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Chapter 11: Wise, Not Otherwise

My mother was very angry because I would go to sleep with all my stones in my pockets. And then when I was asleep, she would start pulling my stones out of my pockets: “How can you sleep with so many stones?” I told her that this is cheating; nothing should be done to me while I am asleep.

Childhood has an immense clarity. In that clarity, in that transparency, in that perspective, the whole world looks a miracle.

The humble man comes back to this miraculous existence. We take it for granted, but you don’t see how from the same soil a lotus flower blossoms, and a rosebush, and millions of other flowers. The earth has no colors; from where do those beautiful colors come? The earth is very rough; from where do the velvety roses come? The earth has no greenery; from where do the green trees come?

The humble man is a child again. He has no claim, but only gratitude: gratitude for everything, even gratitude for things for which you cannot conceive how one can be grateful.

A Sufi mystic, Junnaid, was on a religious pilgrimage with his disciples. In his mystery school it was almost a routine for the disciples to pray with the master. And his prayer was always the same, ending with thankfulness to God: “How am I going to pay? You are giving me so much, you are pouring so much bliss over me, and you never think how I am going to pay for it. I don’t have anything other than gratefulness. Forgive me for my poverty, but I thank you for all the great things that you have given to me.”

Nobody had objected to it. The mystery school of Junnaid was flourishing, people were coming from faraway places; it had become one of the richest schools of the Sufis. But on the pilgrimage the disciples started wavering about the last part of the prayer.

One day they passed through a fanatic village. Mohammedans don’t believe that Sufis are real Mohammedans, and Sufis are the only real Mohammedans in the whole world. Mohammedans - the orthodox Mohammedans, the priests - condemn Sufis: they have gone astray because they have left the crowd and they have started moving on their own lonely paths. They don’t bother about tradition, and they declare clearly: “If something is wrong in the tradition we are going to correct it.”

For example, Mohammedans pray to God, praise him, and end the prayer saying that the God of the Mohammedans is the only God; there is only one God, and there is only one holy book, the Koran, and there is only one prophet, Hazrat Mohammed.

Sufis never complete the whole thing; they simply say there is only God - and nothing else. They drop the two points that there is only one holy book, the Koran, and there is only one prophet, Hazrat Mohammed. This hurts the orthodox Mohammedans.

Sufis are very humble people and open to receive from all the sources. They don’t bother whether it comes from Christian sources, or Jewish sources, or Hindu sources. Truth is truth; from what door it enters into your being is immaterial.

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