Mystical Stories

Mystical stories are good vehicles to communicate the deeper meanings of our life.  Their profound truth about life can sooth our hearts and minds. 

Rumi understood that to become worthy of Love, one needs to polish the heart and the soul. The following story from Rumi’s Mathnawi, Book I, illustrates this further: 

A group of Chinese artists claimed that they were the best painters. However, a group of Greek artists insisted that they were better. After arguing with each other for some time, the Chinese artists said to the King, “Give us a room and we will prove to you our ability.” So the King gave the Chinese and the Greeks each a room which opened one to the other.

The Chinese started to paint the wall with beautiful pictures and requested hundreds of paint pigments from the King’s treasury. The Greeks said, “We do not need any pigments,” and they spent all of their time polishing the wall of the room until no dust was left. When the Chinese finished painting their wall, they beat upon drums in joy.

The King came and marveled at the beauty of the Chinese paintings on the wall. Then he came to the Greek’s side of the room. The Greeks removed the veil. The reflection of the painting from across the room on the mirror-like wall was, without a doubt, the most beautiful.

In this story the wall symbolizes the heart. Only the heart that is polished can become pure and worthy of the theophany of the Divine Love and Beauty. The veil symbolizes the conditional self, our ego.  In the story, the veil is removed by the Greeks to show the reflection of Beauty in the purified mirror of the heart. This is an extraordinary mirror in which one sees oneself; the more one gazes into it, the more of the Original, the Source, the Beloved, the Higher Self is projected into the self.