Chapter 7: It Will Devour You Too
It is related that a dervish once stopped a king in the street. The king said, “How dare you, a man of no account, interrupt the progress of your sovereign?”
The dervish answered, “Can you be a sovereign if you cannot even fill my kashkol, the begging bowl?”
He held out his bowl, and the king ordered it to be filled with gold.
But, no sooner was the bowl seen to be full of coins than they disappeared, and the bowl seemed to be empty again.
Sack after sack of gold was brought, and still the amazing bowl devoured coins.
“Stop!” shouted the king, ‘for this trickster is emptying my treasury!”
“To you I am emptying your treasury,” said the dervish, “but to others I am merely illustrating a truth.”
“And the truth?” asked the king.
“The truth is that the bowl is the desires of man, and the gold what man is given. There is no end to man’s capacity to devour, without being in any way changed. See, the bowl has eaten nearly all your wealth, but it is still a carved sea-coconut, and has not partaken of the nature of gold in any respect.
“If you care,” continued the dervish, “to step into this bowl, it will devour you, too. How can a king, then, hold himself as being of any account?”
Man is always in a state of becoming. man is not a being but a process of becoming. Hence there is so much misery, anxiety, anguish. Animals are, trees are, mountains are, God also is - man is not. Man is an effort to be.
Trees are not trying to be, they simply are. God also is not trying to be, he is one with isness. Man is just in between the two - of course tense, pulled apart, torn apart. A part of his being wants to become one with the animals, another part of his being wants to rise high into the sky and become God.
Man remains in this tug-of-war.
Walt Whitman says: “There have been many moments in my life when I had the desire to become an animal again, because they are so free of desire, so free of anguish, so free of competition, so free of ambition.”
Look into the eyes of a cow, or into the eyes of a cat or a dog - all seems to be so quiet and silent. As if this moment is all! But look into the mind of man and you will find a maniac. And not one but a crowd, not one but the whole madhouse inside. So many madmen shouting, desiring, asking and asking. And the desires are contradictory. If you fulfill one, necessarily the other becomes impossible to fulfill. If you fulfill the other, then something else becomes the problem.
You cannot satisfy man! There is no communication between his parts. One hand wants to do one thing, another hand may want to destroy it. A part of you is constantly hankering for the past that is lost; another part is striving to reach to the future. How can you be at ease? How can you be at home?