He could not believe his eyes. To have a better look he went closer to the bush. As he went closer a voice was heard. He could not see whose voice it was, but the voice said, “Moses! Leave your shoes and yourself outside this sacred place. Only then can you enter.”
It may be a parable, most probably it is, but it has a profound truth. The fire of godliness never destroys; it is cool, it is nourishing. And, secondly, where this silent, cool, nourishing atmosphere is created, the place becomes sacred – a temple. And, of course, you have to leave your shoes and yourself outside the sacred place. It shows the way that, if you leave your shoes outside your house, it has become a home. But if you can leave yourself too, with the shoes, it has become a temple. Then you are walking on holy ground.
I am not concerned with the historicalness of the story. I am concerned with the essential truth that it contains. But it is strange that Almustafa does not make the distinction between a house and a home and a temple. Perhaps he himself is unaware.
And he answered and said:
Build of your imaginings a bower in the wilderness ere you build a house within the city walls.
Rather than making the mason aware about the science of transformation, he starts talking about making houses in the wilderness. But they will still be houses, and if everybody makes his house in the wilderness there will be no wilderness. Soon there will be restaurants and discotheques and cinema halls and prostitutes and politicians. The whole gang that he is afraid lives in the city, will create a city around you.
In India, for centuries people have traveled on foot to Badri Kedarnath. The Himalaya was so virgin, so pure, so unpolluted by man and his stupidities. And there was a suggestion that because so many people go –and it is dangerous, the footpath is narrow and many have died and never returned – it would be better to make a road.
Now the road has been made. People don’t go on foot, they travel by bus. At each stop there is a restaurant, tea shops, vendors of all kinds of things; they have destroyed the beauty. Now Badri Kedarnath is no longer the same sacred place it used to be. It is not the place that is sacred. It is the heart full of love, so full of love that it is even ready to die, that makes the place a sacred place.