Moses and the Shepherd
What follows is a little something to consider on this rainy day. It’s a little long but I’ve kept the translation intact (I often slice and dice) because I think it speaks best to and through us in its entirety. It also has a special significance to me as I move with the realization that I’m not overcome by anything during my experiences alone and with you but that I’m merely moving into myself–my true nature. I hope I can continue to share that with you so you may experience it, too! _/\_
Moses heard a shepherd on the road praying,
“God, where are you? I want to help you, to fix your shoes and comb your hair. I want to wash your clothes and pick the lice off.
I want to bring you milk, to kiss your little hands and feet when it’s time for you to go to bed. I want to sweep your room and keep it neat.
God, my sheep and goats are your. All I can say, remembering you, is ayyyyyyyyy and ahhhhhhhhhhh.”
Moses could stand it no longer.
“Who are you talking to?”
“The one who made us, and made the earth and made the sky.”
“Don’t talk about shoes and socks with God!! And what’s this with your little hands and feet? Such blasphemous familiarity sounds like you’re chatting with your uncles!
Only something that grows needs milk. Not God! Even if you meant God’s human representatives, as when God said, “I am sick, and you did not visit me,” even then
this tone would be foolish and irreverent.
Use appropriate terms. Fatima is a fine name for a woman, but if you call a man Fatima, it’s an insult.
Body-and-birth language are right for us on this side of the river, but not for addressing the origin,
not for Allah.”
The shepherd repented and tore his clothes and sighed
and wandered out into the desert.
A sudden revelation came then to Moses, God’s voice:
You have separated me from one of my own. Did you come as a Prophet to unit or to sever?
I have given each being a separate and unique way of seeing and knowing and saying that knowledge.
What seems wrong to you is right to him. What is poison to one is honey to another.
Purity and impurity, sloth and diligence in worship, these mean nothing to me.
I am apart from all of that.
Ways of worshiping are not to be ranked as better or worse than another. Hindus do Hindu things.
The Dravidian Muslims in India do what they do.
It’s all praise, and it’s all right.
It’s not me that’s glorified in acts of worship.
It’s the worshipers! I don’t hear the words they say. I look inside at the humility.
That broken-down lowliness is the reality, not the language! Forget phraseology. I want burning,
Be friends with your burning. Burn up your thinking and your forms of expression!
Moses, those who pay attention to ways of behaving and speaking are one sort. Lovers who burn are another.
Don’t scold the lover. The “wrong” way he talks is better than a hundred “right” ways of others.
Inside the Kaaba, it doesn’t matter which direction you point your prayer rug!
The ocean diver doesn’t need snowshoes.
The love-doctrine has no code or doctrine. Only God.
So the ruby has nothing engraved on it! It doesn’t need markings!
God began speaking deeper mysteries to Moses. Vision and words, which cannot be recorded here, poured into and through him.
He left himself and came back. He went to eternity and came back here.
Many times this happened.
It’s foolish of me to try and say this. If I did say it, it would uproot human intelligences. It would shatter all writing pens.
Moses ran after the shepherd.
He followed the bewildered footsteps, in one place moving straight like a castle across a chessboard,.
In another, sideways, like a bishop.
Moses finally caught up with him and said,
“I was wrong. God has revealed to me that there are no rules for worship.
Say whatever and however your loving tells you to.
Your sweet blasphemy is the truest devotion. Through you a whole world is freed.
Loosen your tongue and don’t worry about what comes out.
It’s all the light of the spirit!”
The shepherd replied,
“Moses, Moses, I’ve gone beyond even that.
You applied the whip and my horse shied and jumped out of itself.
The divine nature and my human nature came together.
Bless your scolding hand and your arm. I can’t say what has happened.
What I’m saying now is not my real condition. It can’t be said.”
The shepherd grew quiet.
When you look in the mirror, you see yourself, not the state of the mirror.
The flute play puts breath to the flute,
and who makes the music? Not the flute.
The flute player!
Whenever you speak praise or thanksgiving to God, it’s always like
the dear shepherd’s simplicity.
When you eventually see through the veils of how things really are,
you will keep saying again and again,
“This is certainly not like we thought it was!”
I bow gracefully to the simply Divine you are!