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THE STRANGE SAGE (A Sufi Parable)

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Sometimes I sit and ponder how
powerful and relevant the scriptures are, despite being divinely compiled over
2,000 years ago. Each time you read a passage, you get different insight from
the note you took in previous encounter. Little wonder, people say the Wisdom
of Solomon has nothing to do with age.
Talking about wisdom, my mind
flashed back to an interesting Sufi parable that reminds us that the wisdom of
locals more often than not always exceeds knowledge of the experts.
A very long time ago in a small
village, a misunderstanding arose. The village elders had failed times without
number to resolve the difficult problem. At a point, some of the villagers
started coming up with excuses not to converge for town meetings. Eventually, a
deal was struck to invite a very sage from another village to come and help
them. In time, the wise woman came. People gathered to hear her wisdom.
After scrutinising the gathering,
she asked them:

“Do you know what I am going to tell you?” 

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In unison they
responded, “NO”. The wise woman replied, “You will only learn what you already
know, and if you don’t know, I am leaving.” She stood, packed her things and left.
The village was in an uproar. Many felt slighted. “Gosh! What manner of a woman
is this?” they chorused.

Months passed and the problem still
didn’t go away. The elders debated and issued a second invitation to the wise
woman. In anticipation of her arrival, they coached the villagers as to what to
say.
When the woman arrived the second
time, the village gathered. Again she asked, “Do you know what I am going to
tell you?” The villagers shouted in unison, “YES”. She stared at the people.
“If you already know, then I have nothing to tell you.” She packed her things
again and left.
The villagers became even more
frustrated, but after many months, they issued a third invitation. This time
they were ready for the sage.
“Do you know what I am going to
tell you?” Half the villagers shouted “YES”; the other half shouted “NO”. The
wise woman looked at the people and said, “Well, I suggest that those who know
should get together with those who don’t; and then you will all know.”
She rose, left and never
returned.
That night, an elderly woman in
the village had a dream. “Last night, a voice told me the meaning of the
message the wise woman was trying to pass across. She wanted us to know that
knowledge can be derived from our own community and our traditions if we can
put our heads together, not from outside experts as we suppose. We already have
the knowledge. We already know that the wisdom of locals will always exceed the
knowledge of the experts. We just don’t have the confidence to believe in
ourselves.”


TAKE HOME MESSAGE:

There can be no truer words than
that. Sometimes what we travel round the world to get is just within our grasp
only if we take our time to think and search for it. We are in a world where
many people claim to be expert of one thing or the other so much that we fear
we could fail if we venture to undertake such task (sometimes simple) on our
own.

Wisdom is not exclusive to a
select audience. No man is born stupid! We only need to reach deep down in our
innermost mind and heart to rediscover ourselves. For only then can one truly
appreciate the gift of life and how precious time is to man as he journey
through life.

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Adebayo Folorunsho-Francis is a communicator, Journalist, blogger, business coach and, of course, a prolific writer. He has Dip (Journalism) and B.A. (History & International Relations) from the Lagos State University (LASU). The self-effacing young man has worked for national, regional and local newspapers. He had worked with THISDAY covered community news for ISLAND NEWS and corresponded with P.M. NEWS (evening tabloid). Presently, he is the editor of CITYPULSE MEDIA and senior correspondent of PHARMANEWS, West Africa foremost health and pharmaceutical journal.

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