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(Masnavi Book 1: 45) The two kinds of “poor”







The difference between one that is poor for (desirous of) God and thirsting for Him and one that is poor of (destitute of) God and thirsting for what is other than He.



He (that seeks other than God) is the (mere) picture of a dervish, he is not worthy of bread (Divine bounty): do not throw bread to the picture of a dog!

He wants a morsel of food, he does not want God: do not set dishes before a lifeless picture!

The dervish that wants bread is a land-fish: (he has) the form of a fish, but (he is) fleeing from the sea.


2755. He is a domestic fowl, not the Símurgh of the air: he swallows sweet morsels (of food), he does not eat from God. He loves God for the sake of gain: his soul is not in love with (God's) excellence and beauty.

If he conceives that he is in love with the Essence (of God), conception of the (Divine) names and attributes is not the Essence. Conception is begotten of qualities and definition: God is not begotten, He is lam yúlad.
How should he that is in love with his own imagination and conception be one of them that love the Lord of bounties?


2760. If the lover of that (false) conception be sincere, that metaphor (unreal judgement) will lead him to the reality. The exposition of this saying demands a commentary, but I am afraid of senile (feeble) minds.
Senile and short-sighted minds bring a hundred evil fancies into their thoughts. Not every one is able to hear rightly: the fig is not a morsel for every little bird,
Especially a bird that is dead, putrid; a blind, eyeless (fellow) filled with vain fancy.


2765. To the picture of a fish what is the difference between sea and land? To the colour of a Hindoo what is the difference between soap and black vitriol?

If you depict the portrait on the paper as sorrowful, it has no lesson (learns nothing) of sorrow or joy.

Its appearance is sorrowful, but it is free from that (sorrow); (or) its appearance is smiling, but it has no (inward) impression of that (joy).

And this (worldly) sorrow and joy which are delineated in the heart are naught but a picture in comparison with that (spiritual)
joy and sorrow.

The picture's smiling appearance is for your sake, in order that by means of that picture the reality may be established (rightly understood by you).


2770. The pictures (phenomena) which are in these hot baths (the world), (when viewed) from outside the undressing-room
(of self-abandonment), are like clothes.

So long as you are outside, you see only the clothes (phenomena): put off your clothes and enter (the bath of reality), O
kindred spirit,

Because, with your clothes, there is no way (of getting) inside: the body is ignorant of the soul, the clothes (are ignorant) of the body.



How the Caliph's officers and chamberlains came forward to pay their respects to the Bedouin and to receive his gift.



When the Bedouin arrived from the remote desert to the gate of the Caliph's palace,

The court officers went to meet the Bedouin: they sprinkled much rose-water of graciousness on his bosom.


2775. Without speech (on his part) they perceived what he wanted: it was their practice to give before being asked. Then they said to him, “O chief of the Arabs, whence do you come? How art you after the journey and fatigue?”
He said, “I am a chief, if ye give me any countenance (favour); I am without means (of winning respect) when ye put me behind your backs.

O ye in whose faces are the marks of eminence, O ye whose splendour is more pleasing than the gold of Ja‘far,

O ye, one sight of whom is (worth many) sights, O ye at the sight of whom pieces of gold are scattered (as largesse),


2780. O ye, all of whom have become seeing by the light of God, who have come from God for the sake of munificence, That ye may cast the elixir of your looks upon the copper of human individuals,
I am a stranger: I have come from the desert: I have come in hope of (gaining) the grace of the Sultan.

The scent of his grace covered (took entire possession of) the deserts: even the grains of sand were ensouled (thereby).

I came all the way to this place for the sake of dinars: as soon as I arrived, I became drunken with sight (contemplation).”


2785. A person ran to the baker for bread: on seeing the beauty of the baker, he gave up the ghost. A certain man went to the rose-garden to take his pleasure, and found it in the beauty of the gardener,
Like the desert Arab who drew water from the well and tasted the Water of Life from the (lovely) face of Joseph. Moses went to fetch fire: he beheld such a Fire (the Burning Bush) that he escaped from (searching after) fire.
Jesus sprang up, to escape from his enemies: that spring carried him to the Fourth Heaven.


2790. The ear of wheat became a trap for Adam, so that his existence became the wheat-ear (seed and origin) of mankind. The falcon comes to the snare for food: it finds the fore-arm (wrist) of the King and fortune and glory.
The child went to school to acquire knowledge, in hope of (getting) its father's pretty bird (as a prize);

Then, by (going to) school, that child rose to the top, paid monthly fees (to his teacher), and became perfect (in knowledge).

Abbás had come to war for vengeance’ sake, for the purpose of subduing Ahmad (Mohammed) and opposing the (true)
religion:


2795. He and his descendants in the Caliphate became a back and front (complete support) to the (true) religion until the
Resurrection.

I came to this court in quest of wealth: as soon as I entered the portico I became (a spiritual) chief.

I brought water as a gift for the sake of (getting) bread: hope of bread led me to the highest place in Paradise.

Bread drove an Adam forth from Paradise: bread caused me to mix (made me consort) with those who belong to Paradise.

I have been freed, like the angels, from water and bread (materiality): without (any worldly) object of desire I move round this court, like the (revolving) sphere of heaven.”


2800. Nothing in the world is without object (disinterested) in its movement (activity) except the bodies and the souls of (God's) lovers.

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