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(Masnavi Book 4: 26) How Cain learned the grave-digger’s trade








How Qábíl (Cain) learned the trade of grave-digging from the crow (raven), before knowledge of grave-digging and graves existed in the world.

When was grave-digging, which was the meanest trade (of all), (acquired) from thought and cunning and meditation?
If Qábíl had possessed this understanding, how should he have placed (the body of) bíl (Abel)
on his head?
Saying, “Where shall I hide this murdered one, this man bestained with blood and earth?
He espied a crow which had taken up a dead crow in its mouth and was approaching (ever) so quickly.

1305. It came down from the air and began skilfully to dig a grave for it (the dead crow) for the purpose of teaching (him).
Then with its talons it raised dust from the ground and speedily put the dead crow in the grave. It buried it, then it covered it with earth: the crow was endowed with knowledge through the inspiration (given) of God.
Qábíl cried, “Oh, fie on my intellect! for a crow is superior to me in skill.”
Concerning the Universal Intellect He (God) has said, The sight did not rove (má zágh),” (but)
the particular intellect is looking in every direction.

1310. The Intellect whose sight does not rove (aql-i má zágh) is the light of the elect; the crow-intellect (aql-i zágh) is the sexton for the (spiritually) dead.
The spirit that flies after crows—the crow carries it towards the graveyard.
Beware! Do not run in pursuit of the crow-like fleshly soul, for it carries (you) to the graveyard, not towards the orchard.
If you go, go in pursuit of the Anqá of the heart, towards the Qáf and Farther Mosque of the
heart.
Every moment from your cogitation a new plant is growing in your Farther Mosque.

1315. Do thou, like Solomon, give it its due: investigate it, do not lay upon it the foot of rejection,
Because the various sorts of plants declare to you the (inward) state of this firm-set earth. Whether in the earth there are sugar-canes or only (common) reeds, every earth (soil) is interpreted by its plants.
Therefore the heart's soil, whereof thought was (ever) the plant—(those) thoughts have revealed
the heart's secrets.
If I find in the company him that draws the discourse (from me towards himself), I, like the garden, will grow hundreds of thousands of roses;

1320. And if at that time I find (there) the scoundrel who kills the discourse, the deep sayings will flee, like a thief, from my heart.
The movement of every one is towards the Drawer: the true drawing is not like the false drawing.
Sometimes you art going astray, sometimes aright: the cord is not visible, nor He who is drawing you.
You art a blind camel, and your toggle is in (His) keeping: do you regard the act of drawing, do not regard your toggle.
If the Drawer and the toggle became perceptible (to the senses), then this world would no longer
remain the abode of heedlessness (delusion).

1325. (If) the infidel saw that he was going after a cur and was being made subject to the hideous Devil,
How should he go at its heels like a catamite (base sycophant)? The infidel too would step back. If the cow were acquainted with the butchers, how should she follow them to that (butcher's) shop,
Or eat bran from their hands, or give them milk on account of (their) coaxing (her)?
And if she ate, how should the fodder be digested by her, if she were aware of the purpose of the fodder?

1330. Heedlessness (delusion), then, is in sooth the pillar (support) of this world: what is dawlat (worldly fortune)? for this dawádaw (running to and fro) is (accompanied) with lat (blows).
The beginning thereof is daw, daw (run, run); in the end (it is) lat khwar (suffer blows): the death of the ass is not (occurring) except in this wilderness.
Whenever you have earnestly taken a work in hand, its faultiness has become veiled to you at
this moment.
You art able to give yourself up to the work, (only) because the Creator veils its faultiness from you.
Likewise, (with) every thought in which you art hot (eager), the faultiness of that thought of
thine has become hidden from you.

1335. If its faultiness and disgrace were made visible to you, your soul would flee from it (as far as) the distance between east and west.
The state (of mind) in which at last you repentest of it (of a faulty action)if this should be your state (of mind) at first, how wouldst you run (for the sake of that action)?
Therefore He (God) at first veiled (the real nature of) that from our souls, in order that we might
perform that action in accordance with the Divine destiny.
When the Divine destiny brought its ordainment into view, the eye was opened, so that repentance arrived.
This repentance is another (manifestation of the) Divine destiny: abandon this repentance, worship God!

1340. And if you make (it) a habit and become addicted to repentance, because of this
(habitual) repentance you wilt become more repentant.
One half of your life will pass in distraction and the other half will pass in repentance.
Take leave of this (anxious) thought and repentance: seek a better (spiritual) state and friend and work.
And if you have no better work in hand, then for the omission of what (work) is your repentance?
If you knowest the good way, worship (God); and if you do not know (it), how do you know that this way (in which you art going) is evil?

1345. You do not know evil till you knowest good: (only) from (one) contrary is it possible to discern (the other) contrary, O youth.
Since (as you sayest) you wert rendered impotent to abandon the thought of this (repentance),
at that time you wert also impotent to commit sin.
Since you wert impotent (to commit sin), on account of what is your repentance? Inquire concerning impotence, by whose pull (exertion of power) is it (produced)?
No one has seen impotence in the world without power, nor will it (ever) be (so). Know this (for
sure).
Similarly, (with) every desire that you cherishest, you art debarred from (perceiving) its faultiness;

1350. And if the viciousness of that desire had been shown, your soul of its own accord would have recoiled from seeking (to gratify it).
If He (God) had shown unto you the faultiness of that work, no one, dragging (you) along (by
force), would have taken you in that direction;
And (as regards) that other work from which you art exceedingly averse, the reason is that its faultiness has come into clear view.
O God who knowest the secret and who art gracious in speech, do not hide from us the faultiness of the evil work;
(And) do not show unto us the faultiness of the good work, lest we become cold (disgusted) and distracted from journeying (in the Way).

1355. According to that (aforesaid) habit, the exalted Solomon went into the Mosque in the brightness (of dawn).
The king was seeking (to observe) the daily rule of seeing the new plants in the Mosque. The heart with that pure eye (which it possesses) sees occultly the (spiritual) herbs that are invisible to the vulgar.

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