Once I got to converse with a man on the internet, who claimed to be the disciple of a very learned and noteworthy spiritual leader R.A. After a few conversations with him, it was revealed to me that the gentleman would often quit all his routine work and job and go on long expeditions in search of spiritual knowledge, roaming around the jungles or the mountains for months on end.
This surprised me and with astonishment I asked him, “Who takes care of your wife and children and supports them financially, when you leave everything aside and go on such spiritual missions for such long periods?”
In a very composed tone, the man replied, “My parents and my younger brothers look after my wife and children, when I am out for this purpose.”
I tried convincing him for a very long time that if he is married and has children then his first priority should be to take care of them and look after their needs, instead of making them a burden for someone else and leave in order to attain knowledge regarding highly spiritual practices. The argument went on for a very long time, but seemed like the spiritual guide had totally brain washed the man; he was obstinate about his ways and didn’t listen to me.
Anyhow, this reminded me of a story and I mentioned it to him as well. After listening to that story, the man was infuriated. He labeled me as a “modern” Sufi, calling me names with all the rudeness that he could, and then disappeared on me; after which, we never got to talk again.
The story that I narrated to him was about a man who, in order to escape from his responsibilities, left aside his job and set out for a journey in search of spirituality. The man, leaving behind his wife and child all alone without support, disguised himself as a beggar and kept roaming around from one village to another, with a bowl in his hand, begging for money and food.
Years passed by, and one day, he ended up visiting the same village where he used to live with his wife and child. Oblivious of this fact, as usual, he called out for money and food. The wife heard her husband’s voice and recognized it. To confirm it further she opened the door to have a look at him. Upon seeing him standing there, she poured some wheat flour in his bowl, and said, “Gentleman, our relationship as husband and wife ended years ago. But sit down; for the sake of humanity, I can still cook some food for you.”
The man heard this and said, “Alright, wheat flour, pulses, salt, utensils, wood and match box, all are there in my bag, take this ration and just cook for me.”
Upon hearing this, the wife was enraged and she started beating him with a stick and said, “You callous hearted man, you carry all the worldly things in your bag, yet claim that you have left the world behind. Is “world” only restricted to wife and children that you left me and your little son behind all alone, without support, to get rid of material world in search of spirituality?”