Testimonial of the author, Salim Onbargi
This testimonial is taken from a book published by Salim Onbargi titled Essays Inspired by Daheshist Teachings, 2004.
Journey of a Lifetime in the Company of Dr. Dahesh
Thoughts inspired by my living with the founder of Daheshism
My life seems to be a series of journeys where I have traveled throughout the world. However, of all the journeys, the most enjoyable one that left a lasting impression on me is the one that began over thirty-five years ago and has not ended yet. It is a trip like no other! It is a trip into the world of the soul, mind, and spirit. It is the trip of my life in the company of Dr. Dahesh. Who knows, maybe the date goes back prior to summer of 1963, the year I met Dr. Dahesh and started my walk in the shadow of his spiritual beliefs.
I had no intention in accepting the Daheshist message the first time I met its founder. I did not expect to have this meeting cause a fundamental change in all aspects of my life. At first, I was pulled towards Dr. Dahesh by my desire to witness firsthand his supernatural phenomena that I have heard about through many people, particularly through my late brother, Ali. He was the one who urged me to accompany him on a visit to Dr. Dahesh. As a result of this visit, I found Dr. Dahesh to be a unique, sensitive, and soft hearted individual—things that encouraged me to ask him for another opportunity to visit him whenever the circumstances allow.
In the beginning, neither the purpose of the supernatural phenomena that I have seen nor the Daheshist teachings that I have become exposed to was clear in form as I imagined them to be. I did not put myself in a position to accept without reservation some of the Daheshist teachings that I would pick up here and there. Some of it was hard for me to believe in at first, due to their deviation from the familiar and second, due to the lack of sufficient spiritual and psychological readiness—something that was not present in me at that time. However, with the passing of time and the repeated visits—that almost became daily—to the founder of the Daheshist faith and my becoming familiar with his spiritual teachings, either through his conversations, the reading of his many writings, or the witnessing of his supernatural phenomena. Deep inside of me, his spiritual identity was getting brighter and clearer and every time I met with him, I had no doubt not whatsoever that I am in the company of a supernatural person unlike the rest of the people. That he is a human being empowered by the heavens with spiritual powers in order to accomplish a great purpose that one day will become obvious.
In brief, these were the circumstances that led me to be acquainted with Dr. Dahesh and my belief in the Daheshist faith. Things developed later on and I had an opportunity to be graced with being his companion in many of his travels around the world and to benefit from the spring of his love and opinions. For that, I will be indebted to him for as long as I am alive and it is with pleasure that I write about him in these few pages.
I began my travels around the globe with Dr. Dahesh in the summer of 1970 when he decided to visit the Arabian Gulf States, where I visited frequently on business as a representative of an American company. That was during the season of killer heat where the temperature in these countries reaches intolerable levels. I’ll be honest with the reader that I had no idea that this trip would be the beginning of many travels where I have accompanied him, to include twenty-three countries and more than thirty cities scattered throughout the Middle-East, Eastern and Western Europe, Africa, and Russia (former Soviet Union).
Our travels exceeded two years of continuous travel with the exception of an occasional return to Beirut to rest and to prepare for the next trip. It is important to mention here that all of my travels with Dr. Dahesh—with the exception of our trip to the Soviet Union as tourists—included a business component for me on behalf of the American company that I represented.
For me, it is a cause for happiness and pride to have accompanied Dr. Dahesh during these voyages where I have seen many of his superb acts and dazzling spiritual phenomena, to include his inspired writings that he wrote at an incredible speed—something that is very difficult for anyone to believe except for the person witnessing it. I would never forget his challenges to some of his literary friends about a certain subject where he would surpass them in the speed of his composition and literary quality. There is no doubt that it takes many pages to talk about him, about what he taught me, and about the impact he left on my soul, however, I will refer to these things on occasion. My only intention is to tell the truth as I have witnessed it and have known it since I believed in the Daheshist faith.
I have known Dr. Dahesh to be an honorable man of God in all sense of the word. I have witnessed him with my own eyes apply righteousness, purity, and charity in saying and in action. I have known him to have a good heart, gentle manners, and respectful of people regardless of their social class. I have sensed in him sympathy with the wretched and the helpless, his suffering to the sight of the poor and deprived, and his renunciation of the useless worldly glories. No wealth, glory, power, and superficial customs or traditions meant anything to him. I have known in him the brilliant writer and the inspired thinker, whose eyes, lips, and brilliance overflow with truth and inspiration. Whoever gets a chance to read his many and varied books, will find them all to be of refined meanings and spiritual purport. Seeking the truth and calling for righteousness are the main themes of his works, whether in short stories, spiritual meditations, diaries, prayers, travels, or sayings…It is because literature, in his opinion, is not limited only to the artistic pleasure, but rather transcends it towards reconstructive behavioral goals. It appears that the goal of spiritual reform merged in his writings with an exceptional literary beauty where he excelled in the skill and strength of expression, the variety of his styles, the accuracy of his description, and his unusual imagination.
This tendency towards virtue and justice comes natural in his writings and free from any pretence. It flows through his veins and controls his pen. Not to mention that him, being the founder of a great spiritual mission of: sublime teachings; virtue and decency; and pure intentions that can standup to the rigor of doubt and wondering. This mission assisted in forming his literature and to stamp it with a spiritual character—despite its variety and styles.
I knew Dr. Dahesh to posses abundant wisdom, elevated intelligence, varied knowledge, curiosity to learn, and love for the fine arts in all of its forms—an obsession that made him search tirelessly for fine arts in every place and to acquire many of its forms. I believe this obsession has its far-reaching spiritual causes.
I knew Dr. Dahesh to be an avid reader and collector of all kinds of books, newspapers, and magazines. Add to this his love for travel, his avoidance of loud and busy gatherings, his preference of certain kinds of food and attire for spiritual reasons that are not known to us. According to him, matters and things are not by their form, but rather, by their spiritual characteristics—something that will only become clearer after understanding his spiritual philosophy.
I have heard through Dr. Dahesh the voice of guidance, wisdom, and Spirit and realized that we live in a lowly and trivial world, if compared with the worlds of happiness and light; that Earth is full of misery and evil and we would not have arrived here, had it not been for the sins that we have committed and the punishment that must be served. What I have learned from him that there is no such a thing as destruction or nonexistence at all, that what we see is nothing but a transition from one state to another in accordance to spiritual merits. That the rules of change and transformation follow permanent laws of nature and life that govern all creatures and in that is Godly justice and mercy. Whatever misery and unhappiness we face is of our doing, because whatever we plant we harvest.
It became certain to me through the founder of Daheshism that everything in life is vain and will perish. The eternal truth is that of the Spirit and allows whoever follows its edicts to reach the worlds of happiness and light. What has also become certain to me is that Heavenly Guidance graced us with reincarnation so that we can purify ourselves from our indiscretions and for several times, here on earth and on other worlds. Our distant past and our remote future do converge at this point in our existence and happy is the person that knows his limits, fears God, and obeys his wishes, because our hope and aim is in God alone.
Dr. Dahesh wrote his travels around the world in a series of twenty-two books titled “Daheshist Travels Around the Globe.” In this series, he wrote about what he had experienced from scenery to incidents and combined them with his contemplations and expressions. It was customary for him to wakeup to commence writing in his diary on a regular basis.
I am a firm believer that the series “Daheshist Travels Around the Globe” will be an historical witness and a clear judgment of humanity about its decadence and deviation from spirituality. As if Dr. Dahesh wants to tell history as the just wrath of God befalls on Earth, “I was a witness and I have warned them.”
He used to see and feel things that others cannot see and feel. He looks at things through the eye of an expert and evaluates things for what they are and not what they seem to be. He was so thorough and would not miss a thing. He would write about the sins, imperfections, and evil that he had witnessed during his travels around the globe and he would do it without embellishment or dressing up of the facts so as to minimize their severity. However, he did not forget about the few noble deeds that he had witnessed as well and wrote about them with praise, admiration, and appreciation.
Dr. Dahesh is strict in his evaluation of people, however, on the one hand, his evaluation is just and full of warnings and condemnation, on the other hand, it is full of mercy and pity for those creatures and his only intention is to help them correct their action—that’s if it is possible to do it. His travels to the many countries and his dealings with the many types of people, confirmed to him that human beings in their darkness are alike: they are obsessed with materialism, crowd over sensations, despise the poor, take advantage of the hopeless and wretched, would not hesitate resort to lying, deception, violence, theft, and the various colors of evil. All of this for the sake of money or to fill their insatiable appetite for forbidden desires. These diseases of conduct and of spirituality are widely dispersed through out all countries and covers all social groups and levels, be it soft drink peddlers, taxi drivers, bankers, business men, or the owners of art galleries in world capitals.
This widespread moral degradation that Dr. Dahesh used to see in every place he visited filled his soul with sorrow and loaded his heart with pain. He expressed this in his writings with sorrow, pity, warning, and condemnation. Perhaps towards the end he lost faith in the reformation of people and he lost hope in refining their souls, so he became solitary and only enjoys the companionship of his Daheshist followers who understood his spiritual teachings.
However, the life of Dr. Dahesh is not deprived of good times where he is happy, especially when he visits museums, art galleries, bookstores, exhibits, and markets so that he can checkout the merchandise of interest and artistic products, where he would buy what he likes. I believe, towards the end of his life, his persistence in searching for artistic masterpieces in every place and to buy the largest possible quantity was due to his realization that he is in a race with time and that before he dies, he should strengthen the Daheshist Museum with all types of art.
What I have seen and known about Dr. Dahesh, aside from what fellow brothers and sisters in Daheshism have seen and known, makes me say with absolute certainty and with solid faith that he was different from other human beings in his sayings and deeds, his feelings and emotions, or his priorities and interests. He is the Messenger of Heavens that descended to us on a holy and merciful mission aiming the rescue of those who merited salvation. It was only God, may his name be glorified, always in his heart and mind. God was his ally and hope in everything he did and worked for. His main purpose was the Daheshist Mission that he came for in order to save people—all people if possible.
These are the facts about Dr. Dahesh that I state in pride and honor. As to those who think that I have exaggerated things for a motive, all they have to do is lookup the facts with a pure heart and a clean soul and to read the many and varied writings of the founder of Daheshism. They can see what the inspiration has written with his hands and read what was written about him and about his fascinating miracles that were witnessed by thousands of people and reported by many books, newspapers, and magazines whether in Egypt in the early 1930’s or in Lebanon since its independence and until today. I say to them: Try to understand the purpose behind his miracles and the spiritual purport of his writings. Has he talked to people about anything that God has not already decreed or forbidden?
These are the lessons that I have concluded from my living with Dr. Dahesh, my belief in his sacred faith, and my companionship on his many travels throughout the globe. When I recall my days with him, I could not but bow my head in thanks and awe to the Lord that bestowed on me this great privilege and honor of accompanying the Beloved Prophet.
After all, what I have mentioned here about Dr. Dahesh is incomplete and does not serve him right. That’s because serving him right requires many lengthy chapters and not just a short introduction. I am very certain that any explanation or exposé of his spiritual teachings are not substitutes for his writings. If I had any hope in this book, it would be to help explain his faith and to help the reader to understand it.