do, do let us know…” Mustafa Ali was about to say a final farewell, the other men already all nodding agreement in the direction of bidding the situation farewell, when Nasruddin wailed again and said, “Oh my heart aches dear friends, for the rupture that has emerged at the loss of my dearly Beloved. She has disappeared!” Now Nasruddin’s behavior often provided the townsfolk manners to excuse themselves from his affairs and concerns, but Nasruddin’s wife was a different matter. Not only was she widely respected (despite what was considered the ill fortune of her marriage) for her compassion and care for nearly every family in the village, but she was also by birth and clan related to many prominent persons including Mustafa the Younger, her second cousin, and Salman, a cousin in the first degree, both of whom by law, that is by custom, and by the virtue of their wives’ expectations had a responsibility to help in this situation. In fact, all of the men knew that they could not return home if they failed to provide help when Nasruddin’s wife’s health was in doubt. Without even conferring the seven men set off hurriedly and with concern in different directions around the house and yard. Salim went to the fields, Salman to the animal enclosure, Small headed toward the hills, and Big John looked into the grove of trees. The three Mustafa’s surrounded and entered the house. Nasruddin wailed again, “Oh my Beloved, where have you gone?” Not a minute later a long shrilling whistle pierced the blue sky like the wild falcon called Shikra. All the men, having heard this noise before, knew at once it was Mustafa the Elder and returned. “Nasruddin,” said Mustafa the Younger, “why have you fooled us? You wife is only in the kitchen, doing quite well, and preparing a fine salad with cucumbers.”
“Oh friends! Thank you!” Nasruddin with an overwhelming wave of sincerity, which softened even the hardest annoyance within the group of men. “Thank you, thank you! I cannot bear even a moment without the site of my Beloved, be it 10,000 waves over the sea or just around the corner! Oh my aching heart! Please excuse me while I go heal this rift that had struck so suddenly! And do join us for a simple shepherd’s salad on this hot afternoon.” In the awkwardness that lingered in the men’s hearts, and the stammer upon their lips, they could do nothing but agree (and wonder how it is to desire to be with one’s Beloved so deeply and without interruption). A reader of the fables of Nasruddin does well to recognize that Nasruddin is a spiritual master who teaches and guides the often unsuspecting. The invitation to Nasruddin’s fellows in this story is not to miss their wives, necessarily, but to miss the Beloved, which is the Divine nature within each of us. This seed of our own existence is hidden beneath our nafs; that is, the seed is hidden beneath the entrapments and distractions of the physical world that call us away from ourselves through our senses, our biochemical responses, our psychology, and even our conversations. The Beloved is instead the origin hidden within the mysterious beat of our hearts, always pulsing a reminder to look more deeply for the Source of Love (the Beloved) within the universe of our being.
Sufism: An Inquiry Vol XVI, No. 4