The King of Konya at Rumi’s time was a huge fan of Mawlana Rumi.
He said to members of his court:
“I love Rumi, but I can’t stand his circle.
They are ugly, rude, mean and unrefined.”
Word of this got back to Rumi’s circle, and they were heartbroken.
Mawlana Rumi told them to come with him to the court.
He walked to the King, and said, “Did you, or did you not, say of my friends that they are ugly, rude and ill-mannered?”
The king was embarrassed and put his head down.
He managed to get out a simple: “Yes, yes I did.”
Mawlana Rumi’s friends were delighted, as they were waiting for Rumi to call out the King.
Rumi said: “Everything you say about them is true.
They are rude, they are ugly, and they are ill-mannered.”
He then added:
If they were already beautiful,
I myself would have become their disciple.
He ended with a poem:
I buy fake gold,
because I possess the gift of alchemy.
It’s a lovely reminder of the reality that the reason to set out on the spiritual path is not because we are already good and beautiful,but rather because we wish to become so,with God’s grace.
If we were already perfect and beautiful,
there would be no need to set out on a path.
The goal of the path is not to simply affirm us as we are, but to offer a means of transformation.
For more stories like this about the great sage Rumi and a closer study of his life and teachings, join us in Turkey on the Illuminated Tours, open to everyone.