The divine seems so far away; the divine seems almost impossible. The God is not obvious; the God is not close by. You look all around and the existence seems to be almost empty of God. That’s what Martin Heidegger says – “I have not found a single thing in the world which I can call sacred.”
From the ordinary standpoint he is right. Where can you find the sacred? The sacred is missing – not because the sacred is not there, but because you don’t know how to feel the sacred. You have not yet evolved that intuitive capacity that can feel the sacred. God is far away; the world is very close by. Matter is all around and you never come across the spirit. Hence religion remains just a theory, it never becomes an experience.
Sufism believes that you can approach God only through a master.
A master is one who can become a via media, who will bee just between you and the divine – a door through whom you can have a glimpse. He knows – not as knowledge but as experience. His experience has transformed him, transfigured him, transported him to another world. A master lives in two realities together, a master is a paradox. One of his feet is in the world, his other foot is in God. From one side he is just like you and from another side he is just the opposite of you. A master is a paradox. Through the paradox of the master you will be able to reach the divine; there is no other way.
So the first step for a seeker is to fall in love with a master, to seek a master. If you can find a master, half the journey is over. In fact, the most arduous part is over. To find the master is the basic requirement of becoming a Sufi. Sufi seekers travel for thousands of miles in search of a master, in search of the man with whom they can feel in tune, with whom they can vibrate into the unknown, with whom they can take the first step beyond the known.
So the first thing, the first and the most important thing, is to find a master. Sufis say that the greatest blessing of life is to be with a master. If you are not with a master, you have missed the whole opportunity. Then you live with the non-essential; then you never come in contact with the essential. And the only way to come in contact with the essential is to be connected with someone who is in contact.
It is almost like…. Have you seen somebody in a circus or in a carnival, or in an exhibition sitting on an electric chair? The chair looks ordinary. You can’t see that the chair is an electric chair, vibrating with electricity. And you can’t see – because it is not visible to the eyes – that the man’s whole body is electrified. But if you touch the man, you get a shock. The man who is sitting on the electric chair is electrified. You cannot see, but if you touch you are immediately connected with electricity.
So is the case with a master. He’s electrified by the divine. It may not be visible to those who are just spectators; it may become an experience only for those who come close and touch.