There are ten principal Sufi thoughts, which comprise all the important
subjects with which the inner life of man is concerned.
There is One God, the Eternal, the Only Being; none exists save He.
The God of the Sufi is the God
of every creed, and the God of all. Names make no difference to him.
Allah, God, Gott, Dieu, Brahma, or Bhagwan, all these names and more
are the names of his God; and yet to him God is beyond the limitation
of name. He sees his God in the sun, in the fire, in the idol which
diverse sects worship; and he recognizes Him in all the forms of the
universe, yet knowing Him to be beyond all form: God in all, and all in
God, He being the Seen and the Unseen, the Only Being. God to the Sufi
is not only a religious belief, but also the highest ideal the human
mind can conceive.
The Sufi, forgetting the self
and aiming at the attainment of the divine ideal, walks constantly all
through life in the path of love and light. In God the Sufi sees the
perfection of all that is in the reach of man's perception and yet he
knows Him to be above human reach. He looks to Him as the lover to his
beloved. and takes all things in life as coming from Him, with perfect
resignation. The sacred name of God is to him as medicine to the
patient. The divine thought is the compass by which he steers the ship
to the shores of immortality. The God-ideal is to a Sufi as a lift by
which he raises himself to the eternal goal, the attainment of which is
the only purpose of his life.
There is One Master, the Guiding Spirit of all Souls, Who constantly leads His followers towards the light.
The Sufi understands that
although God is the source of all knowledge, inspiration, and guidance,
yet man is the medium through which God chooses to impart His knowledge
to the world. He imparts it through one who is a man in the eyes of the
world, but God in his consciousness. It is the mature soul that draws
blessings from the heavens, and God speaks through that soul. Although
the tongue of God is busy speaking through all things, yet in order to
speak to the deaf ears of many among us, it is necessary for Him to
speak through the lips of man. He has done this all through the history
of man, every great teacher of the past having been this Guiding Spirit
living the life of God in human guise. In other words, their human
guise consists of various coats worn by the same person, who appeared
to be different in each. Shiva, Buddha, Rama, Krishna on the one side,
Abraham, Moses, Jesus, Mohammed on the other; and many more, known or
unknown to history, always one and the same person.
Those who saw the person and
knew Him recognized Him in whatever form or guise; those who could only
see the coat went astray. To the Sufi therefore there is only one
Teacher, however differently He may be named at different periods of
history, and He comes constantly to awaken humanity from the slumber of
this life of illusion, and to guide man onwards towards divine
perfection. As the Sufi progresses in this view he recognizes his
Master, not only in the holy ones, but in the wise, in the foolish, in
the saint and in the sinner, and has never allowed the Master who is
One alone, and the only One who can be and who ever will be, to
disappear from his sight.
The Persian word for Master is
Murshid. The Sufi recognizes the Murshid in all beings of the world,
and is ready to learn from young and old, educated and uneducated, rich
and poor, without questioning from whom he learns. Then he begins to
see the light of Risalat, the torch of truth which shines before him in
every being and thing in the universe. Thus he sees Rasul, his Divine
Message Bearer, a living identity before him. Thus the Sufi sees the
vision of God, the worshipped deity, in His immanence, manifest in
nature, and life now becomes for him a perfect revelation both within
It is often for no other reason
than clinging to the personality of their particular teacher, claiming
for him superiority over other teachers, and degrading a teacher held
in the same esteem by others, that people have separated themselves
from one another, and caused most of the wars and factions and
contentions which history records among the children of God.
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