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Random thoughts

November 25, 2019

A powerful message

Opinion

November 25, 2019

The Almighty had blessed Hazrat Esa with the powers to heal the sick, raise the dead back to life, etc. Every day they would gather at his monastic cell, waiting patiently and seeking to be healed through his prayer. This is was Rumi has to say about him:

“From all sides the people would gather at the door of the cell of Jesus – the blind and lame and palsied and clothed in rags – so that he, by his powers and prayers, might deliver them from their tribulations. As soon as he had finished his prayers, Jesus, that man of goodly religion, would go forth and see the tide of afflicted, feeble folk seated at the door in hope and expectancy. Then he would pray and say: ‘O you who are smitten, the hopes and desires of all present have been granted by God. Set off and go without pain or trouble towards the forgiveness and kindness of God.’ And all those who could not walk before, now rose like camels untethered and hastened gladly and joyously to their homes.

"You too have experienced many illnesses and set backs and have gained health from these kings of religion – the saints, if you but knew it. How often has not your limp turned into a smooth, easy gait; how often has not your soul been made void of grief and pain! O heedless one! Do not become heedless to these things. However, your ingratitude and forgetfulness in this did not make you forget your drinking and other vices. By this, spiritual blessings became barred to you because the hearts of those who gave the blessing were pained by your ingratitude and indifference.

"Quickly, overtake those blessed ones and ask pardon from God; weep and lament and ask for forgiveness so that their rose garden may open up its blossoms to you and that the ripe fruits may burst forth and reveal themselves. Pace around that same door and do not become less than a dog, for even dogs hold fast to that first home where they received a bone and remain faithful to it. Fulfil your obligations and do not leave that debt unpaid. And be not of the type who breaks faith or recklessly makes disloyalty notorious.

"Unfaithfulness is a disgrace, even to dogs; how then should you deem it right to show unfaithfulness? God has told us of his faithfulness. He said: ‘Who but I am most faithful in keeping a promise?’ Know that faithfulness, when accompanied by actions abhorrent to, and rejected by God, is equal to unfaithfulness. No one has precedence or a prior claim to God’s rights. Your mother’s rights arose after the Bounteous One made her indebted to Him for thy embryo. He bestowed on you a form within her body; He gave ease to her during pregnancy and accustomed her to the burden. She considered you to be a part of herself; His providence separated from her that which had previously been joined. God prepared thousands of instances of by which your mother manifested her love for you. Therefore, God’s rights are prior even to those of your mother because He created the opportunities. Whoever does not recognize that is foolish.

"O Lord! O You whose beneficence is eternal! You are both that which I know and that which I know not. You did command us: ‘Remember God, because My right shall never grow old.’ Remember the kindness which I did to you by protecting you from the flood in the ark of Noah. At that time I gave to your forefathers security from the flood and from its waves. Water, like fire, is deadly by nature. It had covered the earth; its waves were sweeping away the highest peaks of the mountains. I protected you; I did not spurn your ancestors.

"Now that it is your turn to be alive, how should I let all My work go to waste? Now you are becoming devoted to the unfaithful and turning ill thoughts towards me. I am clear of negligence and infidelities, yet you come to Me and think evil of Me. You have many powerful friends and companions, yet if I ask you: ‘where is so-and-so?’, you will reply that he is gone. Your good friend has gone up to the highest heaven; your wicked friend is gone to the bottom of the earth. You are left in the middle between them, as helpless as the fire left behind after the caravan has gone.

"O valiant friend! hold on to the skirt of Him who is exempt from ‘above’ and ‘below’. He neither ascends to heaven like Jesus, not descends into the earth like Korah. He is with you when you leave home and workplace behind. He brings forth purity from defilements. He takes many of your wrong acts as faithful performance of duty. When you commit wrong, He sends chastisement so that you may go back from imperfection towards perfection.

"When you have neglected a part of your duties on your way through life, there comes over you a painful and hot feeling of contrition. That is the corrective act of God meaning: ‘Do not make any change in the ancient covenant and let this contrition become a chain that grips first the heart and then the feet to lead you on the right path.” (Free rendering of the translations of Rumi’s 'Masnavi' by R A Nicholson.)

The moral: let us be grateful of every minor blessing we receive and never forget that everything comes from God, who is mindful of all we do.

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