"The Rose Garden" an autobiography of modern day Naqshbandi Sufi, by Jenenne Castor-Thompson.
"A bridge is a bridge, but while it is being built it can carry no one."
Radha Mohan Lal, (Bhai Sahib), a Naqshbandi Sufi Master, who lived in Kanpur, India, said that it was foretold that he would be the last male Sufi Master of his line, and so he was. The lineage is now characterized by female Sufi Masters.
Mrs. Irina Tweedie was the first Western woman trained in the ancient tradition of Naqshbandi Sufism. Jenenne Castor-Thompson is the second Western woman trained in this lineage, and is a successor to Mrs. Tweedie's master, Bhai Sahib.
Little did Castor-Thompson know that the death of her mother April 9, 1989, was the event that would lead her to Naqshbandi Sufism. That fateful afternoon Castor-Thompson heard a melodic male voice say to her, "your time is not now, your time will come soon, I am with you."
Attributing the voice to the stress of the day, Castor-Thompson tried to ignore what she had heard, but was unable to do so. She was later to learn that the voice she heard that afternoon was the voice of Bhai Sahib, Irina Tweedie's beloved master.
Castor-Thompson spent the summer of 1989 in abject grief over her mother's death. Needing some way to distract herself, she began to read a book she had purchased a year before, "Daughter of Fire" by Irina Tweedie. After reading it through completely she knew that she knew Mrs. Tweedie, but she did not know how this could be.
And, after the first reading of "Daughter of Fire", she began to dream lucidly. These dreams were later to become the five volumes of dreams that comprise the bedrock of Castor-Thompson's poetry, fiction, and non-fiction works, both published and unpublished.
The first dream that she had of this kind was of an old woman that she was later to learn was Thallia (Umm Abdallah Muhammad ibn Ali al-Hakim) at-Tirmidhi wife of the Sufi, Abu Abdallah Muhammad ibn Ali al-Hakim at-Tirmidhi.
Realizing that something was happening to her that was extraordinary she decided to contact Irina Tweedie's publisher. She did and she was told that sometimes Mrs. Tweedie would answer the letters that were written to her.
In January 1990, Castor-Thompson heard another voice, this time the voice of a woman asking her, "come and follow me and I will lead?" Castor-Thompson replied, "Yes."
Thus begins the 13-year odyssey of the most curious and intense Master/Disciple relationship in modern Sufism. The culmination of the training results in Castor-Thompson learning that she a successor to Bhai Sahib.