’The service for the occasion began with a solemn strain by the musical performers, when one of the inspired Soofies commenced singing in a voice of remarkable melody. The subject was a hymn of praise to the great Creator, most impressively composed in the Persian language. Whilst the Soofie was singing, one of the elders in particular,—though all seemed sensibly affected by the strain,—rose from his seat, in what the Soofies themselves call, “the condition changed,” which signifies, by what I could learn, a religious ecstasy. This person joined in the same melody which the other Soofie had begun, and at the same time accompanied the music by capering and sobbing in the wildest manner imaginable. His example had the effect of exciting all the Soofies on whom his eyes were cast to rise also and join him in the hymn and dance.
’The singularity of this scene seemed, to Meer Eloy Bauxh and his party, so ludicrous that they could not refrain from laughing in an audible manner, which attracted the attention of the principal Soofie engaged in the dance, who cast his eyes upon the merry party, not, however, apparently in anger. Strange as he confesses it to be,—and even now it seems more like a dream than a reality,—at the moment he met the eye of the Soofie, there was an instant glow of pure happiness on his heart, a sensation of fervent love to God, which he had never before felt, in his most devout moments of prayer and praise; his companions were similarly affected, their eyes filled with tears, their very souls seemed elevated from earth to heaven in the rapture of their songs of adoration, which burst forth from their lips in unison with the whole Soofie assemblage.
’Before they had finished their song of praise, which lasted a considerable time, the chief of the Soofie party sunk exhausted on the carpet, whilst the extraordinary display of devotion continued in full force on the whole assembly, whether Soofies or mere visitors, for many minutes after the principal devotee had fallen to the floor. Water was then procured, and animation gradually returned to the poor exhausted devotee, but with considerable delay. Meer Eloy Bauxh says he waited until the Soofie was perfectly restored to sense, and saw him taken to his place of abode; he then returned to his own home to meditate on the events of a day he never can forget.’
Soofeism, it appears, (by the accounts I have received,) is a mystery; the secret of which can only be imparted by the professor to such persons as have been prepared for its reception, by a course of religious instruction. No one can be initiated into the mystery who has not first renounced all worldly vanities and ambitious projects—who is not sincerely repentant of past offences—who has not acquired perfect humility of heart, and an entire resignation to the Divine Will—a lively faith in God, and a firm determination to love and serve Him, from a conviction, ’That God alone is worthy to be served, loved,