Chapter 5: Yes, Just like That
A Sufi teacher was visited by a number of people of various faiths who said to him, “Accept us as your disciples, for we see that there is no remaining truth in our religions, and we are certain that what you are teaching is the one true path.”
The Sufi said, “Have you not heard of the Mongol Halaku Khan and his invasion of Syria? Let me tell you.
“The Vizier Ahmad of the Caliph Mustazim of Baghdad invited the Mongol to invade his master’s domains. When Halaku had won the battle for Baghdad, Ahmad went out to meet him, to be rewarded. Halaku said, ‘Do you seek your recompense?’ and the Vizier answered, ‘Yes.’
“Halaku told him, ‘You have betrayed your own master to me, and yet you expect me to believe that you will be faithful to me.’ He ordered that Ahmad should be hanged.
“Before you ask anyone to accept you, ask yourself whether it is not simply because you have not followed the path of your own teacher. If you are satisfied about this, then come and ask to become disciples.”
What is man’s basic problem? It is not ignorance, it is knowledge. Knowledge is always borrowed. It is never original. But one can believe that one knows and can be fool others and can be befooled oneself.
Knowledge is the greatest deceptive force in the world. It makes people cunning, hypocrites, egoists. It gives them false notions that they know - that they know what truth is, that they know what “the true path” is. And because of this, they go on missing.
They come across truth many times, but they cannot see. Their eyes are full of knowledge, hence blind. A knowledgeable man is a blind man. He is cunning and clever, but not intelligent. Cunningness and cleverness look like intelligence, but that is only an appearance. And don’t be deceived by the appearance, because it is there where man’s basic confusion. is rooted - in his cleverness, his cunningness, his knowledgeability.
One has to unlearn it all, then only does one become a disciple. If you know already, you can’t be a disciple; your very knowledge will hinder you. How can you surrender when you know? Knowledge never surrenders. It is only innocence that is capable of that great quantum leap.
Surrender is possible only out of innocence, because out of innocence arises trust, out of innocence is faith, out of innocence is all religion.
I have heard a beautiful anecdote: