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(Masnavi Book 4: 18) The Dervish and the Carrier of firewood







How a dervish saw in dream a company of Shaykhs and begged for a daily portion of lawful food (which he should receive) without being occupied with earning (it) and being (thereby) incapacitated from devotional service; and how they directed him, and how the sour and bitter mountain-fruit became sweet to him through the bounty of those Shaykhs.

A certain dervish said in the night-talk, I saw in dream those (saints who are) connected with
Khizr.
I said to them, ‘Whence shall I (get to) eat a daily portion of lawful food that is not pernicious?’

680. They took me along towards the mountainous country: they were shaking down the fruit from (the trees in) the forest,
Saying, God has made the fruit (to taste) sweet in your mouth because of our benedictions. Come, eat (food that is) clean and lawful, and free of reckoning, without trouble and change of place and (going) up and down.’
Then from that daily provision there appeared in me a (gift of) speech: (the spiritual) savour of
my words was transporting (the people's) minds.
I said, This is a temptation: O Lord of the world, bestow (on me) a gift hidden from all (Thy)
creatures!’

685. Speech departed from (forsook) me; I gained a joyous heart: I was bursting with rapture, like the pomegranate;
I said,If there be naught in Paradise (for me) but this delight which I have within my nature,
No other blessing will be desired (by me): I will not be diverted from this (delight) by the houris and sugar-cane (of Paradise).’
Of my (former) earnings one or two small pieces (of money) had remained with me, sewn in the
sleeve of my jubba.

How he formed an intention, saying, I will give this money to that carrier of firewood, since I have obtained daily provision through the miraculous gifts of the Shaykhs’; and how the carrier of firewood was offended by his secret thought and intention.

A poor man was carrying firewood: he approached (me), weary and exhausted, from the forest.

690. So I said (to myself), I am independent of (earning) daily bread: henceforth I have no anxiety for the daily portion.
The loathed fruit has become sweet to me: a special provision for my body has come to hand. Since I have been freed from the (cravings of the) gullet, here are some small pieces of money: I will give him these.
I will give this money to this toil-worn man, that for two or three brief days he may be made happy by food.
He himself was knowing my mind, because his (inward) hearing had illumination from the candle
of Hú (God).

695. To him the secret of every thought was as a lamp within a glass.

No mental conception was hidden from him: he was ruler over the contents of (men's) hearts. Therefore that wondrous man was muttering to himself under his breath in answer to my (unspoken) thought,
You thinkest so concerning the (spiritual) kings: how shouldst you meet (receive) the daily provision unless they provide you (with it)?
I was not understanding his words, but his rebuke smote my heart mightily.

700. He approached me with awful mien, like a lion, and laid down his bundle of firewood. (Through) the influence of the ecstatic state in which he laid down the firewood, a trembling fell upon all my seven limbs.
He said,O Lord, if You have elect ones whose prayers are blessed and whose feet (comings and goings) are auspicious,
I entreat that Thy grace may become an alchemist (may work a transmutation) and that this bundle of firewood may be turned into gold at this moment.’
Immediately I saw that his firewood was turned into gold, gleaming brightly on the ground, like fire.

705. Thereat I became beside myself for a long while. When I came to myself (again) out of
(that) bewilderment,
He said afterwards, O God, if those great ones (the saints) are very jealous and are fleeing from celebrity,
At once, without delay, make this (gold) a bundle of firewood again, just as it was (before).’ Immediately those branches of gold turned into firewood: the intellect and the sight were
intoxicated (amazed) at his (miraculous) work.
After that, he took up the firewood and went from me in hot haste towards the town.

710. I wished to follow that (spiritual) king and ask him about (some) difficulties and hear (his answer);
(But) the awe (which he inspired) made me (as though I were) bound: the vulgar have no way
(admission) to the presence of the elect.”
And if the way become (open) to any one, let him offer his head (in utter devotion), for that (admission to their presence) comes from their mercy and their drawing (him towards them). Therefore, when you gain companionship with the siddíq (true saint), deem that Divine favour (conferred on you) to be a precious opportunity.
(Do) not (be) like the fool who wins the favour of the King, and then lightly and easily falls away from the path (of favour).

715. When more of (the King's) favour is bestowed on him, then he says, “Surely this is the thigh of an ox.
This does not consist of the thigh of an ox, O deviser of falsehood: to you it appears to be the
thigh of an ox because you are an ass.
This is a royal gift devoid of any corruption: this is pure munificence (springing) from a (great)
mercy,

[How Solomon, on whom be peace, urged the envoys to hasten the emigration of
Bilqis (from her kingdom) for the Faith’s sake.]

Even as in (the spiritual) warfare King Solomon drew the cavalry and foot-soldiers of Bilqis
(towards him),
Saying,O honoured men, come quickly, quickly, for the waves have risen from the sea of bounty.

720. At every moment the surge of its waves is scattering shorewards a hundred pearls without danger (to those who seek them).
We cry (you) welcome, O people of righteousness, for now Rizwan has opened the gate of
Paradise.”
Then Solomon said, O couriers, go to Bilqis and believe in this Religion.
Then bid her come hither with all speed, for verily God inviteth to the (abode of) peace.Hark, come speedily, O seeker of felicity, for now is (the time for) manifestations (of spiritual
grace) and the opening of the door.

725. O you who art not a seeker, come you also, that you mayst gain (the gift of) seeking
(felicity) from this faithful Friend.

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