There was an old ascetic in Basrâ, none in that age so devout as he. He said, I rise every morning determined to fly from this vile Self. My Self says to me, Come, old man, what wilt thou eat this morning? Make some preparation, come, tell me what I am to eat. I tell him, Death; and leave the subject. Then my Self says to me, What shall I put on? I say, The winding-sheet. Then he questions me, and makes most absurd requests, such as, O thou of blind heart, where dost thou wish to go? I say to him, Silence! to the grave-side; so that perhaps while in rebellion against my Self may draw a breath in freedom from the fear of the night-watchman. Honour to him who contemns Self, and does not permit it to stand before him.
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