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(Masnavi Book 4: 15) Solomon and Bilqis






Story of Bilqís' sending a gift from the city of Sabá to Solomon, on whom be peace.

The gift of Bilqís was forty mules: their whole load consisted of bricks of gold.
When he (the envoy) reached the open plain, belonging to Solomon, he saw that its carpet was
(made) entirely of solid gold.

565. He rode on gold for the distance of forty stages, till gold had no more esteem in his sight.
(Many) times they said, Let us take the gold back to the treasury: what a (fruitless) quest are
we (engaged) in!
A spacious land of which the soil is pure gold—to bring gold thither as a gift is folly.”
O you who have brought intelligence to God as a gift, there intelligence is less (in value) than the dust of the road.
When the worthlessness of the gift became apparent there (in Solomon's kingdom),
shamefacedness was drawing them back (towards Bilqís);


570. (But) again they said, Whether it be worthless or valuable, what matter to us? We are slaves (bound) to (obey) the command.
Whether we have to bring gold or earth, the command of the one who gives the command is to be executed.
If they command you to bring it back (to Bilqís), (then) take the gift back according to the
command.
When Solomon beheld that (gift), he laughed, saying, “When did I seek tharíd from you?
I do not bid you bestow gifts on me; nay, I bid you be worthy of the gifts (which I bestow);

575. For I have rare gifts (coming) from the Unseen, which human beings durst not even ask for.
Ye worship the star (planet) that makes gold: turn your faces towards Him that makes the star. Ye worship the sun in heaven, having despised the Spirit (which is) of high price.
The sun, by command of God, is our cook: ’twere folly that we should say it is God.
If your sun be eclipsed, what wilt you do? How wilt you expel that blackness from it?

580. Wilt not you bring your headache (trouble and pain) to the court of God, saying, Take the blackness away, give back the radiance!’
If they would kill you at midnight, where is the sun, that you shouldst wail (in supplication) and beg protection of it?
Calamities, for the most part, happen in the night; and at that time the object of your worship is absent.
If you sincerely bow (in prayer) to God, you wilt be delivered from the stars: you wilt become intimate (with God).
When you becomest intimate, I will open my lips (to speak) with you, that you may’st behold a
Sun at midnight.

585. It has no Orient but the pure spirit: in (respect of) its rising, there is no difference between day and night.
It is day when it (the Sun) rises; when it begins to shine, night is night no more.
(Such) as the mote appears in the presence of the sun, even such is the sun (of this world) in the pure substance (of the Light of God).
The sun that becomes resplendent, and before which the (keenest) sight is blunted and dazzled—
You wilt see it as a mote in the light of the Divine Throne, (a mote) beside the illimitable
abounding light of the Divine Throne.

590. You wilt deem it base and lowly and impermanent, (when) strength has come to thine
(inward) eye from the Creator.”
(The Divine Light is) the Philosophers' Stone from which a single impression fell on the (primal)
vapour, and it (the vapour) became a star;
The unique elixir of which half a gleam struck upon a (region of) darkness and made it the sun; The marvellous alchemist who by a single operation fastened all these properties on Saturn.
Know, O seeker, that the remaining planets and the spiritual substances are (to be judged)
according to the same standard.

595. The sensuous eye is subject to the sun: seek and find a divine eye,
In order that the beams of the flaming sun may become subject (abased) before that vision; For that vision is luminous, while these (sunbeams) are igneous: fire is very dark in comparison
with light.

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