..have you read anything great lately..?
..i have many books collecting on my shelves..but oftentimes..they lay dormant..silent..awaiting a dark and lonesome night to be unsheathed..yet why should i keep on waiting for someone else to uncover the lessons in each tale..moreover..if i could stop procrastinating..i might also be able to guide the way through my esoteric collection of used books and other treasures..and so..i am resolute in sharing my plans for the new year..i will drink my coffee for breakfast..and share some tales from my bookshelves..and surely..you all might also find time to be inspired before dessert..here we go!

..as a parting message for 2022..in anticipation of the new year and new routines, i flipped open a secret collection of Dervish Tales to gather a bit of inspiration..and sure enough..a brand-new lesson appeared before my eyes..as-if on its own accord..knowing that i would make some sense of it!

..and so without further ADO — enjoy “The Water of Paradise” as it will now also be yours to guard at long last!

Harith the Bedouin and his wife Nafisa, moving from place to place, pitched their ragged tent wherever a few date palms, grazing scrub for their camel or a pool of brackish water were to be found. This had been their way of life for many years, and Harith seldom varied his daily round : trapping desert rats for their skins, twisting ropes from palm fibres to sell to passing caravans.
One day, however, a new spring appeared in the sands, and Harith scooped a little of the water into his mouth. To him this seemed the very water of paradise, for it was far less foul than his usual drink. To us it would have seemed repulsively full of salt. ‘This’, he said, ‘I must take to one who will appreciate it.’
He accordingly set off for Baghdad and the palace of Haround el-Raschid, travelling without pausing to do more than munch a few dates. Harith took two goatskins of water : one for himself, the other for the Caliph.
Days later he reached Baghdad, and marched straight to the palace. The guards listened to his tale and, only because it was the rule, they admitted him to the public audience of Haroun.
‘Commander of the Faithful,’ said Harith, ‘I am a poor Bedouin, and know all the waters of the desert, though I may know little of other things. I have just discovered this Water of Paradise, and realizing that it was a fitting gift for you, have come at once to make it as an offering.’
Haroun the Straightforward tasted the water and, because he understood his people, he told the guards to take Harith away and lock him up for a time until his decision might be known. Then, calling the captain of the guard, he told him: ’What to us is nothing, to him is everything. Take him, therefore, by night from the palace. Do not let him see the mighty River Tigris. Escort him all the way to his tent without allowing him to taste the sweet water.
Then give him a thousand pieces of gold and my thanks for his service. Tell him that he is the guardian of the Water of Paradise, and that he administers it for any traveller in my name, to be freely given away.”

This is also known as ‘The Story of the Two Worlds’. It is related on the authority of Abu el-Atahiyya of the Aniza tribe (a contemporary of Haroun el-Raschid and found of the Maskhara (‘Reveller’) Dervishes, whose name is perpetuated by Mascara in Western Languages. His followers have been traced to Spain, France and other countries.
El-Atahiyya has been called ‘the father of Arabic sacred poetry’. He died in 828.

..after reading the tale a few times..i can allow myself to take away a few differing ideas..and soon thereafter..the brilliance of the lesson of the Sufi Master brightens in my mind..

Of course it could be taken at face value..a beggar finds a bit of brackish water after a lifetime of suffering. He takes the treasure to the Palace to be rewarded by the King. The King is generous and rewards the beggar. That is the text..taken in a simple, literal retelling.

However, that lame retelling discounts years of emotion and candor that are intended to be present when the Sufi Masters shared their ancient, oral traditions.

For there is much more to the text than that which is written on the page. The Tales of the Dervishes can feel a bit like a ruse of twisted logic at times. Perhaps in some cases, too, we might all recognize a familiar feeling as-if we’ve been duped by a spectacular performance of a magician..with each retelling of the tale..perhaps we are also reminded of the western tradition of the Parable, and how the Lessons of Christ could be retold in a fashion that is entertaining for children and adults to all enjoy together.

..and so, for me, The Water of Paradise has arrived at the perfect time..to remind me of simple truths that i ought to carry along into the new year..perhaps i’ll even get a message sent off to the King.

  1. each character is a symbol for a greater role in life.
  2. every action reflects the underlying beliefs and assumptions of the one taking action.
  3. unexpected responses shift the sands of fate ever so slightly.
  4. some things are worth their salt, others are not.
  5. some people can be helped, others must help themselves.
  6. nirvana is where you are if you are willing to accept it.
  7. water is worth more than gold except for when it is not.

..okay that last one might be a reach..but i think there’s some sense to it..

And it is now time to publish..the new year is upon us..and i’ve got to go carry some water..until next time..be well!

— Brose

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