My love you, my grandchildren, my brothers and sisters, my sons and daughters.
Look at your clothes. See how dirty they are? They have changed so much since you first bought them! The colors have faded, and the cloth is full of sweat. Smell them, they stink!
Now smell your body. The odor of everything you eat is present in your sweat. If you eat beef you can smell the cow, if you eat goat meat you can smell the goat, is you eat fish you can smell fish, and if you eat chicken then you will stink like a chicken. Even if you take medicine, you will smell it when you burp. Where do all these odors come from? They are from inside of your body. They come from the things you have eaten and put into your body. That is why you smell and why your shirt smells, from the sweat of all that you have accumulated inside.
The stench and dirt that collects on your clothes can be washed, but what can be done for the smell inside the body?
My love you, my grandchildren, try to think about this.
You wash your clothes, don’t you? You think, “I must look good, I have to look important,” and so you keep your clothes nice and clean. In olden days, people have to beat their clothes on stones by the riverside to clean them, but now science has given us the washing machine and all we have to do is add a little soap. But the clothes really suffer in the machine. Someday, watch how a washing machine works and you will see how the clothes suffer. They are tossed about, tangled, rubbed, and scrubbed. Even if you wash them by hand you have to soap them, scrub them and rinse them. That’s the only way dirt can be removed. Clothes go through much, just for you to dress up and look attractive, like a new bride or a bridgegroom.
My children, in the same way, you have to wash away the smell coming from each pore of your skin. This smelly, karmic illness, this illusion, pride, jealousy, doubt, arrogance, hatred, lust, anger, miserliness, greed, fanaticism, envy, the base desires of the nafs, the differences of I and you, mine and yours, my possessions and your possessions, my religion and your religion, my language and your language, my child and your child – how they all stink! They reek every second, from every pore of your body.
It is very difficult to wash away this stench which comes from the things you have searched for and accumulated within yourself. And because it is so difficult, it might hurt a little when you try to remove this stench.
If you have an infected sore and the doctor cuts it open with his scalpel, you might cry from the pain. If you step on a thorn and the doctor removes it, it may hurt so much that you might try to hit him or even bite him. It is hard enough for the doctor to do his job without you resenting him and calling him a terrible man.
You may react the same way when you come to a man of wisdom and good qualities and he tries to help you rid yourself your karmic illnesses. It will certainly be difficult. You will suffer when someone you knows reveals your illnesses to you. Your mind and desire, your hunger, disease, old age, and death will suffer. The four hundred trillion, ten thousand illnesses you harbor within yourself will experience sorrow. If someone tells you to discard the things you have nourished so carefully, it will make you unhappy. You will yell at him and be full of doubts, resentment, and envy, and you will run away.
It would definitely be easier to go to someone who has the same qualities as you, someone who would just say, “Oh, nothing’s wrong. There’s no problem. You smell fine, just apply a little deodorant. I love you. Eat whatever you want and recite whatever mantra you choose. Then you’ll be happy.” You will like him. You will say that he is a fine doctor, a good guru, and a good sheikh.
But think about it. Since he smells just like you, he will not mind your karmic smell. His stench and your stench go together very nicely, but even animals will run away from it, the stink is so foul. Consider the skunk. Everyone thinks a skunk smells dreadful, except another skunk. So, when two skunks get together, they are happy. But human beings will do everything possible to get rid of that terrible odor.
My grandchildren, just as one skunk does not know that another skunk is smelly, karma does not know the smell of karma. But a man of wisdom will know. He will try to get rid of the stench. A false guru will only enjoy the smell of karma. He will not try to help you get rid of yours, and so it will continue to grow in you. He will ask for money and say, “Do this, do that, give me two hundred dollars, and everything will turn out well.” A false guru asks for money, but a true wiseman says, “I want nothing. It is enough if you become well.”
A true healer who tries to cure your illness might cause you pain. It is hard to wash away that condition, because the sickness is part of your flesh, your blood and your mind. It sticks to you like paint. Trying to peel or scrape it off is very difficult. It must be done with sabur and shukur, with inner patience and absolute contentment.
My grandchildren, you need that iman of faith, determination and certitude. You need all the qualities of Allah. Then the paint can be scraped off with wisdom and love, and you can be clean.
My love you. It is difficult to get rid of the karma of this birth. It is difficult to wash and scrape away arrogance, karma, and illusion, and tarahani, singhan, and suran, the three sons of illusion. It is difficult to get rid of lust, hatred, miserliness, greed, fanaticism, and envy. It is difficult to eliminate intoxicants, theft, murder, falsehood, anger, haste, impatience, selfishness, pride, doubt, suspicion, and the separations the ind creates between religions and colors. Only if you have patience, contentment, faith, determination, and all the qualities of God, will the wise man be able to make you as beautiful and clean as he possibly can. He keeps trying to do his duty always. He does not seek anything from you.
My love you, my grandchildren. Think about this and strengthen your faith. We must get rid of this karma, this stench. It destroys the life and freedom of the soul. It cuts away our entire life and our connection to God. The skunk’s smell is in its skin, but man’s smell is in his mind. It is easy enough to skin a skunk, but to get rid of the mind’s smell is very difficult. Reflect upon this deeply. Get rid of your pride, your resentment, and your anger. Acquire humility, peace, and serenity. You must have these qualities. That would be good.
My love you, my grandchildren. My this karma be gone and that fragrance be ours. May we believe in our Father, and may we have absolute faith, determination, and certitude. Cherish those qualities. Be patient. Then that good doctor can use his wisdom on your behalf. May God help you. Amin.
(Bawa Muhaiyaddeen . Come to A Secret Garden. The Fellowship Press. Philadelphia)