A certain Sufi teacher was explaining how a false Sufi had been unmasked. “A real Sufi sent one of his disciples to serve him. The disciple waited on the impostor hand and foot, day and night. Presently everyone began to see how the fraud loved these attentions, and people deserted him until he was completely alone.”
One of the listeners to this story said to himself, “What a marvelous idea! I shall go away and do just the same thing.”
He went to where a bogus divine was to be found, and passionately desired to be enrolled as a disciple. After three years, such was his devotion that hundreds of devotees had collected. “This sage must indeed be a great man,” they said to one another, “to inspire such loyalty and self-sacrifice in his disciple.”
So the man went back to the Sufi from whom he had heard the story and explained what had happened. “Your tales are not reliable,” he said “because when I tried to put one into practice, the reverse happened.”
“Alas,” said the Sufi, “there was only one thing wrong with your attempt to apply Sufi methods. You were not a Sufi.”
Sufism is not a doctrine but a discipline, a method of inner transformation, an alchemical device – to change the lower into the higher, to change the baser metal into gold. It does not believe in talking about God. Rather, It believes in creating God. It does not believe in great philosophical argumentation – that is all rubbish. Its whole emphasis is on how to destroy man’s mechanicalness, how to de-automatize man, how to release awareness in him.
Self-remembering is its only and its whole philosophy.
If you can understand one word, self-remembering, you have understood all that Sufism consists of.
Man lives, but without any remembrance of who he is. Then you can go on doing a thousand and one things, but failure is going to be your fate. You are doomed to fail, because unconsciousness fails. Only consciousness succeeds, because it is only through consciousness that you become part of the divine cosmos. Unconscious, you remain apart. Unconscious, you are confined by your ego, you are like an island. Conscious, the ego melts, you become one with the whole, the harmony of the whole.
The part is going to fail. The part cannot succeed. Only the whole succeeds.
That is the meaning of the ancient statement: Satyameva jayate – it is only truth that wins. Why is it only truth that wins? Because to be true is to be with God; to be true is to be with the ultimate law of existence, is to be in tune with Tao. And the whole cannot fail.
The individual is bound to fail. And unless you remember, you will remain an individual. The moment you remember, the miracle happens, the paradox happens: in self-remembering, self disappears; only remembering is left. In non-self-remembering, there is no remembering, but the self continues. The self and remembering cannot exist together; their coexistence is not possible.