My dad told me this story when I was home last weekend. It’s not that great big a deal but I found it very enlightening. It’s about a time when the world was blessed with the presence of the mystical Sufi’s we always hear about. The Sufi’s are a lot like the Rishi’s who live a life not achievable by common mortals like us. Their lives are all but filled with the highest possible levels of spirituality. Worldly passions do not entice them the least.

So there was this highly ranked Sufi and 20 of his disciples. The Sufi had a particular affection to one of his disciples. This did not go down well with the rest of them. They wanted to know the reason for this particular partiality. All 19 approached the Sufi and enquired about the same. The Sufi assigned them a task which would give them their answers. He asked each of his 20 disciples to go to places wherein they would not be in contact with anyone, where they would be totally alone. They would have to collect 20 birds each, kill the birds and bring it back to him.

So the disciples segregated and went to deserted places to achieve their tasks and gain their masters confidence. Every one of them but the disciple in question completed the task and bought 20 dead birds each to the Sufi.

They were surprised to see that the very person who the Sufi adored had failed to complete the task. He had bought with him 20 live birds. What would become of him? , thought the other nineteen. When asked by the Sufi as to why he could not complete his tack, the disciple answered “O master, you had asked me to go to a segregated place, a place where I would be alone. So I tried to do that once I got the birds, but wherever I would go, I would find God. I tried a lot of places but I would find him no matter where I went. Therefore I could not kill the birds. Please forgive me for I have failed you”. This brought a smile on the face of the wise Sufi. He turned to the other nineteen and asked,”Now do you know the difference between him and the rest of you?”

This simple story got me thinking. If we could inculcate the thought that someone’s always watching, wouldn’t we become better people?

Wouldn’t the world be a much better place?

But then all I can do is think. Because I’m one of mere mortals, with more weaknesses than strengths, but I can still pray for a change that will remind me that it’s never too late to mend your ways because God’s watching.

May God bring that change soon…