The Bawa Muhaiyaddeen Fellowship

Children's Stories

The Dogs That Bark Within

Come to the Secret GardenMy love you, my grandchildren, my daughters and sons, my brothers and sisters. Come, night has fallen and it is growing dark. Shall we walk this way? Listen to all that barking!

Do you know where it is coming from? Many of the people living along this road have guard dogs. A dog barking in one house starts the dog barking in the next house, and then the next and the next. One after another, they bark at anyone who walks along the road, whether he is a good person or bad, a human being or a demon. They bark at every creature that passes by.

People keep these dogs in their houses to guard them, but what do they really do? They eat and they make noise day and night. There is never a time when they are silent.

There are so many kinds of dogs, and they make so many different noises. The big ones roar, "Wooof! Wooof!" The medium-sized ones bark, "Bow Wow!" and the small ones shriek, "Yip! Yip!" Whether they are tiny or huge, mere puppies or old dogs, their barking never lets anyone rest. And even if they are raised properly, they still may bite strangers and sometimes even their owners. God did create dogs, but they do not have the capacity to know right from wrong. Dogs are like this. Listen to them barking and barking as we pass by.

My love you, my grandchildren. It is no great wonder that dogs bark, for every creation makes some kind of noise. And it is no great wonder that people keep these dogs in their houses. The great wonder is that man also raises dogs within himself. Just as people raise their guard dogs carefully, man lovingly raises the barking dogs within his mind. He kisses them and gives them everything they want. As long as he feeds these dogs, they will surround him, distract him, and never let him finish his work. They won't let him sleep or have any peace. About ninety-five percent of all people raise these dogs within themselves. Very few are without them.

My grandchildren, the dog you raise inside this cage of your body is the dog of mind and desire. Its duty is to bark and growl. If you give it something and then try to take it away later, it will bite you. If you fail to satisfy its every desire, it will bite you. This dog will never give you peace. It will never let you do anything good. The only work it will do is bark and eat.

This dog has horrible qualities. It is selfish and does not know right from wrong or good from evil. It indiscriminately likes everything, even the things that are discarded by God and by a man of true wisdom. It constantly points its nose at the ground, searching for blood, feces, and other filth. It wanders all over, scavenging for smelly things to fulfill its desires. It does not like anything with a good fragrance.

This dog of mind and desire begs and begs, demanding food from the man who raises it within himself. All his time is spent searching for bones, flesh, chicken, and fish. That is the only work the dog will allow him to do. It barks and barks, insisting upon having everything it desires.

My grandchildren, you should never raise this dog within yourself. Such a dog is suspicious of everything and watches everyone who passes by. It is so suspicious that even while sleeping it will suddenly wake up and bark. It cannot even live in unity, peace, or harmony with another dog. Because of its selfishness, it will fight and bite, without caring whether its ears, nose, or eyes get injured.

As long as you raise such a dog within yourself, it will always be barking, and you will never know unity, harmony, or equality. You will never know love, compassion, peace, or tranquility. Those qualities will not grow within you. You will only know doubt, jealousy, envy, resentment, treachery, deceit, and the egoism of the I. You will only be able to do the work of a dog.

My precious grandchildren, do not entrust the house of your heart to the dog of mind and desire. Do not think that such a dog can guard this house filled with God's qualities, this house of wisdom and love, of compassion, peace, and tranquility. Anyone who entrusts his house to the dog will never attain serenity. This house does not need any guard but God. He is the Father whose three thousand gracious qualities and ninety-nine duties and actions, or vilayats, are always guarding the house of your heart.

My grandchildren, do not leave room for anything opposite to God to creep into your heart. Give Him the sole responsibility for guarding that place. He alone is responsible for His kingdom, His house, His property, and the wealth of the soul. If He is the guard, you will have peace. If you refuse to hand the kingdom of your soul over to mind and desire, that kingdom will be strong in peace. Then you will be able to complete all your lessons in the school of this world. You will understand justice, fairness, and love. You will come to understand yourself, your Father, and the freedom of your soul.

My love you, my grandchildren. With your wisdom, catch that dog, control it, and then chain it behind the kitchen. Raise only the qualities and love of your Father. If you do this, you will have peace and tranquility. You will gain the comfort of wisdom and be happy. You will know the wealth of the love of God and appreciate the true value of that wealth. You will understand the One who is responsible for this kingdom. My love you. Amin. Amin.

- M. R. Bawa Muhaiyaddeen
Come to the Secret Garden: Sufi Tales of Wisdom