The Old Man and the Physician - Rumi


A man had been suffering for a long time from a variety of ailments, as one
does in old age. One day, he finally managed to drag himself to his local
doctor to seek help. He did not have much confidence in doctors and their
advice, but he was at his wit’s end and could no longer tolerate the pain that
had spread throughout his frail body.
“I’m suffering mostly from loss of memory, dear doctor,” he began his
complaints feebly.
“Loss of memory is a result of aging, my dear man,” decreed the young
“I’m losing my sight rapidly. What can I do?” he continued.
“Loss of sight is from aging,” replied the doctor.
“My backache is debilitating,” moaned the old man.
“Back pain is also the result of old age, my good man,” said the doctor
“Nothing I eat seems to taste pleasant anymore,” complained the old
“Weakness of the stomach also comes with old age.”
“When I breathe, I don’t seem to get enough oxygen in my lungs,” he
carried on.
“Shortness of breath is also from aging,” declared the young doctor as
a matter of fact. “Old age brings with it a host of pains, my ancient friend.”
The old man, who had kept his anger at bay until then, fi nally lost his
temper and snapped: “You idiot! Is this all you’ve learned from years of studying medicine? Haven’t you learned that for every aliment, God has created a
cure? You’re an imbecile who has learned nothing!”
The cool doctor was annoyed but fi rmly responded to the old man’s
insults: “You’re sixty years old, and this anger and fury is also the result of
aging! With the passage of time, the body’s organs begin to deteriorate and
leave one with little tolerance for controlling one’s patience or fury. Therefore,
I will pretend that I have heard nothing of your insults,” retorted the doctor,
brushing aside the old man’s angry remarks.
Having lost the opportunity to tap into a little compassion in his heart,
the young doctor never saw the old man in his surgery again.

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