Rumi Moses and the Shepherd

This post was written by DoctorJay on December 25, 2009
Posted Under: Rumi,teaching story,Theology,unconditional love

This teaching story comes from Rumi from his Mathanavi (my very rough translation from memory – I wanted to keep the spirit of Rumi’s words not their literal order):

Moses and the Shepherd

One day the prophet Moses hears a shepherd  pray to God. The shepherd says, “God, how I love you. I’ll bring you the cream from my best sheep. I’ll sheer the wool of the softest lamb. I’ll dye the wool in best dyes from Samarkand and Bokhara. Then I’ll spin the wool and  knit you a most sublime sweater to keep you warm in winter time. I’ll tuck you in bed, delice you and comb your hair. I’ll wash you feet and love you in all ways possible.”

Moses gets angrier and angrier and shouts at the shepherd, ” You stupid, ignorant man, Don’t you understand that the almighty is beyond all categories and words. God is abstract not a man. God does not need your sweater, combing or foot washing. You should be ashamed to imagine God could have lice.”

The shepherd hears the prophet’s stern words and starts crying, rends his clothes  and runs into the desert deserting his sheep in shame.

Moses proud of his understanding and teaching goes on his way.

Before he has taken three steps he hears a mighty voice louder than a trillion thunders:

“Moses, Moses, we sent you to join us with our creation and not to separate us…

Each will see us in his/her own capacity – it’s not up to you to decide whst form of prayer suites our servants.”


I’m writing this  because I joined my wife at her Catholic Christmas Mass today. I used to think of Christianity the same way that Moses thought about the Shepherd. To my way of thinking the Christian mythos is equivalent to the delicing of God. I could be wrong. That’s not the point. The point is that God will accept the love of each creature according to that creature’s understanding. God even loves the fundamentalist and the intolerant unconditionally.

Even though it is very difficult for me to admit it God loves all unconditionally.

God even loves Bill Clinton, George Bush, and Obama…

for more teaching stories Nasrudin stories

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