It happened once upon a time that Shaikh Nizamuddin Auliya received a visit from a man who was the grandson of a great Sufi, Shaikh Najibuddin*. Najibuddin Saheb was the brother of Nizamuddin’s first initiator, Baba Farid, and had been Nizamuddin’s teacher when he came to Delhi. The grandson however, was not on the same level, being unprincipled and lazy.
The grandson placed paper, a pen and an ink pot before the Shaikh, and requested him to write a letter of recommendation to a certain noble so that he could get something from him.
“But how can I write to him?” said the Shaikh apologetically. “He does not come to me. Tell me what you expect from him, and I will give it to you.”
“Give me what you like,” said the grandson, “but write the letter also.”
“No,” said the Saint, “it is not the custom of dervishes to write letters, particularly when I do not know him and he does not come to me.”
Then the grandson began to abuse the Shaikh. “Nizamuddin, you are the disciple of my grandfather and his slave. I am the descendant of your Khwaja. I say write this letter and you do not!”
So saying, the man threw the ink pot on the ground and stood up to go.
The Shaikh stretched out his hand and caught hold of the grandson’s skirt. “You go away displeased,” he said. “First cast away your anger, and then you can go.”
*Some readers may be familiar with the tomb of Shaikh Najibuddin Mutawwakil, which is in Delhi, adjacent to the Dargah of Mai Saheba, the mother of Nizamuddin Auliya.