The Sage walked to the diner in the little town nearby. He wanted to enjoy some coffee and the walk there and back. He liked being around persons at the diner. He enjoyed their company silently unless someone spoke to him. The day was Sunday. Persons from varied churches were there. They were not enjoying their lunches. They were into a heated argument about whom would and would not be admitted into heaven. The Sage did not care to talk about an afterlife, as he was interested most in life, which he saw to be, not be before or after. Yet, he was invited into the dispute. Someone recognized him and, knowing his reputation as a wise and holy man, asked the Sage his view on the matter. The Sage told a story.
A devoted Christian attended church worship regularly and lived what seemed to his friends and neighbors a moral life. He died and stood before two gates. One gate led into heaven, the other into hell.
The man looked through the gate of heaven, becoming confused by what he saw. He could see many unbelievers he had known on earth. They were in heaven festive and carefree. Now more than confused, he was irate at what to him was a glaring injustice. "I've always trusted," he thought to himself, "in God's justice, but this isn't fair at all!"
An angel, standing beside the man now, said, "It's time for you to go to your final dwelling." The man began to walk to the gate of heaven. When he reached it, it would not open. The angel, pointing to the gate of hell, said, "This other gate is the one that will open to you."
The man, dejected and angry, exclaimed, "Why?!" And pointing to the gate of heaven, he said, " I see persons in there who never had belief and didn't live a holy life, and there they are enjoying heaven. Why can't I enter heaven, seeing I was true to the faith? I was faithful to our doctrines, attended worship regularly, prayed and read our Scripture daily, and lived a moral life." "For," responded the angel, "all you have said about your loyalty to the faith, that won't open the gate into heaven. Only one thing does that." "What's that?", asked the man. "Love."
After the story, the church people continued staring at the Sage. They did not look pleased. He returned to sipping his coffee quietly, basking in the Sunshine beaming into the diner and onto his face. He could hear as the group returned to bickering as though it had not listened to a word he had said.
The Sage, soon having heard enough of the quarreling, began walking home. Strolling along, he smiled and sang and prayed, savoring communion with the world. And, stopping to breathe deeply the freshness of the air and listen to the brook moving over rocks and around tree limbs, he thought, "Oh! to enjoy heaven. So wonderful!" And he began to sing aloud to all Nature around, words he recalled from Kabir.
When the Day came - The Day I had lived and died for - The Day that is not in any calendar - Clouds heavy with love Showered me with wild abundance. Inside me, my soul was drenched. Around me, even the desert grew green.
And Nature listened, and Heaven showered its radiance all around.
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Video can be accessed on original site via below upper left artist-title: lyrics on page 2 below...
(C) Brian Wilcox, 2020
Quote of Kabir, from The Poet Kabir. The Poetry of Kabir.