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(Masnavi Book 4: 07) Comparison of the World to a bath-stove





Comparison of this world to a bath-stove and of piety to the bath.

The lust of this world is like the bath-stove by which the bath, piety, is (made) resplendent;
But the pious man's portion from this stove is (naught but) purity, because he is in the hot-bath and in cleanliness.

240. The rich resemble those who carry dung for the bath-keeper's fire-making.
God has implanted cupidity in them, in order that the bath may be hot and well-provided. Abandon this stove and advance into the hot-bath: know that abandonment of the stove is the
very essence of that bath.
Any one who is in the stove is as a servant to him that is self-denying and on his guard. Whosoever has entered the bath, his (characteristic) sign is visible upon his comely face.

245. The signs of the stokers are conspicuous tooin their dress and in the smoke and dust
(which blacken them).
And if you see not his (the stoker's) face, smell him; smell is (as) a staff for every one that is blind;
And if you have not (the sense of) smell, induce him to speak, and from the new talk learn the old secret.
Then a gold-possessing stoker will say,I have brought in twenty baskets of filth, (working from dawn) till nightfall.”
Your cupidity is like fire in the (material) world: every (flaming) tongue (thereof) has opened a
hundred mouths (to swallow filthy lucre).

250. In the sight of Reason, this gold is foul as dung, although, like dung, it is (the cause of)
the blazing of the fire.
The sun, which emulates the fire, makes the moist filth fit for the fire.
The sun also made the stone gold, in order that a hundred sparks might fall into the stove of cupidity.
He who says,I have collected riches—what is (the meaning of) it? It means,I have brought in all this filth.”
Albeit this saying is exceedingly disgraceful, there are boasts on this account amongst the
stokers.

255. (One of them says), “You have carried (only) six baskets ere nightfall; I have carried twenty baskets without trouble.”
He that was born in the stove and never saw purity, the smell of musk produces a painful effect upon him.

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