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(Masnavi Book 3: 52) The Sufi who fell into ecstasy on seeing an empty food-wallet





Story of the 's being enamoured of the empty food-wallet.

One day a fí espied a food-wallet (hanging) on a nail: he began to whirl and rend his garments,

3015. Crying, “Lo, the food of the foodless! Lo, the remedy for famines and pangs (of hunger)!”
When his smoke and tumult (his ecstasy) waxed great, every one that was a Súfí joined him
(imitated his behaviour).
They were shouting and shrieking: several were becoming intoxicated and beside themselves.
An idle busybody said to thefí, What is the matter? (Only) a food-wallet hung (on a nail), and it is empty of bread!”
He (the Súfí) said, “Begone, begone! You art a (mere) form without spirit: do you seek
existence (not non-existence), for you art no lover.”

3020. The lover's food is love of the bread, without (the existence of) the bread: no one that is sincere (in his love) is in thrall to existence.
Lovers have naught to do with existence: lovers have the interest without (having) the capital. They have no wings, and (yet) they fly round the world; they have no hands, and (yet) they carry off the ball from the polo-field.
That dervish who scented (perceived) Reality used to weave baskets though his hand had been
cut off.
Lovers have pitched their tents in non-existence: they are of one colour (quality) and one essence, like non-existence.

3025. How should the sucking babe know the taste of viands? To the Jinní scent is meat and drink.
How shall a human being scent (perceive) his (the Jinní's) scent, inasmuch as his (the man's)
nature is contrary to his (the Jinní's) nature?
That scent-inhaling Jinní gains from the scent (a great delight): you wilt not gain that (delight)
from a hundred maunds of sweet dainties.
To the Copt the water of the Nile is blood; to the goodly Israelite it is water.
By the Israelites the sea is (made) a highway; by the ruffian Pharaoh it is (made) a drowning- place.

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