Hazrat Inayat Khan told this story, which demonstrates that a fault can sometimes be mended by quick wit and courtesy.
A Padshah* was once riding in the jungle. Crossing a bridge, he came upon a man who was quite drunk, standing in the middle of the road.
Seeing him, the man called out, “Will you sell that horse O passerby?” For he was quite drunk, and could not recognise the rider.
The Padshah thought, “He is drunk,” and so he paid no attention. After hunting in the jungle for some hours, he returned and saw the man who had been standing in the road now sitting at the roadside. In fun, the Padshah asked the man “Do you still want to purchase this horse?”
The man’s drunkenness had now passed, and he was astonished to think what he had said to the Padshah in his drunken state. Fortunately though, he thought of a very witty answer. He said, “The purchaser of the horse has gone; the groom of the horse remains.”
This amused the Padshah, who overlooked his fault.
*Literally, ‘High King,’ therefore a monarch of the highest order.
What is the importance of the word Tassuf ?
Tassuf, or more usually tassawuf, is a word for ‘Sufism.’ Hazrat Inayat Khan talked about it in that lecture, wishing to show that ‘Sufi’ has the same root as the Greek word ‘Sofia’ of ‘wisdom’. He probably hoped that Westerners would feel more comfortable with it that way, since many of our words have a Greek origin. And in fact the thought of the Neo-Platonists is very ‘Sufi’. But the real Sufism is neither of the East nor of the West.
Thanks for the question!