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(Masnavi Book 1: 46) The World’s lovers






Showing that the lover of this world is like the lover of a wall on which the sunbeams strike, who makes no effort and exertion to perceive that the radiance and splendour do not proceed from the wall, but from the orb of the sun in the Fourth Heaven; consequently he sets his whole heart on the wall, and when the sunbeams rejoin the sun (at sunset), he is left for ever in despair: “and a bar is placed between them and that which they desire.”



The lovers of the Whole are not those who love the part: he that longed for the part failed to attain unto the Whole. When a part falls in love with a part, the object of its love soon goes (returns) to its own whole.
He (the lover of the particular) became the laughing-stock of another's slave: he became (like a man who was) drowning and clung to some one weak (and powerless to help him).

He (the loved slave) possesses no authority, that he should care for him: shall he do his own master's business or his (the lover's)?



The Arabic proverb, “If you commit fornication, commit it with a free woman, and if you steal, steal a pearl.”


2805. Hence (the saying), “Commit fornication with a free woman,” became proverbial; (and the words) “steal a pearl” were transferred (metaphorically) to this (meaning).

The slave (the loved one) went away to his master: he (the lover) was left in misery. The scent of the rose went (back) to the rose: he was left with the thorn.

He was left far from the object of his desire—his labour lost, his toil useless, his foot wounded, Like the hunter who catches a shadow—how should the shadow become his property?
The man has grasped tightly the shadow of a bird, (while) the bird on the branch of the tree is fallen into amazement,


2810. (Thinking), I wonder who this crack-brained fellow is laughing at? Here's folly for you, here's a rotten cause!” And if you say that the part is connected with the whole, (then) eat thorns: the thorn is connected with the rose.
Except from one point of view, it (the part) is not connected with the whole: otherwise, indeed, the mission of the prophets would be vain,

Inasmuch as the prophets are (sent) in order to connect (the part with the whole): how, then, should they (the prophets) connect them when they are (already) one body?

This discourse has no end. O lad, the day is late: conclude the tale.



How the Arab delivered the gift, that is, the jug to the Caliph's servants.


2815. He presented the jug of water, he sowed the seed of homage in that (exalted) court.

Bear this gift,” said he, “to the Sultan, redeem the King's suitor from indigence.

It is sweet water and a new green jug—some of the rain-water that collected in the ditch.” The officials smiled at that, but they accepted it (the jug) as (though it were precious as) life,
Because the graciousness of the good and wise King had made a mark (impressed itself) on all the courtiers.


2820. The disposition of kings settles (becomes implanted) in their subjects: the green sky makes the earth verdant. Regard the king as a reservoir with pipes in every direction, and water running from all (the pipes) like hoppers (in a mill). When the water in all (the pipes) is from a pure reservoir, every single one gives sweet water, pleasant to taste;
But if the water in the reservoir is brackish and dirty, every pipe brings the same to view,

Because every pipe is connected with the reservoir. Dive, dive into (ponder deeply) the meaning of these words.


2825. (Consider) how the imperial grace of the homeless Spirit has produced effects on the whole body; How the grace of Reason, which is of goodly nature, of goodly lineage, brings the entire body into discipline; How Love, saucy, uncontrolled, and restless, throws the whole body into madness.
The purity of the water of the Sea that is like Kawthar (is such that) all its pebbles are pearls and gems.

For whatever science the master is renowned, the souls of his pupils become endued with the same.


2830. With the master-theologian the quick and industrious pupil reads (scholastic) theology.

With the master-jurist the student of jurisprudence reads jurisprudence, when he (the teacher) expounds it, not theology. Then the master who is a grammarian—the soul of his pupil becomes imbued by him with grammar.
Again, the master who is absorbed in the Way (of Súfism)— because of him the soul of his pupil is absorbed in the King (God).

Of all these various kinds of knowledge, on the day of death the (best) equipment and provision for the road is the knowledge of (spiritual) poverty.

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