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sufi teaching: ajnabi


tSingh
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This is one of my favourites, and reminds me of the actions of Bhai Adhan Shah Sewapanthi

The sufi master Ajnabi said:

'Write to Mulla Firoz and tell him that I have no time to engage him in correspondence, and therefore have nothing to say to his letter.'

The disciple Amini said:

'Is it your intention to annoy him with this letter?'

Ajnabi said:

'He has been annoyed by some of my writings. This annoyance caused him to write to me. My purpose in writing the passage which angers him was to anger such as he.'

Amini said:

'And this letter will anger him further?'

Ajnabi said:

'Yes. When he was enraged at what I wrote, he did not observe his own anger, which was my intention. He thought that he was observing me, whereas he was only feeling angry. Now I write again, to arouse anger, so that he will see that he is angry. The objective is for the man to realise that my work is a mirror in which he sees himself.'

Amini said:

'The people of the ordinary world always regard those who cause anger as ill-intentioned.'

Ajnabi said:

'The child may regard the adult who tries to remove a thorn from his hand as ill-intentioned. Is this a justification for trying to prevent the child from growing up?'

Amini said:

'And if the child harbours a grudge against the adult who removes the thorn?'

Ajnabi said:

'The child does not really harbour a grudge, because something in him knows the truth.'

Amini asked him:

'But what happens if he never gets to know himself, and yet continues to imagine that others are motivated by personal feelings?'

Ajnabi said:

'If he never gets to know himself, it makes no difference as to what he thinks of other people, because he can never have any appreciation of what other people are really like.'

Amini asked:

'Is it possible instead of arousing anger a second time to explain that the original writing was composed for this purpose, and to invite the Mulla to review his personal feelings?'

Ajnabi said:

'It is possible to do this, but it will have no effect. Rather it will have an adverse effect. If you tell the man your reason he will imagine that you are excusing yourself, and this will arouse in him sentiments which are harmful only to him. Thus, by explaining you are actually acting to his detriment.'

Amini said:

'Are there no exceptions to this rule, that man must learn through realising his own state, and that his state cannot be explained to him?'

Ajnabi said:

'There are exceptions, but if there were enough exceptions to make any difference to the world, we would not by now have any Mulla Firozes left.'

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