Sufism: The Magic of Satsang

Osho on Sufism

EXISTENCE IS A DIALECTICS. IT DEPENDS ON POLAR OPPOSITES: man/woman, yin/yang, life/death, daylight. But the basic polarity in all the polarities is that of positive and negative. Only positive cannot exist, neither can the negative exist alone. They depend on each other. They are opposites and yet not opposites. If you understand this, you have a great key in your hands: they are opposites and yet complementaries, because they cannot exist without the other. The other feeds them — negates them and feeds them. And the whole existence progresses, moves, flows, because of these two polar banks.

No river can flow without these two banks. Everything is divided into these polar opposites. They attract each other, they repel each other. Just like man and woman: they are attracted to each other and they are repelled by each other; they want to come close and they resist; they love and they hate — and it is all together. You cannot separate them. You cannot separate love and hate because you cannot separate the positive and the negative. At the most, you can emphasize one more than the other — that’s all.

Just the other day, Yoga Chinmaya has asked a question: “Why does man have two eyes, two ears, two lungs, two kidneys, two hands, two feet — why two?” Because of the polarity. Your one kidney is male, your other kidney is female. Your one hemisphere of the mind is male, your other hemisphere is female. You cannot exist without this polarity. Your body will disappear. There is a constant opposition between the poles, and attraction. One of the greatest discoveries of modern psychology is that no man is just man alone, and no woman is woman alone either. Every man has a woman within him, and every woman has a man within her. This polarity is a must. The mind is also divided in two parts: the left hemisphere of the mind is male, the right hemisphere of the mind is female.

I am saying this so that I can explain to you why there is such a phenomenon as Zen-and-Sufism — they are polar opposites.

Zen is the path of VIA NEGATIVE; it is basically male-oriented. It is the path of intelligence, meditation, awareness. Sufism is the path of VIA POSITIVE; it is feminine. It is the path of love, affirmation.

The Buddhist moves by negating: This is not the truth, that is not the truth — NETI, NETI — neither this nor that, says Sosan. Go on negating, eliminating. When you have eliminated all, that which remains and cannot be eliminated any more is the truth. Sufism is based on positivity: Don’t negate, don’t use no, say yes. And don’t search in a negative way; move in an absolutely positive way. Don’t think of the wrong, think of the right. Don’t think of illness, think of health. Don’t think of thorns, think of flowers. Don’t think of ugliness, misery, think of beauty and joy.

Both are there. And you cannot use both together — you will go mad if you use both together. That’s really what happens when a man goes mad. He starts using both his polarities and both those polarities go on negating each other. That’s why he becomes paralyzed in his intelligence. One has to use one; the other will be there but as a shadow, just complementary to it.

In Zen you use no, and, slowly slowly, all that is meaningless is cut from the very roots. But the meaning remains, because meaning cannot be cut. The significance remains; that is impossible to destroy, it is indestructible. So there is no problem! People who follow Zen reach. They reach to health by eliminating diseases. That is their way. The Sufi way is just the opposite: it moves through the positive, through health, through yes-saying. And, slowly slowly, it arrives at the same goal. And, in a way, the path of the Sufi is more full of joy, more full of songs, because it flows through the valleys and mountains of love.

Zen flows through a desert land. The desert also has its own beauty — the silence of it, the vastness of it, the purity of its air — the desert has its own beauty! If you are a lover of the desert, don’t be worried about it. People have reached through the desert to the ultimate. But if you are not, then there is no need to torture yourself in the desert. There are green valleys too. Sufism moves through green valleys. Now this too is very strange, but this is how the mind functions: Sufism was born in a desert; Zen was born in a green valley. Maybe that’s why it happened so. The people who live in a desert can’t choose the path of Zen. They are already in a desert, tired of the desert. Outside is the expanse of desert and desert alone. They would not like to choose the inner desert too; otherwise, the polarity will be lost. Outside is desert, inside they have to create a green valley of love, of positivity. That will make things balanced. That will help the dialectical process. Sufis talk about love, of paradise, of the garden of paradise. They think of God as the Beloved. They talk about wine; wine is their symbol. They talk about drunkenness; they are drunkards, drunkards of the divine. They abandon themselves in dance and song. They feast, they celebrate. That seems absolutely logical. Enough of the desert — they have to balance it by an inner garden.

Buddhism was born on the banks of the Ganges, one of the most fertile lands in the world, one of the most beautiful, in the shadows of the Himalayas. All was beautiful outside, all was green outside. Now to think of greenery inside too will be monotonous. To think of beautiful valleys and rivers will be boring. Buddha thinks of inner emptiness, nothingness, the inner desert, the silence of the desert, the utter purity of the desert — no dance, no song.

You cannot imagine Buddha dancing. You cannot imagine Rumi, not dancing. If Rumi is anything at all, he is nothing but a dance. He attained to his first samadhi by dancing continuously for thirty-six hours. He danced and danced… and his ecstasy was such that hundreds of people started dancing. He created such a field of ecstasy that whosoever came to watch what had happened to him started dancing.

By the time he reached his ultimate samadhi, thousands of people were dancing around him. That’s how he attained. He fell on the ground for hours in utter drunkenness — just like a drunkard! When he opened his eyes, he had seen the other world, he had brought the beyond with him.

Buddha attained to his ultimate samadhi sitting silently doing nothing — so utterly silent that you could have thought that there was no man but just a marble statue. It is not just a coincidence that Buddha’s statues were the first to be made, it started with Buddha’s statues. His statues were the first, then others’ statues followed. He was so statue-like. In his silence, sitting under the Bodhi Tree, he must have looked like a piece of marble: cool, white, still. The white marble became a metaphor for Buddha. But you cannot make a statue of Rumi, because he is never for two consecutive moments in the same posture. If you want to make a statue of Rumi, you will have to make a statue of a fountain, or a willow in a strong wind. Impossible to make a statue of Rumi.

Buddha lived, was born, in Nepal under the shadows of the eternal Himalayas and its eternal beauty. This is again a polarity. Outside is the beauty of the Himalayas, and Buddha searches for an inner desert of absolute negation. Rumi lived in a desert; outside is the infinite desert, inside he creates a small garden, a paradise, a walled garden. That is the meaning of the word ‘paradise’, firdaus — a walled garden, an oasis. Sufism’s emphasis is on the positive. And I am talking about both Zen and Sufi. You have to choose. The choice should not be from the head; the choice should be from your totality. Feel both. Feel Sufi dancing, and feel vipassana. And whatsoever fits with you… and when something fits, you will know. There will be no need to ask anybody, because it fits SO absolutely — that it is meant for you and you are meant for it — suddenly everything falls in tune, a great harmony arises.

Don’t decide from the head, because then you can move in a wrong direction. Allow it to be decided by your total being. Feel all the possibilities — that’s why I am making all that is possible available to you, so everybody can find what suits him. Then that is your path. And never impose your path on anybody else, never, because that may not be the path for the other. Share your joy, but never try to convert anybody to your principle. Share your experience, but never become a missionary. The word ‘missionary’ is dirty. Make your heart available — if somebody wants to choose, let him choose, but don’t in any way, not even indirectly, try to convert him to your doctrine.

Your experience, your sharing of the experience, is beautiful — it is your love, it is your compassion. But your principle, your doctrine, your path, is dangerous. It may not be the other’s path. And when I am saying ‘the other’, I don’t mean the stranger — it may be your child, it may be your wife, it may be your husband, it may be your brother. ‘The other’ includes ALL others — even your child whom you have carried in your womb for nine months, who is your bone and your blood and your marrow, who has pulsated with you for nine months, but still he will have to live his own life. He comes through you, but he is not you. He has his own individuality. He has to bloom in his own way. Make available all that you have experienced, all that is good and all that is bad; make your whole life open to the child, but never indoctrinate him. Never try to make him a Christian or a Hindu or a Mohammedan. Help him to move according to HIS nature. And nobody knows what is going to bloom in him. Just help him so he grows, becomes stronger. That is love.

When you start indoctrinating, that is not love, that is hate. You are afraid, you are possessive, you are ambitious, you are egoistic. You want to dominate the other through your doctrine. You want to kill the spirit of the other. You may think that you are helping, but you are not helping — you are hindering the growth. You are only crippling the other. He will never be able to forgive you. That’s why children are never able to forgive their parents — they have been indoctrinated, something has been forced on them. It is a kind of rape, and the worst kind: you have raped their consciousness. You have violated one of the MOST fundamental laws of life. You have interfered with their freedom. And

the greatest freedom is the freedom to grow towards God, and everybody has to grow in his own way.

The rose has to offer its fragrance, and so does the marigold. The marigold need not become a rose, it cannot. The marigold has to bloom in its own way; it has to offer itself. That offering will be accepted — only that offering is accepted which comes from your innermost core, which has roots in you. So Zen or Sufi, you have to feel. And there is no hurry. Go on feeling. One day, suddenly, everything falls in tune, everything comes together, and the vision opens.

The story:


THE MAN MUST HAVE BEEN deeply rooted in negativity, in negation. He could have easily become a follower of Buddha, but not a Sufi. He had a philosophic bent of mind. Doubt was his style, skepticism was his system of thought. That is not the way of the Sufi. Each word of the story has to be understood, because these are not just stories but parables. You cannot change a single word. If you do you will change the whole texture, the whole flavor, the whole meaning of the story. Sufis use these stories in such a way that they have many meanings. They can be understood on many levels.


A seeker is always a wanderer. Those who really want to seek remain with a Master, they don’t wander. The one who goes on wandering is curious, greedy. He wants to know as much as he can. Hence, he cannot stay with one Master. And these things are such that unless you stay with one Master, in deep intimacy, with great love, you will not grow roots. You will be a rolling stone which gathers no moss. You can go ON rolling and rolling for ever, but you will not be enriched by your wanderings. In fact, the more you wander, the more impoverished you will become because life is wasted, time is wasted.

This is not the way of SATSANG. Sufism depends very much on the intimacy with the Master. If you go on transplanting a tree from one place to another place continuously, you will kill the tree. When will it grow its roots? You have to leave it in one soil for a long enough time. If it is a seasonal flower, it’s okay; it comes within weeks, and then it is gone within weeks. But if it is a cedar of Lebanon which has to live for thousands of years and which has to rise high in the sky and whisper with the clouds, then transplanting it again and again is harmful, is killing it. It is murderous. And the soul is a cedar of Lebanon. It is not a seasonal flower.

A Master is a soil. You have to become grounded in the Master. You have to spread your roots into his being, only then will you be nourished. That’s what satsang is.

If you go on wandering, you may gather much information, you may become very knowledgeable, obviously, but you will remain as ignorant as ever. Maybe more so, because now you will become egoistic too. You will think “I know” — and you don’t know! You have gathered unnecessary baggage. You will become more and more burdened, stuffed. But this is not real growth.

Real growth is totally different. It needs time, waiting, patience, love, intimacy, trust. Satsang is approaching a new birth. Being silenced, Hearing silence, Listening behind the words and forgetting them. Doing nothing, and being interior. Deeper than all expression. That is satsang.

And Sufism depends on satsang. It depends on the intimacy with the Master. One sits with the Master, deep in the night, in the silence of the night. The Master may not speak at all, or may speak one word or two. One simply sits with the Master, feeling his presence, absorbing his presence, becoming part of his energy field. Breathing with him, pulsating with him, slowly slowly, the ego dissolves. One never comes to know when it dissolved. No overt effort is made to dissolve it. It dissolves of its own accord, just as the sun rises and the snow starts melting. If you come to the Master, the sun has started rising. You need not do much; you are not required to do much. The magic of the presence of the Master will do. All that is needed on the part of the disciple is great trust, surrender.


This is an excerpt from the transcript of a public discourse by Osho in Buddha Hall, Shree Rajneesh Ashram, Pune. 

Discourse Series: The Perfect Master, Vol 1

Chapter #3

Chapter title: A Rolling Stone

23 June 1978 am in Buddha Hall


Osho has spoken on Sufism, satsang, love, surrender, master, disciple, trust, patience, silencein many of His discourses. More on the subject can be referred to in the following books/discourses:

  1. The Perfect Master, Vol 1, 2
  2. Sufis: The People of the Path, Vol 1, 2
  3. Unio Mystica, Vol 1, 2
  4. Until You Die
  5. The Wisdom of the Sands, Vol 1, 2
  6. A Bird on the Wing
  7. The Dhammapada: The Way of the Buddha
  8. The Divine Melody
  9. Light on the Path
  10. The Miracle
  11. The Osho Upanishad
  12. The Secret
  13. Tao: The Pathless Path
  14. Zen: The Path of Paradox
  15. Beyond Enlightenment

1 Comment

  • Someshwar H
    Posted May 24, 2022 8:31 am 0Likes

    Yes Osho! My Master!!🙇

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