Tales of Sufi wisdom

By Paulo Coelho

Pretending to be a fool matters not

We are all responsible

A group of men came along the street; heavily armed soldiers leading a condemned man to the gallows.

“That man is no good”, said a disciple to Nasrudin. “I once gave him a silver coin in order to help him start his life afresh, and he did nothing important.”

“He may be no good, but perhaps he is now on his way to the gallows because of you,” argued the master. “Perhaps he used the alms in order to buy a dagger, which he then used in committing his crime – because instead of helping him with love and care, you chose to give him alms in order to release yourself from your obligation.”

Each thing in its own place

All Nasrudin’s disciples were gathered at a feast. They ate and drank for several hours, and talked about the origins of the stars. The night drew on and everyone made ready to go home.

A fine plate of sweets was left on the table: Nasrudin made all his disciples eat it.

One, however, refused.

“The master is testing us,” he said. “He wants to see whether we can control our desires.”

“You are mistaken,” replied Nasrudin. “The best way of dominating a desire, is to satisfy it. I would rather you had the sweets in your bellies – their rightful place – than in your minds, which should be filled with nobler things.”

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