Chapter 1: A Rare Kind of Magic
The word God-fearing is so absurd. If you are afraid of God then where are you going to be loving? Whom are you going to love? If you cannot even love God, then love will not be possible for you at all. If you are related through fear even with God, then this can’t be a relationship.
But we have been taught to be afraid of God. In fact, we have only been taught to be afraid of everything. Our whole life is a trembling, a fear, a cowardice - fear of hell, fear of God, fear of punishment. We are good, virtuous, because we are afraid. What kind of virtue is it which is based on fear? And how can you love God if your basic approach is through fear? Out of fear love never arises - that is an impossibility. And out of love fear never arises.
When you love a person all fear disappears. And when you are afraid all love disappears. You can hate the person if you are afraid of him, but you cannot love him. Down the centuries man has been taught to be afraid of God and the ultimate result is that Nietzsche had to declare that God is dead. That is the ultimate result of the fear-oriented mind. How long can you tolerate this God? How long can you remain afraid? One day or other you will have to kill him. That’s what Nietzsche did. When he said, “God is dead,” he also said, “Now man is free.” God is dead and now man is free. Otherwise how can you be free with God if God is only a source of fear? Fear cannot give you freedom.
People who come to me are God-loving people. When I say God-loving, I mean they are in search, they want to know. And they want to know authentically, they don’t want to have borrowed knowledge about it. They want to have a taste. They want to encounter, they want to face God, they want to look into his eyes. But before you can become capable of looking into the eyes of God you will have to become capable of looking into the eyes of a master. From there you take off. The journey begins.
I will make myself available to you. Sufism is just an excuse. I will not be talking about Sufism, I will be talking Sufism itself. The word Sufism is also beautiful. It has many orientations and all are beautiful. And I would not like to emphasize any one orientation, as it has been done again and again. A few people choose one orientation, a few people choose another, but my understanding is that all those orientations are beautiful and have something special to say. I accept them all.
One old Sufi master, Abul Hasam, has said, “Sufism was once a reality without a name and now Sufism is a name without reality.” For many centuries Sufism existed without a name. It existed as reality. That’s why I say Jesus was a Sufi, so was Mohammed, so was Mahavira and so was Krishna. Anyone who has come to know God is a Sufi. Why do I say so? Try to understand the word sufi and it will become clear to you.
The word sufi is a new coinage - a German coinage, out of German scholarship - not more than one hundred and fifty years old. In Arabic the word is tasawwuf. But both come from a root suf, which means wool.