Chapter 1: On the Road of Sighs
My friend, everything existing
exists through him;
your own existence is a mere pretense.
No more nonsense! Lose yourself,
and the hell of your heart becomes a heaven.
Lose yourself, and anything can be accomplished.
Your selfishness is an untrained colt.
You are what you are:
hence your loves and hates;
you are what you are:
hence faith and unbelief.
Hope and fear drive fortune from your door;
lose yourself, and they will be no more.
At his door, what is the difference
between Moslem and Christian,
virtuous and guilty?
At his door all are seekers
and he the sought.
God is without cause:
why are you looking for causes?
The sun of truth rises unbidden,
and with it sets the moon of learning.
In this halt of but a week,
to be is not to be,
and to come is to go.
And does the sun exist
for the cock to crow at?
What is it to him
whether you are there or not?
Many have come, just like you,
to his door.
You won’t find your way
in this street; if there is a way,
it is on your road of sighs.
All of you are far
from the road of devotion:
sometimes you are virtuous,
sometimes you are wicked:
so you hope for yourselves, fear for yourselves;
but when your mask of wisdom and folly
at last turns white, you will see
that hope and fear are one.
Truth is not a tradition. It cannot be, because truth is never old. It is eternally new, it is eternally fresh, as fresh as the dewdrops in the morning or the stars in the night.
The claim of tradition is basically anti-truth. The word tradition comes from a root tradere. It means “handed by someone to somebody else, transferred.” From tradere also comes the word trade. Truth cannot be transferred from one person to another person. It is impossible to transfer it. It is not a thing, hence it is not transferable. It cannot be traded, nobody can give it, nobody can take it. It arises in each individual’s own being, it is a flowering of your own heart.
Hence, Sufism is not a tradition. No true religion can ever be a tradition; every true religion is bound to be a revolution, a rebellion. And Sufism is one of the most profound, most authentic experiments, inquiries, into truth that has happened on this earth. And Hakim Sanai, into whose sutras we will be entering again today, is one of the three greatest Sufis in the whole history of human consciousness. He makes up the trio of the three great masters, Attar, Rumi, Sanai.