Three Travelers Tell Their Dreams

A lesson on action and the spirit from a great Sufi mystic.

BY: Jelalluddin Rumi (version by Coleman Barks)

Reprinted from "The Soul of Rumi" with permission of HarperSanFrancisco.

Three devout men of different religions fall in together

by chance traveling. They stop

at a caravanserai where the host brings as a gift a sweet

dessert, some taste of God's

nearness. This is how people out in the country serve

strangers. The Jew and

the Christian are full, but the Muslim has been fasting all

day. The two say, "Let's

save it for tomorrow." The one, "No. Let's save self-denial

for tomorrow!" "You want it

all for yourself!" "Divide it into three parts, and each can

do as he wants." "Ah,

but Muhammed said not to share." "That was about dividing

yourself between sensuality

and soul. You must belong. to one or the other." But finally,

for some reason, he gives in,

"I'll do it your way." They refrain from tasting. They sleep,

and then wake and dress themselves

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