Stories & Reflections
By Paulo Coelho
This story is attributed to the wise Mohammed Gwath Shattari, who was held in high esteem by Emperor Humayun. He died in 1563, and there is a temple built in his honor in Gwalior.
As three travelers crossed the mountains of the Himalaya, they discussed the importance of putting into practice everything they had learned on a spiritual plane. They we so engrossed in their conversation that it was only late at night that they realized that all they had with them was a piece of bread.
They decided not to discuss who deserved to eat it; since they were pious men, they left the decision in the hands of the gods. They prayed that, during the night, a superior spirit should indicate who should receive the food.
The following morning, the three men rose together at sunrise.
– This is my dream – said the first traveler. – I was taken to places I had never visited before, and enjoyed the sort of peace and harmony I have sought in vain during my entire life on earth. In the midst of this paradise, a wise man with a long beard said to me: “you are my chosen one, you never sought pleasure, always renounced all things. And, in order to prove my allegiance to you, I should like you to try a piece of bread.”
– That’s very strange – said the second traveler. – For in my dream, I saw my past of sanctity and my future as a master. As I gazed at that which is to come, I found a man of great wisdom, saying: “you are in greater need of food than your friends, for you shall have to lead many people, and will require strength and energy.”
Then the third traveler said:
– In my dream I saw nothing, went nowhere, and found no wise men. However, at a certain hour during the night, I suddenly woke up. And I ate the bread.
The other two were furious:
– And why didn’t you call us before making such a personal decision?
– How could I? You were both so far away, finding masters and having such holy visions! Yesterday we discussed the importance of putting into practice that which we learn on a spiritual plane. In my case, God acted quickly, and had me awake dying of hunger!
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