Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The King Falls in Love with the Handmaiden

The Story of the King Falling in Love with a Handmaiden

A King went out of town on a hunting trip with his men. On his way he encountered a beautiful Handmaiden and fell in love with her. He wanted to own her so he could take her with him. He paid a huge sum and bought her. Back in the palace, it did not take long before she fell ill. The King called forth his most renowned physicians from all over his realm so they would cure his beloved.

Each physician claimed they would be able to cure her with their deep knowledge of medicine. They thus ignored the Power of God’s will, which transcends the mundane means of obtaining cures. So, try and they would they failed to cure the King’s beloved and she indeed got worse with every attempt to cure her.

When the King was disappointed from all the earthly ways of curing his beloved, he turned to the Divine. He engaged in sincere and wholehearted prayer. He was in the midst of prayer and confessing his weaknesses that he fell asleep.

He dreamt of a enlightened sage who said to him: “ Tomorrow we will send you a capable physician.”

Next day, the King found the physician he had been told. He took the new physician to his beloved’s bed. The physician started his diagnosis and found that the cause of her ailment is not related to the body, but the soul. He found she had the sickness of love.

Yes, the Handmaiden was in love with a young goldsmith from Samarghand. The King heeded the enlightened physician’s advice and sent messengers to Samarghand to bring the goldsmith to his court.

When they returned with the goldsmith, the King, as recommended by the enlightened physician, wed the goldsmith and the Handmaiden. They lived in happiness for six months. After this period, the physician was inspired by a divine message to give the goldsmith a potion that would decrease his physical appeal. The Handmaiden gradually lost interest in the Goldsmith as his physical appearance declined. This divine order to give the potion is comparable to the divine order given to Abraham to sacrifice Ishmael his son for the Lord.

These affairs are not as they seem on the surface and have deeply hidden secrets which are not easily known to mankind.

After the Handmaiden realized that the King loved her so dearly that he would facilitate the wedding his beloved to another if that made her happy. After that, the Handmaiden truly saw the King’s deep love and joined him in matrimony.


Ashif said...

Beautiful work of re-writting the story can please post the poems present in the story in continuation with the story summary

Unknown said...

If he truly loved her then why did he give the potion to the goldsmith. Wasn't he happy to know she was happy.

Dr. Ali Arsanjani said...

That's a great question. Therein lies the tension.

Unknown said...

I think this poem has deep meaning and if he say king or Handmaiden is just metaphor

Unknown said...

It was the physician that gave him the potion not the king

Anonymous said...

The story is about a Muslim King, who is possibly pious. The instruction to fed the goldsmith potion is from God Himself.

Anonymous said...

A few things. The king is said to have devised the plan. Yes, the saint/physician gave the poison, but it was part of the king's plan all along. Secondly, the king's plan was an inspiration of god, as others have mentioned here. Finally, the handmaiden's love for the goldsmith was superficial. When his physical beauty faded, she lost her passion for him. In this same process, she realized the love of the king, who not only restored her health from heart-soreness, but also liberated her from this superficial love! This allowed her to realize the truer, deeper love of the king. A love more worthy of having. In the end, he did what was good for her, and not for selfish reasons. If he was selfish, he would not have allowed her to be with another man for a set period. Lastly, if the story is taken metaphorically, it is a parallel for love of god. Why love things that can die, and with it our love itself dies? Why not love some eternal being (God?) instead. The one God who does not return your love on a superficial basis. A love for and of the Lord who in His infinite wisdom, which is sometimes beyond our understanding, does things for us that are for own good. Just my opinion.