T Polyphilus (paradoxosalpha) wrote,
T Polyphilus

The Shrine - Paraphrase

There is a very old teaching story identified with the Bektashi Dervish order, about a young man whose father tended a famous shrine, where people would come from all the surrounding lands to pay their respects to the holy person who was interred there. In the normal course of events, the son could have anticipated gradually taking over the management of the shrine, and deriving a comfortable and honored life from its maintenance.

However, as he came to maturity, this fellow was taken with an irrepressible thirst for knowledge and wisdom, and he set off in quest thereof. He saddled a donkey and took few possessions on his journey. The years of his travels saw him sojourn through Egypt, Arabia, Persia, and India. Having entered the formidable mountains beyond India, his long-suffering mount fell ill and died. This donkey had been the man's only companion during long stretches of his wanderings, and he was devastated by the loss. He buried the noble animal there in the mountain wilderness, and remained, wordless and disconsolate, at the crude grave.

Other travelers on the mountain trail could not fail to notice the mysterious mourner, and supposed that he must have been the disciple of a sainted teacher to whose grave he was now attached. Word traveled, and soon visitors began to arrive expressly to visit this nameless saint's resting place. A wealthy visitor even exercised his benevolence by having a shrine raised on the site.

It came to pass that this mountain shrine became so famous that its reputation carried all the way back to the father of the mourner. This man, craving some adventure in his declining years, made the long trip to the east and discovered his son at the site. "My son! You must tell me of what has passed! How did you come to set down here?" The son told the story, and the father replied in amazement, "I can now tell you that the shrine where you were brought up as a boy was founded through a similar circumstance, when my own donkey died many years ago."
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