Bahaudin and the Wanderer
Bahaudin el-Shah, great teacher of the Naqshbandi dervishes, one day met a confrère in the great square of Bokhara.
The newcomer was a wandering Kalendar of the Malamati, the ‘Blameworthy’. Bahaudin was surrounded by disciples.
‘From where do you come?’ he asked the traveller, in the usual Sufi phrase.
‘I have no idea,’ said the other, grinning foolishly.
Some of Bahaudin’s disciples murmured their disapproval of this disrespect.
‘Where are you going?’ persisted Bahaudin.
‘I do not know,’ shouted the dervish.
‘What is Good?’ By now a large crowd had gathered.
‘I do not know.’
‘What is Evil?’
‘I have no idea.’
‘What is Right?’
‘Whatever is good for me.’
‘What is Wrong?’
‘Whatever is bad for me.’
The crowd, irritated beyond its patience by this dervish, drove him away. He went off, striding purpose¬fully in a direction which led nowhere, as far as anyone knew.
‘Fools!’ said Bahaudin Naqshband, ‘this man is acting the part of humanity. While you were despising him, he was deliberately demonstrating heedlessness as each of you does, all unaware, every day of your lives.’
Wisdom of the Idiots
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