In Sufism the state of spiritual yearning (“talab”) is the force that drives an individual on the path towards perfection. Without yearning for the truth, one simply has no desire to embark on a spiritual journey and cannot comprehend why others feel compelled to do so.
The state of talab is sometimes triggered by an encounter with an extraordinary individual, sometimes referred to in Sufi literature as a “fool of God,” such as the literary character Bohlul. But it is not necessary to encounter a “fool of God” in an “eye opening” event to experience the state of talab. Sufi literature is full of stories in which someone becomes awakened by an ordinary encounter with an ordinary person.
The real fulfillment in life, according to Rumi, lies in talab because it is only through the state of yearning that we can find lasting rest and peace. This occurs as the torment and restless longing experienced by the lover in the state of talab, as he or she sincerely yearns for union with the beloved, gives way, through the alchemy of love, to the selfless acceptance by the lover of what the beloved wishes, as the lover realizes that all is from God.
Image: John Teti, Sr.
Read the full discourse in Issue 86 SUFI