I must remind you that at that time I was an ardent follower of the famous Indian yogis and carried out very exactly all the indications of what is called Hatha Yoga, and when eating I tried to masticate my food as thoroughly as possible. So, long after everyone, including the old man, had finished their simple meal, I continued slowly eating, trying not to swallow a single morsel without masticating it according to all the rules.
Seeing this, the dervish asked me: ‘Tell me, young stranger, why are you eating like that?’
I was so sincerely astonished by this question—which seemed to me very strange and to say not very much for his knowledge—that I even had no desire to reply to him, and thought that we had made such a long detour in vain, to meet a man who was not worth talking with seriously. Looking into his eyes, I felt not only pity but also ashamed for him, and replied with self-assurance that I chewed my food carefully so that it might be better assimilated in the intestines, and, referring to the well known fact that properly digested food gives the organism a larger quantity of calories necessary for all our functions, I repeated all that I had extracted from various books on the subject.
Shaking his head, the old man slowly and with conviction uttered the following saying which is known throughout Persia:
Let God kill him who himself does not know and yet presumes to show others the way to the doors of His Kingdom.
After that Sari-Ogli put a question to the dervish which he answered briefly. He then turned again to me and asked:
‘Tell me, young stranger, you probably also do gymnastics?’
I was in fact working very hard at gymnastics at that time and although I knew all the methods recommended by the Indian Yogis, I kept to the system of the Swede, Mueller. I told the dervish that I did work at gymnastics and considered it necessary to practise twice a day, morning and evening, and I explained briefly the kind of exercises I was doing.
‘This is only for the development of arms, legs and in general the external muscles,’ said the old man, ‘but you have also inner muscles which are not affected at all by your mechanical movements.’