STORY VII. The Man who prayed earnestly to be fed without work.
In the time of the prophet David there was a man who used to pray day and
night, saying, "Thou hast created me weak and helpless; give me my daily
bread without obliging me to work for it." The people derided him for
making such a foolish petition, but he still persisted, and at last a cow ran
into his house of its own accord, and he killed and ate it. This illustrates
the saying of the Prophet that God loves earnest petitioners, because He
regards the sincerity of the prayer more than the nature of the thing prayed
for. All things praise God, but the praises of inanimate things are different
from the praises of men, and those of a Sunni different from those of a
Compulsionist (Jabri). Each says the other is in the way of error, but none but
the truly spiritual man knows the truth.
Knowledge or conviction, opposed to opinion.
Little is known by any one but the spiritual man,
Who has in his heart a touchstone of vital truth.
The others, hovering between two opinions,
Fly towards their nest on a single wing.
Knowledge has two wings, opinion only one wing;
Opinion is weak and lopsided in its flight.
The bird having but one wing quickly drops down,
And again flies on two steps or more.
This bird of opinion goes on rising and falling
On one wing, in hope to reach his nest.
When he escapes from opinion and knowledge is seen,
This bird gains two wings and spreads both of them.
Afterwards he "goes upright on a straight path,
Not grovelling on his face or creeping." 1
He flies up on two wings even as the angel Gabriel,
Free of opinion, of duplicity, and of vain talk.
Though the whole world say to him,
"Thou art firm in the road of God's faith,"
He is not made more ardent by their saying this,
Nor is his lofty soul inclined from its course.
And though all say to him, "Thou art in the wrong way
Thou thinkest thyself a rock who art but a blade of grass,"
He relapses not into opinion at their rebukes,
Nor is he vexed at their malevolence.
Nay, even if sea and mountains should cry out,
Saying, "Thou art mated with error,"
He would not relapse one jot into vain imaginations,
Nor would he be grieved by the reproaches of his foes.