In the following section you will find the transcripts of certain discussion with the Master made during “The Evening of Sufi Discourse.” Eternal values and simple truths you are interested in are laid out in a convenient question-answer fashion and divided according to particular topics. The section will be updated periodically after each Sufi evening.
|Question: : Why is this world the world of maya (illusions)? Why sobriety is reached only by chosen ones in the world? What illusions are for??|
We have talked already that the truth is reached gradually. There is such a case when everything is cognised at once – this is the moment when haqiqa comes upon you. It means that at some moment we get replies to all our questions, get revelations and inspirations, but this is mostly an exception than a rule.
But in everyday life, when we follow our life path chosen according to our interests and our soul priorities, we start putting some questions which we try to find the answers to. And there is always the prism of our perception between us and the world that we see. This idea was applied in basic psychology and discussed in solid works in philosophy and psychology.
We are very different all of us, and each of us had different raising conditions. In any case we have already touched with them and have been there, and thus the collective unconscious of the community we were growing in has imprinted in us, which is already is a bend of reality.
The other point is that each of us has a certain emotional reaction to the events. Naturally, we are adult people and perfectly understand that the state of peace, full harmony and serenity are more desirable than real ones in this world.
During our moving into adulthood and becoming there exist some moments of understanding of what is the what, which actually is far from what it is in real life. For instance, we have a mind record that when a person smiles at us he is friendly to us and he is not our enemy. The external impression about a person says absolutely nothing, in other words, the smile of the person may hide something completely different. Here comes an illusion – you react not to the person, but to his smile.
In the same way besides our life experience and emotional reaction we have our own concept of what and how it should be in our life. Having never known love, but living with thirst or desire of love, we see the examples of love or things imagined as love in different moments of our life, starting with relations of our father and mother and ending with films, mass media and some happening events, that make a concept of love in our head. And when we wish love we are not in search of the thing our heart wants, but in search of the match to the stencil created by our mind, and of course this is a great miracle when stencils match – then we do not disappoint. Still we are adult people and this is not our first day on Earth, so we understand perfectly that sometimes we look for something that is far from what is meant for us.
By taking this as ours, surely, we open our hugs and get one of those disappointments that may lead to involution of our soul. We take heartthrob, passion or sexual desire to the person for true love, which is not love at all.
We feel love when we just feel comfortable around a person. He can be just a very good friend of ours, but we see him or her as the only one, who we want to cast in our lot with. This is the moment of understanding the illusiveness of our world.
And of course not only Sufism but any spiritual teachings presented on Earth lead to destruction of our world of illusions. Destruction of the world of illusions is necessary to let us see the reality as it is. And this reality starts with real perception of ourselves. This is absolutely naturally from one hand and practically unreal for non-practicing people on another hand. Because you may reply the question “What You are?” that you put to yourself that you are a man or a woman, a Russian or a Latvian, a Chinese or a Japanese…. But who are you? We identify ourselves from the point of the society, nationality, caste, amount of money, material status, social rank, marital status that are imprinted in us. But at the same time this does not mean you. This is what we have achieved during our life becoming, but this does not mean us. And understanding of our true nature is hidden from us under those barriers, that dust, which appeared in us during our communication with the world.
Naturally, as the biggest illusion is the illusion that we know ourselves, this illusion builds the rest of illusions.
|Question: The Rumi’s poem says that a thirsty one is seeking a sip of water to drink and water is seeking a thirsty one to be drunk. Could you explain the mystic meaning of this phrase?|
Master’s reply: All Rumi’s sayings are the greatest, that is why he is the master not only for his generation but also the master of tariqas and spiritual path for the whole world. He had the most powerful inner transformation due to his meeting with Shams, due to love.
He said: “I have never thought that God also desired us”. This means that there exists an idea of what we usually seek. Does not matter is it love, because this is God, or is it generosity, forgiving, friendliness, recipience, beauty. And you never think that this very love or perfection could seek us too.
Rumi in his proverb says that we all live on Earth by the principle of two laws: mutual gravitation, which means that similarities gravitate to each other and in the same time opposites gravitate to each other too. From one hand these laws seem to contradict one another, but on another hand they just give the complete picture of what is going on in our world. By these words Rumi means that God exists somewhere in the Heaven, He is present in angelic worlds, and in the same time everything what we see on Earth and that is inside of us also is God. The aspect of God is the aspect of our heart, our faith, our commitments, our ability to forgive, ability to do good deeds, our generosity, our actions inspired by our heart. And in the same way as a drop is thirsty for the ocean, the ocean wishes the drop. Here the principle of similarities works. The magnet of Divine gravitates us due to true intentions to achieve perfection arisen in us. By doing good deeds on Earth we are getting closer to heavenly spheres existing far away from Earth. Still there comes the understanding that this is not us seeking inaccessible but that this is a mutual process. This is what is written in Hadith ‘When we take one step towards God, God takes hundred steps towards us’. God is present in every our breath.
In this poem Rumi was trying to give an explanation or understanding that rapture of Divine world and Divine nature , love, as for instance, is not a fiction, but this means those real actions that we make during our life, moving whether from God or towards God. The thing that must happen to you, let it happen. If God and the nature of your heart is love, if God wished this, even though you can be afraid of it, resist to it, be afraid of the related pain and disappointments – God wished this. Thus we shall get this in our life no matter of what. When God wishes and you wish – you move in the same flow with God. But if God wishes, but we resist, then, of course, we show disobedience and we meet with another person of God – His wrath, which is the sequence of our deeds. This is correlated with our motivation in rapture of the path, of the Divine. And that is why if we are seeking something in our life being motivated by Light, then we shall find Light. If we are seeking this being on some aspects of nafs (money, ambitions, glory, etc.), then we shall find this, we shall get this at the end, but this will not be God.
Question: When we were reading poetry today, one of the girls said that she had a little time to grasp the meaning of it. There was one poem complicated for understanding, where Rumi says that ‘opinion is lower than knowledge, but knowledge is lower than reality’. What is a personal opinion, what is awareness and erudition, what is knowledge and what is reality?
Master’s reply: Let’s start from the end, with the idea that there are many truths, but the real truth is one. And in the same time, also based upon our experience, certain books, certain meetings with people, certain communication, we understand that everyone talk about one and the same, and our mind interprets it somehow different.
Let’s take one simple example – negation of love between a man and a woman in Buddhism, as this is something that hinders studying of Buddhist teachings and practices on the Path. Buddhism speaks about compassion, but compassion and love between a man and a woman – are two absolutely different things. And in the same time, in Sufism – love is a necessary condition of stepping on the Path in general and experience on the Path.
There is one proverb telling that one man of knowledge had visited many darghas, Buddhist and Hindu temples, and heard that in one place lived a Sufi-dervish, the Teacher, the Master, and that there people got to know God just next but one. So he came there and said:
– I know tariqas, zikrs, rejoicing, make retreats, do not eat meat, sing Buddhist mantras by heart, learned Hindu Vedas by heart…
– So what do you want from me?
– Well, I want you to lead me to the end point eventually.
– Have you ever fallen in love in your life?
– No, but why? There are so many things to do, and you are telling me here about falling in love.
– Go and fall in love and then come back, – was the reply.
And as we are talking with you in the context of Rumi, we need to say that Rumi would have never been Rumi that we know, if he did not fall in love, did not experience the state of intoxicated heart and the state of love.
That is why the truly truth is one, but everyone, including those being present here, will see it from their point, from the point of his knowledge. Meaning that everyone thinks that they know. But to know and to wot – are two different things.
Knowledge is a) life experience; b) information you read; c) synthesis of mind, based on two above components. A man considers this ‘cocktail’ to be knowledge. Because everyone hear what they hear, and everyone see what they see.
Another point is to what extent you need to reach the depth or understanding of this or another aspect of your existence – whether it is family, love or money. Of course, then you use these or other sources of knowledge, these or other practices and think that you know. I mean that you know something, but something remains hidden from you (remember about the law that there is apparent and hidden essence). This means that you have knowledge but you do not have your reality. Yet everyone of you is a thinking, analysing person, with your own opinion, point of view about the happening events.
Question: Sufis study all religions. You give teachings on yoga, Tantra and Buddhism. In “21 instructions on mind training in Buddhism”, the one in particular teaches “practice of the balance.” It says that emotions obscure the actions of men. Also, in the past lecture on Sufi the same was said about emotions, that they burn us up, while feelings are deeper. In real life how do we discriminate emotions from feelings?
Master’s reply: First of all, we should name things by their real names, and only then we start to distinguish the true and the fake. We name our inner state exactly by its name, and not what our mind makes it up –by doing it we are making the first step of telling between emotions and feelings.
The next point, You all know well that we are impulsive, emotional beings, because we, thank God, are alive and nothing is foreign to us. We already have talked before that there is no sin but virtue obscured; there is no darkness but absence of light.
You can always switch off the moment of emotion with help of whatever, it does not really matter. For example, with breathing exercise. Imagine, you are running about your apartment in anger because your pay has dropped or the gas price has risen, if so take a shower, or take deep breaths, or listen to music, and the emotion is gone – it is turned off. Of course, this is under condition that we are not overwhelmed with rage, grief or anguish.
As for the feelings – they bear a deeper and a more stable character, they penetrate us on a deeper level, and therefore bear transformative characteristics; that is why there is a very good notion in Sufism and which we encounter every now and then – the intoxication of mind and heart. As for the intoxication of the mind – it will pass, the intoxication of the heart though, will leave in you such a profound experience, no things can compare with.
On an emotional level we may think and consider, that we are not in love with a man any more – he has caused us so much pain, and notwithstanding it after some time passed we realize that this man is the dearest one to us, no matter what he is like, he is the dearest one. It turns out that it was the emotion of irritation while the feeling of love made it possible for us to come out as the winner.
While being in an irritated emotion you think: “that’s it, he is gone, good bye “, then it’s time to think about what you really feel about this person.
Photos from the evening “Sufi Discourse” >>
|Question: In Sufi poetry the notions of wine and intoxication are often used. What does it mean?|
Master’s reply: The notion of wine bears a meaning of divine or to be more exact some kind of impression or experience within us. Every day we witness the sunrise and the sunset, every day we hear our children’s laughter, every day we see the eyes of our loved ones. At the same time, at different moments of our life all this affects us in a different way. When we look around at the things that surround us our hearts are touched or filled with admiration, pride, compassion, sympathy, or joy – that is the divine wine, this state that we experience is the wine. Naturally, in Sufi poetry, in Omar Khayam, in Saadi – it is an allegory. So, being in a state of intoxication means an altered state of mind, the state which yogis, tantrists achieve through prolong sanasanas and exercise. Sufis believe that each of us has all necessary things to experience transformation. You only have to change the angle of vision, you have to see thing not through pragmatic eyes of the mind but through the mind of a child. For us, westerners, it would be as if through the mind of an “intoxicated person”. Only then the one who we see will be seen in an entirely different beauty.
Photos from the evening “Sufi Discourse” >>
|Question: Birth and death – are they the same or not?|
Master’s reply: We have already had the two previous lectures on the topic, and this is a very big question, the only thing I can say is –no, this is not the same. They are the two sides of the coin, or being on the absolutely different points at the moment of our existence on earth. If someone is interested in the topic, you can approach the guys from tekke and they will copy our previous lecture on death for you.
Photos from the evening “Sufi Discourse” >>
|Question: Since most of us in here are the Orthodox, well, many of us –can you tell us if Sufism and the Orthodox religion contradict or interfere with each other? Can an Orthodox practice Sufi?|
Master’s reply: First of all, we have talked about that Sufis are not divided by religion. You can be catholic, buddhist, or tantrist. You be what you want to be. What matters is whether you are genuinely spiritual or just playing spirituality, as simple as that. If we speak from the position of Sufi practice, Sufism does not contradict the Orthodox, because all spiritual principles are the same.
Ibi Arabi conducted a huge research in which he gave a thorough explanation to the Europeans about the similarities, he wrote huge volumes on spiritual tracts available to the world. One of his works is called “Christian Sufism” or “Christian Mysticism”, based on combination of Christianity and Sufism. There are no contradictions. If you are a true Orthodox and if you confess to your priest that you chant Zikr, then I think that if he is a true believer he would ask you to define yourself regarding your faith, because to sit on two chairs is not very comfortable .If we take our regular clergymen you will surely be subjected to anathema as minimum, and as maximum to any other type of reprimand. It is important that, if you come here you should know why you are here. From their Sufi decorations we could tell that even the British Royalties, many Christian Catholics and Hindus visit the Order Chishti (Ajmer) as pilgrims. Nobody questions you who you are, where you are from; what really matters is if you know why you are there, but nobody asks you what your faith is. The same is with Mevlevi –no questions are asked. It is natural that in the process of some practices inside you may arise a dilemma – are you this or that? In this case it is your personal question which can be resolved individually but not at a general meeting.
Photos from the evening “Sufi Discourse” >>
|Question: We often encounter the notions fear of God and love. How can we connect these two notions into our life? Fear of God and love for God?|
Hameed Chishti’s reply: There are two types of fear. The first one is instinctive fear of being killed, robbed; the other one is fear of losing God’s love. All religious scriptures tell us about God’s love. In Qur’an God says: if you make one step towards Me, I will make a hundred steps towards you. If you go towards God, and if you are afraid of being sent to hell, then you do not love God. You must love God unconditionally like you love your child. What is the connection between the two notions –fear and love? You must love your beloved and be afraid of what might happen if you lose the love of your beloved.
Photos from the evening “Sufi Discourse” >>
|Question: There is an opinion that God gave us practically everything but then why does man chase the devil with all might if God created him?|
Khamid Chishty’s anwer:This is a very good question –why devil or Satan exists. Because God loves us all very much. He let the devil stay to test us. Yes, the devil is God’s creation but God is testing peoples’ feelings towards Him. In such a way God can see who loves him genuinely and who is pursuing the material things. Such people will follow the devil. You all remember the story of Adam and Eve, don’t you? Why was Adam expelled when he listened to Eve, to whom the devil offered to try an apple? The devil was a devoted servant to God, His slave. He did everything what God told him to do. But he could not fulfill His last will when God asked him to kneel before Adam. Satan said: How can I? I am your servant. Who is that Adam? To what God replied: You are not a faithful servant; you do not obey my orders. So God expelled him and Satan became a fallen angel.
Master’s reply: There is another version in Sufism, other Masters ground their opinion on the fact that Satan’s love for God was so profound that could not remain objective, he could not understand how he could worship someone else. So when God created this world, it does not matter how we call it-the Absolute or Nirvana, and we have already talked about it, God created the duality of the existence. We have light and darkness, birth and death. We have love and hatred. We have old age and youth. We all without exception, no matter what the reason is for our being here, exist in duality. So God needed to do something to bring balance in our existence on this earth. According to one version Satan took the responsibility for that and became a fallen angel and having done it on his free will he enabled man to evolve. In other words as Khamid said, if there was only zikr, love we would exist in a state of permanent nirvana. You understand that if we constantly eat only sweet in the long run we will be sick of it and do not understand what sweetness is. Such position of contrast is necessary to perceive the essence of things. It is similar to how steel is tempered: at first the hottest fire, then the icy cold water. That is how our life is. On this matter there is a short Sufi parable: The Evil and the Good meet. The Good says to the Evil: Look at yourself, you are so awful. Those poor people, they suffer so much on this earth, they are in a constant need of money, they get ill, they bear children in pain, their wives abandon them, – and it’s terrible. Aren’t you ashamed, Evil? They have enough of burden, and you are always around. The Evil replies: Listen, Good, look at this life- if not for me who would recall you?
Photos from the evening “Sufi Discourse” >>
|Question: Does any path lead to God? Another question regarding some circumstances of loss – can man comprehend it and come out of the deadlock on his own? Also, should other people help him/her if they have a possibility to do it?|
Master’s reply: First of all, there is no God except God therefore all paths lead to God. Sooner or later. Only we that can choose – either a short path or wander in a labyrinth. That is that we can perceive love while experiencing hatred or we can love altogether – it depends on the individual state of consciousness and on the type of experience our soul needs. We have talked a number of times on the topic of the dervish, and Sufis discussed it as well. It a false idea that the dervish deny material values. Khamid confirms that Sufism stands for money; you can make millions, drive a Lexus, but do not forget who gave you the money. Do not forget generosity, do not forget to give and help your loved one. There are no limits.
In Sufism there is a notion of the four paths that we take: the path from God, the path to God, the path with God and again, the path to God. When we are in a deadlock, and it is natural that such situations will appear, remember, we are given only what we can handle. Therefore, the notion of a deadlock as desperation or hopelessness does not exist in principle. There are situations which we can handle by ourselves but we come to this world and live with other people around us, so let the people express their love and sympathy to you. In Sufism sharing pain and problem with other person is considered a position of strength but not weakness. By doing that you bring your problem out and let others help you to resolve it instead of struggling on your own in despondency and misunderstanding when it hurts. We are alive and we feel hurt. There are a huge number of painful situations. This is not our weakness what we go through with in life, this is our experience. Unfortunately, experiences can be different. That is why Sufism stands for seeking help, for mutual support, for a friendly strong shoulder and love.