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(Masnavi Book 1: 29) “Take advantage of the coolness of the spring season”










On the meaning of the Tradition, “Take advantage of the coolness of the spring season, etc.”

The Prophet said, “Give heed, my friends! Do not cover your bodies from the cold of spring, For it does to your spirits the same thing that spring does to the trees;
But flee from the cold of autumn, for it does what autumn did to the garden and the vines.”
The traditionists have referred this (saying) to the outward (sense), and have been content with that same (outward) form.

2050. That class (of people) were ignorant of the spirit: they saw the mountain, they did not see the mine in the mountain.
In the sight of God that “autumn” is the flesh (nafs) and (its) desires: the reason and the spirit are the essence of spring and are everlasting life.
Thou hast a partial reason hidden (within thee): (now) in this world seek one whose reason is perfect.
Through his whole thy part is made whole (and perfect): Universal Reason is like a shackle on the neck of the flesh.
Therefore, according to the (right) interpretation, it (the meaning) is this, that the holy breaths are like spring and the life of leaf and vine.

2055. The sayings of the saints, whether soft or rough, do not thou cover thy body (against them), for they are the support of thy religion.
Whether he (the saint) speak hot or cold, receive (his words) with joy: thereby thou wilt escape from the hot and cold (of Nature) and from Hell-fire.
His “hot” and “cold” is life's new season of spring, the source of sincerity and faith and service.
Inasmuch as the garden of the spirits is living through him, and the sea of (his) heart is filled with these pearls,
Thousands of griefs lie (heavy) on a wise man's heart, if from the garden of his heart (even) a toothpick fail (be missing).
How the Siddíqa (‘Á’isha), may God be well-pleased with her, asked Mustafá (Mohammed), God bless him and give him peace, saying, “What was the inner meaning of to-day's rain?”

2060. The Siddíqa said, “O (thou who art the) cream of existence, what was the (true) reason of to-day's rain?
Was it (one) of the rains of mercy, or (was it) for the sake of menace and the justice of (Divine) Majesty?
Was it from the favour of the vernal attributes, or from a baneful autumnal attribute?”
He said, “This (rain) was for the purpose of allaying the grief that is upon the race of Adam in calamity.
If man were to remain in that fire (of grief), much ruin and loss would befall.

2065. This world would at once become desolate: (all) selfish desires would go forth from men.”
Forgetfulness (of God), O beloved, is the pillar (prop) of this world: (spiritual) intelligence is a bane to this world.
Intelligence belongs to that (other) world, and when it prevails, this world is overthrown.
Intelligence is the sun and cupidity the ice; intelligence is the water and this world the dirt.
A little trickle (of intelligence) is coming from yonder world, that cupidity and envy may not roar (too loudly) in this world.

2070. If the trickle from the Unseen should become greater, in this world neither virtue nor vice will be left.
This (topic) has no bound. Go to the starting-point, go back to the tale of the minstrel.
The remainder of the story of the old harper and the explanation of its issue (moral)
That minstrel by whom the world was filled with rapture, from whose voice wondrous phantasies grew (arose in the minds of those who heard him),
At whose song the bird of the soul would take wing, and at whose note the mind of the spirit would be distraught—
When time passed and he grew old, from weakness the falcon, his soul, became a catcher of gnats.

2075. His back became bent like the back of a wine-jar, the brows over his eyes like a crupper-strap.
His charming soul-refreshing voice became ugly and worth nothing to any one.
The tone that had (once) been the envy of Zuhra (Venus) was now like the bray of an old donkey.
Truly, what fair thing is there that did not become foul, or what roof that did not become a carpet?—
Except the voices of holy men in their breasts, from the repercussion of whose breath is the blast of the trumpet (of Resurrection).

2080. (Theirs is) the heart by which (all) hearts are made drunken, (theirs is) the nonexistence whereby these existences of ours are made existent.
He (the saint) is the amber (magnet) of (all) thought and of every voice; he is the (inward) delight of revelation and inspiration and (Divine) mystery.
When the minstrel grew older and feeble, through not earning (anything) he became indebted for a single loaf of bread.
He said, “Thou hast given me long life and respite: O God, Thou hast bestowed (many) favours on a vile wretch.
For seventy years I have been committing sin, (yet) not for one day hast Thou withheld Thy bounty from me.

2085. I (can) earn nothing: to-day I am Thy guest, I will play the harp for Thee, I am Thine.”
He took up his harp and went in search of God to the graveyard of Medina, crying “Alas!”
He said, “I crave of God the price of silk (for harpstrings), for He in His kindness accepts adulterated coin.”
He played the harp a long while and (then), weeping, laid his head down: he made the harp his pillow and dropped on a tomb.
Sleep overtook him: the bird, his soul, escaped from captivity, it let harp and harper go and darted away.

2090. It became freed from the body and the pain of this world in the simple (purely spiritual) world and the vast region of the soul.
There his soul was singing what had befallen (it), saying, “If they would but let me stay here,
Happy would be my soul in this garden and springtide, drunken with this (far stretching) plain and mystic anemone-field.
Without head or foot I would be journeying, without lip or tooth I would be eating sugar.
With a memory and thought free from brain-sickness, I would frolic with the dwellers in Heaven.

2095. With eye shut I would be seeing a (whole) world, without a hand I would be gathering roses and basil.”
The water-bird (his soul) was plunged in a sea of honey— the fountain of Job, to drink and wash in,
Whereby Job, from his feet to the crown of his head, was purged of afflictions (and made pure) like the light of the sunrise.
If the Mathnawí were as the sky in magnitude, not half the portion of this (mystery) would find room in it,
For the exceeding broad earth and sky (of the material world) caused my heart, from (their) narrowness (in comparison with
the spiritual universe), to be rent in pieces;

2100. And this world that was revealed to me in this dream (of the minstrel) has spread wide my wings and pinions because
of (its vast) expansion.
If this world and the way to it were manifest, no one would remain there (in the material world) for a single moment.
The (Divine) command was coming (to the minstrel)—“Nay, be not covetous: inasmuch as the thorn is out of thy foot, depart”—
(Whilst) his soul was lingering there in the spacious demesne of His (God's) mercy and beneficence.
How the heavenly voice spoke to ‘Umar, may God be well-pleased with him, while he was asleep, saying, “Give a certain sum of gold from the public treasury to the man who is sleeping in the graveyard.”
Then God sent such a drowsiness upon ‘Umar that he was unable to keep himself from slumber.

2105. He fell into amazement saying, “This is (a thing) unknown. This has fallen from the Unseen, ’tis not without purpose.”
He laid his head down, and slumber overtook him. He dreamed that a voice came to him from God: his spirit heard
That voice which is the origin of every cry and sound: that indeed is the (only) voice, and the rest are echoes.
Turcoman and Kurd and Persian-speaking man and Arab have understood that voice without (help of) ear or lip.
Ay, (but) what of Turcomans, Persians, and Ethiopians? (Even) wood and stone have understood that voice.

2110. Every moment there is coming from Him (the call), “Am not I (your Lord)?” and substance and accidents are
becoming existent.
If (the answer) “Yea” is not coming from them, yet their coming from non-existence (into existence) is (equivalent to) “Yea.”
Listen to a goodly tale in explanation of what I have said concerning the friendliness (awareness) of stone and wood.

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