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(Masnavi Book 2: 58) The garrulous, greedy, and somnolent Súfí, and his reply to the Shaykh who enjoined him to observe moderation








How some Súfís abused a certain Súfí, saying that he talked too much in the presence of the Shaykh.



Some Súfís abused a certain Súfí, and came to the Shaykh of the convent,

And said to the Shaykh, “Demand justice for our souls from this Súfí, O Guide!”
He said, Why, what is the complaint, O Súfís?” He (their spokesman) replied, “This Súfí has three annoying habits: In speech he is garrulous as a bell; in eating he eats more than twenty persons;


3510. And if he sleep, he is like the Men of the Cave.” (Thus) did the Súfís march to war (against him) before the Shaykh. The Shaykh turned his face towards that dervish, saying, In every case that exists, take the middle (course).
(It is stated) in Tradition that the best things are the mean (those between the two extremes): the (four) humours are beneficial through being in equipoise.

If by accident (any) one humour become excessive, disease appears in the human body.

Do not exceed in (any) quality him that is your yoke-fellow, for that will assuredly bring about separation (between you) in the end.


3515. The speech of Moses was in measure, but even so it exceeded the words of his good friend.

That excess resulted in (his) opposing Khadir; and he (Khadir) said, ‘Go, you art one that talks too much: this is a (cause of) separation (between us).

O (You who resemblest) Moses, you art garrulous. Go far off, or else be dumb with me and blind!
And if you goest not, but remainest sitting (here) in despite (of me), you art gone in reality and severed (from my company).” When suddenly you commit an act of (legal) impurity in the ritual prayer, it (the prayer) says to you, “Go speedily to purify
yourself”;


3520. And if you go not, you will be moving (exerting yourself) in vain; verily your prayer is gone (is void): sit down, O
misguided man!

Go to them that are your mates, (them) that are enamoured of your discourse and thirsting for it.
One who keeps watch is superior to those who slumber: the (spiritual) fish have no need of one who keeps watch. Those who wear clothes look to the launderer, (but) the soul of the naked has (Divine) illumination as its adornment. Either withdraw (and turn) aside from the naked, or like them become free from body-garments.


3525. And if you cannot become wholly naked, make your garments less, so that you may tread the middle path.



How the dervish excused himself to the Shaykh.


Then the dervish told the Shaykh how the case stood, and coupled excuses with the discharge of that obligation. To the Shaykh's questions he gave answer good and right, like the answers of Khadir—
(Namely) those answers to the questions of Moses which Khadir, (inspired) by the all-knowing Lord, set forth to him,

(So that) his difficulties became solved, and he (Khadir) gave to him (Moses) the key to every question (in a way) beyond telling.


3530. The dervish also had (a spiritual) inheritance from Khadir; (hence) he bent his will to answering the Shaykh. He said, “Although the middle path is (the way of) wisdom, yet the middle path too is relative.
Relatively to a camel, the water in the stream is little, but to a mouse it is like the ocean. If any one has an appetite for four loaves and eats two or three, that is the mean;
But if he eat all the four, it is far from the mean: he is in bondage to greed, like a duck.


3535. If one has appetite for ten loaves and eats six, know that that is the mean.

When I have appetite for fifty loaves, and you for (no more than) six scones, we are not equivalent. You may be tired by ten rak‘as (of prayer), I may not be worn thin by five hundred.
One goes bare-foot (all the way) to the Ka‘ba, and one becomes beside himself (with exhaustion in going) as far as the mosque.

One in utter self-devotion gives his life, one is agonised at giving a single loaf.


3540. This mean belongs to (the realm of) the finite, for that (finite) has a beginning and end.

A beginning and end are necessary in order that the mean or middle (point) between them may be conceived in imagination.

Inasmuch as the infinite has not (these) two limits, how should the mean be applicable to it?
No one has shown it to have beginning or end. He (God) said, If the sea were to become ink for it (the Word of God)…’ If the Seven Seas should become entirely ink, (still) there is no hope of coming to an end.


3545. If orchards and forests should become pens altogether, there would never be any decrease in this Word. All that ink and (all those) pens pass away, and this numberless Word is everlasting.
At times my state resembles sleep: a misguided person may think it is sleep.
Know that my eyes are asleep, (but) my heart is awake: know that my (seemingly) inactive form is (really) in action. The Prophet said, ‘My eyes sleep, (but) my heart is not asleep to the Lord of created beings.’


3550. Your eyes are awake, and your heart is sunk in slumber; my eyes are asleep, (but) my heart is in (contemplation of)
the opening of the door (of Divine grace).

My heart has five senses other (than the physical): both the worlds (external and spiritual) are the stage (theatre) for the senses of the heart.

Do not regard me from (the standpoint of) your infirmity: to you It is night, to me that same night is morningtide.

To you It is prison, to me that prison is like a garden: to me the most absolute state of occupation (with the world) has become (a state of spiritual) freedom.

Your feet are in the mud; to me the mud has become roses. You have mourning; I have feasting and drums.


3555. (Whilst) I am dwelling with you in some place on the earth, I am coursing over the seventh sphere (of Heaven), like Saturn.

It is not I that am seated beside you, It is my shadow: my rank is higher than (the reach of) thoughts,

Because I have passed beyond (all) thoughts, and have become a swift traveler outside (the region of) thought. I am the ruler of thought, not ruled (by it), because the builder is ruler over the building.
All creatures are subjugated to thought; for that reason they are sore in heart and practised in sorrow.


3560. I yield myself to thought purposely, (but) when I will I spring up from the midst of them (that are under its sway). I am as a bird of the zenith, thought is a gnat: how should a gnat have power over me?
Purposely I come down from the lofty zenith, that those of base degree may attain to me.

When disgust at the qualities of the low (world) seizes me, I soar up like the birds which spread their pinions.

My wings have grown out of my very essence: I do not stick two wings on with glue.


3565. The wings of Ja‘far-i Tayyár are permanent; the wings of Ja‘far-i ‘Ayyár are borrowed (unreal and transitory).

In the view of him that has not experienced (it), this is (mere) pretension; in the view of the inhabitants of the (spiritual) horizon, this is the reality.

This is brag and pretension in the eyes of the crow: an empty or full pot is all one to the fly.

When morsels of food become (changed to) pearls within you, do not forbear: eat as much as you can.”

One day the Shaykh, in order to rebut (these) ill thoughts, vomited in a basin, and the basin became full of pearls.


3570. On account of the (abusive) man's little understanding, the clairvoyant Pír made the intelligible pearls objects of sense-perception.

When pure (lawful food) turns to impurity in your stomach, put a lock upon your gullet and hide the key;

(But) any one in whom morsels of food become the light of (spiritual) glory, let him eat whatever he will, it is lawful to him.

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