THE SPARK THAT KINDLED THE FLAME
Dr. Abdul Ghani
One day the king Yahya with his retinue happened to pass by the place where Abu Abdulla lived, and as they did so one of his men described the Master to the king and pointed to his place of seclusion. The king inquisitively headed his horse in that direction, and finding himself before the saint, bowed reverentially.
Conscious of being draped as he was in rich and costly garments, the king asked the saint, "Sir, is the worship of God permissible in these clothes?"
The saint laughed aloud in reply and on being pressed by the king to give the reason for his laughter, explained, "I laughed at your lack of understanding. Your case is that of a dog who having feasted himself on a carcass and being smeared with blood from top to toe, yet takes particularly good care whilst urinating to raise one leg to save being polluted by stray drops. Your belly is stuffed daily with things that are unlawful, you are overloaded with acts of atrocity and injustice to people, and yet you are anxious to know what style of dress is best pleasing to God."
The words of the saint did not miss the mark, and the message cut deep into the heart of the king. He immediately renounced his throne and kingdom and asked that he be allowed to serve the saint. He was accepted.
After three days of hospitality the saint reminded the king, "A guest is welcome for three days. After this period his allowance may be said to be derived from the poor tax. You have to work now for your living. Here is a piece of rope; go to the forest, cut down firewood and sell it in the market."
The king Yahya willingly submitted to the orders. He began to bring loads of firewood from the jungles, and from the price of their sale he would keep just enough for his sustenance and the remainder he would give away to the poor.
To the end of his days Yahya plied his trade in the very city of which he had been the king. People seeing him in this plight used to shed tears of pity and regret for him. But if any one approached Abu Abdulla for his spiritual help in their worldly difficulties and desires, the saint would invariably direct them to the ex-king saying, "It is better you induce Yahya to pray for you. His prayers for you will be more effective since he has renounced his kingship for God. Who knows, I may have failed in such an ordeal!"
IT SO HAPPENED, pp. 80-81, ed. William Le Page
1978 © Meher Baba Foundation