Chapter 17: Melting the Ice Cube
It is said about the great Sufi mystic, Bayazid, that when Bayazid reached the station of nearness he heard a voice which ordered him, “Ask for something!”
The state of nearness is the state when you are falling silent, when voices in your head are disappearing, evaporating, when thoughts are leaving you, deserting you; when you are feeling utterly alone, not even shadows of the others are present; when you are just on the verge of disappearing. That is called the “station of nearness.”
When Bayazid reached the station of nearness he heard a voice which ordered him, “Ask for something!”
“I have no desire,” he replied.
But the voice insisted. It said, “You ask for something!”
Again he said, “But there is nothing to ask because I have no desire.”
But again the voice repeated, “Ask for something!”
Bayazid answered, “Then I want only Thee!”
The voice then said, “So long as even an atom of the existence of Bayazid remains, this is impossible.”
Bayazid missed. He was just on the verge. He started asking. He came back - because with the desire you are back, with the desire the mind is back. Even if the desire is for God, that doesn’t matter. You would have thought that this was beautiful, that Bayazid desired God. But desire is desire; what you desire is irrelevant. Desire brings the desiring mind back. Bayazid had again entered into the marketplace, that station of nearness was lost. The moment he said, “I want only Thee,” he was there. Again the I had gathered, and when there is I, it creates thou. When there is I it creates duality, and all is lost in duality. When there is no I, then there is non-duality.
Then you are one with existence, utterly one. Then you are nothing but a pulsation of existence itself, just a ripple in the lake of this infinite consciousness.
The moment he said, “I want only Thee,” the voice then said, “So long as even an atom of the existence of Bayazid remains, this is impossible.”
Man has to disappear for God to be. All that is needed is this simple phenomenon of disappearance. But because we don’t want to disappear, then the whole approach becomes very arduous. Then we start playing games: on the one hand we want God, and on the other hand we want to protect ourselves.
Again it is said of Bayazid that once he was walking along a road with his disciples when they came upon a severed head lying on the way. Upon its forehead was written this tremendously important sutra from the Koran: He loseth both the world and the hereafter.