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(Masnavi Book 1: 48) The Spiritual Guide




Concerning the qualities of the Pír (Spiritual Guide) and (the duty of) obedience to him.



O Splendour of the Truth, Husámu’ddín, take one or two sheets of paper and add (them to the poem) in description of the Pír.


2935. Although your slender body has no strength, yet without the sun (of your spirit) we have no light.

Although you have become the lighted wick and the glass (lamp), yet you art the heart's leader (the Spiritual Guide): you art the end of the thread (which serves as a clue).

Inasmuch as the end of the thread is in your hand and will, the beads (of spiritual knowledge) on the heart's necklace are
(derived) from your bounty.

Write down what appertains to the Pír (Guide) who knows the Way:—Choose the Pír and regard him as the essence of the
Way.

The Pír is (like) summer, and (other) people are (like) the autumn month; (other) people are like night, and the Pír is the moon.


2940. I have bestowed on (my) young Fortune (Husámu’ddín) the name of Pír (old), because he is (made) old by the Truth, not (made) old by Time.

So old is he that he has no beginning: there is no rival to such a unique Pearl. Verily, old wine grows more potent; verily, old gold is more highly prized.
Choose a Pír, for without a Pír this journey is exceeding full of woe and affright and danger.

Without an escort you are bewildered (even) on a road you have travelled many times (before):


2945. Do not, then, travel alone on a Way that you have not seen at all, do not turn your head away from the Guide.

Fool, if his shadow (protection) be not over you, then the cry of the ghoul will keep you (wandering about) with your head in a whirl.

The ghoul will (entice you) from the Way (and) cast you into destruction: there have been in this Way many craftier than you

(who have perished miserably).

Hear (learn) from the Qur’án the perdition of the wayfarers, what the evil-souled Iblís did unto them:

He carried them far—a journey of hundreds of thousands of yearsfrom the Highway, and made them backsliders and naked
(devoid of good works).


2950. Behold their bones and their hair! Take warning, and drive not your ass towards them!
Seize the neck of your ass (the flesh) and lead him towards the Way, towards the good keepers and knowers of the Way. Beware! do not let your ass go, and do not remove your hand from him, because his love is for the place where green herbs are
plentiful.

If you carelessly leave him free for one moment, he will go (many) leagues in the direction of the herbage.

The ass is an enemy to the Way, (he is) madly in love with fodder: oh, many is the attendant on him that he has brought to ruin!


2955. If you know not the Way, whatsoever the ass desires, do the contrary thereof: that, surely, will be the right Way.

(The Prophet said), “Consult them (women), and then oppose (them in what they advise): he that disobeys them not will be ruined.”

Be not a friend to (sensual) passion and desire, since it leads you astray from the Way of God.

Nothing in the world will break (mortify) this passion like the shadow (protection) of fellow-travellers.

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