Page:Alchemy of Happiness - Field.djvu/16

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11
PREFACE

The painters of the two nations immediately applied themselves with diligence to their work. The Chinese sought and obtained of the king every day a great quantity of colours, but the Greeks not the least particle. Both worked in profound silence, until the Chinese, with a clangor of cymbals and of trumpets, announced the end of their labours. Immediately the king, with his courtiers, hastened to their temple, and there stood amazed at the wonderful splendour of the Chinese painting and the exquisite beauty of the colours. But meanwhile the Greeks, who had not sought to adorn the walls with paints, but laboured rather to erase every colour, drew aside the veil which concealed their work. Then, wonderful to tell, the manifold variety of the Chinese colours was seen still more delicately and beautifully reflected from the walls of the Grecian temple, as it stood illuminated by the rays of the midday sun."

This parable, of course, illustrates the favourite Sufi tenet that the heart must he kept pure and calm as an unspotted mirror. Similarly, the epilogue of the elephant in the dark (vide chap. II.) has been borrowed by Jalaluddin Rumi from Ghazzali.

Another characteristic of Ghazzali which appeals to the modern mind is the way in which he expounds the religious argument from probability much as Bishop Butler and Browning do (vide