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Story of Wisdom from Sufi Master Bawa Muhaiyaddeen | Acknowledging the Real

Temptation of the Satan1.
There was a wise man, a great Sufi gnäni (gnostic) who had attained an exalted state. But one day the thought came to him, "Whatever may happen to anyone, I will protect them. I will help them."

Now for many years satan had tried to trip him up but never succeeded. However, the day this thought entered the gnäni's mind, satan saw his opportunity and rejoiced, "Oh ho! Now I can finally get this man." So satan clapped his hands and called for his companions.

All the satans gathered in readiness. "Why did you call us? What do you want us to do?"

"This is our chance to catch one of our enemies, a Sufi's gnäni named Ahamad. I want you to change into a snake with fangs containing a very potent poison made from all eight kinds of evil poisons from the eight directions. With this poison in your fangs you must go to the Sufi's gnäni and say, 'O Ahamad Kabïr, I am in danger. Protect me, take care of me.'

"He will tell you, 'I will take care of you. I will protect you.'

"Then say to him, 'Oh! My enemy is coming right now with a knife to kill me. Save me!'

"And he will answer, 'I will save you.' You must make him swear that he will save you. Make him say, 'Yes, I swear I will protect you.'

"Then pretend to be desperate and cry, 'Oh! Oh! My enemy is after me now! Please save me from him.'

"He will say, 'Coil around my head and I will cover you with my turban.'

"But you must insist, 'No, he will still be able to see me there!'

"Then he might tell you, 'Creep into my robe until your enemy goes away.'

"But you must persist and say, 'He will detect me there too. He will end me!'

"Then he will say, 'Coil around my waist and I will tie my sarong over you.'

"But keep saying, 'He will still detect me!'

"Finally, he will ask you, 'What shall I do with you?'

"Then tell him, 'Open your mouth and I will slide down your throat and stay in your stomach. If you tell me when my enemy has gone, immediately I will come out of your mouth.'

"He will ask you, 'How can I be sure you will do this?'

"Then you have to swear every oath you can. Swear seventy thousand times that nothing will happen to him and that you promise you will come out. Go on repeating this and begging him, 'You promised to save me. Please hurry, my enemy is coming!'"

Now, everything happened as satan had predicted. In the end, the Sufi's opened his mouth and let the snake glide into his stomach. When the snake got inside, it started twisting and turning.

Then satan appeared in the form of an Arab with a sword in his hand. Satan intended to ruin the Sufi's by turning him away from the good path. So, knowing that the Sufi's could never tell a lie or he would lose his wisdom, the Arab asked, "Was there a snake crawling this way?"

The Sufi's said, "It went this way and that way," pointing his hand toward himself.

"Which way?" the Arab cleverly insisted.

"It went through here. It came from there and went in this way," the Sufi's said, pointing in the direction of his mouth.

"He went this way?" the Arab asked, pretending to think the Sufi's was pointing behind him, not at his mouth. "He is my enemy; I must finish him off," he said and then ran in pursuit.

By now the snake was wriggling in the Sufi's stomach. The pain was unbearable, so he said, "Your enemy has gone now. You can come out now. My stomach is hurting. Please come out right away."

Then satan said, "You are a fool. I am in a safe place where no enemy can get to me. Now I am going to spit these eight powerful poisons from my mouth into your heart. They will prick you like needle points and fill your heart with holes. You were talking as if you were God, but now I am going to burn you up with this most potent poison."

The Sufi's said, "But you swore seventy thousand oaths on God that you would come out of me."

"What a fool you are. We have been waiting for you for ages. You have taken people away from us and sent them toward God. For eighty years we have been waiting to get you. Only now do we finally have the chance. If we can just finish you off, our kingdom of hell will flourish."

"What about all those oaths you swore?"

Snake, AppleAgain the snake said, "You really are a fool. Wasn't it a snake like me that caused Adam to commit the sin that banished him from the garden of Eden? Now I have come once again to lead you from heaven to hell. Didn't God say at that time, 'The snake will be an eternal enemy to the children of Adam?' You fool. There is no oath that can bind us. There is no good in us and no truth in us. We can swear hundreds of millions of oaths, as many as we want. You are a fool if you believe our oaths. Our work is to achieve our goal, and for this we will do anything or swear anything. God has told you, 'Don't believe them.' Did you ever reflect on what God said? No. That shows what a fool you are. Now we are going to finish you off and take you to hell, just as we did to Adam."

Then the Sufi's said, "You are satan, and what you say is true. Just grant me one favor. Please allow me five minutes before spitting your poison into me. Spare me five minutes until I get to my own place, my own abode, and lie down. Once I get there, you can do whatever you want."

The snake said, "All right, I will grant you that one request. You have five minutes leeway."

The Sufi's returned home, writhing in pain. Just as the snake was about to spit its venom into him, he prayed to God with tears in his eyes and uplifted hands. "O God, I took on the responsibility of protecting people, a duty which belongs only to You. You alone are the Protector. Because of the words I uttered, I gave this satan, who had waited eighty years for me, the opportunity to catch me. O God, please forgive me and protect me."

Then the sound of Allah came. He forgave the Sufi's and said to His angel, "O Gabriel, there is a certain herb in heaven. Pick it and crush it, then go quickly and put it into the mouth of the Sufi's"

Blessed and Mighty Gabriel went to the gnäni and said, "O wise one, open your mouth." He gave him the herb and the gnäni swallowed it. The herb killed the snake and it was excreted piece by piece.

Gabriel then said, "Go bathe and come back." When he returned, Gabriel explained, "You are a Sufi's Why did you let this quality come into you? Instead of saying, 'Allah will protect you,' you began to say, 'I will protect you.' That is why you had to undergo this tremendous difficulty You should have said, 'Rahmän, the Merciful One, will protect you. Allah will protect you.' You know that God is the only Helper and Protector. Allah is the One who protects everyone. But you said, 'I will protect you.' Because of these words you fell into this plight. O Sufi's, go and offer prayers of praise (tasbïh) to Allah for another twelve years."

The gnäni went back and prayed for twelve more years.

Just uttering one little word, "I will help you, I am the one who will protect you," brought about the entire calamity.

However learned a person may be, if he makes a slip in even one word or one thought, the path opens, giving satan an opportunity to enter. So, for whatever is yet to happen, we must hand over the responsibility for it to Allah, saying, "God will protect me, God will take care of me." Whatever the circumstances, we must have patience, inner patience (sabür), and contentment (shakür), and then give all responsibility to God (tawakkul). If we can hand that trust over to God, He will take care of us.

In every word we utter, we should not give even one atom of space for satan to creep in. We must block off every opening through which he might enter. If we have falsehood, envy, jealousy, or anger, satan can enter us. He will set us up to make one or another of these qualities rise in us, and then he will try to enter by way of that quality.

Never give him that opportunity by harboring such thoughts. That is what we have to learn here.

The true state of prayer is to always remember the name of God, without giving room for satan to enter. Nothing else can be called 'praying to God'. If you can remain in that state at every moment, if you can concentrate on God with every breath, then there will be no room for satan to come in. That is what prayer is.

- Sufi teacher Bawa Muhaiyaddeen, may God sanctify his station

.: credit. How do you Deal with the Snake-Like Qualities in Others?
A short talk given by M. R. Bawa Muhaiyaddeen from Questions of Life, Answers of Wisdom Volume 2.


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Technology of the Heart: Story of Wisdom from Sufi Master Bawa Muhaiyaddeen | Acknowledging the Real
Story of Wisdom from Sufi Master Bawa Muhaiyaddeen | Acknowledging the Real
Technology of the Heart
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