Travelling the Path of Love: Sayings of Sufi Masters

Travelling the Path of Love: Sayings of Sufi Masters


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780963457424
Publisher: The Golden Sufi Center
Publication date: 01/28/1994
Pages: 231
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.68(d)

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Travelling the Path of Love

Sayings of Sufi Masters

By Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee

The Golden Sufi Center

Copyright © 2014 The Golden Sufi Center
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-890350-62-8


The Sufi

Sufism is defined as "truth without form," and the Sufi aspires to become "featureless and formless," to be so lost in God that only He remains. But there are certain qualities that belong to these travellers on the path of love.

The Sufis are folk who have preferred God to everything, so that God has preferred them to everything.


The Sufi is he who aims, from at first, at reaching God, the Creative Truth. Until he has found what he seeks, he takes no rest, nor does he give heed to any person. For Thy sake I haste over land and water; over the plain I pass and the mountain I cleave and from everything I turn my face, until the time when I reach that place where I am alone with Thee.


To be a Sufi is to give up all worries and there is no worse worry than yourself. When you are occupied with self you are separated from God. The way to God is but one step: the step out of yourself.

Abû Sa'îd ibn Abî-l-Khayr

The Sufi is absent from himself and present with God.


A Sufi is a day that needs no sun, a night that needs no moon or star, and a non-being that needs no being.

Abû'l-Hasan 'Ali al-Kharaqânî

Sufism means that God causes you to die to yourself and gives you life in Him.


The Sufi is separated from mankind and united with God, as God has said, "And I chose thee for Myself," that is, He separated him from all others.


To be a Sufi means to abide continuously with God and to be at peace with men.


The Sufi is pleased with all that God does in order that God may be pleased with all that he does.

Abû Sa'îd ibn Abî-l-Khayr

Sufism is that the servant acts according to whatever is most fitting to the moment.

'Amr ibn 'Uthmân al-Makkî

When al-Junayd was asked about the mystic, he replied, "The color of water is the color of its container. That is, the nature of the mystic is always determined by the nature of his state at a given moment."


One of the attributes of the saint is that he has no fear, for fear is anticipating some disagreeable event that might come or expecting that something beloved might pass away in the future. The saint is concerned only with the present moment. He has no future to fear.


The Sufi is like the earth, on which every foul thing is thrown and from which fair things come forth.


A man will not be a mystic until he is like the earth — both the righteous and the sinner tread upon it — and until he is like the clouds — they shade all things — and until he is like the rain — it waters all things, whether it loves them or not.

Bâyezîd Bistâmî

When Abû Sa'îd ibn Abî-l-Khayr was asked what Sufism entailed he replied: "Whatever you have in your mind — forget it; whatever you have in your hand — give it; whatever is to be your fate — face it!"

Abû Sa'îd ibn Abî-l-Khayr

The Sufi is he to whom nothing is attached, and who does not become attached to anything.


Be in this world as if you are a traveller, a passer-by, with your clothes and shoes full of dust. Sometimes you sit under the shade of a tree, sometimes you walk in the desert. Be always a passer-by, for this is not home.


"Dervishes" is a term which refers to holy poverty: "the poor man is not he whose hand is empty of provisions, but he whose nature is empty of desires."


A dervish wearing a sackcloth coat and woolen cap once came to meet Master Abû 'Alî. One of Abû 'Alî's disciples tried to humor him, saying, "How much did you purchase that sackcloth for?"

The dervish answered, "I purchased it for the sum of the world. I was offered the hereafter in exchange, but refused to trade."

Abû 'Alî ad-Daqqâq

Sufism means that you possess nothing and nothing possesses you.


Only the bondsmen are free!


The Sufi is he that keeps a pure heart towards God.

Bishr ibn al-Hârith al-Hâfî

You are a Sufi when your heart is as soft and as warm as wool.


Sufism is staying at the lover's door even when you are driven away.


Dervishes are a brotherhood of migrants who keep watch on the world and for the world.


Four thousand years before God created these bodies, He created the souls and kept them beside Himself and shed a light upon them. He knew what quantity each soul received and He showed favor to each in proportion to its illumination. The souls remained all that time in light, until they became fully nourished. Those who in this world live in joy and agreement with one another must have been akin to one another in that place. Here they love one another and are called the friends of God, and they are brothers who love one another for God's sake. These souls know one another by smell, like horses.

Abû Sa'îd ibn Abî-l-Khayr

If you keep the company of the truthful, be truthful with them, for they are spies of the hearts. They come into your hearts and leave without your becoming aware.

Ahmad b. 'Asim al-Antâkî

God speaks out of the innermost being of the mystic while he is silent.


Sufism is not preached, and it is even taught in some cases by example and guidance which may be unknown to the learner's ordinary faculties.


The Sufi bows down before none but God.


There was a king, who, one day, entering his royal court, observed one person who among all those present, was not bowing down before him. Unnerved by the impudent act of this stranger in the hall, the king called out: "How dare you not bow down before me! Only God does not bow down before me, and there is nothing greater than God. Who then are you?" The tattered stranger answered with a smile, "I am that nothing."


The true Sufi is he that is nothing.



The Path

The mystical path is the soul's journey from separation back to union. On this homeward journey we are seeking our own innermost essence, the pearl of great price that lies hidden within the heart.

The Sufi travels three Journeys — the Journey from God, the Journey to God, and the Journey in God.


Your journey is towards your homeland. Remember you are travelling from the world of appearances to the world of Reality.

'Abd'l-Khâliq Ghijduwânî

No one by himself
can find the Path to Him
Whoever goes to His street
goes with His feet.


If you walk toward Him, He comes to you running.


The first step is to cease isolating oneself from God.


You too put your best foot forward. If you do not wish to, then follow your fantasies. But if you prefer the secrets of the love of your soul you will sacrifice everything. You will lose what you consider valuable, but you will soon hear the sacramental word "Enter."


An intending disciple said to Dhû-l-Nûn, the Egyptian: "Above everything in this world I wish to enroll in the Path of Truth."

Dhû-l-Nûn told him: "You can accompany our caravan only if you first accept two things. One is that you will have to do things which you do not want to do. The other is that you will not be permitted to do things which you desire to do. It is 'wanting' which stands between man and the Path of Truth."


Take one step
away from yourself and —
behold! — the Path!

Abû Sa'îd ibn Abî-l-Khayr

Know that when you learn to lose yourself, you will reach the Beloved. There is no other secret to be learnt, and more than that is not known to me.


A man came to Abû 'Alî ad-Daqqâq and said, "I have come to you from a very distant place."

Abû 'Alî ad-Daqqâq replied, "Attaining knowledge of the path has nothing to do with traversing great distances and undergoing journeys. Separate from yourself even by one single step, and your goal will be reached."

Abû 'Alî ad-Daqqâq

I saw my Lord in my dreams and I asked, "How am I to find You?" He replied, "Leave yourself and come!"

Bâyezîd Bistâmî

He travels with whoever looks for Him, and having taken the seeker by the hand, He arouses him to go in search of himself.


In your own land seek the hidden flame. ... It is unworthy of man to borrow light from elsewhere.


If you are man enough for this path you must take your heart in hand. That, so the specialists say, is the only work worthy of the name.


When you seek God, seek Him in your heart —
He is not in Jerusalem, nor in Mecca nor in the hajj.

Yûnus Emre

The minute I heard my first love story
I started looking for you
Not knowing how blind I was.

Lovers don't finally meet somewhere.
They're in each other all along.


When truth has taken hold of a heart she empties it of all but Herself.


God is jealous, and one sign of His jealousy is that He does not clear any way through to Himself other than Himself.


Abu'l Hasan Pusanji was asked, "What is faith and what is trust in God?"

He replied: "You eat what is in front of you and chew each mouthful well with a tranquil heart, knowing that whatever belongs to you, you will not lose."

Abu'l Hasan Pusanji

One day a man from Mount Locam came to visit Sarî al-Saqatî.

"Sheikh So-and-So from Mount Locam greets you," he said.

"He dwells in the mountains," commented Sarî. "So his efforts amount to nothing. A man ought to be able to live in the midst of the market and be so preoccupied with God that not for a single minute is he absent from God."


Our way is that of group discussion. In solitude there is renown and in renown there is peril. Welfare is to be found in a group. Those who follow this way find great benefit and blessing in group meetings.

Bahâ ad-dîn Naqshband

The perfect mystic is not an ecstatic devotee lost in contemplation of Oneness, nor a saintly recluse shunning all commerce with mankind, but "the true saint" goes in and out amongst the people and eats and sleeps with them and buys and sells in the market and marries and takes part in social intercourse, and never forgets God for a single moment.

Abû Sa'îd ibn Abî-l-Khayr

First tie your camel's knee and then trust in God.


Wear with mankind what they wear and eat what they eat. But be separate from them inwardly.

Abû 'Alî ad-Daqqâq

Solitude in the crowd: in all your outward activity remain inwardly free. Learn not to identify with anything whatsoever.

'Abd'l-Khâliq Ghijduwânî

Opportunity is precious and time is a sword.


If all you have is a few copper coins in one pocket, those coins are of great value to you. But if someone places a thousand gold pieces in your other pocket, those few copper coins are no longer important.


To meet You I look at face after face, appearance after appearance. ... To see Your face I pass by like the morning wind.


Shiblî sought Junayd as a teacher and said to him, "You are recommended as an expert on pearls (enlightenment and wisdom). ... Either give me one, or sell one to me."

"If I sell you one, you will not have the price of it, and if I give you one, having so easily come by it you will not realize its value," Junayd replied. "Do like me; plunge head-first into this Sea, and if you wait patiently you will obtain your pearl."


Search, no matter what situation you are in.
O thirsty one, search for water constantly.
Finally, the time will come when you will reach the spring.


It is a grave error for anyone to imagine he will attain anything or that anything will be revealed to him of the Path without persistent striving on his part.

Abû 'Uthmân al-Hîrî

The thing we tell of can never be found by seeking, yet only seekers find it.

Bâyezîd Bistâmî

Whoever believes he can reach God by his own efforts toils in vain; whoever believes he can reach God without effort is merely a traveller on the road of intent.

Abû Sa'îd al-Kharrâz

When you think you have found Him, that very instant you have lost Him. And when you think you have lost Him, then you have found Him.

Abû Sa'îd ibn Abî-l-Khayr

And if He closes before you all the ways and passes,
He will show you a hidden way which nobody knows.


Keep strenuously toiling along this path,
Do not rest until the last breath; for
That last breath may yet bring the blessings
from the Knower of all things.


No one learned the art of archery from Me
Who did not make Me, in the end, the target.


Like the hunter, the Sufi chases game; he sees the tracks left by the musk deer and follows them.

For a while it is the tracks which are his clues, but later it is the musk itself which guides him.


A path and a gateway have no meaning once the objective is in sight.


Everything in the world of existence has an end and a goal. The end is maturity and the goal is freedom. For example, fruit grows on the tree until it is ripe and then falls. The ripened fruit represents maturity, and the fallen fruit, freedom.

The final goal is returning to one's origin. Everything which reaches its origin has reached its goal. A farmer sows grain in the ground and tends it. It begins to grow, eventually seeds, and again becomes grain. It has returned to its original form. The circle is complete. Completing the circle of existence is freedom.


The inner pilgrim wraps himself in the light of the holy spirit, transforming his material shape into the inner essence, and circumambulating the shrine of the heart, inwardly reciting the name of God. He moves in circles because the path of the essence is not straight but circular. Its end is its beginning.

'Abdu'l-Qâdir al-Gîlânî

Dhû-l-Nûn was asked, "What is the end of the mystic?"

He answered, "When he is as he was where he was before he was."



The Teacher And The Disciple

The Sufis say that you need a teacher as a guide on the mystical path. The teacher is someone who is surrendered to God and is able to help the wayfarer make the transition from the ego to the Self. In surrendering to the teacher, fanâ fî'l Sheikh, the disciple learns to surrender to God, fanâ fî'llâh.

In the beginning you must do two things. One is journeying and the other is you must take a master.

Abû'l-Hasan 'Alî al-Kharaqânî

Choose a master, for without him this journey is full of tribulations, fears, and dangers. With no escort, you would be lost on a road you would have already taken. Do not travel alone on the Path.


It is easier to drag along a mountain by a hair than to emerge from the self by oneself.

Abû Sa'îd ibn Abî-l-Khayr

Do not take a step
on the path of love without a guide.
& I have tried it
one hundred times and failed.


Abû Sa'îd was asked, "If someone wishes, is it possible to travel the mystic path without a teacher?"

The Sheikh replied, "It is impossible because someone is required to guide him along the way, someone who has already reached the goal travelling that path, who will tell him what are faults and what are virtues on this path. At each stage he will say this is the such- and-such stage, here one must remain a little longer. And if there is a dangerous place somewhere, he will tell him to be on his guard, and will give him kindly encouragement, so that travelling that path with a strengthened heart, he may reach the goal.

"When he has reached the goal he will find peace."

Abû Sa'îd ibn Abî-l-Khayr

Whoever travels without a guide needs two hundred years for a two-days' journey.


The moment you are united with the master, it becomes effortless.

Bhai Sahib

Then there arises the question of how to find the real guru. Very often people are in doubt, they do not know whether the guru they see is a true or false guru. Frequently a person comes in contact with a false guru in a world where there is so much falsehood. But at the same time a real seeker, one who is not false to himself, will always meet with the truth, with the real, because it is his own real faith, his own sincerity in earnest seeking that will become his torch. The real teacher is within, the lover of reality is one's own sincere self, and if one is really seeking truth, sooner or later one will certainly find a true teacher. And supposing one came into contact with a false teacher, what then? Then the real One will turn the false teacher into a real teacher, because Reality is greater than falsehood.

Inayat Khan

People think that a Sheikh should show miracles and manifest illumination. The requirement of a teacher, however, is only that he should possess all that the disciple needs.

ibn 'Arabî

Abû Sa'îd was asked, "Who is the spiritual guide who has attained to Truth, and who is the sincere disciple?"

The Sheikh replied, "The spiritual guide who attained to Truth is he in whom at least ten characteristics are found, as proof of his authenticity:

First, he must have become a goal, to be able to have a disciple.

Second, he must have travelled the mystic path himself, to be able to show the way.

Third, he must have become refined and educated, to be able to be an educator.

Fourth, he must be generous and devoid of self-importance, so that he can sacrifice wealth on behalf of the disciple.

Fifth, he must have no hand in the disciple's wealth, so that he is not tempted to use it for himself.

Sixth, whenever he can give advice through a sign, he will not use direct expression.


Excerpted from Travelling the Path of Love by Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee. Copyright © 2014 The Golden Sufi Center. Excerpted by permission of The Golden Sufi Center.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents


The Sufi,
The Path,
The Teacher and the Disciple,
The Longing of the Heart,
Meditation and Prayer,
Suffering and Surrender,
Polishing the Heart,
Light upon Light,
The Lover and the Beloved,
The Valley of Love,
Knowledge of God,
Wheresoever you Turn ...,
Annihilation of the Self,
Biographical Notes and Index,

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