By Swami Anand Kul Bhushan.
The love for the divine is so passionate that the lover imagines the beloved to be the most beautiful woman. The intoxication of meditation is so powerful that it becomes like wine. Thus, it is no wonder that the lover keeps asking for more and more wine from his beloved, the beautiful woman. This is the fervent path of the Sufi.
So, are Sufis lovers? Yes, but not at a physical level although their poetry, songs and music can be understood as the love between a man and a woman at the physical level. But the real understanding is at a deeper and spiritual level of the ultimate love between the seeker and the divine. The Sufis call this love Ishq or divine and unconditional love, a word that has no opposite.
The Sufis believe in celebrating life with song, music and dance and have devised emotional methods to express their love. In music, the Sufi qawwali starts off on a low note with a lead singer and his party. Gradually gathering momentum, with loud, rhythmic clapping and singing with music, the listeners cannot help but join in. When the singers reach a crescendo, it seems that they are intoxicated with the presence of the divine. Such is the magic of this genre of music.
Then there is Sufi whirling. Over 700 years old, it is one of the most forceful techniques of going into the ‘no-mind’. Based on everyone’s early childhood whirling, the Sufi version starts very slowly going around and round at one spot with eyes wide open and arms outstretched. As the music gathers momentum, so does the whirler. The whole body becomes a wheel and ‘the real you’ does not move but remains still at the centre. As the surrounding scene dissolves into a blur as you gather speed, you feel very silent as if in the core of a tornado. You dissolve in whirling. Then, only Allah remains who has no form and is everywhere. Now you are one with existence. This is the real prayer.
Then there is gibberish meditation that enables you to throw out all the inner garbage to become empty. Osho has updated and devised these Sufi meditations to enable his lovers to reach the ‘no-mind’ while celebrating love and life with laughter.
The Sufis have no scripture, no written beliefs but share their wisdom in simple stories down the centuries. These stories have a deeper meaning. The Sufi master/guide or murshid teaches the disciple or mureed by sharing short stories from everyday life or by singing and dancing. These stories are discussed to find their deeper meanings in spirituality while the singing and dancing leads them into meditation. In music, they frequently use the word ‘Allah’ or simply La -Ho or simply Ho. This Ho strikes the navel centre and activates this centre.
The emperor of Sufi masters is Jalal-ud-din Rumi who devised whirling. Another equally famous Sufi master is Omar Khayyam whose poems are interpreted at two levels; physical and spiritual. Among hundreds of Sufi masters some well-known masters in India are: Mansur Al-Hallaj, Amir Khosrow Dehalvi, Banda Nawaz, Bayazid-i Bastamī, Baba Farid, Bulleh Shah, Moinuddin Chishti, Nizamuddin Auliya, Shāms-i Tabrizī (Guide of Rumi), Sultan Bahu, Waris Ali Shah, and more, all of whom preached Ishq or divine love.
Says Osho, “The very fundamental of Sufism, of the path of love, is: ‘Love never tries to conquer, yet it conquers’. Hate always tries to conquer, but never conquers. Hate is impotent, it cannot conquer; it aspires, it is very ambitious, but it is doomed to fail. Love has no idea of conquering, love has no idea of dominating; love has no idea of becoming the first in the world. Yet love becomes the first, the conqueror.”
Down the centuries, the Sufi saints conquered with love. So can you.