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Chapter 1: Non-Being is the Way of Being

I have heard:

The great Sufi Master Ruzbihan was once on the roof of his khanigah while in a state of wajd..

The khanigah is the place where Sufis meet; it is a temple of love. It is a temple of madness, of utter rejoicing. This is a khanigah. No other god than love is worshipped, no other prayer than love is preached. In a khanigah, only those who are becoming aflame with love are invited, who are on the verge of madness.

Ruzbihan was on the roof of his khanigah while in a state of wajd.

Wajd is a moment when you are not and God is, a moment of absolute harmony. A window opens, and you can see the whole sky, you are no more confined within the walls of your body and mind. For a moment, a lightning happens and all darkness disappears. Wajd is a momentary samadhi, a glimpse, a satori. It comes and goes. Slowly, slowly, it establishes itself.

But even to know God for a moment is of immense beauty and benediction. Even to know for a single moment that you are not separate from existence, that there is no ego, that all is one - La illaha ill Allah - even to know this just as a passing experience, just like a breeze that comes and is gone - by the time you become aware of it, it is no more there, but it has been there, it has refreshed you, rejuvenated, resurrected you.

Ruzbihan was on the roof of his khanigah in a state of wajd - in a state of oneness with existence.

It happened that a group of young people was passing by in the alley below, playing musical instruments and singing. They were singing:

O heart,
in the neighborhood
of the Beloved
there is no wailing,
nor are the roof, door,
or windows of her house guarded.
If you are ready to lose your soul,
get up and come now, for the field is empty.

They were completely unaware of Ruzbihan. They were just singing. They were even unaware of what they were singing, what they were saying. It is a Sufi provocation; it is a Sufi song. The moment Ruzbihan heard it - “If you are ready to lose your soul, get up and come now, for the field is empty” - and he was in a state of wajd, of unity, oneness, unio mystica - his ecstasy was such that he was not there in that ecstasy at all; when Ruzbihan heard this, something possessed him, something from the beyond, and he flung himself from the roof, whirling and turning in the air, to the ground below.

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