“Chag Pesach Sameach”, to wish “Happy Pesach” (Passover) in Hebrew, “Happy Easter” the greeting for Christians, and “Ramadam Karim”, “may you have a generous Ramadan”.
In days in which the war in Eastern Europe continues, and on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem the clashes (with over one hundred wounded on Friday) seem not to want to subside even during the most solemn celebrations, the message of those who believe in the Ultimate Good must be even more convinced and unanimous.
Today is Christian Easter day, in the week of Jewish Passover and during Islam’s holiest month, Ramadam. May this story inspire confidence and make us reflect, because after all, holidays are not only for celebrating, eating and being cheerful, but also for reflecting…
Story of the 4 travelers
A Persian, a Jew, an Arab and a Greek were on their way to a distant land when they began to discuss how to spend the only coin they possessed.
All four wanted food, but the Persian wanted to spend the coin in “angur”, the Jew in “enav”, the Arab in “inab” and the Greek in “stafyli”.
The discussion became more and more animated as each one insisted on having what he wanted.
There passed by a man who knew many languages, and he heard their quarrel, so he said, “Please give me the coin, and I give you my word that I will fulfill the wishes of all of you.”
So he took the coin and went to a store where he bought four small bunches of grapes. Then he returned to the men and gave them each a bunch.
“This is my angur!” exclaimed the Persian.
“But this is what I call enav!” replied the Jew.
“Shukran! you have brought me my inab,” thanked the Arab.
“No, that in my language is stafyli!” said the Greek.
So the men realized that what each of them had wished for was actually the same thing, they just didn’t know how to express it to each other.
The four travelers represent humanity in its search for an inner spiritual need that it cannot define, and which it expresses in different ways. Each one who is strong in his faith must prove himself by behaving like the man who knows several languages, who enlightens humanity as to what it is seeking. Religions, though called by different names, are in fact all one and the same thing if they lead to good.
That man who knows many languages could only offer to the four travelers in dispute some grapes, nothing more. However he will not be able to offer them wine, which is the essence of that fruit. In the same way human beings cannot be given the secret of the Ultimate Reality, because this knowledge cannot be shared, but it must be experienced through a personal inner journey, trying to expand one’s Soul, and reducing one’s ego. The four travelers, all gave up a larger portion of food, but together they still ate grapes, satiating themselves. They did not binge, but they happily and together fed.
As the Iranian Sufi Saadi of Shiraz wrote; “I am a dumb dreamer, and people are deaf. I am incapable of speaking, and they incapable of listening.”