STORY XI. Bahlol and the Darvesh.
The foregoing story is followed by anecdotes of a blind saint who was
miraculously enabled to read the Koran, of Luqman and David, and a description
of the saints who, mindful of the saying, "Patience is the key of
happiness, resign themselves to the dispensations of Providence, and never pray
to have them altered. The story of Bahlol and the Darvesh is then given as an
example of this resignation to the will of God. Bahlol once paid a visit to a
saintly Darvesh, and asked him how he fared. The Darvesh replied, "I fare
like a man who directs the course of the world as he wills, to whom death and
life are subservient, and whom tho stars themselves obey." Bahlol then
pressed him to explain his meaning more clearly, and the Darvesh replied as
He said, "This at least is notorious to all men,
That the world obeys the command of God.
Not a leaf falls from a tree
Without the decree and command of that Lord of lords;
Not a morsel goes from the mouth down the throat
Till God says to it, 'Go down.'
Desire and appetite, which are the reins of mankind,
Are themselves subservient to the rule of God.
Hear this much, that, whereas the totality of actions
Is not effected without God's direction,
When the decree of God becomes the pleasure of man,
Then man desires the fulfillment of God's decrees;
And this too spontaneously, not in hope of reward,
But because his very nature is congruous therewith.
He desires not even his own life for himself,
Nor is he relying on the hope of sweets of life to come.
Whatever path is taken by the eternal decree,
Whether it be life or death, 'tis all one to him.
He lives for the sake of God, not for wealth;
He dies for the sake of God, not in fear and grief.
His faith is based on his desire to do God's will,
Not on hope to gain paradise with its groves and founts.
His avoidance of infidelity is also for God's sake,
It proceeds not from fear of falling into the fire.
Thus this temper of his arises from his very nature,
Not from any discipline and endeavor of his own.
At times he laughs when he contemplates God's pleasure,
God's decrees are to him as sweetmeats of sugar.
I ask, does not the world march agreeably to the will
And commands of a man rejoicing in this disposition?
Why, then, should such a one make prayers and petitions,
Saying, 'O God, change such and such a decree?'
His own death and his children's deaths
For God's sake seem to him as sweets in the mouth.
In the view of that faithful one his children's deaths
Are as sweetmeats to a starving beggar.
Why, therefore, should he make prayers
Unless he pray for what is pleasing to God?
These prayers and petitions, not those of self-pity
Make that man to be endued with salvation.
He utterly burned up all his self-pity,
At the time when he lit the lamp of love to God.
His love was the hell that burned up his inclinations;
Yea, ho burned up his own inclinations one by one."