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(Masnavi Book 1: 05) The Caliph and Layla

























Story of the Caliph's seeing Laylá.

The Caliph said to Laylá: “Art thou she by whom Majnún was distracted and led astray?
Thou art not superior to other fair ones.” “Be silent,” she replied, “since thou art not Majnún.”
Whosoever is awake (to the material world) is the more asleep (to the spiritual world); his wakefulness is worse than his sleep.

410. When our soul is not awake to God, wakefulness is like closing our doors (to Divine influences).
All day long, from the buffets of phantasy and from (thoughts of) loss and gain and from fear of decline,
There remains to it (the soul) neither joy nor grace and glory nor way of journeying to Heaven.
The one asleep (to spiritual things) is he who hath hope of every vain fancy and holds parley with it.
Diabolum per somnum videt tanquam virginem caelestem, deinde propter libidinem effundit cum diabolo aquam (seminis).

415. Postquam semen generationis in terram salsuginosam infudit, ipse ad se rediit, fugit ab eo illa imago.
Hinc percipit languorem capitis et (videt) corpus pollutum. Proh dolor ob illud simulacrum visum (sed revera) non visum!
The bird is flying on high, and its shadow is speeding on the earth, flying like a bird:
Some fool begins to chase the shadow, running (after it) so far that he becomes powerless (exhausted),
Not knowing that it is the reflexion of that bird in the air, not knowing where is the origin of the shadow.

420. He shoots arrows at the shadow; his quiver is emptied in seeking (to shoot it):
The quiver of his life became empty: his life passed in running hotly in chase of the shadow.
(But) when the shadow of God is his nurse, it delivers him from (every) phantom and shadow.
The shadow of God is that servant of God who is dead to this world and living through God.
Lay hold of his skirt most quickly without misgiving, that you may be saved in the skirt (end) of the last days (of the world).

425. (The shadow mentioned in the words) How He (God) extended the shadow is the form of the saints, which guides to the light of the Divine Sun.
Do not go in this valley without this guide; say, like Khalíl (Abraham), “I love not them that set.”
Go, from the shadow gain a sun: pluck the skirt of the (spiritual) king, Shams-i Tabrízí (the Sun of Tabríz)!
If you do not know the way to this feast and bridal, ask of Ziyá’u ’l-Haqq (the Radiance of God) Husámu’ddín.
And if on the way envy seize you by the throat, it belongs to (is characteristic of) Iblís to go beyond bounds in envy;

430. For he because of envy hath disdain for Adam, and because of envy is at war with felicity.
In the Way there is no harder pass than this. Oh, fortunate he who is not companioned by envy!
This body, you must know, is the house of envy, for the household are tainted with envy.
If the body is the house of envy, yet God made that body very pure.
(The text) Cleanse My house, ye twain, is the explanation of (such) purity: it (the purified heart) is a treasure of (Divine) light, though its talisman is of earth.

435. When you practise deceit and envy against one who is without envy, from that envy black stain arise in your heart.
Become (as) dust under the feet of the men of God; throw dust on the head of envy, even as we do.
Explanation of the envy of the vizier.
That petty vizier had his origin from envy, so that for vanity he gave to the wind (sacrificed) his ears and nose,
In the hope that by the sting of envy his venom might enter the souls of the poor (Christians).
Any one who from envy mutilates his nose makes himself without ear and without nose (unable to apprehend spiritual things).

440. The nose is that which catches a scent, and which the scent leads towards an abode (of spiritual truth).
Whoever hath no scent is without a nose; the scent (referred to) is that scent which is religious.
When he has caught a scent and given no thanks for it, (that) ingratitude comes and devours his nose (deprives him of the organ of spiritual perception).
Give thanks (to God) and be a slave to those who give thanks: be in their presence (as one) dead, be steadfast.
Do not, like the vizier, make brigandage your stock-in-trade; do not turn the people away from the ritual prayer.

445. The miscreant vizier had become (in appearance) a true religious counsellor, (but) he had craftily put garlic in the
almond cake.
How the sagacious among the Christians perceived the guile of the vizier.
Whoever was possessed of (spiritual) discernment was feeling a sweet savour in his words and, joined therewith, bitterness.
He (the vizier) was saying fine things mixed (with foul): he had poured some poison into the sugared julep.
The outward sense of it was saying, “Be diligent in the Way,” but in effect it was saying to the soul, “Be slack.”
If the surface of silver is white and new, (yet) the hands and dress are blackened by it.

450. Although fire is red-faced (bright and glorious) with sparks, look at the black behaviour (displayed) in its action.
If the lightning appears luminous to the eye, (yet) from its distinctive property it is the robber of sight (it strikes men blind).
(As for) any (Christian) who was not wary and possessed of discernment, the words of him (the vizier) were (as) a collar on his neck.
During six years, in separation from the king, the vizier became a refuge for the followers of Jesus.
To him the people wholly surrendered their religion and their hearts: at his command and decree they were ready to die.
How the king sent messages in secret to the vizier.

455. Messages (passed) between the king and him: the king had words of comfort from him in secret.
The king wrote to him, saying, “O my fortunate one, the time is come: quickly set my mind at ease.”
He replied: “Behold, O king, I am preparing to cast disorders into the religion of Jesus.”
Explanation of the twelve tribes of the Christians.
The people of Jesus had twelve amírs as rulers in authority over them.
Each party followed one amír and had become devoted to its own amír from desire (of worldly gain).

460. These twelve amírs and their followers became the slaves of that vizier of evil sign.
They all put trust in his words, they all took his procedure as a pattern.
Each amír would have given up his life in his presence at the time and hour (on the spot), if he (the vizier) had bidden him die.
How the vizier confused the ordinances of the Gospel.
He prepared a scroll in the name of (addressed to) each one, the (written) form of each scroll (of) a different tenor,
The ordinances of each (of) a diverse kind, this contradicting that from the end to the beginning.

465. In one he made the path of asceticism and hunger to be the basis of repentance and the condition (necessary) for conversion.
In one he said: “Asceticism profits naught: in this Way there is no place (means) of deliverance but generosity.”
In one he said: “Your hunger and generosity are (imply) association on your part (of other objects) with (Him who is) the object of your worship.
Excepting trust (in God) and complete resignation in sorrow and joy, all is a deceit and snare.”
In one he said: “It is incumbent (on you) to serve (God); else the thought of putting trust (in Him) is (a cause of) suspicion.”

470. In one he said: “There are (Divine) commands and prohibitions, (but they) are not for practice (observance): they are
(only) to show our weakness (inability to fulfil them),
So that we may behold our weakness therein and at that time recognise the power of God.”
In one he said: “Do not regard your weakness: that weakness is an act of ingratitude. Beware!
Regard your power, for this power is from Him: know that your power is the gift of Him who is Hú (the Absolute God).”
In one he said: “Leave both these (qualities) behind: whatsoever is contained in sight (regard for other than God) is an idol (something which involves dualism).”

475. In one he said: “Do not put out this candle (of sight), for this sight is as a candle (lighting the way) to (interior)
concentration.
When you relinquish sight and phantasy (too soon), you will have put out the candle of union at midnight.”
In one he said: “Put it out—have no fear—that you may see myriads of sights in exchange;
For by putting it out the candle of the spirit is increased: by your self-denial your Laylá (beloved) becomes your Majnún (lover).
If any one abandons the world by his own (act of) renunciation, the world comes to him (with homage) more and more.”

480. In one he said: “That which God hath given you He made sweet to you in (at the time of) bringing it into existence.
He made it easy (blessed) to you, and do you take it gladly: do not throw yourself into anguish.”
In one he said: “Let go all that belongs to self, for it is wrong and bad to comply with your nature.”
(Many) different roads have become easy (to follow): every one's religion has become (to him) as (dear) as life.
If God's making (religion) easy were the (right) road, every Jew and Zoroastrian would have knowledge of Him.

485. In one he said: “That (alone) is made easy (blessed) that (nothing but) spiritual food should be the life of the heart.”
When the enjoyments of the (sensual) nature are past, like brackish soil they raise no produce and crop.
The produce thereof is naught but penitence; the sale thereof yields only loss, nothing more.
That is not “easy” in the end; its (true) name ultimately is “hard.”
Distinguish the hard from the easy: consider (what is) the goodliness of this and that in the end.
490. In one he said: “Seek a master (teacher): you will not find foresight as to the end among the qualities derived from ancestors.”
Every sort of religious sect foresaw the end (according to their own surmise): of necessity they fell captive to error.
To foresee the end is not (as simple as) a hand-loom; otherwise, how would there have been difference in religions?
In one he said: “You are the master, because you know the master.
Be a man and be not subject to men. Go, take your own head (choose your own way), and be not one whose head is turning (bewildered in search of a guide).”

495. In one he said: “All this (multiplicity) is one: whoever sees two is a squint-eyed manikin.”
In one he said: “How should a hundred be one? He who thinks this is surely mad.”
The doctrines, every one, are contrary to each other: how should they be one? Are poison and sugar one?
Until you pass beyond (the difference of) poison and sugar, how will you catch a scent of unity and oneness?
Twelve books of this style and fashion were drawn up in writing by that enemy to the religion of Jesus.
Showing how this difference lies in the form of the doctrine, not in the real nature of the Way.

500. He had no scent (perception) of the unicolority of Jesus, nor had he a disposition from (imbued with) the tincture of the dyeing-vat of Jesus.
From that pure vat a garment of a hundred colours would become as simple and one coloured as light.
(This) is not the unicolority from which weariness ensues; nay, it is (a case) like (that of) fishes and clear water:
Although there are thousands of colours on dry land, (yet) fishes are at war with dryness.
Who is the fish and what is the sea in (my) simile, that the King Almighty and Glorious should resemble them?

505. In (the world of) existence myriads of seas and fishes prostrate themselves in adoration before that Munificence and
Bounty.
How many a rain of largesse hath rained, so that the sea was made thereby to scatter pearls!
How many a sun of generosity hath shone, so that cloud and sea learned to be bountiful!
The sunbeams of Wisdom struck on soil and clay, so that the earth became receptive of the seed.
The soil is faithful to its trust, and whatever you have sown in it, you carry away the (equivalent in) kind thereof without fraud
(on the part of the soil).

510. It has derived this faithfulness from that (Divine) faithfulness, inasmuch as the sun of Justice has shone upon it.
Until springtide brings the token of God, the soil does not reveal its secrets.
The Bounteous One who gave to an inanimate thing these informations and this faithfulness and this righteousness,
His grace makes an inanimate thing informed, (while) His wrath makes blind the men of understanding.
Soul and heart cannot endure that ferment: to whom shall I speak? There is not in the world a single ear (capable ofapprehension).

515. Wherever there was an ear, through Him it became an eye; wherever there was a stone, through Him it became a jasper.
He is an alchemist—what is alchemy (compared with His action)? He is a giver of miracles (to prophets)—what is magic (compared with these miracles)?
This uttering of praise (to Him) is (really) the omission of praise on my part, for this (praise) is a proof of (my) being, and being is a sin.
It behoves (us) to be not-being in the presence of His Being: in His presence what is (our) being? Blind and blue.
Were it not blind it would have been melted (consumed) by Him: it would have known the heat of (the Divine) sun;

520. And were it not blue from mourning, how would this region (of phenomenal existence) have (remained) frozen like ice?
Setting forth how the vizier incurred perdition (by engaging) in this plot.
The vizier was ignorant and heedless, like the (Jewish) king: he was wrestling with the eternal and inevitable,
With a God so mighty that in a moment He causes a hundred worlds like ours to come into existence from non-existence:
A hundred worlds like ours He displays to the sight, when He makes your eye seeing by (the light of) Himself.
If the world appears to you vast and bottomless, know that to Omnipotence it is not (so much as) an atom.

525. This world, indeed, is the prison of your souls: oh, go in yonder direction, for there lies your open country.
This world is finite, and truly that (other) is infinite: image and form are a barrier to that Reality.
The myriads of Pharaoh's lances were shattered by (the hand of) Moses (armed) with a single staff.
Myriads were the therapeutic arts of Galen: before Jesus and his (life-giving) breath they were a laughing-stock.
Myriads were the books of (pre-Islamic) poems: at the word of an illiterate (prophet) they were (put to) shame.

530. (Confronted) with such an all-conquering Lord, how should any one not die (to self), unless he be a vile wretch?
Many a mind (strong and firm) as a mountain did He uproot; the cunning bird He hung up by its two feet.
To sharpen the intelligence and wits is not the (right) way: none but the broken (in spirit) wins the favour of the King.
Oh, many the amassers of treasure, digging holes (in search of treasure), who became an ox's beard (dupe) to that vain schemer (the vizier)!
Who is the ox that you should become his beard? What is earth that you should become its stubble?

535. When a woman became pale-faced (ashamed) of (her) wickedness, God metamorphosed her and made her Zuhra (the planet Venus).
To make a woman Zuhra was metamorphosis: what (then) is it to become earth and clay, O contumacious one?
Your spirit was bearing you towards the highest sphere (of heaven): you went towards the water and the clay amongst the lowest (of the low).
By this fall you metamorphosed yourself from that (state of) existence which was the envy of the (spiritual) intelligences.
Consider, then, how is (what is the character of) this metamorphosis: compared with that metamorphosis (of the woman) this
(which you have suffered) is exceedingly vile.

540. You urged the steed of ambition towards the stars: you did not acknowledge Adam who was worshipped (by the angels).
After all, you are a son of Adam. O degenerate! how long will you regard lowness as nobility?
How long will you say, “I will conquer a whole world, I will make this world full of myself”?
If the world should be filled with snow from end to end, the glow of the sun would melt it with a single look.
God by a single spark (of His mercy) maketh naught his (the vizier's) burden (of sin) and (the burden) of a hundred viziers and a hundred thousand.

545. He maketh the essence of that (false) imagination to be wisdom; He maketh the essence of that poisoned water to be a (wholesome) drink.
That which raises doubt He turneth into certainty; He maketh loving kindnesses grow from the causes of hatred.
He cherisheth Abraham in the fire; He turneth fear into security of spirit.
By His burning (destroying) of secondary causes I am distraught; in (my) fancies of Him I am like a sophist (sceptic or agnostic).
How the vizier started another plan to mislead the (Christian) folk.
The vizier formed in his mind another plan: he abandoned preaching and sat alone in seclusion.

550. He inspired ardour in his disciples from (their) longing (to see him); he remained in seclusion forty or fifty days.
The people became mad from longing for him and on account of being separated from his (spiritual) feeling and discourse and intuition.
They were making supplication and lament, while he in solitude was bent double by austerities.
They said, “Without thee we have no light: how (what) is the state of a blind man without a leader?
By way of showing favour (to us) and for God's sake, do not keep us parted from thee any longer.

555. We are as children and thou art our nurse: do thou spread over us that shadow (of thy protection).”
He said, “My soul is not far from them that love (me), but there is no permission to come forth.”
Those amírs came for intercession, and the disciples came in reproach,
Saying, “O noble sir, what a misfortune is this for us! Without thee we are left orphaned (deprived) of our hearts and our religion.
Thou art making a pretence while we in grief are heaving cold (fruitless) sighs from the burning heat of our hearts.

560. We have become accustomed to thy sweet discourse, we have drunk of the milk of thy wisdom.
Allah! Allah! do not thou (O vizier) treat us with such cruelty: show kindness to-day, do not (put off till) to-morrow.
Does thy heart give to thee (consent) that these who have lost their hearts (to thee) should at last, being without thee, become
(numbered) amongst them that have nothing left?
They all are writhing like fishes on dry land: let loose the water, remove the dam from the stream.
O thou like whom there is none in the world, for God's sake, for God's sake, come to the aid of thy people!”
How the vizier refused the request of the disciples.

565. He said: “Beware, O ye enslaved by words and talk, ye who seek admonition (consisting) of the speech of the tongue and (the hearing) of the ear.
Put cotton-wool in the ear of the low (physical) sense, take off the bandage of (that) sense from your eyes!
The ear of the head is the cotton-wool of the ear of the conscience: until the former becomes deaf, that inward (ear) is deaf.
Become without sense and without ear and without thought, that ye may hear the call (of God to the soul), ‘Return!’”
So long as thou art (engaged) in the conversation of wakefulness, how wilt thou catch any scent of the conversation of sleep?

570. Our speech and action is the exterior journey: the interior journey is above the sky.
The (physical) sense saw (only) dryness, because it was born of dryness (earth): the Jesus of the spirit set foot on the sea.
The journey of the dry body befell on dry land, (but) the journey of the spirit set foot (took place) in the heart of the sea.
Since thy life has passed in travelling on land, now mountain, now river, now desert,
Whence wilt thou gain the Water of Life? Where wilt thou cleave the waves of the Sea?

575. The waves of earth are our imagination and understanding and thought; the waves of water are (mystical) self effacement and intoxication and death (faná).
Whilst thou art in this (sensual) intoxication, thou art far from that (mystical) intoxication; whilst thou art drunken with this, thou art blind to that cup.
Outward speech and talk is as dust: do thou for a time make a habit of silence. Take heed!
How the disciples repeated their request that he should interrupt his seclusion.
They all said: “O sage who seekest a crevice (means of evasion), say not to us this (word of) guile and harshness.
Lay on the beast a burden in proportion to its endurance, lay on the weak a task in proportion to their strength.

580. The bait for every bird is according to its (the bird's) measure (capacity): how should a fig be the food (lure) for every bird?
If you give a babe bread instead of milk, take it (for granted) that the poor babe will die of the bread;
(Yet) afterwards, when it grows teeth, that babe will of its own accord ask for bread.
When an unfledged bird begins to fly, it becomes a mouthful for any rapacious cat;
(But) when it grows wings, it will fly of itself without trouble and without whistling (prompting), good or bad.

585. Thy speech makes the Devil silent, thy words make our ears (full of) intelligence.
Our ears are (full of) intelligence when thou art speaking; our dry land is a river when thou art the ocean.
With thee, earth is better to us than heaven, O thou by whom (the world from) Arcturus to the Fish is illumined!
Without thee, darkness is over heaven for us, (but) compared with thee, O Moon, who is this heaven at all?
The heavens have the form of sublimity, (but) the essence of sublimity belongs to the pure spirit.

590. The form of sublimity is for bodies; beside the essence (reality) bodies are (mere) names.”
The refusal of the vizier to interrupt his seclusion.
He said: “Cut short your arguments, let my advice make its way into your souls and hearts.
If I am trustworthy, the trustworthy is not doubted, even though I should call heaven earth.
If I am (endowed with) perfection, why (this) disbelief in my perfection? and if I am not (perfect), why this molestation and annoyance?
I will not go forth from this seclusion, because I am occupied with inward experiences.”
How the disciples raised objections against the vizier's secluding himself.

595. They all said: “O vizier, it is not disbelief: our words are not as the words of strangers.
The tears of our eyes are running because of our separation from thee; sigh after sigh is going (up) from the midst of our souls.
A babe does not contend with its nurse, but it weeps, although it knows neither evil nor good.
We are as the harp and thou art striking (it with) the plectrum (playing on it): the lamentation is not from us, it is thou that art making lamentation.
We are as the flute, and the music in us is from thee; we are as the mountain, and the echo in us is from thee.

600. We are as pieces of chess (engaged) in victory and defeat: our victory and defeat is from thee, O thou whose qualities are comely!
Who are we, O thou soul of our souls, that we should remain in being beside thee?
We and our existences are (really) non-existences: thou art the absolute Being which manifests the perishable (causes phenomena to appear).
We all are lions, but lions on a banner: because of the wind they are rushing onward from moment to moment.
Their onward rush is visible, and the wind is unseen: may that which is unseen not fail from us!
605. Our wind (that whereby we are moved) and our being are of thy gift; our whole existence is from thy bringing (us) into being.
Thou didst show the delightfulness of Being unto not-being, (after) thou hadst caused not-being to fall in love with thee.
Take not away the delightfulness of thy bounty; take not away thy dessert and wine and wine-cup!
And if thou take it away, who is there that will make inquiry? How should the picture strive with the painter?
Do not look on us, do not fix thy gaze on us: look on thine own kindness and generosity.

610. We were not, and there was no demand on our part, (yet) thy grace was hearkening to our unspoken prayer (and calling
us into existence).”
Before the painter and the brush the picture is helpless and bound like a child in the womb.
Before Omnipotence all the people of the (Divine) court of audience (the world) are as helpless as the (embroiderer's) fabric before the needle.
Now He makes the picture thereon (one of) the Devil, now (of) Adam; now He makes the picture thereon (one of) joy, now (one of) grief.
There is no power (to any one) that he should move a hand in defence; no (right of) speech, that he should utter a word concerning injury or benefit.

615. Recite from the Qur’án the interpretation of (i.e. a text which interprets) the (preceding) verse: God said, Thou didst not throw when thou threwest.
If we let fly an arrow, that (action) is not from us: we are (only) the bow, and the shooter of the arrow is God.
This is not jabr (compulsion); it is the meaning of jabbárí (almightiness): the mention of almightiness is for the sake of (inspiring us with) humility.
Our humility is evidence of necessity, (but) our sense of guilt is evidence of freewill.
If there were not freewill, what is this shame? And what is this sorrow and guilty confusion and abashment?

620. Why is there chiding between masters and pupils? Why is the mind changing (so as to depart) from plans (already formed)?
And if you say that he (the assertor of freewill) takes no heed of His (God's) compulsion, (and that) God's moon has become hidden in His cloud,
There is a good answer to this; if you hearken, you will relinquish unbelief and incline towards the (true) religion.
Remorse and humility occur at the time of illness: the time of illness is wholly wakefulness (of conscience).
At the time when you are becoming ill, you pray God to forgive your trespass;

625. The foulness of your sin is shown to you, you resolve to come back to the (right) way;
You make promises and vows that henceforth your chosen course (of action) will be nothing but obedience (to God):
Therefore it has become certain that illness gives to you conscience and wakefulness.
Note, then, this principle, O thou that seekest the principle; every one who suffers pain has caught the scent (thereof):
The more wakeful any one is, the more full of suffering he is; the more aware (of God) he is, the paler he is in countenance.

630. If you are aware of His jabr (compulsion), where is your humility? Where is your feeling of (being loaded with) the
chain of His jabbárí (almightiness)?
How should one make merry who is bound in chains? When does the captive in prison behave like the man who is free?
And if you consider that your foot is shackled (and that) the king's officers are sitting (as custodians) over you,
Then do not act like an officer (tyrannously) towards the helpless, inasmuch as that is not the nature and habit of a helpless man.
Since you do not feel His compulsion, do not say (that you are compelled); and if you feel it, where is the sign of your feeling?

635. In every act for which you have inclination, you are clearly conscious of your power (to perform it),
(But) in every act for which you have no inclination and desire, in regard to that (act) you have become a necessitarian, saying, “This is from God.”
The prophets are necessitarians in regard to the works of this world, (while) the infidels are necessitarians in regard to the works of the next world.
To the prophets the works of the next world are (a matter of) freewill; to the foolish the works of this world are (a matter of) freewill,
Because every bird flies to its own congener: it (follows) behind, and its spirit (goes) before, (leading it on).

640. Inasmuch as the infidels were congeners of Sijjn (Hell), they were well-disposed to the prison (sijn) of this world.
Inasmuch as the prophets were congeners of ‘Illiyyín (Heaven), they went towards the ‘Illiyyín of spirit and heart.
This discourse hath no end, but let us (now) relate the story to its completion.
How the vizier made the disciples lose hope of his abandoning seclusion.
The vizier cried out from within, “O disciples, be this made known to you from me,
That Jesus hath given me a such-like message: ‘Be separated from all friends and kinsfolk.

645. Set thy face to the wall, sit alone, and choose to be secluded even from thine own existence.’
After this there is no permission (for me) to speak; after this I have nothing to do with talk.
Farewell, O friends! I am dead: I have carried my belongings up to the Fourth Heaven,
In order that beneath the fiery sphere I may not burn like firewood in woe and perdition,
(But) henceforth may sit beside Jesus at the top of the Fourth Heaven.”
How the vizier appointed each one of the amírs separately as his successor.

650. And then he summoned those amírs one by one and conversed with each (of them) alone.
He said to each one, “In the religion of Jesus thou art the vicar of God and my khalífa (vicegerent),
And those other amírs are thy followers: Jesus hath made all of them thy assistants.
Any amír who lifts his neck (in rebellion), seize him and either kill him or hold him captive;
But do not declare this whilst I am alive: do not seek this supreme authority until I am dead.

655. Until I am dead, do not reveal this: do not lay claim to sovereignty and dominion.
Here is this scroll and the ordinances of the Messiah: recite them distinctly, one by one, to his people.”
Thus he spoke to each amír separately, (saying), “There is no vicar in the religion of God except thee.”
He honoured each, one by one, (in this way): whatever he said to that (amír) he also said to this.
To each he gave one scroll: every one was purposely the contrary of the other.

660. All the scrolls were different, like the forms of the letters (of the alphabet) from yá to alif.
The rule (laid down) in this scroll was contrary to the rule in that: we have already explained (the nature of) this contradiction.
How the vizier killed himself in seclusion.
After that, he shut the door for other forty days (and then) killed himself and escaped from his existence.
When the people learned of his death, there came to pass at his grave the scene of the Resurrection.
So great a multitude gathered at his grave, tearing their hair, rending their garments in wild grief for him,

665. That only God can reckon the number of them—Arabs and Turks and Greeks and Kurds.
They put his (grave's) earth on their heads; they deemed anguish for him to be the remedy for themselves.
During a month those multitudes over his grave made a way for blood from their eyes (shed tears of anguish).
How the people of Jesus—on him be peace!—asked the amírs, “Which one of you is the successor?”
After a month the people said, “O chiefs, which of (the) amírs is designated in his place,
That we may acknowledge him as our religious leader instead of him (the vizier), and give our hands and skirts into his hand?

670. Since the sun is gone and has branded us (left the brand of sorrow in our hearts), is not a lamp the (only) resource in his stead?
Since union with the beloved has vanished from before our eyes, we must needs have a vicar as a memorial of him (i.e. one who will recall him to our memory).
Since the rose is past and the garden ravaged, from whom shall we get the perfume of the rose? From rosewater.”
Inasmuch as God comes not into sight, these prophets are the vicars of God.
Nay, I have said (this) wrongly; for if you suppose that the vicar and He who is represented by the vicar are two, it (such a thought) is bad, not good.

675. Nay; they are two so long as you are a worshipper of form, (but) they have become one to him who has escaped from (consciousness of) form.
When you look at the form, your eye is two; look at its (the eye's) light, which grew from the eye.
’Tis impossible to distinguish the light of the two eyes, when a man has cast his look upon their light.
If ten lamps are present in (one) place, each differs in form from another:
To distinguish without any doubt the light of each, when you turn your face towards their light, is impossible.

680. If you count a hundred apples or a hundred quinces, they do not remain a hundred (but) become one, when you crush them (together).
In things spiritual there is no division and no numbers; in things spiritual there is no partition and no individuals.
Sweet is the oneness of the Friend with His friends: catch (and cling to) the foot of spirit. Form is headstrong.
Make headstrong form waste away with tribulation, that beneath it you may descry unity, like a (buried) treasure;
And if you waste it not away, His favours will waste it—oh, my heart is His vassal.

685. He even showeth Himself to (our) hearts, He seweth the tattered frock of the dervish.
Simple were we and all one substance; we were all without head and without foot yonder.
We were one substance, like the Sun; we were knotless and pure, like water.
When that goodly Light took form, it became (many in) number like the shadows of a battlement.
Rase ye the battlement with the manjaníq (mangonel), that difference may vanish from amidst this company (of shadows).

690. I would have explained this (matter) with (eager) contention, but I fear lest some (weak) mind may stumble.
The points (involved in it) are sharp as a sword of steel; if you have not the shield (of capacity to understand), turn back and flee!
Do not come without shield against this adamant (keen blade), for the sword is not ashamed of cutting.
For this cause I have put the sword in sheath, that none who misreads may read contrariwise (in a sense contrary to the true
meaning of my words).
We come (now) to complete the tale and (speak) of the loyalty of the multitude of the righteous,

695. Who rose up after (the death of) this leader, demanding a vicar in his place.
The quarrel of the amírs concerning the succession.
One of those amírs advanced and went before that loyal-minded people.
“Behold,” said he, “I am that man's vicar: I am the vicar of Jesus at the present time.
Look, this scroll is my proof that after him the vicarate belongs to me.”
Another amír came forth from ambush: his pretension regarding the vicegerency was the same;

700. He too produced a scroll from under his arm, so that in both (amírs) there arose the Jewish anger.
The rest of the amírs, one after another, drawing swords of keen mettle,
Each with a sword and a scroll in his hand, fell to combat like raging elephants.
Hundreds of thousands of Christians were slain, so that there were mounds of severed heads;
Blood flowed, on left and right, like a torrent; mountains of this dust (of battle) rose in the air.

705. The seeds of dissension which he (the vizier) had sown had become a calamity (cause of destruction) to their heads.
The walnuts (bodies) were broken, and those which had the kernel had, after being slain, a spirit pure and fair.
Slaughter and death which befalls the bodily frame is like breaking pomegranates and apples:
That which is sweet becomes pomegranate-syrup, and that which is rotten is naught but noise:
That which has reality is made manifest (after death), and that which is rotten is put to shame.

710. Go, strive after reality, O worshipper of form, inasmuch as reality is the wing on form's body.
Consort with the followers of reality, that you may both win the gift and be generous (in giving yourself up to God).
Beyond dispute, in this body the spirit devoid of reality is even as a wooden sword in the sheath:
Whilst it remains in the sheath, it is (apparently) valuable, (but) when it has come forth it is an implement (only fit) for burning.
Do not take a wooden sword into the battle! First see (whether your sword is a real one), in order that your plight may not be wretched.

715. If it is made of wood, go, seek another; and if it is adamant, march forward joyously.
The sword (of reality) is in the armoury of the saints: to see (and associate with) them is for you (as precious as) the Elixir.
All the wise have said this same thing: the wise man is a (Divine) mercy to created beings.
If you would buy a pomegranate, buy (it when it is) laughing (having its rind cleft open), so that its laughter (openness) may give information as to its seeds.
Oh, blessed is its laughter, for through its mouth it shows the heart, like a pearl from the casket of the spirit.

720. Unblest was the laughter (openness) of the red anemone, from whose mouth appeared the blackness of its heart.
The laughing pomegranate makes the garden laughing (gay and blooming): companionship with (holy) men makes you one of the (holy) men.
Though you be rock or marble, you will become a jewel when you reach the man of heart (the saint).
Plant the love of the holy ones within your spirit; do not give your heart (to aught) save to the love of them whose hearts are glad.
Go not to the neighbourhood of despair: there are hopes. Go not in the direction of darkness: there are suns.

725. The heart leads you into the neighbourhood of the men of heart (the saints); the body leads you into the prison of water and earth.
Oh, give your heart food from (conversation with) one who is in accord with it; go, seek (spiritual) advancement from one who is advanced.

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