Do not leave empty-handed

The brief anecdote about Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya receiving a visitor, throws light on several themes. We can learn, for example, that there is a right way and a wrong way to approach a spiritual person for help.

Hazrat Nizamuddin had completely devoted his life to service, and many people came to him for help, both spiritual – such as counsel, prayers and blessings for the confusions and difficulties of life – and material, for he received donations in large quantity, all of which he gave away to aid the needy. It should not be surprising, then, that the grandson of one of his teachers would come to him looking for assistance.

If the grandson had been willing to accept it, the Saint would have given him whatever he could from his own pocket, and it would have come with uncountable blessings. The man seems to have been suffering from the illness of pride, however, for he felt that because of the authority of his grandfather he had the right to direct Nizamuddin to do what he wanted. One might as well command the wind to blow, though, or tell the tides to stop, for a realised being is not confined by social conventions. By his arrogance, the grandson lost a precious opportunity.

But the other point to note is that although the Sufi was unable to satisfy the man’s ego, he could not bear to let the grandson leave with nothing. ‘Cast away your anger,’ he told him, and if the grandson had been able to do so, he would have left a much richer man.

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