Sufism is love – when you love the beloved from the heart – love, lover and beloved.
First we read Vedanta, then Zoroaster [Zarathustra], then Christian mysticism, then Sufism.
Personally, I like Sufism best. It is direct, from the heart to the heart – direct, not through the word.
Hafez is Sufism itself.
A Sufi is one who has his heart saf (clean), who has his heart purified by love. The basis of Sufism is love. Sufism means purity through love.
— Meher Baba, 9 June 1939, Aw 17:1 p3
“One who knows the Koran by heart is called a Hafez. Such a one’s heart and soul are dedicated to the service and thoughts of God alone…
“Hafez was spiritually inclined from an early age, and became the disciple of a Perfect Master, Attar, who himself was a great Persian poet.
“Hafez visited Attar every day for many, many years. He wrote ghazals and recited them to his Master. Attar enjoyed these ghazals and gave them to his other disciples to study and benefit by them, saying that Hafez’s ghazals would be of the utmost importance to the future generations.
“Hafez himself did not bother to preserve his poems, and it was only after his death that they were collected and put together as a Diwan (treasury or collection).
“One day, while he was still a youth, Hafez saw a very beautiful woman who came from a wealthy family. He instantly fell in love with her – not in the lustful way, but he fell in love with her beauty, as it were. Because of the difference in their positions, he could not approach her. Yet he remained intensely in love with this woman for thirty years. He loved his Master, Attar, greatly too, and hoped that Attar would help him in attaining the companionship of the woman.
“One day Attar asked Hafez, ‘Tell me what you desire.’ Hafez said he wanted the woman. Attar replied, ‘Have patience. You will get her.’
“But almost ten years more passed by, and Hafez was no nearer having his longing fulfilled. He became utterly disheartened. When alone with Attar one day, he began to weep. When the Master asked him why he was crying, Hafez in his desperation blazed out, ‘What have I gained after being with you for nearly forty years?’
(I think Hafez meant that he had obtained neither God nor the woman he loved.)
“Attar answered, ‘Have patience. You will know one day.’
“Hafez retorted, ‘I knew I would get this answer from you.’ And exactly forty days before the end of his forty years association with Attar, Hafez entered into self-imposed Chehel-a-Nashini.
“Chehel-a-Nashini means drawing a circle on the ground and sitting within it continually for forty days. (One who succeeds in going through the Chehel-a-Nashini is supposed to attain whatever he desires).
“It is almost impossible to stay for forty days within the limits of a circle without once stepping outside it. But Hafez’s love was so great that it made it possible for him to go through this Chehel-a-Nashini without faltering.
“On the fortieth day his Master appeared to him in the form of an Angel. On seeing such beauty, Hafez realised that the beauty of the woman he desired was as nothing in comparison with this heavenly beauty. And when the Angel asked him what it was he desired most, Hafez replied instantly that his only desire was to wait on the pleasure of his Master’s wish.
“Just before dawn broke on the last day, Hafez came out of his Chehel-a-Nashini and went to his Master. His Master embraced him, and Hafez became God-realised…
“Now for a Perfect Master to write poetry, what is this, when the whole world is in his hands? But as Tukaram, a Hindu Perfect Master who was also a great poet, explained, one’s original nature (i.e. one’s original tendencies, likes and dislikes) persist even after God-realisation. So since Hafez was a poet before he attained God-realisation, he continued writing poetry even afterwards.”
— Meher Baba, 1960s?
‘Hafez’ by Adi S. Irani
‘Happy Birthday’ record sleeve, 1970s
“In the Persian tradition, whenever one faces a difficulty or a fork in the road, Or even if one has a general question in mind, one would hold that question in mind, and then ask the Oracle of Shiraz, Hafiz, for guidance. More often than not, Hafiz, in his own enigmatic way, would sing to the questioner and through the song, would get the questioner to look in the mirror of his/her soul. Upon reflection in the mirror of Hafiz’s Ghazal one would be inspired with an answer, a guidance or a direction. Traditionally, the first line upon which the eyes of the reader fall, would give the answer to the direct question, and the rest of the Ghazal would give further clarification.” — Max Reif