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(Masnavi Book 1: 42) The barrier between the righteous and the wicked






On the meaning of “He let the two seas go to meet one another: between them is a barrier which they do not seek (to cross).”



2570. Behold the people of (destined for) the Fire and those of Paradise dwelling in the same shop, (yet) between them is a barrier which they do not seek to cross.

He has mixed the people of the Fire and the people of the Light: between them He has reared the mountain of Qáf. He has mixed (them) like earth and gold in the mine: between them are a hundred deserts and caravanserays.
(They are) mixed even as pearls and jet beads in the necklace, (soon to be parted) like guests of a single night.

One half of the sea is sweet like sugar: the taste sweet, the colour bright as the moon.


2575. The other half is bitter as snake's venom: the taste bitter and the colour dark as pitch.

Both (halves) dash against one another, from beneath and from the top, wave on wave like the water of the sea.

The appearance of collision, (arising) from the narrow body, is (due to) the spirits' being intermingled in peace or war. The waves of peace dash against each other and root up hatreds from (men's) breasts.
In other form do the waves of war turn (men's) loves upside down (confound and destroy them).


2580. Love is drawing the bitter ones to the sweet, because the foundation of (all) loves is righteousness. Wrath is carrying away the sweet one to bitterness: how should the bitter sort with (be suited to) the sweet?
The bitter and the sweet are not visible to this (ocular) sight, (but) they can be seen through the window of the latter end. The eye that sees the end (ákhir) can see truly; the eye that sees (only) the stable (ákhur) is delusion and error.
Oh, many the one that is sweet as sugar, but poison is concealed in the sugar.


2585. He that is more sagacious (than the rest) will know it by the smell; another (only) when it touches his lips and teeth: Then his lips will reject it before (it reaches) his throat, although the Devil is shouting, “Eat ye!”
And to another it will declare (itself) in his throat, while to another it will unmask in his body;

And to another it will give burning pain in evacuation: its outgoing will give him instruction as to its incoming (will show him what he has swallowed);

And to another (it will become manifest) after days and months; and to another after death, from the depth of the grave;


2590. And if he be given a respite in the depth of the grave, (then) it will inevitably become manifest on the Day of
Resurrection.
Every piece of candy and sugar (desirable thing) in the world manifestly has a period granted to it from the revolution of Time. Years are needed in order that the ruby in (exposed to the rays of) the sun may obtain (the perfect) tint and splendour and
brilliance.

Vegetables, again, reach maturity in two months, while the red rose comes to perfection in a year.

For this reason the Almighty and Glorious God in the Súratu ’l-An‘ám has made mention of an appointed term (ajal).


2595. You have heard this (discourse): may the whole of you, hair by hair, be an ear (to receive it)! It is the Water of Life: (if) you have drunk, may it do you good!

Call it the Water of Life, call it not a discourse: behold the new spirit in the body of the old letter!

(Now), my friend, hearken to another saying (which is), like the soul, very clear (to mystics) and abstruse (to the rest):

In a certain place (spiritual degree), through Divine dispositions even this poison and snake (worldliness and sensuality) is (rendered) digestible.

In one place (it is) poison and in one place medicine, in one place infidelity and in one place approved.


2600. Although there it is injurious to the soul, when it arrives here it becomes a remedy.

In the young grape (ghúra) the juice is sour, but it is sweet and good when the ghúra comes to be an angúr (ripe grape).

Again in the wine-jar it becomes bitter and unlawful, (but) in the state (form) of vinegar how excellent it is as a seasoning!

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