The Four Types
It is related that Bahaudin Naqshband was asked about the various kinds of people pursuing higher knowledge.
He said: ‘I shall tell you by means of an allegory, not to be taken as literally true, but reflecting the condition of the human being.’
Then he told this story:
It is recorded in the traditions of the Lovers of Truth, that when the souls were created, before the bodies, they were asked what they wanted as a means of travelling in this world.
There were four parties among them. The first desired to travel on foot, as the safest method. The second desired horses, for this would mean less work for them. The third wished to travel on the wind, to overcome limitations. The fourth chose light, by which they could understand as well as move.
These four groups still exist, and all people still abide by one of these characteristics. Those who are the pedestrians are limited in space and speed. They are the imitators. The horsemen are those who rely on books, and are thus driven by the horse of the author’s beliefs. The third category are blown all over the place as if by the wind, and the fourth are the Sufis.
In terms of studies, the first group attach themselves to lower and exciting cults; the second to zealously propagated ideas; the third to systems of their own choosing or devising, taking something here and something else there; the fourth are the Sufis.
We can judge the ability of the people by the choice which they have made of travelling. The first group are interested in what they think are techniques; the second in exciting thoughts and reports; the third in one thing after another – and the fourth recognise the true Sufic reality.
Seeker After Truth
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