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(Masnavi Book 3: 81) The Mathnawi and its critics





Account of the conception of evil fancies by those deficient in understanding.

Ere this tale reaches the conclusion, there comes from the envious a vapour of stench.
I am not pained by it, but this kick may break the nerve of a simple-hearted man's mind.
Well did the Sage of Ghazna set forth the (following) spiritual parable for the sake of those who are veiled (from perception of the truth),

4230. (Saying) that if one see in the Qur’án naught but words, this is not surprising on the part of them that have lost the (right) way,
Since the eye of the blind is sensible of naught but heat from the beams of the luminous sun. Suddenly a great booby popped his head out of an ass-stable, like a railing woman,
(Saying) that this discourse, namely, the Mathnawí, is low; (that) it is the story of the Prophet and (consists of) imitation;
(That) there is no mention of (theosophical) investigation and the sublime mysteries towards which the saints make their steeds gallop;

4235. (That) from the stations of asceticism to the passing away (from self-existence), step by step up to union with God,
(It contains not) the explanation and definition of every station and stage, so that by means of the wings thereof a man of heart (a mystic) should soar.
When the Book of God (the Qurán) came (down), the unbelievers railed likewise at it too, Saying, “It is (mere) legends and paltry tales; there is no profound inquiry and lofty speculation;
The little children understand it; it is naught but things approved and disapproved—

4240. The account of Joseph, the account of his curly locks, the account of Jacob and Zalíkhá and her passion.
It is plain, and every one finds the way (to its meaning): where is the exposition in which the intellect becomes lost?”

He (God) said, “If this seems easy to you, say (compose) one Súra (in the style that is) so ‘easy’
as this (Qur’án).
Let the Jinn and mankind and the skilled among you produce a single verse of this ‘easy (style).”

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