Chapter 2: The Invisible Ones
The first question:
Has Sufism arisen as a rebel against the establishment of Islam? Or is it pre-Islam?
It is both. Anything that is alive is both. It is very ancient and it is very new - together, simultaneously.
Sufism is pre-Islam and yet it is a unique, new phenomenon too. It is the essential core of Islam and yet it is a rebellion against the establishment of Islam too. That’s how it is always. Zen is also both - the essential core of Buddhism and a rebellion against the establishment.
It has to be understood. Whenever a man like Buddha or Mohammed happens, the essential flowers. But sooner or later the human mind will make an establishment out of it. That too is natural because man needs something to cling to. Man needs something pseudo because the real transforms him. The real is dangerous. He needs something which only looks real, but is not real. He needs a toy to play with. That’s what the Church is, the establishment is; it gives an appearance of doing the real thing. So you can enjoy doing it and you can enjoy the ego trip and yet you remain the same. It does not penetrate you, transmute you, at all. Nothing is at stake.
If a man really goes into prayer he will die. He will never come back the same again. He will come back, but as a totally different person. The one who has gone into prayer will never come back. Something new, something that has never existed before, something that is discontinuous with the past, will arise. You will be lost, and then only will you find the real you. Real prayer is dangerous; it is a death and a resurrection.
So man is very tricky - he creates a false prayer. He makes a ritual out of prayer, he pretends to pray. He only goes through the gesture, through the empty gesture - his heart is not in it. He goes to the mosque, to the temple, to the church; he prays. And he knows that he is deceiving, he knows that he is not in it. Yet it gives him a certain respectability. People think of him as being a religious man. That gives him a certain credibility. It is a formal gesture, it makes his social life smooth, it creates a kind of lubricant - but it doesn’t change him.
So whenever a Mohammed or a Buddha happens the real is brought into the world. But the real drives you mad, the real starts killing you. Only very rare people, courageous people, can have that date with the real.