Symbols of the world's religions



Lud Dimpfl

Baba sat on a couch opposite the doorway, and chairs were placed around the walls to make a sort of circle. We all sat down. The mandali had cigarettes and ashtrays set all around. In addition to seventeen Westerners, several mandali were there also — Adi, Eruch, Sarosh, Meherjee, Minoo Kharas.

Baba said, "Now, I want you all to be relaxed and comfortable. I want you to feel at home. If you feel like smoking, smoke. If you are thirsty, there is water here."

I had been trying to quit smoking, but right then, I wanted a cigarette. So I pulled my feet up under me and sat on my ankles on the upholstered chair. And I took a cigarette from a flat of fifty and lit up.

Baba pointed to me. "I like that," he said. "You look really comfortable."

The meeting lasted about two hours. Thereafter we adjourned for lunch and Baba left.

After lunch Meherjee came up to me. He looked very worried and said, "I know Baba told you you could smoke. But you mustn't! Baba hates smoking. He never lets us smoke in his presence."

I was very troubled by this. But the next day was devoted to private interviews. I had fifteen minutes to myself with Baba (and Eruch to read the alphabet board). So I asked Baba about this.

"Baba, if you really don't like smoking, it's not so important to me that I wouldn't gladly give it up," I said.

"Who told you not to smoke?"


"Why do you pay attention to what Meherjee says instead of to what I say?"

This was, of course, the real answer to the question. But I still didn't realize that I was talking to God. I was mildly disappointed that Baba said to me, "If you want to smoke, smoke," instead of solving my problem for me. So I made another try.

"Baba, I know you want us to feel at home, but there's lots of other ways that I can feel at home. I really could stop smoking if it bothers you."

Baba looked at Eruch.

Eruch looked at Baba.

They dissolved in laughter.

HOW A MASTER WORKS, pp. 189-190, Ivy O. Duce
1975 © Sufism Reoriented, Inc.


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