The Sufis predate Islam. Beyond that, you’re left with your own prejudices and ignorances. But hey. You have an internet connection! Educate yourself. Here’s the first story.
I have been a misfit since childhood. I knew that no one understood me, not even my father. He once said, “You are not a madman, fit to be put in a madhouse, nor are you monk to be put in a monastery. I just don’t know what you are!”
I replied: “You know, father, I can tell you what it is like. Once a duck egg was put under a hen to be hatched. When the egg hatched, the duckling walked along with the mother hen until they came to a pond. The duckling took a nice dip in the water. But the hen stayed on the bank and clucked. Now, my dear father, after having tried the sea I find it my home. If you choose to stay on the shore, is it my fault? I am not to be blamed.”
There are some who are born to go a very different way.
– Shams-e Tabrizi
And here’s the second:
Two mothers talk about their sons.
One says, “And how is your boy getting on as a guru?”
“Just fine,” replies the second. “He has so many pupils that he can afford to get rid of some of the old ones.”
“That’s great,” says the first. “My son is getting on so well that he can afford NOT to take on everyone who applies to him!”
– Idries Shah
And here’s the third:
The Cook’s Assistant
A certain famous, well-liked and influential merchant came to Bahaudin Naqshband. He said, in open assembly:
‘I have come to offer my submission to you and to your teaching, and beg you to accept me as a disciple.’
Bahaudin asked him:
‘Why do you feel that you are able to profit by the teaching?’
The merchant replied:
‘Everything that I have known and loved in the poetry and the teaching of the ancients, as recorded in their books, I find in you. Everything that other Sufi teachers preach, extol and report from the Wise Ones I find in actuality in you, and not in completeness and perfection with them. I regard you as at one with the ‘great ones, for I can discern the aroma of Truth in you and in everything connected with you.’
Bahaudin told the man to withdraw, saying that he would give him a decision as to his suitability in due time.
After six months, Bahaudin called the merchant to him, and said: ‘Are you prepared to appear publicly with me in an interchange?’
He answered: ‘Yes, by my head and eyes.’
When a morning meeting was in progress, Bahaudin called the other man from the circle and had him sit beside him. To the hearers he said: ‘This is so-and-so, the distinguished King of Merchants of this city. Six months ago he came here and believed that he could discern the aroma of truth in everything connected with me.’
The merchant said:
‘This period of trial and separation, this six months without a glimpse of the Teacher, this exile, has caused me to plunge even more deeply into the classics, so that I could at least maintain some relationship with him whom I wish to serve, Bahaudin El-Shah, himself visibly identical with the Great Ones.’
‘Six moons have passed since you were in here. You have not been idle: you have been working in your shop, and you have been studying the lives of the Great Sufis. You could, however, have been studying me, whom you regard as identifiably one with the Knowers of the past, for I have been twice a week in your shop. During this six months during which we “have not been in contact” I have been forty-eight times in your shop. Many of those occasions passed with my making some kind of transaction with you, buying or selling merchandise. Because of the goods and because of a simple change of dress and appearance, you did not recognise me. Is this “discerning the aroma of truth”?’
The other man remained silent.
‘When you come near to the man whom others call “Bahaudin”, you can feel that he is the truth. When you meet the man who calls himself the merchant Khaia Alavi (one of Bahaudin’s pseudonyms) you cannot discern the aroma of truth from that which is connected with Alavi. You find perceptibly in Naqshband only what others preach and themselves are not. In Alavi you do not find what the Wise are but do not appear to be. The poetry and the teaching to which you have referred is an outward manifestation. You feed on outward manifestation. Do not, please, give that the name of spirituality.’
This merchant was Mahsud Nadimzada, later a famous saint, who became a disciple of Bahaudin’s after he had submitted to studying under the cook of the Khanqa, who was quite uninstructed in poetry, spiritual talk or exercises.
He once said: ’If I had not studied what I imagined to be a spiritual path, I would not have had to forget the numerous errors and superficialities which Khalifa-Ashpaz (the cook) burned out of me by ignoring my pretensions.’
– Idries Shah, from Wisdom of the Idiots
And, finally, the basis for my porn screenplay for The Lust Bug (Hollywood Video, 1985), NOT the Walt Disney film about a lovable VW Bug:
The Magic Horse
A king had two sons. The first helped the people by working for them in a manner they understood. The second was called ‘Lazy’ because he was a dreamer, as far as anyone could see.
The first son gained great honours in his land. The second obtained from a humble carpenter a wooden horse and sat astride it. But the horse was a magical one. It carried the rider, if he was sincere, to his heart’s desire.
Seeking his heart’s desire, the young prince disappeared one day on the horse. He was absent a long time. After many adventures he returned with a beautiful princess from the Country of Light, and his father was overjoyed at his safe return and listened to the story of the magic horse.
The horse was made available to anyone who wanted it in that country. But many people preferred the obvious benefits which the actions of the first prince provided for them because to them the horse always looked like a plaything. They did not get beyond the outer appearance of the horse, which was not impressive – just like a plaything.
When the old king died, the ‘prince who liked to play with toys’ became, by his wish, the king. But people in general despised him. They much preferred the excitement and interest of the discoveries and activities of the practical prince.
Unless we listen to the ‘lazy’ prince, whether he has a princess from the Country of Light with him or not, we shall not get beyond the outer appearance of the horse. Even if we like the horse, it is not its outward shape which can help us travel to our destination.
– Idries Shah, from The Way of the Sufi
And there you have it. That’s why I’m lazy.