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Book Name: Sufis - The People of the Path, Vol 2Previous     Next
 

THERE WAS ONCE A WOMAN WHO ABANDONED THE RELIGION IN WHICH SHE HAD BEEN BROUGHT UP. SHE LEFT THE RANKS OF THE ATHEISTS TOO, AND JOINED ANOTHER FAITH. THEN SHE BECAME CONVINCED OF THE TRUTH OF YET ANOTHER. EACH TIME SHE CHANGED HER BELIEFS, SHE IMAGINED THAT SHE HAD GAINED SOMETHING, BUT NOT QUITE ENOUGH. EACH TIME SHE ENTERED A NEW FOLD SHE WAS WELCOMED, AND HER RECRUITMENT WAS REGARDED AS A GOOD THING, AND A SIGN OF HER SANITY AND ENLIGHTENMENT.

HER INWARD STATE, HOWEVER, WAS ONE OF CONFUSION. AT LENGTH, SHE HEARD OF A CERTAIN CELEBRATED TEACHER, IMAM JAFAR SADIK, AND SHE WENT TO SEE HIM.

AFTER HE HAD LISTENED TO HER PROTESTATIONS AND IDEAS, HE SAID, 'RETURN TO YOUR HOME, I SHALL SEND YOU MY DECISION IN A MESSAGE.'

SOON AFTERWARDS THE WOMAN FOUND A DISCIPLE OF THE SHEIK AT THE DOOR. IN HIS HAND WAS A PACKET FROM THE MASTER. SHE OPENED IT, AND SAW THAT IT CONTAINED A GLASS BOTTLE, HALF FULL WITH THREE LAYERS OF PACKED SAND -- BLACK, RED AND WHITE -- HELD DOWN BY A WAD OF COTTON. ON THE OUTSIDE WAS WRITTEN: 'REMOVE THE COTTON AND SHAKE THE BOTTLE TO SEE WHAT YOU ARE LIKE.'

SHE TOOK THE WADDING OUT AND SHOOK THE SAND IN THE BOTTLE. THE DIFFERENT COLOURED GRAINS OF SAND MIXED TOGETHER, AND ALL THAT SHE WAS LEFT WITH WAS A MASS OF GREYISH SAND.

MAN is a paradox. And man is the only animal, the only being, that is paradoxical -- that is man's uniqueness. Man's special being is his innermost paradox. All other animals are non-paradoxical.

A tree is a tree, and a dog is a dog, but man is never in a state of isness. He is always becoming, growing. Man is always surpassing himself; that is his paradox. And it is at his very core of being. It is not accidental, it is very fundamental. Once you understand this paradox you have your first glimpse about human-ness -- what man is.

Man is always a project, a becoming. His being consists of becoming -- this is the paradox. He is always between that which he was and that which he is going to be. He is always between his past and future -- a bridge hanging between two eternities, the past and the future. He is a surpassing, a continuous surpassing. Man is never content with that which

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