Sufis have been perhaps the most important spiritual tradition in the greater Western
world. They have been the main caretakers of the older mystical traditions of the Western
world and for the West to awaken spiritually it must rediscover this tradition. Yet the
orientation, methodology and goal of the Sufis, particularly orthodox Sufis, is different
from yogic approaches, and from the yogic perspective it would appear that the ultimate
goal of Self-realization is not understood by many Sufis.
While some Sufis appear to have tried to spiritualize Islam, linking it up with
other religions and older forms of mysticism in order to move it away from its militant
and fundamentalist orthodoxy, it appears more often that orthodox Islam succeeded in
either silencing the Sufis or turning them into its own instruments of conversion. Sometimes yogic like spiritual attainments were attainments were
attributed to Sufis as propaganda to promote conversion to Islam.
Sufis were portrayed as yogis in India to make Islam appear
attractive to Hindus, not because the Sufis had achieved such inner realization or were
even seeking it. Often the grave of a Sufi was placed on a Hindu temple and the power of
the place was attributed to the Sufi in order to convert Hindus. Such manufactured saints
were really militant people, glorified afterwards in stories for propaganda purposes.