Once a certain student came to see his Murshid, and the Murshid saw at once that the student was unhappy, although he tried to conceal it.
“What has made you sad, my child?”
“Master, it is difficult to tell you. I heard someone say something bad about you.”
The Murshid smiled. “Perhaps it is true.”
“No, master, it is was not true! But why can’t others see you as I do?”
The Murshid thought for a moment, and then went to a drawer, and took from it a small leather box. Opening this, he showed the student a simple ring adorned with a jewel.
“Take this and go to the jeweller’s shop next to the butcher’s market. Observe the man and his shop carefully. Show this ring to the jeweller, and ask him what he would give you for it. But do not sell it! Simply ask him for a price, and then come back.”
Shortly the student returned, and told his teacher, “Master, the shop was small, and cluttered, and not clean. The jeweller was hard, and coarse. He made me feel that I was wasting his time. He said he will give no more than four silver pieces. but he must have the box as well.”
“Good,” said the master. “Now go again, this time to the jeweller who sits at the far end of the alley of goldsmiths, and ask the same question.”
When the student returned, he seemed confused. “Master, it was not really a shop – it was a carpeted room in the jeweller’s own home. It was clean and quiet, and the jeweller was also very quiet and respectful. He first gave me tea. And when he saw the ring, he examined it carefully and then – he offered a hundred pieces of gold for it!”
“Yes,” said the Master, “and it is the same ring, with the same jewel. The difference is in the eye that observes it – is it not so?” And then he added, “The first jeweller saw what he saw, and we cannot blame him. And the second jeweller saw more. That is his station in life.”