A Sufi can exist anywhere, in any form —because Sufism is the essential core of all religions. Whenever a religion is alive, it is because of Sufism, says OSHO
Sufism simply means the ultimate love affair — with God, with the Whole. You are ready to dissolve into the Whole, to invite the Whole to come into your heart. There is no formality. It is not confined by dogma, doctrine, creed or church. Christ is a Sufi, so is Muhammad. Krishna is a Sufi, so is Buddha. Remember that Sufism is the innermost core — as Zen is, as Hasidism is.
These are only different names of the same ultimate relationship with God.
The ultimate relationship is dangerous because the closer you come to God, the more and more you evaporate. And when you have come really close you are no more. It is ‘suicidal’... but beautiful. To die in God is the only way to live, really. Until you die voluntarily in love, you live a mediocre existence; you vegetate, you have no meaning. No poetry arises in your heart, no dance, no celebration; you simply grope in darkness. You live at the minimum, you don’t overflow with ecstasy.
The overflow happens only when you are not. You are the hindrance. Sufism is the art of removing the hindrance between you and you, between the self and self, between the part and whole.
An ancient Persian dictionary has this entry for the word ‘Sufi’... the definition given is rhythmic: sufi chist — sufi, sufist. Who is a sufi? A sufi is a suf! This is a beautiful definition for the phenomenon is indefinable. It says nothing and yet it says everything. It is beyond any linguistic description. You can live it and you can know it and not through the mind or intellect. Become a Sufi — that is the only way. Taste it yourself.
Sufism is a special, rare kind of magic. It can be transferred only from person to person, not from a book or scripture. It is just like Zen — a transmission beyond words. The Sufis have a special word for it — they call it silsila; what Hindus call parampara. It means transfer from one heart to another heart, from one person to another person. It is a very, very personal religion.
Innocent As An Animal
Sufi master Abul Hasam said, ‘Sufism was once a reality without a name and now Sufism is a name without reality.’ For long, Sufism existed without a name; as reality. That’s why I say Jesus was a Sufi, so was Muhammad; Mahavir and Krishna. Anyone who has come to know God is a Sufi. The word ‘Sufi’ is a German coinage, not more than 150 years old. In Arabic, the word is tasawwuf. But both come from a root ‘suf’ which means wool.
Strange; why should wool become the symbol of Sufism? Scholars say because Sufis wore woollen robes. That’s true, but why? The Quran says Moses was wearing a woollen robe when he encountered God.
The symbolism is that wool is the garb of the animals and a Sufi has to become as innocent as an animal; that is, attain to a primal innocence. He has to drop all kinds of civilisation, cultures; drop all conditioning, and become an animal once again. Then the symbol becomes tremendously significant.
Be Without Mind
When man becomes animal he does not fall back, he goes higher. In fact, he becomes a saint. He remains conscious but his consciousness is no longer burdened by any conditioning. He is no more a Hindu, nor Muslim nor Christian. He is in tune with existence as deeply as any animal could be. He has dropped all kinds of philosophies, he carries no conceptualisation in his mind, for his mind is without content. He is, but he is no more in the mind.
To be without mind — that is the meaning of the woollen robe.
Sufis: The People of the Path, www.osho.com.