Lotus of the Heart > Path of Spirit > AuthenticSpirituality

 
 

Dyed Peacock, Sham Religionists

Authentic Spirituality

Jun 26, 2007


Wisdom Story

A jackal got into a dyeing-vat and there stayed for a time. Then he got out again. His skin was stained with the dye. "See, I have become the Peacock of Heaven's Heights!'" he cried out.

Surely, his dyed fur had acquired a delightful sheen. And when the sun shone upon the colors he saw himself green and crimson, russet and gold. So he displayed himself to the other jackals.

"Little jackal," they exclaimed, "what is the matter? Why is your head full of such perverse glee? You have gone apart from us in your happiness. What is the logic for your high disdain?"

"You here!," one of the jackals went up to him and cried out. "Are you a pretender? Or is your heart truly joyous? You have perpetrated a fraud so to jump up on the pulpit and with your arrogance make all the people envious. You have labored much. But you have experienced no true zeal; so you have shown a fraudulent piece of indiscretion."

The multicolored jackal moved up quietly and whispered into the ear of the reprover. "Why, just look at me! Behold my colours! No idolater possesses an idol like me. I have become lovely and many-hued as a garden. Do not turn your head: bow down before me! See my pomp and splendour, my sheen, my glitter, my color! Call me the Pride of the World, the Pillar of the Faith! I have become the theater of grace Divine, I have become the tablet expounding the majesty of God. You jackals, beware! Do not call me a jackal. How should a jackal possess so much beauty?"

The jackals gathered about him like moths around a candle. "Look, what shall we call you then, creature of pure substance?"

"Peacocks of the Spirit," they then said to him, "hold displays in the Garden of Roses. Do you make such a display?"

 

"No," he replied. "How should I tread the streets of the holy place Mina, never having gone there into the desert?"

"Do you utter the peacocks' cry?"

"No," said he.

"Then you are not a peacock, father of lofty airs! The glory-robe of the peacock is the gift of heaven. How should you ever get it by means of dyes and false pretences?"

Wisdom Saying

"You're hopeless, you religion scholars and Pharisees! Frauds! You're like manicured grave plots, grass clipped and the flowers bright, but six feet down it's all rotting bones and worm-eaten flesh. People look at you and think you're saints, but beneath the skin you're total frauds."

*Matthew 23.27-28 (The Message)

Suggested Reflection

1. How does the story of the Jackal claiming to be a peacock compare with the Jesus saying against the religion scholars and Pharisees in the Matthew scripture?

2. What does the Matthew passage and the story of the The Dyed Jackal say about the nature of true spirituality?


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