Story of the thirsty man who dropped walnuts from the top of a walnut-tree into the water-brook that was in the hollow, without reaching the water (himself), in order that he might hear the sound made by the walnuts falling on the water, which thrilled him with joy as (though it were) sweet music.
745. The water was in a deep place: the thirsty man went up the tree and scattered the walnuts one by one.
The walnuts were falling from the walnut-tree into the water: the sound was coming (to his
ears), and he was seeing the bubbles.
A sensible person said to him, “Leave off, O youth: truly the (loss of the) walnuts will bring thirst
(regret) to you.
The more the fruit falls into the water—(since) the water is below at a (great) distance from you, The river-water will have carried it (the fruit) far away before you with effort come down from
the top (of the tree).”
750. He replied, “My purpose in this scattering is not (to obtain possession of) the walnuts:
look more keenly, do not stop at this superficial (view).
My purpose is that the sound of the water should come (to my ears); also, that I should see these bubbles on the surface of the water.”
What, indeed, is the thirsty man's business in the world? To circle for ever round the base of the
Round the channel and round the Water and the sound of the Water, like a pilgrim circumambulating the Ka‘ba of Truth.
Even so, in (composing) this Mathnawí thou, O Ziyá’u ’l-Haqq (Radiance of God) Husámu’ddín, art
755. The whole Mathnawí in its branches and roots is thine: you have accepted (it). Kings accept (both) good and bad: when they accept (anything), it is reprobate no more. Since you have planted the sapling, give it water. Since you have given it freedom (to grow), untie the knots.
In (all) its expressions my object is (to reveal) your mystery; in composing it my object is (to hear)
To me your voice is the voice of God: Heaven forfend that (I should say) the lover is separate from the Beloved.
760. There is a union beyond description or analogy between the Lord of Man and the spirit of
But I said nás (Man), not nasnás; nás is none but the spirit that knows the (Divine) Spirit.
Nás is Man, and where is Manhood? You have never beheld the head (spiritual principle) of Man:
you are a tail.
You have recited (the text) you didst not throw when you threwest, but you are a (mere) body:
you have remained in division.
Like Bilqís, O foolish one, abandon the kingdom of your body for the sake of the prophet
765. I am crying “lá hawl,” not on account of my own words, nay, but on account of the false suggestions of the person accustomed to think (evil),
Who is conceiving in his heart a vain fancy about my words, (a fancy arising) from the false suggestions and incredulities of (evil) thought.
I am crying “lá hawl,” that is, “there is no help,” because in your heart there is a contradiction of me.
Since my words have stuck in your throat, I am silent: do you speak your own (words).
A sweet flute-player was playing the flute: subito e podice ejus erupit ventus.
770. Fistulam in podice posuit, saying, “If you play better than I, take it (the flute) and play!” O Musalmán, (whilst you are still engaged) in the quest, good manners are indeed nothing but forbearance with every one that is unmannerly.
When you see any one complaining of such and such a person's ill-nature and bad temper,
Know that the complainant is bad-tempered, forasmuch as he speaks ill of that bad-tempered person,
Because he (alone) is good-tempered who is quietly forbearing towards the bad-tempered and ill-
775. But in (the case of) the Shaykh, the complaint is (made) by the command of God; it is not (made) in consequence of anger and contentiousness and vain desire.
It is not a complaint, it is spiritual correction, like the complaints made by the prophets.
Know that the intolerance of the prophets is by command (of God); otherwise, their clemency is exceedingly tolerant of evil.
They mortified their (carnal) nature in toleration of evil; if there be intolerance (on their part), it is Divine.
O Solomon (of the age), amidst the crows and falcons be you (a manifestation of) the clemency
of God: sort with (adapt yourself to) all the birds.
780. Oh, two hundred (like) Bilqís are abased before your clemency, for (you sayest in the words of the Prophet), “(O God), guide my people, verily they know not.”
How Solomon, on whom be peace, sent a threatening message to Bilqis, saying, “Do not think to persist in polytheism and do not make delay.”
“Hark, Bilqis, come! Else, it will be bad (for thee): your army will become yours enemy and will revolt.
Thy chamberlain will destroy your door: your soul with (all) its soul will act as an enemy towards
All the atoms of earth and heaven are God’s army, (as you will find out) on putting it to the test. You have seen what the wind did to the people of ‘Ad, you have seen what the water did at the
785. How that vengeful Sea dashed on Pharaoh, and how this Earth behaved to Qarun
And what those babil (swifts) did to the Elephant, and how the gnat devoured the skull of
And how a David hurled with his hand a stone (which) be came six hundred pieces and shattered an army,
Stones rained upon the enemies of Lot, so that they were sub merged in the black water,
If I relate the help given rationally to the prophets by the inanimate things of the world,
790. The Mathnawi will become of such extent that, if forty camels carry it, they will be unable to bear the full load.
The (infidel’s) hand will give testimony against the infidel will become an army of God, and will
submit (to the Divine command).
O you that in your actions have studied to oppose God, you are in the midst of His army: be afraid!
Every part of you is an army of God in accord (with Him) they are obedient to you now, (but) not sincerely’.
If He say to the eye, “Squeeze (torture) him, ‘eye-ache will wreak upon you a hundred vengeances;
795. And if He say to the teeth, ‘Plague (him),” then you will suffer chastisement from your teeth.
Open the (book of) Medicine and read the chapter on diseases, that you may see what is done
by the army of the body.
Since He is the Soul of the soul of everything, howls it a light matter to be hostile to the Soul of the soul?
“Let alone the army of demons and genies who, (devoted to me) from the core of their hearts, cleave the ranks (of my enemies) for me.
First, O Bilqis relinquish your kingdom: when you gainest me, all the kingdom is yours.
800. When you have come to me, you yourself wilt know that without me you wert (as) a picture in the bath-house.”
Even if the picture be the picture of a sultan or a rich man, it is a (mere) form: it has no savour
(consciousness) of its own spirit.
Its beauty is for others: its eyes and mouth are open in vain.
O you who have devoted yourself (to contending with others) in strife, you have not known
‘(discriminated) others from your self.
You stop at every form that you come to, saying, “I am this.” By God, you arc not that (form).
805. (If) you are left alone by people for a single moment, you re main (plunged) up to the throat in grief and anxiety.
How are you this (form)? You are that Unique One, for (in reality) you are fair and lovely and intoxicated with yourself.
You are your own bird your own prey, and your own snare; you are your own seat of honour, your own floor, and yow own root.
The substance is that which subsists in itself; the accident is that which has become a derivative of it (of the substance).
If you are born of Adam, sit like him and behold all his progeny in yourself
810. What is in the jar that is not (also) in the river? What is in the house that is not (also) in the city?
This world is the jar, and the heart (spirit) is like the ‘river; this world is the chamber, and the heart is the wonderful city.
How Solomon, on whom be peace, explained (to Bilqis), saying, “My labour in (bringing about) your (conversion to the) Faith is purely for God’s sake: I have not one atom of self-interest, either as regards your person or your beauty or your kingdom. You yourself wilt see (this) when the eye of your spirit is opened by the light of God.”
“Hark, come, for I am a Messenger (Prophet) sent to call (the people to God): like Death, I am the slayer of lust, I am not given to lust.
And if there be lust (in me), I am the ruler of (my) lust: lam not captive to lust for the face of an idol.
My deepest nature’ is a breaker of idols, like (Abraham) the Friend of God and all the prophets.
815. O slave, if I enter the idol-temple, the idol will prostrate itself, not I, in adoration.” (Both) Ahmad (Mohammed) and Bu Jahl went into the idol- temple; (but) there is a great difference between this going and that going.
This one (Mohammed) enters, the idols lay down their heads before him; that one (Bu Jahl)
enters and lays down his head (before the idols), like the peoples (of old).
This world, (which is) associated with lust, is an idol-temple: it is a nest (abode) for the prophets and the infidels (alike),
But lust is the slave of holy men: gold does not burn (in the fire), because it is sterling coin from the mine.
820. The infidels are alloy, while the holy men are as (pure) gold: both these (classes of)
persons are within this crucible.
When the alloy came (into the crucible), it became black at once; (when) the gold came in, its goldenness was made manifest.
The gold gladly cast (itself with) hands and feet into the crucible: its vein (original nature) laughs in the face of the fire.
Our body is our veil in the world: we are like a sea hidden beneath this straw.
O fool, do not regard the king of the (true) Religion as clay; for the accursed Iblis took this view
825. How is it possible to daub this sun with a handful of earth? Pray, tell me (that)! Though you pour earth and a hundred ashes over its light, it will come up above them.
Who (what) is straw that it should cover the face of the water? Who (what) is clay that it should cover the sun?
O Bilqis arise royally, like (Ibráhim son of) Adham: raise the smoke from (consume utterly) this kingdom of two or three days’ duration.
The remainder of the story of Ibrahim son of Adham, may God sanctify his spirit.
(Reclining) on a throne, that man of good name heard at night a noise of tramping and shrill cries from the roof.
830. (He heard) loud footsteps on the roof of the palace, and said to himself, “Who dares to do this?”
He shouted, at the pal4ce-window, “Who is it? This is not a man, belike it is a genie.
A wondrous folk put their heads down (from the roof), (saying), “We are going round by night for the purpose of search.”
“Eh, what are ye seeking?” “Camels,” they replied. He said, “Take heed! who ever sought camel
on a roof?”
Then they said to him, “How art you seeking to meet with God on the throne of state?”
835. That was all. None saw him again: he vanished like a genie from (the sight of) man.
His reality (real self) was hidden, though he was in people’s presence: how should the people see aught but beard and frock (of the dervish)?
When he became far (disappeared) from his own and the people’s eyes, he became renowned in
the world, like the ‘Anqá.
Whenever the soul of any (spiritual) bird has come to (Mount) Qaf, all the world boast and brag on account of it.
When this orient light (from Solomon) reached Sabá, a tumult arose in Bilqis and her people.
840. All the dead spirits took wing: the dead put forth their heads from the grave, (which is)
They gave the good news to one another, saying, “Hark! Lo, a voice is coming from Heaven.” At (the sound of) that voice (men’s) religions wax great; the leaves and boughs of the heart become green.
Like the blast of the trumpet (on Judgement-Day) that breath from Solomon delivered the dead from the tombs.
May (such) felicity be yours after this (epoch of Solomon)! This (epoch) is past. God best knoweth the certain truth.
The rest of the story of the people of Saba, and of the admonition and guidance given by Solomon, on whom be peace, to the kinsfolk of Bilqis—to every one (the particular guidance) suitable to his religious and spiritual difficulties; and how he caught (decoyed) each sort of conceptional bird with the whistle and bait proper for that sort of bird.
845. I will tell the story of Sabá in lover’s style. When the Zephyr came towards the tulip-field, The bodies met (experienced) the day of their union (with the spirits which dwell in them)’: the children turned again in the direction of their home.
Amongst the communities the community of secret Love is like a liberality surrounded by the meanness of (spiritual) distemper.
The baseness of spirits is (derived) from their bodies; the nobility of bodies is (derived) from their spirits.
O lovers, the draught (of Love) is given to you. Ye are the everlasting: everlastingness is bestowed on you.
850. O ye that are forgetful, arise and love! That is the wind of Joseph: smell (its perfume)! Come, O (master of the) bird-speech of Solomon, sing the song of every bird that comes.
Since God has sent you to the birds, He has instructed you in the note of every bird.
To the necessitarian bird speak the language of necessitarianism ; to the bird whose wings are broken speak of patience (quietism).
Keep the patient bird happy and free from harm; to the bird (resembling the) ‘Anqá recite the
descriptions of (Mount) Qáf.
855. Bid the pigeon beware of the falcon; to the falcon speak of 8 forbearance and being on its guard (against acting unjustly).
And as for the bat that is left destitute (of spiritual illumination), make it to consort and to be
familiar with the Light.
Cause the warlike partridge to learn peace; to the cocks display the signs of dawn.
Even so proceed from the hoopoe to the eagle, and show the way. And God best knoweth the right course.
How Bilqis was freed from her kingdom and was intoxicated with longing for the Faith, and how at the moment of her (spiritual) emigration the regard of her desire became severed from the whole of her kingdom except from her throne.
When Solomon uttered a single whistling note to the birds of Saba he ensnared them all,
860. Except, maybe, the bird that was without spirit or wings, or was dumb and deaf, like a fish, from the beginning.
Nay, I have spoken wrongly, for if the deaf one lay his head before the inspiration of the Divine
Majesty, it will give to him (the power of) hearing.
When Bilqis set out (from Saba) with heart and soul, she felt remorse too for the bygone time, She took leave of her kingdom and riches in the same way as those lovers (of God) take leave of
honour and disgrace (reputation).
Those charming pages and handmaidens (of hers seemed) to her eye (loathly) as a rotten onion.
865. For love’s sake, orchards and palaces and river-water seemed to her eye (contemptible as) a dunghill.
Love, in the hour of domination and anger, makes the pleasing ones to become hideous to the eye.
Love’s jealousy causes every emerald to appear as a leek: this is the (inner) meaning of La’. O (you who givest) protection , (the meaning of) “There is no god but He” is that the moon should seem to you a black kettle.
No wealth, no treasury, and no goods or gear were being grudged by her (Bilqis) except her
870. Then Solomon became aware of (this feeling in) her heart, for the way was open from his heart to hers.
He that hears the voice of ants will also hear the cry from the inmost soul of them that are afar. He that declares the mystery of “an ant said will also know the mystery of this ancient dome
From afar he (Solomon) discerned that to her (Bilqis) who was following the path of resignation
it was bitter to part with her throne.
If I explain the reason why she had that love and complaisance to her throne, it (the discourse)
will become (too) long.
875. Although this reed-pen is in fact an insensible thing and is not homogeneous with the writer, (yet) it is a familiar friend to him. Likewise, every tool of a craftsman is, (though) lifeless, the familiar friend of the spirit of Man.
This reason I would have explained precisely, if there were not some moisture (dimness) in the eye of your understanding.
There was no possibility of transporting the throne (from Saba) because of its hugeness which
exceeded (all) bounds.
It was filigree work, and there was danger in taking it to pieces, (since its parts were joined) like the limbs of the body with one another.
880. Therefore Solomon said, “Although in the end the diadem and throne will become chilling
(repulsive) to her”—
(For) when the spirit puts forth its head (manifests itself) from the Unity (to which it has attained), in comparison with its splendour the body has no splendour (at all);
(When) the flaming sun lifts up its head, who will make Scorpio’s tail his resting—place’?—
“Yet, notwithstanding all this, in the actual case (the means of) transporting her throne (hither)
must be sought,
885. In order that she may not feel hurt at the time of meeting (with me), and that her wish may be fulfilled, like (the wishes of) children.
It (the throne) is lightly esteemed by me, but it is exceedingly dear to her: (let it be brought hither), that the devil too may be (present) at the table (banquet) of the houris.
That throne of delight will become a lesson to her soul, like the (coarse) frock and (rustic) shoon
in the presence of Ayáz
So that the afflicted one (Bilqis) may know in what (plight) she was (formerly) and from what
(low) places to what a (high) place she has arrived.”
God is ever keeping the clay and semen and piece of flesh (embryo) before our eyes,
890. (As though) to say, “O man of evil intention, whence did I bring you, that you have
(such) a disgust at it?
You wert in love with that (state) in the period thereof: at that time you wert denying this
(present) grace (which I have bestowed on thee).”
Inasmuch as this (present) bounty is the (means of) rebutting the denial which you didst make in the beginning (when you wert) amidst the clay,
Thy having been brought to life is the argument against denial (of the Resurrection); (but thou
art still denying it): this sick (soul) of yours is made worse by the medicine.
Whence should clay have the (power of) imagining this thing? Whence should semen conceive opposition and denial?
895. (Nevertheless) since at that moment you wert devoid of heart and spirit, you wert
(implicitly) denying (the faculty of) reflection and (the possibility of) denial.
Since your (former) denial arose from the state of lifelessness (irrationality), so by this (present)
denial (the certainty of) your resurrection is established.
Hence the (appropriate) parable of you is (a case) like (that of) the person who knocks at the door (of a house), and the master replies to him from within, saying, “The master is not (here).”
From this “is not” the person knocking perceives that he is (there), and consequently does not take his hand off the door- ring at all.
Therefore the very fact of your denial is making it clear that He (God) brings about manifold
resurrections from lifeless matter.
900. How much (Divine) artifice passed (was expended) O you denial (incarnate), till the water and day (of your original nature) produced denial from (the state signified by the words) Hal aid!’
The water and clay was really saying, “There is no denial” (was really making an affirmation): it was crying, ‘There is no affirmation” (was uttering a denial), unaware (of the fact that its denial
was an implicit affirmation).
I would expound this (topic) in a hundred ways, but the (reader’s) mind would stumble at the subtle discourse.
How Solomon, on whom be peace, devised a plan for bringing the throne of Bilqis from Saba.
A certain ‘Ifrit (demon) said, “By (my) art I will bring her throne here before your departure from this council.”
Asaf said, “By means of the greatest Name (of God) I will bring it here into your presence in a single moment.”
905. Though the ‘Ifrit was a master of magic, yet that (miracle) was displayed by the breath
(spiritual power) of Asaf.
The throne of Bilqis came into the presence instantly, but through Maf, not through the art of them that have the (malignant) nature of ‘Ifrits.
He (Solomon) said, “Praise to God for this and a hundred such (favours) which I have seen
(received) from the Lord of created beings.”
Then Solomon turned his eyes towards the throne. “Yes,” he said, “you art one that catches fools, O tree!”
Oh, many are the fools that lay down their heads before wood and graven stone.
910. (Both) the worshipper and the object of worship are ignorant of the spirit; (but) he (the worshipper) has felt a movement and a slight effect of the spirit.
He has felt, at the moment when he became rapt (in devotion) and bewildered, that the stone spoke and made signs.
When the wretched man bestowed his devotion in the wrong place and deemed the lion of stone to be a (real) lion,
The real Lion, from kindness, showed munificence and at once threw a bone to the dog,
And said, “Although the dog is not in (due) order, yet as regards me the bone is a bounty of which all partake.”