Friday, April 13, 2012
Are Sufi's escapist?
A friend remarked that he consider mysticism to be a way to escape the world.But Sufism is not about scape or renunciation at all.
The Sufi is not an escapist, that is not his climate. He is utterly against escapism. He believes in celebrating the world, celebrating existence, celebrating life. It is the very fundamental of Sufism that the creator can be reached only through the creation. You need not renounce his creation to get to him; in fact if you renounce his creation you will never get to him. Renouncing his creation, indirectly you have renounced the creator himself.
But renunciation still happens. It is not that the Sufi renounces the world, but that he attains to God – and the moment God is attained, the world disappears. Then there is nothing to renounce: then only God is. The Sufi does not escape from the world, but a moment comes when the world disappears and dissolves. The Sufi lives in the world and he finds that there is no world, only God is.
The Sufi is not an ascetic. He does not believe in inflicting pain on himself, he is not pathological. The Sufi lives life in an utterly normal way, with no perversions, with no obsessions. Although, slowly slowly, the quality of his life goes on changing, it is not that he tries to change it. His whole effort consists in remembering God, not in changing himself. The Sufi concentrates on only one thing, remembrance of God – ZIKR. As that remembrance deepens, his obsession with the world lessens. As he comes closer and closer to the ultimate reality, the ordinary reality is no longer attractive; it starts receding back
ufism does not believe in any fairy-tales of the other world, of heaven and hell. And it is not that heaven does not exist, but that is not the concern of the Sufi. The Sufi lives totally in the moment. His simplicity comes out of his understanding, not out of cultivation; he does not practice it.
Seeing life, he becomes aware of the austerity of a roseflower, how simple it is, and the beauty of its austerity. He becomes austere like a roseflower: it is not poor, the roseflower is simple and rich. What more richness can there be? The roseflower is simple and in utter luxury – what more luxury can there be?
The Sufi lives in the moment, blooms in the moment like a roseflower, simple yet rich. The poverty is not imposed; he is poor in spirit. And what does it mean to be poor in spirit? It simply means there is no ego, that’s all; not that he is attached to poverty. Beware of that. There are people who are attached to wealth and there are people who are attached to poverty. But it is the same attachment.
I have heard: The story is told of a dervish who went to visit a great Sufi master. Seeing his affluence, the dervish thought to himself, ”How can Sufism and such prosperity go hand in hand?” After staying a few days with the master, he decided to leave. The master said, ”Let me accompany you on your journey!”
After they had gone a short distance, the dervish noticed that he had forgotten his KASHKUL, the begging-bowl. So he asked the master for permission to return and get it. The master replied, ”I departed from all my possessions, but you can’t even leave behind your begging-bowl. Thus, we must part company from here.”