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(Masnavi Book 3: 09) The Falcon and the Ducks






How the falcon invited the ducks to come from the water to the plain.

Says the falcon to the duck, “Arise from the water, that you mayst see the plains diffusing sweetness,”
(But) the wise duck says to him, “Away, O falcon! The water is our stronghold and safety and joy.”
The Devil is like the falcon. O ducks, make haste (to guard yourselves)! Beware, do not come out of your stronghold, the water.

435. Say to the falcon, Begone, begone! Turn back and keep the hand off our heads, O kind friend!
We are quit of your invitation: (keep) the invitation for yourself: we will not listen to these words of yours, O infidel!
The stronghold (the water) is (enough) for us: let the sugar and sugar-fields be thine! I do not
desire your gift: take it for yourself!
Whilst there is life (in the body), food will not fail; when there is an army, banners will not fail.The prudent Khwája offered many an excuse and made many a pretext to the (countryman who resembled the) obstinate Devil.

440. “At this moment, said he, I have serious matters (in hand); if I come (to visit you), they will not be set in order.
The King has charged me with a delicate affair, and because of (anxiously) expecting me he has not slept during the night.
I dare not neglect the King's command, I cannot fall into disgrace with the King.
Every morning and evening a special officer arrives and requests of me (desires me to provide) a means of escape (from the difficulty).
Do you deem it right that I should go into the country, with the result that the King would knit
his brows (in wrath)?

445. How should I heal (assuage) his anger after that? Surely, by this (offence) I should bury myself alive.”

He related a hundred pretexts of this sort, (but his) expedients did not coincide with God's decree.
If (all) the atoms of the world contrive expedients, they are naught, naught, against the ordinance of Heaven.
How shall this earth flee from Heaven, how shall it conceal itself from it?
Whatsoever may come from Heaven to the earth, it (the earth) has no refuge or device or hiding-place.

450. Is fire from the sun raining upon it, it has laid its face (low) before his fire; And if the rain is making a flood upon it and devastating the cities upon it,
It (the earth) has become resigned to it (Heaven), like Job, saying, I am captive: bring (on me)
whatever you wilt.”
O you who art a part of this earth, do not lift up your head (in rebellion); when you seest the decree of God, do not withdraw (from it disobediently).
Since you have heard We created you of dust, (know that) He (God) has required you to be
(humble and submissive as) dust: do not avert your face (from Him).

455. (God saith), “Mark how I have sown a seed in the earth: you art dust of the earth, and I
have raised it aloft.
Do you once more adopt the practice of earthiness (self-abasement), that I may make you prince over all princes.”
Water goes from above to below; then from below it goes up above.
The wheat went beneath the earth from above; afterwards it became ears of corn and sprang up quickly.
The seed of every fruit entered into the earth; afterwards it raised up heads (shoots) from the
buried (root).

460. The source of (all) blessings descended from Heaven to the earth and became the nutriment of the pure (vital) spirit.
Forasmuch as it came down from Heaven on account of humility, it became part of the living and
valiant man.
Hence that inanimate matter (rain and sunlight) was turned into human qualities and soared joyously above the empyrean,
Saying, We came at first from the living world, and have (now) gone back from below to above.”
All particles (of phenomenal being), (whether) in movement (or) at rest, are speakers (and
declare): Verily, to Him we are returning.

465. The praises and glorifications of the hidden particles have filled Heaven with an uproar. When the Decree (of God) set out to (use) enchantments, the countryman checkmated a townsman.
Notwithstanding thousands of (good) resolutions, the Khwája was checkmated, and from that journey (which he undertook) he fell into the midst of calamities.
His reliance was upon his own firmness, (but) though he was (as) a mountain, a half-flood swept him away.
When the Decree puts forth its head from Heaven, all the intelligent become blind and deaf;

470. Fishes are cast out of the sea; the snare catches miserably the flying bird. Even genie and demon go into the bottle; nay, a Hárút goes into (the pit of) Babylon.
(All are lost) except that one who has taken refuge with the Decree: his blood no (astrological)
quadrature (ever) shed.
Except that you take refuge with the Decree, no contrivance will give you release from it.

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