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(Masnavi Book 2: 65) Solomon and the birds




The story of the ducklings which were fostered by a domestic fowl.



You art the offspring of a duck, though a domestic fowl has nursed you beneath her wing. your mother was the duck of that Sea; your nurse was of the earth and devoted to the dry land.
The desire which is in your heart for the Sea—thy soul has that nature (instinct) from your mother.

The desire you have for the dry land is from this nurse. Leave the nurse, for she is an evil counsellor.


3770. Leave the nurse on the dry land, and press on: come into the Sea of spiritual reality, like the ducks. (Even) if your mother should bid you be afraid of the water, fear not thou, but push speedily into the Sea.
You art a duck: you art one that lives (both) on dry and wet; you art not one like the domestic fowl, whose house is dug (in the ground).

You art a king in virtue of (the text), We have ennobled the sons of Adam: you settest foot both on the dry land and on the
Sea.

For in spirit you art (what is signified by the text), We have conveyed them on the Sea: push forward (then) from (the state implied in the words), We have conveyed them on the land.


3775. The angels have no access to the land; the animal kind, again, are ignorant of the Sea.

You in (your) body art an animal, and in (your) spirit you art of the angels, so that you mayst walk on the earth and also in the sky;

So that the seer with heart divinely inspired may be, in appearance, a man like yourselves.
His body of dust (is here), fallen upon the earth; (but) his spirit (is) circling in yonder highest sphere (of Heaven). We all are water-birds, O lad: the Sea fully knows our language.


3780. Therefore the Sea is (our) Solomon, and we are as the birds (familiar with Solomon): in Solomon we move unto everlasting.

With Solomon set your foot in the Sea, that the water, David-like, may make a hundred rings of mail (ripples). That Solomon is present to all, but (His) jealousy binds (our) eyes (with spells) and enchants (us),
So that from folly and drowsiness (forgetfulness) and vanity He is beside us, and (yet) we are sick of Him.

The noise of thunder gives the thirsty man headache, when he does not know that it (the thunder) brings on the rain-clouds of felicity.


3785. His eye remains (fixed) upon the running stream, unaware of the delicious taste of the Water of Heaven.

He has urged the steed of (his) attention towards (secondary) causes: consequently he remains debarred from the Causer. (But) one that sees the Causer plainlyhow should he set his mind upon the (secondary) causes in the world?

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