Prerequisites For Prayer

"Maulana Rumi has given us a beautiful illustration of a loving prayer that a simple and unsophisticated shepherd boy was muttering in his own humble way as Prophet Moses passed by him. He was saying:

O God! where art Thou? I would like to serve Thee. I would knit for Thee woolen garments and comb Thy hair. I would like to serve Thee with milk, curd, cheese and clarified butter, tend Thee in Thine illness, kiss Thy hands and massage Thy feet. I would like to make a sacrifice of all my sheep and goats for Thy sake.

These words of the shepherd boy sounded as heresy to the Prophet, who in a rage began to reprimand the boy saying: "Shut up your mouth, O infidel. Why are you talking like a fool? Withdraw your insolent words or else God will curse us with hell-fires for your blasphemy. God is not a human being and He does not stand in need of any of the things that you offer Him. He is a spirit, without any hands and feet, and you have insulted Him with your idle talk." Stung to the quick, the simple-hearted boy tore his clothes, ran to the wilderness and wept bitterly for having incurred the displeasure of God. In the intensity of his agony he lost his consciousness, and behold, he saw within him the Light of God and heard a sweet and kind voice assuring him that all his prayers, sincere as they were, were acceptable to God and He was greatly pleased with him for his offerings. On the other hand, when Moses went into his wonted meditation, he felt that God was sorely vexed with him for having driven a loving soul away from Him. God reprimanded him,

You came into the world for uniting people unto Me, and not for separating those who were one with Me, and spake thus:

Everyone remembers Me in his own words and according to his own inner feelings. I have accepted all that the shepherd boy offered Me spontaneously in his innocent and unpolished words as they may appear to you, but I am highly displeased with you for having driven him from his communing with Me. I am not affected by words alone, for whatever they be, they do not in any way sanctify Me but purify the heart of him who utters them. I see not to the glossy words but to the heart and the inner sincerity that lies therein behind the words, for it is from the abundance of heart that a man speaks, no matter in what broken and uncouth words he may give expression to his feelings. O Moses! there is a world of difference between the learned, entangled in the etiquette of polished speech, and the love-stricken hearts that give vent to what is within them, the withered souls in the waste-land of the heart, lost to all sense of decency and decorum as you would call it. Don't you know that even the Government does not impose any land revenue on a land that is banjar or a waste. A martyr in God needs thy care and attention. The religion of love is quite different from the religion of set formalism and ritual and for the lovers there is no religion higher than that of God Himself. A jewel remains a jewel even if it has no hallmark on it.

When Moses heard these words, he felt terrified and went to the jungle, found out the shepherd boy and said, "I have brought for you happy tidings. God has accepted all your prayer and your seemingly heretic words are as good as those of a devout and your devotion is the light of your body. Whatever comes to you from within, utter without any fear." The boy replied smilingly, "O Moses, I have now far transcended all the barriers of the flesh. Your rebuke was enough to bring in me a great change. Now I know the Great One and my condition is that which no words can portray."

... to your realization, In Lak`ech,  #OdiliaCarmen

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