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A tale from Masnavi

Here is a tale of a distraught man who is searching a divine tree. Read on to know if his quest was fulfilled...

india Updated: Jan 25, 2006 21:06 IST

"What doyou seek?" asked the sheikh, looking compassionately at the distraught man before him. "The emperor deputed me to find a certain tree, unique in all the world, with fruit that holds the very Water of Life," wailed the envoy despairingly; "I have sought it everywhere but found nothing, only the laughter and mockery of all those I asked so piteously."

"You poor fellow," laughed the sheikh, "this 'tree' of yours is the Tree of Knowledge in the wise person, so high, so huge, so very wide spreading, it defies description. It holds the Water of Life from the Divine Ocean, no less. You have been chasing after the form only and have lost your way; you have abandoned the reality and thus cannot find it.

What you call a tree is also called the sun, the sea and the cloud. It is that mysterious one Thing from which many things rise and the very least of its effects is everlasting life! "Though it is one, it has a thousand aspects and impacts; its names are innumerable and past counting, yet all are its, like how one person may be father to you but a son to another person. He may be wrath and enmity to someone but pure loving kindness to someone else.

It is the One, though possessing hundreds of thousands of names: even he who possesses every quality is blind to the quality of this One.

"Whoever searches after its name only is certain to fall into despair and witlessness, though he started out as a trustworthy and able person - like you.

"Why do you stick to limited words like 'tree', you luckless creature? Go beyond: pass beyond the highest Names and contemplate the Attributes, so that hopefully the Attributes will guide you to the Essence. For, how can a friend run away from the pain inflicted by the Friend? Pain is the kernel; friendship is merely a husk to it. The true friend finds joy in affliction, as gold loves the heart of fire."

First Published: Jan 25, 2006 21:06 IST