Rumi and Shams Tabriz were spiritual companions. They were both masters as well as disciples to each other at the same time. While Rumi was a scholar, Shams was the wondering dervish but they both complimented each other in their spiritual journey.
There goes one story that one day Shams thought of putting Rumi through a test. Since Rumi was a scholar and preacher at that time, he commanded great respect of the people of Konya. He was very cautious of his reputation and stature. However Shams was a rebellion sufi and mystic who was always against the strict religious dogmas. He was very fond of Rumi and wanted Rumi to learn some bitter truths of life so that he could evolve more spiritually. One fine day, he asked Rumi to buy him a bottle of wine and insisted that Rumi should go to tavern himself to get the bottle. Rumi was shocked at such demand of Shams and found himself in a tight spot because he used to tell in his sermons and lectures that alcohol was haraam.
How could he go and buy a bottle of wine? His reputation was at the stake of getting compromised but at the same time, he could not refuse Shams. Ultimately, following his master’s command and wish, he went to the liquor shop. Many eyes followed their reverred Rumi to the tavern. When they saw Rumi buying a bottle of wine, the people who used to eulogize Rumi felt being cheated because a person of the stature of Rumi, who spoke against the use of alcohol, was himself buying a bottle. They felt as if some magic spell upon them had broken and they started cursing and abusing Rumi for deceiving them throughout. Rumi was the end of wrath of people, who once treated him with great honour.
While Rumi was at centre of people’s anger in the streets of Konya, Shams appeared and shouted at the people for their changed perception about Rumi. To the utter surprise of Rumi, Shams proclaimed that there was infact vinegar in the bottle Rumi was holding. People were not ready to accept the words of Shams. Neither Rumi could understand what Shams was speaking. Shams snatched the bottle from the hands of Rumi and asked people to check themselves by pouring a spoonful of contents of bottle in everybody’s hands. It actually turned out to be Vinegar.
People again went back to their knees and started apologizing for mistreating Rumi. Rumi was beliwered at what had just happened. He himself had purchased the bottle of wine and now it contained vinegar. However, he mutely followed Shams back to their house and while returning, Shams put his hands on the shoulder of Rumi and told him that all the reputation and stature a person enjoys is only an illusion. He told Rumi that people are always judgmental of others and their perceptions can change with a blink of eye with the changed circumstances. Rumi got to learn a lesson as well as a bitter truth that nothing is permanent in this world All the ego, reputation and stature were just a matter of delusion. Rumi was now evolved and he turned into a Sufi from a hardcore preacher!!!