Ogbo Ato Asure Iwori-Wofun
Spiritual life, order (harmony), divine morality, personal integrity (rectitude) and holistic living must keep pace with the advancement of science, technology and modernity. Without a divinely given outlook or sacred philosophy of life, our personal and collective lives will be barren, empty and lacking in life affirming meaning. Modern human society is moving at an unprecedented accelerated pace.
The advance of science, medicine, art, music and technology during the last hundred years has surpassed the accomplishments of mankind in the previous thousand year, or so it seems. We live in an information age, and the world has become smaller and closer knit together. Countless technological and scientific advancements have improved and furthered the quality of human life for which we are appreciative and thankful. All kinds of aesthetic endeavors and forms of entertainment have evolved to satisfy humanity’s increasing need for more and more pleasure. Through a limitless assortment of goals and aims mankind is seeking to fulfill its intellectual, moral, emotional and spiritual needs. Mankind seeks to fulfill itself through art, music, science, medicine, philosophy, mysticism, religion and so forth. Inspite of all of the wonderful discoveries and advancements of this age of science, technology and personal recreation, people generally speaking, do not appear to be more satisfied with their lives when compared to their ancestors from ancient civilizations. Without doubt, life today is more comfortable due to modern conveniences. People are also living longer and healthier physical lives, but not necessarily healthier mental, emotional, intellectual and spiritual lives. Individually and collectively people do not appear to be entirely content or satisfied with their present quality of life. Why this state of affairs? Because most of the development in this modern world is geared mostly towards indulgence in comfort, ease, convenience and gratification of the senses.
Mankind has forgotten Olodumare, His reality and importance. Mankind has forgotten how to make Olodumare their father, to rely on Him, lean on Him and trust Him. When we forget how to do this, Ifa tenderly and gently instructs and reminds us. Human nature cannot be satisfied only by satisfying basic material needs, seeking endless comforts and excessive recreation. Quality in human life comes from living ones life in harmony and conscious union with the divine, in harmony with nature. Animals are dedicated to seeking shelter, food, sexual gratification (pleasure) and sleep. While human beings also require to satisfy these fundamental needs, if all mankind does is seek these things, then mankind would be no better endowed than animals. Animals are driven by instinct. Human beings have instinct but we are driven and led by the gift and power of divine intelligence, illuminative perceptivity and a highly superior power of understanding and free will. We have the power of self awareness and the ability to discern, reflect, change and choose. We have been given the ability to choose the course and direction of our lives by Eledumare (the supreme and sole Creator and Emanator). The human being is essentially a spiritual-divine personality. The human heart needs to be informed, led and guided by divinely supplied instruction.
Ifa is the divine instruction, spiritual food and empowering agency provided to us by Olorun Alaaye (the life bestowing Supreme Being who is Himself the sole and original eternal life). The universal and timeless message of Ifa is infused with the potential to enrich humanity eternally. Now is the time when the divine treasures and holy science of Ifa is to be revealed and showcased to the world at large, because now is the time when humanity needs Ifa the most. The divine messages and teachings of Ifa were specifically prepared for the moral-ethical, intellectual-spiritual enlightenment and guidance of mankind. Through Ifa study and practice we promote the spiritual evolution of mankind and are able individually and collectively to be blessed with divine vision and reach divine realization (Ifayelele). Ifa teaches us how, as individuals and members of the divine human family, how we can transform and evolve. Ifa teaches us how to rightly and accurately perceive the world and our place in it. Ifa teaches us the best way to respond to the challenges and choices that confront us. Ifa is an unequalled blueprint to genuine inner richness, prosperity, fulfillment and divine realization. Ifa opens our spiritual eyes to the realities of the primordial realm of Olodumare and unfolds before our understanding the meaning and purpose of our lives. Ifa unfolds before the eyes of our understanding the sublime goal of creation! Ifa makes us able to experience and know the power, beauty and wisdom of the divine realm. Mankind is discovering in this age of convenience and affluence, that accumulating things and enjoying mere gratification of our outward senses does not and cannot satisfy and fulfill us. When we personally experience this, our heart then is prepared to open up to the divine realm i.e. the majestic world of Ifa. The mystic verses (utterances) of Ifa were formulated not only by Orunmila but by a chain of divinely inspired seers and a collective of spiritual masters through whom these divine words emanated from the depths of their hearts and were infused with divine radiance and transformative power. These mystic verses, sayings and teachings of Orunmila Awinrin offer invaluable guidance, understanding, insight and knowledge to bonafide aspirants (awo). The vision of life that Ifa presents and offers to us is so attractive, beautiful, astounding, life affirming and empowering, that for thousands of years, wise seers, holy sage-scholar and divine priests dedicated themselves to commiting to memory this treasury of divine understanding. Through a carefully protected, guarded and cultivated lineage of disciplic succession from the time of Orunmila until our very day, the unique wisdom, power and healing efficacy of Ifa has been preserved for posterity. Orunmila is surely a compassionate and understanding divine visionary. He is able to see and take in the whole of all things. He sees and understands the complete picture. This is the divine gift and endowment he received from Supreme Olodumare. Especially for the times in which we are living, has the healing instructive message, oracular nature and power of Ifa been safeguarded. As the Odu and sacred verses of Ifa cover a broad range of subject matter, a diligent study will help people enrich all aspects of their lives. This is why Ifa is the sacred treasure and unfailing remedy of the wise. Both gods (fully mature divine personalities) and men are initiated into its mysteries. Ifa for them, becomes a source of limitless delight, wonder, holy pride, comfort, strength and power. For people immersed in day-to-day life, Ifa offers assistance in improving the quality of life. For those seeking to better themselves, Ifa appears as insights into ways of leading a virtuous life. For persevering and dedicated persons willing to dig deeper, Ifa unravels profound truths behind life, creation and divinity. Ifa is a storehouse of limitless power, wisdom, divine nurturing, assurance, clarity and comfort. Essentially, Ifa helps individuals enhance their lives, as well as encourages one to undertake the spiritual journey leading to perfection, glory and immortality. Ifa guides our spiritual development with limitless love, understanding and profound immeasurable wisdom. Ifa works with you as an unique individual and does not compare you to anyone. Through Ifa, one perceives and experiences the great love, concern, interest and affection of Olodumare toward us, His wonderful purposes for us, and His great confidence in us. Through this confidential and personally experienced disclosure and revelation, we are nourished by our experience of the overflowing love of Olodumare which He lavishes upon us, his beloved children. As one develops sanctity, understanding and character, ones personal comprehension and appreciation of the messages of Ifa will deepen. As one progresses in ones journey, Ifa reveals its spiritual treasures, power, attractiveness and splendor. Ifa says that if we become intimately acquainted with Orunmila, his wisdom and ways, we would then become eligible and qualified to participate and enjoy eternal life. Eternal life means the same glorious quality of life, delight and joy in which Olodumare abides in. Imagine and consider that!!! Primordial glory, dignity, character, power and delight!!! To gain the greatest benefit from studying Ifa, aspirants should be open minded and sincerely determined to make spiritual progress. Instead of studying Ifa for scholarly exploits, ostentation or merely external performances, aspirants should reflect on the meaning of Ifa for enriching and improving themselves. Ifa will teach YOU what is essential and needful for YOU. Only when one thoroughly assimilates and completely incorporate Ifa into ones thinking and living, can one then be in a position to truly help, guide and counsel others. Ifa needs your perseverance, commitment and dedication. You need the experiences and understanding that only Ifa can bestow. Confidence is born from, and rooted in continual personal study and practice of Ifa. Over time the tangible reality of Ifa becomes a living, active and experiential power (presence) in your being, your spirit and thought. Ifa fills devotees with wonder, inspiration, confidence and assurance. The devotee of Ifa is always upbeat, motivated, enthusiastic and optimistic. Ifa gives power to successfully navigate through life in the midst of challenges, struggles, difficulties and adversities. Ifa teaches us how to convert poison into medicine. Nothing can kill the spirit of a child of Ifa!!! Become one with the Ifa spirit of limitless light and life! This is the invitation and challenge that Ifa sets before you!!! Like Orunmila we too should experience unity with Ifa and be able to truthfully say, ‘Ifa, you and I are intimately related. Ifa, surely we are one’. In good measure, can this goal be marvelously attained by us. Rather than imposing preconceived notions and ideas on the revelations of Ifa, one should make an effort to allow ones thoughts, intelligence and heart to be molded by the power filled and eye opening revelations of Ifa. One must be willing to absorb into ones thinking, practical life and very inner spirit the messages of Ifa. Ifa is for all but but Ifa is especially for the determined and energetic person. The person possessed of self initiative will gain much. Through patience, simplicity and perseverance, the power, glory and gracefulness of Ifa will manifest itself in ones life. The instructions of Ifa are practical guides for transforming mortal lives into divine lives. Do you know that many holy seers and divine priest-sages were translated to the divine realm without ever dying because of the intimacy and affinity they cultivated with Ifa!! They were transformed and elevated in this present world to the state and condition of the divine beings. This is how we obtained many of our Orisa!!! Many became masterful human beings and divine Orisa by persevering and mastering the divine science of Ifa. They lived in, by and for Ifa. As such, these honest, truthful and persevering men and women were honored and elevated by Olodumare. Diligent study and practice of the instructions of Ifa will initiate sincere aspirants into a disctinctive way of life. Faith (confidence) is born from reflection, good and firm determination and personal application. If one is privileged to study under the guidance of an expert practitioner, Ifa will begin to unfold the path toward divinity. If one is unable to secure a knowledgable Ifa preceptor have no worry, Ifa will guide and teach you. Sincerity, truthfulness, resoluteness and intelligent obedience are the requisite requirements for acceptance into Ifa training. Comprehending and adopting the guidelines, teachings and precepts of Ifa are crucial to enriching our lives. To the sincere, honest and straightforward person, Ifa opens up and reveals the treasures of wisdom, keys of power and unparalleled ways of divine love. To the insincere, dishonest and double-minded person Ifa conceals it’s true splendor, glory, genius and power. Ifa covers a broad range of subjects from everyday ordinary life occurrences to the secrets of creation and the divine mysteries of Eledumare. The revelations of Ifa are informative, interesting, thought provoking, life transforming, intellectually satisfying and challenging. The mystical gems of Ifa revelation and the mystical experiences holy seers, sages, priests and Orisa enshrined in Ifa can change the life of individuals. The practioner of Ifa will be amply rewarded for their study, perseverence and application. Ifa study and practice makes our lives more rewarding and complete. A diligent and reflective study of Ifa, comprehending its message and implementing them in life will result in unparalleled happiness and satisfaction. For this purpose Orunmila comes along side us to encourage, support, defend and inspire us. The words and teachings of Ifa are the utterances and revealed mystic visions and divine experiences and revelations of ancient seers who were moved, inspired and illuminated by the ase (power) of Olodumare. Through our efforts in union with the workings of the ase of Olodumare we experience the satisfaction of being active participants in our own spiritual unfoldment as well as the joy of being collaborators and true friends of Olodumare. The various insights, revelations and understanding of various inspired seers and sages of varying authentic lineages of wisdom, and understanding are included within the divine revelations of Orunmila. Because the utterances of Ifa are unique and personal in nature they do not conform to customary literary norms. By dispensing with the limitations of wordly speech, Odu Ifa verses blossomed as natural utterances emanating divine fragrance. Reciting, listening to, reflect upon and practicing Ifa directions immediately causes one to be bonded to the divine realm and one is elevated to the divine platform. One feels one spirit and mind soaring above to the divine dimension. One becomes infused with divine-holy energy which inspires, fills, heals and strenghens you. Through Ifa, the seemingly impossible becomes possible. Through Ifa, one discovers the wonders of ones own being and ones divine potentialities. Through Ifa we can perceive the divine preserve in everything and everyone. Ifa is sacred and holy because it is inseparable from Olodumare, and inseparable from true life. Ifa is more, much much more than poetry, stories, anecdotes and mystical revelations. Ifa is the manifest wisdom and power of Olodumare. That is why one always gains spiritual benefit, support and strength from Odu Ifa even if one does not initially comprehend its content or meaning, but through perseverance and determination Ifa itself will expertly teach, guide and illuminate you. Ifa was revealed and systematized by Orunmila for the purpose of personal recollection, study, reflection and application. It is futile to merely read and enjoy the revelations, teachings and guidance of Ifa without adopting them to ones lifestyle and manner of perceiving the world. Applying the divine thoughts of Ifa given in Odu Ifa brings unique charm, gracefulness and charisma to ones life. Ifa is complete and perfect and lacks nothing.
The words, sacred teachings and revealed mysteries Orunmila Awimilogbon nourish the body, mind and soul holistically. They show how to live a happy and content lives. Ifa illuminates our understanding and orders our life path to ensure attainment of divinity and fulfillment of supreme destiny (Ifayelele). The messages in Odu Ifa are more than words. They are living powers, living creative energies and divine intelligences which descend from the heart of Olodumare. The messages they impart are comprehensive and encompass all aspects of life here and hereafter. It is indeed unfortunate if people cannot (or do not want) to comprehend them and look elsewhere. Ifa is the supreme and definitive divine science for authentic aspirants and mature souls. Wealth, power, fame and fortune are the coveted pursuits in human society today. However if people realize the limitations or true purpose of these, they may then endeavor to engage in pursuits that are fruitful and thoroughly satisfying. For persons aware of the limitations of wordly pursuits, the clear and gemlike messages of Ifa become priceless treasures. Ifa is replete with divine virtue, inexhaustible strength, limitless wisdom, and able to confer all benedictions. When people comprehend the power, sublimity and astounding messages, descriptions and revelations of Ifa, they will realize that no wealth on the face of this earth can come close to equaling it. Let us reconsider the greatness of the treasure and blessing of Ifa that Olodumare has bestowed upon us through Orunmila. Let us treasure, value and delight in Ifa. Let us give Ifa the importance and prominence it deserves. Let us all in our own way share and disseminate the beauty, wisdom and practicality of Ifa.
Ifa it is you we are following! Ifa it is you who are leading the way! Ifa it is you who knows how to plan! Ifa! What you plan for me excels and is better than what I am able to plan for myself! Ifa, the happiness, joy and fulfillment you have in mind for me transcends, and is superior to anything I can conceive or imagine. Ifa you bless your faithful students and children beyond what they ask or expect! Ifa strengthen and encourage us, for you are our divine teacher, friend and wellwisher. Ifa! You are the one who guides, counsels and protects us better than our nearest and dearest relatives. Orunmila, support and guide us always. Fills us with your patience and character. Reveal yourself in our lives and in our present world which needs you. Surely Ifa! You will mend our world. Ase.
Olodumare you have given yourself to us through your wisdom and power, Ifa! Olodumare you are our pride and your word Ifa is our glory. We appreciate and love you great father Olodumare. May we never lose heart and never be ashamed of the divine tradition, Isese, you have blessed us with. May the light of isese shine upon our lives and be reflected in our conduct. Ase.
Orunmila savior, seer, sage and guide of humanity we are proud of you, delight in you and love you. May we prove worthy of you by cultivating your character, patience, perseverance and divine sagacity. Aboru Aboye Ooo Orunmila.