer which he had taught me in Beirut. I felt a need to write a Daheshist prayer but did not have the yellow paper or any other writing material. All I found was a Kleenex box in the glove compartment. I decided to write the prayer with a pencil on a Kleenex tissue, asking God and His Beloved Prophet for help. I burned the tissue and went back inside the car to try once again. As soon as I stepped on the gasoline pedal something unbelievable happened. The car and the trailer were pushed and lifted out of the snow as if an invisible force, some unexplained spiritual power, had lifted and placed us in the middle of the road to continue our journey. Neither my wife nor I could ever forget that miracle for as long as we live.

            We were safe, and we thanked God and His divine power for helping us. After that, we continued on our way. We drove on that same road until we came to an intersection, where we saw signs indicating small towns in either direction. We chose the nearest town and headed toward it. We found a small motel where I rented a room for the night. Exhausted, we slept soundly that night.

            Early the next morning we were on the road again. Driving cautiously we crossed through Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and finally New York City where we arrived by 4 o’clock in the afternoon. We went straight to the harbor. There, I asked some people to direct me to the pier where the German freighter, Troutenfels, was docked. Minutes later I saw the ship. It was a medium – sized cargo vessel, sturdy and well built.

            I went to see the captain who turned out to be a big stern looking man. He talked in a curt abrasive manner and acted as if he were a navy officer. He knew of our travel arrangements from the New York office. I asked him if we could board the ship then, but he said that we could not because the scheduled departure time had been postponed one full day. The ship’s regulations stipulated that travelers could only board the ship twenty-four hours before the scheduled departure. However, he said we could board at any time the next day. I then asked him if we could at least leave our luggage on the ship as we had no place to store it. He agreed and immediately sent two sailors to help us with the luggage. They placed all the boxes and suitcases in a large net and hoisted them to the ship. With some difficulty, I found the U-Haul agency. Dropping off the trailer was a great relief. By then, it was getting late and we were all hungry and desperately needed some rest. I began searching for a hotel to spend the night. Many downtown hotels refused us simply because we had children with us. In that heartless city, I must have tried six or seven hotels for accommodations, and yet they all refused to accommodate us once they found out we had two children. Finally, some distance from Manhattan I went into a drab looking hotel. An old man sat at the reception desk. When he asked me how many we were, I lied and told him that we were only two adults and a three-year old child who was already asleep and would not be any bother. He hesitated, but I pleaded with him explaining that we were exhausted from a very long journey in which I had driven almost non-stop for two days. All we needed was a room for just one night. He agreed that we stay for that night only, but he insisted to be paid in advance. He also demanded that the child be kept quiet and inside the room until our departure the following morning. I agreed and paid him what he asked, plus a two-dollar tip just in case he ever found out about my other six-month old daughter. I had to let her mother sneak her inside the room, and fortunately the receptionist did not notice her. However, the following morning he did notice her, but it was too late anyway for him to do anything about it. All he could do was grumble and give us a dirty look. That morning we got up early and had a good breakfast. Then we started looking for the car dealer in New York City where the car was to be delivered. After making a few inquiries on how to get there we delivered the car, and the man in charge gave me a release form. We then took a taxi and went straight to the German ship. This time the captain allowed us to board, giving us two adjacent rooms with four beds. These rooms were to be used by us for the entire journey. We decided to use only one room for all of us to sleep in, while the other room was used to store our suitcases and other belongings which we would not be using while on board.

As soon as we settled in our rooms, the steward came to see us. He was a young man, in his mid twenties, and proved later on to be the exact opposite of the captain – kind, courteous, and very helpful. He inquired whether we needed anything to make our journey comfortable and then told us that we were the only passengers on board. When I asked him how many passengers were normally taken, he replied none. Being a cargo ship, it seldom took any passengers. However, in case of an emergency, the vessel was equipped with three rooms reserved for that purpose, and they could accommodate up to six people. The ship was strictly a cargo vessel and did not have the usual facilities for passengers. The steward informed us that we were to dine with the captain of the ship, the chief officer, and the chief engineer. Throughout the journey the meals would be served in the main dining room. Breakfast was served buffet style between 6:30 and 8:00 o’clock, and we could help ourselves anytime during that period. Lunch and dinner would be served at precise times: lunch was at 12:30, and dinner at 6:00 P.M. We were to be at the table at those exact times. The captain, the steward said, was a very punctual man who liked his meals served on time. He then showed us where the dining room was, along with the main lounge. They both were just a short distance from our rooms. For our first dinner on the ship, we got dressed up for the occasion, taking with us our three-year old daughter, smartly groomed and dressed. We left our six-month old daughter in the room quietly amusing herself with her pacifier. We hoped that she would not cry while we were having our first decent meal since we left Chicago. As we entered the dining room, the captain and the other officers stood up and greeted us. All of them were friendly and kind, even the captain went out of his way to make us feel comfortable and to show us that he too could be a very charming gentleman.

 

The dining room was immaculate, and the service was meticulous. It was the steward and his assistant who served the meals. Our first meal on the ship was not very much to our liking. It was strictly German, and very heavy on fatty pork. All I ate were the boiled potatoes and the vegetables, skipping the pork. My wife and daughter ate what was served unappetizingly. The dessert, however, was delicious and we all enjoyed it. The following afternoon we were scheduled to set sail, but there was a delay of several hours and the ship could not leave until late that night. Finally the ship was guided out of New York harbor by a tug boat and we were out in the open sea. As the ship was sailing away, we watched the beautiful glittering lights of the city and its magnificent skyscrapers. The sight was unforgettable. It made me feel a little sad. I was leaving, perhaps forever, this great country in which I had just begun to establish myself. Although I felt I would be happier living in Lebanon, closer to my family and because I preferred to live in a Middle Eastern society, in my heart I knew that it was America, not Lebanon, that had given me the opportunity to work my way through college and receive an education. It was in America that I gained my professional experience as an engineer, and it was there that I began to raise my small family. I owed a lot to that great and vibrant country which we were now leaving. As I stood there watching for the last time the receding lights of New York City and as the distance between us grew larger and larger, I became emotional and pensive. I was having second thoughts about whether I had really made the right decision. I knew that my move to Lebanon would bring me closer to my family and to Doctor Dahesh – the people I wanted to be near most of all. As for having a secure job and a good future, of that I was not sure. I was taking a big risk by staking everything on the letter I had received from some Lebanese company offering me a job. How large or reliable the company was, I did not know. I did not even check it out and accepted the job on the spur of the moment with no questions asked. All I could do now was hope and pray that everything would be all right, and that the Lebanese company would turn out to be a serious and reliable firm. Admittedly, I was making an unwise decision in leaving America, the richest and most advanced country in the world, for Lebanon, a small developing country terminally ill with corruption and sectarian fanaticism. Anyhow, the decision had been made and there was no turning back. We were on our way to Lebanon.

 

CHAPTER IV

The first three days out at sea went by smoothly. Nothing unusual happened, and we spent our time watching the sea and moving about between our rooms, the lounge and the dining room. I can honestly say that during our entire journey, we did not enjoy the food at all. The German cuisine was not to our liking. Every main dish seemed to contain some kind of pork. Unfortunately, we soon found out that this was the captain’s favorite meat. His favorite soup, which was served almost every other day, was made of pigs feet! Being raised as a Moslem I had never eaten pork before, and I was not about to eat it then, just because the captain happened to like it. Likewise, the captain who must have noticed our eating problems did not show any inclination of slightly compromising his eating habits on this journey. Why should he? He certainly was not about to change his menu for the sake of what I suspect he may have considered just a couple of sea hitch-hikers and their three-year old daughter! Throughout the entire journey, the captain did not seem to care if we ate our dinner or not. Besides, we could not complain. We were getting a free ride to Lebanon, and if the food was not to our liking, well, that was too bad. We had to accept it, or do without. My wife and three-year old daughter were able to tolerate the food. The problem therefore was not as bad for them as it was for me. It was also no problem for our six-month old baby who had plenty of Gerber baby food and powdered milk. Whenever chicken and fish were served, we ate to our heart’s content. Desserts were always delicious and the steward who sympathized with our eating problem invariably gave us a generous portion. Breakfasts were always good and we used to make up for our lack of dinner by eating big breakfasts and plenty of desserts. By early morning on the third day, the weather changed drastically. We were having difficulty eating our breakfast, the only meal we enjoyed on board, because of the violent swaying of the ship. It was almost impossible for us to sit at the table or to keep the plates in their places. The steward suggested that we stay inside our cabin and not move around in order to avoid being hurt. He said he would bring us our meals to the room. As the tossing of the ship became more and more violent, we decided it would be best to place the mattresses, blankets and pillows on the floor, and thus avoid hurting ourselves if we should fall out of bed. We would all sleep on the protected floor between the two beds. By nightfall, the storm was terrifying. The storm raged furiously and inside the cabin the cracking sounds caused by the pressure of the storm on the ship’s hull were horrendous. About 10 o’clock at night, I heard a knock on the door. It was the steward who came to inform us that the captain had ordered us to remain inside our rooms at all times until further notice. Food would be brought to our rooms from now on. He told us that we were traversing a violent storm and the situation was quite serious. The ship was in real danger. As soon as he left, I locked the door of the cabin and came back to lie down on the floor beside my sleeping family. During that turbulent and anguished night, I tried to get some sleep but could not. Inside the dark and shaking room I began to pray silently, imploring God to again help us out of the terrifying situation. The fury of the storm that night was tremendous, and we were in actual danger of drowning. Yet in spite of that, somehow I was at peace with myself. I was not afraid, and deep down in my heart I felt we would be safe from that horrible ordeal with the help of God’s grace and mercy. The following morning the steward brought us some sandwiches and tightly covered stainless steel containers filled with coffee, hot milk, and hot water. Meanwhile, the storm was still raging furiously with no end in sight. We stayed in our room just as the captain had ordered, but eventually I got bored and decided to venture outside the cabin to see what was going on. As I went carefully out on deck, I grasped tightly to anything I could reach so that I would not fall. What I saw was awesome. Huge mountains of sea surrounded us, tossing the ship up and down like a piece of straw caught in a frenzied torrent. The sky above us was very dark and menacing. The sight was terrorizing, and yet inspiring. One cannot help but feel utterly insignificant and helpless before God’s creation and nature’s rage and fury. The storm unleashed its wrath upon us for three whole days during which I would occasionally venture outside the cabin for a few minutes to watch. My wife and two daughters never once left the room. Eventually the storm subsided, and we were allowed to move about freely on the ship and have our formal lunches and dinners with the captain again. We continued our journey for about ten more days until we finally arrived at Tripoli, Libya, in the evening, four days behind schedule. The delay was caused by the storm and by the captain’s decision to change course in mid ocean and sail south toward Cuba and Bermuda in order to avoid the full fury of the storm. The following morning we decided to disembark and take a short tour of the city. We took the children with us as we thought it would do them good, especially our six-month old daughter who during most of the journey was kept in the room. For the first time since we left Chicago, our six-month old sat happily in her buggy anxious to see the outside world. The center of the city was located only a short distance away from the harbor, a mere fifteen-minute walk. We strolled through the port and into the streets of Tripoli. There was nothing to see of particular interest in the city. The country was still poor and underdeveloped. However, as we walked through the port to the city we could see a tremendous amount of construction equipment scattered all over the harbor. There were huge piles of large pipes and steel piping equipment everywhere. The port bustled with activity. The reason for all that frantic work was the construction of pipelines which would bring oil from the Libyan oil fields in the desert. The country was on the verge of becoming a rich and important oil producer. We walked through the streets of the local market place where I changed a twenty-dollar bill into the local currency. Then I started looking for a restaurant where we could enjoy a meal with food totally different from what we had been eating on the ship all these days. However, we could not find a suitable restaurant in which to eat. All we found were some small untidy sandwich and tea shops that looked uninviting. We decided to forget about eating in a restaurant and continued to walk toward the main shopping area. Suddenly, the word ”Ristorante” caught my eye. It was written above an entrance door to what looked like a bar. We went inside. It was a small Italian combination bar and restaurant run by an Italian man and probably his wife. The place was clean and nicely decorated with typical Italian paraphernalia like empty straw-covered wine bottles and checkered tablecloths. The whole setting of the restaurant was pleasantly Italian, and nothing inside indicated that it was in an Arab country. The menu was written in Italian, and the customers inside, foreigners as well as Libyans, were all conversing in Italian.

 

We ordered spaghetti with plain tomato sauce, no meat whatsoever. The German cuisine on the ship made us detest the mere thought of meat and almost turned me into a lifelong vegetarian. Incidentally, my three-year old daughter grew up never caring for meat of any kind and is now a strict vegetarian. I cannot say for sure whether her experience on board the ship with the fatty pork had anything to do with this or not! We all welcomed the Italian food and enjoyed the spaghetti very much. On our way back to the ship we bought some oranges and a few souvenirs.

The ship pulled out of Tripoli’s harbor late that afternoon, and we sailed directly to Beirut. Thankfully, this time nothing else marred our journey. The Mediterranean weather was pleasantly cool, and the sea was generally calm. After almost three more days we arrived in Beirut on February 22, 1964, at noon. However, the ship was unable to dock at the capital’s port because all the piers were occupied. We had to wait our turn along with the other cargo vessels out on the open sea. We were told that the ship would have to wait for three to four days until a place was available inside the harbor. My family in Beirut was aware of the situation and decided to help us disembark while still out at sea. They sent a motor boat alongside the ship to bring us and our belongings ashore. Before disembarking, I went to the captain and thanked him. Then I went to the steward and expressed my gratitude for his kind help. I tried to give him a tip of twenty dollars as a gesture of my appreciation, but he adamantly refused. I felt terrible that perhaps I had unintentionally insulted him and hoped that I had not offended this kind and proud German man. Then we disembarked on to the motorboat alongside the ship. Our luggage was placed in a large net, and as the men lowered it, the hook suddenly snapped and all our luggage fell into the sea. Six crates containing all the heavy and important items we had brought with us sank immediately. The rest of our belongings were salvaged by two sailors from the motorboat who jumped into the water. After that unfortunate incident, we went through Lebanese customs. They asked us a few routine questions and then allowed us to pass without even inspecting our wet luggage. From the harbor we went straight to my mother’s house and we arrived there late in the afternoon. Practically all the family was there to greet us. Ali came about an hour later with his wife and his new-born daughter. The house was crowded with family and friends who came to welcome us. After resting a while, Ali came to me and suggested that I call Doctor Dahesh, for he had told the Doctor a few days ago that I would be arriving today. I informed my brother that I was planning to call tomorrow, but that instead I would call him now. I called Doctor Dahesh, and he was pleased to hear that I had arrived safely with my family. The Doctor asked me if I was still carrying the Lebanese one-pound note in my wallet and whether I had opened it or not. I replied that I still had it and it was still unopened. He told me to open it and to read it in front of everybody. I pulled the one-pound note from my wallet and unfolded it for the first time. On one side my name was encircled, just as I had originally written it on the white paper that had transformed into the one-pound note. And on the other side an amazing prophecy was written foretelling the events that had occurred. The prophecy stated that I will arrive in Beirut safely with my wife and two daughters(4) on February 22, 1964, by noon after the ship had changed course while still out at sea heading toward Cuba and Bermuda to avoid the full fury of the storm. The prophecy was precise to the very last detail and it foretold events that occurred almost seven months after the doctor had given it to me. The prophecy also mentioned the winning lottery numbers of the last drawing. Everybody in the room was astounded when I read the text of the prophecy. I was totally amazed and shaken by the prophecy and from that date on I became a believer in Doctor Dahesh and visited him whenever he permitted.

 

CHAPTER V

A few days later, I commenced my work with the Lebanese company, hoping to find there a secure and rewarding job. Unfortunately, the job on which I had based all my hopes and dreams proved to be a very painful and shattering experience. The president of that company disappointed my expectations. He was ill-tempered, moody, and unscrupulous. Barely a month had passed since I began working for him, when I realized that he was not at all interested in general factory reforms nor in better and more efficient work standards. He did not even care when I expressed the need for applying the industrial engineering knowledge I had learned and practiced in America. I could not understand why he hired me nor why he made me leave a steady job in the United States to come all the way to Lebanon with my family and endure all the hardships just to deliberately prevent me from doing the work for which I was hired. His attitude toward me was absurd and totally beyond my comprehension. Perhaps I was just part of a ploy the man had devised to impress the shareholders of the company into making them believe that the factory was being updated with the latest equipment and manned by experienced technicians and engineers. Or perhaps to his dislike, I was beginning to discover too many illegal aspects and practices going on at the factory, matters with which he did not want me to interfere. By the middle of the second month after I had begun working for him, I realized that I had fallen victim to this man. I knew I had made a terrible and costly blunder by not having checked out the company nor the man who ran it before coming to Lebanon. I could have written to the Commercial Attaché at the American Embassy in Beirut inquiring about all these matters, but I did not, and now I had to face the consequences. At first, the president of the company welcomed me and pretended that I would have a free hand to institute the needed manufacturing improvements, provided I thoroughly studied the operations at the plant for several weeks. I accepted his suggestion and eagerly began my study of the factory. I was very anxious to do a good job and prove myself worthy. It was during this so-called ”get acquainted” period that I first noticed many illegal and bad work practices. First, there were far too many machines left idle. They just sat there without any apparent use. I also observed a lot of redundant work, quality problems that were overlooked, and poor safety standards about which nobody seemed to care. However, the most shocking thing that I discovered in the workshop was the rough handling, intimidation, and occasional beating of workers by hired thugs. Inefficiency and malpractice I expected to find in a Lebanese factory, but an organization as such with thugs roaming around intimidating the poor laborers in full daylight for everyone to see, that I never expected nor could I ever find tolerable. All these problems at the factory disturbed me, but the one thing that really bothered me most was the presence of the two to three villains who constantly prowled around the workshops making sure that all the workers did their job without complaining. If any worker showed any sign of discontent, he would surely find himself assaulted by these ruffians. They did not do anything useful in the factory except bully the workers and report back to their unscrupulous boss.

 

Another matter which bothered me greatly was the tremendous amount of capital waste caused by the many idle machines scattered all over the factory departments. I later discovered that these overpriced machines were there to exaggerate the book value of the factory. When I tried to draw these problems to the attention of the company’s president, suggesting that we correct them, he demanded that I return to the workshops to conduct some more studies. This went on for several more weeks, and finally one day in the middle of my second month at work, I decided to tell the president that I had done enough studies and was now ready to implement the industrial engineering reforms for which I had been hired. By this time, however, I was beginning to suspect that he was not at all interested in improvements. How could such a man possibly be interested in reforms while his entire factory ran rampant with illegal and dishonest practices? This time, as soon as I raised the issue with him, he flew into a wild rage and for the first time ridiculed me as an inexperienced fool. He shouted insults at me so loudly and so clearly that everybody in the nearby engineering and accounting offices heard them. I wanted to walk out on him right then and there, but I could not because I needed the job. In a corrupt and clannish social order such as Lebanon’s, jobs were very hard to find. Therefore, I swallowed my pride and did not say a word. Besides, the man had a reputation of being rude and vulgar to everybody that worked for him. He had insulted people for the slightest reasons many times before and always managed to create a tense atmosphere at the factory. Subsequent attempts on my part to create a working relationship between us failed. He refused any suggestions I made for reforms, and his whole attitude toward me became more and more callous. Eventually, he minimized my role in the company to the point where I no longer had access to important factory records, and all management meetings were held without me. All this was happening far too rapidly. In fact, I had only been working for him less than two months when all these developments began to take place. Working at the company became an intolerable and humiliating experience. The man did not like me at all, and I sensed that my presence irritated him. He wanted me to resign just as simple as that, as if all the financial and physical hardships I had gone through meant nothing. I was not about to give him the satisfaction of resigning that easily without making him pay for all the damage he had caused me. I knew he wanted to get rid of me, and I was just waiting for him to make the first move. I thought that if he fired me, I would be able to file a law suit against him for breaching my employment contract. In Lebanon, however, that thought proved to be wishful thinking. There was no communication between us, and I just sat in the office marking time. I was trying to figure out what to do next and how to get out of the predicament in which I found myself. I did not even bother going to the workshops anymore, because it was a waste of time to conduct further studies. My days were numbered and I was just waiting for him to fire me. During these terrible weeks, while in this place I was being mentally tormented and emotionally bruised by insults and humiliations at the hands of this man, in another place, I was being comforted, reassured and spiritually uplifted at the hands of a kind and divine man, Doctor Dahesh. During those weeks of suffering, visiting the Doctor whenever he would allow me became a pleasant refuge from the cruel and heartless world outside – a time of consolation, hope and spiritual fortitude. One day, toward the end of my second month with the firm, I stayed later than usual in the office. I was trying to finish the resume I was preparing in the hope of finding a better job. As I was about to leave, I heard loud panicked screams coming from the president’s office.

 

Instinctively I rushed to the office and opened the door to see if someone was hurt or needed help. What I saw was unbelievable. A worker, his hands and feet tied tightly, was being held upside down by two thugs. The president was lashing the poor man with all his might on his bare feet with a sturdy whip, while shouting curses and insults at him. The worker was screaming with pain and was pleading for mercy. I could hardly believe what I was witnessing. I was shocked to know that such evil deeds were still being perpetrated against helpless and poor people in this day and age inside a fairly large company. I knew the president had two or three gangsters roaming around the factory intimidating the workers who complained, but I did not expect him personally to engage in such a cruel act. When the president saw me bursting into his office unexpectedly, he flew into a rage. He probably thought that everybody had gone home. However, when he realized that I caught him red-handed beating a poor helpless worker, he immediately began to curse me with profane language that only hoodlums would use. Full of hatred, he maliciously shouted insults at me. He then told me not to ever come back to the factory, and that he never wished to see me again. At this point, I was so fed up with this man and his cruelty that if I could have assaulted him without getting beaten myself by his two thugs, I would have gladly done so. I never hated anyone in my life as much as I did this Lebanese gangster who had caused me so much anguish and pain. I looked at him with disgust and hatred and did not say a single word. I slammed the door in his face and walked out, taking with me the few personal belongings I had in the office. I felt relieved that it was all over. I knew it was just a matter of time before I would have been fired, and it finally happened. The question now was what to do next, and how to manage financially until I could find another job.

 

When that cruel man fired me, it was at the end of my second month of work. He owed me a full month’s salary of 1000 Lebanese pounds. It was not much, but I needed it. A few days later, I called the accountant of the company and asked him to mail me my check. He said he could not because the president of the company had stopped my paycheck and I was not to he paid. Even if I had been paid the salary they owed me, I felt the financial damage and hardship inflicted on me were immeasurable. The total sum I had collected since I first began working was a mere thousand Lebanese pounds, a meager trial salary of a single month which was the equivalent of $300. Whichever way one looked at it, it was a very bad deal. I was truly a victim of a ruthless and unprincipled Lebanese businessman. That evening as I returned home, I was not sad that I had lost my job, because I knew that sooner or later I would have left the company. I was confused and did not know what to do next. I needed a job to support my wife and children. My only consolation was that we still had a roof over our heads, for we lived with my mother who had vacated a room for us. We would also be sharing whatever food the family had until I could find another job. As soon as I entered the house, my wife sensed that something was wrong. She knew I had been miserable at work for the last several weeks. When I told her that I got fired she became upset and distressed, not because I was fired, but because I had given up a good job in America to end up unemployed and practically penniless in Lebanon. The whole affair was such a terrible and shocking experience. I was deeply hurt and felt victimized. Life seemed to be full of sad and painful experiences created mostly by man and his insatiable capacity to inflict harm and suffering on his fellow human beings. A few days passed and I decided to seek the help of the United States Embassy in Beirut. I met the Commercial Attache and explained the problem with the Lebanese company. I hoped that the embassy would try to pressure it into paying me some compensation, based on the violation of my employment contract. After all, I was a financially ruined United States citizen whose rights had been ruthlessly violated by a foreign firm. If the company refused to make a fair compensation, I hoped the embassy could exert some sort of subtle pressure, like threatening to report it to the United States Commerce Department, or some other international business rating agency, which would create a bad business reputation for that company. The U.S. Embassy offered me no help and ignored my plea for possible interference. They did not even attempt to contact the firm or bother to inquire about my case. The Commercial Attache made it clear that they did not interfere with business conflicts between United States citizens and foreign companies. He suggested that I handle the matter through a local lawyer. In the meantime, he advised me to make arrangements to return to America without waiting for the outcome of the case. In other words, he wanted me to practically forget about all the financial damage done to me, not to mention the physical and mental hardships I had gone through. I explained that I did not have any money for the trip, and that I was practically penniless with a wife and two baby daughters to take care of. His reply was that they could not help. It was not their problem. Having received no help or satisfaction from the United States Embassy in Beirut, I sought the help of an old experienced attorney. After explaining the problem to him, the lawyer frankly told me that the Lebanese judicial system was very slow and cases like mine would take a very long time to resolve, if ever. Even though I had a convincing argument, the letter of employment did not say anything regarding compensation in case of work termination. For this reason my case would not be able to stand in court. Therefore, my chances of obtaining a fair settlement within the next three to five years were practically nil. The lawyer further discouraged me by indicating that the president of the company was a very wealthy man who had influential friends in the Lebanese courts and in the government. He concluded that I should not waste my time in court and try to forget about the whole matter. However, he would try and persuade the owner to pay me the one-month salary they still owed me. I tried to explain to the lawyer that what he was suggesting was utterly unfair, for I had been financially ruined by that company. He persisted that his suggestion was the best he could offer under the circumstances. He said that I was free to do whatever I wished, but should I go to other lawyers, they would charge me exorbitant fees and the end result would still be the same. I told the lawyer to do whatever he wished with the case and walked out of his office outraged at the system’s injustice. Eventually, he was able to recover the salary still owed me... a mere 1000 Lebanese pounds. By any measure or standard, a real crime had been committed against me. I gave up a good job and a home in America to join a Lebanese firm which offered me a position as an industrial engineer with a reasonable salary and a promise of a rewarding future. I accepted the offer in good faith and went through so much trouble with my family to get to Lebanon. Then, practically as soon as I arrived, I found myself unemployed and almost penniless with a wife and two babies to support. The deplorable aspect of it all was the ease with which that dishonest Lebanese man got away with it. I received no compensation and was actually fired for wanting to do the job for which I was hired. If I did not have a mother in Lebanon to live with (until I was able to make it on my own again), I would have ended up with my family on the streets of Beirut as destitute.

 

CHAPTER VI

A month later, I found another job in a Lebanese plumbing factory. I did not have a long term future there and only worked for six months. The owner was an old businessman. Although he was honest and straightforward, he was somewhat tight fisted and was well known by his employees for paying low salaries. The old man apparently was a firm believer in always keeping his employees short of cash. Anyway, for the first time in the history of that factory, specification and cost analysis sheets were made for every product. The owner appreciated my work and did not want me to leave. However, by the end of 1964 I had to accept an offer of a better job with a large Lebanese international catering firm. I was hired as part of a management team with a starting salary almost twice as much as the salary I earned at the plumbing factory. I enjoyed working for the new company, and my financial situation improved substantially. The owners were three brothers, kind and generous people. They treated me with respect and appreciation. After two years of working for them, I became a fully fledged member of the top management team. I was consulted frequently and was often sent out on industrial engineering assignments all over the Middle East and Africa. One day, I was assigned to the company’s fresh produce division on the outskirts of Beirut. I was to study the general management of that division and recommend and implement any necessary improvements. I had been on the assignment for only a few days when I noticed the arrival of several truckloads of fresh green avocados. They were to be graded and packed in special cartons at the warehouse, and from there, shipped to England. As the avocado order was a large one, everyone at the warehouse was very busy grading and packing the fruits for several days. In fact, everyone worked hard to get the avocados shipped out on time. Out of curiosity I asked the general manager how an avocado was used and served, for I had never tasted one before and was quite interested to learn more about it. He told me that it was a rich tasting fruit, not well liked in Lebanon, but very popular in Europe. It could either be eaten in a salad or just plain. He suggested that I take a few and try them when they were ripe, for they were still very hard and inedible. He told me I would have to wait for at least two weeks before they were mature enough to eat. The manager then brought me about six large avocados which he placed in a brown paper bag. Later that afternoon, I gave Doctor Dahesh a call and asked if I could visit him that evening. He replied that I could come at any time. When I left the warehouse that evening I went straight to the Doctor’s house. On the way I remembered that he was fond of exotic fruits and thought perhaps he would enjoy the avocados. Therefore, I decided to give them to him. Upon entering the house, I went into the living room and greeted the Doctor and the many other Daheshists who were there. I handed the bag of fruits to the Doctor without saying a word, for I thought the matter too insignificant to mention. After giving him the bag, I tried to find a place to sit in the crowded living room. I do not remember exactly how many Daheshists were there that night, but the room was really crowded and I was having difficulty finding a place. I finally found a seat at the opposite end of the room from the Doctor. After a while Doctor Dahesh opened the paper bag to see what was in it. When he saw the avocados, he asked me how I knew he liked them. I replied that I did not know, but I thought that perhaps he would like them since I knew he was fond of tropical and exotic fruits. Unfortunately, I added, the avocados were still unripe and too hard to eat at that time. He would have to wait for about two to three weeks before the fruit was ripe enough to be eaten. Doctor Dahesh, suddenly overcome with the Spirit, said that he would ripen the avocados that very instant. He took an avocado out of the bag, placed his fingers over it, and said: ”In the name of God and his Guiding Beloved Prophet, may this avocado become ripe this instant.” Instantly it became ripe, turning from a light green fruit into a deep green one speckled with dark brown spots. It became so ripe that his fingers went right through it. He did the same with another avocado and then tossed the bag containing the remaining fruits to me. He told me and the other Daheshists to eat the two ripened avocados, for they contained a good spiritual Sayal. ~ We all shared the two avocados, even though we each had a small portion. It was the first time I had ever tasted the fruit. As for the other avocados in the bag, they were still hard and unripe just as before. All of us in the room praised God Almighty for allowing us to witness such a wonderful and awe-inspiring spiritual revelation. It was during those days that my attachment to Doctor Dahesh and Daheshism deepened. Visiting the Doctor at his house became a source of great joy for me. It was a time for spiritual knowledge and awakening, and the Doctor’s house became a place for witnessing God’s revelations and wonders. Yet it was not easy to visit the Doctor, and sometimes a week or more would pass before I or my brother Ali were allowed to visit him. Literally thousands of people wanted to see him for one reason or another, and naturally he could not see them all. When I could not visit Doctor Dahesh, I would instead go and see his companion and confidant Doctor Farid Abu Sleiman at his clinic in down-town Beirut. I was not, however, the only person who did so; many others did the same. Dr. Abu Sleiman was sought by those who knew Dr. Dahesh personally, as well as, by those who looked forward to meet with him. Among them were the truly and genuinely interested in learning about the wondrous man of miracles and his spiritual Message, as well as, the mean-spirited disguised informers and undercover enemies.(6) As time went by, my visits to Doctor Dahesh’s house became more and more frequent. He allowed me to see him more often, and I was beginning to be accepted as one of the Daheshists. To my greatest pride and joy, the Doctor was now referring to me as ”brother” even though I was still a beginner and did not fully understand the Daheshist philosophy. Although at that time I did not totally comprehend the full significance of the Daheshist spiritual Message, I was completely captivated by Doctor Dahesh. I was becoming more and more devoted to him, just like my brother Ali. I was awed by his spiritual revelations and miracles and by his inspired philosophy and divine teaching. I admired both his devotion to all that was good and of enduring value and his abhorrence of all that was evil and valueless. I became a believer in him! I became a Daheshist! In those days the number of visitors who were going to Doctor Dahesh’s house was literally in the thousands. I could not understand how he had the patience or the stamina to see all those people. It must have been an exhausting strain on him both mentally and physically. Visitors came from all walks of life for various personal reasons: spiritual, intellectual, emotional or even material. However, despite the reasons that underlay their initial visit, many became good Daheshists, while others who may have been Daheshists at the beginning could not continue to abide by the moral and spiritual principles of the Doctor’s Message and eventually gave up. Some, the Doctor chose not to ever see again. Many a time I would go to visit Doctor Dahesh but would be unable to see him, except perhaps for a few minutes due to the many visitors who were constantly coming and going. At those times, Zeina would simply usher me into the Daheshists’ sitting corridor. There, I would meet with the other Daheshists who happened to be at the house at that time. It was during those times that I became acquainted with other Daheshist brothers and sisters. I learned from them about their experiences with Doctor Dahesh and what they thought about the man and his spiritual Message. Many of them had miraculous and moving stories to share about their beloved Doctor!

 

CHAPTER VII

The Daheshists I met came from all walks of life: rich and poor, old and young, ordinary and shrewd. Some were physicians, lawyers, engineers, and university professors; while others were workers, mechanics, carpenters, students, and housewives with their children. Some were originally Christians while others were Moslems and Jews. They all fused into the new Daheshist faith, loving and caring for one another. Doctor Dahesh’s house was always open to anyone who truly sought spiritual salvation and awakening. Not all of the Daheshists had the same temperament, nor were they all of the same level of religious awareness and commitment. Some of them had been Daheshists for many years while others were just beginning to embrace the new faith. Yet, they all loved, obeyed, and respected their beloved Doctor and believed, to various degrees, in his religious Message. At that time, it seemed to me that they all interpreted the spiritual identity of Doctor Dahesh and his Philosophy slightly differently from one another. The Doctor did not seem to mind, for he left it up to the individual to arrive at his or her own conclusion regarding him and his spiritual Message. In this regard, I can honestly say that ever since I have known Doctor Dahesh, I have never heard him once rebuke a person for whatever belief he may have had. Nor have I ever heard him say about himself that he was a prophet. However, when overcome by the Spirit, on several occasions, I have heard the Spirit refer to Doctor Dahesh as the ”Guiding Beloved Prophet.” Without exception, all the Daheshists I met at Doctor Farid’s clinic or in Doctor Dahesh’s house during that period and since, believed that the Doctor was the founder of a new divine religion. Divine, because it was attested by spiritual revelations and miracles which Doctor Dahesh could only perform when overcome by a Holy Spirit. These revelations and miracles, the Daheshists believed, could only have come from God because they are not governed by the physical laws of nature. To all members of the faith, Doctor Dahesh was the founder of a religion; his religion is not a sect nor a cult and is unlike some of today’s religious movements which are cropping up here and there in the world and which are designed to win followers by appealing to their whims and inclinations. The Daheshists I met did not believe there was an easy way to salvation, nor were they ever told ”Be yourself and just do whatever you feel like doing naturally and spontaneously” as one Indian Guru taught his followers to do in order to attain spiritual salvation and enlightenment. That so-called religious message was one I read a few years ago. It appeared as a half-page advertisement in one of the leading American weekly magazines. What an insult to all common sense and what an affront to all the divine teachings of the world! All Daheshists know that to be a good believer meant one has to lead a life of spiritual and moral self-discipline, to conduct oneself in a virtuous manner in deeds and thoughts, to follow the pure divine religious teachings whose essence is to love, worship, and obey God and His commandments, for He is the Creator of all things, the source of all power, wisdom, and mercy throughout the universe. The Daheshists believe in God’s angels and His holy spirits for they administer God’s will throughout the entire universe. They believe in rewards and punishments and always remember the rule: ”for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap” (Galatians 6:7). One is responsible for his deeds, good or bad, and will be rewarded or punished accordingly on this earth and in the hereafter. This golden rule is a universal one and is applicable throughout God’s kingdom. It implies that whatever you do or even think about no matter how insignificant, it will be recorded and held for or against you. That golden rule implies, as far as Daheshists are concerned, the existence of reincarnation, for only through reincarnation can the phrase ”As thou hast done, it shall be done unto thee: Thy reward shall return upon thine head” (Obadiah 1:15) have any real meaning, and God’s infinite justice and mercy can be understood. Reincarnation is the only rational explanation of the disparities and contradictions of human conditions and events, without which there can be no divine justice and mercy. Daheshists also believe that the universe is teeming with God’s innumerable living worlds, be they material or spiritual, celestial or infernal. Man and his earth are just one of God’s infinitesimal creations. Therefore, man should know his very modest place in God’s infinite kingdom. Everything in the universe is subject to God’s justice, and all His creations justly receive what they deserve. Those were the general outlines of the Daheshist philosophy as I understood them at the time. Later on, more detailed aspects of the Daheshist faith became more clear to me through reading Doctor Dahesh’s inspired writings and listening to his spiritual teachings and reflections. Although, I have been a Daheshist for over twenty-five years, I can say there are still some aspects of the Daheshist philosophy which I do not completely understand because they are beyond my intellectual and spiritual ability to comprehend. Daheshism teaches that absolute Truth is beyond human understanding. On the other hand, truths revealed by Dr. Dahesh lead us gradually toward that absolute Truth. Besides, the spiritual way to perfection reveals itself gradually and proportionately as one attains higher spiritual maturity and awareness through virtue and purity. If an individual attains a certain level of spiritual awareness – that is, a higher Sayal – he will be able to better understand and accept Doctor Dahesh’s teachings and philosophy. He will then believe in Doctor Dahesh’s inspired writings and revelations which teach, for example, that plants, animals, and even inanimate objects possess consciousness, can communicate with one another, have the capacity to differentiate between good and evil, according to the rules of the spiritual system governing their respective worlds, and are themselves subject to being rewarded or punished according to their merits, just as humans are. This is a very difficult concept to accept because its reality is hidden. But Daheshists believe it to be a fact because it has been spiritually attested and revealed. Part of this reality has already been discovered by a few scientists, and although they are not Daheshists per se, they possess a high spiritual awareness and intuition which have led them to such discovery. To further explain the concept of ”Truth” revealed only to those who are spiritually prepared to perceive it, the following example is an illustration thereof. An individual may witness a miracle which is obvious and undeniable. Yet, because that individual does not possess a high degree of spiritual awareness, he dismisses it under any pretext, even though others who witnessed the same miracle will attest to its occurrence. That individual is not ready nor is he deserving to understand the significance of the miracle, and therefore he cannot comprehend it. In this case, while truth was so obvious to some, it remained hidden from that one individual. As for the spiritual identity of Doctor Dahesh, the Daheshists believe that he is a prophet. He is the ”Guiding Beloved Prophet,” as well as the ”Comforter” mentioned in the Bible who would come at the end of times. As far as I was concerned, I believed that he is a prophet, a Holy Man, because of his miraculous powers, and because of his divine spiritual teachings. I loved him dearly, no matter who he was. In those days being part of the Daheshist spiritual family became for me and my brother Ali the happiest and most important event in our lives. The most endearing times were when we sat together with other Daheshists, surrounding our beloved Doctor as we listened to his inspired words and witnessed spiritual revelations and miracles realized by the grace and power of God. I especially remember those memorable times when we would all be sitting together in the corridor talking, while the Doctor would be inside with visitors. Suddenly, the Doctor would walk in to see us for a few minutes and everybody would stand up, happy and thrilled to see him. Unless one is a true Daheshist, it is very difficult to describe the special bond of love and devotion which bound the Daheshists to their beloved Doctor. It is a relationship akin to the relationship which Jesus described in the Bible: ”I am the good shepherd and I know my own. My own in turn know me” (John 10:14). The Daheshists surely knew who their good shepherd was. I recall one day I visited Doctor Dahesh in the afternoon. He was not very busy and therefore, fortunately, sat with me for quite a while. We talked about many different subjects, and just before I left for home, he gave me the New Testament to read.(7) He asked me to return it whenever I finished. I had never read the Book before, and as I came home from that visit, I wondered why the Doctor would give me the New Testament to read.

 

That night as I lay in bed, I began reading the New Testament, and although I was fast becoming a Daheshist, I was still influenced by my Moslem background. As I read the Bible, I felt somewhat uneasy when I came across references to Christ as the Son of God, and that God, the Father, was in Jesus Christ, and He in the Father. These words I took literally, and to me, they sounded a little offensive and somewhat blasphemous, because as a Moslem I believed in the uniqueness of God and could not accept the idea of Jesus as the Son of God. I did not understand the symbolism of these references until later, when I became a fully committed Daheshist. In any case, I continued to read the Bible and the initial jolt of the phrase ”I and the Father are one” (John 10:30) began to wear off. It did not bother me anymore, and I began to enjoy reading about the miracles of Christ, such as when he healed the blind and the crippled and when he brought Lazarus back to life after he had been dead for four days. Incidentally, all Moslems believe in Jesus’ miracles, and they a1so believe in the Second Coming of Christ at the end of time. As I read The Book of John with interest and joy, I suddenly noticed the word ”Comforter” and the ”Spirit of Truth,” as well as other verses related to them, all underlined in red. Then I came across verse 12 in chapter 16 of John, also underlined in red, which stated:

I have still many things to tell you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of Truth comes however, He will guide you into all the truth. For He will not speak on His own account but will say whatever He hears, and He will make known to you what is to take place.

I read that intriguing verse and began to wonder if there was a connection between Doctor Dahesh, the ”Comforter” and the ”Spirit of Truth” mentioned in the Bible. I began to reason why the Doctor had asked me to read The New Testament when I had never read it before.

 

Was it to notice those verses underlined in red? I concluded that Doctor Dahesh was trying to tell me something hut he wanted me to deduce it for myself. Therefore, I said to myself, the Doctor must be the Comforter, and I really was overcome with joy. After this, I continued reading the Bible even more enthusiastically until I could no longer keep my eyes open and fell asleep. That same night I had the most extraordinary dream of my life. I dreamt it was Judgment Day. The sky above me was wide open, and colossal columns of bright sun rays descended from heaven. Inside those huge bright columns of sunlight, angels were descending and ascending, while down on earth millions of people gathered from all over the world, forming huge infinite queues. The people that gathered wailed in agony for they were in distress and fear. Many pleaded and cried for mercy for they knew of the terrible suffering and punishment they were about to receive. I approached someone and asked him where all these people were going. He replied that they were all on their way to Egypt to see Doctor Dahesh. They were going to him to ask forgiveness and help so that God would have mercy upon their souls in this terrible hour of retribution. As the man was answering my question, I heard another cry out in a very loud voice for everyone nearby to hear. ”It was no use”; he shouted, ”they would not get any help, for it was already too late. Only those who had believed in Doctor Dahesh and had followed his teachings and those who obeyed God’s will and commandments would be saved.” I woke up in the morning trembling with joy from that wonderful and unusual dream. I narrated it to my wife who also thought it was very beautiful and strange. That evening, I visited Doctor Dahesh. As soon as I entered his house, I told him about my strange dream. Doctor Dahesh agreed that it was a very unusual dream, and he asked Doctor Farid to record it. I followed Doctor Farid into an adjacent room and narrated the details of the dream. He recorded my every word. After that I went back into the living room where Doctor Dahesh was sitting. He did not comment on my dream, and I did not mention anything to him about my conclusion regarding the Comforter mentioned in the Bible. It was not until 1968 that the matter of Doctor Dahesh’s spiritual identity was resolved once and for all in my mind. One evening I went to visit Doctor Dahesh. I mentioned to him that in a couple of days I was to leave Lebanon on a business trip to America. I asked him whether there was anything in particular I could bring him back from the United States. He replied that there was nothing he wanted but asked if I could do him a favor by taking an Arabic manuscript of a book he had written many years ago. It had not been published and was entitled Memoirs of Jesus of Nazareth. He wanted me to give the manuscript to a Daheshist who lived in New York, and who at one time was a university professor in Cairo, Egypt. The book was to be translated into English. A day before my departure, I visited the Doctor again and took the manuscript which at that time had been read by very few Daheshists. I asked him whether it was permissible for me to read it on the plane. He said I could. On the plane, I began reading the unpublished work. It was the most moving book I had ever read in my life. I kept reading it with intense emotional feelings until I came to the part where Christ, as a youth, tells of his Second Coming. The connection between Christ’s Second Coming and Doctor Dahesh in the manuscript was so obvious and clear, that when I read that part, tears began to fall from my eyes. The man sitting next to me noticed them and turning to me asked whether there was anything wrong, and if he could help. I thanked him and replied, that my tears were tears of joy, and it would be very difficult for me to explain.

 

From that moment on, the spiritual identity of Doctor Dahesh was never again questioned in my mind. He was, I concluded, the Comforter, the Spirit of Truth, the Guiding Beloved Prophet. He was the one and the same prophet that God in his infinite mercy keeps sending down to earth for man’s redemption and salvation. Each time the prophet was sent to earth in the past, he revealed only part of the truth which could be understood and accepted by the people of that period, just as Jesus said: ”I have still many things to tell you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of Truth comes, however He will guide you into all Truth” (John 16:12). This time the Guiding Beloved Prophet would guide us into the whole Truth!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CHAPTER VIII

Being close to Doctor Dahesh and to the Daheshist brothers and sisters made a big change in my life for the better. Fortunately, the Doctor permitted me to see him almost daily. The old friends and acquaintances I had before becoming drawn to Daheshism seemed to fall out of place. I no longer found in their company a shared view or common interest, and they, too, must have found in me a changed man and a dull companion. The only time I was truly happy was when I visited the Doctor, or when I was among the other Daheshists with whom I shared similar thoughts and aspirations. By 1967, I was completely happy and content living in Lebanon. The shocking and painful experience I first went through with the company had long since been forgotten. My work with the catering company was rewarding both financially and mentally and I enjoyed it. By this time there were new additions to my family. I now had another baby daughter and a son. Life appeared to be rewarding and well worth living. My brother, Ali, also changed his job for a better one and his family now consisted of two daughters and a son. He also was content with life, especially when he was close to Doctor Dahesh and the Daheshists. Although his income improved slightly, he remained very poor. But money was never important to Ali and he always shared what little he had.

 

One day as I was reading the local newspaper during my lunch hour, my attention was drawn to a large advertisement by an American export company. It called for a general sales manager to head their entire sales operation in the Middle East. The man they required had to have vast sales experience in international trading and should be willing to travel extensively throughout the region. They also preferred that the candidate have a technical background. The ad mentioned that remuneration and benefits were excellent, although it did not specify the amount in details. If anyone qualified wished to apply for the job, he was invited to go for an interview at the company’s office in Beirut at a certain time in the morning. The job interview was to last four days, and if anyone interested could not make it at those specific hours in the morning, the interview could be arranged to be held in the evening at the Phoenicia Hotel, a well-known hotel in West Beirut. Out of curiosity, I called the company’s office in Beirut and expressed a desire to apply for the job. The man who answered the telephone was an Arab. He asked me a few questions before passing me to another person who was American. I talked briefly with the man and told him that I could not come for an interview in the morning because of my present job. He agreed to meet me at his suite in the Phoenicia Hotel at 6:00 P.M. that same day. The hotel was only a short drive away from the Starco Center where I worked. Before going home that evening, I went straight to my appointment and found myself knocking at the door of his suite at the exact appointed time. A bald and very friendly man opened the door. He was the owner and chairman of the export company responsible for the advertisement. There were two other men with him, both of whom were also Americans. One of them was an Arab with a U.S. nationality. He was the general sales manager they wanted to replace, as he wanted to leave his post in Lebanon and return to the United States. The three interviewed me for about an hour and asked me various questions. At the end of the interview, one of them asked me how much I was currently earning. I replied that I earned a good salary and at the moment did not wish to disclose the amount. I told him that in fact I was quite satisfied and happy with my present job. ”Why then did you bother yourself with this interview?” He asked me. I replied that I wanted to find out how good their offer was. If it were as good as the ad suggested, I might consider accepting it. If not, I would not change my present job. I was blunt and honest with them. I said what was on my mind because I did not really care whether I was hired or not. When they asked me what salary I wanted should they consider employing me, I gave them a figure of almost twice what I was earning. They asked me if I would consider accepting the offer should they decrease the salary but increase the percentage of commission on sales. I remained firm and made it clear that I would not work for anything less. The truth is, I was not playing hard to get: I honestly did not care whether they selected me or not. I was just being candid. It was not until years later that I discovered that was exactly what one had to do when applying for jobs with most American companies. You have to be tough and firm, making them believe they need you. If they feel you need them, no matter how competent you may be, they would automatically take advantage of you and might even consider you to be incompetent for the job. A few days later, I received a call from the Middle East sales manager asking me to go to their Beirut office for a general aptitude test. I explained that I could not go as I was working. He told me that if I could not make it during the week, he would make special arrangements to have his secretary go to the office on Sunday morning at about 9:00 A.M. to give me the test. I agreed to that arrangement. When I went to the office that morning, the American secretary opened the door. She immediately confronted me with a pile of questions that were to be answered. She handed me so many questions that I felt like walking out of the office right then and forgetting all about the whole thing. The sales manager did not tell me on the telephone that the test was a very long one. Had he told me the test would take up to four and a half hours, I would never have taken it. At any rate, once I was inside the office and realized that the secretary had come especially for my convenience, I did not want to walk out without taking the test. I began to answer the questions at about 9:00 A.M. and did not finish until about

1:30 P.M.

During all that time, the secretary kept me supplied with fresh coffee. She poured cup after cup so that I would not fall asleep during those long and tedious questions. When I finished answering the questions, I handed them to her. She casually mentioned that about 200 people had applied for the job, but that only seven individuals were selected to take the written test. About six weeks later, I received another call from the sales manager of the American company in Beirut. He informed me that I had been selected for the job and he congratulated me. He also told me that there was a long congratulatory telex from the chairman of the company waiting for me at his office. Before going home that evening, I went to the office and picked it up. The telex officially offered me the position of the company’s Middle East sales manager, and they agreed to pay me all that I had asked for, including a certain percentage of commission on sales. All traveling expenses were also to be paid in full. The telex was signed by the chairman. He congratulated me and wished me a long and successful career with them. Even though I had been selected for the job out of many who had applied, I was really not too sure about the long term prospects of the offer. In reality there was no need for me to take a risk by changing my current job. I had applied for that position just out of curiosity. When it was officially offered to me, I thought that perhaps in the long run I would be better off by turning it down. I had good reasons which made me initially hesitate in accepting the offer. First of all, the Lebanese catering company for whom I worked treated me well financially and otherwise. I had a secure and rewarding career with them and I also had a very good rapport with the owners. Second, I found out the hard way by trying to make a living in the U.S., that working for an American company could be very risky. One is never certain of having a long and enduring career with it. For any reason, be it a change of management, acquisition, reorganization, or whatever, you could suddenly find yourself fired. This is especially true with sales-oriented companies, such as the one offering me the job. As long as the going is good, and profits are rolling in, and you happen to be one of the ”boys”... you have it made. But, as soon as things begin to falter and for some reason or other, you are unable to come up to the company’s expectations, watch out! You could be ruthlessly fired unhesitatingly and without the slightest twinge of conscience, regardless of the many years of service you may have put into the company. Third, and most importantly, the job offer was made to me in June 1967, a time when the whole Arab world was in a state of shock and turmoil following the Arab-Israeli 6-Day War of June 5th, 1967. It was a very humiliating war for the Arabs and created an intense anti-American feeling throughout the region. The Arabs accused the U.S. government of complicity with Israel. The news media demanded a complete break of diplomatic relations with the United States and a total ban on American products. At that time I thought it would be very unwise and a bit risky to work for a U.S. company in an area that was becoming increasingly anti-American. However, before rejecting the job offer right out, I felt perhaps it would be better to ask Doctor Dahesh for his opinion. Normally, the Doctor did not like to interfere in matters of that nature and would leave it up to the individual to decide for himself. It was for this reason that I was hesitant to ask him for his advice. But because the offer was indeed a very tempting one, and it represented a substantial leap forward in my career, I decided to discuss the matter briefly with him. The following day I visited Doctor Dahesh and I mentioned the fact that an American export company had officially offered me the position of being their general sales manager for the entire Middle East. I told Doctor Dahesh that they offered me a salary of almost twice as much as I was currently making, plus a commission of a small percentage on all sales. As the new job called for extensive travel, they would pay in full all my travel expenses. I remember telling him that perhaps, under the circumstances, it would be better to forget the new job and turn it down. I mentioned to him that I did not think it was wise to work for a U.S. company at a time when the whole Arab World was overflowing with anti-American sentiments. I recall very well what Doctor Dahesh’s reply was to me. He told me not to pay too much attention to what I heard or read about the boycott threat, and that within a short period the whole matter would be forgotten. The Arab countries, he said, would do business with the United States as usual. I interpreted Doctor Dahesh’s remark as an indirect encouragement for me to go ahead and accept the new job. I did and thus began to work for the American export company. The departing sales manager stayed briefly, during which time he acquainted me with the sales operations. He then decided to return to the United States. His American secretary had already left the company a week earlier. I found myself on my own and in charge of a large sales distribution network covering the entire Middle East. Only one salesman remained behind and he was to report to me. The other salesman had already left several months earlier. During that short takeover period, I learned all I could about the product lines I was to sell. There were far too many, ranging all the way from small household appliances to heavy construction equipment. Anyone seeing the piles of product line catalogues which I first carried with me on my business trips would think that I was either a genius salesman for knowing all those products or simply an idiot for carrying all that cumbersome weight! Altogether, there were over a hundred and twenty product lines. Trying to learn all about most of these products in such a short time seemed to be impossible, and it was. It took me only a few trips before I realized that I was carrying far too many useless catalogues, and I eventually dropped most of them. I took only the catalogues of product lines from which I did most of my sales. Besides knowing the products I had to sell, I also had to learn about the customers the company had, what merchandise each client bought and under what payment terms. Also I had to learn about their credit ratings in general, and what other lines, besides our products, they dealt with. No sooner had I begun to get acquainted with my new job, when I received a telex from the company’s headquarters requesting that I proceed immediately to Bahrain. They wanted me to resolve some technical problems concerning an air-conditioner order they shipped and also to submit a price quotation on three hundred units of room air conditioners which were to be installed in a government housing project in Bahrain. When I received the telex, I very much doubted that I would be able to handle the assignment. I had only been working for the company less than two weeks and did not have sufficient time for proper training or preparation. At any rate, I had no choice in the matter and had to follow the company’s instructions. Therefore, I made the necessary travel arrangements and went to Bahrain determined to do my very best. If I should fail, so be it. At least I could say that I tried and did my best! Upon my arrival in Bahrain, late in the evening, I took a taxi and went straight to the hotel where I thought I had made a reservation. The weather in Bahrain was extremely hot and humid. When I arrived at the hotel, there was no room reserved for me, and the receptionist claimed that when he received my cable requesting room accommodations the hotel was already fully occupied. With that answer, I asked him to at least help me find another hotel, and he called several places. They too were all fully booked. Apparently, unknown to me, there was a convention on the island. Thus, the few available hotels, first and even third class, were all fully occupied. I waited patiently in the lobby in the hope that the receptionist would eventually locate a room for me. If he could not, I was willing to spend the night on the couch. At 1:30 A.M. I was still without a room and felt exhausted and in desperate need of a cool shower and sleep. A few minutes later, the receptionist informed me that he had finally located a room for me. The room was in an old hotel used mostly by Indian workers who came to work in Bahrain on special assignments. It was not a very good hotel, the receptionist said, but it was better than nothing. I agreed that any room would be better than sleeping on the couch and asked him to reserve it for me anyway. He instructed a taxi driver where to take me. The cab drove through small winding alleys and narrow dusty roads until finally it passed through what looked like a deserted open vegetable and fruit market. The market was closed and void of any activity except for a few stray dogs and cats which came in hopes of finding something to eat. The stench of rotten vegetables and fruits, made worse by the excessive heat, was overwhelming. Finally, the taxi stopped in front of a very old but exceptionally large wooden house. It was distinctively colonial in style but with an Indian touch. It must have been built by Indian laborers brought in by the British who had ruled Bahrain for a very long time. The construction and the definite Indian style of the house suggested that it was built during the height of the British Empire. The taxi driver went inside the hotel and soon came back with an Indian bell boy who was half asleep. I paid the taxi driver and went inside with the bell boy to the receptionist’s desk. The lobby was also hot and humid, and the very old and worn-out furniture had an unpleasant odor of perspiration. The receptionist, an Indian, was sleeping when we walked in. He handed me a card to complete and requested that I leave my passport with him until the morning. The bell boy was given a key and was told to take me and my luggage to a room. I followed the bell boy as he carried my luggage up some winding stairs, until we reached the third floor. From there we crossed a small wooden bridge which connected the two parts of the building. The heat and humidity, even at that early hour in the morning, was suffocating. What made matters worse was the pungent smell of curry and spicy Indian food which seemed to be coming from everywhere. Apparently, the Indian workers using the hotel must have been doing their own cooking inside their rooms. The Indian cuisine, I later found out, had a very acrid smell which lingers on and on. If someone like myself was not used to it, the smell could be very unpleasant. I finally found myself inside a small and scantily furnished room. It had a bed which seemed to occupy most of the room, and next to it stood a small table with a tin ashtray. The private bathroom was ridiculously small. It had a shower, a toilet, and a sink with a rusty mirror on top, all crammed together. An obese person would definitely not be able to use that bathroom! The walls of the room, including the ceiling, were all painted a drab blue. There were three electrical switches next to the bed: one for the fan on the ceiling, the second for an air-conditioner mounted on the wall opposite the bed, and the third switch was for the light. I was too exhausted to let these unpleasant surprises annoy me.

 

All I wanted was a bed to sleep in. I did not even bother to take a shower and just turned the switch of the air-conditioner on and fell asleep. When I awoke the following morning about 10:00 A.M., the first thing I noticed was the terrible throbbing noise of the air-conditioner. It was awful. How I ever fell asleep with that noise, I do not know! When I went to the bathroom to take a shower and shave, I was disgusted to see large brown cockroaches running all over. However, their presence did not deter me from taking that shower, but even then the water was brackish. I cleaned myself as best as I could with that salty water, got dressed, then went downstairs to have breakfast. As I approached the dining room, the pungent smell of Indian cuisine overpowered me. I went into the dining room and saw a few Indian clients as well as two young British hippies having a late breakfast. The other Indian clients, I assumed had already had their breakfast and were off to work. The waiters were all Indians, clean and dressed in white. The white uniforms of the waiters, as well as the sharp disinfectant smell of the dining room, reminded me of the British government hospitals in Palestine which I used to visit with my father as a young boy. I only ordered some tea, and it was served already mixed with milk. It was truly the best tea I have tasted. After that delicious tea, I took a taxi and asked the driver to take me to the address of my Bahraini customer. He was not in his office, but I was told that he would be back at about 4:00 P.M. To do business successfully in the Middle East, one has to do it directly with the person in charge. Otherwise, nothing will be accomplished. Therefore, I decided to come back later in the afternoon. Before going back to my room, I stopped by the original hotel where I thought I had made reservations, in the hope that a room was now available. There was a different receptionist at the desk, but he too insisted that there were no rooms available. I accepted the inevitable and decided to tolerate my cockroach-infested hotel. I had come to Bahrain to solve some urgent business problems, and I had to succeed. That, I thought was much more important than my personal comfort. In the afternoon, I met the Bahraini customer. He turned out to be a very prominent businessman in his country. I introduced myself as the new sales manager of the U.S. export company with which he did business. No sooner had I finished introducing myself and sat down in his office, when he began blasting the Americans for their bias against the Arabs. He then reprimanded me for working for the Americans and allowing myself to be used by them. During almost the entire two hours I spent in his office that afternoon, the discussion centered on nothing but politics and the Arab-Israeli War, and how to get even with the U.S. who had double-crossed the Arabs in that war. Every time I wanted to discuss business matters with him, we would be interrupted by some visitors who would just drop by his office to pay their respect and to have a little friendly chat while sipping Arabic coffee. They would not stay very long, not more than fifteen or twenty minutes at the most. But no sooner would one visitor leave, than another would enter. Sometimes as many as six or eight visitors would gather in his office at one time, greeting each other and talking politics while enjoying coffee and tea. The habit of dropping by unexpectedly on people at their offices and during business hours is very common in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf countries. The constant interruption is a very irritating experience for people who go on business trips to that part of the world. That time the interruptions by the visitors were even more so due to the subject of the 6-Day War which dominated all other subjects. I sat in frustration as I watched his visitors coming and going. There was absolutely nothing I could do except tolerate their irritating interruptions and politely pretend to be interested in listening to whatever they had to say. Naturally, the conversation would soon turn to the war and the American covert involvement in it against the Arabs. One Bahraini visitor, a young articulate man, even suggested that the Arab governments should jointly expropriate all U.S. investments in the region. The U.S. government, he said, is a government of businessmen. It is a government run by bankers, lawyers, and big business executives. The language these people understand best is the language of money and of profits and losses. For this reason, the Arabs should hit the Americans where it hurts them most: in their pockets. That, he continued to say, would surely teach the U.S. government a painful lesson which they would never forget. As I listened to their repetitive and monotonous conversation, I began to wonder if I would ever make any business progress at all in such an anti-American atmosphere. That whole afternoon was wasted. I did not accomplish a single thing, for I really never had the chance. When I returned to the hotel that evening, I was so dispirited and felt helpless. My first business encounter in Bahrain, I thought, was a bad omen of worse things yet to come. The next morning, I went back to the customer. This time he was friendlier and paid more attention. Fortunately, we did not have any unexpected interruptions. He offered me some tea and coffee and then introduced me to his technical people. The engineering problem was not too difficult to solve. It involved replacement of certain parts. I worked patiently with the technical department for two days until all problems were solved, including preparing a long list of needed spare parts. At the end of my third day in Bahrain, I was fortunate to win the customer’s confidence. He accepted all the recommendations I made and signed a new order for three hundred air-conditioners. Before returning to the hotel, he insisted on inviting me to dinner at the most expensive and exclusive hotel in Bahrain. The following morning all formalities for the new order were made with a Bahraini Bank and I was given the details. I telexed the main office back in Chicago informing them that the technical problem had been resolved and that a new order for three hundred room air conditioners was finalized. The company in Chicago was extremely pleased with my achievements and sent a cable of congratulations to the hotel where I was staying. When I look back at these events, I cannot help but think how ironic the situation was. For, when I first arrived in Bahrain and had my frustrating encounter with my customer and his visitors, I thought that I would not be able to sell any U.S. products. But, just as Doctor Dahesh predicted, the Arabs did continue to do business with the Americans. Even our friend, the Bahraini businessman, who talked so bitterly about the U.S. policies in the area, seemed to have quickly forgotten his anti-American sentiments. When it came to his business interest, he went right ahead and bought U.S. products.

My new job signaled the beginning of extensive travel throughout the region which lasted so many years. A great deal of my time, perhaps sixty percent of it, was spent on traveling away from home. Sometimes I would be away for as long as four to six weeks at a time, especially when I had to cover many countries in a single business trip. As I began to travel more and more, I had less opportunities to visit Doctor Dahesh. However, before traveling I would always make sure to visit him and ask for his blessing. I would also ask whether there was anything in particular he wished me to do in the various countries I would be visiting, such as bringing him certain books or newspapers that were published in those countries. Almost always he would ask for nothing and would simply wish me a safe and successful journey. When I first started traveling, an average business trip away from home lasted two to three weeks. Later, I adjusted my business trips according to my own schedule. Sometimes they would stretch out for several weeks, and sometimes they would last for only a couple of days, depending on the urgency and the business circumstances of the time. Usually, as soon as I returned to Lebanon, the first thing I would do was to go and see the Doctor. I tried to make up for all the lost time by visiting him as often as possible. Sometimes I would even visit him twice the same day: once in the morning and then later on either in the afternoon or in the evening. On one occasion, I remember visiting the Doctor before leaving on a business trip to Saudi Arabia and the Gulf region. I indicated that I would be leaving the following day and asked him whether there was anything I could bring back for him. This time, he asked if I could possibly bring him some large white onions of which he had heard. Apparently, in certain parts of Saudi Arabia very large and sweet tasting white onions were cultivated. The plane I was supposed to take to Saudi Arabia was delayed twice and finally took off. I arrived in Jeddah very late that night. The following morning, I did not awake until 10:30 A.M. Instead of visiting the company’s customers as I normally would do, I took a taxi and headed straight for the vegetable market in search of large white onions for which the Doctor had asked. I had been to Saudi Arabia on several occasions before, but I never paid any attention to the very large white onions which the country produced. This time, however, I was looking specifically for them and they immediately caught my eye. They were truly very large onions, just like the Doctor said they would be. I selected the largest ones I could find from the various vegetable stands, put them in a large bag, and returned to the hotel. After my business trip to Saudi Arabia and the Gulf region which lasted for about a week, I returned to Beirut. From the airport, I took a taxi and went straight to Doctor Dahesh’s house where I gave him the bag of onions. Everyone who saw them was truly amazed at their unusually big size. One onion was so large, it weighed almost three pounds. Doctor Dahesh loved onions very much, whether they were cooked or raw, but he preferred them raw, especially the sweet and large kind. He had mentioned on many occasions that onions contained good Sayals. From that trip on, I started looking for unusually large onions to bring back for the Doctor from wherever I traveled. Besides those large white onions from Saudi Arabia, I also found some very large brown ones in Libya. They were just as large, if not larger, and just as sweet as the Saudi Arabian variety.

 

CHAPTER IX

In 1969, Doctor Dahesh, accompanied by his dear and beloved Daheshist friend Doctor Georges Khabsa, went on a trip around the world. The journey lasted little over ten weeks, and it was the first trip he had taken out of Lebanon in a very long time. I remember well, and yet somewhat sadly, going to the Beirut airport with my brother Ali and other Daheshist brothers and sisters to wish the Doctor and his companion a safe and pleasant journey. Both of them at the time seemed to be in the best of health, especially Doctor Khabsa, who was a robust man full of energy and life. He had his movie camera strapped to his shoulder and was full of vitality and excitement as he chatted happily with his fellow Daheshists. They were gone for almost a month when Daheshist brothers and sisters began to receive postcards from Doctor Dahesh. I received one which was sent from Bangkok. However, the card I received sounded rather depressing. I could detect that the Doctor felt a sense of despair and hopelessness at the wretched spiritual state of the world. Wherever he went on earth he was not happy, and his soul yearned to return to his true home – the World of the Spirit, the world of goodness and serenity from where it came. Both he and his companion, Doctor Khabsa, seemed to be in good health and were continuing their journey as planned. When they returned from their trip, ten weeks later, we were all shocked to see how dramatically Doctor Khabsa’s health had deteriorated. I could hardly believe my eyes when I saw him upon his arrival. He was very sick and had changed so much during that trip that it was hard for us to believe he was the same man we saw off at the airport just ten weeks earlier. He had aged considerably and looked like a sick man in his eighties instead of his actual sixties. Doctor Khabsa had lost a tremendous amount of weight, over forty-five pounds, and could barely walk. In fact, he was terminally ill with a blood poisoning disease. He was rushed to the hospital four days after his return and remained very sick for sixteen more days before passing away. We found out that Doctor Khabsa had contracted a rare blood disease during the first few weeks of his journey, and his health had progressively deteriorated. By the time he returned from his journey, he needed urgent hospitalization and required constant blood transfusions. No sooner had blood been transfused than it had to be replaced because of the recurring blood poisoning. I sadly recall how all the Daheshist brothers and sisters rushed to the hospital in the hope that their blood matched that of Doctor Khabsa’s. All were willing to donate their blood to save him and to keep him supplied with fresh blood for the daily transfusions he required. The Daheshists stayed in the hospital beside him day and night until the end. Doctor Khabsa’s death was a tremendous loss to all the people who knew him, especially, the Daheshists. He was a well-loved brother, kind, generous, compassionate, proud, and God-fearing. Doctor Dahesh mourned him dearly and eulogized him in a special heart-breaking book full of sorrow and grief.(8) We had all lost a dear and noble brother.

Several months later, I suggested to Doctor Dahesh that he might enjoy visiting some of the countries where I traveled and in particular Saudi Arabia and the Gulf region. Those two areas were interesting to see for they represented true Arabian customs and traditions, and the Doctor had never visited that part of the Middle East before. Should he decide to visit that region, I told him, I would be happy to be his companion. Doctor Dahesh hinted that he would be interested in visiting those countries and might just do that in the near future. A year had passed after Doctor Khabsa’s death when I began to travel with Doctor Dahesh. I had gone to see the Doctor one evening, and as I usually did on previous occasions, I mentioned to him that I would be going to the Gulf region on my next trip. I asked if there were anything special he wished me to do. Quite unexpectedly he said he would like to travel with me on that journey! I had not anticipated the Doctor’s answer, especially in view of the fact that I was traveling in the summer time – a season in which that region is extremely hot. When I mentioned that to Doctor Dahesh, it did not seem to bother him. I was overwhelmed with joy to think that finally he would be traveling with me. I immediately asked for his passport to make the necessary arrangements and to get the required visas for Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, and Dubai. Doctor Dahesh promptly gave me his passport and within a few days all the visas and travel tickets were in hand. We were finally ready to begin our first journey together. When Doctor Dahesh decided to take that first journey with me, I had no idea that the trip heralded the beginning of many more trips which we would take together. In fact, for a period of almost two years, from the middle of 1970 to the middle of 1972, I was Doctor Dahesh’s constant travel companion. We visited twenty-three countries, including East and West Africa, the Soviet Union, most of the Arab World, Iran, and part of Europe. With the Doctor, I visited over thirty cities, some of which we passed by more than once. Doctor Dahesh recorded those journeys, along with many others he took with other Daheshists in a twenty-volume series entitled Dr. Dahesh’s Journeys Around the World. If there is one thing I regret most in my life, it is the fact that I did not keep a diary of those memorable journeys. I say memorable because indeed they were, since I was the travel companion of an unusual man, a man of God, of miracles and inspiration, a man of immense culture and wisdom. So many unusual events took place during those journeys, and I was there to witness them. Why I did not keep a diary, I do not know, and it was a terrible mistake, one which I shall always look upon with regret. At the time, I suppose I did not realize the full significance of those journeys, and regretfully, I took traveling with Doctor Dahesh as an exciting, yet ordinary occurrence. Now, twenty years later, and in retrospect, I honestly can say that I do not quite remember the exact details of what he said to me, or what he precisely did. Traveling with Doctor Dahesh was quite an experience in itself, for he was not an ordinary person by any measure or standard. Anyone who lived with, or accompanied, him for any length of time, would come to the conclusion that Doctor Dahesh was truly a stranger in this world. And although his body lived with us on earth, his soul, like his spirit, did not belong to earth. His intense emotions and passionate dreams were always focused on spiritual values. What people generally liked and held important, Doctor Dahesh dismissed as irrelevant. Wealth, power, fame, prestige, and tradition, he shunned, considering them to be meaningless. What only mattered to him was his Lord and Creator – Our Everlasting God! Dr. Dahesh has come to earth on a mission – to serve the Lord. He lived his whole life to fulfill God’s Will on Earth and tried to guide people onto the path of righteousness, goodness and salvation. Doctor Dahesh lived as a stranger in this world, alone and uncomfortable except when he was surrounded by his Daheshist followers. The ingratitude and persecutions he suffered at the hands of the Lebanese people, especially the Lebanese authorities and the Maronite Catholic Church, filled his heart with sorrow and pain. His experience with people, even with those who were supposed to be close to him, despaired him.

 

Discovering how base and evil they could be made him generally weary and distrustful of the human race. What he saw during his travels throughout the world only increased his despair and sorrow. His travels convinced him even more than ever that we live in an evil and corrupt world, a world which on the surface appears to be highly progressive, civilized and materially advanced, but inwardly is sinful and spiritually bankrupt. Everywhere the Doctor went, he found that materialism, sensuality, cruelty, and greed reigned supreme. As for spiritual values and sincere obedience to God’s Commandments and Will, very few seemed to take heed. Doctor Dahesh’s disenchantment with people stemmed directly from his observations and experiences with them. He cherished the good and decent virtues of man, and he detested and assailed his evil tendencies. Any act that was not moral and virtuous saddened him. Any transaction that was unfair and deceptive disturbed him. For Doctor Dahesh, an extremely sensitive and compassionate man, to see injustices, sometimes even written into laws and practiced in one form or another, depressed his soul wherever they occurred. Notwithstanding the reasons and justifications, the sight of appalling poverty and homelessness, while billions of dollars are being squandered upon weapons, grieved Doctor Dahesh’s heart. Doctor Dahesh, an art expert himself, would be offended to see a questionable painting sell for forty to fifty million dollars, while forty to fifty million children in the world went to sleep hungry each night. To him, such a transaction is not a legitimate business deal, but rather an act involving arrogance and insensitivity on the part of the buyer, and greed and deceit on the part of the seller. Such was the man I knew in Doctor Dahesh, and such are the things that wounded his trust in people and made him lose faith in them, their laws, their values, and their institutions.

 

The Guiding Beloved Prophet was continuously concerned with

man’s sins and sufferings, and he was actively involved in trying to cure them. The corruption of man and the quest for man’s rehabilitation was a subject of constant challenge and disappointment for Doctor Dahesh. It was a frustrating pursuit that saddened him deeply and left him disillusioned. This elusive dream developed into an unhappy and recurring theme that appears in all his literary works. As a youth of only twenty-two years old, he wrote about the corruption of man and continued to talk and write about it throughout his life. Doctor Dahesh’s pessimistic – yet real – notion of man was not an exaggerated and unique view held by him alone. It was a steadfast view held by all of God’s Messengers before him. The Book of Genesis, the New Testament, and the Koran, all talk about the evil of man. To change the sinful nature of man, Moses, Jesus, and Mohammed took upon themselves an arduous task that absorbed their full energies. They spent their lives in agony and frustration in their attempts to reform people. Their efforts to save and redeem man drained their patience and strength. In the end, their efforts generally failed, and their dreams were left unfulfilled. Doctor Dahesh had prophesied many times in his writings that as long as man continues in his evil and sinful ways, one day soon, sooner than most people realize, mankind would be utterly destroyed. And that God’s wrath would swiftly descend upon the earth thereby annihilating man and his environment in one single blow – that of a nuclear war! (9)

 

In spite of those rather ominous and pessimistic views the Doctor had regarding man’s future, there were many happy moments which I shall always remember. Of course, there were times when he was visibly happy: he enjoyed visiting museums, monuments, and art galleries, or he browsed meticulously through libraries looking for special books of interest. The Doctor loved and appreciated all objects of art. He was an art expert and an avid and voracious reader of books, newspapers, and magazines. More particularly, he was interested in literature, art, science, history, and philosophy. He was an extremely versatile man, self-educated, well-informed, and an extraordinarily talented author of over a hundred and fifty books. Everywhere we went, tens if not hundreds of books were bought and carried or shipped to Lebanon to enrich the Daheshist Library, which, in my opinion, is perhaps one of the largest private libraries in the Middle East, if not the world.

 

CHAPTER X

On June 26, 1970, we began our first journey together by arriving late at night at the Sheraton hotel in Kuwait. I had previously made reservations from Beirut for a double room. When we arrived, we were given a nice and comfortable one, and by the time we retired, it was well past midnight – we were both extremely tired. The following morning, I awoke early and to my surprise I found the Doctor already dressed. He was sitting at a desk by the window, writing down the events of the previous days. Ever since Doctor Dahesh was a young man, he had always kept a diary. I got dressed and as I waited for him to finish writing in his diary so that we could both go downstairs to the dining room for breakfast, the Doctor was suddenly overcome by the Spirit. He turned to me and said, or rather the Spirit said, that I was very fortunate to be the companion of the Guiding Beloved Prophet on those journeys. And, as long as those journeys were mentioned, my name would also be mentioned. As soon as he finished saying that, I was overcome with joy and embraced the Doctor with happiness and appreciation. After this rather pleasant beginning of our journey, we went downstairs to the dining room where the Doctor ordered only a cup of hot tea. I too had only a cup of coffee. After that, we decided to go to the main center of the city which was at a short walking distance from the hotel. We walked through the streets for at least two hours, visiting the various shops. We were not looking for anything in particular. Doctor Dahesh just wanted to get an idea of the prices in general and of imported goods in particular. However, he did find the prices in Kuwait to be rather high. At about 10:30 A.M., the Doctor decided to return to the hotel by himself. The summer heat in Kuwait was unbearable, and he must have felt quite uncomfortable to stay outdoors and so decided to go back to the coolness of the air-conditioned room. I told Doctor Dahesh that I had to remain in the city to call on the company’s Kuwaiti customers. I had some business matters to attend to, but I would be back at the hotel by 1:00 P.M. at the latest. Upon my return, I found the Doctor resting in the room reading. When I asked him if he had eaten or would like to have something to eat with me, he replied that he did not feel like it. He was a bit tired from lack of sleep the night before and just wanted to take a short nap. In the afternoon, the Doctor felt much better and was eager to go out and see the city again. However, before going to the main shopping area, he wished to see the vegetable market in Kuwait and asked me to take him there. Not knowing where the vegetable market was, I asked a taxi driver to take us there. Doctor Dahesh enjoyed his browse in the vegetable and fruit market, going to almost every stand. He was interested in the fresh produce on display, and before leaving the market, we bought some fruit, a few cucumbers, and tomatoes to take back with us to the hotel. I later found out that in almost every city the Doctor and I visited, the first place we would visit, if there were no museums or art galleries, would be the fruit and vegetable markets. He did so not because he liked to eat, nor because he was a food connoisseur, but simply because he was a keen observer of people and things. He was curious to find out what fruits and vegetables were produced in or imported to each country.

 

Doctor Dahesh preferred simple food, and sometimes would go for days just eating cheese and olives, fruits, plain bread, and vegetables such as lettuce, fresh tomatoes, raw onions, uncooked small eggplants. These were his favorite foods. Sometimes, he would eat proper dinners and enjoy them too. But most of the time I was with him, I noticed that he was not keen on eating full meals. The Doctor ate meat but, if I remember correctly, he did not care much for it and preferred uncooked food like cheese, olives, and raw vegetables. After approximately a half-hour tour of the vegetable market in Kuwait, we took a taxi to the main business center. Once more, we visited many shops and finally stopped by one of my major customers whose showroom happened to be located in that same area. We entered the large showroom overlooking the main street and I was pleased to see some of the products I had sold him, appliances and room air conditioners, attractively displayed. At the end of the showroom we climbed a few steps to the offices above. We went straight to the president’s office, but he was away on a business trip. However, the general manager, who was also the junior partner of the business, was using the president’s office. When he saw us he welcomed us warmly, and I introduced Doctor Dahesh to him. He had never heard of the Doctor, and naturally in such circumstances I never attempted to explain who Doctor Dahesh really was. I simply introduced him as a very dear friend who was accompanying me on this

trip.

As we sat in the air-conditioned office sipping a cold soft drink, Doctor Dahesh noticed a magnificent bronze eagle majestically mounted on a marble base on the president’s desk. The bronze bird had its wings spread open half way as if ready to fly. Its beak was made out of ivory. The whole piece was truly a beautiful work of art. The Doctor was very impressed by the eagle and we asked the general manager about it. He informed us that the bronze eagle belonged to his senior partner, the president. It had been given to him as a present while on one of his business trips in Europe. That was all he knew about the bird, but he did admit that we were not the only ones who had admired it. After a while, as I was discussing some business matters with the general manager, a customer entered the office and requested the help of the manager in selecting a few appliances from the showroom downstairs. The manager excused himself and said that he would return as soon as he was through with the customer. We sat alone in the president’s office for a while, and again Doctor Dahesh brought up the subject of the eagle. He suggested that I should take a better look at it, to see if there was anything special, a label for example, or a mark which would indicate where it was made and by whom. I went to the president’s desk and tried to lift the eagle, but it was very heavy. I then looked at it carefully on all sides, but there was nothing visible which could identify the bird. Once again I tried to pick it up to look underneath the marble for some kind of identification, but I decided not to for two reasons. First, the bronze statue was indeed quite heavy and I did not want to attempt to lift it for fear of dropping it on the customer’s engraved and expensive desk. Secondly, it would have been embarrassing should the general manager come back unexpectedly and find me tampering with the eagle. In the meantime, Doctor Dahesh sat where he was and did not come close to inspect the statue. Before returning to my seat I felt like marking the eagle with a Daheshist sign. I marked a visible Daheshist star on its base with a pencil. The reason why I am mentioning the story of the bronze eagle in detail is because it involved a spiritual revelation of important significance. That very same eagle which we saw in Kuwait, and which I personally marked, was spiritually brought to Beirut by Doctor Dahesh. This miracle happened almost two years after we saw the eagle in Kuwait and I had completely forgotten about it. One evening on a visit to Dr. Dahesh in Beirut, I was sitting in the corridor with the Doctor and other Daheshists when he suddenly asked me to follow him by myself. He went straight to the living room, and I followed close behind. As soon as I sat down, I sensed from the expression on his face and the tone of his voice that he was in a spiritual state. He asked me to look at the table in the corner, and as I did the bronze eagle instantly appeared. I immediately recognized it to be the very same one we had seen in Kuwait. I got up and approached the table where the eagle was. I looked at it closely, and when I saw the barely visible star I had marked on it, I was shaken. It was definitely the same bronze eagle we both saw in Kuwait almost two years ago! I kept staring at it for a few minutes in bewilderment and in great awe. I then turned to ask the Doctor about this amazing manifestation. No sooner had I finished talking to him when I noticed that it had disappeared. It had vanished in a glance just as it had appeared. Objects temporarily appearing in such spiritual revelations have to return to their original place. However, if the object appearing belongs to the person witnessing the miracle, it will remain in his possession. Many such miracles which involved the instant apparition of objects, no matter how far they may have been, have been witnessed and attested to by people who knew Doctor Dahesh. This proves beyond a doubt that the Spirit performing the miracle can instantly transport any form or any object at superluminal speed. The Holy Spirit is not limited or bound by our three dimensional experience. During the entire time I witnessed this amazing revelation, the Doctor was overcome by the Spirit, as he always was when performing a spiritual miracle. When Doctor Dahesh was no longer in a spiritual state, and after the miracle had occurred, he as a normal person was not aware of what had happened. When I told him of how the same bronze eagle we saw together in Kuwait appeared, he was just as surprised as I was. Being with Doctor Dahesh one had to be constantly alert and had to pay very close attention to whatever he would casually mention. Things which under normal circumstances would have been taken as simple conversations, would be later found to have spiritual significance. I say this now, not because I was exceptionally alert when I traveled with Doctor Dahesh; at the contrary, had I been alert enough, and knew then what I know now, I certainly would have kept a diary of my travels with him. I became aware of this fact years later, when my journeys with Doctor Dahesh were practically over. Many times, the Doctor would casually mention something to me, but at the time I did not take it as being of any special importance. Later on, to my regret, I would discover that what he hinted at or said was spiritually important. Fortunately, in the case of the bronze eagle, I was alert and paid full attention to whatever he said or hinted. When the eagle revelation occurred two years later in Beirut, I was very much aware of every detail pertaining to that bird. Looking back at the circumstances surrounding that particular revelation and how the Doctor got me interested in the eagle in the first place while he sat aside, can only suggest one thing. He intuitively wanted me to remember everything about that bird so that when the spiritual revelation occurred two years later, I would instantly recognize it to be the very same eagle. From Kuwait we continued our journey to Bahrain, Qatar, and Dubai. We did not stay more than a few days in each place, except for Dubai where we stayed four days. The reason why we did not stay long in those countries was due mostly to the weather conditions which were extremely hot and humid. The Gulf region is known for its excessive heat year round, but in the summer it is unbearable. We were traveling in the peak of the hot season when temperature of 110 F with a humidity content of over 95% are quite common. Another reason why we shortened our visit was that those countries were basically commercial centers in an arid desert region. Once beyond city limits, one sees nothing but sand and inhospitable lands. There are no farms or green pastures, no trees or vegetation – nothing but desert. The countries we were visiting, however, are extremely rich in one commodity – oil – and are basically limited in everything else. The whole economy of the region depends on oil exports for revenue. When Doctor Dahesh visited the area with me twenty years ago, there were no museums or historical landmarks to visit. There were no botanical gardens or zoological parks either. While there, the only thing he could do was to visit the shopping centers or simply enjoy a walk through the vegetable and fruit markets. He would observe the people and their customs and get a general idea about their culture and traditions. Many a time we would hire a taxi and ask the driver to take us for a tour around the city, showing us places that might be of interest. We would ask the driver to take us to fishing areas or to residencies of the rulers of that country. In Bahrain, Doctor Dahesh and I visited the Bahraini businessman with whom I had my first business encounter while working for the U.S. company. He greeted us well and was warm and friendly. After a short visit with him, we went for a stroll in the vegetable and fruit market, which was only a short distance away. As we walked, we could not help but pass by the old and very unpleasant hotel in which I had to stay during my first business trip to Bahrain. When we returned to our new and modern hotel in the evening after a long and tiring day, I asked the Doctor to accompany me to the dining room for supper. He was not very hungry and asked me to simply order for him some watermelon and hot tea to be brought up to the room. He had also declined to eat a full meal the night before in the Sheraton Hotel in Kuwait. In fact, during the three days we had been together, the Doctor had not eaten anything solid, except for a few fruits. Ever since we left Beirut, he had riot had, what I would consider, a proper lunch or dinner, and whenever I asked him to have a full meal, he would refuse. Although he would only ask for some cold soft drink or some hot tea to be brought up to the room, he did eat some fruits which we brought back with us from the fruit market. The extreme weather conditions must have been very discomforting for the Doctor so much that it did not make him feel like eating. However, the following day when we returned to the hotel at noon, he decided to have lunch with me. We went downstairs and had a several course meal in the pleasant and cool dining room overlooking the sea. It was the first full meal he had eaten since we left Beirut, three days earlier. After our short visit to Bahrain we left for Doha, Qatar, and once again as soon as we checked into our modern hotel, the Doctor wanted to see the city. Our hotel was located on the outskirts of Doha, so we asked a taxi driver to take us to the main shopping center. He took us into a busy area full of small shops clustered together along one main street and a few side streets or alleys. We got out of the taxi and walked down the main shopping street and through the few crowded and twisted narrow alleys. Frankly, the Doctor was not at all impressed with Doha’s shopping center. There was not much of variety or interesting goods to see; most of the wares in the small shops were of Japanese origin, such as watches, fans, cameras, and electronic goods. However, some shops did carry Indian garments and a few gold jewelry. After a short walk in the center of the city, I asked whether the Doctor did not mind visiting a customer with me. It just so happened that this client was close to where we were. Doctor Dahesh did not object. As we entered the customer’s office, he greeted us warmly and immediately offered us a cold soft drink to quench our thirst. The Doctor sat with us for a few minutes, and then he decided to go for a short walk by himself around the shops in that area. I stayed behind and discussed business matters with my customer. About half an hour later, Doctor Dahesh returned. He was soaking wet with perspiration from the intense heat and humidity outside. He sat with us in the cool air-conditioned room for a while, and then I sensed that he wanted to leave, perhaps to go back to the hotel or somewhere else. At any rate, we excused ourselves. My Qatari customer, however, insisted on placing his car at our disposal and asked his private driver to take us wherever we wished. We took him up on his generous offer and were driven all over the city, admiring its beautiful seashore and harbor. From there we passed through the commercial center on our way back to the hotel. The driver inadvertently went into a small alley where Doctor Dahesh noticed a small vegetable market. Hundreds, if not thousands of jute bags of onions were stacked everywhere, and in fact there seemed to be hardly anything else. That market seemed to specialize in the sale of onions, and as a matter of fact, we were told, it was the ”onion market.” We asked the driver to wait a few minutes as we walked in that square. The onions were sold wholesale, the minimum being a fifty-pound bag. Doctor Dahesh, just out of curiosity, asked a vendor the price of one such bag and he was told that it costs four Riyals, or the equivalent of a single dollar! After our short tour of the market, the driver took us back to our hotel. The following morning, Doctor Dahesh wished to remain behind in the hotel to rest and to write down in his diary events of the previous day. I left him on his own and went to the city to call on some of my other clients. At noon I returned to the hotel, and on my way back, I stopped by a fruit stand and bought some for the Doctor. When I entered the room, I found him reading. I greeted him and began to take the fruit out of the warm bag. As I took some to wash for him in the cool water, the paper bag fell to the ground. Doctor Dahesh immediately picked it up and took it over to a table where he sat down and began to write on it at an amazing speed. I did not have the slightest idea of what he was writing. I washed the fruits and came back to give him some, but he was still busy writing and I did not wish to interrupt him. I could not figure out what prompted him so suddenly and unexpectedly to write on such an unusual piece of paper. What amazed me most of all, however, was the speed with which Doctor Dahesh wrote! I was absolutely bewildered. He continued writing with an astonishing speed for about six minutes, and when he finished he stood up and held the very paper bag on which he had just written. He then looked at me with an inquisitive smile and said: ”I have written a short piece; would you like to hear it?” ”Of course,” I replied. He began to read it. They were very caring and moving poetic verses addressed to me:

 

To My Brother Salim (If you remain a Daheshist)

The hours flee like passing clouds; The minutes fade away for ever, not to return; The days perish carrying their suffering and misery; And the years are consumed by fate, Like sheep devoured by wolves. But suddenly, yes suddenly, 0 my beloved brother Salim, We shall cast off our earthly bodies And enrobe the wondrous spiritual gown! Such a magnificent precious robe! Together we shall roam happy worlds In those divine dwellings afar, Where happiness, my brother, will follow us, And a number of our beloveds will accompany us. Sweet hymns of angels in praise of God Will captivate our radiant souls with their melodies! There, my brother, no sadness, sorrow or tears exist! And ecstasy in such surroundings Will inhabit our souls! We shall gradually attain spiritual sublimity; On that very day will be revealed to us The secrets of death and that of eternity! Ages will go by, and generations will linger Yet our felicity will be heightened! We will worship God – Praised be His Name, As we shall dwell in bliss for all eternities!

Doha, July 1st, 1970, at 2:00 P.M.

As the Doctor was reading the poem to me, emotions of gratitude and happiness overwhelmed me. Its very words moved me. It was filled with promises of gratification and deliverance should I remain true to my Daheshist faith. I felt truly honored and fortunate to have such wonderful words addressed to me by my beloved Doctor Dahesh. No one had ever written anything about me before except a psychologist who analyzed my test results before I was hired by the U.S. company. He said of me, that I was aggressive, stubborn, disorganized and required frequent supervision, yet I might turn out to be a good salesman. With that kind of a report, I often wondered why the company bothered to hire me in the first place! When I became vice-president of that U.S. sales company, the chairman confided in me that he did not really take those tests of psychological analysis too seriously. He complained that those reports always seemed to be worded in such a way that they could never decisively know whether a candidate would turn out to be a good or a bad salesperson. At any rate, to have that gratifying and beautiful poem written for me by Doctor Dahesh, the Guiding Beloved Prophet, was just too much for me to expect. It filled my heart with hope and joy, and when Doctor Dahesh finished reading the piece, I rushed over to him and hugged and kissed him in appreciation and gratitude. I have often heard from other Daheshists that when Doctor Dahesh wrote, he always did so with astonishing speed. His thoughts seemed to come to him faster than he could write them down. What he did write down was almost always the final draft, with no corrections or alterations. In fact, all the books the Doctor wrote, and there are over a hundred and fifty books in all, were written in that same manner. One book in particular, Memoirs of a Dinar, which is an extraordinary and exciting story of people and events beautifully presented in a chronological order, was completed by the Doctor in several hours divided among twelve days of interrupted writings. In the introduction to the book, a Daheshist brother, Mr. Halim Dammous, who was the Daheshist chronicler, mentioned that it took him a whole week of almost continuous work to copy down what Doctor Dahesh had written. Doctor Dahesh was truly a talented and prodigious writer of immeasurable stature. His literary works cover an immense variety of subjects which deal with topics of all facets of life. However, the most astonishing thing about all this is that he did not really have a formal education. All he had received as a young child was a few months of elementary schooling. His family was forced to take him out of school at an early age due to his poor health, and because of their limited means, they could not afford to send him to school. Yet, today, Doctor Dahesh’s literary works stand out as a monumental tribute to such a remarkable and unusually gifted man. (10)

When Doctor Dahesh had finished reading the poem to me, I asked whether I could copy it down. He said that I could, and he handed me the brown paper bag. I did so and kept the copy with me for several months thereafter. One day I saw it printed, word for word, as he had originally written it, in one of his then newly published books. The title of the new book was Selections from Doctor Dahesh’s Books.(11)Later that afternoon, we were invited to visit a private zoo which belonged to the ruler of Qatar at the time, Sheikh Ahmad Al Thani. My Qatari client whom we had visited the previous day had made all the necessary arrangements and had obtained permission for us to visit. Our Qatari host picked us up from the hotel. We drove for about twenty minutes until we reached an area that looked like an oasis in the middle of the desert. It was a large fenced-in area containing many tall trees and lots of greenery which stood in sharp contrast with the desolate and arid sands surrounding it. As we walked through the pleasant and clean park, we saw several attendants busily working. Some were watering the trees and plants, while others were tending to the animals. The park appeared to be well taken care of and every effort was put into making it pleasant and attractive. Although we saw many animals, their numbers and species were limited. After crossing most of the park, we soon came upon a fairly large area which was also fenced-in. It housed a good number of Arabian oryx, an endangered desert gazelle. We were told that Sheikh Ahmad wanted to save the animal from extinction, and it was for that reason that he built the zoological park. After visiting the zoo, we were invited along with other guests to have dinner at my customer’s house. The other guests were all from Qatar, and some were curious to know what branch of medicine Doctor Dahesh specialized in. I told them he was a Doctor of Arts and Literature, for under the circumstances I did not want to reveal who he really was. The following morning, I awoke at about 7:00 A.M., and as usual, I found the Doctor busy writing in his diary. I quickly got dressed and asked him if he wished to come with me for breakfast. He was not hungry and just asked me to have a cup of tea brought up to the room. I ordered for him what he had asked for, excused myself, and then went down for breakfast. When I returned to the room, he was still writing, but as soon as he saw me, he asked me to bring him one hundred Riyals in single bills as soon as possible. He told me that they were to be placed inside an envelope to be delivered to a needy person in Doha, Qatar. I asked the Doctor if a single hundred riyal bill would do, since I had one in my pocket and could put it right then in an envelope. Doctor Dahesh replied that the spiritual instructions called for one hundred Riyals in single one-riyal bills.(12) As soon as I returned to the city with the Doctor that morning, I went into a bank and obtained what he had asked for. Once we were inside our hotel room, I placed the money in a white envelope and quite routinely asked Doctor Dahesh for the address of the man who was to receive the money. He explained that there was no need for an address. The envelope was going to be spiritually transferred to a place where only that needy man and no one else could readily find it. When he told me this, I simply handed him the envelope containing the money, and as soon as he touched it, it disappeared! The Doctor then explained that there is a just and merciful eye watching over all of us. Whatever happens, anywhere in God’s infinite Kingdom, is known and recorded. As large and infinite as the Universe may seem, not a single event passes God’s attention, His justice, and His mercy. Our every prayer, our needs and our hopes are all known by Him. Every little detail about us and about the billions of other creations, past, present, and future are all known and recorded, just as Jesus said: ”But the very hairs of your head are all numbered” (Matthew 10:30). Later that afternoon we went to Doha’s airport to take a flight to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. However, as soon as we arrived at the airport, we were told that there was a two-and-a-half hour delay. There was nothing we could do except wait at the airport. I asked the Doctor if he wished to eat something at the airport restaurant, because I knew he had not eaten anything at lunch time. He did not object and we went up to the restaurant on the second floor. As it was rather late in the afternoon, about 3:30 P.M., the restaurant was empty. We were the only customers there. I asked the waiter if they had anything special to offer at that time. He said that he would check with the cook to see if there was still some curried rice with lamb meat left over from lunch. The waiter left for a couple of minutes and then came back to tell us that he could serve us vegetable soup and curried rice with meat. The Doctor ordered both, but I just settled for a bowl of soup since I had already eaten at the hotel before coming to the airport. Doctor Dahesh ate his dinner with great appetite and enjoyed a very large white Saudi Arabian onion with his meal. He ate everything that was offered to him, and when I asked whether he was still hungry, he replied that he was. I ordered a second serving of the curried rice with lamb meat. This time, the Doctor did not want another bowl of soup, and he ate the second portion just as heartily as he did the first. I had been traveling with the Doctor for several days now, and I had never seen him eat with so much relish as he did that afternoon. Up to that moment, I was beginning to believe that he was indeed a very poor eater who really did not care about food. However, in that restaurant at Doha, after seeing him eat a bowl of soup and two large servings of curried rice with meat, plus a very large raw onion, I did not know what to think. As I was wondering about all this, the Doctor, suddenly overcome with the spirit, looked me straight in the eye and said: ”I know what you are thinking. You are wondering why the Guiding Beloved Prophet is eating so much. He is eating so much to feed two starving people who must receive the food Sayals from the Prophet to keep them alive.”(13) Finally, after a three hour delay at the airport in Doha, our plane took off and we continued our journey to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.

 

CHAPTER XI

Upon arriving in Dubai the first thing we noticed as we descended from the plane was the unbearable and suffocating heat and humidity. It was far worse than any we had ever encountered on our travels through the other Gulf countries. We took a taxi to the Carlton hotel where we checked in. It was located in the center of the city, just a few minutes walk from the main shopping area. After checking into our room we washed up and changed our clothes. Then, we decided to go to the dining room and have a full course meal. Doctor Dahesh was anxious to see the city that very night. As soon as we finished our dinner, we went for a walk to the shopping center. Even though it was quite late in the evening, the shops were still opened and the streets were teeming with people and vendors, most of whom were Indians. We walked through an open area where hundreds of vendors sold fruit and vegetables. Some were sitting on the ground as they tried to sell a crate or two of mangos which they had beside them. Others had more elaborate carts loaded with fruit and vegetables imported from India, Pakistan, Iran, and Lebanon. The whole open space market was lit up with hundreds of kerosene lanterns which hung over the crates of fruit. The heat generated by the kerosene lamps added even more heat to the already suffocating atmosphere. Doctor Dahesh and I walked through the crowded market, shoving our way through as we went from one vendor to the other. We saw a great variety of fruit and vegetables on display, but the fruit we admired most was the Indian mango. Before leaving the market, we bought some mangos, bananas, and a few onions to take back to the hotel. From there, we continued our walk to the main commercial center where hundreds of tiny shops were located. The blaring sound of Indian music coming from sidewalk cafes and radio shops seemed to be everywhere. Most of the people we saw on the streets of Dubai were either Indian or Pakistani. The Arab natives of Dubai, even today, are the minority. However it is the Arabs of Dubai who control the government and the economy of the country. Walking through the dark streets of the old commercial center at night, one could not help but feel to be walking somewhere on the sub-continent of India. At any rate, we continued to walk by many shops and sometimes we would go inside to check the price of some article or another. Eventually, the heat and humidity began getting to us. We could no longer tolerate the suffocating and debilitating heat of Dubai. We were perspiring so much that our clothes were soaking wet. Incidentally, I have never seen anyone perspire as much as Doctor Dahesh. He even perspires during the cold winter months. The most unusual thing about this, however, was that it was odorless. I was amazed to notice this when I washed the Doctor’s undershirt which was soaking wet from the previous day. It did not have any odor whatsoever. I also noticed that he rarely took showers but always smelled clean. On our first night out in Dubai, we only visited the old commercial center in one part of the city, as the other part was separated by the sea. To visit that part one had to cross over by motorboat or by a bridge which was located at the southern end of the town. As it was getting very late, we decided to visit the other part of the city the following morning. The commercial section we were in had numerous buildings with small winding roads and twisted alleys. The whole center at night seemed to come alive with teeming crowds bustling around and intermingling with street vendors in a totally chaotic manner. In addition to all the activity and confusion of that night, we had to contend with not only the discomforting heat and blaring music but also with the annoying sound of air-conditioners. The throbbing sound of hundreds, if not thousands of room air-conditioners, seemed to come from every shop and building in the city. We decided to end our uncomfortable walk and return to the quiet coolness of our hotel room. On our way back to the hotel, we went by the street overlooking the old harbor. As we walked, we could see the other side of the city which was separated by water. The glittering lights reflected on the placid and unperturbed waters formed a serene and breathtaking view. The view of the other side of the city at night looked so peaceful. Walking along the pleasant and calm quay with the Doctor, I could not help but rejoice at the fact that beautiful memories and dreams sometimes do come true. Several years earlier, as I sat on the balcony of my hotel room in Dubai at night and alone admiring that very same serene view, I thought of Doctor Dahesh, his revelations and wonderful philosophy. I wished he were then with me. Now, as we slowly walked together, my dream had come true. On our side of the city there was still some activity going on. Small vessels and cargo ships loaded and unloaded merchandise way into the late hours of the night. Those vessels ferried trade and passengers legally and illegally between India, Pakistan, Iran, Dubai and the other Gulf states. As we continued to walk toward the hotel, we saw some poor foreign laborers. They were trying to get some sleep, stretched out on wooden planks placed beside the old harbor. The excessive and intolerable heat kept them twisting and turning in great discomfort. I turned to Doctor Dahesh and remarked that those people must be suffering from the unbearable heat. He remarked that unfortunately they were indeed. I asked him whether it was just circumstances which led those poor laborers to be in Dubai at the peak of its hot weather. I said that they had made their free choice and obviously had to endure the miserable climate. The Doctor replied that nothing we see or experience is coincidental. Everything about us, at any particular time, is never accidental. Our circumstances, he said, are dictated by and tied to our Sayals and to the spiritual level they have attained. Therefore, all those laborers we saw stretched out on the wooden planks had their spiritual Sayals evolved to that level which brought them to the heat and misery of Dubai. Things do not exist in isolation, and events do not take place because of local variables and circumstances. What exists and what transpires in nature without exception is fundamentally linked and determined by its spiritual origin. Nothing at all happens without a spiritual reason behind it. Nothing at all is coincidental, even though it may appear to be so. There is an intricate web of spiritual interrelationships between things and their circumstances, between causes and their effects. Who we are, and what we are, is brought about by our own free deeds and thoughts through the cycles of our lives – birth, death, and reincarnation. If our deeds and thoughts are evil, likewise evil, misery and suffering will follow us wherever we go. On the other hand, if our thoughts and deeds are good, virtuous and God fearing, then goodness and mercy will follow us on earth and in the hereafter. Physical comfort or suffering, however, should not be taken as an indication of the spiritual level and qualities of the Sayals. What appears to people as fortune or misfortune may or may not be spiritually relevant. Therefore, the suffering of those poor laborers we saw at the harbor in Dubai did not necessarily mean that they were being punished for their bad spiritual Sayals. All it means is that those laborers had their Sayals evolved into a spiritual level which brought them to that place at that particular time. The Daheshist philosophy is very clear on this, and Doctor Dahesh’s many books and teachings emphasize this fact. Frequent references are made of people who ruled the world but had the most debased and evil Sayals, and in contrast, of poor individuals unknown and ridiculed in their time, and sometimes even put to death, and yet they possessed the most noble of spiritual Sayals. The history of mankind amply bears witness to this reality, as John the Baptist, for example, did not have wealth nor power. In fact, he ate locusts in the wilderness. He also wore garments of camel hair which only the very poor wore in those days. Herod, the king of Judea, on the other hand, was rich and mighty. He even had the power of life and death over the people he ruled. To please a degenerate woman, Salome, he ordered the beheading of John, who according to Jesus was a prophet. Jesus said of him: ”Verily I say unto you, among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John” ( Matthew 11:11). Herod, the rich and mighty king, was very evil. Therefore, the spiritual qualities of the Sayal can never be judged or measured in terms of physical comfort, power, or possession. After walking in the streets of Dubai for about an hour and a half, we decided to return to the hotel. We got back late in the evening, around 10:30 P.M., and as soon as we entered into our room we washed ourselves and fell asleep. The following morning, I decided not to call on the company’s customers in Dubai. Instead, I wanted to spend the whole day with the Doctor taking him wherever he wished to go. The first stop, that day, was by the travel agent to reserve two seats on a return flight to Beirut.

 

The Doctor seemed anxious to return home and did not wish to remain in Dubai for more than a few days. The reason was undoubtedly the excessive heat and humidity of the climate. It was just intolerable and made it almost impossible for us to enjoy our stay. From the travel agency, we walked a short distance to the harbor. There, we boarded a small motorboat which ferried us to the other side of the city. Once across the waterway, we disembarked and immediately found ourselves in the old enclosed commercial center where literally hundreds of tiny shops clustered around one main narrow road and a few side alleys. Some of the shops we saw were so small that not more than two or three people could go in at one time. The goods we saw on display were mainly Japanese electronic products. However, there were a few jewelry stores and others that specialized in Indian garments and wares. The buildings looked old and worn out and appeared neglected and bleached from the scorching sun. We did not enjoy our walk through that shopping center and only visited a small number of stores. Once again it was the unbearable heat which cut short our tour of that section of the city. On our way back to the hotel, we took another motorboat and crossed the waterway. Our hotel was just a short distance away from where we disembarked – barely a few minutes walk. But, because it was so hot, we had to take a taxi to the hotel. We were so exhausted and so uncomfortable from the excessive heat that it was almost impossible for us to walk even for a few more minutes. As soon as we arrived to our room, the Doctor washed his face and changed his clothes. I decided to take a cold shower. At noon, the Doctor did not feel like going out for lunch. He just ate some of the fruits we had brought back the night before from the fruit market. That same afternoon, Doctor Dahesh wished to visit a private zoo which was temporarily opened in Dubai. It was owned and set up by a Swiss zoologist. Apparently, the receptionist at the hotel had informed the Doctor about it. About 4 o’clock in the afternoon we hired a taxi and headed for the zoo. When we passed the city limits, we found ourselves on a wide straight highway which seemed to run in the middle of the desert. The taxi driver drove very fast for about fifteen minutes before he finally stopped at an entrance gate to a very large fenced park. Besides the gate stood a small wooden shack with an Indian zookeeper inside. He was sitting there half asleep. He was perspiring heavily and seemed to be in great discomfort from the excessive heat. He had neither the energy nor the incentive to be friendly to us or to anyone else. After paying him the entrance fee, he quickly admitted us. We were the only two visitors in the park. Our taxi driver waited for us outside the gate as we visited the zoo. Although the park was quite large, there was no shade and no benches to sit and rest on. All we could see were cages, large and small, scattered all over the vast grounds. The animals in their cages were lazy and motionless – they too were suffering from heat exhaustion. Frankly, I was not very interested in watching the animals because the scorching sun above us was unbearable. All I could think of was how to protect my head from the burning sun rays as I kept pace with the Doctor. He, on the other hand, was quite interested in the creatures and briskly went from one cage to the other. I was hoping he would cut short his tour of the zoo and decide to return to the hotel. The Doctor’s face was red with heat and he was perspiring heavily. We were both soaking wet and extremely uncomfortable. Finally, to my great relief, he decided not to walk to the farthest end of the park where the lion and tiger cages were kept. We returned to our waiting taxi. The driver drove us straight to the hotel at a very fast speed. Once we were inside our room, we washed and changed our soaking wet clothes. Doctor Dahesh decided to rest in the room, and when I asked him whether he wished to come down with me to the dining room for dinner, he declined. He said that he was not hungry and did not feel very well. I reminded him that he had not eaten anything all day except for some fruits. I suggested that perhaps if he had a bowl of soup or something light, he would feel better. The Doctor repeated that he did not want anything and would just like to rest in the room. He told me that he had some writing to do. I left him alone and went downstairs to the dining room. After a light dinner, I went to rest for a while in the main lounge, leaving the Doctor undisturbed and resting in the room. I spent a couple of hours watching TV and then read some Lebanese newspapers and magazines. When I finally returned to the room, it was still rather early in the evening, about 8:30 P.M. However, to my surprise, Doctor Dahesh was already asleep and all the lights were turned out. It was far too early for me to sleep, and as I did not want to disturb the Doctor by putting the lights on, I decided to spend a few more hours in the lounge. Later, when I finally returned to the room, Doctor Dahesh was still sound asleep. He seemed to be breathing heavily and with some difficulty. I changed my clothes quietly in the dark and went to bed. The following morning when I awoke, I saw the Doctor sitting in his bed. He indicated to me that he did not feel well at all and wanted to remain in the hotel. I asked him if he felt like having breakfast, and he replied that he did not. He just wanted a cup of tea sent up to the room. I was beginning to worry about his health. He had not been feeling well since we returned from the zoo. I thought that perhaps he needed a good rest all morning, and that in the afternoon he would feel much better. I asked Doctor Dahesh if he wanted me to bring him back anything from the city, such as newspapers or any particular fruit that he liked, but he was not interested in anything. I excused myself and told him that I would be back by noon. I had to make a few business calls on some of my customers in Dubai. I returned to the hotel at about one o’clock. Upon entering the room, I was very surprised to see the Doctor still in bed. This time, he was moaning and appeared to be in pain. I asked him what was wrong, and if I should get a doctor. He refused a visit by a doctor and kept on moaning. I placed my hand on his forehead, and I could tell that he was running a very high fever. I then took his temperature with the thermometer I knew he always carried and was shocked to see it reached almost 40’ C or 104’ F! I realized that with such a high fever, he was quite sick and needed urgent medical attention. I was in a great dilemma and really did not know what to do. I knew that I should call a physician, but that would have been against his wish, and I did not want to do that. At one point, I thought of actually calling Beirut and asking for advice from the other Daheshists on whether I should call a physician regardless of Doctor Dahesh’s wish. Suddenly, I thought of writing a Daheshist prayer, a Ramz, in which I would pray to God Almighty to help him recover. As I sat down to write the Daheshist ”Ramz,” (14) the Doctor, suddenly overcome with the Spirit, sat up in his bed. He quietly and calmly talked to me. I instantly realized that it was the Spirit and not Doctor Dahesh who was talking to me; for only moments earlier he lay delirious in bed. The Spirit in effect told me that I received a special Sayal which induced me to think of writing a Daheshist prayer. In this prayer I would ask God Almighty to help the Guiding Beloved Prophet to recover. The Ramz was necessary, the Spirit told me, because the Guiding Beloved Prophet had been struck with a sunstroke. The Prophet, the Spirit continued to say, had disobeyed the laws of nature which God decreed for the planet earth. Those natural laws apply to all people and creatures living on earth including prophets. Walking unprotected under the scorching rays of the sun is a violation of those laws. For this reason, the Prophet has been affected by a sunstroke. The Spirit said that once I had written the prayer and burnt it, I was to take a bit of the ash and trace a Daheshist Star on the Prophet’s forehead. Once I did that, the Guiding Beloved Prophet would recover immediately. Saying that, the Spirit left, and the Doctor fell back into his delirious state. I was stunned by what I had just heard. Feelings of excitement and awe overwhelmed me. It is very hard to describe the feelings and thoughts that ran through my mind at that particular instant. Words cannot adequately convey the degree of happiness and bliss I felt. I was trembling with joy that I would be the instrument and witness of a spiritual and miraculous recovery of the Prophet. There I was with all my faults and human frailties asked by the Divine Spirit to make a prayer not for the recovery of an ordinary person, but for the recovery of the Guiding Beloved Prophet. What a wonderful thought and honor it was for me. When I look back at that incident, I honestly feel that I did not deserve such an honor. I quickly began to write down the Daheshist prayer on a yellow paper asking God, the Merciful, to make Doctor Dahesh well again. When I finished burning the Ramz, I took a pinch of the ash and went to the Doctor who still lay delirious in bed. I traced the Daheshist Star on his forehead, just as the Spirit had instructed me to do. He was still in pain, but just as I finished tracing the Ramz on his forehead, I swear, a miracle occurred. The Doctor instantly opened his eyes and sat up in bed as if there had been nothing wrong with him! He looked at me and asked what had happened? He told me he felt very well and actually was quite hungry. I explained what had happened, down to the last detail, and he was quite surprised to know how sick he really had been. I asked him to let me check his temperature again and when I did, it had dropped down to the normal 37’C or 98.6’ F. Just moments earlier, his temperature was at a dangerous 40’ C. The Doctor had fully recovered, thank the Lord. Feeling well again, but very hungry, he decided to accompany me to the dining room for lunch. He took with him a large white onion which we had bought at the market two days earlier. This time, Doctor Dahesh ate heartily and when he finished, he returned to the room to do some writing. I, on the other hand, left the hotel and went to call on one of my customers who wished to place an order for room air-conditioners. The day before, I had made arrangements for that business meeting. However, when the client came to pick me up at the hotel, I was not particularly interested. The last thing on my mind was business matters. I did not even care whether I signed a large order or not just to please the company back in Chicago. I was in a state of spiritual awe and reverence caused by that amazing miracle which I had witnessed a few hours earlier. As I sat in the office with my Dubai customer, I could not help but think of Doctor Dahesh’s miraculous recovery from his sunstroke. The thoughts of that amazing revelation, now locked into my memory and soul, overshadowed everything else. The company’s urgent business matters which had to be attended to, and which were a high priority in my mind just a day before, seemed to fade into insignificance. Everything except the Doctor became irrelevant, and the only thing that mattered to me was Doctor Dahesh and the awesome truth of his divine spirituality. That afternoon, after experiencing such a unique and blessed event, I could hardly concentrate on business. Nothing at all seemed more important than the miracle I was fortunate enough to witness. For a brief moment I thought of the millions of business transactions that are conducted everyday all over the world; they come and go and eventually disappear into oblivion. But, Doctor Dahesh and his divine truth, that I knew, would always be an everlasting reality. In an instant, that miracle revealed to me even more clearly the majesty of God’s infinite justice and mercy and the splendor of the Daheshist religion. The image of the Guiding Beloved Prophet lying sick in bed with a sunstroke kept coming back to my mind. I kept visualizing him in pain and delirious, moaning and unable to rest or sleep because he had violated God’s laws by walking unprotected beneath the scorching sun. Doctor Dahesh should not have violated the laws which God created and decreed for our planet earth. In a sudden spiritual revelation which left me awestruck, I realized how infinite God’s justice and mercy are. His laws must be obeyed and observed by every single being, including prophets. The Guiding Beloved Prophet whom He loved and to whom He gave power to heal and perform miracles was no exception. Doctor Dahesh, claiming no pretensions or special privileges from his Creator, needed prayers, just like everybody else, asking God for mercy and forgiveness to help him recover. These were the emotions and thoughts that ran through my mind as I tried to discuss business matters with my client that afternoon. At the end of that inconclusive meeting, we agreed to meet again the following morning for further discussions. When I returned to the hotel later that afternoon, I found the Doctor waiting for me. He was quite anxious to go for a short walk to the shopping center. He had not been out of the hotel for over a day, ever since he had returned from visiting the zoo. This time our stroll into the city did not last long, and after visiting some shops and a few bookstores we returned to the hotel. Originally, we were planning to return to Beirut the following morning, but because of some unfinished business I had to attend to, we did not leave until a day later.

 

CHAPTER XII

In Beirut, I continued to be very close to Doctor Dahesh, visiting him at his home almost daily. For the next two years I constantly traveled with him and we visited over twenty-three countries together. The details of those journeys, as well as other travels the Doctor took, were all recorded by Doctor Dahesh in his twenty-volume series entitled Doctor Dahesh’s Journeys Around the World. When I read the Doctor’s description of those memorable journeys we took together, I can vividly remember the places we visited, the things he said and the things he did. I also recall the unforgettable spiritual revelations that took place in his presence. When I remember all of these things, I cannot help but be overwhelmed with deep emotions of inner comfort. Those journeys we took together were the most endearing events that ever happened to me, and their memory will always be with me. When I look back and reflect upon those journeys, I often feel I made several grave mistakes of which I was unaware at the time. Now, many years later, I regret that I did not keep a diary. But most of all, I regret not having devoted all my time to the beloved Doctor Dahesh. I should have been more in tune with his desires and wishes, and I should have done exactly what he wanted me to do instead of worrying about what the company in Chicago expected of me. I also should have been entirely at Doctor Dahesh’s service and wishes, instead of trying to do my work and at the same time be with him. I regret the lost opportunities and the missed chances the Doctor hinted at, things I did not fulfill because of business considerations and commitments. I lament the fact that I was not totally free to do the things he wanted me to do because I was under pressure by the company to fully use my time for business matters. Unfortunately while I was traveling with Doctor Dahesh, I unwisely thought that I had to divide my time into two equal priorities. On the one hand, I had to meet the business demands required of me as a salesman, and on the other, I wanted to be Doctor Dahesh’s devoted travel companion. That arrangement, business on the one hand and loyalty and devotion to the Doctor on the other, was a terrible mistake. When I look back, I sadly realize that my time priorities were indeed badly judged. I ask myself now, how could I have put the material demands of business in parity with the spiritual demands of a Prophet. How could I have let the greed and contradictions of business distract me from the serene and resplendent calls of the Spirit. I had failed to appreciate the full significance of being, even for a very short period of my life, the privileged companion of the Guiding Beloved Prophet, and I sadly failed to see the spiritual opportunities offered to me by the beloved Doctor. Regretfully, until I became my own boss I always had someone over my head telling me where to go and what to do with my time. I should have never allowed that to happen while I traveled with Doctor Dahesh. I should have learned from my earliest sales experience, never to allow anyone blinded by money and greed to force me into doing something against my wish. That bitter experience happened in 1960, before I joined the American sales company, and before I even knew Doctor Dahesh. I was in America at the time and my wife had just delivered our first baby daughter. Out of desperation to earn a living for my family I worked as a door-to-door salesman for a cosmetics company on a commission basis only. The sales supervisor who hired me was my direct boss as well as the boss of several other salesmen. He was a young American, about my age at the time, very aggressive and at times very arrogant. He worshipped money and could think of nothing but how to make more and how to get rich quickly. In short, he was one of those young Americans anxious to climb the success ladder of corporate America at any cost. I recall on my first day of work, he spent the whole day training me, and we went from door to door trying to sell cosmetics. I followed him and watched how he approached potential customers and made his sales presentation. This went on for several hours of uninterrupted calls, and my supervisor continued to knock on doors well into the lunch hour. We did not stop until finally someone slammed the door in our faces cursing us because we had interrupted him while he was having lunch. Even then we only stopped for a few minutes to have a hamburger before continuing our sales calls. In spite of all his efforts, my supervisor was not very successful in writing orders. Most of the people we called on appeared to be poor and were not interested in buying cosmetics, and, if I remember correctly, he only wrote up three orders totaling less than twenty-five dollars. Yet, despite his dismal performance, he kept reminding me all day long of the importance of hard work, and how it was essential to use every available minute to call on customers. I recall his words to me: ”The more calls you make, the more chances you will have of writing up orders.” Everywhere we went, he kept reminding me of the importance of time and the necessity of working hard. At times, I felt extremely irritated by him, especially since I was not being paid by the hour. My income was based solely on commission. If I sold cosmetics I would earn some money, and if I did not I would not earn any. It was as simple as that. However, I realized that my young supervisor was only interested in good salesmen for a good reason of his own. Before we parted company, he showed me some statistical charts of the sales growth in certain areas covered by salesmen under his supervision. He even told me that if I followed his advice, in a short time, I would be able to earn up to 150 dollars per week in commission. In those days that amount sounded like a lot of money to me, and I was quite anxious to begin my work. He assigned me to an area in the south side of Chicago. It was a new sales territory to which no one had been previously assigned. Before leaving, he handed me some brochures and order forms and then told me to meet him three times a week at a certain time and place. The following day I got up early, took the subway and went all the way down to the area he had assigned to me. I carried the cosmetic sales kit and began work earnestly doing exactly what he had told me to do – going from door to door. It did not take me very long to come to the conclusion that the area to which he assigned me was very poor indeed. Very few people were interested in buying cosmetics, and even if they were interested they could not afford it. I would call upon perhaps fifteen or even twenty homes before someone would let me in, and even then they would only place an order for a few dollars. This went on for about ten days during which I earned a total of less than thirty-five dollars in commission. I would return at night to my mother-in-law’s house, where I lived with my wife and baby daughter, totally exhausted from walking all day long. Regardless of the hard work I was putting in my job, I was getting nowhere. The area my supervisor assigned me to was one of the poorest in Chicago. I asked my supervisor many times to transfer me to another area in order to make some earnings. I even pleaded with him, explaining that I needed some income but he refused to reassign me to any other territory, claiming that all the other areas were already covered. He insisted that I should persevere. One day, however, toward the end of my second week at work, my luck seemed to have changed for the better. I rang the doorbell of a home, and as soon as the middle-aged woman opened the door, she said I was just the cosmetic salesman she had been waiting for. I was thrilled that at last someone was looking for me to place an order. The woman ordered cosmetics for over fifty dollars, all to be delivered at one time. That was the largest single order I ever wrote as a cosmetic salesman! The following day when I saw my supervisor, he was very happy about the fifty-dollar order, and to stress a point he casually commented, that all it took was perseverance and then everything would fall in place! A few days later, I received the merchandise which was to be delivered. I placed it in a large bag and happily rushed over to the woman’s house, thinking of the fifteen or sixteen dollars commission I would be making on that single order. When I rang the doorbell, the same woman opened the door, but before I could greet her or even say anything, she shouted ”you again, get out of here, I do not want any of your cosmetic stuff.” I told her ”look, you ordered the cosmetics, don’t you remember? I just came to deliver the products you ordered.” She did not want to take any of the merchandise and told me to leave or else she would call the police. She rudely slammed the door in my face. I stood at her door for a minute or so completely stunned and taken by surprise. I did not know what to do, nor how to explain to an ignorant woman that what she just did was unethical to say the least. How could such a woman understand that I lived in poverty, and if she did not take what she ordered, I would have to pay for the unwanted cosmetics with money I did not have. I knew she would not understand and decided to leave. I went home that evening very disappointed, carrying with me a bag full of cosmetics for which I knew I had to pay. When I saw my supervisor the next day I told him what had happened. I asked him amiably if he could somehow help me return the unwanted merchandise back to the company, even though I knew that once a salesman ordered a product, the company’s policy was not to take it back. As soon as I made the request, instead of at least being rejected in a nice sympathetic way, my supervisor was livid. Not only did he reject my request in a rude manner, but to make matters worse, he went on to insult me and accuse me of being a bad salesman who lacked motivation and that I was a habitual complainer incapable of communicating with people. He said that had it been him instead of me, he would have convinced the woman into accepting the order. Up till that moment I had been patient and courteous with him, doing exactly as he wished because I was hoping to earn some income by working for his company. But now, on top of not earning any money – in fact I was losing some – I was being rudely insulted. That was just too much for me to take, especially from a narrow-minded arrogant man. I suddenly found myself shouting at him and venting out all my frustration and anger. I told him what I really thought of him and of his like and then threw my cosmetic sales kit at him and walked out. That bitter experience should have taught me never to allow anyone blinded by greed to push me into doing things that I really did not want to do. It also should have taught me not to take at face value what others think or say about certain things in life. I should have let my inner self and spirit be the judge of what is right and best for me. I accepted some business advice and cliches made by others, only to discover that life is too complicated to fit nicely into held beliefs and slogans. I worked extremely hard as a cosmetic salesman and yet, I was going nowhere. Working hard to succeed in life under the wrong circumstances and for the wrong cause is a waste of time and could be a heart-breaking experience. Working very hard to succeed in life is also often a myth invented by those who want to justify their disproportionate salaries and income. Living in America, I discovered that some of those who earn millions are neither smarter, nor harder workers than those who struggle to earn their living. In spite of that early sales experience, when I traveled with Doctor Dahesh, I was again under pressure to be productive, and to use my time only for business. Working in a very competitive sales environment, like mine, one is often subjected to certain business views and cliches which automatically become part of work ethics and psychology. In time these business-held views and slogans become accepted fallacies. One such fallacy, commonly accepted by the majority of the business community of America, and certainly accepted by the sales company I worked for, was that time is very important. In other words, ”Time is money.” This so-called statement of business wisdom is often used by the professional and the business community of America. It is frequently used by physicians, business consultants, contractors, attorneys, accountants, sales supervisors, and sometimes it is even abrasively used by plumbers and TV repairmen who are called upon to fix a leaky faucet or a broken TV set. Eventually this fallacy, so often heard and applied, becomes an assumed business rule which is to be practiced. It becomes the key to business success. Such was and unfortunately still is the business rule one has to accept and tolerate when working for a growing U.S. company. If one shows any signs of contempt to such slogans and work ethics, he would be accused of lacking motivation. I did not find that fallacy ”Time is money” convincing when I first heard it back as a freshman at the University of Texas, and I certainly did not believe in it when I traveled with Doctor Dahesh twenty years later. I tried to resist operating under the pressure of that sinister phrase whenever I could, even though its ugly shadow always seemed to follow me wherever I went as a salesman. I feel that whoever first coined that demeaning phrase ”Time is money,” did a great injustice to the basically generous spirit of the American people. Fortunately, I was traveling with a man who did not believe that time was meant for only making money. I was the travel companion of a man who taught us that time is a God-given opportunity to spiritually improve ourselves. Time is a period intended mostly to give every creature, man included, a chance to uplift their souls and elevate the qualities of their Sayals. Time is not money. Time, as Doctor Dahesh taught us, is a span to reflect upon and to ask ourselves whether we are morally and spiritually better off today than we were yesterday. Have we, so far, spent our time in righteous living according to God’s will? And, when death finally comes, can we say as we stand alone before Him: ”Lord, we have tried to live and spend our time on earth in a righteous way, worthy of Thy mercy and grace; may we now dwell in Thy house for ever and ever”?

 

CHAPTER XIII

Work pressure and other business considerations may have been factors which occasionally interfered with what the Doctor wished me to do. Unfortunately, another factor which may have added to the problem was the lack of awareness on my part, to be really in tune with Doctor Dahesh. I sadly admit that I was not a very alert companion, and I did not fully appreciate the significance of what the Doctor might have casually said, or what he might have hinted at. At the time I did not know, nor did I fully understand, that when he casually referred to something or hinted at doing a certain thing, that something should have been taken seriously. That hint should have been carried out irrespective of anything else. In retrospect, I think that had the Doctor made known to me his wishes and if he had made a request in a direct way, I would have certainly followed his instructions regardless of the consequences. On many occasions he specifically asked me to do certain things, and I always did them gladly. I was reminded about my mistakes and shortcomings of listening to the Doctor only too late, and when the damage was already done. I once was even reminded spiritually about a certain mistake I had made almost a year after the event, when I had completely forgotten about it. I regretfully discovered this fact only many years later, when my travels with Doctor Dahesh were almost over. I recall at least two particular occasions when Doctor Dahesh hinted, or suggested certain things, but either because of work considerations or just plain unawareness on my part, I did not fulfill them. One such occasion happened in Saudi Arabia. I remember the Doctor suggested that I go with him to the city of Tail, along with other Daheshists who lived in Saudi Arabia at the time. I told him that I had an important business appointment and that I was unable to go with him. He asked me whether I could postpone that appointment, but I replied that I could not. I should have realized right then that the Doctor wanted me to go with him for a reason, but I did not. Almost a year later, after completely forgetting about the incident, I was reminded in a special spiritual revelation that I had made a mistake by not going to Taif with the Doctor. Had I gone, it would have been of spiritual benefit to me. The second time I made a similar mistake was when I failed to heed Doctor Dahesh’s suggestion. We were just about to leave for Monrovia, Liberia, from Abidjan in the Ivory Coast, when suddenly he suggested that I send a cable to his friend the Lebanese ambassador in Liberia, giving him the details of our arrival. The Doctor did not specifically tell me to send a cable, he just suggested it. From experience, I thought that sending a cable that late would be ineffective, as it would not arrive on time. I told him that we would probably arrive in Monrovia long before the cable ever reached his friend. However when we arrived, we were denied entry into the country because we did not have the necessary visas. We explained to the airport officials that their embassy in Beirut assured us that transit visas would be issued at the airport. They refused to accept our argument and even denied our request to call the Lebanese ambassador. They were rude and abrasive to us and insisted that we return to the plane on which we had just come. It was heading for Dakar, Senegal. As we began to run into trouble, Doctor Dahesh reminded me that had I listened to him and did what he had suggested, we would have definitely entered Liberia. We were forced to board the plane leaving for Senegal. To make matters worse, the Liberian officials gave our passports to the stewards of the plane. Those stewards were just as unfriendly to us and insisted that we pay them for the flight from Monrovia to Dakar before they would even consider returning our passports. When the plane landed in Dakar we almost faced the same problem because we did not have visas for the Senegal either. But, eventually and after some initial difficulty at the airport, the Senegalese authorities proved to be more kind and more understanding than their counterparts in Liberia. They gave us a special seventy-two hour transit visa. However, they held our passports with them until we left the country. At the airport, I changed some dollars into the local currency and we hired a taxi. I asked the driver to take us to any first class hotel in the center of the city. As I had never been to Senegal before, I did not have the slightest idea in which hotel to stay. The Doctor and I somehow found ourselves in a country we did not know, a country not on our travel itinerary. The taxi driver took us from one hotel to the other in the hope of finding a room. We must have gone to at least six or seven hotels ranging from first to third class, all fully occupied. It just so happened that our arrival in Dakar coincided with the state visit of the French President, Georges Pompidou, and his party of officials along with reporters covering his visit. Practically all available hotels in Dakar were fully booked. Somehow, after we almost gave up in desperation, we finally stopped at a fifth-rate hotel called ”Vichey”. I spoke to the receptionist and inquired whether he had a room for two people. He replied that he only had one double room left unoccupied. I checked the room to find out its condition, and it really was terrible. The room looked awful, uncomfortable, and had very old and worn-out furniture. I went back to the Doctor who was waiting for me inside the taxi and explained the situation, telling him of the available room and its deplorable condition. The Doctor went inside the hotel to check the room. He did not like it at all, but he told me we should take it as we had no other choice. By the time we brought our luggage to the room and settled down it was already late in the day. We went for a short visit to the city and then returned back to the hotel. The Doctor and I put our pyjamas on, and we ate some of the fruits we brought with us from the Ivory Coast. About 10:00 P.M. Doctor Dahesh got up and began to get dressed. I thought he wanted to go for a walk as usual, so I too began to get dressed to go with him. He turned to me and said he would like to go for a walk by himself. I told him that I would keep him company, as he did not know the city and might get lost. But he insisted that I should not worry and that he had to go alone for a reason. Having said that, there was not much for me to do except comply with his wish. The Doctor was gone for a long time, and by midnight I began to get worried about him. I thought for sure he must have gotten lost in one of the many narrow and winding streets of the city. By 1:00 A.M. I was beginning to get extremely worried. Just as I was about to leave the room to go and awaken the hotel manager or the receptionist to take me to the police station, Doctor Dahesh suddenly entered the room with a group of Lebanese friends! I was greatly relieved to see him and he introduced me to his newly found friends. One of them told me of the unbelievable way they had met the Doctor that evening. They had been sitting on the open terrace of their home with some other Lebanese guests talking and enjoying themselves after a nice dinner. Somehow the conversation turned to the subject of Doctor Dahesh and the unusual revelations and miracles they had often heard about. Suddenly they saw a man enter and he said: ”I am Doctor Dahesh, the man you were talking about!” He went on to say, you should have heard the screams and shouts of shock and surprise that came from the people gathered on the terrace. But once the commotion quieted down, everybody enjoyed a pleasant evening in Doctor Dahesh’s company. These Lebanese people treated the Doctor exceptionally well, and he appreciated their generosity and kindness toward us. They were constantly with us ever since he first met them. They took us everywhere and stayed with us until we boarded the plane leaving for Rome. We only stayed a few days in Rome visiting mostly museums and art galleries before we finally returned to Beirut. Doctor Dahesh wanted to stay a few more days in Rome, but we could not since I had to get back to Beirut because of work considerations. Just as there were many times in which Doctor Dahesh simply suggested or hinted at doing certain things, there were other occasions where he explicitly asked me to do certain things. In those cases, I did what he asked without hesitation. I recall one such instance. One afternoon I was very busy in my office, having just returned from a long and tiring business trip. I was preparing follow-up telexes and letters which had to be sent out to my various customers in the Middle East, when suddenly the phone rang. It was sister Zeina(15), and she told me that the Doctor wished to see me. I asked her if it was urgent or not, and whether he wished to see me right away or later on in the day because if it was not urgent, I would come in the afternoon. Zeina replied that it would be preferable if I went to the Doctor’s house as soon as possible. I left everything on my desk and headed straight to the house. When I arrived, Zeina greeted me and then led me into a small sitting room adjacent to the entrance. There I found a folded Daheshist prayer, Ramz, waiting for me on a small plate. As soon as I sat down, Zeina informed me that Doctor Dahesh was not in. However, he had left specific instructions that I was to be called immediately to his house, and that I was to burn the special Ramz which was on the plate. She also informed me to repeat, for at least six times, the following phrase as I burnt the Ramz: In the Name of God and His Guiding Beloved Prophet May everything turn out to be all right.

I did exactly what Zeina asked me to do. As I was burning the Ramz, I worried that perhaps some harm was going to befall me or one member of my family. I asked Zeina if she knew anything about the contents of the Ramz, but she did not. Before returning to my office, Zeina told me to throw the ashes of the burnt Ramz approximately twenty feet from the entrance of the building where my office was located. I followed the instructions that Doctor Dahesh had left with Zeina, down to the very last details. Soon after I forgot about the whole affair. One day, nearly a month later, just as I was ready to leave the office for the day I received a phone call from an important customer. He had stopped in Beirut for the night before continuing his journey to Europe. He asked if I could see him at his hotel suite right away because he wanted to place some orders for refrigeration and air-conditioning equipment. The customer explained that he was leaving early next morning and that is why he was unable to visit me at my office. I told him that I would come to see him immediately. Actually, I was happy he called me, for he was a good customer. I knew when he said he needed some equipment and wanted to place some orders, he meant what he said. I was sure that after visiting him at his hotel, I would walk out with large orders. He was one of those customers whom I really respected. He was a straightforward businessman who knew his business very well and was very knowledgeable about competition and the prices in general. I always made sure to give him the very best prices I could quote. With him there was no haggling, and business transactions were quickly accomplished in a straight, simple and clean manner. At any rate, when I finished visiting my customer and finalized the orders he wanted, I left his hotel. On the way home, although I was driving cautiously, out of nowhere a speeding large red car struck me like lightning on the right side. All I could remember from that devastating impact was the overturning of my car. Suddenly I found myself standing outside the car without a single scratch. How I got out in one piece, I really do not remember. As for my vehicle it was a mass of mangled steel and glass and it was on fire. In the confusion that followed, the red automobile sped away. No one in the crowd that had gathered to see the accident thought of taking down its license number. My car was a total wreck and the driver who had done the damage, almost killing me, got away. When I told the crowd that just moments earlier I was inside the burning vehicle they were amazed to see that I was still alive. A few days later I went to visit Doctor Dahesh, and I casually mentioned that I was involved in a very bad car accident which almost cost me my life. Before I could continue the conversation, the Doctor told me to follow him to his bedroom. Then he opened a chest drawer which was full of spiritual messages folded in yellow Ramz papers. He asked me to pick any one of the folded Ramzes in the drawer. After picking one, he asked me to open it and read it. What I read put me in a state of semi-shock. It prophesied the exact details of the accident, indicating that it would be fatal. But with God’s help and mercy I was to be spared and would not be harmed. At the end of that message, there was a request for the Guiding Beloved Prophet to write a special prayer for me. And once it was written by Doctor Dahesh I was to burn it as soon as possible. The Doctor explained that he knew the accident was going to happen after he read the spiritual message. For that reason he had instructed Zeina to call me at my office so that I would go to his house and burn that special prayer. He was sure that with God’s help and mercy, no harm would come to me. Another occasion in which Doctor Dahesh specifically asked me to do something was when he asked me to travel with him to the Soviet Union. I gladly accompanied him after telexing the company in Chicago that I would be gone for a two-week vacation. I did not even bother to inform the company where I would be. That trip was the only one in which I was totally free to do whatever the Doctor wanted. I had no business considerations to think about nor any business problems to resolve. We actually went with an organized tour which was arranged by a travel agency in Beirut. We were just plain tourists and all we wanted to do was visit museums, historical landmarks, famous parks, old palaces, and do some plain sightseeing. During that trip, I was constantly with Doctor Dahesh. Wherever he went, I was right there with him. Later in Leningrad, we were joined by another Daheshist brother, Ibrahim Shukr, who was studying electronic engineering in the Soviet Union. In Russia we visited many museums, old churches that had been transformed into public halls, and many old palaces and historical landmarks. The art treasure found in the Soviet Union is truly priceless. Doctor Dahesh was very happy to see all the museums we were taken to, especially the Pushkin Fine Arts in Moscow and the Hermitage in Leningrad. He said of the latter that it was one of the best museums in the world. Our Russian tour was quite a busy one. We were taken almost daily to visit different places. If it was not a museum, it would be a palace which formerly belonged to some Tzar, or a famous park, or a historical landmark. One day, we even toured the Red Square and the Lenin Mausoleum. Despite all the marvelous places we visited and the busy touring we did, the Doctor somehow did not feel very much at ease in the Soviet Union. There was something about the country which made a foreigner feel, whether justifiable or not, that he was constantly being watched, and that he was being tolerated but not really welcomed. Unfortunately, that was how we felt when we were there. While we were on tour visiting the different places, Doctor Dahesh bought a few small paintings and some other small Russian objects of art and souvenirs. However on our way back to Beirut, he was singled out at Moscow’s airport for thorough inspection. Someone in the tour must have informed the Russian custom authorities that he had bought some paintings and other objects of art. That person, whose identity I knew later from Doctor Dahesh, might have been annoyed by the Doctor’s habit of admiring paintings longer than anybody else, and thereby always being last in the group. When we arrived at the airport, we were not aware that it was forbidden to take out of the Soviet Union anything that could be classified as art. As they began to search the Doctor, they casually looked at my luggage and told me I could go ahead and join the group which was getting ready for departure. I refused to leave and remained with the Doctor. They then began to thoroughly search through his luggage, piece by piece, checking everything including sealed letters. I even recall one mean Russian officer disassembling a ball-point pen the Doctor was carrying. Naturally, they found nothing illegal. However, they gave us a hard time about the oil paintings we carried. Having found nothing illegal in the Doctor’s suitcases, they took him inside a special room for further inspection. By then, the plane on which we were supposed to leave had already departed for Lebanon. We were left stranded at the airport, still undergoing mistreatment and humiliation at the hands of the Soviet officials.

 

As they were giving the Doctor a particularly hard time, the other Daheshist brother who had come to see us off at the airport was watching from a few yards away. When he realized how roughly they were treating Doctor Dahesh, he burst into screams in Russian at the officers for their rudeness and insensitivity. At one point that brave Daheshist brother dashed inside the inspection zone and almost got into a fist-fight with one of the meanest officers. Three or four Russian officials ganged up on him, and for a moment, I thought they were going to throw him in jail. Luckily they did not. When Doctor Dahesh came out of the inspection room, he was visibly shaken and told us that he did not feel well. They found nothing on him, and the whole search was unnecessary. The humiliating experience and the great inconvenience was a traumatic one for the Doctor. After having finished searching him and finding nothing, they decided to thoroughly check me. They asked me to reopen my luggage, and this time they went through it piece by piece. Then, they took me inside a special room and searched me physically. They went through my pockets and wallet and almost ripped the lining of my jacket to see if there was anything hidden inside. When they found nothing, they let me go. As I came out, I saw the Doctor with the Daheshist brother waiting for me. He did not look well and appeared pale and exhausted. We were now stranded at Moscow’s airport along with the Daheshist brother who stayed with us. There was no place for us to go to and the only thing we could do was hope for a quick connecting flight which would get us back to Beirut. In the meantime as we waited at the airport, Doctor Dahesh became very sick and had cold chills all over his body. We brought him some hot tea to keep him warm, but that did not help. He told us he was having trouble with his heart and was actually suffering irregular heartbeats. In my opinion, he needed urgent medical attention, but the Doctor refused any.

 

Finally, after spending an uncomfortable sleepless night, we were able to find a plane which was leaving Moscow for Yerevan, in the Soviet Republic of Armenia. The plane was supposed to leave in the morning at six and arrive at approximately 9:00 A.M. Later in the afternoon we would be able to take another flight which would be leaving Yerevan for Beirut. The plane was delayed in Moscow for several hours and we did not arrive in Yerevan until about noon. There, in the Armenian Republic they confiscated two paintings. They also searched our luggage, but it was a routine check which we did not mind. The Doctor told me that all this trouble and suffering was caused by an envious woman who had reported us to the authorities. He told me who this woman was and that she had been on our tour. A few days after we arrived back in Beirut, I tried to call this woman’s husband to have a few words with him. However, when I called him at his office, a secretary answered my call and informed me that he was absent and would not be returning to his office for several days. The secretary told me that a tragedy had befallen his family. His only son, a youth of twenty years, had suddenly died of a heart attack. I asked the secretary whether his son had been sick, but she told me that he was always very healthy and athletic. She said the whole tragedy was so perplexing and shocking, and that there was no apparent explanation for the youth’s sudden sad death. After I hung up, I immediately called the Doctor to inform him of that strange and unfortunate incident. The instant he picked up the phone and before I could even utter a single word, I heard a voice saying: ”But their evil plots will turn back on the plotters themselves” (The Holy Koran, The Originator: 43). I immediately realized that the voice I heard on the phone was that of Doctor Dahesh overtaken by the Spirit, and I also knew to what he was referring. Later, when I discussed the unfortunate incident with Doctor Dahesh, he was deeply saddened.

 

would be ill at ease and because of that all of a sudden he would have sweat running down his forehead. I remember traveling with Doctor Dahesh on an organized five day safari tour to Kenya and Tanzania. On the second day of our tour we were lodged in a hotel on the Tanzanian border, right next to the beautiful African mountain of Kilimanjaro. We were the only two guests in the hotel. The moment the Doctor went inside the lodge and saw the European general manager, a huge man with a monstrously deformed eye, and the few native servants, he suddenly became ill at ease and told me that the general manager, the servants and the entire hotel possessed evil spiritual Sayals. I thought the Doctor was joking and did not take what he said seriously. We had to stay in that hotel as we had no other choice. It was part of the organized safari tour. After we checked into our room and washed our faces, we decided to go down and have a walk around the lush green forest of Kilimanjaro surrounding the lodge. We were gone for about an hour and a half and when we returned to the hotel it was already late in the afternoon. We sat down in the lobby and I ordered a cup of hot tea for the Doctor and some coffee for me. As we sat there we noticed a young blond man walking outside the entrance of the lodge. The Doctor turned to me and said in a sudden and abrupt change of tone that that man had been reincarnated into a dog. I looked at the Doctor in disbelief and thought that for sure he was just joking. I never even gave his remarks any serious attention and continued to drink my coffee. Suddenly, the man disappeared and I saw a light brown dog enter the lounge. We were the only two people in the lobby. The dog stood motionless for a minute or two, looking from a distance at Doctor Dahesh and then it came dashing to where he was sitting. The dog stood by Doctor Dahesh’s feet shaking all over. I was motionless with awe from what I was witnessing. Then the Doctor took some water from a glass and sprinkled the dog with it saying: ”From water We created every living thing” (The Holy Koran, The Prophets: 30). Having finished saying that, he instantly was overtaken by the Spirit and told me that we should return to our room and burn several Ramzes to ward off the evil Sayals of the entire lodge and the people in it. The dog then left and I followed the Doctor to the room where he began to write and burn special Ramzes. When the Spirit left him, I explained what had happened. After a while we heard a knock at the door. Before I even opened the door to see who it was, Doctor Dahesh told me to tell whoever was knocking at the door that we did not want to eat any supper and to just send him away. When I opened the door, a native waiter told us that supper was ready. I said to the man we were not hungry. I locked the room after he left, and turning to Doctor Dahesh I jokingly said that perhaps they were planning to poison us. Doctor Dahesh, suddenly overcome by the Spirit, told me that they were indeed planning to poison us in order to rob us of all our money. It was all very creepy and to make matters worse all the lights in the room began to flicker. I became a bit nervous and worried, but at that moment, the Doctor, overtaken by the Spirit, told me not to worry for the Spirit was watching over us. We did not eat any hotel food that night and settled for a few bananas and mangos which we had brought back with us to the lodge. I told the Doctor later about the details of this incredible revelation. The following morning, Doctor Dahesh refused to eat breakfast or have anything to do with that hotel, and we left in a hurry to continue our safari. We stopped at another hotel, a few miles away, to have some coffee and

tea.

Bad Sayals are not confined to people and living things. They could be in the food we eat, in the materials we touch or wear, in anything. I remember once I was with the Doctor along with a Daheshist brother who lived in West Africa. We were invited to a very large dinner party. The man who invited us was a prominent Lebanese businessman. He had never met the Doctor before and wished to meet him. Initially, the Doctor did not want to go to that dinner party, but then he accepted the invitation when everybody insisted on him to go. When we arrived the following evening, the house was crowded with people who wanted to meet Doctor Dahesh. There must have been at least 40 guests present. The Doctor was the guest of honor, and all those Lebanese people at the party were very anxious to meet him. Upon entering the house, the Doctor became very uncomfortable. In the meantime, several hired waiters were preparing the dinner table. It was an impressive party. The dinner table which must have measured at least 15 feet long was covered with so many varieties of food. When the host asked the Doctor to begin the dinner party, he declined. He refused to eat. It was so strange and somewhat embarrassing, but the Doctor remained adamant. He refused to have even a cup of tea. The other Daheshist brother who knew all the Lebanese guests at the party, noticing the Doctor’s apparent discomfort told the group that the Doctor was not feeling well. He explained to the host that he had not been feeling well all day long, and that he should return to his hotel to rest in bed. We excused ourselves and left, leaving everyone disappointed. On the way to the hotel, the Doctor told us that he could not have eaten anything in that house. Had he eaten anything he would have been very sick. We understood from his remarks that the overwhelming spiritual Sayals of the house, the food, and some of the people gathered that night were incompatible with his. On another occasion, I remember we were in Tripoli, Libya. It was on a Friday, the official resting day in all Moslem countries. Usually on this day, businesses and shopping centers are closed. However, I had found a small tourist shopping area by the harbor which had remained opened.

 

I asked Doctor Dahesh if he wished to visit the market with me to pass some time, but he preferred to stay in the room to write down in his diary. I left him alone in the room and went to the shopping area. As I began to browse through the shops, a beautiful brown tweed suit made in Italy caught my eye. It was of good quality and I decided to try it on. Unfortunately, it was too small and I asked the salesman in the shop if he had the exact suit in a larger size. He did not and informed me that the suit was the last of its kind. As it was a good buy, I decided to buy it for my brother Ali who was a bit shorter than I. The salesman wrapped the suit up for me and put it in a box. He placed the box in a large brown paper bag and handed it to me. From there, I took a taxi and returned to the hotel where I went straight up to the room. The door was slightly opened and before entering I knocked to let the Doctor know that I was coming in. He was sitting at the table, busy writing. The moment he saw me he said: ”I wish you had not bought that suit; it has bad spiritual Sayals. Anyhow, it is too late to do anything about it now, except to burn this special Ramz I made for you.” He instructed me to say ”In the Name of God, and His Beloved Prophet, may the bad Sayals in this suit be harmless.” Incidentally when I went to the market, it was not my intention to buy a suit. The thought did not come into my mind until I saw that tweed suit on display. I was truly amazed at this revelation which proves that even a suit can contain bad Sayals. That spiritual revelation proved beyond any doubt that the spiritual Sayals are found in all forms and objects. Two days later, still being in Tripoli, Libya, the Doctor and I decided to go to the main shopping center. This time it was he who admired a suit on display. We went inside the store and I asked the man to bring a suit like the one Doctor Dahesh admired, but in his size. The man went and came back with a suit which he handed me. The Doctor took off the jacket he was wearing to try on the suit, but no sooner had I put the new suit jacket on him when he began to twitch all over. He quickly shouted at me, as if though he was in pain: ”Take the jacket off me immediately, it contains horrible Sayals.” He left the shop in a hurry. I gave the suit back to the man who was standing with us and he did not understand a thing of what was happening, nor why we quickly went away! Another event I remember that happened on my travels with Doctor Dahesh was the time I was with him and his sister Antoinette, in Malta. We checked into a first-class hotel in Valletta, the capital city of Malta. The Doctor and his sister took a room and I took another adjacent to them. A day or so after being in Malta, he saw a golden necklace in one of the hotel lobby boutiques. The Doctor held it in his hand, looked at it carefully and then turned to me and said: ”You should buy it for your wife because it contains good Sayals.” Usually, I do not buy jewelry from boutiques in first-class hotel lobbies for the obvious reason that the prices there are normally far higher than anywhere else. However, when he told me to buy that necklace for my wife, I did so without any hesitation. The manager placed it in a special attractive box which I was going to give to my wife as a surprise. I put it away inside the catalogue case I always carry. After staying a few days in Malta we went to Tripoli, Libya and then to Benghazi before returning to Beirut. As soon as I arrived home, I remembered the beautiful jewelry I bought in Malta. I did not find it. I looked all over, but there was no trace of it. I presumed I had lost it somewhere on my journey. I did not tell my wife about it because she would be upset at me for not having taken good care of it. Anyway, that was not the first time I had lost valuable items while traveling. A few months later, I telephoned Doctor Dahesh to see if I could visit him with my wife that evening. He said that I could come and requested that I should bring with me one of the spiritual Ramzes which he gave me a year earlier. There were many people there that evening and after sitting for a while in the living room, Doctor Dahesh entered. He greeted everyone and especially welcomed my wife. He then said that he had a special gift for her, and although it was not from him personally, it had appeared spiritually. He said that had she not come to visit him, the gift would never have been found. He went inside and came back carrying a white envelope. He gave it to my wife and told her to open it to see what was inside. When she opened it and saw the beautiful necklace she was very surprised and did not know what was happening. I turned to the Doctor and told him that was the gold jewelry I had bought for my wife in Malta a few months ago. Doctor Dahesh told me to read out loud the wordings of the Ramz I brought with me. The prophecy stated where and when I would buy that golden necklace for my wife. It also stated that I would lose it, but that it would spiritually reappear, to be given to my wife on a certain date, and that my wife should wear the necklace because it contained good spiritual Sayals. Those incidents and revelations prove that there are good and bad Sayals in people, food, clothes, and everything else. There are, as I soon will explain, basically different levels of spiritual Sayals, even in societies and nations. The Bible and the Koran are full of stories of nations and communities which God utterly destroyed for their iniquity and sin. As I traveled with the Doctor, I also learned that he liked some countries more than others. For example, he liked Egypt for its friendliness and warmth of heart. He admired Italy for its artistic qualities and savor and loathed the permissive and promiscuous character of some nations. The Doctor criticized America for its excessive materialism and yet praised it wholeheartedly for its love of democracy and freedom. He felt very uneasy with the harsh and stifling qualities of the Soviet Union. He was saddened by the ignorant and corrupt nature of some of the countries we visited. To Doctor Dahesh, nations are like individuals: they possess entities of their own. Every country or society, on the whole, reflects the dominant spiritual Sayals of its people. If the majority of the people making up a country are cruel and corrupt, then it follows that their government will also be both cruel and corrupt. The general rule, however, is that peoples and nations will always have the government they deserve, according to their moral and spiritual conduct. Likewise, if the people are selfish and materialistic, then their country will certainly be a materialistic and selfish one. In short, what the majority of the people are, how they think, feel, and act, so shall be the characteristics of their nation and government. Such are the spiritual realities behind peoples, societies and nations. I once asked Doctor Dahesh about this subject, and he told me that even the nationality of an individual is never an act of coincidence. For example, why a German is a German, or an Italian an Italian, or an African an African? The Daheshist explanation to this, as I understood it, is simply because the German child is born with the general characteristics of the German people’s Sayals on the whole. The Italian child is born with the Sayals of the Italian people and likewise the African child. The spiritual Sayals of the child are dormant at birth, but as he or she matures, the spiritual Sayals begin to assert themselves. They begin to shape and influence the behavior and the character of the individual. Consequently, in the case of the German child who is born to German parents, even before being reincarnated as a child, he had his spiritual Sayals similar in characteristics with the spiritual Sayals of the great majority of the German people. As the child grows into maturity, his spiritual Sayals begin to mold him into the German character. The same holds true for the Italian child who at birth has reincarnated dormant spiritual Sayals in harmony with that of the Italian people and their characteristics. When those Sayals are fully awakened, that individual will have the Italian spirit and mood. As for the native African child, he too will possess spiritual Sayals, which when fully developed will be in tune with the general characteristics of that African society to which he was born. Some might say that such an explanation cannot hold true for a large country like the U.S., which has a large proportion of naturalized Americans – Americans who were born elsewhere from parents who may have never even set foot in the U.S. That might well be the case, but the answer would still be that those people who become Americans must have found something in America which drew them to it. In other words, their spiritual Sayals and that of the U.S. are in harmony and in affinity with one other. The spiritual Sayals in individuals will always be attracted to the corresponding spiritual environment in which they can fully express themselves. Some might even argue that the environment factors determine the characteristics and the behavior of an individual. For example, a violent environment will probably produce violent individuals. While this may appear to be true on the surface, that assertion by itself would be rejected by the Daheshist philosophy. The environmental factors are indeed important and play a significant part in influencing the character of the person, but in the final analysis, what determines the attributes of a person in terms of what he likes, hates, feels, and knows, will always be his spiritual Sayals. However, there is a definite link between the spiritual Sayals of an individual and that of his environment. The environment reflects the aggregate mood and expressions of its inhabitants. The environment in which a person grows is very important, for it helps the spiritual Sayals of that individual to find their fulfillment. It was the artistic environment of Florence in the Renaissance that helped Michael Angelo’s Sayals to flourish and find their true spiritual expression. For spiritual reasons, it was the Middle Eastern environment that gave birth to all the monotheistic religions of the world. I remember once asking Doctor Dahesh about this and why the monotheistic religions of the world came from the Middle East. His answer was that there are certainly spiritual reasons for this. The known prophets, from Adam to Abraham and Moses, and later Jesus and Mohammed, came from there. In conclusion, we can say that each country and environment possesses its own spiritual Sayals. Each will draw to it people and individuals with Sayals similar in their general characteristics. Accordingly, we can speak of the ”psychology of nationalities,” as we speak also of the psychology of the individual.

 

 

 

CHAPTER XV

My travels with Doctor Dahesh came to an end in 1973, and during this period the Doctor visited all the countries I normally go to on business. Later, he continued to travel around the world with other Daheshists. Even though my travels with Doctor Dahesh had ended, I continued to be very close to him. If I was not away on business, I would visit him almost daily, and sometimes even twice a day. By early 1975, the dark clouds of civil war began to gather over the skies of Lebanon, sowing in their wake hatred, bigotry, and violence. The Lebanese state began to crumble apart. Armed militias, controlled by cruel and corrupt politicians, cropped up out of nowhere. At one point, there were no less than thirty armed bands scattered all over, fighting one another in a tiny nation no larger in size than some of America’s large counties. All the armed bands claimed to be fighting for a noble cause, for a so-called ”healthier and better Lebanon.” Yet, atrocious criminal acts, that can never have any relation to any noble cause, were committed everywhere in the country. Many innocent lives were lost just because of their religions or affiliations. Terror reigned supreme all over. The world still remembers with revulsion the criminal bloody massacres in Sabra and Chatila refugee camps in Beirut during the Israeli invasion in September 1982. The Lebanese civil war that broke out in 1975 ushered the gradual and systematic destruction of Lebanon. Not a single region in Lebanon was spared. The devastation of villages, cities, factories, public utilities, and even crops and domesticated animals, was widespread. Entire communities on all sides were wiped out. The savagery of the crimes, atrocities, and the massacre of innocent people defy description. A western reporter who happened to witness the Phalangist massacre of the Palestinian refugee camp of Tel-El-Zaatar described it as being one of the ugliest and goriest he had ever seen in his life as a war correspondent. Innocent people were being killed daily for no other reason than their religion. Christians, Moslems, and Druze were all massacred by opposing parties. The agony and self-destruction of Lebanon which is still unsettled seventeen years after the start of the civil war are an extraordinary example of spiritual punishment which the people of Lebanon have brought upon themselves. Lebanon, contrary to all of its superficial glitter and civility, was a den of corruption and wickedness. From a Daheshist perspective, what happened in Lebanon and what is still happening could not be anything but a spiritual phenomenon. Behind the traceable causes of the war, there are the spiritual causes. Lebanon is paying the terrible price of divine justice and retribution it deserves. The country is being severely punished for its iniquity and corruption, but above all for its denial and persecution of Doctor Dahesh – the Guiding Beloved Prophet – and his spiritual Message. For ten continuous years (1942-1952), Doctor Dahesh and his adherents were victims of a brutal religious persecution, instigated mainly by the Christian Maronite clergy, and carried out by the then president Bishara al-Khuri, aided and abetted by other high government officials and public figures. As a result of this criminal conspiracy, Doctor Dahesh was subjected to a ferocious defamatory press campaign; he was denied his right of defending himself and denied by the government Censorship Bureau any public reply to the defamation by the press. He was subjected to constant police surveillance and to repeated arbitrary investigations; finally, he was unjustly arrested on August 28, 1944, stripped of his Lebanese nationality, and expelled from his country, by unprecedented despotic measures, concocted and executed in total secrecy, without affording him any trial or hearing, or any other guarantee of due process of law, whatsoever. Worst still was the attitude of the Lebanese public officials and the other leaders of public opinion like the journalists, academics, and writers. For there was none among them who came forth to champion the cause of truth and justice in the case of Doctor Dahesh. The conspiracy of silence was no less brutal and effectively contributed to the perpetuation of the crimes committed. In his exile, Doctor Dahesh suffered hunger, pain, and destitution. The Lebanese authorities continued to persecute him, and in 1947 he found himself at the border of Azerbaijan where he was arrested and executed by a firing squad. Yet, despite the terrible crime done unto Doctor Dahesh, God’s watchful eye spared him and frustrated his enemies. The person whom the Lebanese authorities banished to the borders of the Soviet Union was one of Doctor Dahesh’s Six Spiritual Personalities.(16) That incident is well documented, and pictures of Doctor Dahesh’s execution were published by several Lebanese newspapers which reported the event. Not one newspaper covering the story had the professional courage to even comment or raise the question of why an innocent man had been persecuted by the government and had been left to die unjustly at the border of a foreign country. Not a single paper ever bothered to ask the authorities why they had inflicted such a crime on an innocent Lebanese citizen whose only ”crime” was to spread the Word of God, telling the Lebanese people to love one another and to shed off the religious fanaticism and bigotry that dwelled in their hearts. Doctor Dahesh, and his faithful Daheshist adherents, however, fought hack with singular courage, demanding that justice be done, rights restored, and damages redressed. From his hiding place, Doctor Dahesh wrote, published, and distributed sixty-six Black Books, and one hundred sixty-five Black Pamphlets and leaflets, wherein he exposed, to the benefit of the public opinion, the criminal conspiracy and the crimes committed against him in its execution. He even went beyond the confines of his case and laid out stinking corruptions and abhorrent abuses of power committed by the same public officials who were involved in his persecution. These Black publications contributed to the disgraceful downfall of president Bishara al-Khuri on September 18, 1952, by a general popular uprising. The succeeding government restored to Doctor Dahesh his nationality and abrogated the Decree of his expulsion, acknowledging, thus, that all the measures whereby Doctor Dahesh was stripped of his nationality and expelled from his country were illegal. The analogy between the present-day destruction of Lebanon and the destruction of Biblical Jerusalem in A.D. 70 is remarkably striking. Both communities brought upon themselves the wrath of God and they were punished for their evil ways and for their denial and persecution of God’s messengers.’ Two thousand years ago, the Jewish inhabitants of Jerusalem denied Jesus Christ. They ridiculed and finally crucified him with the help and instigation of the powerful Rabbis. As a result, God punished the inhabitants of the Biblical Palestine at the hands of the Romans, who crushed them and scattered them all over the world.

 

This time, the Lebanese people and their government, once again instigated mainly by the religious leaders of the Christian Maronite Church, denied and defamed Doctor Dahesh. They persecuted him and even tried to assassinate him. For this crime, Lebanon is now paying the ultimate price – that of its total destruction and its eventual disappearance as an independent country. The Lebanese people, like the Jewish people of ancient times, are now being scattered all over the world. One evening, I remember going to visit the Doctor. He was seated in the corridor surrounded by Daheshist sisters and brothers. As we sat there, the conversation turned to the intractable problems facing the country. Everybody was wondering whether the situation would deteriorate further, when suddenly the Doctor pulled out of his pocket a literary piece he had just finished writing a few hours earlier on that same day, October 25, 1975. That inspired piece was appropriately entitled ”0 Miserable Lebanon”.(18) He read the article out loud for all those present to hear. We listened attentively to every word he said, and when he concluded, there was no doubt in anyone’s mind that Lebanon was in the grip of a devastating civil war, a war that was going to be so vicious and so cruel that the country would never be the same again. Not long after that, things began to take a turn for the worse. Incidents of armed clashes and random killings taking place everywhere in the country were reported by all local newspapers. Printed stories of kidnapping, torturing and killings became more and more frequent. The whole atmosphere in the country was becoming increasingly nerve racking.

 

At the time, I lived in a Christian neighborhood, very close to the Palestinian refugee camp of Tel-El-Zaatar. The building we lived in was located on a hill, overlooking the camp. From our balcony one could clearly see the camp which was only about four hundred yards away. The only thing that separated us from the camp site was a large open space covered with tall pine trees and a highway that ran parallel to the camp leading up to the mountains. One morning as I was getting ready to go to work, I heard some unusual commotion going on in the building. I opened the door to see what was happening, and I noticed several young Phalangist militiamen in their military uniforms, fully armed. They were scurrying up to the roof of the building to take up positions. And, from the balcony of our apartment I also noticed another Phalangist group taking up positions behind some of the pine trees in the yard. I had no idea why they were doing that, nor for what purpose even though I had an uneasy and suspicious feeling about their motives. Suddenly, and without any warning, they opened fire on the people in the refugee camp, at anything and everything that moved in that unfortunate camp. At first, I did not see at what they were firing, but then I noticed a small three-story high building which was under construction. It consisted of nothing more than a foundation, some columns, ceilings and a stairway running from the basement up to the other floors. There were no walls yet in the building, and many laborers were busy at work that morning carrying possibly cement, bricks and other construction materials to the unprotected upper floors. When I saw some of those poor laborers dropping dead like birds from the hail of the merciless bullets, I realized with horror the Phalangists were firing at those poor victims. The sight of innocent people being murdered in cold blood was just too sickening to witness. It was one of the most horrifying sights I have ever seen in my life.

 

Up till that point I had never seen crimes committed against innocent people before, nor had I ever expected to encounter in my lifetime such remorseless individuals who could be so callous and devoid of any twinge of conscience. Whoever trained and indoctrinated those young thugs into killing innocent people for whatever political reason must have had the most depraved and evil of hearts. Later on however, I saw Moslem armed hooligans committing similar merciless crimes against innocent Christians. This convinced me that both sides of the civil war in Lebanon comprised notorious criminals and heartless killers. In order to defend themselves, the Palestinians at the camp returned the fire in our direction, and for the next two days no one dared go outside to the streets for fear of being hit by the flying bullets and the falling mortar shells which flew in every direction. On the third day, there was a lull in the fighting which led to some sort of a cease-fire. This allowed the people to get out, buy food and go about their business. A week or so later the heavy fighting resumed, and this went on and off for several more weeks. In the meantime, the war was quickly spreading all over the country. The fighting between the Christian and Moslem militiamen was taking place on many fronts. Each side was aided by local and regional allies. While people were being killed daily and their property being savagely destroyed, Lebanese politicians and warlords were jockeying for position and influence, displaying utter arrogance and callousness of heart toward the plight and agony of their dying nation. At this stage of the civil war, there was still some hope that the Lebanese government, which was still functioning, would be able to control the situation. People in general felt that the violence and the unrest would eventually die down, restoring the country’s fragile and superficial peace and public order. Lebanese newspapers were filled with commentaries and articles which gave the impression that a solution to the problem was near. One newspaper even printed a front page article anticipating an end to the fighting and the return to normalcy in a very short time. The article predicted that the Western countries, particularly the United States, would not permit the situation in Lebanon to get out of control, since the country was far too important for the West, as a political and commercial base in the Middle East. As the country waited and hoped for a political settlement to the crisis, many Lebanese were already thinking of moving to other countries. As for Dr. Dahesh, he was planning to undertake a series of journeys to different countries.


 

CHAPTER XVI

Gradually but surely, the Doctor began to prepare for departure. The Daheshists did know, however, that this time Lebanon was in for a terrible spiritual punishment(19). The prophecy which Doctor Dahesh had made about the country’s destruction back in 1948 and published on January 4, 1948 by Al-Hayat newspaper of Beirut, was coming true. By the summer of 1975, the neighborhood I was living in became a war zone. Heavily armed clashes broke out daily between the Phalangists and the Palestinians, and casualties in our neighborhood were mounting. In our building, the concierge was killed by a stray bullet. Often times, I was unable to go to work for days, and sometimes I would huddle up and sleep with the rest of my family for days in a narrow corridor located in the center of the apartment. The corridor provided us with some kind of protection in case our apartment was hit by mortar or rocket shells. We decided to leave our apartment the very first chance we got, and one day I took advantage of a lull in the fighting to take my family away temporarily from that neighborhood until the situation improved. We left everything behind and moved into a small furnished apartment we rented on a monthly basis in West Beirut. Unfortunately, we were unable to take the large family dog with us to the new apartment, and when my daughter went back to bring him two days later, she found him shot. From that moment on, I never set foot in East Beirut. Eventually Christian armed bands broke into our apartment and stole most of our furniture, all of the carpets and whatever lightweight and expensive objects they could carry. They would have taken away everything were it not for my next-door Christian neighbor who stopped them. When Doctor Dahesh heard of the break-in into my apartment, he sent two brave Daheshist brothers who were Christians by birth(20) to that war-zone in order to salvage whatever was left of my apartment. My brother Ali also lived in a neighborhood which came under heavy fire. The building he lived in was frequently subjected to mortar and rocket shelling. Eventually, he too had to leave his apartment. I let him and his family temporarily move into my large office until arrangements could be made for him to move into safer quarters. One day Ali took a risk by going to check on his apartment. When he returned, he was visibly saddened and told us that the building he lived in had been hit by several rockets. His apartment, or what was left of it, had been completely destroyed by a rocket. There was nothing left of his furniture except for a few bits of charred fragments and some burnt household items. The entire neighborhood, he said, looked like a ghost town and had been totally deserted by its inhabitants. The only people he saw were some Moslem gunmen taking up positions in some of the destroyed and abandoned buildings. Those gunmen were very unfriendly to Ali and threatened to shoot him if he did not leave the area. Toward the end of 1975, the Lebanese politicians, unable to reach an agreement on a common policy to save the country, paralyzed the government and in effect prevented it from carrying out its responsibilities of law and order. This development, right from the beginning, encouraged the armed thieves and hooligans to appear everywhere and enforce their own rules. Those armed thugs roamed freely in West Beirut breaking into homes, stealing, beating and even killing innocent people in daylight for no other reason than theft and vandalism. Doctor Dahesh’s house was located in one of the most dangerous war zones in West Beirut. It was also deliberately targeted by old antagonists, who bombarded it with rocket and mortar shells, and armed hooligans attempted to rob and vandalize it. Divine mercy kept the house from utter destruction. Most of the rockets fell near and around the house. With practically no government around to protect people and their property from violence and theft, Daheshist brothers volunteered to guard Dr. Dahesh’s house and to keep it under surveillance twenty-four hours a day. This went on for several months in which there were always Daheshist brothers eager and willing to take up positions to defend their beloved Doctor and his house, even with their lives. Ali was one of the Daheshist brothers who eagerly volunteered for the job. He began to spend frequent nights at Doctor Dahesh’s house along with the other Daheshists who guarded it and helped in the packing and moving of the crates from the house to other safer areas. As the violence increased and the general political situation deteriorated further, I could no longer return with my family to our apartment in the Christian neighborhood. The mere fact that I carried an identity card that showed my religion by birth to be Islam and that I spoke Arabic with a Palestinian accent would have meant instant murder had the Phalangists gotten hold of me. I later found out that one of the Phalangist ringleaders, who patrolled the area where I lived, confided in one of my Christian neighbors that they had not known that I was originally a Palestinian and a Moslem too. They probably regretted the fact that I sort of slipped through their fingers. Unable to return to our apartment in the Christian section of East Beirut, I decided to send my family to Chicago for a few months until the situation in Lebanon stabilized. I was planning to remain in Lebanon and to use one of the rooms in my office as a temporary place of residence. My office was located in the Moslem section of West Beirut. On the eve of my family’s departure to the United States, I went to visit the Doctor. I asked him if he could possibly write a special prayer for my family, so that their new move to America would be a safe and successful one. Doctor Dahesh wrote the Ramz – the Daheshist prayer – as I sat beside him. In it he asked God Almighty to keep a merciful watchful eye over my family. He then folded the Ramz and told me that the following morning I was to copy it down exactly as he had written it, and I was to burn what I had copied just before my family left for the airport. The following morning, I unfolded the Ramz to copy it, but the writing in it had changed. Instead of the original prayer the Doctor had written, there was an awesome spiritual message which declared that God is very patient, and yet he is also a very just and watchful Lord. Mentioned also in this message is that the Guiding Beloved Prophet has lived among the Lebanese, and that for over thirty-three years he has tried to mend their wicked ways and to bring them back to the spiritual path of salvation and righteousness. Instead of listening to him and following his advice to save themselves, they vilified and calumniated him. They persecuted him, rejected him, and caused him great suffering and pain. For this, God Almighty is going to smite them down so hard that they will never be able to recover again.

 

Toward the end of 1975, the Doctor’s house was increasingly becoming a very dangerous place to visit. Almost daily, rocket shells from East Beirut fell around the Daheshist house. Often times they missed, but occasionally they would hit the house. Many times we would be sitting in the house, usually away from dangerously exposed areas, when suddenly a rocket would hit a corner or a wall in the old building thereby shaking its very foundations. One time, I remember a rocket hit the roof of the building and it almost blew the entire roof off. It left a great gap in the ceiling which took several days of work to restore. On another occasion, I recall, coming to visit the Doctor one early morning, I found the whole street leading to the house cordoned off by demolition experts. Apparently, a Daheshist brother had spotted an unusual attachment tucked under his car which was parked right outside Doctor Dahesh’s house. Upon checking the car he noticed that there was an explosive device underneath it. He immediately called the explosive experts who carefully dismantled it. I was later told that we were indeed very lucky that the bomb had not exploded for if it had, it would have completely demolished the entire house. One afternoon I went to visit the Doctor with my brother Ali, who at that time lived temporarily with his family in my office. I had vacated most of my office for his use but left one small room in which I would conduct the company’s business and also sleep. We spent several hours at the Doctor’s house, and later when it was time for me to leave, Ali informed me that he was going to spend the night at the Doctor’s house, along with some other Daheshist brothers. He asked me to tell his wife not to worry about him. The next morning a Daheshist brother came to my office and informed me that the Doctor’s house had come under heavy rocket attack last night, and as a result, Ali had been slightly wounded. I asked him where my brother was, and he told me that they had taken him to an emergency hospital. I sensed something was wrong and immediately rushed over with the Daheshist brother to the hospital where they had taken Ali. The ”emergency hospital” turned out to be a large high school basement which had been converted into a makeshift clinic, used solely for emergency cases. The clinic was crowded with wounded people, and several nurses and a few attending doctors were busy taking care of the wounded patients. I asked one attending physician to direct me to Ali. He led me to a section which appeared to house the most seriously wounded. When I saw my brother I was horror-stricken and felt the roof had caved in on me. I realized instantly that Ali was seriously wounded, perhaps mortally. His head was swollen beyond recognition and he lay unconscious. I asked the attending doctor who brought me to Ali about my brother’s condition and how serious it was. He did not want to tell me the bad news. However, from the expression on his face and the indirect remarks he made, I knew that Ali was in a very critical condition. The doctor suggested that I rush Ali over to the American University Hospital, where perhaps they would be able to do something for him and give me a proper diagnosis of his condition. At the American University Hospital, Ali was immediately admitted to the emergency room. Two hours or more passed by and still there was no word from the doctors about my brother’s condition. By that time the whole family had gotten word of what happened. Ali’s wife and children, my mother, sisters, and the rest of the family came to the hospital. There were also many Daheshist brothers and sisters at the hospital. We were all waiting and hoping that Ali would pull out of it. He did not. We were told by the physicians who had examined him and had run X-rays that there was a piece of shrapnel lodged in his brain. Technically speaking he was brain-dead, but as he was a strong young man his heart was still beating. The doctor’s prognosis was clear – Ali for all practical purposes was dead. I still could not believe that my brother was gone. I rushed over to Doctor Dahesh’s house hoping and praying that the Guiding Beloved Prophet would still be able to help him. When I arrived, the house was in a state of shock and commotion. All the Daheshist brothers and sisters who heard of Ali’s accident of the previous night, and knew that he was dying, were terribly grieved. I asked the Doctor if there was anything he could do to help my brother as he still was breathing, and perhaps there was a chance for him to make it. Doctor Dahesh took me alone to an adjacent room, and for the first time in my life I saw tears running down from his eyes. He told me that he loved my brother dearly, but that whatever God willed, would be done. He made a Ramz in which he asked God Almighty to do whatever was best for Ali. He then burnt it and placed the ashes inside a yellow paper which he handed me to keep. From the Doctor’s house I rushed back to the hospital hoping that some spiritual miracle would happen to save Ali. At about 5 o’clock in the evening I left the hospital and went back to the office. I could not bear the sight of my mother, Ali’s wife, and the rest of my family shedding tears at the hospital in desperate grief. I sat in my office anticipating the bad news at any moment. At about 6:30 P.M., the telephone rang and I was told that Ali had officially died. His heart had stopped beating at about 6:00 P.M. It was a tragic time for me to lose my closest brother. He, not only was a brother of mine in the flesh, but also a dear Daheshist brother in the soul, and it was he who had introduced me to the beloved Doctor Dahesh. Upon hearing the sad news, I returned to Doctor Dahesh’s house with a heavy and grieving heart. I returned, not for anything special, but just because I felt I needed to be near the Doctor’s comforting presence.

 

When I arrived, I sensed the sad atmosphere of the place. Doctor Dahesh was perhaps the saddest of all. His eyes were wet with tears. Later, I was told by sister Zeina that in all her long association with Doctor Dahesh, she had seen him in tears only twice. The first time was when his dear friend Doctor Khabsa had passed away, and the second time was when my brother Ali had died on December 15, 1975. I opened the yellow paper in which the ashes of the burnt special Ramz had been kept. I was astonished to find that the ashes were changed back into the same folded Ramz prior to its burning. Upon opening it, I found in the place of the original Ramz two spiritual messages. The first message when translated from Arabic reads:

Dear Salim, Blessed is every Daheshist who departs into the other world, after he has made sacrifices for the sake of the Message and the Guiding Beloved Prophet, for, then, his spiritual degree will be sublime and his happiness everlasting. I said, blessed is every Daheshist who departs, and I did not say who dies, for there is absolutely no death at all. There is only a transformation from one state into another – from the state of ignorance into the state of complete spiritual knowledge, subject to deserving the Degree of Knowledge. And your brother, Ali, that brother who struggled for the Message with his words, heart, mind and feelings, and was totally loyal and loving to the Guiding Beloved Prophet, he was rewarded by the Divine Providence: his reward was an extremely glorious, extremely enchanting, extremely enthralling world, whose happiness is spiritual and bliss eternal. Furthermore, from his remote and happy world, he will save your children from an impending danger which cannot but take place – your brother, however, through a great spiritual help will prevent it from happening. Praise the Lord, and be devoted to your belief, for then your reward shall be spiritual and eternal as you shall live in everlasting bliss for ever and ever.

(Signed), Father Nahum(21)

 

The second spiritual message reads as follows:

Dear Salim Sooner or later, every soul will taste death. However, concerning the true believer, Ali Onbargi, whose belief in the sublime Daheshist Message and in the Guiding Beloved Prophet was absolute, and who now inhabits the Planet of Splendor, we impart to you the good news that he is among the happiest, engulfed in spiritual delights, and no human pen is capable of describing that everlasting bliss. The last Sayal of your brother Ali was to leave him on December 15, 1975. Regardless of Ali’s whereabouts on that date his Sayal was bound to leave him – whether he was in Beirut, or in any other city or town; or whether he was walking along the street, or sleeping in his bed, or at work, when December 15, 1975 comes, and at its exact preordained hour, his last Sayal will leave him. As for why he died in the House of the Message and his blood spilled over the ground as a result of the explosion, we shall inform you about why this had taken place, and why his Sayals departed from him at the House of the Great Message. That incident happened thus for history to record this event, immortalizing Ali’s name. For instead of saying that Ali died walking along the street, or engrossed in his work, or eating his meal, history will recall that Ali gave his life in martyrdom, while protecting the Beloved Prophet and the House of the Beloved Prophet; and all shall exalt his name.

(Signed), Father Nahum

 

 

CHAPTER XVII

Approximately two weeks after Ali’s death, I left for the United States to join my family. From there I continued to travel extensively back and forth to the Middle East on business. Every time I went to the Middle East, I made sure to stop in Beirut for a few days to be with Doctor Dahesh. In the meantime, the political situation in Lebanon was not getting any better. In fact, the fighting and level of disorder and violence was increasing, creating further deterioration and chaos in the country. In 1976, Doctor Dahesh was finally able to leave Lebanon for the United States. I was among the Daheshists who greeted him at Kennedy Airport in New York City. Almost as soon as he set foot in America, Doctor Dahesh was embraced with love and devotion by his followers and especially by a committed Daheshist sister and her family. The attention, care, and loyalty this devoted family showed their beloved Doctor is truly matchless. He loved them dearly and felt happiest when he was with them. Wherever he went, they were right there beside him, tending to his every need and wish. Doctor Dahesh appreciated the care and love they gave him. It filled his heart with satisfaction and joy. One only has to read the Doctor’s twenty-volume series of Gardens of the Gods and Paradises of the Goddesses to appreciate the extent of love, gratitude and praise he felt toward this noble sister and her equally noble family.

 

In the United States, and during his extensive travels to other countries, Doctor Dahesh, with the unlimited support of this devoted Daheshist family, continued his monumental divine work in laying the basis of his new religion. He fortified the literary and cultural foundation of Daheshism by writing several other books. He also enriched the Daheshist library by acquiring thousands of additional books from the various bookstores he visited in America and other countries. It was also throughout his travels to America, that he began to lay the groundwork for the great task of expanding and elucidating the spiritually rich legacy of the Daheshist philosophy. I remained in close touch with Doctor Dahesh in his new environment. However, my visits to him unfortunately became less frequent. One reason was because he traveled a lot, either overseas or in the United States. When he was not traveling, he spent most of his time in and around New York City. I lived in Chicago with my family, but most of my time was spent away on business trips in the Middle East. Yet, in spite of that, whenever I returned to America, I made sure to stop in New York to visit Doctor Dahesh if he was there. He also visited me twice in Chicago. In 1978, Doctor Dahesh returned to his home in Lebanon. At that time, the political situation in the country superficially appeared to have improved. There was a temporary lull in the fighting between the Christian and Moslem antagonists. Although neither faction agreed on a political solution, each realized that they could not impose their will on the other by the force of arms. Doctor Dahesh remained in Beirut until 1980, and during that time he published at least twenty volumes of his books. He meticulously supervised the material and the illustrations for each volume that was to be printed. The task of completing such a colossal amount of first quality work in such a volatile and potentially explosive situation was truly an impressive achievement. The entire Daheshist house resembled a printing shop where several Daheshist brothers and sisters worked hard into the late hours of night to meet their deadlines. Some were busy copying and reviewing the hand-written manuscripts, while others were busy developing films and pictures for the art works to be used in the books. Still, others went daily to the printing shops to make sure that everything was correct and up to the first-rate standards the Doctor had requested. In 1981 Doctor Dahesh left Lebanon on another journey to the United States. Once again, he was received with open arms by the same Daheshist sister and her family. They continued to be with him, taking him wherever he wished and assisting him in whatever undertaking he wanted to accomplish. He wrote even more inspired books and charted the directions the Daheshist Message should take. On June 6, 1983, I met with Dr. Dahesh in Geneva, Switzerland, just six days after he had celebrated his seventy fourth birthday. I witnessed during this visit a number of miracles and received a spiritual message concerning the end of the world.(22) Doctor Dahesh’s unique spiritual and cultural legacy will forever be a beacon of spiritual salvation and hope for mankind, unmatched in the annals of human history. This is a legacy he did not deduce from reading books of wisdom, nor was it a spiritual legacy he acquired from personal knowledge and experience. Doctor Dahesh brought into the world a divine Message handed to him from above, a religious Message from God attested by supernatural spiritual revelations and miracles. The Daheshist miracles and revelations were in the thousands, and the people who saw and confirmed them were also in the thousands. Those who witnessed Doctor Dahesh’s miracles admitted that what they saw were indeed miracles and could not be explained otherwise. Yet still, some would not change their way of life and follow the Doctor and his new spiritual Message. Unfortunately, not everyone who witnessed Doctor Dahesh’s revelations and miracles realized that Dr. Dahesh was given the power to perform these spiritual miracles by God Almighty in order that people would listen and heed his Message. Not everyone realized that the miracles he performed were the seal of prophecy, just as Moses and Jesus had received it before him. Yet, beyond Doctor Dahesh’s spiritual identity and beyond the fact that he performed thousands of awe-inspiring miracles, what was the main thrust of his spiritual Message and philosophy? Did he tell people something so bizarre and irrelevant to their lives that they should not even have given it a second thought? Was he trying to teach a philosophy which contradicted the divine teachings of Moses, Jesus, and Mohammed? Or, did he proclaim something that was so utterly preposterous and contrary to modern scientific knowledge and discovery? Had he even remotely tried to appeal to the wild inclinations of people by telling them what they wanted to hear? Or, had he encouraged his followers to carry out some unusual and harmful mystic practices? No, and a thousand times no. Doctor Dahesh had a spiritual Message to deliver, irrespective of what people thought. He had a divine duty to carry out God’s will and to tell the spiritual truth to whomever wished to listen. He tried to instill in the hearts of people the basic values and ethics of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. He taught people to practice the universal and eternal values of decency, goodness, honesty, compassion, and doing unto others as you would have them do unto you. For without those values, life would be meaningless. The Daheshist philosophy complemented the Judeo-Christian and Islamic religions, but with more clarity and explanation. The Daheshist Message is a modern dynamic religion intended for the twentieth century and beyond it. It is also a religious philosophy aimed for the rationale of modern man. No other religion before Daheshism has revealed so many spiritual secrets dealing with life and death. Daheshism announces emphatically the basic spiritual foundation of everything in nature. It also reveals the extraordinary secret that all matter, including inanimate substances, are in reality living and fully conscious objects. Daheshism alone among all religions so clearly discloses the unmistakable spiritual interrelationships between causes and their effects and uncovers spiritual secrets about life and nature which only now nuclear physicists have begun to discover. I am referring to the scientific discovery regarding the constituents of matter (atomic particles) which are found to be in a constant state of transformation and change. The annihilation and re-creation of sub-atomic particles which are perpetually taking place inside the atoms of matter prove that all physical forms are fundamentally momentary and without any permanent reality. This scientific discovery which stresses the changing and elusive nature of matter gives credence and support to the Daheshist assertion that all physical Sayals (all forms and objects) are fundamentally transient and illusory. The Daheshist philosophy is not an Eastern mystic phenomenon, like those which claim that the world is neither good nor bad and could not be anything else but what it is. Daheshism does not claim that spiritual fulfillment comes from pure contemplation or by sitting quietly and mastering the art of the nonsense and the paradox: in other words, not to do anything and simply wait passively unconcerned with the pain and misery of the world, and yet hoping spiritual enlightenment will come in a so-called spontaneous flash, revealing in stages the secrets of the universe! How could such a claim be made by us, mortals! The Daheshist religion accepts none of that and proclaims loud and clear that the world is very evil and on the brink of self-destruction because of its many sins. Daheshism is telling the world that it needs an urgent spiritual reawakening of monumental proportion if it ever hopes to avoid an imminent disaster. It also declares loud and clear that spiritual rewards and enrichment can only come through positive and active participation in this world – by helping ourselves and others to understand the necessity of changing our spiritual way of life for the better. The Daheshist philosophy teaches us that peace on earth and goodwill toward men will always be a distant and unfulfilled dream so long as man is driven by materialism and greed. It also teaches us that only through disciplined and noble spiritual efforts will we be able to overcome our misery and pain and achieve justice, true happiness, and tranquility for all. Morality, ethics, compassion, involvement in making the world we live in a better place for everyone, and to love and obey our God Almighty and His laws: that is what the Daheshist religion is all about. In conclusion, what I have learned from Doctor Dahesh, among many other things, are the following: First, we, the human race, are just an infinitesimal part of a physical universe which is teeming with millions of other civilizations. We occupy a very modest and somewhat lowly place in the universal order of things. In other words, we are nowhere near the most intelligent nor the most privileged of God’s creatures. And yet, we are still part of His Kingdom and consequently included in His infinite love, mercy and grace. Second, we live in a physical universe where causes and their effects (spiritual causalities) form an intricate web of connected interrelationships which govern everything in nature. In other words, all events in nature, including sickness, pestilence, calamities, famine, flood, etc., happen for spiritual reasons. The causes and the spiritual reasons may not be apparent to us, and we often fail to make the connection. We normally explain events in non-spiritual terms, unaware of the spiritual causes behind them. The Daheshist revelations clearly emphasize the connection between the spiritual causes and their effects. ”Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap” (Galatians 6:7). Third, we are part of a physical universe in which the duality of the physical-spiritual dual aspect of the Sayals are combined to form the building blocks of the universe. Those dual physical and spiritual Sayals are interconnected and correlated in all forms and objects in the universe. Those Sayals are in a constant state of transformation and change, annihilation and recreation (Reincarnation). The universal law of transformation and change of the Sayals is one of the fundamental realities in nature, and it is the cause and the reason behind all the events that are taking place in the universe. In short, somewhere, sometime and in some form or another, we, as well as everything else in the universe, existed ever since the beginning and shall always be. Fourth, the universe and every part of it has a spiritual origin and is permeated with consciousness. Therefore, as strange as it may seem, everything in nature is a living and dynamic object capable of differentiating between good and evil. Every object in nature (time being irrelevant) is subject to the divine laws of reincarnation, which implies that we and everything in nature are what we justly deserve to be. Fifth, we hold the key to our happiness or misery, to our own rewards or punishments through our own thoughts and deeds. Whatever we see around us of misfortune or bliss is all brought about by our own making. The term ”our own making” refers to thoughts and deeds which we freely make throughout the never ending cycles of our lives, birth, death and reincarnation. Sixth, the universe and everything in it are God’s creations and we are governed by spiritual laws. The Lord is most Glorious, Merciful and Just. Without exception He rewards those who merit reward and punishes those who deserve punishment either in their present life or in subsequent lives. Whatever happens to us, whatever condition we are in, and whatever shape or form we may take, all is justly merited. The Lord is also infinitely merciful, and therefore we have always the chance of changing whatever condition we may be in through our own thoughts and deeds. These Daheshist principles, mainly the divine laws of reincarnation and the conscious aspects of everything in nature with its ability to differentiate between good and evil, are all assertions mentioned in other religions. They are clearly mentioned in the Bible and the Koran, and yet they may not have been recognized and fully understood. The Bible and the Koran both refer indirectly to reincarnation, and there are many verses in those two Holy Books which refer to the elements of nature as possessing knowledge and awareness. For example, in the Book of St. Mark, chapter 4, verse 39, we read:

He [Jesus] rose up, rebuked the wind, and said to the sea ’silence be still.’ Then the wind fell and there was great calm.

Another example is in the Koran: Sura Al-Hajj or The Pilgrimage, verse 18, which says:

Seest thou not that to God bow down in worship all things that are in the heavens and earth – The sun, the moon, the stars, the hills, the trees, the animals, and a great number of people?

In addition to the above holy verses which clearly indicate that the elements and everything in the universe possess thoughts and awareness, and that they have the ability to understand and worship the Lord, a number of eminent physicists are now talking about consciousness and matter as being inseparable. By that, they imply that the reality of matter is inexorably linked to thoughts and consciousness. Daheshists take this notion a step further by claiming that the realities of matter (forms and objects) are not only linked to thoughts and consciousness, but that they are themselves only the temporary and specific physical aspects of the Sayal! Everything around us, cars, houses, trees, people, animals, hills,... everything whether made by man or propagated by nature reflect a temporary state and level of the Sayals they are made of. When nuclear scientists probe inside the sub-atomic structures of rocks or steel, they do not find massive solids and lifeless indestructible matter. Instead they detect active, fluid, and dynamic particles of energy. They detect atomic particles that are undergoing a constant process of transformation and change. Thus, another reality which Daheshism uniquely introduced into the world is the concept of Sayal. The concept of the constantly changing Sayal as being the spiritual and material foundation of the physical universe and the reason for all the changes and transformations that are taking place inside it, is truly one of the most remarkable spiritual revelations ever disclosed in any religion. Finally Doctor Dahesh, in addition to being the Guiding Beloved Prophet, and the founder of the Daheshist religion(23), is also the talented author and founder of the Daheshist Library, the art expert and the curator of the Daheshist Museum. Above all, he is, in my opinion, the greatest teacher of all times. He taught us to always think for ourselves, to be tolerant and forbearing with those who disagree with us, but yet, not to be apologetic or defenseless with those who try to harm us. Doctor Dahesh taught us not to take things at face value, and not to be impressed with appearances, for appearances are not substance. It is the high spiritual quality that is the substance in individuals and nations.

 

We were told to be alert, caring, decent, compassionate and proud individuals actively involved in the world, for only through positive involvement can we find spiritual fulfillment and rewards. We were cautioned by Doctor Dahesh not to be overtaken by the dazzle of material progress and wealth, nor to be swept away by the glitter of modern day superficialities. Above all, we are to judge individuals and things for what they really are by applying the old honored Biblical rule ”Ye shall know them by their fruits” (Matthew 7:16).(24) That simple rule alone contains all the wisdom one needs to know in order to avoid disappointments and surprises when dealing with individuals and societies. For example, one should not expect a materialistic Sayal to appreciate a lecture on spirituality or the moral need to share with others, nor for that matter to expect lenient and compassionate treatment to come from cruel and callous people. Finally, I would like to end this book with this final note. Doctor Dahesh lately became increasingly despaired and pessimistic about the utter remorselessness of the human race. In many of his latest inspired writings, and in his frequent remarks to Daheshist brothers and sisters, he warned of the impending disaster awaiting the world. Doctor Dahesh became more and more convinced that this earth with its inhabitants had become increasingly sinful and evil. And as happened in Noah’s time, if the human race does not quickly mend its vile ways, it will face imminent destruction. This time God will allow man to destroy himself by nuclear annihilation. The signs pointing toward that catastrophe are everywhere. One only has to look with an open mind to realize that we are indeed moving in that direction. Widespread breakdown of moral and spiritual values afflict every nation and society in the world. Violence and wars are frequently

 

tree, a mountain etc, in sum, all matter and energy. The known spiritual aspects of the Sayal consist of thoughts, emotions, feelings, instincts, knowledge, characters... i.e., attributes of consciousness. And since ”matter,” being a condensed spiritual Sayal, is in essence and substance spiritual, Daheshism considers the physical laws as being also divine laws. Contravening them entails punishment reflected in physical damages received by their transgressor. As both aspects of the Sayals, the physical and the spiritual are interdependent and correlated, accordingly everything animate or inanimate has a spiritual origin and is in reality dynamic and possessing consciousness. In other words, all matter and energy possess consciousness. For instance, a man or an animal is both matter and consciousness at the same time. Similarly, a stone which appears to us only as matter is also both matter and consciousness at the same time. Physicist Werner Heisenberg, a Nobel laureate in physics and author of Physics and Beyond, has this to say in his book(25) Across the Frontiers: ”The laws of life have their origin beyond their mere physical manifestation and compel us to consider their spiritual source.”’ The Daheshist philosophy stresses the fact that everything physical is both matter and consciousness at the same time. It also makes no distinction between living and non-living objects. Doctor Dahesh revealed to us that the distinction between living and non-living objects is only a human perception which has no basis in truth. All matter and energy exist as living and fully conscious objects. This Daheshist idea of interdependence and correlation between the spiritual and physical aspects of the Sayals is an extremely difficult idea to explain, although it is a very basic principle of the Daheshist philosophy. Simply stated, the nature, character, type, and condition of any physical manifestation cannot be anything except the visible reflection of its deeper spiritual reality. We read in the words of physicist Capra: ”The clarification of the concept of order in a field of research where patterns of matter and patterns of mind are increasingly being recognized as reflections of one another promises thus to open fascinating frontiers of knowledge.” The connection and correlation between the spiritual-physical aspect of the Sayals have been emphasized innumerable times through the spiritual revelations and inspired writings of Doctor Dahesh. Hundreds of recorded miracles proved beyond doubt that the world of the Spirit which is not bound by our laws can change thoughts into matter. What Doctor Dahesh had been telling people for almost half a century about the changing and illusive nature of matter (physical Sayals), through his inspired writings and divine revelations, I believe that scientists are just now beginning to discover and affirm through modern Physics.

Physicists now tell us that what we perceive as solid matter is nothing but energy, and that energy has dual particle/wave characteristics. Physicist Fritzof Capra defines particles as ”entities confined to a very small volume, while waves are spread out over a large region of space.”(26) Thus, matter which is energy could be either particles or waves. So in reality, what appears to us as solid objects could also be waves of energy as energy is always associated with flow, activity and change. At subatomic levels, the distinction between organic and inorganic (living and non-living) substances ceases to exist, and physicists are finding out, to their surprise, that energy particles react to information and seem to possess consciousness. Should the overwhelming spiritual Sayals in any object or form attain a higher level of spiritual awareness and sublimity through lofty

deeds, or vice versa, the temporary physical manifestation of that object or form will change through death, decay, or disintegration, and a new correlated spiritual-physical manifestation will reappear through the law of reincarnation. The average length for each reincarnation cycle is different from one creature to the other. For example, a man may live a hundred years, a tree several hundreds, and a mountain or a stone several million years, but in the end they will all perish and be transformed. The divine law of reincarnation (transformation and change) applies to everything in nature, When the physical aspect of the Sayals disappears or, in other words, when the form or object dies, decays, or disintegrates, (27)the spiritual Sayals in that form or object would be liberated. It would then be instantly reincarnated into whatever form or object it merits to be, even if it is in a place millions of light-years away. The spiritual Sayal, when totally purified, regains its original nature – a spirit. Thus, it leaves the material universe and is integrated into the pure World of the Spirits.


 

(1)Daheshists refer to one another as sister and brother, not as a Sister or Brother in a religious order, but as spiritually bound individuals.

(2)See Appendix A. ’See Appendix B.

(3)A Daheshist Ramz is symbolized by a connected pentagonal star. It is written in Arabic on a yellow paper 10 cm. wide by 13.8 cm long. Depending on the context in which it is used, Ramz can mean only the marking of the star which is used by Daheshists as a symbolic sign of faith, or it can mean a written Daheshist prayer, a means of communicating one’s hopes and praise to God Almighty.

(4)My second daughter was not yet born when the undisclosed prophecy was given to me.

(5)See Appendix A.( in it. When he saw the avocados .....I would instead go and see)

(6)See p. l 70.

(7)That particular Bible, I later found out, belonged to the first Daheshist chronicler, the Lebanese poet, Halim Dammous, who was then deceased. The underlining in red of some of the verses were made by him.

(8) River of Tears (Beirut: Al-Nisr al-Muhalleq Publishing Co., 1979).

(9) Clear references to the total destruction of the earth had been intimated by Dr. Dahesh on many occasions. These ominous reflections the Doctor frequently expressed in his writings, as well as in numerous conversations he had with his followers. More than that, there are many spiritual revelations which came in the form of divine messages foretelling the desolation of man. I recall a very special event in which I was with Dr. Dahesh who was in a spiritual state; he asked me if I thought the end of the world was coming soon. I replied that as a Daheshist I believed in that. Dr. Dahesh, or rather the Spirit talking through him, agreed and said the end of the world is very near.

(10) Doctor Dahesh received an honorary doctorate degree in 1930 from the Sage Institute of Paris.

(11) Published in Beirut, October 1970

(12) A Riyal is the local Qatari currency, equivalent in those days to 25 U.S. cents.

(13) The transfer of food Sayals by Doctor Dahesh to the two starving people can only be understood in Daheshist terms. The Daheshist concept of the Spiritual-physical correlation and duality of Sayals in all matter explains the food transfer revelation or miracle. The food eaten by the Prophet, in reality like all matter, consists of both physical and spiritual Sayals. The Guiding Beloved Prophet, after having eaten the food, converted its Sayals back to the original form. The food is then spiritually transported to the starving people where they will conveniently locate it. Although this reasoning may sound bizarre to many, it is totally logical to Daheshists.

(14)Refer to definition p. 25, footnote 1.

(15)Zeina is the Daheshist sister mentioned earlier in the book.

(16)See Appendix C.

(17) In the Daheshist philosophy, the Sayal of prophecy is common to all of God’s messengers or Prophets. God keeps reincarnating this Sayal of Prophecy to deliver His spiritual Message at different intervals of time.

(18)”0 Miserable Lebanon” (1975) in Gardens of the Gods: The Lyre of Love (Beirut: Al-Nisr al-Muhalleq Publishing Co., 1980), page 114. It should be noted that when this prophetic piece was written, the Lebanese civil war was only six months old. And no one, even among the most astute expert observers, did even predict, at the time and even long afterwards, the horrendous bloody miserable years that were to come nor the bleak fate Lebanon would meet.

 

(19) The catastrophic consequences of Dr. Dahesh’s persecution by the Lebanese authorities and clergy upon Lebanon were actually foretold since the beginning of that persecution in 1942-1943. It was a warning constantly repeated in the Black Books and Pamphlets in the years 1944-1952. It was even bluntly declared to the world in two petitions to the United Nations: the first was sent to the UN General Assembly in October 1948, and the second sent to the committee of human rights of the UN Economic and Social Council in November 1949. For further reference, see Fares A. Zaatar, ”The Case of Dr. Dahesh and Watergate: A Comparative Study,” Thesis – Long Island University l985 (pp. 733), chap xiv.

(20) The Lebanese certificate of nationality indicates in one of its items the religion and the religious sect of its bearer.

(21) Father Nahum is a biblical prophet mentioned in the Old Testament. He frequently gave spiritual messages through Doctor Dahesh.

(22)See the text of the spiritual message, p. 199.

 

(23)See Appendix A regarding the Daheshist concept of Sayal and the correlation between the physical and spiritual aspects of the Sayals.

(24) Deeds reflect the quality of the Sayal in individuals and nations. occurring to settle differences and disputes. Exploitation of people and of natural resources for greed and money only, under many guises and pretexts, created enmities, destroyed human solidarity, and sowed the seeds of bloody conflicts and social unrest. Those are but a very few of the ills that are threatening us. Unresolved, these deepening moral vices and contradictions will eventually destroy us as we live in a world brimming with nuclear weapons of mass destruction – a world which is unfortunately still dominated by selfish and shallow men. The last spiritual message I received through Doctor Dahesh was originally a written prayer that had miraculously been transformed into that spiritual message. Translated from Arabic this message reads:

Dear Brother

The hour of judgment is very near – that great hour of indescribable terror and fear. For in God’s reckoning, a thousand years is but a glance. Woe to the inhabitants of the earth on that hour of tremendous horror and fear. Evil has become entrenched, and forbidden lusts are practiced by all. Everyone has indulged in forbidden sins, obeying the Devil’s call. For this reason, all deserve to die a terrible death and end up in the infernal worlds. You have understood the truth and have felt the eternal power of the Spirit. Pray to God that He may reward you, by allowing you to dwell in a happy and bright world. Also, remember that everything will come to naught, and the only reality that will last forever is the spiritual reality, one which will enable a person to dwell in a paradisiacal world of eternal happiness and bliss.

 

APPENDIX A

The Sayals ’

In the Daheshist philosophy, Sayals are considered to be the building blocks or the ”fabric” of the Universe. For the origin of the universe is spiritual and so are its essence and substance. Even matter itself is but a spiritual state whose existence as such is precipitated by spiritual causes. We do not know everything about the Sayals but what we do know are some of their physical and spiritual manifestations. Sayals are spiritual power entities. Everything in existence is made out of Sayals which are as infinitely diverse in kind and characteristics as life and nature itself. Their spiritual degree of sublimity or degradation is always a determinant factor of their level of existence. Matter is nothing more than condensed spiritual Sayal(s). In the physical world, spiritual Sayals are fused with the material elements of the world in which they deserved to be reincarnated. And the material-spiritual entity that is born out of this ”fusion” manifests itself in physical as well as spiritual aspects. That is why we can say that in all the physical universe, Sayals have dual physical as well as interdependent and correlated spiritual characteristics. The physical aspect of the Sayal is everything visible and measurable. It can take or possess the form of a human, an animal, a tree, a mountain etc, in sum, all matter and energy. The known spiritual aspects of the Sayal consist of thoughts, emotions, feelings, instincts, knowledge, characters... i.e., attributes of consciousness. And since ”matter,” being a condensed spiritual Sayal, is in essence and sub- stance spiritual, Daheshism considers the physical laws as being also divine laws. Contravening them entails punishment reflected in physical damages received by their transgressor. As both aspects of the Sayals, the physical and the spiritual are interdependent and correlated, accordingly everything animate or inanimate has a spiritual origin and is in reality dynamic and possessing consciousness. In other words, all matter and energy possess consciousness. For instance, a man or an animal is both matter and consciousness at the same time. Similarly, a stone which appears to us only as matter is also both matter and consciousness at the same time. Physicist Werner Heisenberg, a Nobel laureate in physics and author of Physics and Beyond, has this to say in his book Across the Frontiers: ”The laws of life have their origin beyond their mere physical manifestation and compel us to consider their spiritual source.”’ The Daheshist philosophy stresses the fact that everything physical is both matter and consciousness at the same time. It also makes no distinction between living and non-living objects. Doctor Dahesh revealed to us that the distinction between living and non-living objects is only a human perception which has no basis in truth. All matter and energy exist as living and fully conscious objects. This Daheshist idea of interdependence and correlation between the spiritual and physical aspects of the Sayals is an extremely difficult idea to explain, although it is a very basic principle of the Daheshist philosophy. Simply stated, the nature, character, type, and condition of any physical manifestation cannot be anything except the visible reflection of its deeper spiritual reality. We read in the words of physicist Capra: ”The clarification of the concept of order in a field of re- search where patterns of matter and patterns of mind are increasingly being recognized as reflections of one another promises thus to open fascinating frontiers of knowledge.” The connection and correlation between the spiritual-physical aspect of the Sayals have been emphasized innumerable times through the spiritual revelations and inspired writings of Doctor Dahesh. Hundreds of recorded miracles proved beyond doubt that the world of the Spirit which is not bound by our laws can change thoughts into matter. What Doctor Dahesh had been telling people for almost half a century about the changing and illusive nature of matter (physical Sayals), through his inspired writings and divine revelations, I believe that scientists are just now beginning to discover and affirm through modern physics.

Physicists now tell us that what we perceive as solid matter is nothing but energy, and that energy has dual particle/wave characteristics. Physicist Fritzof Capra defines particles as ”entities confined to a very small volume, while waves are spread out over a large region of space.”~ Thus, matter which is energy could be either particles or waves. So in reality, what appears to us as solid objects could also be waves of energy as energy is always associated with flow, activity and change. At subatomic levels, the distinction between organic and inorganic (living and non-living) substances ceases to exist, and physicists are finding out, to their surprise, that energy particles react to information and seem to possess consciousness. Should the overwhelming spiritual Sayals in any object or form attain a higher level of spiritual awareness and sublimity through lofty deeds, or vice versa, the temporary physical manifestation of that object or form will change through death, decay, or disintegration, and a new correlated spiritual-physical manifestation will reappear through the law of reincarnation. The average length for each reincarnation cycle is different from one creature to the other. For example, a man may live a hundred years, a tree several hundreds, and a mountain or a stone several million years, but in the end they will all perish and be transformed. The divine law of reincarnation (transformation and change) applies to everything in nature, When the physical aspect of the Sayals disappears or, in other words, when the form or object dies, decays, or disintegrates, the spiritual Sayals in that form or object would be liberated. It would then be instantly reincarnated into whatever form or object it merits to be, even if it is in a place millions of light-years away. The spiritual Sayal, when totally purified, regains its original nature – a spirit. Thus, it leaves the material universe and is integrated into the pure World of the Spirits.

 

 

APPENDIX B

As an engineering student I had several opportunities to read literature on modern physics. Nuclear science, in the fifties, was an academically exciting and much talked about subject. It generated endless debates and predictions to what the future of man and his environment could be like in the nuclear age.

 

            I found the subject very interesting. I was not interested in the scientific and technical details of the new physics which I found hard and complicated, but rather in its philosophical implications which I thought to be extremely surprising. It was like someone waking up from a vivid dream and suddenly realizing that the sensations experienced in the dream, which seemed very real at the time, were nothing but imagination.

 

            The philosophical message of the new physics which I became aware of was very clear. It said, things are not what they appear to be, and the laws of nature are fundamentally different from what we thought them to be. Nature appeared to be full of secrets and surprises which are impervious to our logic and perceptions. Soon, my attention turned to other matters, and the subject of modern physics, or quantum mechanics, was buried in my sub-conscious for almost thirty years. It did not surface again until I attempted to explain the Daheshist concept of the Sayals. My thoughts took me back to what I had read about modern physics in past years. It all seemed to come alive, and I could clearly see the connection between the Daheshist interpretation of nature and what the physicists had to say. My interest in the subject was rekindled and I read more books to update my knowledge and to further assist me in explaining the Daheshist views. New quantum theories and postulates have emerged since the fifties. In one way or the other, all of these theories seem to revolve around evidence pointing to the existence of a spiritual order which governs everything in nature. From a Daheshist perspective, modern physics, or quantum mechanics, is a science that is gradually revealing some of the deepest mysteries of nature. It is a science that is edging closer and closer to the peripheries of spiritual secrets, and in so doing, it is beginning to discover and confirm some of what the Daheshists have always known. For many of us, modern physics has altered our view of nature and possibly our place in it. It has made us realize that the realities of life at their deepest spiritual level remain essentially beyond our senses – a hidden secret and a paradox. I shall attempt to illustrate what I mean with the following example. Common sense, for instance, tells us that a large stone is a solid, lifeless, and practically indestructible object. That is our common view of a stone. To a nuclear physicist probing deep inside the molecular structure of the stone, he will see something entirely different. He will find the stone to be made up of molecules of different elements held together by electromagnetic forces. Probing deeper yet into the subatomic structure of the molecules, the physicist will discover the stone not as a lifeless inert object, but as an active field of concentrated energy, consisting, figuratively speaking, of infinite areas of emptiness in which a few specks of particles are spinning at tremendous velocities, giving the stone its appearance. The physicist will also detect a continuous process of destruction and rebirth of the particles taking place inside the atoms of the stone. The stone’s physical reality, the scientist will conclude, is only a deceptive apparition and an illusion. A Daheshist, like the physicist, would agree that the stone is basically a transient object, and that its physical appearance is only a temporary state. He would also confirm that the stone is an active object, subject to the process of transformation and change. The Daheshist, however, will insist that the stone has spiritual origin, and that the transformation and change taking place inside its subatomic structure is spiritual in nature. The stone, the Daheshist would say, is in reality a fully conscious object, and like everything else in nature, it is ultimately governed by the divine and universal laws of reincarnation. Although the parallel between the Daheshist’s interpretation of nature and the physicist’s view of it are becoming increasingly obvious, still, the spiritual revelations of nature remain infinitely more illustrious and revealing. While scientists are edging closer and closer toward discovering the inner workings of nature, they will never be able to completely unlock its ultimate secrets. There will always be some spiritual barriers blocking the full discovery of the secrets of life, because life and its inner secrets are essentially spiritual phenomena that can only be partially revealed. For in reality, man does not merit the discovery of the full secrets of life!

 

APPENDIX C

In addition to his human personality, Doctor Dahesh has Six

Spiritual Personalities. The Six Spiritual Personalities appear on earth for spiritual reasons. Many Daheshists have seen one or more of these Personalities. The Personalities are identical to Doctor Dahesh in appearance and could not be differentiated from him. These spiritual identical Personalities, or extensions of Doctor Dahesh, may have appeared to be human for all intents and purposes, but in reality they were not. They belonged to a higher spiritual order and consequently they were not bound by our physical laws. They could appear and disappear instantaneously and could be at different places at the same time. They are not affected by death as we know it on earth and in general are not governed by our three-dimensional experience or laws. The person who was executed by a firing squad in Azerbaijan and whose pictures were taken and published was one of Doctor Dahesh’s Six Spiritual Personalities. The Personality that was executed did not really die and Doctor Dahesh himself was unharmed. Similarly, Daheshists believe that Jesus Christ also had Spiritual Personalities who were identical to him. Thus, the Jesus who was crucified, two thousand years ago, was one of Christ’s Spiritual Personalities. As it was the Personality that had been crucified, according to the Daheshist philosophy, Jesus Christ himself did not die and met his disciples later. However, soon after the crucifixion of one of his Personalities, Jesus went into seclusion and only a few of his disciples knew of that.

 

(1)Daheshists refer to one another as sister and brother, not as a Sister or Brother in a religious order, but as spiritually bound individuals.

(2)See Appendix A. ’See Appendix B.

(3)A Daheshist Ramz is symbolized by a connected pentagonal star. It is written in Arabic on a yellow paper 10 cm. wide by 13.8 cm long. Depending on the context in which it is used, Ramz can mean only the marking of the star which is used by Daheshists as a symbolic sign of faith, or it can mean a written Daheshist prayer, a means of communicating one’s hopes and praise to God Almighty.

(4)My second daughter was not yet born when the undisclosed prophecy was given to me.

(5)See Appendix A.( in it. When he saw the avocados .....I would instead go and see)

(6)See p. l 70.

(7)That particular Bible, I later found out, belonged to the first Daheshist chronicler, the Lebanese poet, Halim Dammous, who was then deceased. The underlining in red of some of the verses were made by him.

(8) River of Tears (Beirut: Al-Nisr al-Muhalleq Publishing Co., 1979).

(9) Clear references to the total destruction of the earth had been intimated by Dr. Dahesh on many occasions. These ominous reflections the Doctor frequently expressed in his writings, as well as in numerous conversations he had with his followers. More than that, there are many spiritual revelations which came in the form of divine messages foretelling the desolation of man. I recall a very special event in which I was with Dr. Dahesh who was in a spiritual state; he asked me if I thought the end of the world was coming soon. I replied that as a Daheshist I believed in that. Dr. Dahesh, or rather the Spirit talking through him, agreed and said the end of the world is very near.

(10) Doctor Dahesh received an honorary doctorate degree in 1930 from the Sage Institute of Paris.

(11) Published in Beirut, October 1970

(12) A Riyal is the local Qatari currency, equivalent in those days to 25 U.S. cents.

(13) The transfer of food Sayals by Doctor Dahesh to the two starving people can only be understood in Daheshist terms. The Daheshist concept of the Spiritual-physical correlation and duality of Sayals in all matter explains the food transfer revelation or miracle. The food eaten by the Prophet, in reality like all matter, consists of both physical and spiritual Sayals. The Guiding Beloved Prophet, after having eaten the food, converted its Sayals back to the original form. The food is then spiritually transported to the starving people where they will conveniently locate it. Although this reasoning may sound bizarre to many, it is totally logical to Daheshists.

(14)Refer to definition p. 25, footnote 1.

(15)Zeina is the Daheshist sister mentioned earlier in the book.

(16)See Appendix C.

(17) In the Daheshist philosophy, the Sayal of prophecy is common to all of God’s messengers or Prophets. God keeps reincarnating this Sayal of Prophecy to deliver His spiritual Message at different intervals of time.

(18)”0 Miserable Lebanon” (1975) in Gardens of the Gods: The Lyre of Love (Beirut: Al-Nisr al-Muhalleq Publishing Co., 1980), page 114. It should be noted that when this prophetic piece was written, the Lebanese civil war was only six months old. And no one, even among the most astute expert observers, did even predict, at the time and even long afterwards, the horrendous bloody miserable years that were to come nor the bleak fate Lebanon would meet.

 

(19) The catastrophic consequences of Dr. Dahesh’s persecution by the Lebanese authorities and clergy upon Lebanon were actually foretold since the beginning of that persecution in 1942-1943. It was a warning constantly repeated in the Black Books and Pamphlets in the years 1944-1952. It was even bluntly declared to the world in two petitions to the United Nations: the first was sent to the UN General Assembly in October 1948, and the second sent to the committee of human rights of the UN Economic and Social Council in November 1949. For further reference, see Fares A. Zaatar, ”The Case of Dr. Dahesh and Watergate: A Comparative Study,” Thesis – Long Island University l985 (pp. 733), chap xiv.

(20) The Lebanese certificate of nationality indicates in one of its items the religion and the religious sect of its bearer.

(21) Father Nahum is a biblical prophet mentioned in the Old Testament. He frequently gave spiritual messages through Doctor Dahesh.

(22)See the text of the spiritual message, p. 199.

 

(23)See Appendix A regarding the Daheshist concept of Sayal and the correlation between the physical and spiritual aspects of the Sayals.

(24) Sayal is an Arabic word whose exact English translation is the word ”Fluid”. The

plural of Sayal in Arabic is the term Sayalat. It is the author’s personal preference to use the Arabic term Sayal instead of Fluid, and to use the English plural form Sayals instead of the Arabic ”Sayalat.”

(25) Heisenberg, Werner, Across the Frontiers (Oxbow, 1990), p. xiv.

(26)Capra, F. The Tao of Physics (Berkeley’s Shambala, 1975), p. 351. Capra, p. 351.

(27)For an inclusive overview of the Daheshist doctrine see: Dr. Ghazi F. Brax, Daheshism: A Spiritual Truth Attested by Miracles, a lecture given in the Assembly Hall of the Faculty of Law (Lebanese University) on May 21, 1971 (Beirut: Al-Nisr al-Muhalleq Publishing Co., 1971); also see Dr. Ghazi F. Brax, Lights upon Dr. Dahesh and Daheshism, a lecture presented on March 5, 1986, at the Faculty for Comparative Study of Religions, Antwerpen-Belgium (New York: The Daheshist Publishing Co., Ltd., 1986).

 

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