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The True Meaning of Sufism

Excerpts from this discourse by Bawa Muhaiyaddeen were printed in issue #3 of the New Age Journal.

"Sufi" is a unique word. "Sufi" is a unique Power. It does not relate to any particular religion. It belongs to all of humanity.

"Sufi" is a clear, pure Essence that has filtered and settled slowly, deep within. It goes beyond the state of mounam (silence), even beyond the station of the mouna guru (the silent guru within us). It is that State of Stillness when the Resplendence of the Pure Clarity of Wisdom has sunk down and settled completely within its ultimate Completeness and Perfection. "Sufi" reveals the nature of the final state of the receding of that Perfection, when it has settled down slowly to its ultimate Stillness.

It is not something that belongs to any one religion. It is the Essence which has been filtered out from all four religions by Wisdom. It is the Essence which has analyzed and sifted right from wrong, extracted the clear Filtrate that is the Truth, and out of that Truth distilled the Power that resides within all created lives-the Power that is God. It has ascertained and extracted the qualities, the tendencies, the awareness, and the intelligence of all these lives. And understanding clearly their characteristics, their intelligence, their actions, and their behavior, it scrutinizes and comprehends them through Wisdom, and from this understanding of all of creation it gives praise to the Glory of God.

"Sufi" is to bestow Compassion on these lives, to bestow Love, Kindness, Compassion, and Mercy on all creations. Just as God protects all lives and nourishes each being with exactly the right type of food for its needs, Sufi gives to each one the explanation appropriate to its level of wisdom. Sufi explains, teaches, and leads them on the Good Path. Knowing the level of each and imparting the Wisdom that each one requires, Sufi leads them within the fold of the Mercy of God. This is for all six kinds of lives.

There are six categories of life, five of which are: earth life, fire life, water life, air life and ether life. Earth life has 400 trillion kinds of lives; fire life has 1008 kinds of lives; water life has 1008 kinds of lives; air has 2008; and ether life (such as that which is found in stars, moon, sun, etc.) has 1008 kinds of lives.

All of the above lives, which were created by repeated division of the Light that was the One Soul, were then filtered and distilled and repeatedly re- filtered and re-distilled. The Life that emerged as the finest Essence of this distillation, the sixth kind of Life, the Life with the Totality of Power that emerged from the repeated filtering and distilling of the other five lives, was called Human Life. That Resplendent Life, that Light, is called Man. It is the Soul of Man. That is what is called Noor. That came from God. The Life that is Perfect Fullness, the Perfection of the Soul that is called Noor, that which is directly connected with God-that is the Soul.

The heavenly messengers are also light. They emerged from the element fire, and they are a step lower than Man. Next in power to the heavenly beings are the angels, and even lower are the jinns and fairies; satan has less power than the jinns. Thus at every stage the power of the lives has been gradually reduced. Even satan has power, though of a lower order. This is the order in creation. This is the way in which the six types of lives have been created.

The Light of the Power which is called Noor is the Soul of Man. This Power can be likened to the high voltage power produced by electric generators in a power station. The Soul of Man is the Completeness and Fullness of that Power. And, just as the electric current is distributed through wires to cities and towns and the power varies in strength at the different points of delivery, so the power of the several life forms is distributed in varying strengths, some lives being of higher power and others of lower power. This is why grass life, worm life, bird life, and animal life cannot be considered equal to Human Life.

The Soul of Man has the capacity to realize all the powers in creation. It has the Power to attract, beckon, and summon the Prophets, the heavenly beings, and all other beings. It has this exalted Power. The Wisdom and Soul of Man has this immense Power because it was created out of the totality of power that is found in all of the different lives. The residue that was left after the Essence of the Perfection that is Man had been filtered away was in turn filtered and distilled to create, in their varying degrees of power, the heavenly beings, the heavenly messengers, the angels, and beings of gradually lesser degrees of power. Thus each successive being that God creates is endowed with gradually diminishing power. Accordingly, their wisdom is also reduced in that order.

The Power to control and rule all of these lives, to understand them lovingly, to protect them, to understand both the good and the evil within them; the Wisdom and the Patience to understand and realize all of these things; the Seven States of Consciousness, Wisdom, Patience, God's Compassion, His 3000 Gracious Qualities, His 99 Divine Gracious Names, and the Protective Beneficent Attributes of those Gracious Names; the Quality that protects all lives, the Power that understands various illnesses and gives the appropriate remedy: the Power that has all of this is what is called Man. That is the Soul of Man.

One who understands, knows and realizes all of these thing; who knows both himself and God; who understands hell and heaven, lives and creations, satan and the children of satan; who understands and realizes all of those with the full clarity to withdraw and to sink within the Silence of the Perfection of God and to reside in quiescence in that Stillness within the Plenitude of God; one who stays within His Divine Justice, one who reveals His Glory and His Meaning, one who has no praise except in praise of Him; one who is established in that State, one who is fixed in that State, one who has realized that State; one who has seen himself and God and everything within that Perfection that is God, and who, seeing the realizing, takes on the Compassion of God as his own compassion towards all lives, and explains the Stillness of that Silence from the Quiescence of that Stillness: such a one is called "Sufi".

Now, if we call someone "Sufi", all the world should be dead to him. God alone should be living. All the world within him should have died. The maya and karma that we call the world should be dead, while only the Resplendence of God and the Grace of God live on within him undyingly. It is such a State that is called "Sufi".

There are so many meanings of "Sufi". This is just a little bit of the meaning.

You should understand this Truth. For Sufi there are no differences, there is no world, there is no praise; there is no dancing, no play acting, no marijuana. Sufi does not put on costumes and dance. But whatever are the Qualities of God and whatever is God's Compassionate Benevolence, Sufi is those Qualities. The one who has imbibed those Qualities is Sufi. He does not acknowledge differences of races, religions, or any separations. He embraces only God, His 3000 Gracious Qualities, and His Plenitude. One who has attained this State is Sufi. One who has known and realized this state of:

La illaha
Nothing other than God Exists.

Il Allahu
You alone are God.

This is Sufi. This is the Word of God.

One who loses himself into nothingness, where the state of the self does not exist; one who knows the station where only God remains as that Solitary oneness that is God: this is the explanation of Sufi-a brief explanation.

- M. R. Bawa Muhaiyaddeen

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