Many years ago, on one of Dr. Javad Nurbakhsh’s annual visits to the US, he was staying at the New York khaniqah when one of the long time darvishes, who was also studying to become a Persian scholar, said that his parents wanted to meet the Master of the Nimatullahi Sufi Order, of whom they had heard so much about, and he was invited to visit their home in Westchester County, New York. and have dinner with them. The Master gladly accepted the invitation, and since it was a journey that would require them to stay overnight, they drove up in the early afternoon, arriving just in time for dinner.
The darvish’s parents lived in a converted farmhouse, and were delighted to have such a reknown Sufi Master as their guest. They prepared an excellent dinner, though the Master, as was his custom, ate sparingly, and, although he spoke some English, conversed through their son, who was fluent in Farsi. As bedtime approached, the father said that the Master was to use the master bedroom so that he would be comforable. And they showed him a large room with a king-sized bed and adjoining bathroom.
The Master shook his head. “This is not a bed for a Sufi,” he said.
“But it’s the only bed in the house. Our son is sleeping in the other bedroom, and we are going to stay with friends,” his father said.
The Master thought for moment. “There is another bed here,” he insisted.
The darvish’s parents were bewildered. “No, really,” the mother said. “There is nothing else… well ,except for the mattress in the old Chicken Coop. The kids used it as a clubhouse when they were young.”
The Master asked to see it, and they led him around the back of the house to an old wooden Chicken Coop. They brought a lantern as there was no electricity in the coop, and showed him the plain interior. It was empty now, though recently swept out, with an old single mattress on the floor.
“Yes,’ the Master said, smiling. “This is a bed for a Sufi.”