Moths and Flies – a Sufi Tale

Flies were dissatisfied that they were not considered moths. They thought they were being relegated to an inferior status, and that was simply not acceptable. So they went to the king of moths and complained. “We have everything you have – we fly, too – just as you do. Why are we called flies while you are called moths? Give us justice!”

The king thought for a while and said that it was very easy to determine who was a moth and who was a fly. “But you have to wait until evening”, he said. Flies agreed. When evening came, the king of moths said that flies must go in search of light as moths do. “Can you go?” HE asked. “Oh yes, why not? We are all very capable”, said the flies.

Hence, flies and moths flew in search of light. They did not have to go far. Lamps were burning in the village nearby. Flies went inside the village, noted the locations and came back to report. “Now call us moths! We have found the light as you asked us to, and now we have returned to tell you!”

The king roared with laughter but said nothing. Annoyed, the flies asked why he was not giving his judgment. “Where are the moths, then?” The king asked. Flies looked around. Only the flies had come back.

“If you found the light, why did you have to come back?” Asked the king.


Source: An interview of a Pakistani qawwal with a Kabir researcher.


4 thoughts on “Moths and Flies – a Sufi Tale

  1. Subhash Yadav says:

    Flies = Professors
    Moths = Gurus

    Liked by 1 person

    • To connect with your latest comment, I say a professor must fall off the current axis and lose self to attain Guru-hood 🙂


      • Subhash Yadav says:

        Perfect M’am well said.
        How to deny/lose the self to attain the Self ?
        Answer given by a Mauni Bapu from Saurashtra :
        ‘Potana adhikar no tyag and beeja na adhikar ni raksha, kayam karta raho’
        Mauni Bapu and Mikhail Naimy, though from distant lands give the same prescription.


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