Sufis The People of Path Vol 2 13

Thirteenth Discourse from the series of 15 discourses - Sufis The People of Path Vol 2 by Osho.
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A Sufi of the order of the naqshbandis was asked, “Your order’s name means literally ‘the designers.' What do you design, and what use is it?”
He said, “We do a great deal of designing, and it is most useful. Here is a parable of one such form:
‘Unjustly imprisoned, a tinsmith was allowed to receive a rug woven by his wife. He prostrated himself upon the rug day after day to say his prayers, and after some time he said to his jailers, "I am poor and without hope, and you are wretchedly paid. But I am a tinsmith. Bring me tin and tools and I shall make small artifacts which you can sell in the market, and we will both benefit."
‘The guards agreed to this, and presently the tinsmith and they were both making a profit, from which they bought food and comforts for themselves.
‘Then, one day, when the guards went to the cell, the door was open, and he was gone.
‘Many years later, when this man’s innocence had been established, the man who had imprisoned him asked him how he had escaped, what magic he had used. He said, "It is a matter of design, and design within design. My wife is a weaver. She found the man who had made the locks of the cell door, and got the design from him. This she wove into the carpet at the spot where my head touched in prayer five times a day. I am a metal-worker, and the design looked to me like the inside of a lock. I designed the plan of the artifacts to obtain the materials to make the key – and I escaped."
“That,” said the naqshbandi Sufi, “is one of the ways in which man may make his escape from the tyranny of his captivity.”
Man is born without a definition. He knows he is, but he does not know who he is. He comes into the world absolutely undefined, uncategorized, unlabelled; he comes into the world as a freedom. The whole life’s task is to define himself, to know who he is.
.Man is the only animal who asks the question, “Who am I?” Only he can ask, because every other animal has a perfect definition. A rose is a rose and a dog is a dog – a man is not just a man. A man has much more in him, infinitely more. The rose is a closed phenomenon, defined; a man is open-ended. The rose is predictable, man is not so. One never knows. One may be a sinner today and tomorrow become the greatest of saints – or vice versa. Man remains open, man remains liquid, man remains flowing. Man is more like a process than like a defined thing. That is man’s glory, and his misery too – because he constantly hankers to know who he is. And again and again he stumbles into the darkness of his being. His being is not illumined – hence the search, the inquiry.
On this point man has to be understood. because only from this understanding can he start working towards a definition, towards realization, towards truth.
When I say “man is born without definition” I mean that man is not born ready-made. What existentialists say is true – they say that in man, existence precedes his essence. In a tree, the essence comes first, then the existence. The same is true about everything else, except man. Essence comes first – the seed, the essential program, the essential design. The blueprint comes first. Then the blueprint unfolds and becomes existence.
In man just the reverse is the case. First he starts existing – without any blueprint, without any design, without being programmed in any way. He simply starts existing as a nothingness, as nobody. And then, by and by, he has to create his own identity, he has to create himself. He has to work it out, hence the anxiety. One may be able to, one may not be able to – who knows? One may succeed, one may not succeed…there is no guarantee in man.
A dog is bound to succeed – he will become a dog. There is no more to it. A peacock has no fear of being a failure. A tiger need not worry, need not suffer from insomnia. He is already that which he can be.
Man is not that which he can be, man is just a beginning – and the end remains unknown. Man brings no program into the world, man is not born ready-made. He is born as utter freedom.
So the responsibility is great – because otherwise you will go on missing your own soul. The responsibility is towards yourself. You will never feel fulfilled, you will always remain empty. If you don’t start discovering, creating, inventing, if you don’t start working for your being, you will remain just an existence without an essence.
That’s what is happening to millions of people. They have no souls. They exist, obviously, but their existence has no fulfillment in it, no contentment in it, no joy. This state is the state of existential anguish, tension, misery – what Buddha calls dukkha, utter misery. Blissfulness comes when you have come out of the darkness, you have become defined, you have become illuminated, you have an inner flame and now you know who you are. By knowing this, you have found your home – otherwise you remain a stranger, always searching for the home and never at home anywhere You remain a traveler you never know rest – because rest is possible only when you have come home.
So the whole life is a search for the home – a place where you can rest and relax, a space where you can be yourself, utterly fulfilled in your being. Existence has to become essence. existence has to produce essence.
And when I say “man has to create himself” I mean that’s how he participates in God. Animals live; they don’t create. Trees live; they don’t create. Even if something comes out of them, it is a natural production – the fruit will come, the flowers will come. It is only man who creates. There is no necessity…. There was no possibility of predicting that Picasso would do his paintings. A mango tree will produce mangoes but nothing is certain about man. Picasso will produce paintings, or become a buddha, or a dancer…nobody knows.
Man is a chaos, a creative chaos. He is very nebulous in his being. You cannot demark him, you cannot say exactly what he is. And man goes on changing every day. He is river-like. This is man’s dignity. He is the only animal who can create; he is the only animal who participates in God’s creativity.
But then there is also a problem. No glory can come without a problem with it. The glory is that you can miss. You may not be able to sing your song, you may not be able to dance your dance – you may be a failure. So man is constantly surrounded by fear – fear of failure; fear of remaining nobody; fear of remaining a nothingness, an unfulfilled, yearning nothingness; fear of remaining barren; fear of remaining a desert. Who knows? You can’t be certain about it. There is no guarantee in man’s existence.
The possibility of failure is ninety-nine per cent. The possibility of success is only one per cent – hence there is a trembling in man’s heart. Every step is in the unknown, with no guarantee, with no security. Every path is taking you into the unknown. You don’t know whether it will lead you to the goal or whether it will just turn into a cul-de-sac. It may reach only to a precipice from where there is no going anywhere. You may have to come back and all the effort may be a wastage. Nobody knows.
One has to move into darkness not knowing where one is going. But one still has to move – because if you don’t move, then too life goes on slipping by. It is better to move than not to move, because with movement there is at least a possibility that you may arrive. With no moving, there is not even that possibility. One has to choose.
And all alternatives look alike. It is as if you are standing at a crossroad – all roads look alike. It may be this, it may be that, and there is no way to decide a priori that this is going to be right. You have to search and seek. Trial and error is the only method available to man – that’s why many people decide not to choose. That keeps them in a more convenient and comfortable life. It is better to sit on the crossroads and not to choose, not to go anywhere. At least you can avoid being in error.
But just by avoiding being in error, you don’t become fulfilled. You may not have committed any error but you have not arrived anywhere. So the people who are very much afraid of making mistakes are the ones who lose this opportunity, this great opportunity, to grow, to be.
Man has to find himself. He has to ask. This cannot be avoided. Those who avoid, avoid at their own risk. “Who am I?” – this has to be asked and this has to be asked continuously till the answer arrives from the deepest core of one’s being. This is the only religious question.
And, remember, man is not a being because he is not ready-made. He is not a being because he is a process. So man is a bridge. He has to be surpassed, he has to be outgrown – that is, to find himself he has to go beyond himself. Man is continually trying to transcend himself, to surpass himself.
This is very paradoxical – the effort to surpass oneself – but man is a paradoxical being. It is a bridge you have to pass over. You cannot make your house on the bridge. Those who make their houses on the bridge will never reach to the other shore. One has to go on. There are a thousand and one anxieties in going, there are a thousand and one problems, a thousand and one hazards, but in spite of all that, one has to go on. One has to commit many mistakes before one can know what truth is.
That’s why man has to be constantly departing from his past. The past is the known, the known you, and the future is the unknown you. And you have always to sacrifice the known you for the unknown you. This is what all great religions teach. This is what they call sacrifice. Sacrifice that which you have known, all that that you have become identified with. Sacrifice the past for the future, the known for the unknown, the settled for the unsettled. This is the only way to grow. If you become too much identified with the past, growth stops. If you become too much entangled with the past, you start moving in circles.
Man is not a pilgrim but a pilgrimage. And obviously there are problems, great problems. Problems don’t exist for animals and trees and rocks and rivers, problems exist only for man – because everything else is defined, everything is settled already by nature itself. Nature has left man unsettled; man has been left to his own efforts, his own endeavors. But these problems have to be understood not as problems, but as challenges not enemies, but as friends – because it is only through them that one learns, one knows, one becomes.
Because of this search, maps have to be devised, designs have to be devised. Because of this search, you will need guidelines. Remember, a map is just a map, it is not the country that it represents. The map of India is not India. No design is the truth. The design is just a design, but it can help tremendously. A map can help tremendously, knowing perfectly well that the map is not the country. The map does not even resemble the country – by seeing the map of India you will not be seeing anything of India. The map resembles nothing. The map is just a parallel device; it is a metaphor, a symbolic representation.
But it can be of great help. Those who have gone beyond can create designs for you – that’s the function of a master. Those who have known, those who have arrived, those who have attained to their definition, those who are no longer just existential but who have become essences; those who have become souls, crystallized, centered, grounded; those who are – can give you a few guidelines, a few hints, a few maps.
Sufis call them designs, and there exists a school of Sufis called “the designers” – naqshbandi. It is one of the most important Sufi schools. There are others. They are all called by names like this. Another school is called “the weavers,” another school is called “the boat makers.” Sufis have such names. Those names are very practical – they immediately indicate what the school is doing.
Naqshbandis have been designing maps – what in India we call yantra. A yantra is called a design by Sufis. You may have seen Indian yantras and you may be puzzled about what they are. Looking at a yantra there are only lines, geometrical designs – but if you know how to decode it, you will be surprised. It is the map of your whole journey. It shows something, but you will have to know the language. The map is in a certain language, it is not available to the public – because the public can use it in a dangerous way. It hides great power within it. It can be given only to the initiates. All world religions have created their designs, but nothing to compare with the naqshbandis.
First it has to be understood that a map is a device – arbitrary. It is neither true nor false. It is simply useful or not useful. It is a utilitarian device. It has nothing to do with truth as such.
Once Buddha was asked, “Can a buddha lie? Can a man who is enlightened, lie?” Buddha said, “He has to – because he will have to devise maps. Maps are lies – lies in the sense that they are not truth. They are indications towards truth. Once you have reached, you will throw away the map. It was just useful.” So Buddha has defined truth in a very novel way. He says, “That which is useful is true.” His definition is very pragmatic, practical, very scientific. So is the attitude of the naqshbandis.
An ancient parable, a famous naqshbandi parable, is that of a father who called his children out of a building which was on fire. When they ignored him, he called them to come and get the toy cars he had brought for them – whereupon they came running. He did not have any toy cars but he saved his children’s lives.
Now he lied. The children, small children, must have been playing inside the house. They must have become too involved in their play to see that the house was on fire. But the father was outside and he saw the danger and he called them. He shouted. “Come out!” But they were so involved in their game that they didn’t listen. He invented a lie. He said, “Look! I have brought the toy cars that you have always wanted. So many, and so beautiful! Come on and take your toy cars!” And they all came running out. There were no toy cars, the father was lying – but he saved their lives.
Now this is a design, this is a naqshbandi, this is a device. It is neither true nor false, but it is useful, tremendously useful. Will you say that when the father lied, he committed a sin? – because all religions say, “Be true. Speak the truth.”
It happens many times, because you are all children and the house is on fire and you won’t listen. You are so involved in your games. Somebody is involved in money games, somebody in politics, somebody in something else. People are so much involved. To their very end they will remain clouded by their dreams and desires.
And the house is constantly on fire. Because you are living in death, the house is constantly on fire. Any moment you will be gone. But you are so much into your games that the master has to devise something.

It happened….
A man used to come to a great saint and he would always ask, “Sir, one thing puzzles me. You are so innocent, so pure, how is this possible? Suspicion arises in my mind that maybe you simply pretend. In this world of corruption, how can one be so pure and innocent and so virgin? How can one avoid being corrupted by the world? Maybe deep down you still carry the same thing but on the surface you have maintained it, you have maintained it well.”
One day the man came. He again started to say the same thing. And the master said, “Listen, there is something more important to be said to you. Just show me your hand.” He looked at his hand, became very sad, closed his eyes and started to cry. The man said, “What is the matter? Why are you crying, Sir? I have never seen you crying.”
He said, “I am crying because only seven days are left. Within seven days you will be gone. Your lifeline is cut. Next Sunday you will die. That’s why I am crying. Now you can ask whatsoever you want to ask. You wanted to ask something?”
The man said, “I have forgotten. You have disturbed me very much. Only seven days?”
Now this master was so loved by people, so much respected, that there was no reason to suspect that he would tell a lie.
The man rushed home, fell ill, didn’t move from his bed for seven days, was sinking every day, stopped eating, could not sleep. The relatives gathered. On the seventh day they were just waiting, because the master had said that as the sun sets, he would die. And there was just half an hour to go. The sun was just coming down, coming down, and relatives and friends and the wife and the children were crying and the man was just sinking into death.
Then the master came and said to the man, “I have one question to ask. In these seven days have you committed anything that you used to call sin, impurity, corruption, this and that? Did any idea come into your mind, any worldly idea?”
The man opened his eyes with great difficulty. He said, “What are you talking about? I am dying! How can a man have any ideas of sin or of the world when he is dying? Only death was there around me. It was coming closer. In these seven days there was not a single worldly desire in me. I was only thinking of God. I was praying, repeating God’s name.”
The master laughed. He said, “You can get up. You are not going to die! That was only a design to show you why I am pure. Death surrounds me continuously. What does it matter whether it is coming in seven days or seven years or seventy years? It doesn’t matter. It is only a question of time. It is coming – that much is certain – it Is coming. When death is coming, this becomes very, very clear to your consciousness. Life goes through a great change, a radical change.”
The man started laughing. He said, “You played a joke!” He was perfectly okay; within minutes he was okay. But he said, “Master, one thing, how could you lie?”
The master said, “It is neither a lie, nor a truth; it is a design, a naqshbandi.”

Maps have been invented to help you. They are arbitrary. Never become too obsessed with a map. Use it if you can; if you cannot, forget all about it. It has nothing valuable in it beyond its use.
Man has been thrown into the world for a certain reason. That has to be understood. Christianity has given the idea to the whole world that man has been thrown into the world as a punishment. That is a very stupid idea. Not only is the idea stupid, it makes even God look stupid, arrogant and mad. He threw man into the world for such a small thing! – because Adam disobeyed him? Each child disobeys the father, has to disobey the father. In fact, by disobeying the father, he tries to define himself. That is the only way to define himself. Each child has to go against the parents some day or other. If he never goes against the parents he will never be. Then he will be just a shadow. He has to rebel; he has to say no. Remember, “no-saying” is nothing but an effort to define yourself. When you go on saying yes, you lose definition.
Adam and Eve were doing what each child has to do. It is so psychological. God said, “Don’t eat the fruit of this tree, this tree of knowledge.” If you ask the Sufis they will say that this is a naqshbandi, it is a design. God is provoking them to eat the fruit of this tree. He is not prohibiting; in fact, he is provoking. In the Garden of Eden there were millions of trees. If Adam had been left to himself to find the tree of knowledge he might not have found it yet. It was only one tree in those millions of trees; nothing was special about it. It was just an ordinary apple tree. There were millions of apple trees like it but this was poisoned by knowledge.
Why did God say to Adam, “Don’t eat the fruit of this tree?” Christians think that he wanted to discipline Adam, that he wanted him to be obedient. That is not true. Ask the naqshbandis, because they are the people who know how to design things. They are the designers. They know that God designed the first design. He provoked Adam, challenged Adam. He created the idea and the desire to rebel by forcing an absurd commandment – “Don’t eat the fruit of the tree of knowledge.” He created a longing in Adam and Eve.
They must have dreamed about this tree from then onwards. They must have gone around the tree again and again. They must have touched the fruit, they must have smelled the fruit, they must have been waiting for the right moment. They must have keen hesitant. Each child is afraid – they must also have been afraid. Each child is. Many times they must have gone and come back, many times they must have been on the verge of committing disobedience, rebellion, and they must have become frightened – “If God comes to know, then what?” But how long can you resist this desire to say no? – because the whole thing is a design. Once Adam says no to God he becomes himself. By saying no he defines himself.
That’s why there is an age when children say no to every-thing. You say anything and they will say no. They are defining themselves. They are saying, “This is my definition, this is "I am.” You keep aloof. Let me be. This is my space. I don’t want to do this.”
Just last night a sannyasin came with her small boy, so small, to take sannyas. I looked at the boy, and there was Adam in the boy’s eyes. He wanted to say no. His eyes were saying no. His whole body was saying no. And I loved the boy. When I put the mala on his head he threw it away!
It has to be so. The boy has some spirit, Adam’s spirit. He was saving, “How dare you? I am myself. I can’t be defined by anybody else.” It was not in so many words – he had no words – but in his gesture, his reluctant look, his face, his withdrawing of the body, his throwing away of the mala.
That’s what Adam did. He had to do it to be himself. It was a design from God. This interpretation has a beauty. The naqshbandis say it was a design from God to provoke Adam – because unless he was provoked, he would never become grown-up. He had to say no to God so he could go on his way into the world. It is not a punishment, not at all. God is not arrogant.
When this child threw away the mala, I loved him as I have never loved any other small child. He has some courage. So small, but such great courage! So tiny, but ready to fight with the whole world! God did not punish Adam; God loved Adam. If Adam had followed God, there would have been no world, there would have been nobody here. It is by disobeying God, by saying no, that man became man, attained to his first definition, attained to his first feeling of being himself.
God is neither arrogant nor egoistic nor mad. He must have loved and blessed Adam. That’s my feeling too. When Adam was going out of the Garden of Eden there must have been a showering of God’s blessing on him. Now he is going on his way. That’s what every father would like his children to do. One day they should go on their own way; they should seek and search and be. How long can you remain protected? You have to go into insecurity, you have to go into sin, you have to go into the world. It is not expulsion, it is Adam’s rebellion. And it is not punishment, it is well-planned and designed. It is by this design that God created the world.
Now Christians have not understood it at all and they have made a very foolish story out of it – that God condemned Adam.
And then the second part of the story follows naturally. Then Jesus said yes to God and was accepted back again. Now Christians say that because Adam committed a sin of disobedience, the whole humanity suffered. And because Jesus accepted God again, said yes totally, the whole humanity was saved through Jesus.
This too is meaningless. How can you suffer for Adam’s sin? And how can you be saved by Jesus being saved? Then where do you come in? What is your responsibility? Then you are just puppets. Adam committed a sin and you suffer. You have not been a participant in it. You don’t know anything about Adam – when he was, whether he ever was or not – and you are suffering because Adam committed a sin.
This is unjust. Somebody committed a sin thousands of years ago, and you are suffering, you are being punished for it. This is very far-fetched justice! It doesn’t look right. And then, two thousand years ago Jesus said yes to God, and was saved; and you are saved in Jesus being saved. So somebody commits a sin and you become a sinner, and somebody becomes a saint and you become a saint. Where do you come in? Then what is your responsibility? Then you are nothing. The whole drama is complete between Adam and Jesus. Whether you are or you are not makes no difference. If there had been no Adam you would not be here, and if there had been no Jesus you would never have been saved. All foolish attitudes. You are neither punished because of Adam nor are you saved because of Jesus. You will be whatsoever you are going to be by your own self, by your own responsibility. You will either miss or get, but it will be your responsibility.
The naqshbandis say that this was the first naqshbandi, the first design that God created. He created a situation in which Adam rebelled. And since then man has been rebelling. Man has to go into the darkness to come back home. It is not a punishment. Man is not thrown into the world to be punished; man is thrown into the world to learn, to discover, to be.
Robert Frost used to pray every night. I loved his prayer. He used to say to God, “God, if you forgive me my petitions against you, I promise you that I will forgive you your great sin against me. I promise that I will forgive you your great sin against me and against humanity.”
It is meaningful. If Adam is thought to have committed a sin, it is a small sin. And Adam is a child – he can be forgiven. But what about God? He provoked him. What about God? He created the whole situation. If Adam’s act is thought to be a sin, then it is a small sin, a peccadillo, a very small sin. But what about God? Was he not aware of one very small thing a thing any psychologist knows about? – that is, if you provoke, if you challenge, you create a situation. He provoked Adam – that was his great sin. If Adam’s sin is a sin, God’s sin is greater.
But neither is a sin. I don’t call Adam’s sin a small sin and I don’t call God’s sin a great sin. It was simply a design to help Adam to move on his own, to stand on his own.
Have you watched? When trees bloom and the fruit comes and the seeds ripen, every tree tries to send its seeds far away – with the wind, with the birds. And if the tree sometimes feels that the wind will not be able to take the seed, that the seed is heavy, then it creates devices, naqshbandis, to send the seed far away – because if the seed falls underneath the big tree it will never grow. It has to be on its own; it has to find its own space.
There are trees which grow their seeds with a small bit of cotton around them. The seed is heavy but the cotton is weightless; the wind can take the cotton away. Then the seed will also go away, far away, and will fall onto some open space where it can become a great tree.
That’s what God did with Adam. He tried to push him away – because you can grow only when you are on your own. One day the child has to be sent to the school, one day the child has to be sent to the hostel, one day the child has to go to the university. He goes crying and weeping. He does not want to leave the family and the familiar. He does not want to leave the past, the comfort, the protection, the security, the safety. He does not want to leave, but he has to be pushed. He has to be thrown into the world. That’s what God did. It was a device.
Once you are thrown into the world you will learn on your own. Many times you will fail, that’s natural, but by failing again and again, some insight will start arising in you. And that insight will take you back.
Adam came into the world…he had to come. When Adam learns, becomes, attains to his being, he becomes Christ. Christ is nothing but Adam who has become grown-up. Now he can go back home. Now God will welcome him there. He has learned. The world itself is a naqshbandi for people to be.
“Consciousness is not like a thing: solid, complete, full and given” It has to be learned, it has to be grown, it has to be guarded. You have to be a gardener of consciousness. You have to provide water, space, sun rays, fertilizers. You have to protect this small sprout – very delicate it is, vulnerable it is, soft it is. It can be crushed by anything.
So remember: “Consciousness is not like a thing: solid, complete, full and given. It is a process and a self-creation. It is our continual improvisation based on the rejection of what it has been up to this moment.”
This has to be understood. Consciousness grows only if you go on rejecting your past. Ordinarily we cling to the past – then the consciousness does not grow. Whatsoever you have learned, forget about it. It is finished. You have learned it; you have absorbed it. Whatsoever you have been up to now, drop it so that you can be something more. Never be confined by your past. People who become confined by the past are the prisoners.
That’s what naqshbandi Sufis call the prison, the prison of the past. It has to be broken every day. Each moment one has to grow out of it.
“To be is to spurn from one what one has been. In so far as one does not do that, one approximates to a thing and ceases to be a person.” If you don’t have any future, if you only have a past, you are a thing, not a person. A person is one who has a future. A person is one who is always unburdened by the past, who goes on dropping the past, who goes on rejecting it. It has been lived already so what is the point of carrying it? It has been known already, it has been experienced already; there is no need to go on repeating it. When a person becomes non-repetitive, when he does not go on repeating the same experience again and again, he grows. Great growth happens.
“Man has the characteristic of self-transcendence.” You have to go beyond whatsoever you think of as yourself. Always and always you have to leave whatsoever you think of as yourself; you have to drop it, you have to renounce it.
This is what I call renunciation, sannyas. That’s why I give you a new name when you are initiated – just to indicate. Again it is a naqshbandi – it is just to indicate that your past is finished, that that chapter is closed. Start something new, a rebirth. Be born again. It is just a metaphor. If you understand it well, you can make great use of it. And from the moment you become a sannyasin, you have to remember it continuously. Every night when you go to bed to sleep, close your eyes and close the chapter that has passed. Be finished with it. Say to yourself that the past is no more. Consciously, deliberately, drop it, renounce it, so that the next morning you can be fresh again, clean again, young again, innocent again. Only then does consciousness grow.
“Man has the characteristic of self-transcendence.” He is as something to be surpassed. In plain language, man is free – or rather, man is freedom. Freedom is the essence of man, or, in man existence precedes essence. Man first is, only afterwards is this or that. Man must create for himself his own essence, his own soul, his own being. Man is a continual birth – by himself, to himself, through himself, for himself.
This is the task, the life task, that faces everybody. And for this you need maps. All religions are different kinds of maps. And remember never to mix maps. If you are using one map, use it with great alertness, awareness, dedication, commitment. Don’t mix it with other maps because different maps have been made by different people with different ideas behind them. They are not planned on the same lines. One map may be a road map, another map may be a railway line, another may be a political map showing boundaries, another may be a religious map showing something else, another may be a geographical map showing something else. All maps are different devices by different people. Don’t mix the maps, otherwise you will become confused. If you are using one map, one map is enough.
That’s why I am very much against the efforts that go on in the world to synthesize all religions. They cannot be synthesized. It will be as stupid and as foolish as somebody synthesizing chemistry and psychology and physiology and physics and biology and history and geography and religion. It will be as absurd. The different religions are different maps showing different territories, different ways.
Yes, there is ultimately one truth, they all arrive at the same goal – but they start from different standpoints. Their starting points are different. The ultimate arriving point is-the same but there is no need to make a synthesis of the starting points. otherwise you will be confused. So whatsoever map appeals to you – listen deeply to your heart – whatsoever map appeals to you, then be dedicated to it, be committed to it.
Before we enter into the parable, three things have to be understood. There are three pillars of Sufism. This is a naqshbandi, a design, to help you. This is a kind of map. The first is islam, the second is iman and the third is ihsan.
Islam means surrender – surrender of the ego, surrender of the past, surrender of the so-called self you have come to believe you are – utter surrender. That is the first basic pillar. Islam is a beautiful word. It has many other meanings too, but the basic is surrender, samarpan. The second meaning of islam is peace. When one surrenders, there is peace – because when you surrender, all conflict disappears. When you have surrendered to a master or to a school or to a certain map, you are in a great peace. Now you are not fighting. You have found somebody you can trust. You have found somebody who knows the way. You have found somebody who has the light in him. You can follow. In great trust, peace arises. How can there be conflict when trust has happened, when surrender has happened?.
The third meaning is silence. Peace means that now there is no more conflict in life, no more choosing in life – this way or that. “Should I go this way or that? Should I do this or that?” Once you have chosen a master, peace arises because now he is there to tell you what to do and what not to do. And your commitment is total; your involvement is utter; you need not think about it any more. You can put aside the thinking mind. Peace comes. And silence. .Silence is another dimension of peace.
Have you watched? Sometimes, whenever it has happened to you – you have surrendered in love to somebody – suddenly there is great silence inside. Not a thought stirs. Not a ripple arises. Outside there may be great noise – the traffic, the airplane, the train – but when you are in silence, suddenly even the noise of the train and the airplane and the traffic has no distraction for you. Even in them you will find silence. When you are silent, you will find silence everywhere.
In love a very small surrender happens because in love you are in love with somebody who is equal to you. It cannot be a very great surrender. You know the woman you are surrendered to or the man you are surrendered to, but he is just like you.
When you surrender to a master, you are surrendering to something which is far away and yet close by. A master is a ladder. The first rung is very close by and the farthest rung is very far away, high in the skies, whispering with the clouds. When you surrender, one part, one end, of the ladder is in your hands and the other end of the ladder is with God. A master is man-god. He looks like you, exactly like you, and yet he is not like you. He has arrived. He has found. The inquiry is no longer there; the search is no more there. He has no desires left. All is fulfilled.
Islam is the first pillar of Sufism – surrender, peace, silence.
The second pillar is iman. Iman means trust, faith – not belief. Belief is in concepts; faith is in presence. If what I say appeals to you and you trust it, that will be belief. If what I am attracts you like a magnet, if it pulls you like some unknown energy source, then it is trust. When you believe in a logical statement, it is belief; when you believe in the presence of a person, it is trust. Trust is personal; belief is conceptual. Iman means trust.
Sufis say that you cannot work alone. Without a master it is almost impossible. Without a master you will be like an accidental being, haphazardly going this way and that. You can drive yourself crazy more easily than you can become enlightened alone – hence iman is needed, trust is needed.
And remember one thing: never for a single moment think, as so many people think, that those who surrender or those who trust, are weak people. No, not at all. Only strong people can surrender and only strong people can trust. Weaklings are always afraid. It is not for the cowards to trust. Trust needs courage; trust means risk. Trust means that now you are opening yourself to somebody totally and you don’t know what is going to happen.
He may exploit you, he may destroy you; you are becoming vulnerable. Who knows what this man is going to do to you? You are becoming unprotected; you are taking all guards away. You are opening your armor for this man, and you don’t know what is going to happen. A coward, a weakling, cannot do it. So don’t think for a single moment that those who surrender are cowards or weak. No, not at all. Just the reverse is the case: only the very strong and powerful people can surrender. Iman is for those who are courageous.
The first meaning of iman is faith, trust, shraddha. The second meaning of iman is religion – not sect, but religiousness. What is religiousness? The dissatisfaction with the visible is religiousness – dissatisfaction with the visible, with the tangible; dissatisfaction with the world as it is; a discontent with things as they are. With that discontent, with that divine discontent, a great longing arises in you to search for truth, to search for the meaning of life, to search for the source of life: From where does it all come? To where does it all go? What is the foundation of this whole mystery?
That is religiousness. It has nothing to do with any sect – Hindu, Mohammedan, Christian. A religious man is a religious man – he is not concerned with being Hindu, Mohammedan or Christian. You can see that quality. When you see a religious man you will not feel that he is a Mohammedan or a Hindu or a Christian, you will simply feel that he is religious. He has a flavor of religiousness around him. His eyes have a shine not of this world and his heart has a beat not of this world. He walks on the earth but his feet do not touch the ground. He is here and not here. He is drunk with something else – you cannot see what he is drunk with. His alcohol is not visible; his wine is not that which can be bought in the marketplace. He has produced a wine in his innermost core and he is drunk with it. You will see it in the way he walks, the way he sits, the way he talks, the way he relates and communicates. There is a drunkenness.
If you are available to him you may start getting high just by being in contact with him – a contact-high. Just because he is so turned on, you will start feeling turned on. That is religiousness, that is iman – what Hindus call dharma and what Lao Tzu calls Tao and what the Jews call torah. That is the most fundamental law of religion – to be drunk with the unknown, with the invisible; to be drunk with something that is not of this world, not available here; to be drunk with something penetrating from the beyond. And if you have seen Sufis, you will be surprised – they are the most drunk people in the world.
And the third meaning of iman is commitment, involvement – not only by thought but in deed too. It is a conversion, it is an initiation. If you feel that the meaning is missing, then just by thinking you are not going to find it. You will have to commit yourself to it in your totality; your thoughts, your feelings, your actions, all will have to be committed to it.
That’s the meaning of sannyas too. It is iman. You are not only supposed to believe in what I say, you are not only to pay lip-service to what I say – you have to become that, you have to represent that, you have to bring it to aliveness in your being, you have to live it. It should not remain a philosophical thing; it should become your very life. Only then, and only then. one arrives – otherwise not.
And the third thing is ihsan. Ihsan means authenticity. sincerity. Unless your effort is sincere, nothing is going to happen. You cannot deceive God. You can deceive everybody, you can deceive even yourself – but you cannot deceive God, you cannot deceive the whole. There is no way to do that. You have to be authentic. You have to be true.
It happens every day. Somebody comes and wants to become a sannyasin, and I look in his eyes and I look in his heart, and I see it is not going to be authentic. He thinks, “Why not try it? I am here for two, three months – I can become a sannyasin. And then when I go back to Chicago, who bothers? I can change the dress, put the mala away in a suitcase. If something happens, good; if nothing happens, nothing is lost. Why not give it a try?”
If you give it a try, nothing is going to happen. Nothing is going to happen because you are not in it. Something is possible only when you are really in it, when you are ready to sacrifice everything to it – your prestige, your name, and everything.
Just the other night a sannyasin was here. She is really interested in finding out the meaning of life. She has been a sannyasin for one year but she has not used her new name at all. Now she started feeling a little guilty. She told me, “I have not used the new name at all.” It is not a question of names. If you are not totally in it, then things will not happen, and when they don’t happen you will think, “What was the point of taking sannyas? Drop it, because nothing is happening.” And it is you who are responsible. Things can happen only when you are totally in it, when it is a life-and-death thing.
When the name I have given to you becomes your reality, when the way I have told you to live and be, becomes your only way, then things are going to happen, then nobody can prevent them from happening – but never before that.
Now I know this sannyasin – Yama is her name. She is a beautiful woman, really in search – but half-heartedly. So she cannot go away because half of her heart is with me, and she cannot enter into me totally because half of her heart is still thinking of other things. Now she will be in difficulty; she will be in a kind of schizophrenia – split.
Ihsan means don’t be split. If you don’t want to see God. forget about it. Be in The world; let the world be your only reality. One day or other you will be frustrated. Then the search for God will start. But there is no need to go right now. If you are not ripe yet, it is better to remain in the world. The world will make you ripe for God. There is no hurry. If you are really ready, then don’t ride on two horses. Then choose. That is the meaning of ihsan – authenticity, sincerity.
The second meaning of ihsan is virtue – inner virtue, not imposed from the outside. When a person is authentic, a kind of virtue arises in him. You can see the authentic person. The truth is very clear in his being. Everything that he does is very clear. He has a direction, a sense of direction, because his is a sincere search. He knows what he is doing so he does only that which is going to help his ultimate goal, and he drops all that which is irrelevant. He will not waste a single moment of his time and energy on anything else.
If you are really a sannyasin then whatsoever you do will be a help towards your goal, your samadhi. If you are playing music, you will play with the idea that it will be part of your meditation. If you are dancing, you will dance to create a more meditative space around you. If you are talking to somebody, you will talk only about things which are going to help; you will not be distracted by rubbish. You will simply say, “This is not for me. I am not interested in it.” You will read only those books which are going to help. You will not waste your time in reading stupid novels. You will not go to any movie and you will not listen to any radio program.
Your life will become more and more directed, channelized. You have one purpose, and that purpose is continuously there – like a thread running in everything you are doing. Only then is there a possibility, only then do you become worthy enough. You deserve God’s descending into you.
When it is seen that your total effort is directed towards God, that your whole life has become worship, it is ihsan. It is what Buddhists called sheela, virtue.
And the third meaning of ihsan is totality, wholeness. Whatsoever you do, don’t hold back. Go into it utterly, don’t remain a spectator – because it is only by being a participant that one comes to know anything. Spectators simply go on missing.
If you are dancing, dance; and in that moment let the dance become your all. Put all that you have into it. Not even a small part of you should remain a watcher. You should become involved utterly, absolutely. Those few moments, when you are absolutely in something, are the moments when you are closest to God. Those are the moments of bliss and benediction.
These are the three pillars of Islam and Sufism. These three pillars have to be imbibed. And they contain all that is needed for any religious person – Sufi or not Sufi. These three pillars are very essential. This is a design, a naqshbandi. If you can have islam – surrender, peace, silence; iman – faith, religiousness, commitment; ihsan – authenticity, virtue, totality .. . you have the map.

Now this small story:
A Sufi of the order of the naqshbandis was asked, “Your order’s name means literally ‘the designers.’ What do you design, and what use is it?”
He said, “We do a great deal of designing, and it is most useful. Here is a parable of one such form:
‘Unjustly imprisoned, a tinsmith was allowed to receive a rug woven by his wife. He prostrated himself upon the rug day after day to say his prayers, and after some time he said to his jailers, "I am poor and without hope, and you are wretchedly paid. But I am a tinsmith. Bring me tin and tools and I shall make small artifacts which you can sell in the market, and we will both benefit."
‘The guards agreed to this, and presently they and the tinsmith were both making a profit, from which they bought food and comforts for themselves.
‘Then, one day, when the guards went to the cell, the door was open, and he was gone.
‘Many years later, when this man’s innocence had been established, the man who had imprisoned him asked him how he had escaped, what magic he had used. He said, "It is a matter of design, and design within design. My wife is a weaver. She found the man who had made the locks of the cell door, and got the design from him. This she wove into the carpet at the spot where my head touched in prayer five times a day. I am a metal-worker, and this design looked to me like the inside of a lock. I designed the plan of the artifacts to obtain the materials to make the key – and I escaped."
“That,” said the naqshbandi Sufi, “is one of the ways in which man may make his escape from the tyranny of his captivity.”
Man is imprisoned, imprisoned in his own ego. The ego is the prison and if you want to get out of the prison, this is the map: islam, iman, ihsan. If you can manage these three things you have the whole design to get out.
It is a beautiful parable, a simple parable – but significant.
How can you come out of your present prison – out of where you are? You will have to ask someone who knows.
The escaped prisoner said:
“It is a matter of design, and design within design. My wife is a weaver. She found the man who had made the locks of the cell door…”
There are always men on the earth who have found the man who has made the locks of the cell door. These are the people we call masters. These are the people who have encountered God – who made the first design, who provoked Adam into rebellion. These are the people who have come to see the whole story as it is, who have looked into the whole story of how man enters into the world, why, and how he can go back into the world. Why does Jesus get out of the world, why is he saved and not others? What is the difference? Jesus surrenders, drops his ego…that is the meaning of the Christian cross. He died as an ego, he dies as himself, and is reborn as Christ. Jesus is no more, Jesus dies; Christ is born.
In fact, to use these two words together is not right. To call Jesus “Christ” is not right – because they were never together. There was a time when there was Jesus but there was no Christ. Then a time came when there was Christ but there was no Jesus. They were never together. They can’t be together. Jesus is Adam lost in the world – not knowing how he is caught there, getting more and more entangled in the ego. Christ is the consciousness that has understood, that has become alert and has started moving back towards the home – a surrendering.
Adam said no. No creates ego, self. Jesus said yes. Yes drops the ego. Yes is islam, surrender, samarpan. By saying yes, the whole direction of his life changed. He started moving back towards the Garden of Eden, towards God’s garden.
“It is a matter of design, and design within design. My wife is a weaver. She found the man who had made the locks of the cell door, and got the design from him. This she wove into the carpet at the spot where my head touched in prayer five times a day.”
Her idea was that if her husband would be praying on the rug five times a day – how long could he go on missing? That’s why I go on speaking every day. How long can you go on missing? Your head will be touching every day, every day; one day or other you will start looking at the design – “What is the matter? What is going on?” One day you will become alert and awake.
“I am a metal worker and this design looked to me like the inside of a lock. I designed the plan of the artifacts to obtain the materials to make the key – and I escaped.”
“That,” said the naqshbandi Sufi, “is one of the ways in which man may make his escape from the tyranny of his captivity.”
The captivity is of our own making. It is our ego – and we can drop it.
So meditate over these three words: islam, iman, ihsan.
Enough for today.

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