Saturday, September 23, 2006

The Dervish under a Vow of Solitude

A dervish under a vow of solitude sat in a desert as a king passed with his retinue. Being in a special state of mind he took no notice, not even raising his head as the procession passed.

The king, emotionally overcome by his regal pretensions, was angry and said: 'These wearers of the patchwork robe are as impassive as animals, possessing neither politeness nor due humility.'

His vizier approached the dervish, saying: 'O dervish! The Sultan of the whole of the Earth has just passed by you. Why did you not pay the required homage?'

The dervish answered: 'Let the Sultan look for homage from those who seek to benefit from his goodwill. Tell him, too, that kings are created for the protection of their subjects. Subjects are not created for the service of kings.'

From: The Way of the Sufi, by Idries Shah.

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