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(Masnavi Book 2: 15) The falcon amongst the owls








1130. What he wants is the extinction of the Sun of eternity. Tell (me), how should this desire of his come to pass? The falcon (seeker of God) is he that comes back to the King; he that has lost the way is the blind falcon.
It lost the way and fell into the wilderness; then in the wilderness it fell amongst owls.

It (the falcon) is wholly light (derived) from the Light of (Divine) approval, but the marshal, Fate, blinded it.

He threw dust in its eyes and took it (far) away from the (right) road; he left it amidst owls and (in) the wilderness.


1135. To crown all, the owls attack it and tear its lovely wing-feathers and plumes.

A clamour arose amongst the owls—“Ha! the falcon has come to seize our dwelling place.”

(It was) as (when) the street-dogs, wrathful and terrifying, have fallen upon the frock of a (dervish) stranger.
How am I fit,” says the falcon, “for (consorting with) owls? I give up to the owls a hundred wildernesses like this. I do not wish to stay here, I am going, I will return to the King of kings.


1140. Do not kill yourselves (with agitation), O owls, for I am not settling (here): I am going home.

This ruin is a thriving abode in your eyes; for me, however, the King's fore-arm is the place whither one returns.” The owl (that was warning the others) said, “The falcon is plotting to uproot you from house and home.
He will seize our houses by cunning, he will tear us out of our nests by (his) hypocrisy.

This devotee of guile pretends to be perfectly satisfied (with what he has); by God, he is worse than all the greedy together.


1145. From greediness he eats clay as (if it were) date-syrup: O friends, do not entrust the sheep's tail to the bear.

He is boasting of the King and the King's hand, in order that he may lead us astray, simple-minded as we are.

How, indeed, should a petty bird be the congener of the King? Do not listen to him, if you have (even) a little understanding. Is he the King's or the Vizier's congener? Is garlic at all suitable to sweetmeat made with walnut kernels?
(As for) his saying, from deceit and feint and artifice, ‘The King with his retinue is searching after me,’


1150. Here's an absurd mad fancy for you, here's a vain boast and a snare to catch blockheads!

Any one who believes this—it is because of (his) foolishness: how is a slender little bird fit for (friendship with) royalty? If the smallest owl should strike at his brain, where is succour for him from the King?”
The falcon said, If a single feather of mine be broken, the King of kings will uproot the (whole) owlery.

What is an owl? Even if a falcon vex my heart and maltreat me,


1155. The King will heap up in every lowland and highland hundreds of thousands of stacks of falcons' heads. His favours keep watch over me; wherever I go, the King is (following) behind.
The phantasy of me is abiding in the King's heart: sick (would be) the King's heart without the phantasy of me. When the King bids me fly in His Way I fly up to the heart's zenith, like His beams.
I fly as a moon and sun, I rend the curtains of the skies.


1160. The light of intellects is from my thought; the bursting forth of heaven (into existence) is from my original nature. I am a falcon, and (yet) the humá becomes lost in amazement at me: who is an owl, that it should know my secret?
For my sake the King bethought him of the prison (this world), and set free hundreds of thousands of those in bondage. He made me familiar with the owls for a moment, and by means of my breath (words) he made the owls (to be) falcons.
Oh, happy (is) the owl that in my (soaring) flight (towards God) had the good fortune to apprehend my mystery.


1165. Cling to me, that ye may become exultant (enjoying bliss), (and that) ye may become royal falcons, although ye are owls.

He that is dear to such a King—wheresoever he light, why should he be a stranger?

Any one for whose pain the King is the remedythough he wail like the reed (flute), he is not without plenty.
I am the owner of the (spiritual) kingdom, I am not a lickspittle: the King is beating the falcon-drum for me from the shore. My falcon-drum is the call, Return! God is my witness in despite of adversary.


1170. I am not a congener of the King of kings—far be it from Him!—but I have light from Him in (His) self-manifestation. Homogeneity is not in respect of form and essence: water becomes homogeneous with earth in the plant.
Wind (air) becomes homogeneous with fire in consistency; wine at last becomes homogeneous with the constitution (of the body).
Since my genus is not the genus of my King, my ego has passed away (faná) for the sake of His ego. Inasmuch as my ego passed away, He remained alone: I roll at the feet of His horse, like dust.


1175. The (individual) soul (self) became dust, and the (only) signs of it are the mark of His feet on its dust. Become dust at His feet for the sake of this mark, in order that you may become the crown on the head of the lofty. Let not my form beguile you: partake of my dessert before my departure.”
Oh, (there is) many a one whom the form waylaid: he aimed at the form (of the holy man) and (in reality) struck at God. After all, this soul is joined to the body, (but) has this soul any likeness to the body?

1180. The sparkle of the eye's light is paired with the fat; the light of the heart is hidden in a drop of blood; Joy (has its seat) in the kidneys, grief in the liver; intellect, (bright) as a candle, inside the brain in the head.
These connexions are not without a how and a why, (but) as regards knowledge of the why (our) minds are impotent.

The Universal Soul came into contact with the partial (individual) soul, and the (latter) soul received from it a pearl and put it into its bosom.

Through that touch on its bosom the (individual) soul became pregnant, like Mary, with a heart-beguiling Messiah,


1185. Not the Messiah who is (a traveller) on land and water, (but) the Messiah who is beyond (the limitation of) measuring
(space).

So when the soul has been impregnated by the Soul of soul, by such a soul the world is impregnated.

Then the world gives birth to another world, and displays to this congregated people a place of congregation (for the realities which are raised to life).

Though I should speak and recount till the Resurrection, I lack the power to describe this (spiritual) resurrection.

These sayings (of mine), indeed, are really an “O Lord” (a prayer addressed to God); the words are the lure for the breath of a sweet-lipped One.


1190. How, then, should he (that seeks the answer) fail (to pray)? How should he be silent, inasmuch as “Here am I is
(always) coming in response to his “O Lord”?

It is a “Here am I” that you cannot hear, but can taste (feel and enjoy) from head to foot.

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