Born again with Doctor Dahesh
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
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 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.
December 16, 1991