One day, the Traveler went to the banks of the Guadalquivir. He had been feeling somewhat strange in the last few days. All through his life, he had always regarded the people he saw, met, listened and talked to as superior to himself. Since the first days of his journey, he had been in trouble with the cravings of the flesh. But then, adopting the words of God's prophet who had a beautiful face which was food for spirits and pleasure and comfort to souls, who said "I shall not exonerate the nafs* for the nafs leads one to evil", he had slowly begun to unfasten the bonds of his body one by one. The idea of regarding others as superior to himself had already become an attitude as his journey proceeded. Wandering on the shores of the Guadalquivir and taking his time to watch the phosphorescence, he contemplated that existence consisted solely of the apparition of the Divine names, and all of a sudden, he saw a light. The light had appeared while he was thinking that each moment in life, something was refreshened, replaced or renewed just as the river silently flowed over time and over things like a gentle breeze. He looked at the light and realized that it grew bigger into a face as it ascended in the air. The light said, "Look at that carefully! Those bubbles and phosphorescence, the undulating waters are the river itself, but whenever someone looks at it, he sees them as completely different things. Yet the wind blows, and the water flows and even gets rough sometimes. The phorphorescence flickers. It is visible and invisible again with a light that comes from the source of the sun. You can compare the states of this river, a metaphor of life, with the manifestation of the worldly life. Beings come, they reflect the Divine names like a mirror, they appear, and then disappear again. Life resembles the flashes of lightning: it happens and then it ends. Beyond the ephemeral, there is the spark of a Divine name, shining like a sun. Therefore, you must look at it, you must turn your face to that light."
He walked along the coast. Further on, he saw a very old, monumental weeping willow, swollen with water. He jumped over the wooden fence and walked near the tree. He walked on the pebbles for a while. Then he saw a black man who tossed down wine from an earthen jug while joking with a woman in an unconstrained manner. He stopped and watched them. Each time the black man drank wine from the jug, the Traveler thought 'If all the people on this earth are superior to me, then I must be superior to this black man. I have never drunk anything that God has forbidden, and I have never been together with a fallen woman.' An unexpected scream shattered his thoughts. A big rowboat was taking in water and was about to sink. The people on the boat were screaming, "Help! Help us! Save us! Help!" The black man, who was drinking and having fun a moment ago, plunged into the water and saved four of the five people on the boat. Then he turned to the Traveler, who, bewildered and helpless, was waiting on the shore, and shouted, "If you are superior to me, then go and save the last person yourself.
* Nafs: Accoding to Sufism, the animal sel