The Sufi mystic Rabiya was searching for something on the street outside her small hut. The sun was setting and darkness gathering, and some people gathered around her. “What have you lost? What are you searching for? Perhaps we can help,” they said to her.
THE VOICE WITHIN
Rabiya said, “I have lost my needle.”
One amongst them said, “Well, the sun is descending fast and soon it will be impossible to find the needle. Where did it fall? That’ll help us rrow down the area on this big road. If we know the exact place, it will be easier to find.”
Rabiya told them, “Well, it has not fallen on the road at all. It fell inside my hut.”
The people began to giggle. Then a skeptic said, “We know you are a little insane! If the needle fell inside your hut, then why are you out on the road searching for it?”
“For a very simple reason! Inside my hut there is no light at all, while outside there is still a little glimmer,” Rabiya replied.
At this, everyone laughed aloud and started dispersing. But Rabiya called them back and said, “Listen! That’s exactly what you do. I was only following your example. You seek bliss in the outside world without asking the most fundamental question: where exactly have I lost it?”
After a pause, she continued, “In truth, you have lost it inside, yet you are looking for it outside for the very same reason — your senses are outward bound. Your eyes see what is outside, your ears hear sounds outside, your hands touch things on the outside. That’s the reason why you are always searching outside.”
“For a very long time, I too was searching on the outside. But the day I searched inwards, I was surprised. That is where I had lost my bliss and that is the only place it can be found,” Rabiya concluded.