Idries Shah, Thinkers of the East, Idries Shah, 1971.
p 84 “Awad Afifi had a book in which he had written the accounts of a conversation with sages and philosophers during twenty years of travel and studies.
One day a scholar called to see him and asked if he could make a copy of the book.
‘Yes,’ said Awad, ‘you may certainly do so. I will charge you however, a thousand gold pieces for the service.’
‘That is a tremendous sum to pay for something that you have here, which I am not even going to deplete by copying,’ said the scholar, ‘and besides, it is unworthy to charge for knowledge.’
‘I make no charge for knowledge itself,’ said Awad, ‘for knowledge is not in books, only some of the ways to gain it. As for the thousand gold pieces: I intend to spend them on the travel expenses of pupils who cannot afford to travel. And as for the greatness of the sum: I have spent fifty thousand on my travels, plus twenty years of my life. Perhaps you might care to let me know what that amounts to?’
OBSERVATION: Encountering a true teacher is a rare moment in the life of any individual. The special relation between teacher and student requires the recognition of the genuine value found in the pursuit and acquisition of knowledge. While knowledge is a recognizable characteristic, it is also ephemeral, transitory, and difficult to define in absolute terms. Perhaps, more than anything, the teacher must recognize the needs of the student, provide direction, mis-direction, and a path to stimulate the capacity of the student, acting as an enzyme or catalyst.