What is mine? What is yours? Is it borrowed wealth or real capital?
What is this world, this life? These possessions, these relationships?
Insightful Sufi story
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“I will not give my highlighters to Hosh," Josh cried with frustration. "They are mine!”
“And I don’t want to listen to you either, Pa, cos I know what you’ll say.”
Tears rolled down his cheeks.
Rosh looked at him and felt great sadness. He lifted him up in his lap. He hugged and kissed him, and when he had finally stopped sobbing, began to whisper in his son’s ear:
“You don’t have to give Hosh any of your things, if you don’t want to. I will not force you to do that."
"Your things are yours. They are not his. They are not mine either, even though I bought them for you."
"They became yours, once I gave them to you. You can do with them as you please. But, let me tell you a Sufi story.”
In the wilderness, in a small one-room hut, there once lived a Sufi Fakir with his wife.
One night, it rained heavily. As the couple were preparing to turn off their lamp and retire for the night, there was a knock on their door. The wife was afraid.
"Must be a thief," she opined fearfully, "who has come to rob us in the middle of this terrible night."
The Fakir smiled. "Only what belongs to us can be stolen," he said. "Nothing does. Open the door!"
The wife was puzzled, as everything they had in their hut belonged to them. But she obeyed anyway, and opened the door. It was a stranger, dripping with water.
"Will you shelter me for the night?" he asked her. "It is pouring outside."
The fakir beckoned him in.
"But there is hardly space," his wife objected. "We have barely room to sleep."
"Let him in," the fakir replied. "We will all sit."
So, the stranger was allowed in. Two more men arrived later, seeking refuge from the rain outside, which relentlessly battered the earth that night. They were let in too. The space inside the small hut became crowded.
Then, there was braying heard outside the door. The fakir asked his wife to open the door, and let the donkey in.
"But there is hardly space," the guests objected.
"Let him in," the fakir smiled. "We can all stand!"
So, the donkey was allowed in.
"If I were the fakir," Josh interjected, "I wouldn't have allowed the donkey in. People ok, but donkey no!"
“What's wrong with donkeys, son?" asked Rosh. "Aren’t they also a creation of God? Is being different, a disqualification? Would you deny refuge to a different looking human too, then? Discrimination, such as this, eventually leads humanity to the Holocaust, the Partitions, the Genocides."
"Did you know that the British Clubs in India had signboards at the door saying, ‘Dogs and Indians not allowed’? Did you know that the Whites created two roads in Africa – one for the Whites, and the other for the rest to travel on?"
"And they weren't the only ones in history, to divide and rule. Hindus abused the Varn (caste) system for centuries! Humankind ended up paying a big price, whenever our differences led us to mutual intolerance.”
“Who would you rather be? The fakir, who is inclusive and accommodating. Who creates a world in which all can co-exist. Or, the guest with the ‘Mine and Thine’ mentality? Who creates barriers, and is then afraid of the other."
"Don’t you see the irony? We are all guests here. And yet, we begin to regard our refuge as our fief. The fakir gave them shelter. It was a gift, a temporary thing until the night ended. But they came to regard it as their domain. And felt disturbed, when they had to share their gift with others."
“How quickly we come to regard our possessions as our right, and our privilege? How quickly we forget, that our role was to 'look after the whole Earth, that was given to us by the Lord,' and perceive ourselves to be master and conqueror of Nature, Earth and Elements."
"What is mine? What is yours? Is it borrowed wealth or real capital? How confidently we live Appearances as Reality! What is Reality? Who are we? What are this world, this life, these possessions, and these relationships? What is real, and what is mere appearance?”
“One of these days, I will tell you about the great Hindu scholar Shankar - who helped us understand the Vedic answers to these questions. One of these days, I will tell you about the great Indian scholar Nagarjun - who helped us understand the Buddhist answers to these questions."
"I will tell you about the answers in the sacred writings of Israel, Confucius and Lao-Tze, as also in the Quraan, the Bible and the Avesta; the teachings of the Greeks, Arabs and Africans... One day, when you want to know these answers, I will tell them to you ..."
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