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(Masnavi Book 4: 08) The Tanner who fainted on smelling otto and musk













Story of the tanner who fainted and sickened on smelling otto and musk in the bazaar of the perfumers.

A certain man fell senseless and curled up as soon as he came into the bazaar of the perfumers. The scent of the perfume (floating) from the goodly perfumers smote him, so that his head reeled and he fell on the spot.
He fell unconscious, like a car case, at noontide in the middle of the thoroughfare.

260. Thereupon the people gathered over him, all crying Lá hawl and applying remedies. One was putting his hand on his (the tanner's) heart, while another sprinkled rose-water upon him;
(For) he did not know that from (smelling) rose-water in the meadow (the bazaar) that calamity had overtaken him.
One was massaging his hands and head, and another was bringing moist clay mixed with straw
(to serve as a cold plaster);
One compounded incense of aloes-wood and sugar, while another was divesting him of part of his clothes;

265. And another felt his pulse, to see how it was beating; and another was smelling his mouth,
To see whether he had drunk wine or eaten beng or hashish: the people (having exhausted
every resource) remained in despair at his insensibility.
So they speedily brought the news to his kinsfolk—“Such and such a person is lying there in a state of collapse;
No one knows how he was stricken with catalepsy, or what it was that led to this public exposure.

That stout tanner had a brother, (who was) cunning and sagacious: he came at once in hot haste.

270. (With) a small quantity of dog's dung in his sleeve, he cleft (his way through) the crowd and approached (the senseless man) with cries of grief.
I know, said he, “whence his illness arises: when you know the cause (of a disease), the
(means of) curing (it) is manifest.
When the cause is unknown, the remedy for the illness is difficult (to find), and in that (case)
there are a hundred grounds to which it may be referred;
(But) when you have ascertained the cause, it becomes easy: knowledge of causes is the means of expelling ignorance.”
He said to himself, The smell of that dog's dung is multiplied in his brain and veins.

275. Up to the waist in filth, he is absorbed in the tanner's craft till nightfall, seeking his livelihood.
Thus then has the great Jálís (Galen) said:Give the patient that to which he was habituated
(before his illness);
For his illness arises from doing the contrary to (his usual) habit: therefore seek the remedy for his illness in that which is habitual (to him).’
He (the tanner), from carrying dung, has become like the dung-beetle: the dung-beetle is made insensible by rose-water.
The remedy for him consists in that same dog's dung to which he is habituated and accustomed.”

280. Recite (the text), the wicked women for the wicked men: recognise (both) the front and the back of this saying.
The sincere mentors prepare medicine for him (the wicked man) with ambergris or rose-water to
open the door (of Divine Mercy);
(But) sweet words will not do for the wicked: it is not fitting and suitable, O ye trusty ones!
When from the perfume of the Revelation they (the wicked infidels) became crooked (disordered in mind) and lost (in error), their lament was, We augur evil from you.
This discourse (of yours) is illness and sickness to us: your exhortation is not of good omen to us.

285. If ye once begin to admonish (us) overtly, at that instant we will stone you.
We have waxed fat on frivolity and diversion: we have not steeped ourselves in admonition.
Our food is falsehood and idle boasts and jests: our stomachs are turned by your delivering this message.
Ye are making the illness hundredfold and more: ye are drugging the intelligence with opium.”

How the tanners brother sought to cure him secretly with the smell of dung.

The youth kept driving the people away from him (the tanner), in order that those persons might not see his treatment (of the sick man).

290. He brought his head (close) to his ear, like one telling a secret; then he put the thing
(which he had in his hand) to his (the tanner’s) nose;
For he had rubbed the dog’s dung on his palm: he had deemed it (to be) the remedy for the polluted brain.
A short while passed: the man began to move: the people said, This was a wonderful charm;
For this (youth) recited charms and breathed (them) into his ear: he was dead: the charms came to succour him.
The movement of iniquitous folk is to the quarter in which there is fornication and ogling glances and eyebrows.

295. Any one to whom the musk, admonition, is of no use must necessarily make himself familiar with the bad smell.
God has called the polytheists najas (uncleanness)’ for the reason that they were born in dung from of old.
The worm that has been born in dung will nevermore change its evil nature by means of ambergris.
Since the largesse of sprinkled light did not strike upon him (the wicked man), he is wholly body, without heart (spirit), like (empty) husks.

300. And if God gave him a portion of the sprinkled light, the dung hatched a bird, as is the custom in Egypt so But not the cheap domestic fowl; nay, but the bird of know ledge and wisdom.
You resemblest that (wicked man) for you art devoid of that light, inasmuch as you art putting your nose to filth.
Because of being parted (from me) your cheeks and face have become yellow (pale): you art (a tree with) yellow leaves and unripened fruit,
The pot was blackened by the fire and became like smoke in colour, (but) the meat, on account of (its) hardness, has remained so raw as this!
Eight years have I boiled, you in separation (from me): your rawness and hypocrisy have not
become less by a single mote.

305. Thy young grape is indurated; for through sickness the (other) young grapes are now raisins, while you art (still) immature.”

How the lover begged to be excused for his sin, (but) with duplicity and dissimulation; and how the beloved perceived that also.

The lover said, I made the trial—do not take offencethat I might see whether you art a hetaera or a modest woman. I was knowing (it) without the trial, but how should hearing be the same as seeing?
You art (like) the sun: your name is renowned and known to all: what harm is there if I have tested it?
You art I: every day I am making trial of myself in profit and loss (good and evil).

310. The prophets were put to the trial by their enemies, with the result that miracles were displayed by them.
I made trial of my own eye with light, O you from whose eyes may the evil eye be far! This world is as the ruin, and you the treasure (buried there): if I have made investigation concerning your treasure, be not aggrieved.
I recklessly committed such an indiscretion, that I may always boast (of your virtue) to (your)
enemies;
So that, when my tongue bestows a name on you, my eye may give testimonies of this which I
have seen.

315. If I have sought to rob you of your honour I come, O Moon (of beauty), with sword and winding-sheet.
Do not cut off my feet arid head save with yours own hand, for I belong to this hand, not to
another hand.
You art talking again of separation: do whatsoever you wilt, but do not this!”
The way is now made (open for entering) into the realm of Discourse (Exposition); (but) it is impossible to speak (on the subject), since there is no time (to do so at present).
We have told the husks (externals), but the kernel (the inner meaning) is buried; if we remain
(alive), this will not remain (concealed) as it is now.


How the beloved rejected the excuses of the lover and rubbed h duplicity into him

320. The loved one opened her lips to answer him, saying, “On my side it is day, and on your side it is night.
Why in contention do you bring forward dark evasions be fore those who see (the truth
plainly)?
To us, all the deceit and dissimulations that you ha in your heart are manifest and clear as day. If we, in kindness to our servant, cover it up, why do you carry shamelessness beyond the
limit?
Learn from your Father; for in (the hour of) sin Adam came down willingly to the vestibule

325. When he beheld that Knower of secrets, he stood up on his feet to ask forgiveness.
He seated himself on the ashes of contrition: he did not jump from one branch of idle pleading to another
He said only, O Lord, verily we have done wrong,when he saw the (angelic) life-guards in front
and behind.
He saw the life-guards who are invisible, as the spirit is—each one’s mace (reaching) to the sky—
-
Saying, Hola! be (as) the ant before Solomon, lest this mace cleave you asunder.

330. Do not for one moment stand (anywhere) but in the place of truth: a man has no guardian like the (seeing) eye.
(Even) if the blind man be purified by admonition, he continually becomes polluted again.
O Adam, you art not blind of vision, but when the Divine destiny comes, the sight becomes blind.’”
Lifetimes are needed—(so) rarely and occasionally (does it happen)—for the seeing man to fall by destiny into the pit.
As regards the blind man, this destiny in sooth is his companion on the way; for it is his nature and disposition to fall.

335. He falls into the filth and does not know what the smell is; (he asks himself), Is this smell from me or from (my) being polluted?”
And likewise, if any one sprinkle some musk over him, he thinks it (comes) from himself and not from the kindness of his friend.
Therefore to you, 0 man of vision, two clear eyes are (as) a hundred mothers and a hundred
fathers;
Especially the eye of the heart (the spiritual eye), which is seventy-fold and of which these two sensible eyes are (only) the gleaners.
Oh, alas, the highwaymen are seated (and lying in wait for me): they have tied a hundred knots
beneath my tongue.

340. How should the smooth-paced horse move well, when his leg is tied? This is a very heavy chain: hold me excused!
These words (of mine) are coming (forth) brokenly, 0 heart; for these words are pearls, and (the
Divine) jealousy is the mill (which breaks them);
(But), though the pearls be broken into small fragments, they become tutty (collyrium) for the sore eye (of the spirit).
O pearl, do not beat your head (in grief) at your being broken, for through being broken you wilt
become (radiant) light.
It (the word) has to be uttered thus brokenly and in bandages: God, who is Self-sufficient, will make it whole at last.

345. If wheat is broken and torn asunder (in the mill), it appears in the (baker’s) shop, saying, “Look! a perfect loaf!
You too, O lover, since your crime has become manifest, abandon water and oil (specious varnish) and be broken (contrite).
Those who are the elect children of Adam sigh forth (the confession), verily we have done wrong.’
Submit your petition, do not argue like the accursed hard- faced (impudent) Iblis.
If impudence concealed his fault, go, exert yourself in (showing) obstinacy and impudence!

350. Abu Jahl, like a vindictive Ghuzz Turcoman, demanded a miracle from the Prophet; But that Siddiq of God (Abu Bakr) did not crave a miracle: he said, ‘Verily, this face speaks naught but truth.
How should it beseem one like you, from egoism, to make trial of a beloved like me?”

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