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The Shepherd and The Tree 
Passing The Ninth Test - 
Understanding the Nature of the World 
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From The Book: "A Mystical Journey", 
By His Holiness M. R. Bawa Muhaiyaddeen 
(may God be pleased with Him, and with Us) 

Selection: Chapter 1
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Bismillahir-Rahmanir-Rahim - In the name of God, the Most Merciful, the Most Compassionate

His Holiness Teaches Us: 

I give you my love, my grandchildren, my sons and daughters, my brothers and sisters. May God help you. 

Every single part of your body needs God's help: your heart, your eyes and hands, every muscle, your blood and flesh and bones. You need His grace, His light, and His help, in your every quality and action. 

My children, come with me. I have walked along this path before. On this journey there are ten test for cutting illusion or maya, and severing the attachments to the world. 
The ninth test, which you must now pass, concerns the world, and the nature of the world. 

My Shaikh, the light form called Nur Muhammad, explained this test to me long ago. Now it is time to show you what he showed me. 

My children, look off in the distance. Can you see that huge rocky mountain there? Cows, goats, horses, donkeys, and many other animals are grazing in the field at the base of the mountain. That land is the world, and it is filled with millions upon millions of grazing beings. 

When dusk comes, they all climb up the mountain to rest. And in the morning when the light dawns, they come back down to the world again to graze upon the weeds of sin, anger, haste, vengeance, deceit, treachery, property, blood ties, and possessions. 

Yet even while they are grazing upon these evil things, God is unceasingly trying to provide them with good food and to teach them the divine knowledge know as 'ilm. 

Above the field, the mountainside is covered with millions of birds and monkeys; bird droppings are scattered everywhere and monkey urine fills the hollows in the rocks. 
A light rain is beginning to fall and mix with the urine. Look how the animals run to drink from these filthy puddles. 

My precious children, do you understand what you are looking at? Let me tell you what my Shaikh told me about life in this world. 

The heart is a hard rocky mountain. And what do you find in this heart of stone? All of the disgusting things of the world; the waste products of the monkey mind and desire, that have been washed down the mountainside by the rainwater of karma, filling all of the hollows of that heart with dirty water. 

Snakes, scorpions and other such creatures come here to this hard heart and joyfully imbibe the prejudices of race, religion and caste, the differences of I and you, the desire for land, gold and sensual pleasures (woman), and so many other dirty things. 
They consider this filth delicious, and eating it makes them very happy. This is what my Shaikh taught me when he brought me here. 

My children, look at the shepherd standing under the tree over there. Do you know what that tree is? It is called Katpaha Virudcham. It contains the power of God, the light of the grace-awakened wisdom of gnanam

From that power you can receive whatever you ask for, whatever you think of. Come, let us go closer. 

When my Shaikh brought me here, this same shepherd approached us and paid his respects. He carried a flute, a conch, a discus, and a staff for herding the animals. Do you know him? He is Qutb Muhaiyaddeen (Ral.). 

He receives his help from God, from the Katpaha Virudcham, and it is his job to take food from that tree and give it to all people. He is the one who is in charge of the grazing beings that you see. 

He is the wisdom beyond intellect which teaches, analyzes, and controls. That is the state of Qutbiyyat. Those who understand and learn this wisdom are human beings, but those who do not are animals. 

Born in karma, they continue to live in karma, devouring their own hell. Then they themselves are devoured by the earth and fire, only to be born again and again and again. 

When they first come to the world as human beings, they have six levels of wisdom, but those who fail to understand that sixth level during their life time descend to the fifth level in their next birth. 

From an exalted state they are born lower and lower, each time losing more and more of their wisdom, until finally they are born as snakes, scorpions, worms, grubs, and insects, without any analytic wisdom whatsoever. 

The shepherd of all these being, Qutb Muhaiyaddeen (Ral.) bowed down in obeisance to my Shaikh, the Nur Muhammad, and asked us to follow him to a place where there were various daises, or small platforms. 

Again the shepherd bowed and invited the two of us to sit upon the place reserved for human beings, the dais of grace-awakened wisdom and divine knowledge. Those who are invited to sit here have received God's grace, His justice, equality, peace and tranquillity. 

Their souls have attained freedom, and they regard all lives as equal to their own. The food given to them by the Katpaha Virudcham tastes different from that which is given to the others. 

Each being receives whatever is appropriate for his form, his wisdom, thoughts and intelligence, and each will perceive the taste, the sweetness, the light, and the honey of this food according to his own qualities. 

My children, it was long ago when my Shaikh brought me here and we sat upon this platform. After we sat for a while, the shepherd picked up a conch and flute, and blew the conch. 

My Shaikh explained to me, 

​      "This conch is the heart, and this is the sound you must make with your heart. 
The moment the created beings of the world hear that sound, they will all gather 
round and wait for the music of the flute." 

"The flute is divine knowledge, and the melody it plays is composed of God's 
words and actions. You must play this instrument with wisdom and truth, with 
the music and sound of God's qualities, and with the faith, certitude, and 
determination known as Iman." 

"The day you reach this state and play this conch and flute, all created beings
will come to you for their food. You will be the one who attends to their needs.
You must take from the Katpaha Virudcham what each one requires and give it
to him." 

"From God's tree, you must take His grace, His Rahmat, and feed it to all 
creations, even to the weeds, the ants, the worms, and the eighty-four thousand 
kinds of insects. You must give to each according to its qualities, actions and 

My children, this is the connection we must establish between our hearts and God, the One who is our Sustainer and Protector, the One who gives us food and love. With love in our hearts we must praise Him and play the music of the flute for Him. We must say, 

      "O God, You are the Katpaha Virudcham, the Pure and Perfect One, the Father
of the soul. You are the Most Merciful and the Most Compassionate, the
 Rahman and the Rahim. You are the One who feeds us, and it is You who must
send the food that will fulfill the needs of all these creations." 

Now children, watch while I play these instruments. First I will blow the conch and then play the flute. Do you see the creations hurrying to eat? 

Look! Plates of food are floating down through the air to each created being. A plate of food is also floating toward us, a plate of light with resplendent rays showering in all directions. 

Look at the ambrosia, the light which comes from God. This is the food for the human beings who have divine analytic wisdom. In each morsel you will find seventy thousand tastes. 

Now, look at the food which has come to the others. Watch how they eat, like animals. 

Without even using their hands, they ravenously lap up the food with their mouths. The more they are given, the more they want. 

Some who have finished their own food are greedily stealing from those around them, and frantically trying to devour as much as they can before the next call of the flute. We must watch over them until then. 

Now look at the ones who are patiently waiting for the second call of the flute before eating. They are the ones who will one day become human beings. 

My children, God's sound must come from the flute and speak to us. Those who find clarity and wisdom in this melody will change into human beings. Those who do not understand, will hear the flute, but they will not know what it means. 

Did you notice how some were grabbing the food from one another? This is how animals act. They feast upon the food of others and steal their wealth and property and possessions. Only when they have usurped the freedom of others do they themselves feel free. 

Look closely at those beings. When we first watched them grazing, we assumed they were animals because of their actions, qualities and intelligence. They behaved like donkeys, monkeys, foxes, dogs, and other animals. 

However, my children, if you look closer you will see that their bodies and faces are those of human beings. But this is just the outer form. Look again, even more intently, and you will see all the animals that are deep within them; snakes, scorpions, birds, worms, insects, and poisonous creatures. 

Look at their qualities and the way they eat. What you are seeing is their inner state. 
My children, one who discards these animal qualities can become a true human being. He can understand the wealth of the soul, the wealth of grace, the wealth of life and true freedom. He can understand the ocean of divine knowledge and receive the wealth from the Katpaha Virudcham, from God's tree. 

That tree gives to each person whatever is needed, according to his state and his level of understanding. Did you see the food it brought for you? That food was not grown on the earth; it was not the same as the food the others received. 

Did you see what came for me? Was it like theirs? No, it was light, the food of the divine knowledge of 'ilm, the tasty, honeyed food that comes from God's kingdom. This food is His secret; it contains His taste, His qualities, and His actions. You must understand this. 

Listen! The next call of the flute has come. Those who were waiting have now begun to eat, but some still do not have the wisdom to know how they should eat. Even though they resemble human beings on the outside, they do not yet have enough human understanding to know how to receive what they need from the tree. 

They only waited for the sound because they were trained to wait, just as they were trained to follow the sounds of their ancestors, who told them to hold onto their race, religion, and philosophy. 

They were simply trained to do what was done by those who came before them, but they do it without understanding. And that is also how they act when they hear the sound from the conch or the melody of the flute. They react automatically, in the way most familiar to them, copying the ways of those who went before them. 

Come, my children, now that the others have finished, it is time for you to eat. The plate made of light may appear to be empty, but it holds a special food that is meant for you. Only your tongue of divine wisdom will know its taste. 

Place this food on your tongue of divine wisdom and savor it. It is the pure and exquisite sweetness of God's divine knowledge and qualities. Within each drop is the nectar of awakened wisdom and the ambrosia of grace. 

Place this food on your tongue of divine wisdom and savor it. Each taste has seventy thousand flavors which will satisfy your stomach and sweeten your body and innermost heart. 

Oh no, look! The animals are coming to steal your food. Do you see how they drool all over your plate with their tongues hanging out? Even though they don't know how to eat this kind of food, they want it. 

So let us give them some and see what happens. Look at them fight! "It's for me! No, it's mine!" they shout, and knock the plate to the ground. 

My children, those who lack the qualities of human beings, and fail to understand the wealth of God, His divine knowledge, wisdom, and qualities, can never know His taste. 
Instead, they fight over it and end up knocking it on the ground. 

They try to devour truth and wisdom, and God's qualities and actions, in the same way that animals devour their food. But what do they end up tasting? Only the foul mountain water full of their own feces and urine, and the grass at the foot of the mountain. 

They search for the world, for their birth, and for their karma, and they consider this wisdom. 

My children, did you observe the way in which those beings treated the place filled with food for the liberated soul? They knocked it down and trampled it to bits, and now they are busy looking for something else to eat. 

The creations of the world cannot know the real taste of God's food. They can only taste it with animal perception, and what they will taste is blood. But when God's food is tasted with wisdom and God's qualities, the real taste will be known, resplendent and complete, the sweet taste of the Katpaha Virudcham

That radiant tree of grace is outspread, giving sustenance to all beings in the primal beginning, in this world, and in the hereafter; in awwal, dunya, and akhirah. Only a true human being can discover the sweetness of that tree. 

My children, if you understand this explanation, you are a human being, but if you do not, you are still an animal without analytic wisdom. If you have changed those animal qualities, you have become a human being, but if you have not, you are no better than an animal. 

If your inner form has changed, you have become a real human being, but if it hasn't, you remain only an animal. 

Now, my children, we will blow the conch and play the flute once again. Most of the human animals have finished their food, and are leaving. But look, two are still here watching and waiting. 

Although they have the appearance of a horse and cow, they seem to understand. Perhaps if the animal qualities within them depart, they will change back into human beings. 

Shall we ask the tree if it is time to go, my children. 

​       "O Katpaha Virudcham, you have given us our food, and now we ask your
permission to leave." 

Look, the tree has burst into pure light! Can you see how the resplendent brilliance is enveloping us completely? 

Oh no, the horse and cow are running back to the mountain! When the tree suddenly became ablaze, they could not see it for what it truly was; they could only see darkness, and so they ran away, afraid. 

That is how some beings react when they perceive the power of light, truth and goodness. They flee in terror, because the selfishness within them makes them perceive that pure light as darkness. 

Each one will see this tree according to his own state. To those with the qualities and state of an animal, darkness is light and light is darkness. But for the wise man, pure truth is light. 

My children, this resplendent light is the completeness. It is God's grace and His ninety-nine duties and actions, His wilayats. This is the Katpaha Virudcham, and its power will give you whatever you ask. 

Listen! The light which enveloped us has opened and is speaking to us. 

​       "You have transformed your qualities and passed the ninth test, and you must 
study for the tenth examination. In this next experience you must learn about 
death and how to die before death. This is something you must understand." 

Look, my children. Once again the light has become a tree.  And now it is time for us to move on. 

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This page was last updated on: November 8, 2017