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(Masnavi Book 2: 16) The thirsty man who threw bricks into the water






How the thirsty man threw bricks from the top of the wall into the stream of water.


On the bank of the stream there was a high wall, and on the top of the wall a sorrowful thirsty man. The wall hindered him from (reaching) the water; he was in distress for the water, like a fish. Suddenly he threw a brick into the water: the noise of the water came to his ear like spoken words,


1195. Like words spoken by a sweet and delicious friend: the noise of the water made him drunken as (though it were) wine. From the pleasure of (hearing) the noise of the water, that sorely tried man began to hurl and tear off bricks from that place.
The water was making a noise, that is to say, (it was crying), “Hey, what is the advantage to you of this hurling a brick at me?” The thirsty man said, “O water, I have two advantages: I will nowise refrain from this work.
The first advantage is (my) hearing the noise of the water, which to thirsty men is (melodious) as a rebeck.


1200. The noise thereof has become (to me) like the noise of (the trumpet of) Isráfíl: by this (noise) life has been transferred
(restored) to one (that was) dead;

Or (it is) like the noise of thunder in days of spring—from it (the thunder) the garden obtains so many (lovely) ornaments; Or like the days of alms to a poor man, or like the message of deliverance to a prisoner.
It is like the breath of the Merciful (God) which, without mouth, comes to Mohammed from Yemen;

Or It is like the scent of Ahmad (Mohammed), the Apostle (of God), which in intercession comes to the sinner;


1205. Or like the scent of beauteous, graceful Joseph, (which) strikes upon the soul of lean Jacob. The other advantage is that, (with) every brick I tear off this (wall), I come (nearer) to running water, Since by diminution of the bricks the high wall becomes lower every time that one is removed.

The lowness (destruction) of the wall becomes a means of access (to the water); separation from it is the remedy bringing about a union (with the water).

The tearing away of the adhesive (firmly joined) bricks is (analogous to) prostration (in prayer): (it is) the cause of nearness (to
God), for (God has said), And prostrate yourself and draw near (to Me).


1210. So long as this wall is high-necked (lofty and proud), it is an obstacle to this bowing of the head (in prayer).

It is impossible to perform the prostration on the Water of Life, until I gain deliverance from this earthly body. The more thirsty any one on the top of the wall is, the more quickly does he tear off the bricks and turfs.
The more any one is in love with the noise of the water, the bigger clods does he tear away from the barrier.

He, at the noise of the water, is filled with wine (ecstasy) up to the neck, (while) the stranger (to love) hears nothing but the sound of the splash.


1215. Oh, blest is he that deems his early days an opportunity to be seized, and pays his debt— In the days when he has the power, (when) he has health and strength of heart and vigour,
And (when) that season of youth, like a garden green and fresh, is bringing (to ripeness) produce and fruit without any stint; (When) the fountains of strength and lust (are) flowing, (so that) thereby the soil of the body is made verdant;
(When he is still like) a well-kept house, with its roof very lofty, its sides (walls) symmetrical, without buttressing and clamps


1220. Ere the days of eld arrive and bind your neck with a halter of palm-fibres;

(Ere) the soil becomes nitrous (barren), crumbling, and poor —never did good herbage grow from nitrous soil; (When) the water of strength and the water of lust (is) cut off, and he has no profit from himself or others:
The eyebrows fallen down like a crupper-strap; the eyes grown moist and dim;

The face, from wrinkling, like the back of a lizard; speech and taste and teeth gone out of use;


1225. The day late, the ass lame, and the way long; the shop ruined and the business in disorder; The roots of bad habit firmly set, and the power to tear them up decreased.

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