Use of Parables

August 7, 2021
Use of Parables

Virtues | Knowledge

Use of Parables

Source: ‘Abdu’l-Baha in London | Daily Lessons Received at Akka

‘Abdu’l-Baha stated: “To man, the Essence of God is incomprehensible, so also are the worlds beyond this, and their condition. It is given to man to obtain knowledge, to attain to great spiritual perfection, to discover hidden truths and to manifest even the attributes of God; but still man cannot comprehend the Essence of God. Where the ever-widening circle of man’s knowledge meets the spiritual world a Manifestation of God is sent to mirror forth His splendour.”

“Divine things are too deep to be expressed by common words. The heavenly teachings are expressed in parable in order to be understood and preserved for ages to come. When the spiritually minded dive deeply into the ocean of their meaning they bring to the surface the pearls of their inner significance. There is no greater pleasure than to study God’s Word with a spiritual mind.”

Then He told the following story: A great king, walking in his garden one day, noticed a man, about ninety years old, planting some trees. The king asked what he was doing and the old man answered that he was planting date trees. “How long before they will bear fruit?” asked the king. “Twenty years.” “But you will not live to enjoy the fruit; why then should you plant these trees?” The old man answered, “The last generation planted trees that bore fruit for my benefit; so it is now my duty to plant for the benefit of the next generation.”

The king was pleased at this answer so gave the mana piece of money. The gardener fell on his knees and thanked him. The king asked, “Why do you kneel before me?” “Because, your majesty, not only have I had the pleasure, or gift, of planting these tress, but they have already borne fruit, since you give me this money.” This so pleased the king he gave the man another piece of money.

Again the old gardener knelt, saying, “Again I kneel to thank your majesty. Most trees will bear fruit only once, while these trees of mine have already borne two crops–since you give me two pieces of money.”

The king smiled and asked, “How old are you?” The man answered, “I am twelve years old.” “How can that be? You are surely a very old man.” The gardener answered, “In the days of the king your predecessor, the people were in a most unhappy state of constant warfare and trouble, so I cannot include that as a part of my life. But since your majesty came to rule, the people are happy, contented, and at peace. Therefore, as it is but twelve since your gracious reign began, I am only years old.” This pleased the king so very much that, perforce, he gave the old man another piece of money, saying, “I shall have to leave you now, for your words please me so greatly that if I listen to you longer I shall become a pauper!”

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