Ibrahim was a great Sufi saint who had once been a king. Once, Ibrahim was traveling to Mecca with a caravan of camels and a large retinue of servants. He was travelling in utmost luxury, to the maximum extent that was possible in a desert camp. He had the most luxurious tents pitched with golden pegs. Everything that could be gold-braided was gold-braided, and he wore clothes which were of the most luxurious kind.  

Another Sufi, a wandering dervish, happened to pass by, and looking at all the luxury, thought, “This cannot be a spiritual person.” When he had the opportunity to meet Ibrahim, he chided him, “What kind of a Sufi are you? You are still holding on to your material wealth, your gold pegs!” Ibrahim simply nodded and asked him to rest for a while.

Then, in the night when they met again, Ibrahim said, “Early tomorrow morning, let us walk to Mecca, the two of us.” The man said, “Okay, that is where I am heading too.”

They woke up early in the morning and left together. After walking for a few hours in the desert, suddenly the other man remembered that he had left his begging bowl behind in the sleeping quarters. He told Ibrahim, “I have forgotten my begging bowl. Let me return and get it.” He started to walk back.

Ibrahim looked at the man and replied, “I have left all that material wealth, the camels, the gold tent pegs and everything else, and I am walking without looking back. But you want to go back for a begging bowl? I want you to know, the gold pegs were only piercing the sand, not my heart. Whether it is steel or gold, it makes no difference to me, so I made it gold. But you? You cannot leave your begging bowl and walk away. You are walking towards Mecca which is supposed to be the holiest of the holiest, but you are turning back because of a begging bowl. I am not even carrying a begging bowl with me.” And Ibrahim walked on.


~ Sadhguru