Quest and Grail


Meaningful story retold by Michael Foley in his book The Age of Absurdity:

The twelfth-century Sufi poem, The Conference of the Birds by Farid Ud-Din Attar, is like a parable by Kafka. The birds of the world meet for a conference, which turns fractious. A hoopoe rises and, quelling the multitude with natural authority, suggests that what the birds lack is a spiritual leader, a Simorgh, to show them an alternative to aggressive craving. They must all fly off in search of this Simorgh. But many birds are deterred by the prospect of a long and arduous quest. The hawks prefer the power of worldly princes, the herons their desolate shoreline, the ducks their cosy pond. The finches fear for their frailty, the nightingales for their song. But eventually a group sets off, traversing seven valleys – the Valley of the Quest, the Valley of Love, the Valley of Insight…

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