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The Woodcutter and the Djinn

From: (haramullah)
Subject: The Woodcutter and the Djinn (was The meaning...?)
Date: Thu, 11 Feb 1999 12:45:39 -0800 (PST)

49990211 IIIom

assalam alaykum, my kin.

"Michelle Fergenson" :
# Once upon a time there was an old woodcutter, who was very devout.  
# He had worked all his life, and now he was tired.  He approached God 
# and asked for some help now that he was at the end of his life.  God 
# said, "Sure.  I will lend you a genii (djinn), and he can help you with 
# the work around the house, or the woodcutting, or whatever.  The only 
# catch is, you must ALWAYS keep him busy."  

at the time of our maturation we seek boons from the divine for our
work in everyday life. political authority, financial success, social
approbation, an attractive appearance; these are all the conventional
boons with their own associated problems one learns when one encounters
them as 'rewards'.

the devout sometimes seek spiritual authority for having served
so well in the 'trenches' of the religious community. this, one
imagines, will serve oneself well: no more having to abide the
religious dictums of other imams, no more bowing to the feet of
another guru, no more fetching and carrying the particulars of
worship or zikhr, being heard and thought of with reverence and
gratitude. we dream of an utopian existence which spiritual
authority is the key to engaging.

# The Djinn appeared and asked the woodcutter for something to do.  
# The woodcutter ordered him to cut a pile of wood.  The genii finished 
# in no time at all.  Soon he was back at the woodcutter's hut for some 
# more chores to do.  The woodcutter said, "OK, make me some dinner."  
# In a flash , dinner was on the table.  This went on through the evening 
# with various other chores.  Then, the woodcutter andthe genni slept for 
# the night.  At dawn, the genii was up and beggin gfor something to do.  
# A repeat of the day before happened, and the woodcutter was exhausted 
# with thinking up new things for the genii to do. In the afternoon, 
# the woodcutter ordered him to fetch water and wash the outside of the 
# cottage.  
# He did this.  While he was doing it, the woodcutter approached the Lord 
# God in prayer, saying, "God, please tell me what to do, this genii is 
# exasperating me and I have no peace."

having achieved spiritual authority we discover the dearth of those
who actually service those in need in comparison to the great need
people feel they have; in short, our energies, identified now as of
value, are sought after and secured by the greedy, needy, and the
parasites. soon we have no peace on account of not having dealt
with the problems of this 'boon' (there are problems and lessons
with every boon no matter how glorious they may at first seem). we
discover that the dream we had of fabulous glory is constructed on
the basis of having to do much more than we were doing before --
it is too much work to be a spiritual authority.

# God said, "Order the genii to strip the boughs from that tall 
# fir tree over there,  then order him to go up and down it, up 
# and down, up and down, without stopping. This will solve all 
# your problems."

one of the ways that authorities in spiritual traditions ameliorate
this problem is through the prescription of mystical disciplines.
if the parasite is always after them for advice, if the needy are
constantly hankering after them for more handouts, then part of the
solution is to teach them how to generate their own advice, how to
provide their own bread. then, like those of us who ask for the
boon of spiritual authority, we will see that every boon has a
price and that this price is some degree of effort for a fair 

# the woodcutter did as God had told him.  The genii prepared the tree, 
# and climbed up and down, up and down.  After many hours of this,
# he bacame tired, and said to the woodcutter, "Master, order me to 
# cease this work, for I am tired. " The woodcutter said, "OK, 
# cease this work.". The genii climbed down, and , so tired, went 
# away from the woodcutter never to bother him anymore.  
# The woodcutter praised God with thanks.

the hierarchy of social systems sometimes works to the advantage
of both parties when a slave latches onto an imam and will not
set out on their own once they have acquired understanding of
the principles of the din of islam. then, like the mother bird
nudging her birds to flight, so may the authority be used to 
break this dependency for the benefit of both involved, however 
painful it may at first seem.
# Anyone?  Anyone heard this one before? 

I have never heard it before, but I have not made a special
study of stories, let alone sufi stories.  it is beautiful.

# Anyone know what it means?  ....

I do not know if it has any traditional or esoteric meaning
beside what I saw in it as I elaborated above.

peace be with you,


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