Sufism is a death and a resurrection


Osho speaks on Sufism.

Osho high hat

There are religions and religions, but Sufism is the religion – the very heart, the innermost core, the very soul.

Sufism is not part of Islam; rather, on the contrary, Islam is part of Sufism. Sufism existed before Mohammed ever was born, and Sufism will exist when Mohammed is completely forgotten. Islams come and go; religions take form and dissolve; Sufism abides, continues, because it is not a dogma. It is the very heart of being religious.

You may not ever have heard of Sufism and you may be a Sufi – if you are religious. Krishna is a Sufi, and Christ too; Mahavir is a Sufi, and Buddha too – and they never heard about the word, and they never knew that anything like Sufism exists.

Whenever a religion is alive, it is because Sufism is alive within it. Whenever a religion is dead, it shows only that the spirit, the Sufi spirit, has left it. Now there is only a corpse, howsoever decorated – in philosophy, metaphysics, in dogmas, doctrines – but whenever Sufism has left, religion stinks of death. This has happened many times. This is happening already almost all over the world. One has to be aware of it, otherwise one can go on clinging to a dead corpse.

Christianity has no Sufism now. It is a dead religion – the Church killed it. When `church’ becomes too much, Sufism has to leave that body. It cannot exist with dogmas. It can well exist with a dancing soul, but not with dogmas. It cannot exist with theology. They are not good companions. And with popes and priests it is impossible for Sufism to exist. It is just the opposite! Sufism needs no popes, no priests; it needs no dogmas. It is not of the head; it belongs to the heart. The heart is the Church, not an organized church, because every organization is of the mind. And once the mind takes possession, the heart has simply to leave that house completely. The house becomes too narrow for the heart. The heart needs the whole of the sky. Nothing less than that will do.

It cannot be confined in churches. The whole existence is the only church for it. It can throb under the sky. It can throb in freedom. But it dies when everything becomes a system, an organized pattern, a ritual – the state of Sufism simply disappears from there.

Christianity killed Jesus. Jews could not kill him. They crucified him, of course, but they failed. They could not kill him. He survived crucifixion. That is the meaning of resurrection – not that physically Jesus survived, but that the crucifixion proved futile. Jews could not kill him. They tried, but Jesus survived. Where Jews failed, Christians succeeded. They killed him with out any crucifixion. They killed him through prayer. They killed him through dogma. They killed him through organization. Followers succeed where enemies fail. Apostles succeed where enemies fail.

Christianity is now a dead religion because it cannot allow Sufism to exist within its soul. It is afraid of Sufism. Every dogma is always afraid, because Sufism means infinite freedom, no confinement, no limitations. It is more like love and less like a logical syllogism. It is more of a poetry, less of a prose. it is irrational.

That’s why every rational theology is afraid of it. Once you give an opening to the irrational, you don’t know where you are. And remember: God is also irrational, and it is beautiful that He is irrational – otherwise He would have been a professor of philosophy in some university, or a pope, or a priest, but not existence.

Sufism has died many deaths in many religions. Jainism is a dead religion. It flourished once beautifully and gave birth to such a great mystic as Mahavir. Then suddenly the river disappeared; only the dry riverbed has remained. No river flows now, no greenery on the bank. It has become a desert land, completely deserted. What happened? Jainist followers became too intellectual, mathematical, logical. Out of the mystery of Mahavir they created doctrines and arguments. They became too calculative, too clever, and the spirit was killed. In Christianity, Sufism had to leave because of too much church ritual. In Jainism, Sufism had to leave because of too much intellectual, theological, philosophical effort.

Remember this: Sufism is not a church. It doesn’t belong to any religion. All religions, when alive, belong to it. It is a vast sky of a particular quality of consciousness. How does it happen? How does one become a Sufi? Not by belonging to a particular order, but by dropping from the head to the heart, one becomes a Sufi.

You can exist in two ways. Either you can exist as a head-oriented person – you will succeed in the world. You will accumulate many riches, prestige, power. In politics you will be a successful man. In the eyes of the world you will become a pinnacle to be imitated. But in the inner you will fail completely, you will fail utterly – because into the inner the head-oriented person cannot enter at all. Head moves outwardly; it is an opening to the other. Heart opens inwardly; it is an opening to yourself. You can exist either as a head-oriented person, or you can exist as a heart-oriented person. When your energy, your life-energy, falls from the head towards the heart, you become a Sufi.

A Sufi means a man of the heart, a man of love; a man who doesn’t bother from where this universe comes, who doesn’t bother who created it, who doesn’t bother where it is leading; in fact, who doesn’t ask any questions — rather, on the contrary, he starts living. Existence is there: only fools bother about from where it comes. Only fools, I say. They may have shrouded themselves in very cunning philosophical words, but they are fools. A man who is wise lives the existence. It is here and now! Why bother from where it comes? What does it matter from where it comes? Whether somebody creates it or not is irrelevant. You are here, throbbing, alive – dance with existence! live it! be it! and allow it to happen in its total mystery within you.

And this is the miracle: a person who doesn’t bother from where it comes, a person who doesn’t ask questions, receives the answers. A man who is not curious, but celebrating whatsoever is there – whatsoever is the case he is celebrating it – suddenly becomes aware of the very source, and suddenly becomes aware of the very culmination. End and beginning meet in him – because he himself becomes the mystery. Now the mystery is not something which is there as an object that you have to go around and around and see and look at and observe. No, because that is not the way to know it. That is the way to miss it. You may go around and around, about and about, but you will never penetrate into it. How can you know? You are beating around the bush. Your attack is on the periphery. Rather, penetrate into it, go to its center – become it.

And you can become, because you are part of it.

And you can become, because it is part of you.

And then suddenly all questioning dissolves. Suddenly the answer is there. It is not that you have come to a solution of your problems. No. There are no problems at all. When there are no problems at all, for the first time you become capable, capable of living the mystery that is life, capable of living God, capable of being gods.

A great Sufi – you must have heard his name, Al Hillaj Mansoor – was killed by Mohammedans, because he said, anal hak, I am God.’ When you penetrate into the mystery of life, it is not that you are an observer, because an observer is always an outsider – you become one with it. It is not that you swim in the river, it is not that you float in the river, it is not that you struggle into the river. No – you become the river. Suddenly you realize the wave is part of the river. And the contrary is also true: that the river is part of the wave. It is not only that we are parts of God – God is also part of us.

When Al Hillaj Mansoor asserted, ‘I am God,’ Mohammedans killed him. Sufism is always killed by religious people, so-called religious people – because they cannot tolerate it; they cannot tolerate a man asserting that he is God! Their egos feel offended. How can a man be a God? But when Al Hillaj says, ‘I am God,’ he is not saying, ‘I am God and you are not’; he is not saying, ‘I am God and these trees are not’; he is not saying, ‘I am God and these stones, rocks are not.’ Asserting that ‘I am God’ he is asserting that the whole is divine, sacred. Everything is divine.

So these people, fanatics, believers in dogmas – they said that God created man, so man can only be a creature, not a creator; and this is profanity, the very apex of profanity to assert that ‘I am God’ – they killed him. And what was Mansoor saying when they killed him? He said loudly to the sky, ‘You cannot deceive me! Even in these murderers I see you – you cannot deceive me. You are here in these murderers! And in whatsoever form you come, my God, I will know you, because I have known you.’

Sufism is not thinking about existence, it is being existence. It is not thinking, it is not doing something about existence. It is neither thought nor action. It is being.

And right now, without any effort, you can be a Sufi. If you stop thinking, and if you drop the idea of doing something, if you drop the idea of being a thinker and a doer, if you simply are content to be, suddenly you are a Sufi. And this will be my effort while I am talking about Sufism: not to indoctrinate you, not to make you more knowledgeable, but to make a Sufi out of you.

Sufis sing, they don’t give sermons, because life is more like a song and less like a sermon. And they dance, and they don’t talk about dogmas, because a dance is more alive, more like existence, more like the birds singing in the trees, and the wind passing through the pines; more like a waterfall, or clouds raining, or grass growing. The whole life is a dance, vibrating, throbbing, with infinite life.

Sufis like to dance; they are not interested in dogmas. And they tell beautiful stories. Life is more like a story, less like a history. And Sufis have created beautiful small stories. On the surface, you may miss. On the surface, it will look just like an ordinary anecdote. But if you penetrate deep, Sufi stories are very much pregnant – pregnant with significance, pregnant with the significance of the Ultimate. So I will tell you a few stories, discuss the stories, to help you penetrate into the deeper core. Just to make you understand a few things about the heart, to help you, your energy, your whole being, for a new journey toward the heart. To push you — because you will be afraid.

The heart is the most dangerous thing in the world.

Every culture, every civilization, every so called religion, cuts every child off from his heart. It is a most dangerous thing. All that is dangerous comes out of the heart. Mind is more secure, and with the mind you know where you are. With the heart, no one ever knows where one is. With the mind, everything is calculated, mapped, measured. And you can feel the crowd always with you, in front of you, at the back of you. Many are moving on it; it is a highway – concrete, solid, gives you a feeling of security. With the heart you are alone. Nobody is with you. Fear grips, fear possesses you. Where are you going? Now you no longer know, because when you move with a crowd on a highway, you know where you are moving because you think the crowd knows.

And everybody is in the same position: everybody thinks, ‘So many people are moving, we must be moving somewhere; otherwise, why so many people, millions of them, moving? They must be moving somewhere.’ Everybody thinks like that. In fact, the crowd is not moving anywhere. No crowd has ever reached any goal. The crowd goes on moving and moving. You are born, you become part of the crowd. And the crowd was already moving before you were born. And then a day comes when you are finish ed, you die, and the crowd goes on moving, because new ones are always being born. The crowd never reaches anywhere! – but it gives a feeling of comfort. You feel cozy, surrounded by so many people wiser than you, older than you, more experienced than you; they must know where they are moving – you feel secure.

The moment you start falling towards the heart… and it is a falling: falling like falling in an abyss. That’s why when somebody is in love, we say he has fallen in love. It is a fall – the head sees it as a fall – someone has gone astray, fallen. When you start falling towards the heart you become alone; now nobody can be with you there. You in your total loneliness. Afraid, scared you will be. Now you will not know where you are going, because nobody is there and there are no milestones. In fact, there is no concrete solid path. Heart is unmapped, unmeasured, uncharted. Tremendous fear will be there.

The whole of my effort is to help you not to be afraid, because only through the heart will you be reborn. But before you are reborn, you will have to die. Nobody can be reborn before he dies. So the whole message of Sufism, Zen, Hassidism – these are all forms of Sufism – is how to die. The whole art of dying is the base. I am teaching you here nothing except that: how to die.

If you die, you become available to infinite sources of life. You die, really, in your present form. It has become too narrow. You only survive in it – you don’t live. The tremendous possibility of life is completely closed, and you feel confined, imprisoned. You feel everywhere a limitation, a boundary. A wall, a stone wall comes wherever you move – a wall.

My whole effort is how to break these stone walls. And they are not made of stone – they are made of thoughts. And nothing is more like rock than a thought. They are made of dogmas, scriptures. They surround you. And wherever you go, you carry them with you. Your imprisonment you carry with you. Your prison is always hanging around you. How to break them?

The breaking of the walls will appear to you like a death. It is in a way, because your present identity will be lost. Whosoever you are, that identity will be lost. You will be that no more. Suddenly something else…. It was always hidden within you, but you were not aware. Suddenly a discontinuity. The old is no more there, and something utterly new has entered. It is not continuous with your past. That’s why we call it a death. It is not continuous: a gap exists.

And if you look backwards, you will not feel that whatsoever existed before this resurrection was real. No, it will appear as if you saw it in a dream; or it will appear as if you read it somewhere in a fiction; or, as if somebody else related his own story and it was never yours – somebody else’s. The old completely disappears. That’s why we call it a death. An absolutely new phenomenon comes into existence. And remember the word `absolutely’. It is not a modified form of the old; it has no connection with the old. It is resurrection. But resurrection is possible only when you are capable of dying.

Sufism is a death and a resurrection. And I call it the religion.

Osho, Until You Die, Ch 1 (excerpt)

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