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The Story of the Ripple

The Story of the Ripple
Pir Zia Inayat Khan

Once upon a time a ripple of sunlight hurled through the emptiness of interplanetary space. Careening through the void, it dove, and soared, and swam with abandon. “Look at me,” it thought. “Was there ever a ray so supple and spry?” 

Suddenly an asteroid barreled by. It was a close call; the ripple managed to leap to the side and avoid a direct collision, but it nonetheless came away with an eyeful of odious dust. “Watch where you’re going, you vagabond!” the ripple hollered after the offender. The asteroid didn’t hear its accuser, or pretended not to hear it. 

The ripple was miserable. All of its former spunk was gone. “Was there ever a ray so luckless and friendless as me?” it thought. “What am I even doing here in this gloomy place?”

But now another object was approaching. Whatever it was, it was dazzling in its brightness. “Identify yourself,” the ripple demanded. The newcomer hovered and pulsed. “Who am I?” it answered. “I cannot really say. But I know where I come from.” There was a sudden flash as the speaker triumphantly announced, “Proxima Centauri! And Promixa comes from the Light of Lights, which is everywhere and always.”

“And you, my friend,” said the wave – for it was a wave, a ripple only larger – “You, as I can plainly see, come from the Sun, which also comes from the Light of Lights, which is everywhere and always.”

“Sun, what Sun? What could you be possibly talking about?” replied the ripple, irked by the stranger’s presumption.

“Oh, I see,” said the wave with a knowing nod. “You haven’t been looking back. Well, now is as good a time as any. May I suggest you sneak a peek over your shoulder?”

To humor the wave, the ripple swiveled its neck and threw a glance backward. It looked, and then it looked again. What it saw was breathtaking. Meeting its stare was a face of indescribable beauty, a spherical blaze of the most joy-giving effulgence one could ever imagine. Right there, before the ripple’s eyes, was the Sun in all its magnificence.

The ripple bowed down. After a minute it rose and murmured, “I’m going back.” “No,” replied the wave, seizing the ripple by the shoulder. “Look again!” The ripple looked, and the Sun seemed to wink. From the brilliance of that wink a hundred waves and a thousand ripples were born. Long beams stretched out from the Sun, filled the expanse of space, and lit up the planets one by one: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune.

Earth loomed near. “Our destiny lies there,” whispered the wave, gesturing. “See how the Sun loves the Earth and wishes it to have its light? That is why you were sent. Proxima sent me for the same reason. Let’s make our way down now.”

The ripple followed the wave. It felt the light and heat of the Sun on its back. It kept thinking of the Sun. It thought, “The wave said it well. Who knows who we are. And it doesn’t matter. All that matters is that the Sun is shining and spreading the glow of the Light of Lights. Whoever I am, I’ll do the Sun’s work.”

On Earth, in a little valley, dawn had come. It was Spring and the ground was thawing. In the cold soil lay a seed. The ripple saw it and drew near. “May I approach?” asked the ripple. “Come in,” answered the seed. “I’ve been waiting for you.” The ripple entered the seed. All was quiet. Days passed. A root appeared, and then a shoot. The shoot grew taller day by day. Before long there were lush green leaves. Amongst the leaves a bud took form. At last, the bud opened its petals, one by one, and smiled at the Sun. The Sun smiled back. All at once, the ripple found itself in the fullness of the Light of Lights. 

The Zephyr is a monthly newsletter of Inayatiyya, an interfaith mystical fellowship with branches worldwide. For more gatherings, please visit our Inayatiyya Digital Programs Calendar for Spring 2022.