must recognizer the different sides of Sufism. There are many great
Sufi poets and philosophers of various types and from different
countries. There are also many ordinary Sufis, Sufi charlatans, and
Sufi militants. Various Sufis attained altered states of
consciousness, yet these led them not always to tolerance but to
fanaticism. One can quote wonderful and profound mystical statements
from both liberal and conservative Sufis.
One can similarly quote statements of intolerance or praise of
Islamic militance even by Sufis honored as great mystics. The
important thing is to examine Sufi literature as a whole and not to
ignore its political side. Of course, limitations and prejudices can
be found in religious and mystical groups all over the world.
Certainly no group is without such blemishes. Yet this should not
bar any group from scrutiny, and in this context the Sufis have not
been adequately examined, particularly by Hindus.
In conclusion, the point of this discussion is not that Hindus
should uncritically reject all Sufi mysticism as harmful, which
would be an error of the other extreme. The point is that Hindus
need to be discerning of all forms of mysticism, especially that of
religious groups who have traditionally sought to convert Hindus,
who might use the Hindu fondness for mysticism to mislead them. They
need to know about the Ahmed Sirhindis and Shaikh Waliullahs along
with their political counterparts like Aurangzeb or Shah Abdali, and
learn about how modern Sufis view the world as well.