August 16, 2007

The perception of the madman

From Idries Shah's, "The Way of The Sufi"

There was a certain madman who would not take part in congregational prayers. One friday, after much difficulty, people induced him to attend.

But as soon as the leader of the prayer started to recite, the madman started to bellow like an ox.

The people assuming that he was only reverting to madness, but at the same time desirous of helping him, challanged him afterwards:

'Have you no idea of God, that you should make a noise like an animal in the middle of a believing congregation?'

But the madman said:
'I was only doing what the prayer-leader was doing. When he intoned, he was buying an ox, and I spoke like an ox!'

When this strange remark was reported to the leader of the prayer, he confessed:
'When I was saying GOD IS GREATEST OF ALL, I was in fact thinking about my form. And when I got to the phrase PRAISE TO GOD, I thought that I could buy an ox. It was at that moment that I heard something bellowing'

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