Saturday, September 23, 2006

The Most Great Name

A fakir in India asked a Sufi whether he would tell him the Most Great Name: the Hundredth Name of Allah. Those who know it can perform miracles, altering the course of life and of history. None may know it until he is worthy.

The Sufi said:

'In accordance with tradition, I must first give you the test which will show your capacity. You must go to the gate of this city and remain there until nightfall, returning to me then to describe something which you will have witnessed.'

The fakir eagerly did as he was told. After nightfall he came back and gave his report to the sage in these terms:

'As instructed, I positioned myself at the city gate in a condition of alertness. The incident which most impressed me during the day concerned an old man. He wanted to enter our city with a huge load of firewood on his back.

'The gatekeeper insisted on his paying a tax on the value of his goods. The old man, being penniless, asked that he be allowed to sell his wood first. Realising that he was friendless and helpless, the gatekeper forced him to hand over his wood, which he stole for himself. The old man was driven away with cruel blows.'

The Sufi said:

'What were your feelings when you saw this?'

The fakir answered:

'I desired even more strongly to know the Most Great Name. Had I known it, the case would have been different for that unfortunate and innocent wood-cutter.'

The Sufi said:

'O man born to attain felicity! I myself learned the Hundredth Name from my own Master, after he had tested my resolution and ascertained whether I was an impulsive emotionalist or a servant of man, and after he had subjected me to experiences which would allow me to see my own thoughts and conduct.

'The Hundredth Name is for the service of all mankind, all the time. My Master was none other than the wood-cutter whom you saw today, by the city gate.

From: Thinkers of the East, by Idries Shah.

1 comment:

Bonita said...

I'm most grateful for this story, and will look for this book. In my own Faith, Baha'i, the Most Great Name is Baha, glory. One comes to know Baha'u'llah through the advent of 'the Bab', or gate, forerunner of the Babi Faith. Very similar metaphors...