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(Masnavi Book 2: 24) The fool who trusted the bear








On putting trust in the fawningness and good faith of the bear.



A dragon was pulling a bear (into its jaws); a valiant man went and succoured it.

The valiant (holy) men are a help in the world when the wail of the oppressed reaches (them).

From every quarter they hear the cry of the oppressed and run in that direction, like the mercy of God.


1935. Those buttresses for the breaches of the world, those physicians for hidden maladies,

Are pure love and justice and mercy; even as God, they are flawless (incorruptible) and unbribed.
(If you ask one of them), “Why do you give him this aid all at once?” he says, “On account of his grief and helplessness.” Lovingkindness is fallen a prey to the valiant (holy) man, (for) medicine seeks naught in the world but the pain (which it
should cure).

Wherever a pain is, the remedy goes there: wherever a lowland is, the water runs there.


1940. If you want the water of mercy, go, become lowly, and then drink the wine of mercy and become drunken.

Mercy upon mercy comes (and rises like a flood) up to the head; do not you come down to (and dwell upon) a single mercy, O son!

Bring the sky under your feet, O brave one! Hear from above the firmament the noise of the (celestial) music! Put out of yours ear the cotton of evil suggestion, that the cries from heaven may come into yours ear.
Purge your two eyes from the hair of defect, that you mayst behold the garden and cypress-plot of the world unseen.


1945. Eject the phlegm from your brain and nose, that the wind of God may come into the centres of your (spiritual) sense of smell.

Do not leave (in yourself) any trace of fever and bile, that you mayst get from the world the taste of sugar. Remedium virilitatis adhibe neu virilitate carens cucurreris, that a hundred kinds of fair ones may come forth. Tear the fetter, which is the body, from the foot of your soul, so that it may race round the arena.
Take off the shackle of avarice from your hands and neck: seize (and enjoy) a new fortune in the old heaven.

1950. And if you art unable (to do that), fly to the Ka‘ba of (Divine) grace: lay your helplessness before the Helper. Lamentation and weeping are a mighty stock-in-trade (resource); the Universal Mercy is the mightiest nurse (to comfort and
cherish).

The nurse and mother seeks a pretext (for giving relief): (she waits to see) when her child will begin to weep.
He (God) created the child, (namely) your wants, in order that it might moan and that milk might (then) be produced for it. He said, Call ye upon God! Refrain not you from lamentation, in order that the milk of His loving kindnesses may flow.


1955. The howling of the wind and the pouring forth of (rain like) milk from the cloud are for care of us: (have) patience one moment!

Have not you heard (the text) in the sky is your daily bread? Wherefore have you stuck to this low place? Deem your fear and despair to be the voice of the ghoul drawing yours ear (down) to the abyss of degradation. Every call that draws you upward—know that that call has come from on high.
Every call that excites cupidity in you—know that it is the howl of the wolf which tears men (to pieces).


1960. This (afore-mentioned) height is not (high) in respect of position; these “heights” are towards (refer to) mind and spirit.

Every cause is higher than the effect: the stone and iron (from which fire is struck) are superior to the sparks.

Such and such a person is (really) seated above that one who lifts up his head so haughtily, though in appearance he is seated beside him.

The superiority of that (person's) place is in respect of (his spiritual) nobility; the place (that is) far from the (spiritual) seat of honour is held in slight regard.

Forasmuch as the stone and iron are prior in action, the superiority of these twain is proper;


1965. But those sparks, in respect of their being the final cause, are from this point of view far in front of (superior to) the iron and stone.

The stone and iron are first, and the sparks last; but these twain are the body, and the sparks are the soul. If those sparks are posterior in time, (yet) in quality they are higher than the stone and iron.
The bough is prior to the fruit in time, (but) it (the fruit) is superior to the bough in excellence.

Since the fruit is the final cause of the tree, it follows that the fruit is (really) first, the tree last.


1970. When the bear cried out for help against the dragon, a valiant man rescued it from the (dragon's) claws. Cunning and courage gave support to each other: by this strength he slew the dragon.
The dragon has strength, (but) it has not cunning; again, there is a cunning above your cunning. When you have regarded your own cunning, go back (and see) whence it came: go to the origin.
Whatever is below has come from above: come on, turn your eye towards the height.


1975. Looking aloft gives light, though at first it produces dazzlement as a trial. Accustom your eye to the light; if you are not a bat, look in that direction.
Vision of the end is the sign of your (having the) light; the lust of the moment is in truth your (dark) grave.
The man with vision of the end, who has seen a hundred artifices, is not like him that has (only) heard of one artifice, (And who) has been so befooled by that one artifice that in his pride he has become alienated from the masters.


1980. Like Sámirí, when he has seen in himself that (little) skill, through pride he has rebelled against (a) Moses.
He has learned that skill from (a) Moses and (then) closed his eyes to his teacher.

Moses, of course, exhibited another artifice, so that it swept away (both) that artifice (of Sámirí) and his life.

Oh, many is the knowledge (talent) that runs in the head (and urges) that he (the owner) should become eminent—in truth, through that (knowledge) his head goes (he loses his life).

If you wish not your head to be lost, be (lowly as) a foot: be under the protection of the Qutb who is possessed of discernment.


1985. Though you be a king, deem not yourself above him: though you be honey, gather naught but his sugar-cane. Your thought is the outward form, and his thought is the soul: your coin is false, and his coin is (pure as) the mine. You are (really) he: seek yourself in his “he” (personality). Say coo, coo: become a dove (flying) towards him.
And if you are unwilling to serve the (holy) men of (human) kind, you are in the dragon's mouth, like the bear.

It may be that a Master will deliver you and pull you out of danger.


1990. As you have no strength, keep making a lamentation; since you are blind, take care, do not turn your head away from him that sees the road.

You are less (worse) than the bear, (for) you are not wailing at the pain. The bear was freed from pain when it made an outcry. O God, make our stony hearts (soft as) wax; make our wailing sweet (to You) and an object of (your) mercy!

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