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Data vs Theory, which one has priority?

Richard
Dickison
Group Organizer
Kapolei, HI
Post #: 50
According to an ancient Sufi tradition, there is a dervish mantra, which if repeated over and over again, with full attention and concentration, would lead a devotee to the summits of contemplation. The mantra is just a simple repeating of the syllables "YA HU, YA HU". It was a common belief, too, that after attaining the heights of contemplation by means of this mantra, any dervish would be able to perform astonishing feats and great miracles, even such things as walking on water!

The sufis have a story about a very simple-minded and devout young dervish whose only interest in life was to reach the pinnacle of contemplation. In pursuit of his goal he left his home and all his possessions and retired, all by himself, to a small rocky island in the middle of a lake where he could live alone to concentrate on his meditation technique.

Night and day, with great fervor and concentration, the young dervish kept repeating the mantra. Only, being very simple and illiterate, he was mispronouncing it. Instead of saying "YA HU, YA HU" he was chanting "U YA HU ... U YA HU ... U YA HU… "

At that time, on the banks of the lake there lived a very learned and conscientious old dervish. He was greatly upset on hearing night and day, the dervish call mispronounced by that simple, illiterate young devotee. The old dervish said to himself "Charity obliges me to teach that errant brother of mine the correct chanting of our dervish call, otherwise, the poor fellow, in spite of all his efforts and good intentions, will never reach the heights of contemplation nor, of course, be able to perform anything extraordinary in his life!" A thing, he himself, in his heart of hearts always devoutly hoped for. So the old dervish got into a boat, and rowed to the island…

On arrival he met his simple and unlettered brother dervish and told him "Brother, night and day I hear you mispronouncing our sacred call, a call that, if pronounced correctly, will take you to the very height of contemplation and invest you with the power to work all sorts of miracles! Brother, let me teach you! Don't say 'U YA HU', that isn't correct. Say simply "YA HU."

Having listened to this advice attentively, the young devotee gratefully said "Thank you, brother, for your advice. I'll do as you say."

The old dervish then got back into his boat and began rowing towards the shore of the lake... He was very full of himself and pleased for the solicitude and concern he had shown to his simple brother dervish. He had hardly left the island when to his utter dismay, he heard his simple brother mispronouncing again the sacred mantra. "U YA HU ... U YA HU ... U YA HU… " He stopped rowing and full of annoyance, began contemplating his next move. How could he again correct that simple brother of his? He said to himself "Why is this so hard and why do people cling to their errant ways?"

As he was entertaining these thoughts in his mind, he was suddenly confronted with an astonishing sight. The young dervish was coming towards him, walking with swift steps on the surface of the lake... He soon came up beside the boat and humbly said "Brother, sorry to bother you, but please tell me. What exactly is the correct pronunciation of our dervish call?. I have just forgotten. Is it "U YA HU" or "HU YA HU"?



Adapted from "TALES OF THE DERVISHES" by Idries Shah
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