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(Masnavi Book 2: 26) Moses and the worshipper of the golden calf









How Moses, on whom be peace, said to one who worshipped the (golden) calf, Where is (what has become of) your vain scepticism and precaution?”


Moses said to one drunken with (deluding) fancy, “O you who thinkest evil because of (your) unblessedness and perdition, you have had a hundred suspicions concerning my prophethood, notwithstanding these proofs and this noble nature (which I have shown).

You have seen from me hundreds of thousands of miracles, (and all the time) a hundred fancies and doubts and (vain) opinions were growing in you.

You wert sorely pressed by fancy and devilish suggestion, you wert sneering at my prophethood.


2040. I raised up dust from the sea before your eyes, so that ye might be delivered from the wickedness of the people of Pharaoh.

During forty years the platter and tray (of food) came (to you) from heaven, and at my prayer the river ran from a rock.

These (miracles) and a hundred times as many, and all these diverse (evidences), did not make that vain imagination fade away from you, O cold (hard-hearted) man!

Through sorcery a calf lowed; (then) you didst fall to worship, saying, ‘You art my God.’

(Then) those imaginations were swept away (as) by a flood, and your silly shrewdness went to sleep.


2045. How wert not you suspicious in regard to him (Sámirí)? Why didst you lay your head (on the ground) like that, O ugly one?

How did no idea come to you of his imposition and of the corruptness of his fool catching magic? Who, indeed, is a mirí, O ye curs, that he should hew up a God in the world?
How didst you become of one mind (with him) as to this imposture of his, and become devoid of all perplexities?

Is a cow (calf) worthy to be deified on (the strength of) a vain boast, (while there are) a hundred disputes as to the prophetic mission of one like me?


2050. Through asinine dullness you didst cast yourself down in worship before a cow (calf); your understanding fell a prey to Sámirí's magic.

You didst steal yours eye away from the Light of the Glorious (God): here is plenteous folly for you and the essence of perdition!

Fie upon such an understanding and (faculty of) choice as you has! ’Twere fitting to kill a mine of folly like you. The golden calf uttered a cry; prithee, what did it say, that all this desire (for it) blossomed in the fools?
Ye have seen from me many a thing more wonderful than that, but how should every rascal accept God?”


2055. What carries away (enraptures) worthless folk? Worthlessness. What pleases futile folk? Futility,

Because every kind is carried away (enraptured) by its own kind: how should the ox turn its face towards the fierce lion? How should the wolf bear love for Joseph, unless, perchance, through cunning, in order to devour him?
When it is delivered from wolfishness, it will become familiar (with him); like the dog of the Cave, it will become one of the sons of Adam.

When Abú Bakr smelt (made his first acquaintance with) Mohammed, he said, “This is not a face that lies;”


2060. (But) since Bú Jahl was not of those in sympathy (with Mohammed), he saw a hundred cleavings of the moon, and believed not.

The sorrowful (lover of God), whose bowl has fallen from the roof—we (would) hide the Truth from him, (but) it does not become hid;

While he that is ignorant (of God) and a stranger to His sorrow (love)—how often has it been shown, and he has not seen it!

The mirror of the heart must be clear, in order that you may know therein the ugly form from the beautiful.

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