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A PARTY of travelers lost their way in a wilderness, and were well nigh famished with hunger. While they were considering what to do, a sage came up and condoled with them on their unfortunate plight. He told them that there were many young elephants in the adjacent woods, one of which would furnish them an ample meal, but at the same time he warned them that if they killed one, its parents would in all probability track them out and be revenged on them for killing their offspring. Shortly after the travelers saw a plump young elephant, and could not resist killing and eating it. One alone refrained. Then they lay down to rest; but no sooner were they fast asleep than a huge elephant made his appearance and proceeded to smell the breath of each one of the sleepers in turn. Those whom he perceived to have eaten of the young elephant's flesh he slew without mercy, sparing only the one who had been prudent enough to abstain.God's care for His children.
Yet in love I am ever holding communion with them.Thou art backed by all my protection;
Are thousands on thousands, and yet no more than One;For if not, how did Moses with one magic staff
And if it were not so, how did Noah with one curseMake East and West alike drowned in his flood?
Became as a Tigris of black water; go, see its vestige!Towards Syria is this vestige and memorial,
Should I tell of them my limits would be exceeded,And not hearts only but very hills would bleed."
Evil deeds give men's prayers an ill savour in Gods nostrils.
Thou art asleep, and the smell of that forbidden fruitAscends to the azure skies,
As it strikes the nostrils of them that sit with thee.
So too prayers are made invalid by such stenches, 1That crooked heart is betrayed by its speech.
The answer to that prayer is, "Be ye driven into hell," 2
The staff of repulsion is the reward of all deceit.
But, if thy speech be crooked and thy meaning straight,Thy crookedness of words will be accepted of God.
At last men said, "O Prophet, this call is not right,This is wrong; now, what is thy intention?
'Tis an error at the beginning of our divine worshipTo utter the words, 'Come to the asylum!'" 3
(Uttering one or two secrets from the fount of grace),"O base ones, in God's sight the 'Ho!' of Bilal
Is better than a hundred 'Come hithers' and ejaculations.Ah! excite not a tumult, lest I tell forth openly
Calling on God is pure, and when purity approaches,Impurity arises and takes its departure.
Neither does impurity nor that impure mouth remain!"The man whose calling "O Allah" was equivalent
And then beheld Khizr present before him in a vision,
Who said to him, "Ah! thou hast ceased to call on God,Wherefore repentest thou of calling upon Him?"
Wherefore I fear that I am repulsed from the door."
Khizr replied to him, "God has given me this command;Go to him and say, 'O much-tried one,
And that pain and longing and ardour of thine my messenger;Thy struggles and strivings for assistance
Thy fear and thy love are the cove,rt of my mercy,
Each 'O Lord!' of thine contains many 'Here am I's."
The soul of fools is alien from this calling on God,Because it is not their wont to cry, 'O Lord!'
So that he never cried to God, wretch that he was.
God granted him the absolute dominion of the world,But withheld from him pain and sorrow and cares;
The cries of those free from pain are dull and cold,
The cries of the sorrowful come from the burning hearts."*NOTES:
1. "Whoever eats garlic or onions must keep away from me or from the Masjid." (Mishkat ut Masabih, ii. 321).
2. Koran xxiii. 110: "He will say 'Be ye driven down into it, and address me not.'"
3. Rules for the call to prayer are given in Mishkat ul Masabih i. 141.4. Or, "What dost thou require of me?"
The Villager who invited the Townsman to visit him.
A certain villager paid a visit to the town, and there received hospitality from one of the townsmen. At his departure the villager was profuse of thanks, and pressed the townsman to come and see him in his village, and bring his family with him. The townsman hesitated long before accepting his invitation, having doubts as to his sincerity, and remembering the Hadis, "Caution consists in suspecting others." 1 But after ten years' solicitation he at length yielded, and set off with his family to the village. On his arrival the villager shut the door in his face, saying that he did not know him, and the townsman had to pass five nights in the cold and rain. At last, exhausted with suffering, he implored the villager to give him shelter, promising to render service in return. The villager granted it on condition that he would protect his garden from the wolves. The townsman accepted this condition, and taking bow and arrows, proceeded to patrol the garden, but, owing to the rain and the darkness, and his own fears, ended by shooting the villager's pet ass in mistake for a wolf. The villager abused him roundly, saying that he himself would not have taken an ass for a wolf, even on the darkest night. The townsman replied, "If that be so, you are self-convicted of inhumanity, for you must have recognized me, your friend of ten years' standing, the moment I knocked at your door. As for me, I am ignorant of all but Allah, and, moreover, was unable to see in the darkness; and God has said, 'No criminality is imputed to the blind.'2 But your blindness in refusing to recognize me was willful, and your claims to humanity are thus proved to be false by the test to which you have been submitted."Jesus healing the sick.
The house of 'Isa was the banquet of men of heart,Ho! afflicted one, quit not this door!
That with his breath he might heal their ailments.As soon as he had finished his orisons,
The desires of all of you have been granted by God;Arise, walk without pain or affliction,
Straightway rush in joy and delight to the halting-place,So did they run upon their feet at his command.
Hast thou escaped through these princes of the faith?How long that lameness of thine was thy steed!
When thou didst wound the hearts of the men of heart.Quick! clasp them and ask pardon of them;
Whereas want of fidelity is shameful even in dogs,How can it be right in men?
Saying, "Who more faithful to his promise than We?" 3Know, infidelity is fidelity to God's adversary,
The claims of a mother are less than God's, for He,
That bounteous One, made her debtor for thy embryo.He gave thee a form whilst thou wast in her womb,
In her womb He gave thee needful rest and nurture.He viewed her as a part united to thee,
Wherefore the claims of God predominate over the mother's,Whoso acknowledges not God's claims is a fool.
Whether known to us or unknown, are all from Thee!Thou hast commanded, saying, "Remember thy God,"
Turn now from thy evil doubts to the opposite mind.I am free from error and all faithlessness;
Therefore thou hast chosen harsh friends and companions;
If I ask where they are thou sayest they are gone.The good friend goes up to highest heaven,
Evil friends sink beneath the bottom of the earth,Whilst thou art left alone in the midst, forlorn,
Who is removed alike from the world above and below;Who neither, like. Jesus, ascends to heaven,
And when thou art afllicted will keep His promise.How false pretensions to sanctity are
Whoever thou art who sayest "I am a prince of the gate,"If the vulgar detect not such an one by tests,
Every catamite would through fraud pass for a Rustam.
Suppose he wears the semblance of one clad in mail,Yet when wounded he is at once taken captive.
They remain beside themselves till the last trump.The wine of God is true, and not false,
Thou makest thyself out to be a Junaid or a Bayazid;
Go! for do I not know a hatchet from a ploughshare?O plotter, how canst thou conceal by fraud
Will be joined together and raised in sight of all.How foolish and silly thou hast made thyself!
I am a lover beside himself, whose words are wild.Thou fanciest thyself near to God,
Saying, "The maker of the dish is not far from the dish."
Knowest thou not that the nearness of saints to GodInvolves the power to do mighty works and signs?
God's nearness and His beneficence are common to all,But only eminent saints enjoy inspired love.
The dry branch and the green are alike near the sun,Does the sun veil himself from either?
But as for the dry branch) from its nearness to the sun,
What does it but more quickly grow dry and sapless?
Be not intoxicated after the manner of this branch,
Which, when it becomes sober, has cause for repentance,
But, like those drunkards who, when they drink wine,Bear ripe fruits of wisdom of penitence.
1. Freytag, Arabum Proverbia, i. p. 370, ascribes this saying to the poet, Aqzam bin zaid.2. Koran xxiv. 60.
A jackal fell into a dye-pit, and his skin was dyed of various colors. Proud of his splendid appearance, he returned to his companions, and desired them to address him as a peacock. But they proceeded to test his pretensions, saying, "Dost thou scream like a peacock, or strut about gardens as peacocks are wont to do?" And he was forced to admit that he did not, whereupon they rejected his pretensions. Another story, also on the subject of false pretenders, follows. A proud man who lacked food procured a skin full of fat, greased his beard and lips with it, and called on his friends to observe how luxuriously he had dined. But his belly was vexed at this, because it was hungry, and he was destroying his chance of being invited to dinner by his friends. So the belly cried to God, and a cat came and carried off the skin of fat, and so the man's false pretences were exposed. The poet takes occasion to point out that Pharaoh's pretensions to divinity exactly resembled the pretensions of this jackal, and adds that all such false pretenders may be detected by the mark noted in the Koran, "Ye shall know them by the strangeness of their speech." 1 This recalls the story of Harut and Marut, two angels who were very severe on the frailties of mankind, and whom God sent down upon the earth to be tempted, with the result that they both succumbed to the charms of the daughters of men.2*NOTES:
Then follows a long account of the birth of Moses, of Pharaoh's devices to kill him in his infancy, of his education in Pharaoh's house, of his desiring Pharaoh to let the children of Israel go, and of his contest with the magicians of Egypt, and his victory over them. In the course of the story the following anecdote is narrated:
A snake-catcher, who was following his occupation in the mountains, discovered a large snake frozen by the cold, and, imagining it to be dead, he tied it up and took it to Baghdad. There all the idlers of the city flocked together to see it, and the snake, thawed by the warmth of the sun, recovered life, and immediately destroyed the spectators.Comparison of fleshly lust to the snake.
And it plunders the goods of many a Moses and Aaron.Through pressure of want this snake is as a fly,
It becomes a gnat through wealth and rank and luxury.
Beware, keep that snake in the frost of humiliation,Draw it not forth into the sunshine of 'Iraq!
When it finds release from frost you become its prey.
Conquer it and save yourself from being conquered,Pity it not, it is not one who bears affection.
Like a valiant man will God requite you with union.When that man cherished that snake,
That stubborn brute was happy in the luxury of warmth;And of necessity worked destruction, O friend;
And a hundred thousand men were slain by his serpent,In dire confusion, according to his purpose.
Some Hindoos were exhibiting an elephant in a dark room, and many people collected to see it. But as the place was too dark to permit them to see the elephant, they all felt it with their hands, to gain an idea of what it was like. One felt its trunk, and declared that the beast resembled a water-pipe; another felt its ear, and said it must be a large fan; another its leg, and thought it must be a pillar; another felt its back, and declared the beast must be like a great throne. According to the part which each felt, he gave a different description of the animal. One, as it were, called it "Dal" and another "Alif."Comparison of the sensual eye to the
The eye of outward sense is as the palm of a hand,
The whole of the object is not grasped in the palm.The sea itself is one thing, the foam another;
Neglect the foam, and regard the sea with your eyes.Waves of foam rise from the sea night and day,
You look at the foam ripples and not the mighty sea.We, like boats, are tossed hither and thither,
Under the water you see there is another Water moving it,Within the spirit is a Spirit that calls it.
The other form, which is not defective, is perfect.If I speak thereof your feet stumble,
When you pluck up your foot you escape from the mire,The way to this salvation is very difficult.
When you obtain salvation at God's hands, O wanderer,You are free from the mire, and go your way.
Strive to be weaned through nutriment of the heart.Eat the words of wisdom, for veiled light
Who said, "I desire not to enter the ark of Noah passing by."Noah and his unbelieving son Canaan.
Noah cried, "Ho! child, come into the ark and rest,
That you be not drowned in the flood, O weak one." 1Canaan said, "Nay! I have learned to swim,
I have lit a torch of my own apart from thy torch."
Noah replied, "Make not light of it, for 'tis the flood of destruction,Swimming with hands and feet avails naught today.
He answered "Nay! I am going to that high mountain,For that will save me from all harm."
Noah cried, "Beware, do not so, mountains are now as grass;Except the Friend none can save thee."
Reconciliatian of the two traditions, "Acquiescence in infidelity is infidelity" and "Whoso acquiesces not in God's ordinance desires another Lord besides me".Yesterday an inquirer questioned me,
Since he was interested in the foregoing narrative,Saying, "The Prophet, whose words are as a seal,
I said to him, "This infidelity is ordained, not ordinance, 2
Though this infidelity is the work of the ordinance.
Therefore distinguish the ordinance from the ordained,That thy difficulty may be at once removed.
I acquiesce in infidelity so far as it is God's ordinance,Not so far as it is our evil and foul passions.
Call not God an infidel. Set not foot in this place.Infidelity is folly, ordained infidelity wisdom,
Ugliness of the picture is not ugliness of the painter,Not so, for he erases ugly pictures.
That he can paint both ugly and beautiful pictures.If I should pursue this argument properly,
So that questions and answers should be prolonged,
The unction of the mystery of love would escape me,
The picture of obedience would become another picture."Bewilderment from intense love of God puts
A certain man whose hair was half gray came in hasteTo a barber who was a friend of his,
The barber cut off his beard and laid it before him,
Saying, "Do you part them, the task is beyond me."
Questions are white and answers black; do you choose,For the man of faith knows not how to choose.
The striker said, "Let me first ask you a question,Give me an answer to it and then strike me;
Or from the smitten part of your back, O complainer?"
Zaid replied, "Through pain I am not in a conditionTo enter upon thought and consideration of this.
Such trifling thoughts occur not to a man in pain."Men in pain have no time for other thoughts,
And unprecedented difficulties to your imagination.The man in pain cares only for the faith,
2. Or "decreed, not decree" (maqzi nai qaza). I confess I do not understand the distinction.3. See Gulshan i Raz, I. 287.
4. The four last couplets are omitted in the Bulaq edition.STORY VI.
A lover was once admitted to the presence of his mistress, but, instead of embracing her, he pulled out a paper of sonnets and read them to her, describing her perfections and charms and his own love towards her at length. His mistress said to him, "You are now in my presence, and these lover's sighs and invocations are a waste of time. It is not the part of a true lover to waste his time in this way. It shows that I am not the real object of your affection, but that what you really love is your own effusions and ecstatic raptures. I see, as it were, the water which I have longed for before me, and yet you withhold it. I am, as it were, in Bulgaria, and the object of your love is in Cathay. One who is really loved is the single object of her lover, the Alpha and Omega of his desires. As for you, you are wrapped up in your own amorous raptures, depending on the varying states of your own feelings, instead of being wrapped up in me."
The true mystic must not stop at mere subjective religious emotions, but seek absolute union with God. 1
Whoso is restricted to religious raptures is but a man;
Sometimes his rapture is excessive, sometimes deficient.The Sufi is, as it were, the "son of the season,"
But the pure (Safi) is exalted above season and state.Religious raptures depend on feelings and will,
But the pure one is regenerated by the breath of Jesus.You are a lover of your own raptures, not of me;
You turn to me only in hope of experiencing raptures.Whoso is now defective, now perfect,
He may be the house of the moon, but not the true moon;
Or as the picture of a mistress, but not the living one.The mere Sufi is the " child of the season;"
A child of any one is never free from season and state.
The pure one is drowned in the light cc that is not begotten,""What begets not and is not begotten" is God. 3
Gaze not at the sight of your own weakness or vileness,Gaze at object of your desire, O exalted one.
The Man who prayed earnestly to be fed without work.
In the time of the prophet David there was a man who used to pray day and night, saying, "Thou hast created me weak and helpless; give me my daily bread without obliging me to work for it." The people derided him for making such a foolish petition, but he still persisted, and at last a cow ran into his house of its own accord, and he killed and ate it. This illustrates the saying of the Prophet that God loves earnest petitioners, because He regards the sincerity of the prayer more than the nature of the thing prayed for. All things praise God, but the praises of inanimate things are different from the praises of men, and those of a Sunni different from those of a Compulsionist (Jabri). Each says the other is in the way of error, but none but the truly spiritual man knows the truth.Knowledge or conviction, opposed to opinion.
When he escapes from opinion and knowledge is seen,
This bird gains two wings and spreads both of them.Afterwards he "goes upright on a straight path,
He flies up on two wings even as the angel Gabriel,Free of opinion, of duplicity, and of vain talk.
And though all say to him, "Thou art in the wrong way
Thou thinkest thyself a rock who art but a blade of grass,"He relapses not into opinion at their rebukes,
He would not relapse one jot into vain imaginations,
Nor would he be grieved by the reproaches of his foes.*NOTES:
To illustrate the force of imagination or opinion, a story is told of a trick played by boys upon their master. The boys wished to obtain a holiday, and the sharpest of them suggested that when the master came into the school each boy should condole with him on his alleged sickly appearance. Accordingly, when he entered, one said, "O master, how pale you are looking!" and another said, "You are looking very ill today," and so on. The master at first answered that there was nothing the matter with him, but as one boy after another continued assuring him that he looked very ill, he was at length deluded into imagining that he must really be ill. So he returned to his house, making the boys follow him there, and told his wife that he was not well, bidding her mark how pale he was. His wife assured him he was not looking pale, and offered to convince him by bringing a mirror; but he refused to look at it, and took to his bed. He then ordered the boys to begin their lessons; but they assured him that the noise made his head ache, and he believed them, and dismissed them to their homes, to the annoyance of their mothers. Apropos of the sharpness of the boy who devised this trick, the poet takes occasion to controvert the opinion of the Mu'tazalites, that all m en are born with equal ability, and to express his agreement with the doctrine of the Sunnis, that the innate capacities of men vary very greatly.STORY IX.
There was once a Darvesh who took up his abode in the mountains, in order to enjoy perfect solitude. In that place were many fruit-trees, and the Darvesh made a vow that he would never pluck any of the fruit, but eat only what was shaken down by the wind. For a long time he kept his vow; but a time came when there was no wind, and consequently no fruit was shaken down. The Darvesh was true to his vow for five days, but ho could then endure the pangs of hunger no longer, and he stretched out his hand and plucked some of the fruit from the branches. The reason of this lapse on his part was that he had omitted to say "If God will" when making his vow; and as nothing can be accomplished without God's aid, ho could not possibly keep his vow. Shortly afterwards the chief of the police visited the mountains in pursuit of a band of robbers, and arrested the Darvesh along with them, and cut off his hand. When he discovered his mistake he apologized very earnestly; but the Darvesh reassured him, saying that men were not to blame, as God had evidently designed to punish him for breaking his vow 'by depriving him of the hand which had sinned in plucking the fruit. 1All things dependent upon the will of God.
There is a tradition, "The heart is like a feather
In the desert, which is borne captive by the winds; 4The wind drives it everywhere at random,
Now to right and now to left in opposite directions."
According to another tradition, know the heart is likeTo water in a kettle boiling on the fire.
So every moment a fresh purpose occurs to the heart,
Not proceeding from itself, but from its situation.
Why, then, are you confident about the heart's purposes?Why make you vows only to be covered with shame?
All these changes proceed from the effect of God's will;Although you see the pit, you cannot avoid it.
Their eyes and ears are open and the snare is in front,Yet they fly into the snare with their own wings!
Fulfilling the desire of his enemies by his disgrace.If he sees a pious man he cries, "O sir,
His eyes and ears are open, and he is free from bonds,No jailer watches him, no chain binds him;
What, then, is the bond from which he asks release?What is the prison from which ho seeks an exit?
'Tis the bond of God's purpose and hidden decrees;Ah! none but the pure in sight can see that bond;
Though not visible, that bond exists in concealment;
'Tis more stringent than prison or chains of iron,For the mason can pull down prison walls,
Ahmad alone could see that bond on Omm Jahil's back, 5And the rope of palm fiber bound upon her neck;
Yea, he saw wood on the back of the wife of Bu Lahab,
And she, the bearer of the firewood, said it was heavy.No eye but his saw that rope and that firewood,
That Ahmad was beside himself, and they in their senses.
Nevertheless from the weight of the load her back bent,And she complained of its weight before him,
Yea, he knows them, yet conceals it by command of God,Since God permits him not to reveal it.
5. See Koran cxi.: Abu Labab, at the instigation of his wife, Omm Jahil, rejected Muhammad's claim to the prophetic office and Muhammad declared that they should be burned in the fiery flame," and the wife "laden with firewood, and on her neck a rope of palm fiber."STORY X.
The Old Man who made no Lamentation at the Death of his Sons.
After short anecdotes of Pharaoh's magicians, of the mule who complained to the camel that he was always stumbling, and of the prophet Ezra, comes the story of the old man who wept not for the death of his sons.
An old man who was noted for sanctity, and who realized the saying of the Prophet, "The 'ulama of the faith are as the prophets of Israel," lost all his sons, but showed no grief or regret. His wife therefore rebuked him for his want of feeling, whereupon he replied to her as follows:He turned to his wife and said, "O dame,
Are they not equally visible to the eyes of the heart?I behold them clearly before me,
Wherefore should I disfigure my countenance like you?
Though they have gone forth by revolution of fortune,They are with me still, playing round me.
The cause of lamentation is separation or parting,
But I am still with my dear ones, and embrace them.Ordinary people may see them in dreams,
I shake down the leaves of outward sense from the tree.Know, O wife, outward sense is captive to reason,
The weeds on our water grow thick through carnal lust;Yea, they cover up your water more and more,
While your lust is smiling and your reason weeping.When fear of God binds the hands of lust,
The foregoing story is followed by anecdotes of a blind saint who was miraculously enabled to read the Koran, of Luqman and David, and a description of the saints who, mindful of the saying, "Patience is the key of happiness, resign themselves to the dispensations of Providence, and never pray to have them altered. The story of Bahlol and the Darvesh is then given as an example of this resignation to the will of God. Bahlol once paid a visit to a saintly Darvesh, and asked him how he fared. The Darvesh replied, "I fare like a man who directs the course of the world as he wills, to whom death and life are subservient, and whom tho stars themselves obey." Bahlol then pressed him to explain his meaning more clearly, and the Darvesh replied as follows:He said, "This at least is notorious to all men,
Without the decree and command of that Lord of lords;Not a morsel goes from the mouth down the throat
Desire and appetite, which are the reins of mankind,Are themselves subservient to the rule of God.
Hear this much, that, whereas the totality of actionsIs not effected without God's direction,
When the decree of God becomes the pleasure of man,
Then man desires the fulfillment of God's decrees;
And this too spontaneously, not in hope of reward,
But because his very nature is congruous therewith.He desires not even his own life for himself,
Nor is he relying on the hope of sweets of life to come.Whatever path is taken by the eternal decree,
He dies for the sake of God, not in fear and grief.
His faith is based on his desire to do God's will,
Not on hope to gain paradise with its groves and founts.
His avoidance of infidelity is also for God's sake,
It proceeds not from fear of falling into the fire.
Thus this temper of his arises from his very nature,Not from any discipline and endeavor of his own.
At times he laughs when he contemplates God's pleasure,God's decrees are to him as sweetmeats of sugar.
I ask, does not the world march agreeably to the will
And commands of a man rejoicing in this disposition?
Why, then, should such a one make prayers and petitions,Saying, 'O God, change such and such a decree?'
For God's sake seem to him as sweets in the mouth.
In the view of that faithful one his children's deathsAre as sweetmeats to a starving beggar.
These prayers and petitions, not those of self-pityMake that man to be endued with salvation.
His love was the hell that burned up his inclinations;
Yea, ho burned up his own inclinations one by one."STORY XII.
To illustrate the exalted state of identification of the will with the Divine will just described, the poet tells the story of the visions and mighty works of the holy Daquqi. Daquqi was journeying in pious fervor, and in hope to see the splendour of "The Friend" in human shape, the Ocean in a drop of water, and the Sun in an atom, when late one evening he arrived at the seashore. Turning his eyes to heaven, he saw seven great lights never before seen of men, for "God directs whom He will." 1 Overwhelmed with awe, he watched these lights, and while he still watched them they united into one light. Still more amazed, he watched on, and the single light shortly assumed the likeness of seven men. Afterwards these seven men changed into seven trees; but, strange to say, although crowds of people were passing by, none of them could see these trees, so that Daquqi shared the feelings of the apostles "who lost all hope" (of convincing the world), "and deemed that, they were reckoned as liars." 2 Possessing his soul in patience, Daquqi still watched on, and saw the seven trees bowing down in prayer, and was reminded of the text, "Plants and trees bend in adoration." 3 Presently the seven trees again changed into seven men, and Daquqi was appointed to conduct their devotions. While he was yet acting as Imam in front of them, and they were following the prayers he recited, a ship was seen in great distress and all but lost. At Daquqi's earnest prayer the crew were saved, but straightway vanished from sight; and this led his followers to doubt the reality of the miracle which had just been performed before their eyes.
Description of a saint whose will was identified with God's will.That Daquqi possessed a sweet aspect,
He resembled the moon of heaven come down on earth,
He was as a light to them that walked in darkness.He rarely tarried in one place,
Attachment to that house becomes a passion with me.
I guard myself from being deceived into loving a home;Up! Soul, and travel in search of eternal wealth.
My heart's inclination is not satisfied by houses,
So that they should be places of temptation for me."Thus by day he traveled, and by night prayed,
His eyes were always gazing on the King as a falcon's;Cut off from mankind, though not for any fault,
Severed from men and women, though not for baseness;
Having compassion on mankind, and wholesome as water,
A kind intercessor, and one whose prayers were heard.
Benevolent to the good and the bad, and a firm ally,Better than a mother, and kinder than a father.
Wherefore should you tear away the parts from the whole?
If the part be severed from its whole it is useless;If a limb be rent from the body it dies.
Thus Daquqi, in devotions and praises and prayers,Was ever seeking the particular favorites of God.
I journeyed years and months for love of that Moon,Heedless of the way, absorbed in God.
Seeing I was bewildered, and beside myself, and senseless.Think not my feet touched the earth,
What of distant and near, while it is drunk with love?Distance and nearness are attributes of bodies,
You journeyed from the embryo state to rationalityWithout footsteps or stages or change of place,
The journey of the soul involves not time and place.
And my body learnt from the soul its mode of journeying,
Now my body has renounced the bodily mode of journeying;
It journeys secretly and without form, though under a form."He added, "One day I was thus filled with longing
To behold in human form the splendours of 'The Friend,'To witness the Ocean gathered up into a drop,
In the adorations and benedictions of righteous men
The praises of all the prophets are kneaded together.All their praises are mingled into one stream,
In this respect all religions are only one religion.
Because all praises are directed towards God's light,
Their various forms and figures are borrowed from it.
Men never address praises but to One deemed worthy,They err only through mistaken opinions of Him.
That wall is a connecting-link between all its beams;
Yet when it casts that reflection back to its source,
It wrongly shows great as small, and halts in its praises.Or if the moon be reflected in a well,
And one looks down the well, and mistakenly praises it,In reality he is intending to praise the moon,
Although, through ignorance, he is looking down the well.
The object of his praises is the moon, not its reflection;
His infidelity arises from mistake of the circumstances.
That well-meaning man goes wrong through his mistake;
The moon is in heaven, and he fancies it in the well.By these false idols mankind are perplexed,
The Man in the time of the Prophet David who prayedto be fed without having to work for his food.
After the petitioner had slain and eaten the cow, the owner of the cow came up and accused him of theft, and seizing him by the collar, dragged him before the judgment-seat of the prophet David. When he had stated his case, David ordered the accused to make restitution, telling him that he must not break the law. At this order the accused redoubled his cries, telling David that he was siding with an oppressor. David was staggered at the man's assurance, and finally resolved to take further time for consideration before deciding the case. After private meditation he re-versed his former sentence, and directed the plaintiff to relinquish his claim. On the plaintiff refusing to do this, and stoutly protesting against David's injustice. David further ordered that all the plaintiff's goods should be given to the accused. The reason for this decision was, that David discovered the plaintiff had formerly slain the grandfather of the accused, and stolen all his goods. David then led all the Mosalmans to a tree in the desert where the murder had been perpetrated, and there put the murderer to death.The hands and feet of criminals betray
Had he not done so, God would have kept it hidden.
Criminals and sinners, even in the course of sinning,Themselves rend the coverings of their crimes.
Thus, even here, in the midst of thy sin, thy hand and footBear witness of the secrets of thy heart.
Thy secret thought is as a governor who says to thee,"Tell forth thy convictions, withhold them not;"
And since these witnesses take the bit in their mouths,
Especially in times of passion and wrath and revenge,
Therefore the same God who appointed this governorTo blazen forth thy secret sins to the world
To divulge thy secret sins on the day of judgment. 4O man whose only handiwork is crime and sin;
Thy secret sins are manifest; no divulging is needed.There is no need to proclaim thy sins,
Not a light, so that I should join the Source of light."Comparison of lust to the murderer in the story.
Be not obdurate to the prayers of him that kills the cow.Reason is a poor captive, and ever cries to God
For meat on its dish without laboring and toiling.On what depends its getting meat without toiling?
On its killing the cow of the body, the source of evil.Lust says, "Why hast thou killed my cow?"
It says, "Because lust's cow is the form of the body." 5Reason, the Lord's child, has become a pauper,
'Tis the food of spirits and the aliment of the Prophet.But it is attainable only by slaying the cow;
Treasure is gained by digging, O digger of treasure!*NOTES:
4. "On that day shall their hands speak unto us, and their feet shall bear witness of that which they have done" (Koran xxxvi. 65).
5. Bahau-'d-Din Amili, in his Nan wa Halwa, chap. iv., compares lust to a cow, referring to Koran ii. 63.STORY XIII.
After an anecdote of 'Isa being obliged to ascend a mountain to get away from the fools comes the story of the men of Saba. "A sign there was to Saba in their dwelling-places two gardens, the one on the right hand and the other on the left; 'Eat ye of your Lord's supplies, and give thanks to Him; goodly is the country and gracious is the Lord.' But they turned aside, so we sent upon them the flood of lram. Such was our retribution on them for their ingratitude." 1 The men of Saba were all fools, and brought destruction on themselves by their ingratitude to God. One was far-sighted, and yet blind; another sharp of hearing, and yet deaf; and a third naked, and yet wearing a long robe. Avarice is blind to its own faults, but sees those of others; the sharp-eared deaf man hears death approaching others, but not himself, and the long-robed naked man is he who fears robbers, though he has nothing to lose. In fact, all these men of Saba were afflicted with follies and self-delusions of this kind, and gave no thanks to God for the blessings which they enjoyed. Accordingly thirteen prophets were sent to admonish them, but their admonitions were not listened to, the men of Saba questioning their divine mission and demanding a miracle as a sign. They also told the prophets a parable of a clever hare, who, wishing to frighten an elephant away from a fountain, went to the elephant, pretending to be an ambassador from the moon.2 The prophets were naturally indignant at the effrontery of the men of Saba in misapplying parables to discredit their divine mission, and reminded them that wicked men had flouted the prophet Noah in the same way when he was warning them of the flood. And they demonstrated at length how the men of Saba had misapplied the parable of the hare and the elephant, and again adjured them to believe. But the men of Saba continued refractory, and would not, accept the Prophets' counsels. They plied the prophets with the arguments of the Compulsionists (Jabriyan), and refused to be convinced of the fallacy of their reasoning. So at last the prophets despaired of them, and left them to their doom.
Not every one can properly use similitudes and parables in divine matters.
The faculty of using similitudes is peculiar to a saint
Who is signally marked by knowledge of hidden mysteries.
What know you of the mystery hid in aught, that you
In your folly should use similitudes of curl and cheek?
Moses took his staff to be a stick, though it was not;It was a serpent, and its mystery was revealed.
If a saint such as he knew not the mystery of a stick,
What know you of the mystery of the snare and grains?When the eye of a Moses erred as to a similitude,
Those similitudes of yours are changed into serpentsTo tear you into pieces with their jaws.
So that he became cursed of God till the day of doom.Such a parable did Korah use in his argument,
So that he was swallowed up in the earth with his wealth.Such parables know to be as crows and owls,
A hundred parable-mongers attacked him with irony,
Saying, "In the desert, where is no water or well,He builds a boat! What ignorant folly is this!"
The arguments of the Jabriyan, i.e., the Fatalists or Compulsionists.The men of Saba said, "O preachers, enough!
What you say is enough, if there are any wise here.God has placed a 'lock upon our hearts,' 3
God is the creator of heaven and them that dwell therein;
Also of water and of earth, and them that dwell therein;To heaven He gave its revolutions and its purity,
Can earth will to assume the clearness of pure wine?That Person has assigned 'to each its lot,
God has sent some pains for which there is no cure,
Such, for instance, as lameness, loss of nose, and blindness.
God has sent other pains for which there are cures,To wit, crooked mouth and headache.
The use of these in pain and anguish is not in vain.Nay, the majority of pains may be cured;
When you seek those cures earnestly you find them."
The men of Saba replied, "O men, these pains of oursAre not of the sort 'that admit of cure.
But our bonds are made thereby heavier every moment.If our sickness admitted of a cure,
It would certainly have been lessened by your spells.
When the body is obstructed water reaches not the liver,Though one drinks the ocean, it passes elsewhere.
Then of course the hands and feet become dropsical,
And. yet that draught does not quench his thirst."The prophets replied, "To despair is wrong,
One must not despair of the grace of such a Benefactor,One must cling to the stirrup-straps of God.
Ah! many are the conditions which at first are hard,
But, are afterwards relieved and lose their harshless.Oftentimes hope succeeds to hopelessness,
_And that ye have locks upon your ears and your hearts. 4No condition of ours is altogether as we wish,
It has naught to do with approving or disapproving His works."
The men of Saba replied, "If ye yourselves are happy,Ye make us miserable and annoy and disturb us.
The comfort and harmony which we enjoyed heretoforeHave been rent in pieces by your evil presages.
On every side evil portents threatening punishment:This is the burden of your parables and presages,
He answers, 'What presage? Up, and see for yourself!By means of this evil presage I rouse you,
And release you from danger and lead you to your home.'Like a prophet he warns you of hidden danger,
Mercy inclines the good to devotion, but vengeance the bad.
If you do a kindness to a generous man, 'tis fitting,
For each kindness he will return seven hundredfold.
When you treat a base man with scorn and contumely,He will become your slave in all sincerity.
Whereas the object of man's being is to worship God,
Hell is ordained as a place of worship for the proud; 5
Man has the power to engage in any actions soever,
But worship of God is the main object of his existence.
Read the text, 6 "I have not created Jinns and men but to worship me."The only object of the world is to worship God.
If you make a pillow of it, it serves that purpose too.Yet its main object is not to serve as a pillow,
Hell for the base and increased bliss for the noble.Even so Moses made a small gate in Jerusalem, 7
To make the Israelites bow the head in entering it.
The discussion is continued and illustrated by anecdotes of the Sufi who preferred a table with no food upon it, because he ever sought "not-being," of Jacob's vision of Joseph, and of a devout slave who obtained leave of his master to say his prayers in a mosque, but tarried there so long that the doors were shut, and he could not get out, nor his master in. The prophets at last despaired of making any impression upon the unbelievers, but called to mind the text "When at last the Apostles lost all hope, and deemed that they were reckoned as liars, our aid reached them, and we delivered whom we would, but our vengeance was not averted from the wicked." 8The despair of the prophets.
Men are moved by God's decree and fixed ordinance, 9As sharp-set teeth are caused by heat of belly.
'Tis Primal Soul that dominates the Second Soul,10Fish begins to stink at the head, not the tail.
Yet be advised and keep your steed straight as an arrow,When God says 'Proclaim' we must obey. 11
You do it in trust that the voyage will be prosperous;
You know not which of the two events will befall you,Whether you will be drowned or come safe to land.
On the bare hope of reaching land, as the rest do.'
In that case no trade at all will be undertaken by you,
As the secret of these two events is always hidden.The lamp of the heart, that is a timid trader,
Nay, it acquires loss, for it is precluded from gain;
'Tis the lamp that takes fire that acquires light.Since all things are dependent on probability,
Religion is so first of all, for thereby you find release.In this world no knocking at the door is possible
Probability the guide of life in religion as well as in common matters. "Religion dependent an hope and fear." 14
The final cause of trading is hope or probability,When traders work themselves lean as spindles. 15
When the merchant goes to his shop in the morning,
He does so in hope and probability of gaining bread.If you have no hope of getting bread, why go?
There is the fear of loss, since you are not strong.
But does not this fear of utter loss in your tradeBecome weakened in the course of your exertions?
Why then, O faint-hearted one, in the matter of religionAre you paralysed by the fear of loss?
See you not how the traders in this market of oursMake large profits, both apostles and saints?
5. God said, "Come ye either in obedience, or in spite of your wishes" (Koran xli. 10).6. Koran li. 56.
9. "All things have we created after a fixed decree, every action great and small is written." Koran liv. 49.
10. The Logos or first Emanation produced the second or "Universal Soul."
11. "O Apostle! proclaim all that hath been sent down" (Koran v. 71).
12. "Which party," i.e., those doomed to be saved or those doomed to destruction.
13. "Nothing shall be reckoned to a man save that for which he hath made effort" (Koran liii. 40).
14. So Sa'di Bostan Book I. Cp. Butler's Analogy, Conclusion.15. i.e., exert themselves much.
It is related that the Prophet was once present at a banquet, and after he had eaten and drunk, his servant Anas threw the napkin which he had used into the fire, and the napkin was not burnt, 'but only purified by the fire. On another occasion a caravan of Arabs was traveling in the desert, and was in sore distress through lack of water, whereupon the Prophet miraculously increased the water in a single water-skin, so that it sufficed to supply the needs of all the travelers. Moreover, the negro who carried the water-skin was rendered as white and fair as Joseph. Again, a heathen woman came to the Prophet carrying her infant, aged only two months, and the infant saluted the Prophet as the veritable apostle of God. Again, when the prophet was about to put on his sandals, an eagle swooped down upon one of them and carried it off, when a viper was seen to drop from the sandal. The Prophet was at first inclined to grumble at this stroke of ill-luck; but when he saw the viper his discontent was turned into thankfulness to God, who had thus miraculously saved him from being bitten by the viper.
In difficulties there is provided a way of salvation 1.In this tale there is a warning for thee, O Soul,
It says, "Why should I fall into grief in disgrace?I gather beauty even from the thorn of disgrace."
Know of a surety is so much gained from misfortune.What is Sufiism? 'Tis to find joy in the heart
In order to save his foot from the bite of the viperO excellent device! to preserve him from harm.
The Man who asked Moses to teach him the language of animals.
A certain man came to Moses and desired to be taught the language of animals, for, he said, men used their language only to get food and for purposes of deception, and possibly a knowledge of animals' languages might stimulate his faith. Moses was very unwilling to comply with his request, as he knew such knowledge would prove destructive to him, but, on his persisting, took counsel of God, and finally taught him the language of fowls and dogs. Next morning the man went amongst the fowls, and heard a discussion between the cock and the dog. The dog was abusing the cock for picking up the morsels of bread which fell from their master's table, because the cock could find plenty of grains of corn to eat, whereas the dog could only eat bread. The cock, to appease him, said that on the morrow the master's horse would die, and then the dog would have enough and to spare. The master, hearing this, at once sold his horse, and the dog, being disappointed of his meal, again attacked the cock. The cock then told him the mule would die, whereupon the master sold the mule. Then the cock foretold the death of a slave, and the master again sold the slave. At this the dog, losing patience, upbraided the cock as the chief of deceivers, and the cock excused himself by showing that all three deaths had taken place just as he had predicted, but the master had sold the horse, mule, and slave, and had thrown the loss on others. He added that, to punish him for his fraudulent dealing, the master would himself die on the morrow, and there would be plenty for the dog to eat at the funeral feast. Hearing this, the master went to Moses in great distress, and prayed to be saved. Moses besought the Lord for him, and gained permission that he should die in the peace of God.Why freewill is good for man.
Otherwise heaven itself were matter of compulsion.
In its revolutions reward and punishment were needless,
For 'tis freewill that has merit at the great reckoning.If the whole world were framed to praise God,
Place a sword in his hand and remove his impotence,To see if he turns out a warrior or a robber.
Because freewill is that wherewith 'we honor Adam,' 1Half the swarm become bees and half wasps.
So that, like bees, their chyle yields life-giving food,Whilst infidels feed on filth and garbage,
In the world the praise "Well done faithful servant!"Is given to freewill which is used with prudence.
When power of choice is absent actions are worthless;But beware lest death snatch away your capital!
Your power of choice is a capital yielding profit,Remember well the day of final account!
A woman bore many children in succession, but none of them lived beyond the age of three or four months. In great distress she cried to God, and then beheld in a vision the beautiful gardens of Paradise, and many fair mansions therein, and upon one of these mansions she read her own name inscribed. And a voice from heaven informed her that God would accept the sorrows she had endured in lieu of her blood shed in holy war, as, owing to her sex, she was unable to go out to battle like the men. On looking again, the woman beheld in Paradise all the children she had lost, and she cried, "O Lord ! they were lost to me, but were safe with Thee!"
This story is followed by anecdotos of Hamza going out to battle without his coat-of-mail, of the Prophet advising a man who complained of being cheated in his bargains to take time before completing them, and of the death of Bilal, Muhammad's crier, and by illustrations of the illusive nature of the world, of the difference between things self-evident and mere matters of inference, and between knowing a thing through illustrations and on the authority of others and knowing it as it really is in its essence.
The difference between knowing a thing merely by similitudes and on the authority of others, and knowing the very essence thereof.God's mercy is known through the fruits thereof,
A child knows naught of the nature of sexual intercourse,
Except what you tell him, that it is like sweetmeats.
Yet how far does the pleasure of sexual intercourseReally resemble that derived from sweetmeats?
Between you, with your perfect knowledge, and the child;
So that the child knows the matter by a similitude,Though he knows not its essence or actual nature.
Though the real nature of Noah is not revealed to you.
On the other hand, if you say, "What know I of NoahAs his contemporaries knew him?
Negation and affirmation of one proposition are lawful;When the aspects differ the relation is double.
"Thou castest not when thou castest" 2 shows such relation,Here negation and affirmation are both correct.
Thou castest not, since 'tis God who affords the strength.The might of the sons of Adam is limited,
The sand was in man's hands, the casting was God's.
Owing to the two relations negation and affirmation are both true.The infidels know the prophets,
As well as they doubtless know their own children;
Yea, the infidels know them as well as their own sons,By a hundred tokens and a hundred evidences,
And incline themselves to say, "We know them not."So when God says in one place "knows them,"
For in truth they are hid under God's overshadowing, 3And none but God knows them by actual experience.
1. There is a Hadis, "Think on God's mercies, and not on His essence."
2. Koran viii. 17. Said of the sand cast into the eyes of the men of Mecca at Beder.
3. See Gulshan i Raz, I. 354, where the commentator says the allusion is to Moses at Mount Sinai. Koran vii. 139.STORY XVII.
The Prince of Bokhara had a Vakil who, through fear of punishment for an offence he had committed, ran away and remained concealed in Kuhistan and the desert for the space of ten years. At the end of that time, being unable to endure absence from his lord and his home any longer, he determined to return to Bokhara and throw himself at his lord's feet, and endure whatever punishment his lord might be pleased to inflict upon him. His friends did all they could to dissuade him, assuring him that the Prince's wrath was still hot against him, and that if he appeared at Bokhara he would be put to death, or at least imprisoned for the rest of his life. He replied, "O advisers, be silent, for the force of the love which is drawing me to Bokhara is stronger than the force of prudent counsels. When love pulls one way all the wisdom of Abu Hanifa and Ash-Shafi'i is impotent to withstand it. If it shall please my lord to slay me, I will yield up my life without reluctance, for this life of estrangement from him which I am now leading is the same as death, and release from it will be eternal happiness. I will return to Bokhara and throw myself at my lord's feet, and say to him, 'Deal with me as thou wilt, for I can no longer bear absence from thee, and life or death at thy hands is all the same to me!'" Accordingly, he journeyed back to Bokhara, counting the very toils and discomforts of the road sweet and delightful, because they were steps in his homeward course. When he reached Bokhara his friends and relations all warned him not to show himself, as the Prince was still mindful of his offence and bent on punishing him; but he replied to them as to his other advisers, that he was utterly regardless of his life, and was resolved to commit himself to his lord's good pleasure. He then went to the court and threw himself at his lord's feet and swooned away. The Prince, seeing the strong affection borne to him by his repentant servant, conceived a similar affection towards him, and descended from his throne and graciously raised him from the ground, and pardoned his offence. Thus it is that eternal life is gained by utter abandonment of one's own life. When God appears to His ardent lover the lover is absorbed in Him, and not so much as a hair of the lover remains. True lovers are as shadows, and when the sun shines in glory the shadows vanish away. He is a true lover of God to whom God says, "I am thine, and thou art mine!"
In the course of this story, which is narrated at great length, are introduced anecdotes of a lover and his mistress, of the Virgin Mary being visited by the "Blessed Spirit" or Angel Gabriel, 1 of the fatal mosque, of Galen's devotion to carnal learning, of Satan's treachery to the men of Mecca at the battle of Bedr, 2 and of Solomon and the gnat. There also occur comments on various texts, and a curious comparison of the trials and wholesome afflictions of the righteous to the boiling of potherbs in a saucepan by the cook.
The reply of the lover when asked by his mistress which city of all those he had seen was most pleasing in his sight.A damsel said to her lover, "O fond youth,
Which of those cities seems most delightful to you?"He made answer, "The city wherein my love dwells.
Though it be as the eye of a needle, 'tis a wide plain;Wherever her Yusuf-like face shines as a moon,
Without thee lilies and roses would be as flames of fire!"
The answer of the Vakil to those who advised him not to court death by yielding himself up to his lord.
He said, "I am a drawer of water; water attracts me,Even though I know water may be my death.
Though the bottle of my belly were burst with water,
And though I should die, my death would be acceptable.Wheresoever I see one seeking water, I envy him,
He is the 'Feast of Sacrifice,' and I his loving cow. 3The cow, whether it eats or sleeps,
Know me to be that cow of Moses which gave its life,Each part of me gives life to the righteous.
At the words, ' Strike the corpse with part of her.' 4O pious ones, slay the cow (of lust),
Let me then become non-existent, for non-existence
Sings to me in organ tones, 'To him shall we return.' 6
Know death to be the gathering together of the people.
The water of life is hidden in the land of darkness.Like a water-lily seek life there!
Yea, like that drawer of water, at the risk of life,
Water will be his death, yet he still seeks water,And still drinks on, and God knows what is right.
It is lost therein, and becomes itself the stream.
Its individuality is lost, but its essence remains,And hereby it becomes not less nor inferior.
He fell at the feet of the Prince with streaming eyes.The people were all on the alert, expecting
Saying, "Moth-like he has seen the blaze of the light,
And fool-like has plunged therein and lost his life."But the torch of love is not like that torch,
Love generates love. "If ye love God, God will love you" 7That. Bokharian then cast himself into the flame,
Since then the tree of love has grown up to heaven,
How shall it not also grow in the heart of the Prince?
A wave washes away the remembrance of the sin from his heart,For from each heart is a window to other hearts.
Since in each heart there is a window to other hearts,
They are not, separated and shut off like two bodies.Thus, even though two lamp-dishes be not joined,
While the beloved's love makes hers fair and lusty.
When in this heart the lightning spark of love arises,Be sure this love is reciprocated in that heart.
The man athirst cries, "Where is delicious water?"Water too cries, "Where is the water-drinker?"
This thirst in my soul is the attraction of the water;I am the water's and the water is mine.
God's wisdom in His eternal foreknowledge and decreeMade us to be lovers one of the other.
Nay more, all the parts of the world by this decreeAre arranged in pairs, and each loves its mate.
We are related to one another as iron and magnet."Heaven is man and earth woman in character;
When it lacks moisture and dew, heaven sends them.The earthy sign 9 succours the terrestrial earth,
The fiery sign (Leo) sends forth the heat of the sun,Like a dish heated red-hot in front and behind.
If these two lovers did not suck nutriment from each other,Why should they creep together like man and wife?
Without the earth how could roses and saffron grow?
For naught can grow from the sole heat and rain of heaven.This is the cause of the female seeking the male,
"O moisture, return to me from your foreign abode!"Fire also calls out to the heat of the body,
It is ill compacted owing to the struggle of its elements.Disease comes to rend the body asunder,
The four elements are as birds tied together by the feet;
Death, sickness and disease loose their feet asunder.The moment their feet are loosed from the others,
The repulsion of each of these principles and causesInflicts every moment a fresh pang on our bodies.
That it may dissolve these composite bodies of ours,
The bird of each part tries to fly away to its origin;But the wisdom of God prevents this speedy end,
It is useless for you to take wing before that day."
But as each part desires reunion with its original,
How is it with the soul who is a stranger in exile?It says, "O parts of my habitation here below,
My absence is sadder than yours, as I am heaven-born.The body loves green pastures and running water,
The love of the soul is for life and the living one,
Because its origin is the Soul not bound to place.The love of the soul is for wisdom and knowledge,
That of the body for houses, gardens, and vineyards;
The love of the soul is for things exalted on high,
That of the body for acquisition of goods and food.
The love too of Him on high is directed to the soul:Know this for 'He loves them that love Him.'" 10
The soul of that other who is sought inclines to him.
Let us quit the subject. Love for that soul athirst
Was kindled in the breast of the Prince of Bokhara.
The smoke of that love and the grief of that burning heart
Ascended to his master and excited his compassion.The praises addressed to the Prince by the Vakil.
I thank thee that thou hast come back from Mount Qaf!O Israfil of the resurrection-day of love,
First hear this, that while I remained in absence,First and last alike escaped me.
That I searched much, but found no second to thee.Thirdly, that when I had departed outside thee,
Shall I weep, or shall I speak, or what shall I do?If I speak, my weeping ceases;
So many "Ahs" and "Alases" proceeded from his heart,
That the people of Bokhara formed a circle round him.Talking sadly, weeping sadly, smiling sadly,
Men and women, small and great, were all assembled.The whole city wept in concert with him;
Men and women mingled together as on the last day.Then Heaven said to Earth,
"If you never saw a resurrection-day, see it here!"
Reason was amazed, saying, "What love, what ecstasy!Is his separation more wondrous, or his reunion?"
3. The Id ul Azha, or the Feast of Sacrifices, held on the tenth day of the month Zul Hijja. It is also called "The Cow Festival."
4. This refers to Koran ii. 63. The cow was to be sacrificed in order that a murderer might be discovered by striking the corpse with a piece of her flesh.
5. i.e., Earth losing its own form becomes vegetable, vegetable again perishes to feed and be transmuted into animal, , and in like manner animal becomes man. See the passage of Milton quoted below, and Gulshan i Raz, I. 490 and note.
6. Koran ii. 153: "Verily we are God's, and to Him shall we return."7. Koran iii. 29.
8. "Seest thou not to what God likeneth a good word? To a good tree, its root firmly fixed, and its branches in the heaven" (Koran xiv. 29).9. i.e., of the zodiac.
11. "They surely are infidels who say, 'God is the third of three,' for there is no God but one God" (Koran v. 77).STORY XVIII.
In the suburbs of a certain city there was a mosque in which none could sleep a night and live. Some said it was haunted by malevolent fairies; others, that it was under the baneful influence of a magic spell; some proposed to put up a notice warning people not to sleep there, and others advised that the door should be kept locked. At last a stranger came to that city and desired to sleep in the mosque, saying that he did not fear to risk his life, as the life of the body was naught, and God has said, "Wish for death if you are sincere." 1 The men of the city warned him again and again of the danger, and rebuked him for his foolhardiness, reminding him that not improbably Satan was tempting him to his own destruction, as he tempted the men of Mecca at the battle of Bedr. 2 The stranger, however, would not be dissuaded, but persisted in his purpose of sleeping in the mosque. He said that he was as one of the devoted agents of the Ismailians, who were always ready to sacrifice their lives at the bidding of their chiefs, and that the terrors of death did not appal him any more than the noise of a little drum beaten by a boy to scare away birds could appal the great drum-bearing camel that used to march at the head of King Mahmud's army. Accordingly, he slept in the mosque, and at midnight he was awakened by a terrible voice, as of one about to attack him. But instead of being dismayed, he bethought himself of the text "Assault them with thy horsemen and thy footmen," 3 and confronted his unseen foe, challenging him to show himself and stand to his arms. At these words the spell was dissipated, and showers of gold fell on all sides, which the brave hero proceeded to appropriate.
The "knowledge of certainty" and the "eye of certainty".
Our body and substance are snow, doomed to perish,
God is He who buys them, for "God hath bought them." 4You prefer this perishing snow to God's price
And, strange to say, opinion abides in you, O weak one,And never flies away to the garden of certainty.
And more and more moves its wings towards certainty.When it reaches knowledge it stands erect,
And its knowledge again hastes on towards certainty,Because in the approved road of the faith
Knowledge is lower than certainty, but above opinion.Know knowledge aspires to certainty,
In the chapter, "Desire of riches occupieth you," 5After "Nay," read "Would that ye knew!"
How knowledge of certainty becomes the eye of certainty.As for me, I am above both opinion and certainty;
I am become clear-sighted, and see him face to face!
The righteous are exposed to trials for their improvement, as potherbs are boiled to make them fit for food.Behold these potherbs boiling in the pot,
How they jump and toss about in the heat of the fire.Whilst they are boiling, they keep leaping up,
Saying to the housewife, "Why do you set us on the fire?
Now you have bought us, why should you afflict us?"
The housewife pushes them down with her spoon, saying,
"Be still, and boil well, and leap not off the fire.I do not boil you because I dislike you,
When you become food you will be mingled with life;This trial is not imposed on you to distress you.
That mercy might train it to be proof against trial;Mercy was shown to it previously to vengeance,
Because flesh and skin grow not without tender care,
How should they not grow when warmed by the Friend's love.If vengeance follows as a necessary consequence,
That you may be purified and raised above your nature.I am Abraham, and you his son under the knife.
Lay down your head! 'I have seen I must sacrifice you.' 6
Yield your head to vengeance, your heart to constancy,That I may cut your throat like an Ismailian's.
My main object herein is to inculcate resignation,O Mosalman! it behoves you to seek resignation. 7
That neither existence nor self may remain in you.Though you once smiled in that earthly garden,
You are really roses of the garden of life and sight.If you are torn away from the garden of earth,
You were only milk, you become a lion of the forest!You issue from God's attributes at first;
Return again back to those attributes with all speed!You come from the clouds and sunshine and sky,
You begin as a part of the sun, clouds, and stars,You rise to be breath, act, word, and thought!
The life of animals comes from the death of plants.True is the saying, 'Kill me, O faithful ones!'
They rise above the grade of minerals to that of animals.Objections of fools to the Masnavi.
'Tis not an account of the arguments and deep mysteries,Whereto holy men direct their attention;
Concerning asceticism, and so on to self-annihilation,Step by step, up to communion with God;
An explanation and definition of each several state,Whereto the men of heart ascend in their flight."
Whereas the Book of God resembles the Masnavi in this,The infidels abused it, in the same manner,
There is no deep analysis or lofty investigation therein.Little boys can understand it;
Accounts of Adam, of the wheat, and of the serpent Iblis,
Accounts of Hud, of Noah, of Abraham, and the, fire."Know the words of the Koran are simple,
But within the outward sense is an inner secret one. 10Beneath that secret meaning is a third,
Thus they go on, even to seven meanings, one by one,
According to the saying of the Prophet, without doubt.
Do thou, O son, confine not thy view to the outward meaning,Even as the demons saw in Adam only clay. 11
The outward meaning of the Koran is like Adam's body,
For its semblance is visible, but its soul is hidden.O reviling dog! thou makest a clamour,
Thou makest thy abuse of the Koran thy destruction. 12
This is not a lion, wherefrom thou canst save thy life,Or canst secure thyself from his talons!
Fish and fowl dwell under the shelter of your justice;
Where is the oppressed one whom your mercy has not sought?Grant me redress, for I am much afflicted,
Who is the oppressor, who, puffed up with arroganceHas oppressed you and smitten your face?"
The gnat replied, "He from whom I seek redress is the Wind,
'Tis he who has emitted the smoke of oppression at me;Through his oppression I am in a grievous strait,
You must hear the command of God with all your heart.
God has commanded me saying, 'O dispenser of justice,Never hear one party without the other!'
In like manner the seekers of God's presence-seat,When God appears, those seekers vanish.
4. "Verily of the faithful hath God bought their persons and their substance, on condition of Paradise for them in return" (Koran ix. 112).
5. "The desire of riches occupieth you till ye come to the grave. Nay! but in the end ye shall know. Nay! would that ye knew it with knowledge of certainty. Surely ye shall see hell-fire. Ye shall surely see it with the eye of certainty" (Koran cii.)6. Koran xxxvii. 101.
7. According to its etymology. Islam means self-surrender to God as well as safety, peace, and obedience to divine laws.8. Cp. Milton, Paradise Lost, v. 482:
10. There is a Hadis to the effect that each word of the Koran has seven meanings. See Koran iii. 5.11. Koran xvii. 63.
12. The Lucknow commentator says that Faizi (brother of Abul Fazl Akbar's minister) once spoke disrespectfully of the Koran and the Masnavi, and on the leaves being turned over, this passage presented itself.
The book ends with the beginning of a story which is finished in the fourth book.Next: The Masnavi Book IV