I had not written from a long time. Today I thought I should just jot down all the thoughts that cross my mind. Most of the time, I have a thought that keeps coming to my mind whether I will be successful in my life. Successful in terms of what I would do before I fall dead. What would I leave as a piece of legacy that the world would remember me for, or would I be remembered at all? Too many thoughts are flooded in my mind that blur my vision to the present moment.
I am in my late 20s and this month 19th I shall complete my 29 years of life on this planet. The fear of getting into 30s already has occupied my mind resulting into questioning myself of what impact I have made into this world. So, I am clearing my mind with this writing while listening to a music composition of Peter Gundry on YouTube. I am also chewing a piece of bread that my life-companion packed it for my breakfast.
So, what have I done in my life? The answer to this question mostly comes as ‘Nothing’. I have done nothing in my life, but when I look back I have so much to tell about my life that easily a few books can be written on it and so is everyone’s life. Almost all of us feel we have achieved nothing in our lives, and we keep looking for doing something significant before we fall dead. Many of my friends work with well-known MNCs, their pay is in five digits, they went abroad in their business trips and the society considers them as an example of how one should live.
Whatever stage we are in, we always have a feeling of emptiness within, that something is missing, and we are all trying to fill that emptiness. The grass is always greener on the other side but let us remember that it doesn’t stay green forever. Forever is a lie. We all are temporary. We are just a tiny production of this WHOLE. At the cosmic level, our planet earth itself is a DOT that is suspended in a sunbeam. Carl Sagan has beautifully put this reality as follows:
Seen from about 6 billion kilometres (3.7 billion miles), Earth appears as a tiny dot within deep space: the blueish-white speck almost halfway up the brown band on the right.
Tomorrow even if the entire planet vanishes away, the whole cosmos will function amazingly, and we are just here for 60-70 human years and we think we are too big and too important. This illusion has blurred our vision to the reality. Our eyes seem to have lost the ability to see reality in its nakedness.
Our temporary goals of doing something significant or achieving something memorable have blinded us that we already have enough. We seem to have forgotten who we are because of our greedy goals which we usually wrap under the blanket of morality.
In Sufism we have a word called ‘Nafs’ which usually is wrongly translated by the so-called religious Muslims. They translate it as ‘Desire’ and consider desire as the source of all the misery. Nafs has nothing to with desire. They are all trying to get rid of desire to free themselves from misery.
Die Before Your Death
They want only God. They are blind that there is a want there also. Their perception is so limited that they can’t even see that Desires are not the source of all the misery, but unfulfilled desires are the source of all the misery. They all are trying to get rid of desire. A desireless person is dead. Only the DEAD does not have desires. They are all trying to be dead in a way. They are not interested in life. They are interested in death. Only when you are alive, there is a possibility. It is desire that can be used as a stepping stone towards God, Nirvana, Mukti, Moksh or whatever you call it.
Sufis’ approach is from the roots. They don’t work on the periphery. They work on the inside. They don’t worry about their desires. In fact, they try to fulfil their desires without labelling them as good or bad. When I say they work on the roots / inside, they work on the Nafs. For the desire to exist, there must be a desire-r, a person who desires. Sufis work on the desire-r. Who is this desire-r? That is Nafs, an identity. Peep into your lives, that identity Usman, John, Ashok, Chetan or whatever your name is. That is Nafs. That is the source of your desires. You are interested only in his / her life.
You want to somehow save him / her after death too, that is why you are playing this game of worship. You are worshipping God also to save him / her. You are a selfish prick. You are either greed-driven or fear-driven. You either worship for saving yourself from hell or acquiring heaven for eternity. Your Nafs is befooling you. You go to mosque / church / temple to ask about the welfare of that Nafs. You take your Nafs there also. You simply cannot dedicate 10-15 minutes to God without having your Nafs involved.
Sufis directly work on the source, roots, desire-r, Nafs. I am not here preaching you my religion. Religion is the biggest Nafs ever. Nobody is fighting for their religions, they are fighting for their Nafs. Because that also is an identity. Nafs simply means identity. Unless you go beyond all the false identities, you can never know who you truly are. Religion is the biggest barrier that way. One must leave the religion too. Go beyond religion. Only then there is a possibility of freeing yourself from the Nafs.
I know the article is going lengthy but let me complete my thought flow. Sufis have two more beautiful terms Fana Fillah and Baqa Billah. It is an undeniable fact that we all will die. Whether we like it or not, we will die. We all try to postpone death as much as possible. Nobody has escaped and nobody will ever be able to escape death. A king locked himself in a palace and bolted all the doors and the palace was somewhere very far away from the normal society. He tried escaping death, but do you think he escaped?
Death is not somewhere that it will come to you. It is in you. Right now, death is in all of us and we cannot run away from ourselves. Wherever we go, we are there. How can you run away from yourself? Or in other words, how can you run away from death? In a way, you are the cause or the source of your own death. So, don’t try to run away from death because you cannot and don’t be afraid of death. Instead prepare for your death. Sufis understand this very clearly that everything dies, and nobody can escape, so they die before their death comes to them. Since we cannot escape death, we surrender. We don’t die voluntarily. Dying voluntarily does not mean committing suicide, that is for the cowards. Only cowards commit suicide.
Suifs die voluntarily. They kill their Nafs. Only Nafs has permanent death. LIFE has no death. In fact, death is a complement to Life. Death refreshes life. They are two sides of the same coin. One cannot exist without the other. Sufis kill their Nafs. They take a small seat in their lives. They allow God to work through them. Gradually they simply become an empty vessel where God can reside. God is in all of us, but we are full of us, full of Nafs. We don’t allow God to take control of us.
The Drop is The Ocean and The Ocean is The Drop
That is what it means Fana Fillah. Fana means destroy. FI means IN. Allah means God. Destroying oneself in Allah. That is dying before your death. It takes a lot of courage to jump into this abyss. Slow and Gradually your life becomes unimportant to you and you let God take control of your life. Let me use ‘The Wave’ Analogy here to understand things better. The wave is not separate from the ocean. The wave comes from the ocean and goes back to the ocean. Or one can say the wave is the ocean and the ocean is the wave. How can the wave be separate from the ocean?
We all have forgotten our true nature and have become slaves of our Nafs. Once the wave has destroyed its false identity that it is separate from the ocean, it becomes the ocean. After Fana Fillah, the next stage is Baqa Billah. Once we remove that Nafs, God will reside in us fully. This is what it means to die before your death. Once you live in Allah / God, you are Baqa Billah. Baqa means Eternal. Bi means With. Allah means God. You live eternally with Allah. God has no death. It is just like the drop becoming the ocean, the wave becoming the ocean. You become one with Allah.
Sufis have a dance and it is called as Wajd. While dancing their one hand’s direction is upward and another is downward. It has its own significance. It simply means, they have become an empty and hollow pipe though which God flows and works for his creation. The word Wajd means existence. There is no person in Wajd, there is only presence. There is no dancer, there is only dance. There is only creator, not creation. The personality / Nafs is completely dissolved in God and God has possessed the body. We all have everything already enough. The sense of insufficiency comes to us because of Nafs. God should be enough for all of us. Thanks for taking the time out and reading this lengthy and detailed article.