A teaching from “The Bowl of Saki”
ONCE YOU HAVE GIVEN UP YOUR LIMITED SELF WILLINGLY TO THE UNLIMITED, YOU WILL REJOICE SO MUCH IN THAT CONSCIOUSNESS THAT YOU WILL NOT CARE TO BE SMALL AGAIN.–Hazrat Inayat KhanCommentary by Hazrat Samuel L. Lewis (Sufi Ahmed Murad Chisti):
When this is understood, really understood, all smallness will disappear; there will be no war nor pain nor suffering. It is idea of self — any idea which man attaches to his mind — which stabs the very essence of mind and begins that process from which all sorrow arises. Voluntary surrender of self does not destroy mind, does not harm body, does not annihilate self. Rather it annihilates that thought of self which is given erroneously the name of self.
No one can pretend to the cosmic state. Thought of Sufism or of being a Sufi — even of submitting to the disciplines and practices – does not make one a Sufi. Attainment and only attainment makes one a Sufi. It is wrong ever to call one a Sufi, but there are souls who have lost all consciousness and feeling of distinction and separation and through them the Spirit of Guidance pours blessings upon the world.
- The 10 Sufi Thoughts, by Hazrat Inayat Khan via Ruhaniat.org
A few comments on the background of Sufism
Historically, the mostly-secret initiatic orders of dervishes, faqirs or sufis arose within the religion of Islam during the time of its beginnings. It is said that some were Christian mystics, fleeing persecution in Europe and the Near East at that time, and that their roots can be traced ultimately back to the Egyptian mystery schools. In Muslim Spain, these orders came in contact with the rich Safardic Jewish transmission as well. All over the world, members of these orders were prominent scientists, healers, poets and philosophers.When Islam — and with it the dervish or sufi orders — took root in India, the great melting pot, there was an interchange with Hindu and Zoroastrian transmissions. The Chishti order, with its open-minded view of other spiritual paths and its cultivation of devotional music (forbidden in many other orders) was and is prominent in India.
These are the roots of the message Inayat Khan brought to the West.
Of course many Sufis have been and are more traditional devotees of Islam. As in any spiritual tradition, there are fundamentalists and there are universalists. Neither is inherently good or bad. But the Message of Hazrat Inayat Khan is that of the essential unity of all religions.
Truly, from this point of view, any seeker after Truth can be said to be a Sufi.