It was long ago in the 1980s. I had never written a book, and had no idea that I ever would. Certainly there was no way I could know that one day I would be able to share my thoughts, ideas and knowledge, on one of my favourite subjects, religion.
I visited the USA for the first time, and staying with a friend in New York, I had to look in on Barnes and Noble. What a bookshop! There was so much I could have bought, and so many days I could have spent there. But I was not there for long, and did not have much money left. Then in the back of the bookshop there were second-hand books. I came across a series under the heading Great Religions of Modern Man. There were six hardcover books in the series, Buddhism, Catholicism, Protestantism, Hinduism, Islam and Judaism. Each book had quotes from original texts, along with a general introduction and some comments. I couldn’t resist and though it was quite expensive for me, I bought the set!
And below I share a quote from one of the books, in memory of that visit.
From a Sufi text:
‘The Lord of the Spirit and the Word [Jesus] used to say: “My daily bread is hunger, my badge is fear, my raiment is wool, my mount is my foot, my lantern at night is the moon, and my fire by day is the sun, and my fruit and fragrant herbs are such things as the earth brings forth for the wild beasts and the cattle. All the night I have nothing, yet there is none richer than I!”.’ (From the writings of Al-Hasan al-Basri, a Sufi saint from Basra in Iraq, who died Ce 728; trans. A.J. Arberry.)