Lalla was a 14th century Indian mystic who experienced such an ecstatic union with the Divine that she cared nothing for her physical appearance. She often wandered the countryside naked. One day, as she was walking around in a state of bliss, a group of schoolchildren saw her. They threw stones and ridiculed her. A shopkeeper, recognizing her as a saint, shooed the children away and invited Lalla into his shop.
“Would you like some tea? Something to eat?” he asked.
“I would like two pieces of cloth of equal length,” Lalla said. The merchant cut the cloth; then Lalla asked him to weigh it. The scales balanced perfectly. Lalla thanked the merchant and left, tossing a cloth over each shoulder.
Lalla went about her day of walking and prayer. Each time someone derided her she made a knot in one cloth strip. Each time someone praised her she knotted the other. At days’ end, Lalla returned to the shop. “Would you weigh these for me, please?” The merchant placed the cloth on the scales just as he had done earlier in the day. And, of course, both were equal.
to live them, hard.
The search for the Real
is no simple matter.
Deep in my looking,
the last words vanished.
Joyous and silent,
the waking that met me there.