Thursday, 9 June 2016

Sufi Tale

Indischer Maler um 1630 001 A traveller paused in a forest clearing beside a stream, where a dervish sat meditating.

Sipping from his waterskin, he saw the dervish rouse and scoop a wasp from the stream's surface. But as the holy man transferred the insect to the bank it stung him; flinching, he shook it back into the water.

Taking a breath, the dervish reached for the wasp again; again it stung him before he could get it to the bank.

The traveller watched this scenario repeat itself several times. At last, seeing the holy man reach into the stream another time, he could contain himself no longer.

"Baba!" he exclaimed. "Don't do that! It will only sting you again!"

The dervish raised an eyebrow.

"It's the wasp's nature to sting me," he said. "And it's my nature to save it."

(Painting by unknown Indian artist, circa 1630, courtesy of the British Museum and Wikimedia Commons.)
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