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(Masnavi Book 2: 45) The old man who complained to the doctor





How an old man complained of his ailments to a doctor, and how the doctor answered him.



An old man said to a doctor, “I am in torment because of my brain.” The doctor replied, “That weakness of brain is from age.”
Said the old man, “There are spots of darkness on my eyes.


3090. It is from age, O ancient Shaykh,” said the doctor. “Awful pain comes in my back,” said he.

It is from age, O emaciated Shaykh” said the doctor. “Whatever I eat,” said he, “is not digested.”

The doctor replied, “Weakness of stomach also is (the result) of age. Said he, “When I breathe, respiration is hard for me.”

Yes,” he said, “it is asthma*; when old age arrives, two hundred diseases come on.”

O fool,” he exclaimed, you have stuck at this*: this is all that you have learned of medicine.


3095. O crack-brained man, your intellect has not given you this knowledge, that God has appointed a remedy for every pain.

You, stupid ass, from poorness of ability have remained (fallen) on the ground for want of a sufficient foothold.” Then the doctor said to him, “O sexagenarian, this anger and this choler are also from old age.
Since all the functions and parts (of your body) are atrophied, your self-control and patience have become weak.”

He (an old man) cannot endure two words, he cries out thereat; he cannot retain one draught, he vomits (it)—


3100. Except, to be sure, the Ancient (Pír) that is drunken with God, and in whose inward being there is “a goodly life.” Outwardly he is old, but within he is young. What thing, verily, is he? He is the saint and the prophet.
If they are not manifest to the good and the evil (alike), what is this envy which the worthless bear against them? And if they do not know them with certain knowledge, what is this hatred and hatching of plots and enmity?
And (again), if they know of the Resurrection and rising from the dead, how should they dash themselves against a sharp sword?


3105. He (the prophet or saint) smiles upon you, (but) do not deem him to be such (as he appears): in his inward consciousness are hidden a hundred Resurrections.

Hell and Paradise are entirely parts of him: he is beyond any thought that you may conceive (of him). All that you may think of is liable to pass away; he that comes not into thought is God.
Wherefore (then do they behave with) presumption at the door of this house, if they know who is within the house?

Fools venerate the mosque and endeavour to destroy them that have the heart (in which God dwells).


3110. That (mosque) is phenomenal, this (heart) is real, O asses! The (true) mosque is naught but the hearts of the (spiritual) captains.

The mosque that is the inward (consciousness) of the saints is the place of worship for all: God is there. Until the heart of the man of God was grieved, never did God put any generation to shame.
They were going to make war on the prophets: they saw the body (of the prophet), they supposed he was a man.

In you are the moral natures of those peoples of yore: how art not you afraid lest you be the same (as they)?


3115. Forasmuch as all those marks are in you, and you art (one) of them, how wilt you be saved?

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