The Reality Of Worldly Life
You too listen to it in the form of a comparison:
I saw that I was a traveler and was going on a long journey; that is to say, I was being sent. The one who was my lord gradually gave me some of the money from the sixty pieces of gold he had allotted me. I spent them, and came to a hostel where there were amusements of all kinds. In one night in that hostel I spent ten pieces of gold on gambling, amusements, and the enjoyment of fame. In the morning I had no money left. Moreover I had done no trade nor bought any goods for the place I was going. All that remained to me from the money were sins and pains, and from the amusements, wounds and sorrow. While in that sorry state, a man suddenly appeared.
He said to me:
“You have wasted all your capital and deserve punishment. You are going to your destination bankrupt and with your hands empty. But if you have any sense, the door of repentance is open. When you receive the fifteen pieces of gold that remain to you, keep half of them in reserve. That is, obtain the things necessary for you in the place where you are going.”
I looked, my soul did not agree to this.
So he said:
“A third, then.”
My soul still did not obey him.
Then he said:
“A quarter. My soul could not give up the habits to which it was addicted, so the man angrily turned his back on me and left.”
Suddenly, the scene changed. I was in a train in a tunnel, which was travelling fast as though downwards vertically. I took fright. But what could I do, there was no escape anywhere. Strangely, attractive flowers and enticing fruits appeared on both sides of the train. And I like the foolish and inexperienced, looked at them and stretching out my hand, tried to pick them. But they were covered in thorns and tore at my hands when I touched them making them bleed. With the movement of the train, my hands were lacerated at being parted from them. They cost me much. Suddenly a porter on the train said:
“Give me five cents and I shall give you as much of the flowers and fruits as you want. You are caused the loss of a hundred cents with your hands being torn, rather than five cents. Also there is a penalty; you cannot pick them without permission.”
In distress I put my head out of the window and looked ahead to see when the tunnel would end. I saw that in place of the tunnel’s entrance were numerous holes. People were being thrown into them from the long train. I saw a hole opposite me. On either side of it was a gravestone. I looked in amazement. I saw that written on one of the gravestones was the name SAID. In my bewilderment and anxiety I exclaimed: “Alas!” Then suddenly I heard the voice of the man who had given me advice at the door of the hostel. He said:
“Have you come to your senses?”
“Yes, but it is too late now.
So he said:
“Repent and place your trust in God.”
“I replied that I would. Then I awoke and saw myself as the New Said; the Old Said had disappeared.”
So, that was the vision. May God cause good to come of it! I shall interpret one or two parts of it, and then you can interpret the rest for yourself.
The journey was the journey, which passes from the World of Spirits, through the mother’s womb, youth, old age, the grave, the Intermediate Realm, the resurrection, and the Bridge of Accounts Settling towards eternity. The sixty pieces of gold were the sixty years of life. I reckoned I saw the vision when I was forty-five years old. I had nothing to guarantee it, but a sincere student of the All Wise Book advised me to spend half of the fifteen that remained to me on the hereafter. The hostel for me was Istanbul. The train was time, and each year a carriage. As for the tunnel, it was the life of this world. The thorny flowers and fruits were illicit pleasures and forbidden amusements which cause pain while indulging in them on thinking of their passing and on separation lacerate the heart, making it bleed. And they also cause a punishment to be inflicted. The porter on the train told me to give him five cents so that he would give me as many as I wanted.
The meaning of this is as follows:
the pleasures and enjoyment man receives through licit striving within the sphere of what is lawful are sufficient for him. No need remains to enter the unlawful. You may interpret the rest for yourself.
By Bediuzzaman Said Nursi