Selflessness does not only beautify one's personality,
giving grace to one's word and manner, but it also gives
a dignity and power, together with a spirit of independence
which is the real sign of a sage. It is selflessness which
often produces humility in one's spirit, taking away the
intoxication, which enriches the soul.
Independence and indifference, which are as the two wings
which enable the soul to fly, spring from the spirit of
selflessness. The moment the spirit of selflessness has
begun to sparkle in the heart of man, he shows in his word
and action a nobility which nothing earthly – neither power
nor riches – can give.
There are many ideas which intoxicate man, many feelings
there are which act upon the soul as wine, but there is
no stronger wine than the wine of selflessness. It is a
might and it is a pride that no worldly rank can give. To
become something is a limitation, whatever one may become.
Even if a person were to be called the king of the world,
he would still not be the emperor of the universe. If he were
the master of earth, he would still be the slave of Heaven.
It is the person who is no one, who is no one and yet all.
The Sufi, therefore, takes the path of being nothing
instead of being something. It is this feeling of nothingness
which turns the human heart into an empty cup into which
the wine of immortality is poured. It is this state of bliss
which every truth-seeking soul yearns to attain. It is easy
to be a learned person, and it is not very difficult to
be wise; it is within one's reach to become good, and it
is not an impossible achievement to be pious or spiritual.
But if there is an attainment which is greater and higher than all
these things, it is to be nothing. It may seem frightening
to many, the idea of becoming nothing; but human nature is
such that it is eager to hold onto something. What man holds
onto most is his person, his individuality. Once he has
risen above this, he has climbed Mount Everest, he has arrived
at the spot where the earth ends and heaven begins.
The whole aim of the Sufi is, by the thought of God, to cover
his imperfect self even from his own eyes, and that moment
when God is before him and not his own self, is the moment
of perfect bliss to him. My Murshid, Abu Hashim Madani,
once said that there is only one virtue and one sin for
a soul on this path: virtue when he is conscious of God and
sin when he is not. No explanation can fully describe the
truth of this except the experience of the contemplative
to whom, when he is conscious of God, it is as if a window
facing heaven were open, and to whom, wherein he is conscious
of the self, the experience is the opposite; for all the
tragedy of life is caused by being conscious of the self.
All pain and depression is caused by this, and anything
that can take away the thought of the self helps to a certain
extent to relieve man from pain, but God-consciousness gives