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According to our revered Guru Maharaj (left his body in 1961 north India) : "Sufism is a way of life. It is neither a religion nor a philosophy. There are Hindu Sufis, Muslim Sufis, Christian Sufis

My revered Guru was a Muslim Sufi  , He belongs to the naqshabandiya Hindu branch of Sufism, this path has been taken to the west by the Russian woman Irena Tweedie ................I hope this introduction will give a general idea.!!!!!!
Sufi is a name given to a band of mystics who are lovers of God. There is an ancient story about a group of lovers who were called "Kamal Posh" (blanket wearers), thought by some to be early Sufis.  Their only individual possessions were their single blankets, which they wore during the day and wrapped around themselves at night. They went to every prophet. No one could satisfy them. Every prophet told them, do this or that, and they were not satisfied. One day Mohammed said that Kamal Posh men were coming and that they would arrive in so many days. They came on the day he said and, when they were with him, he only looked at them without speaking. They were completely satisfied. Why were they completely satisfied? Because he created love in their hearts. "When love is created what dissatisfaction can there be?"(2)
Sufism is the ancient wisdom of the heart. It is not limited by form, by time or place. It always was and it always will be. There will always be those who need to realize God as the Beloved. There will always be lovers of God. The Kamal Posh recognized that Mohammed knew the silent mysteries of love. They stayed with him and became assimilated into Islam.
Islam literally means "surrender" and, while the esoteric side of Islam teaches the outer religious law of surrender to God, there developed an inner esoteric side which teaches of the lover's surrender to the Beloved. A century after the death of the Prophet, small groups known as "Lovers of God" began to emerge throughout the Muslim world. They were also known as "Travellers" or "Wayfarers on the Mystical path," reflecting a saying ascribed to the Prophet:
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.
Later these "Wayfarers" became known as Sufis, possibly referring to their white woollen garments (sf), or as an indication of their purity of heart (saf).  These small groups of Sufis gathered around their teacher, or sheikh. The inner teachings of the path are transmitted from teacher to disciple. Each teacher guides his disciples according to the principles he has received from his teacher. The essence of the teaching is not verbal, but a direct communion from heart to heart. The Kamal Posh stayed with Mohammed because he created love in their hearts, and it is the inner communion of the heart that is the core of the Sufi path. The relationship of lover and Beloved is reflected in the relationship with the teacher who guides his disciples, or murshids, with an openness of heart and an understanding of the mysteries of love.
At the core of all Sufi practices is the element of love and devotion. Devotion is the inner attitude of the lover, and the nature of the Sufi path is devotional. The Sufi aspires to giveherself to God as a lover to her Beloved. Devotion is an opening of the heart to the grace that flows through love. It is an attitude of surrender in which the ego and the mind are surrendered to a mystery beyond their comprehension. In giving ourselves to God we allow Him to take us Home, and the quickest way is through the door of love. In the words of al-Qushayri, "The inner reality of love means that you give all of yourself to the One until nothing remains of you for you." (3)
It is said that there are two ways of attracting God's attention. Either we make ourselves perfect and then He has to love us, or we give our self to Him and then He cannot resist our need to be with Him. The attitude of devotion is an offering of our whole self to Him whom we love. This inner offering is a dynamic state of surrender which attracts the higher energies of love. Just as in nature a vacuum is always filled, so is the inner emptiness of surrender filled with His presence.
 Surrender creates an empty space within the psyche which allows us to experience the power of the Self without being overwhelmed or inflated. Sufi practices are designed to help us to surrender, and to realize that we are contained by something far beyond the limited horizons of the mind and ego. Stepping into the inner spaces of our own being we are able to experience the potency of His love for His servant.
Sufism has explored the ways of love and developed means to help the seeker travel this invisible and yet powerful path. Because the purpose of the path is to reveal the inner essence of the wayfarer, Sufism stays attuned to humanity. The deepest nature of mankind remains the same and yet surface changes take place. It is said that Sufism has stayed alive and preserved its dynamism through adapting and changing with the times and yet at the same time remaining true to the essence of the tradition. The essence of the tradition is the inner alignment of the heart towards God, and the surrender of the ego that allows His will to be done. But outwardly, as society and culture develop and change, so does Sufism respond to these changes.
There is a Sufi group in California who belongs to the same path, most of them were disciples of Ms Irene Tweedie...for more information about this Sufi path  you can contact  www.goldensufi.org .

I hope you have got an idea about sufism .....all the paths lead to freedom  !!!

                                                                             warmely  !