229Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!
- Dec 21, 2006There was once a man named Mojud. He lived in a town where he hadobtained a post as a small official, and it seemed likely that he wouldend his days as inspector of weights and measures.One day when he was walking through the gardens of an ancient buildingnear his home, Khidr, the mysterious guide of the sufis, appeared tohim, dressed in shimmering green. Khidr said, "Man of bright prospects!Leave your work and meet me at the riverside in three days' time." Thenhe disappeared. Mojud went to his superior in trepidation and said thathe had to leave. Everyone in the town soon heard of this and they said,"Poor Mojud! He has gone mad." But, as there were many candidates forhis job, they soon forgot him.On the appointed day, Mojud met Khidr, who said to him, "Tear yourclothes and throw yourself into the stream. Perhaps someone will saveyou." Mojud did so, even though he wondered if he were mad. Since hecould swim, he did not drown, but drifted a long way before a fishermanhauled him into his boat, saying, "Foolish man! The current is strong.What are you trying to do?" Mojud said, "I don't really know.""You are mad," said the fisherman, "But I will take you into myreed-hut by the river yonder, and we shall see what can be done foryou."When he discovered that Mojud was well-spoken, he learned from him howto read and write. In exchange, Mojud was given food and helped thefisherman with his work. After a few months, Khidr again appeared, thistime at the foot of Mojud's bed, and said, "Get up now and leave thisfisherman. You will be provided for."Mojud immediately quit the hut, dressed as a fisherman, and wanderedabout until he came to a highway.As dawn was breaking he saw a farmer on a donkey on his way to market."Do you seek work?" asked the farmer, "because I need a man to help mebring back some purchases."Mojud followed him. He worked for the farmer for nearly two years, bywhich time he had learned a great deal about agriculture but littleelse.One afternoon when he was baling wool, Khidr appeared to him and said,"Leave that work, walk to the city of Mosul, and use your savings tobecome a skin-merchant."Mojud obeyed.In Mosul he became known as a skin-merchant, never seeing Khidr whilehe plied his trade for three years. He had saved quite a large sum ofmoney, and was thinking of buying a house, when Khidr appeared and said,"Give me your money, walk out of this town as far as the distantsamarkand, and work for a grocer there."Mojud did so.Presently he began to show undoubted signs of illumination. He healedthe sick, served his fellow men in the shop during his spare time, andhis knowledge of the mysteries became deeper and deeper.Clerics, philosophers and others visited him and asked, "under whom didyou study?""It is difficult to say," said Mojud.His disciples asked, "How did you start your career?"He said, "As a small official." "And you gave it up to devote yourselfto self-mortification?""No, I just gave it up." They did not understand him.People approached him to write the story of his life."What have you been in your life?" they asked."I jumped into a river, became a fisherman, then walked out of hisreed-hut in the middle of the night. After that, I became a farmhand.While I was baling wool, I changed and went to Mosul, where I became askin-merchant. I saved some money there, but gave it away. Then I walkedto samarkand where I worked for a grocer. And this is where I am now.""But this inexplicable behavior throws no light upon your strange giftsand wonderful examples," said the biographers."That is so," said Mojud.So the biographers constructed for Mojud a wonderful and excitingstory: because all saints must have their story, and the story must bein accordance with the appetite of the listener, not with the realitiesof life.And nobody is allowed to speak of Khidr directly. That is why thisstory is not true. It is a representation of a life. This is the reallife of one of the greatest sufis.
Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.
Vivek Ramakrishnan Ph.D.
Technology Transfer Fellow
Office of Technology Transfer, Suite 325
National Institute of Health
Rockville MD, 20852
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