A great Sufi master, largely unknown, but possessing the deepest wisdom and insight taught the way of attaining union with the divine to all who came seeking his guidance.
Many came to see him but only four were willing to give up their occupations and become his disciples.
When asked as to the source of his knowledge he always referred to as “The Book” or ” The Book of Books’; a well worn tome resting upon a pedestal in the center of his room. The book was ancient and twice as thick as any book in any library in the city. Each morning and evening he could be seen sitting on the floor reading the book in his lap by the light of a lone candle through the window facing the small garden.
He placed no rules, no austerities, and no demands of obedience upon his disciples, with one exception: they were never to touch The Book. Such was the love and respect that his disciples had for him that they never entered his room when he was outside the city walking among the wildflowers, when he was at the bazaar, when he was all day bathing in the river, or at any other time he was away or sleeping.
One of the four had a deep obsession with the book. Burning to posses what it and the master contained, he dreamed of it at night and dwelt upon it in the day.
And it became a fever in his brain and a shackle on his heart.
And because of his cowardice he could not touch the book while the master was alive.
The other three disciples left after a time, having found within themselves the treasure they sought. They no longer wondered and asked about the book.
Upon the day of his death the Master called back to him his three disciples and had them lay him in the grass of the garden beneath the fig tree. There he died with gracefulness amidst the laughter, songs, and rejoicing of the disciples.
While this was occurring the fourth disciple entered the room of the dead sage and opened the book. He was astonished when he found only one sentence among the thousands of empty pages.
And reading this he threw down the book and ran from the home cursing the deceased man, cursing himself, cursing God, cursing fate.
The Master’s former disciples came in the small house after the ceremony and found the book opened face-down on the floor.
One of the three picked up the book and gently placed it back on its pedestal.
And the three walked out of the room and never returned.
The lone sentence in the book reads:
When you realize the difference between the container and the content, you will have Knowledge.