Suthra was an enlightened fakir who was exceptionally resolute and bold. One day a friend came to him and said:
“A famous holy man has come, who is very much revered by everybody in his neighborhood. Let us go to see him”
Suthra agreed, and they walked to the holy man´s hut, greeting him upon their arrival by bowing low and saying:
“Praise be to the merciful Lord.”
The holy man returned their greeting, and invited them to be seated near him.
After remaining silent for a few minutes, Suthra asked the holy man:
“Have you any fire? I need some.”
“No, I have no fire here just at present,” replied the holy man.
Again there was silence. But a few minutes later Suthra asked again:
“O Sadhu, have you any fire?”
“I have already told you that I have none,” said the holy man, slightly annoyed.
But this reply did not seem to suit Suthra at all, for he immediately asked for the third time:
“Sadhu, I have great need of fire. So kindly let me have some.”
At this, the holy man became really irritated and replied with great heat:
“O foolish man! Please stop asking me for fire! Can´t you understand what I say? I have told you three times that I do not have any fire. Isn´t that enough? Or will you go on repeating the same stupid question over and over again?”
Suthra remained silent and entirely unperturbed. But as soon as the holy man had stopped his harangue, he said:
“Brother, I really do need some fire. Are you sure you do not have any fire?”
Now thoroughly enraged, the holy man picked up a stick, advanced toward Suthra, and beat him until the stick broke. Suthra then smiled and said:
“Peace, brother. My question is now answered. I saw and smelled some smoke when I first entered your presence, so I knew that there was a fire here. And now, as anyone can see, the fire blazed up and is burning with angry flames. Yet, strangely enough, you still maintain that you have none of it.”
Understanding now what had all the time been in Suthra´s mind, the holy man´s anger left him. Hanging his head in shame, he said in a humble voice:
“Thank you, brother, for your lesson. I will take it to heart and try to mend my ways.”
“Man washeth his body with water, but in his heart there is evil of every description.”
Source: Tales of the Mystic East, by Hazur Maharaj Sawan Singh
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