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(Masnavi Book 2: 61) Mute eloquence



On mute eloquence and the understanding of it.

3625. Listen also to what passes between the moth and the candle, and pick out the meaning, O worshipful one. Albeit there is no speech, there is the inmost soul of speech. Come, fly aloft, do not fly low, like the owl.
He (the player) at chess said, “This is the house of the rook.” “By what way, said he (the literalist), “did the house come into its hands?

Did it buy the house, or inherit it?”—Happy is he that sped towards the (real) meaning!

A grammarian said, “Zayd has struck ‘Amr.” Said (the fool), “How did he chastise him without any offence (on his part)?


3630. What was ‘Amr's offence, that that rude Zayd struck him, innocent (though he was), as (if he were) a slave?”

He (the grammarian) replied, “This (form of words) is (only) the measure (container) of the meaning signified: take some wheat, for the measure is (to be) rejected.

Zayd and ‘Amr are a device for (showing) the declension: if that (statement that Zayd struck ‘Amr) is untrue, make up with the declension.”
Nay, said he, “I don't know about that. How did Zayd strike ‘Amr without (his committing any) crime or fault?” He (the grammarian) in desperation started a joke and said, “‘Amr had stolen a superfluous w.


3635. Zayd became aware, and struck the stealer of it: since he (‘Amr) carried it beyond bounds (transgressed the law), the punishment serves him right.”



How worthless sayings find acceptance in the minds of worthless folk.



He (the fool) said, “Here you are, this is the truth! I accept (it) with (all) my soul.” Wrong seems right to the wrong-minded.

If you say to a squinting man, “The moon is one,” he will say to you, “These are two (moons); and there is a (great) doubt as to
(the moon's) being one”;

And if somebody laughs at him and says, “There are two,” he deems it the truth. This (mockery) is what the ill-natured
(ignorant and contumacious) fellow deserves.

Lies muster round (those who are living) lies: (the text) the wicked women for the wicked men has thrown light (upon this point).


3640. They whose hearts are (opened) wide (to receive spiritual truths) have wide

(far-reaching) hands; they whose (spiritual) eyes are blind have to stumble on stony ground.

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