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The story of the Trader and the Captive Parrot

 A certain trader had a parrot which had a melodious voice and was very beautiful. Before the trader went on a journey to India, he asked all his servants: "What shall I bring for you from India?

" In this way he also inquired from the parrot as to what he shall bring for it from India. He asked the parrot what message it wanted delivered to the parrots of India.          .

The parrot replied: "In India when you shall pass any meadow and see any group of parrots, give them my salaams and pass this message onto them:

"A certain parrot longs to meet you
But through the decree of Allah, he is a captive in a cage".
The parrot said further:
"After passing my salaams to them, say:
Is this acceptable to you that he should be restless in longing for you
And that he should in this restless state come to the end of his life."
He also said:
"And tell them: 'For how long is it going to be acceptable to you
That he should continue to be imprisoned
While you can fly about in the greenery and from tree to tree?
Is this the faithfulness of friends that he should remain a captive?
While you are free to roam among the gardens? .
The remembrance of friends by friends is a blessed thing
Especially when between them lies the relationship of Layla and Majnoon".

When the trader passed ,the message onto the parrots of India, they also gave him their regards. When one of the parrots heard the message, she started shaking. She fell down from the branch of the tree and landed on the ground dead. The trader felt great grief that the parrot had died. He felt that if he did not pass on the message it would have been better.

After having seen to hi~ business, he returned from India. He distributed the presents which he had bought for the servants. Then the parrot asked him: "And what message did the parrots from the forests of India have for me? Whatever you have seen or heard, you should tell me".

The trader replied:
"I passed your complaints onto your parrot friends
Who shared in your sorrows.
But there was one parrot among them who was greatly affected,
So much so that it could not bear it and started trembling and died.
When the parrot heard what happened to the one parrot,
He also began trembling and fell down cold".

When the trader" saw this, he began crying: "Oh, what is this?
What has happened?"

The trader said:
"Alas! O melodious voiced bird,
"Alas! O my Companion, my Confidant!"

Thereafter when the trader imagined that the parrot had died of sorrow, he took it out of the cage and threw it outside. The parrot flew away and sat on a high branch of a tree. The trader looked up towards it and asked: "Tell me what is this? Explain to me the meaning of this".

The parrot replied: "That parrot has through its action made itself dead and taught me a lesson, that my freedom and deliverance can be attained in this manner i.e. pretend to be a dead one. Then the parrot greeted the trader and said to him: "Farewell".

The parrot said:
"O master, I have taken the direction to my home-land.
I now leave you. May God free you also from the chains of your nafs like me.
So that like me you too will fly around in the nearness of God".

The trader said:
"Go in the safety of Allah, go to your home-land.
You have taught me also the way towards freedom.
Is my life inferior to the parrots that I be a captive in a prison
And a slave in the chains of my desires.
And deprived of Allah's nearness.
Thus my life should be such
That it flies to its true garden, free from bonds".

Lesson from this Story

Maulana Rumi (R.A.) has mentioned this story to inform us that the parrot did not find freedom from the prison of his cage through long speeches and high shouting, nor through a claim of arrogance. He found his freedom through annihilating himself and through self sacrifice: Thus when someone wishes to free himself from the cage of his 'nafs' and from Shaytaan, he will have to learn to become annihilated and to learn the process of self- annihilation from one who is annihilated in Allah. This is so because the one who is himself imprisoned cannot set free another prisoner. The Saints of Allah are people who have been released from the cage. By choosing their companionship and company, others can also find freedom and relief.

 

Ma-aarif-E-Mathnavi

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