There was, once upon a time, a woman who had gone very far on the path of Truth. She had sacrificed all for her journey, and Divine Compassion had generously spread the carpet of welcome before her.
Being blessed with understanding and wisdom, many students sought the woman’s company and counsel. Therefore it happened that one day a man who was unknown to her circle of associates presented himself before her, and said:
“Mother, I honestly admit that I have lived a worldly life, but I wish to put that behind me now. It would be wise to use the time that remains to me in this life in the search for God. By all reports you are one of His intimate friends. I beg you to anoint me with the perfume of your spirit so that I may enter the Gardens of Paradise.”
The woman was silent for a time, and finally said, “Who would apply perfume if the body is still unwashed? Fine oil cannot mask foul odours. First, go and scrub yourself. When you you have cleaned your mind and heart, you may come again.”