A man had purchased new white clothes and kept them by his side. He had thereafter fallen asleep. A Rangrez – dyer of clothes – was passing by and noticed the absolute whiteness of the clothes lying by the side of the sleeping man. He was attracted by the whiteness of the clothes and he dyed them with the colour he had with him. Thereafter he vanished from the scene.
When the sleeping man woke up, he was surprised to see his clothes. For a while he thought they were not his, but when he put them on, he was convinced that these were indeed his clothes, but that someone had dyed them. He looked at himself in a mirror. He was fascinated by what he saw. The beauty of the colour on his clothes was indescribable. The colour produced in him an intense yearning to meet the dyer. He searched for him but the dyer was nowhere to be found.
Suddenly he found a man with spots of the same colour on his turban. He rushed up to him and said: “Are you the dyer who dyed my clothes?”
The man with the turban said to him: “No I am not the dyer, but I, too, am in search of him. He sprinkled these dots of his colour on my turban as well.”
The two of them together began searching for the dyer–the Rangrez. They saw another man with the colour sprinkled on his clothes. He, too, was in search of the dyer. And it was thus that more and more people joined together until a large group of people was searching for the benevolent dyer. Cries of “Rangrez! Rangrez!” went up everywhere.
As evening drew close, the man soon found himself all alone. His companions had given up the search and gone to their homes. His body was on the verge of collapse from exhaustion, his legs trembled, sighs escaped from his lips, and his heart palpitated.
Kahoon kiss se kissaye dardo gham
Koyi hamnasheen hai na yaar hai
Jo anees hai teri yaad hai,
Jo shafeek hai diledaar hai
To whom shall I narrate my tale of woe,
There is no one who is my own,The only Companion is Thy Remembrance,
The only Merciful art Thou, my Beloved
Yet he continued to call on the Rangrez. The name of the Rangrez had given him strength to search for him. Finally he reached a point where he could go no further and he collapsed from sheer exhaustion.
Just then someone came and caught him before he could hit the ground. He grasped the stranger’s hand. It contained the colour that was on his clothes.
He was the dyer! He had finally found the dyer of his clothes. The man became fully conscious again and said with great feeling: “You are the dyer! Your hands bespeak as much! Do not deny it, you are the dyer, I know!”
The dyer had no alternative but to admit that he was the person who the man sought. The man said to him:
“Please answer my questions.
“The first is: why did you dye my clothes without my permission? The second: why did you go away without taking your payment? The third: when I was searching for you and calling out your name why didn’t you appear before me? And the fourth: when I had lost consciousness and was about to fall why did you come and hold my hand?”
The dyer smiled and said:
“Firstly, your clothes were so beautiful that my heart was attracted to them and I wished to dye them at once! Secondly, my payment consisted in my dyeing the clothes and leaving them there! Thirdly, I remained hidden when you were searching for me because I enjoyed seeing you run hither and thither in the dyed clothes, which looked so good upon you! Also, others who looked upon you also wished for the same colour! I remained silent when you were calling out to me because I wished to increase your love for me and also to give you the happiness of calling out my name!
“Fourthly, when you were about to fall unconscious on the ground I had to come and hold your hand – or else the colour I put on your clothes would have been ruined!
“Mujhe ye dar thhaa ke kaheen meraa rang kharaab na ho jaaye!
“I had to bring you back to consciousness so that you may see him for the sake of whom you had lost consciousness.”
The Rangrez, the colour, and the one who was dyed, now stand side by side. This is a bliss that is beyond the description of the senses.
When a man becomes dyed with the love of God, he does not renounce the world, rather he begins to make it more beautiful. He looks upon the joys and sorrows that come to him as the Will of God and does not complain. He spends his life in the service of God and accepts whatever he gets in return as a gift from Him – His prasaad.
He remains content in whatever he has, and looks upon any change in life as being for his betterment.
He looks upon life and death as identical.
He looks upon the flower and the thorn as coming from the same seed.
He looks upon joy in joy, and sees joy even in sorrow.
He always remembers God and Death.
He tries to forget his own goodness as well as the faults he sees in others.
He looks upon the Divine Beauty of God and becomes absorbed in it.
He lives in love and he dies in love.
And, in this way, by understanding the secret of life and death, he becomes eternally free – nitya mukt.
Om, Shanti, Shanti, Shanti!
Peace, Peace, Peace be unto all.