One of the prominent Sufis of Central Asia was examining candidates who wanted to become disciples.
“Anyone,” he said, “who wants entertainment, not learning, who wishes to argue, not study, who is impatient, who wants to take rather than to give – should raise his hand.”
Nobody moved. “Very good,” said the teacher, “now you will come and see some of my pupils, who have been with me for three years.”
He led them into a meditation-hall, where a row of people were sitting. Addressing them, he said: “Let those who wish to be entertained, not to learn, who are impatient and want to argue, the takers and not givers – let them stand up.”
The whole row of disciples got to their feet.
The sage addressed the first group. “In your own eyes, you are better people now than you would be in three years’ time if you stayed here. Your present vanity helps you even to feel worthy. So reflect well, as you return to your homes, before coming here again at some future time if you wish, whether you want to feel better than you are or worse than the world thinks you to be.”
A Veiled Gazelle
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