When a spiritual guide disciplines and purifies your Carnal Self (Nafs), does he change the nature of your Carnal Self too? This is the question.
It is notorious among all Sufis that only the spiritual guide will purify your Carnal Self and you can’t do it yourself. This is true, however the spirit of the truth is lost. It is not properly understood when it is said. What people understand by such sentences is that the spiritual guide is under some kind of obligation and this is his job and he has to do it. I would like to remind all of you that spirituality is not magic. A spiritual guide is not like David Copperfield who will steal the Eiffel Tower from Paris or the Statue of Liberty from New York and give it to you.
Spirituality is an act in which you want to purify yourself. You make efforts and the spiritual guide teaches you how to make those efforts.
It is not like the spiritual guide is responsible for the purification of your Carnal Self and you are not even involved in the process. That is not how it works. You make every effort the way the spiritual guide tells you to.
Your Carnal Self has to go through different experiences, patterns of discipline, purgation and austerities in which you restrain yourself from certain deeds, food and behaviours. [After all this], in the final moment, the spiritual guide will spiritually transmit some special divine energy which will enable your Carnal Self to get purgated.
Theoretical knowledge is different from practical knowledge.
For example, it is very easy to say, ‘Refrain yourself from all sorts of comforts.’ However when you come to practise it, you’re actually in trouble. It is easier said than done.
It is easy to say, The spiritual guide should purify my Carnal Self,’ but why should he do it? Does he owe you anything? When the spiritual guide was purified, what did he do? Did he sit home and his own spiritual guide made the efforts?
In purification of the Carnal Self, the most important factor is denial and negation of yourself. Purification of the Carnal Self is all about crushing your ego.
In Western spiritual principles, they think the other way around. They think the ego is your main power. However, the ego puts you in the race with others. Ego takes away compassion from you. Ego takes away God from you; you forget God and you start worshipping yourself.
Does the spiritual guide change the nature of the Carnal Self? No. The nature cannot be changed.
If a thief by profession becomes a spiritual man, even after purification, he will still steal things but for a different reason. [He will be] like Robin Hood. Perhaps he’ll think that he already has some expertise in this field, so why not use those expertise to benefit the poor people?
There was a similar character to Robin Hood in Punjab, Pakistan by the name of Sajawal. He lived in the 1970s. He used to rob the rich and distribute the loot among poor people. He would never save a penny for himself. People asked him, ‘Why do you steal and rob people?’ He said, ‘I am divine justice; I take away from the rich and give it to the poor.’ The police was after him and were never able to catch him. There was a Martial Law and Ayoub Khan was the president. Ayoub Khan requested Sajawal to meet him, but he didn’t. The police left no stone unturned in attempting to catch him but were never successful. Then, Ayoub Khan ordered the army to go after him.
The army platoon went after him and it was like a siege. They army personnel surrounded him, and he was driving a jeep. An army personnel said on the megaphone, ‘All your ways have been blocked. Surrender yourself.’ Suddenly, they say the sand started fly and it was hazy. His jeep and himself disappeared. Then the president of Pakistan, through the media requested him to come and see him. He promised that there would be no army or police waiting to arrest him. When he met him, the president asked him, ‘How do you disappear? What is the secret? Who are you?’ Then he told him, ‘I have been appointed by God to rob the rich and give to the poor people.’
So he was a good person, but he had an expertise in robbing people. He couldn’t change his nature.
Your nature will stay with you forever, no matter how purified you are.
Rumi said, ‘You can move the mountains but you cannot change the nature.’