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Chapter 1: Know How to Live

A Sufi mystic knocked at the door of a very rich man. He was a beggar and he wanted just enough so that he could have his meal.

The rich man shouted at him and said, “Nobody knows you here!”

“But I know myself,” said the dervish. “How sad it would be if the reverse were true. If everybody knew me and I was not aware of who I am, how sad it would be. Yes, you are right, nobody knows me here. But I know myself.”

These are the only two situations possible. And you are in the sad situation - everybody may be knowing about you, who you are, but you yourself are completely oblivious of your transcendence, of your real nature, of your authentic being. This is the only sadness in life. You can find many excuses, but the real sadness is this: you don’t know who you are.

How can a person be happy not knowing who he is, not knowing from where he is coming, not knowing where he is going? Then a thousand and one problems arise because of this basic self-ignorance.

A bunch of ants came out of the darkness of their underground nest in search of food. It was early in the morning. The ants happened to pass by a plant whose leaves were covered with morning dew.

“What are these?” asked one of the ants, pointing to the dewdrops. “Where do they come from?”

Some said, “They come from the earth.”

Others said, “They come from the sea.”

Soon a quarrel broke out - there was a group who adhered to the sea theory, and a group who attached themselves to the earth theory.

Only one, a wise and intelligent ant, stood alone. He said, “Let us pause a moment and look around for signs, for everything has an attraction towards its source. Or, as it is said, everything returns to its origin. No matter how far into the air you throw a brick it comes down to the earth. Whatever leans towards the light, must originally be of the light.”

The ants were not totally convinced yet and were about to resume their dispute, but the sun had come up and the dewdrops were leaving the leaves, rising, rising towards the sun and disappearing into the sun.

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