It is related that the Sufi Master, Ibrahim ben Adam, was sitting one day in a forest clearing when two wandering dervishes approached him. He made them welcome, and they talked of spiritual matters until it was dusk.
As soon as night fell, Ibrahim invited the travelers to be his guests at a meal. Immediately they accepted, a table laid with the finest of foods appeared before their eyes.
“How long have you been a dervish?” One of them asked Ibrahim. “Two years,” he said. “I have been following the Sufi Path for nearly three decades and no such capacity as you have shown us has ever manifested itself to me,” said the man.
Ibrahim said nothing.
When the food was almost finished, a stranger in a green robe entered the glade. He sat down and shared some of the food.
All realized by an inner sense that this was Khidr, the immortal Guide of all the Sufis. They waited for him to impart some wisdom to them.
When he stood up to leave, Khidr simply said, “You two dervishes wonder about Ibrahim. But what have you renounced to follow the dervish Path?
“You gave up the expectations of security and an ordinary life. Ibrahim ben Adam was a mighty king, and threw away the sovereignty of the Sultanate of Balkh to become a Sufi. This is why he is far ahead of you. During your thirty years too, you have gained satisfactions through renunciation itself. This has been your payment. He has always abstained from claiming any payment for his sacrifice.”
And the next moment Khidr was gone.
Religion is a radical change of vision. It is not just a change of outlook. It is not just a change of ideology – it is a change of the very being itself. Hence it is radical – radical means of the roots.
Religion is not a kind of renovation it is discontinuity from the past, it is a quantum leap Hence it is a revolution It is not just evolution You don’t grow from irreligion into religion, you can’t prow It is not a growth at all.
Growth implies the old has remained – not only that it has not gone: it has become improved. It is more sophisticated now, more cultured, more decorated, more valuable.
Religion is not a renovation. It is a death! and a rebirth.
Ibrahim was a great king. Religion came to him as a death and a rebirth. One night, he was just tossing and turning in his bed – as rich people, kings, are bound to. Sleep was far away. Sleep is a prerogative of the poor, the privilege of the poor. Only the poor can afford sleep. They have nothing to worry about, that’s why.