Lesser known mystics of South Asia – I

Abu Dilbar Al Janiabi
It is narrated that once a boy approached Abu Dilbar while the sage was buying cloth from an expensive cloth merchant in Multan. The boy was curious as to why a sage, generally known for unworldly ways, would frequent such an exorbitant merchant. Maybe there was more to it than met his eye, which was generally the case with these sages. But before he could enunciate his query, Al Janiabi interjected, “This time there really is nothing more than meets your eye, little boy.”

The boy was gobsmackled by this show of sorcerous prophetization. He left quickly. Abu Dilbar continued buying. The merchant counted his money. A woman swooned. “Could this be ishq,” she wondered, “or is this just a second-hand emotion?” Al-Janiabi was least bothered, but he did say these words before parting, “The merchant can sell his wares without bothering the date palm across the road, but the date palm is a wily old coot, mind you.”

Abu Kabab Al Sharabi
This Kashmiri met Lalleshwari on one of her ecstatic wanderings. Although Lalla’s method to madness was her rapturous song and dance, Abu Kabab could only think of one thing. Later, when he came back to his flock and narrated this incident, there were some who wanted to convert, some questioned why they too were not taken along, but there was one among Al Sharabi’s devotees who was silent. Abu Kabab, versed well in ways of silence, read his devotee’s mind with the agility of the eagle that snatches the hapless sparrow, and he smiled.

Abu Kum Al Dastyabi
Taimur Lung once came up to Al-Dastyabi in search of something vague. Neither Lung nor Al-Dastyabi was sure what exactly that something was. But a happy compromise was reached when Al-Dastyabi brought the conversation to a halt in an unintelligible Zen-like fashion. Lung, thinking himself satisfied, gave Abu Kum a bag of silver as kings are wont to do. Al-Dastyabi uttered thus-like, “And to think that this your otherwise kingly act might not have in a tiny way insulted – you know – someone?”

Taimur was gobsmackled by this show of onerous dis-proportionization. He left. Al-Dastyabi felt a slight pang of guilt. “Nothing two dashes of ghee-drenched-parathas can’t quell,” he mused and headed for the hearth. The rain outside did not mind. Neither did the courtesan who lived upstairs, but she did wonder as free spirits are wont to do.

2 comments on “Lesser known mystics of South Asia – I

  1. Munira says:

    Very entertaining! 😀 Can’t wait for more stories!

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