Fana – story of a merchant and his parrot

The concept of fana and mystic union is wonderfully expressed by Mevlana Rumi in his Mathnawi and tells the story of a merchant and his parrot. The parrot symbolizes the soul of the merchant engaged in conventional life.

When the merchant decided to go to India, he asked the parrot if she wanted a gift. “I only request that when you see other parrots in India, tell them a parrot who longs for you is in my prison by the destiny of Heaven”, replied the parrot.

In India, the merchant gave the message to a group of parrots, one of whom trembled and fell dead on hearing the news. The merchant felt sorry for the bird and presumed that it was somehow related to his bird.

On returning home, he reported the incident to his parrot.On hearing the news, his parrot trembled and fell down in a corner of the cage. After lamenting the loss of his bird, the merchant threw her out of the cage.

The parrot immediately flew off to a bough and the surprised merchant inquired what sort of communication had taken place between the two birds. The parrot said, the other parrot by her act said in effect die yourself and stop singing so that you may be released and gain freedom.

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