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(Masnavi Book 3: 80) Comparison of the true Believer suffering tribulation to peas being boiled in a pot









Comparison of the true believer's fleeing (from tribulation) and his impatience in affliction to the agitation and restlessness of chick-peas and other pot-herbs when boiling in the pot, and to their running upwards in order to jump out.

Look at a chickpea in the pot, how it leaps up when it is subjected to the fire.

4160. At the time of its being boiled, the chickpea comes up continually to the top of the pot and raises a hundred cries,
Saying, Why are you setting the fire on me? Since you bought (and approved) me, how are you turning me upside down?
The housewife goes on hitting it with the ladle. No! says she: “boil nicely and don't jump away from one who makes the fire.
I do not boil you because you are hateful to me: nay, it is that you may get taste and savour,
So that you may become nutriment and mingle with the (vital) spirit: this affliction of yours is not on account of (your) being despised.

4165. You, when green and fresh, were drinking water in the garden: that water-drinking was for the sake of this fire.”
His (God's) mercy is prior to His wrath, to the end that by (God's) mercy he (the afflicted person)
may suffer affliction.
His (God's) mercy (eternally) preceded His wrath in order that the stock-intrade, (which is)
existence, should come to hand (be acquired);
For, without pleasure, flesh and skin do not grow; and unless they grow, what shall the love of the Friend consume?
If, because of that requirement, acts of wrath come to pass, to the end that you may give up
that stock-in-trade,

4170. (Yet) again (afterwards) the Grace (of God) will come in order to excuse it (the act of wrath), saying, (Now) you have washed yourself (clean) and have leaped forth from the river (of tribulation).”
She (the housewife) says,O chickpea, you didst feed in the springtime: (now) Pain has become your guest: entertain him well,
That the guest may return (home), giving thanks (for his entertainment), and may relate your generosity in the presence of the King,
So that the Bestower of favour may come to you instead of the favour, and that all favours may
envy you.
I am Khalíl (Abraham), and you art my son: lay your head before the knife: lo, I see (in a dream)
that I shall sacrifice you.

4175. Lay your head before (my) wrath, with heart unmoved, that I may cut your throat, like
(that of) Ismá‘íl (Ishmael).
I will cut off your head, but this head is the head that is immune from being cut off and (from)
dying;
Yet your giving yourself up is the object of (God's) eternal purpose: O Moslem, you must seek to give yourself up.
Continue, O chickpea, to boil in tribulation, that neither existence nor self may remain to you.
If you have (formerly) laughed in that (earthly) garden, (yet) you art the rose of the garden of the spirit and the (spiritual) eye.

4180. If you have been parted from the garden of water and earth, (yet) you have become food in the mouth and have entered into the living.
Become nutriment and strength and thoughts! (Formerly) you wert milk (sap): (now) be a lion
in the jungles!
By God, you grewest from His (God's) attributes in the beginning: go back nimbly and fleetly into His attributes.
You camest from the cloud and the sun and the sky; then didst you become (diverse)
attributes and ascend to heaven.
You camest in the form of rain and heat: you wilt go into the goodly (Divine) attributes.

4185. You wert a part of the sun and the cloud and the stars: you becamest soul and action and speech and thoughts.”
The existence of the animal arose from the death of the plant: (hence the command) slay me, O
trusty friends” is right.
Since there is such a victory for us after the checkmate (of death), (the words) “verily, in my being slain there is a life” are true.
Action and speech and sincerity became the food of the angel, so that by means of this ladder he
mounted to heaven,
Just as (when) that morsel became the food of Man, it mounted from (the state of)
inanimateness and became possessed of soul.


4190. As regards this topic, a wide (far-reaching) explanation will be given in another place. “The caravan (of spirits) is incessantly arriving from heaven, that they may traffic (on the earth) and go back again.
Go, then, sweetly and gladly with free-will, not with bitterness and loathing, like a thief.
I am speaking bitter words to you, in order that I may wash you (clean) of bitternesses. The frozen grape is thawed by cold water and lays aside its coldness and congealment.

4195. When, from (having endured) bitterness (self-mortification), your heart is filled with blood (like the grape), then you wilt escape from all bitternesses.
A comparison showing how the true believer becomes patient when he understands the inward meaning and the beneficial nature of tribulation.
(If) a dog is not (kept) for hunting, he has no collar: the raw and unboiled is naught but the insipid.”
The chickpea said, Since it is so, O lady, I will gladly boil: give me help in verity!
In this boiling you art, as it were, my architect: smite me with the skimming spoon, for you smitest very delightfully.
I am as the elephant: beat and brand my head, that I may not dream of Hindustán and (its)
gardens;

4200. So that I may yield myself (submit) to the boiling, to the end that I may find a way to that embrace (of the Beloved);
Because Man, in (the state of) independence, grows insolent and becomes hostile, like the
dreaming elephant.
When the elephant dreams of Hindustán, he does not hearken to the driver and displays viciousness.”

(Showing) how the housewife made apologies to the chickpea, and (explaining) the wise purpose in her keeping the chickpea on the boil.

The dame says to it, “Formerly I, like you, was a part of the earth.
After I had drunk a (cup of) fiery self-mortification, then I became an acceptable and worthy one.

4205. For a long while, I boiled in (the world of) Time; for another long while, in the pot of the body.
By reason of these two boilings I became (a source of) strength to the senses: I became (animal)
spirit: then I became your teacher.
(Whilst I was) in the inanimate state I used to say (to myself), You art running (to and fro in agitation) to the end that you mayst become (endued with) knowledge and spiritual qualities.’ Since I have become (animal) spirit, now (let me) boil once more and pass beyond animality.”
Beseech God continually that you may not stumble over these deep sayings and that you may arrive at the (journey's) end,

4210. For many have been led astray by the Qur’án: by (clinging to that rope a multitude have fallen into the well.
There is no fault in the rope, O perverse man, inasmuch as you had no desire for (reaching) the top.

The remainder of the story of the guest of that guest-killing mosque, and his firmness and sincerity.

That high-aspiring stranger to the town said, I will sleep in this mosque at night. O mosque, if you become my Karbala, you wilt be the Kaba that fulfils my need.

Hark, give me leave, O chosen house, that I may perform a rope-dance, like Mansur (Hallaj)!

4215. If in counselling (me) ye have become (as) Gabriel, (yet) Khalil (Abraham) will not crave succour in the fire’.
Begone, O (you who art like) Gabriel, for, having been kindled (with the flame of love), I, like aloes-wood and ambergris, am better (when) burnt.
O Gabriel, although you art helping and guarding (me) like a brother,
(Yet), O brother, I am eager for the fire: I am not that (animal) spirit, that I should become more and (then) less.
The animal spirit is increased by fodder: it (the animal spirit) was a fire and was consumed like firewood.

4220. Had it not become firewood, it would have been fruitful: it would have prospered unto everlasting and would have caused prosperity.
Know that this fire is a burning wind: it is a ray of fire, not the essence thereof.
Assuredly the essence of fire is in the aether: on the earth there is (only) its ray and shadow
(reflexion).
Of necessity, the ray, on account of quivering, does not endure: it is speedily returning to its source.
Your stature is normally invariable, (but) your shadow is now short, now long.

4225. Inasmuch as no one finds permanence in the ray, (all) the reflexions return to (their)
origins.
Hark, close your mouth: Mischief has opened its lips. Dry up! God best knoweth the right way.

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