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(Masnavi Book 1: 30) The Moaning Pillar






How the moaning pillar complained when they made a pulpit for the Prophet, on whom be peace—for the multitude had become great, and said, “We do not see thy blessed face when thou art exhorting us”—and how the Prophet and his Companions heard that complaint, and how Mustafá conversed with the pillar in clear language.

The moaning pillar was complaining of (its) separation from the Prophet, just as rational beings (might do).
The Prophet said, “O pillar, what dost thou want?” It said, “My soul is turned to blood because of parting from thee.

2115. I was thy support: (now) thou hast run away from me: thou hast devised a place to lean against upon the pulpit.”
“Dost thou desire,” said he, “to be made a date-palm, (so that) the people of the East and the West shall gather fruit from thee?
Or that He (God) should make thee a cypress in yonder world, so that thou wilt remain everlastingly fresh and flourishing?”
It replied, “I desire that whereof the life is enduring for ever.” Hearken, O heedless one! Be not thou less than a piece of wood!
He (the Prophet) buried that pillar in the earth, that it may be raised from the dead, like mankind, on the day of Resurrection,

2120. That (hence) thou mayst know that every one whom God has called (to Himself) remains disengaged from all the work of this world.
Whosoever hath his work and business from God, gains admission there and goes forth from (abandons worldly) work.
He that hath no gift (portion) of spiritual mysteries, how should he believe in the complaining of inanimate things?
He says “Yes,” not from his heart (but) for agreement's sake, lest people should say that he is a hypocrite (in his religion).
Unless there were knowers of the (Divine) command “Be!”, this doctrine (that inanimate things are capable of speech) would have been rejected in the world.

2125. Myriads of conformists and legalists are cast into the abyss (of destruction) by a single taint (of doubt),
For their conformity and their drawing evidence from logical proofs and all their wings and wing-feathers (every means which they employ in order to arrive at the truth) depend on opinion.
The vile Devil raises a doubt (in their minds): all these blind ones fall in headlong.
The leg of the syllogisers is of wood: a wooden leg is very infirm,
Unlike the Qutb (supreme saint) of the age, the possessor of (spiritual) vision, by whose steadfastness the mountain is made giddy-headed (amazed).

2130. The blind man's leg is a staff, a staff, so that he may not fall headlong on the pebbles.
The cavalier that became (the cause of) victory for the army, who is he for (the army of) the religious? One possessed of (spiritual) sight.
If, with (the aid of) a staff, the blind have seen their way, (yet only) under the protection of (other) people are they clearsighted.
Were there no men of vision and (spiritual) kings, all the blind in the world would be dead.
From the blind comes neither sowing nor reaping nor cultivation nor tradings and profit.

2135. If He (God) did not bestow mercy and grace upon you, the wood of your logical
deduction would break.
What is this staff? Inferences and (logical) demonstration. Who gave them (the blind) that staff? The all-seeing and almighty One.
Since the staff has become a weapon of quarrel and attack, break that staff to pieces, O blind man!
He gave you the staff that ye might approach (Him): with that staff ye struck even at Him in your anger.
O company of the blind, what are ye doing? Bring the seer between (you and God)!

2140. Lay hold of His skirt who gave thee the staff: consider what (dreadful) things Adam suffered from disobedience.
Consider the miracles of Moses and Ahmad (Mohammed), how the staff became a serpent and the pillar was endowed with knowledge.
From the staff (came) a serpent and from the pillar a moaning: they (the staff and the pillar) are beating (the drums of honour) five times daily for the sake of the Religion.
Unless this savour (perception of spiritual truths) were non-intellectual, how should all these miracles have been necessary?
Whatever is intelligible, the intellect is swallowing (receiving) it without the evidence of miracles and without contention.
2145. This virgin (untrodden) Way deem unintelligible, deem (it) accepted in the heart of every fortunate (elect) one.
As in fear of Adam devil and wild beast fled to the islands, from envy,
So in fear of the miracles of the prophets have the sceptics slunk away under the grass,
That they may live in hypocrisy with the reputation of being Moslems, and that you may not know who they are.
Like counterfeiters, they smear the base coin with silver and (inscribe on it) the name of the King.

2150. The outward form of their words is profession of the Divine Unity and the religion (of Islam): the inward meaning thereof is like darnel (?) seed in bread.
The philosopher has not the stomach (courage) to breathe a word: if he utter a word, the true Religion will confound him.
His hand and foot are inanimate, and whatever his spirit says (commands), those two are under its control.
Albeit they (the sceptics) propound (reasons for) suspicion with their tongues, their hands and feet give testimony (against them).

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