FOUR TRAVELLERS

FOUR TRAVELERS

Dr. Ghani Munsiff

Four travelers-a carpenter, a tailor, a goldsmith and a spiritual mendicant- became associated with each other. As their Journey through a dangerous tract of country infested with wild animals, at nightfall they decided to camp by roadside underneath a spreading tree. It was also arranged that each one of them should keep watch a part of the night against possible danger.

The first watch fell to the carpenter, who just to kill time took a twig from the tree, and using few instruments with him began carrying out human figure. by the time he finished the job of his watch for the night ended, waking up the tailor hr retired.

Witnessing the fine craftsmanship of his companion, the tailor too felt like doing something to while away the time. He could think of nothing better than to give an exhibition of sartorial art.  The result was a fully draped figure of a beautiful doll.

The third watchman, the goldsmith, could not help being impressed with what the two had done. With a few beads and pieces of wire, he adorned the figure round its neck and arms with what looked like jewelry.

The last one, the fakir, was greatly amused on seeing the beautiful piece of art, to finish which every one of his companions had contributed. At the same time he felt depressed at the thought of them looking down upon him because he was not able to contribute.  In this frame of mind he began to pray ardently, saying; ‘Oh, God, my honour and shame is in your hands; don’t make me look small in eyes of my companions. Deign to put life into the image; you re Almighty and Powerful.

The heart-felt prayer, rendered in humility and helplessness, was answered; the figure was miraculously transformed into a damsel, transcendently beautiful. In the morning a battle royal of fists and wits ensued among the companions, everyone claiming her for himself. The carpenter asserted priority of his claim on the originality of his idea; the tailor and goldsmith based their claim on development and beautification of the theme; the fakir flouted everyone on the ground of his miracle. To end impasse, they all decided to approach a Kazi (magistrate) for a decision. What a maze they found themselves in. struck by the unsurpassable charm and beauty of the damsel, Kazi himself wanted to possess her. He denounced the claimants as imposters and declared that she was his maid servant who had been missing since morning.

There was nothing left to do but to approach king, the final tribunal of justice in the hand. The heavenly glamour of the beauty before him disturbed the impartiality of the king. He declared the damsel was one of his wives from the harem and threatened everyone with punishment for molesting her. This was more than they had bargained for and a tumultuous uproar ensued.

A sage happened to pass by and inquired as to the cause of the trouble. Taking in the situation, he suggested all should go to the place where the matter first developed and where, perhaps, even the tree itself might suggest the solution. No sooner had the king, Kazi and all led by the sage approached the spot, then there appeared an opening in the tree and the phantom of their fantasy disappeared in it. Thus eluded, the claimants, one after another, sulked away, crestfallen.

Gist: Such is the predicament of man on the earth. No sooner does he become “grown up” than all sort of importers and claimants crowd upon him for recognition. The parents demand filial duty for his upbringing, the teachers insist upon respect to them for his education, the wife and children claim his love, the community his services, he country his patriotism and the Church for saving his soul from damnation. Distracted and torn by different passions, to escape it all he takes refuge in a vicious circle of births and deaths endangering hopes and disappointments seemingly eternal, he at long last comes across a mastermind, who gives him the knowledge of his Real self. No sooner does that part of him- the individual self –becomes one with whole, the Real self-than the various claimants to his body, mind and soul, namely kith and kin, community and country, teacher and preacher, all vanish into air.

 

(Over the years with Meher Baba, Bill Le Page, ed. 1999, pp-93)