Niẓām al-qulūb | Monography or Translations of known period | Philosophy, Yoga and Dharma | Survey | Perso-Indica

Philosophy, Yoga and Dharma

Monography or Translations of known period
Niẓām al-Dīn Awrangābādī, Niẓām al-qulūb

[Preliminary Entry] Niẓām al-qulūb, written in 21 chapters, is an exhaustive account of Čištῑ mystical techniques and practices including accounts of yogic mantras and postures. Besides Sufi instructions for meditation and contemplation and exercises practiced and suggested by masters of the Čištῑ lineage, the work consists of yogic mantras in Hindi formulas as well as explicit accounts of yogic postures very similar to the Hindi aḏkār and yogic posture mentioned in chapter four of Bahāʼ al-Dīn Ansārī’s Risāla-i šattāriyya. Niẓām al-qulūb emphasizes the vocal ḏikr (laud invocation of God) and repeatedly mentions “breath control” in various exercises; the longest chapters of the book deal with such control and propound classifications of ḏikr formulas.

In this manual, the Čištῑ master Niẓām al-Dīn Awrangābādī (d. 1729) fits yogic techniques and practices into Islamic frameworks and propounds a mixture of Hindi mantras and Arabic ḏikr phrases. He also frequently  referes to non-Arabic ḏikr in the languages of Hindi, Panjabi and Farsi. One of the significant topics of Niẓām al-qulūb manifesting the meeting point of Islamic and yogic mystical practice and experience is a discussion on the mystical state of “unstrucksound” (Sanskrit anāhita), which may be achieved by initiates through both performing yogic practices and reciting the 99 names of God.

S. Kh.

Lithograph:  Niẓām al-qulūb,

n.d., Chishti, Nur Ahmad

, Delhi, Matba’-i Mujtaba‘i, 1309/1891.


Ernst, Carl W. - Lawrence, W. Bruce, 2002, Sufi Martyrs of love: the Chishti Sufism in South Asia and beyond, New York, Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 29-33.

Ernst, Carl W., 2005, “Situating Sufism and Yoga”, Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, 15, 1, pp. 28-29.

Green, Nile, 2000, "Emerging Approaches to the Sufi Traditions of South Asia: Between Texts, Territories and Transcendent", South Asia Research, 24, 2, p. 126.



Main Persian Title: Niẓām al-qulūb
English Translation of Main Persian Title: The order of hearts