The Shattariyya name Earthly Angel suggests the imprint of Gana’s earlier role in Hindu yoga practices, where the elephant-headed god corresponds with the earth element. Indian tantric texts assign Ganesha to the lowest chakra of the body’s six centres of psychic energy and equate him with the kundalini energy, the awakening of which leads to spiritual perfection. The Shattariyya narrative of the Earthly Angel arising from earth to achieve ‘heavenly spirituality’ remarkably resembles this mystical process.
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Originally published as Chapter 8 of Samer Akkach (ed.), Nazar:Vision, Belief, and Perception in Islamic Cultures, Brill, 2021. Republished here with thanks.