“Ninety-nine may be illusions, but one may be a real oasis for you because the Lord Almighty says, ‘Don’t cut off your hope; don’t despair’.”
You don’t have forty hands to go everywhere to take forty Shaykhs’ hands. Therefore, if you are traveling on a spiritual journey, when you meet with your guide or with your destination, I think it is enough for you at that time to be in one place. However, if you are doing it as a pleasure for your ego, you may travel from East to West, looking at this or that.
Sometimes I go to the market, looking at one thing or another and then another, from beginning to end. If you are buyers, you must look for what you want. You must know that you want that thing and you must see where it may be. If you find it, you may buy it and go on because no one can take the whole market and carry it, or all the markets. Rather, everyone who goes shopping knows what he is going to buy. Thus your Shaykh sent you here, understanding that you were asking for something. If you can find it with someone, names are not important, but it is important that you are able to find your desire in him. If you can find the thing you want with a young person, it is all right. Anyone you can find it with, it is all right. Your Lord of the Heavens may put our purposes with anyone. You must not be cheated by someone’s outward appearance, passing him by, saying, “Who is that person? What thing can be with that one?” While there may be with him that of which you are in need.
We are most in need of wisdom. Knowledge is one thing, but wisdom is something else. Knowledge you may find everywhere. Wisdom is also written, written in books, but when it is written down, it also becomes a part of knowledge. Wisdom comes directly from the tongue, from hearts. When it is put as writing in books, it becomes knowledge. You may use that, but more important is wisdom. The Lord may place something of His endless wisdom with anyone. It may be a peasant, or a boy, or a woman, or an old man. It may be with a young man, with a black man. It may be with an ignorant one, as you might say. He may not have been educated in schools or universities, but he may have been given wisdom. We have a saying that treasures are mostly under ruins. No one comes and asks for treasures among huge buildings in the center of a city, no. The one who wants to find treasures looks where there are old ruins. From the outside no one could say there may be something there, but underground, among ruins, you may find them. And that person is pleased if he can find broken cups or other broken things. He says even though they are broken, still they are antiques, they are precious, and he takes them, not taking such an unbroken, new thing. If you say, “Do you prefer this or that’?” he may say, “No, this. I prefer it though it is broken. I don’t prefer to have this new and whole cup.”
Therefore, Divine wisdom makes wisdom to be found with anyone. Don’t suppose that it must be with people who look suitable from the outside. No. The doors of Islam are open from the East to the West. We can look anywhere. If we find that wisdom, we may take it from anyone. No need to be a special person, no. Anyone may have it. The Lord may give it to you. However, we must be humble enough to listen to anyone and to look at what his product is, what is he selling. We may take from anyone when we are humble enough.
God Almighty gives His wisdom and He speaks wisdom. You have knowledge. You have so much knowledge. Everyone who comes to me has it – learned people, perhaps scholars, because most Western people are educated. But, as we said, wisdom is something else. We must be humble. We must look among ruins to dig it out.
Yes. You are traveling, seeking wisdom, and you may find it anywhere. It is all right. Knowledge is like a plane and wisdom is its fuel. Without fuel planes can’t fly. Thus, there are so many scholars, but they are still waiting for fuel. They are so proud of their wings that sometimes they go around like this, like that, on the plane but not flying. Perhaps they say that the knowledge of Sufis is not knowledge, because to them, the only knowledge to be found is what we read in books. We call this products of the mind. These products grow bigger and bigger. It becomes a load, a heavy load for our heads to bear because we have to carry it around with us. Knowledge from the heart differs from this.
Products of the heart carry us. We have to carry mind-products, but heart-products carry us. It was because of this that Abu Yazid Bistami, a famous Grand Shaykh in the most distinguished Naqshbandi order, addressed scholars, saying, “Oh scholars, you carry your knowledge about. You are always looking to see whether that knowledge is becoming less and less, going down. You are always looking because when you put aside the knowledge that you got through books, you then have to carry those books around with you to refresh your minds. You are like horses, putting too heavy a load on yourselves, carrying it around, and you are always tired. But we are not in need of carrying books, to be like a horse bearing so heavy a load. Rather our knowledge carries us. Therefore you are bearing a heavy burden, while our knowledge carries us along.”
For this reason, all mind-products are a heavy load for scholars. The Prophet, beloved Muhammad (saws), said, in the original words of a Tradition (hadith), “The calamity of knowledge is forgetfulness.” The thing that destroys knowledge is to forget it. Therefore, each scholar is always worried about that point because he or she is growing older. At every moment his or her mind’s power grows weaker. Everything it may hold little by little leaves. Scholars are always thinking about this, about forgetting. There are so many things that causes our memory to grow weaker and weaker.
Now people, even if they are scholars, are under the command of their egos. They do as their egos want so that their memories weaken. They do not use their hearts. Hearts are never weak. Hearts are strong, but we do not use them. My Grand Shaykh, Sultan of the Friends of God, Shaykh Abdullah ad-Daghistani, may God Almighty bless him, was about 113 when he died. He used heart memory. When the heart’s memory is all right, it never weakens. Such a person may know from the beginning of his life up to its end. He never loses his memory. However, those who leave their heart and use only their mind’s memory, are going to find that their knowledge decreases in time.
Therefore that Grand Shaykh, Abu Yazid Bistami, said to scholars, “If you have no books, you are finished. If you forget what is in your memory, you are going to be empty vessels with nothing in them. You bring from outside and put into the minds’ memory. When your minds are finished, they are like empty cups. Our knowledge, on the other hand, are springs in our hearts.” Therefore, you can see that when they are old people, they lose everything. They lose what they say, what they do. But it is impossible to stop the springs of wisdom of those who have them in their hearts. It is impossible to stop those springs. The springs carry them, as well. Wisdom is a Divine power. It does not have ordinary properties, no. Divine powers come through wisdom and may take that person, by his physical body, from the East to the West in a second, may take them from earth to the heavens.
I am seeing that there are some desires appearing among western people, because I have never seen people who like to read books like western people. Muslims always tried to read the Holy Qur’an. They never tired of reciting the Holy Book. Now, however, most people are occupied with their egos. This is also true of the Islamic world. Therefore, they have put aside reciting the Holy Qur’an and also they do not really want to read other books in the way that western people do. You have a hobby of reading books. But for what? A person may say, “I have read perhaps one thousand books and I still want to read more and more, but – for what? What is the main purpose for which I am reading and reading, and am still hungry to read and read’?”
Then it comes to their hearts. After all that reading there must be something else. Therefore, now a lot of people are asking about Sufi knowledge. Then, also, they are beginning to read more and more and more, reading, reading. But yet they feel that they are still thirsty. They are thirsty, even though they say that it is a spring, still it is not enough to quench their thirst. Now they are asking the Real springs as a person in a desert asks for water and springs. But most people see only illusions, so many illusions. And now in our time, so many western people are running after such illusions. They imagine that there may be a spring there, water. They run toward it, but find that it is only an illusion. It is very rare to find an oasis amidst huge deserts. Very rare, but there are so many illusions, mirages. Now, I am sorry to say, western people are all like a person in a huge desert and thirsty. They are looking everywhere, asking for water that will give them life – looking and running and finding that finally, that they are all illusions. Still they must run after an oasis.
Therefore, our brothers who have come to visit us this morning are among those people who feel that they are in a desert and thirsty, asking to reach an oasis to drink. Otherwise, they will see only illusions everywhere. I am seeing here in England, in France, in Germany, in Holland, in America everywhere, everywhere – so many illusions; in India, in Pakistan, in Tibet, in China, in Russia, in the Caucasus, in Iran, in Turkey, in Arab countries – so many illusions, but very few oases. Rather, they are full-up with illusions. The Lord of the heavens! the Lord of the Children of Adam, says, “Do not cut off your hope” (39:53). Therefore whoever seriously asks to find, he must find.
Why is it that He makes wisdom difficult to find? Because everything that the one finds easily is cheap, taken for granted while everything that one finds with difficulty, one looks after more carefully. One may say that it is so difficult to obtain. Yes, that is true. Therefore, if you are asking for an oasis, it is difficult to find and you must face every difficulty to find it.
As long as you are alive, you must walk towards somewhere. There may be one hundred illusions. Then you may find, at the end of one hundred, that oasis. Don’t say, “I went there and found that it was an illusion. Then I turned to another one and that also was an illusion. I have run after all ninety-nine and found them all to be illusions. why should I try this one?” Don’t say it! To the extent that you can walk, you must go on and try. Ninety-nine may be illusions but one may be a real oasis for you because the Lord says, “Don’t cut off hope. Don’t despair.” When you cut off hope, you are going to die. Finished. No one dies until he cuts of his hope of living, but whoever hopes to live, may live. Whoever hopes to find, must find.