How Abú Yazíd (Bistámí) announced the birth of Abu ’l-Hasan Kharraqání—may God sanctify the spirit of them both—(many) years before it took place, and gave a detailed description of his outer and inner characteristics; and how the chronologers wrote it down for the purpose of observation.
Have you heard the story of Báyazíd—what he saw beforehand of the (spiritual) state of Bu ’l- Hasan?
One day that sultan of piety was passing with his disciples (on the way) towards the open
country and the plain.
Suddenly there came to him, in the district of Rayy, a sweet scent from the direction of
1805. On the spot he uttered the lamentable cry of one who is yearning, and sniffed the scent from the breeze.
He was inhaling the sweet scent lovingly: his soul was tasting wine from the breeze. When “sweat” appears on the outside of a pot that is full of icy water,
It has been turned into water by the coldness of the air: the moisture has not escaped from the inside of the pot.
The scent-bearing breeze became water for him; for him too the water became pure wine.
1810. When the marks of intoxication appeared in him, a disciple questioned him concerning that breath (Divine afflatus);
Then he asked him, “(What are) these sweet ecstasies which are beyond the pale of the five
(senses) and the six (directions)?
Thy face is becoming now red and now yellow and now white: what is the (good) hap and the glad tidings?
You art inhaling scent, and no flowers are visible: doubtless it is from the Unseen and from the
garden of the Universal.
O you who art the desire of every one who (wilfully) follows his own desire (for God), you to whom there is (coming) at every moment a message and letter from the Unseen,
1815. You to whose (spiritual) organ of smell there is coming at every moment, as to Jacob, balm from a Joseph,
Spill upon us one drop from that pitcher, give us one word that smells of that garden.
We are not accustomed, O (you who art the) beauty of (spiritual) majesty, that you shouldst drink alone while our lips are dry.
O nimble, nimbly-rising traverser of Heaven, spill upon us one draught of that which you have
There is no other Master of the Revels in the world except you: O king, look (with favour) on the boon-companions!
1820. How is it possible to quaff this wine underhand (in secret)? Certainly wine is the exposer of man.
He may disguise and conceal the scent, (but) how will he hide his intoxicated eye? In sooth this is not a scent that thousands of veils will keep hidden in the world.
The desert and plain are filled with its pungency. What (of the) plain? for it has passed even beyond the nine spheres (of Heaven).
Do not daub the head of the jar with mortar, for indeed this naked one does not admit of covering.
1825. Show kindness: O you who knowest and canst tell the mystery, declare that which your falcon (thy spirit) has made its prey.”
He said, “A marvellous scent is come to me, even as (a scent came) for the Prophet's sake from
For Mohammed said, ‘The scent of God is coming to me from Yemen, (wafted) on the hand of the zephyr.’”
The scent of Rámín is coming from the soul of Wís; the scent of God, too, is coming from Uways.
From Uways and from Qaran a wondrous scent made the Prophet drunken and full of rapture.
1830. Since Uways had passed away from himself, that earthly one (Uways) had become heavenly.
The myrobalan conserved in sugar—its bitter taste is not (retained) any more.
(Similarly) the (spiritual) myrobalan that is freed from egoism has (only) the appearance of myrobalan, (but) not the flavour.
This topic has no end. Return (to the story), that (we may see) what that holy man (Báyazíd)
said, (moved) by inspiration from the World Unseen.
The words of the Prophet, may God bless and save him, “Verily, I feel the Breath of the Merciful (God) from the direction of Yemen.”
He (Báyazíd) said, “The scent of a friend is coming from this quarter, for a (spiritual) monarch is coming into this village.
1835. After such and such a number of years a king will be born (here): he will pitch a tent above the heavens.
His face will be coloured with roses from the rosery of God: he will surpass me in station.”
(The disciple asked), “What is his name?” He replied, “His name is Bu ’l- Hasan,” and described his features—his eyebrows and chin;
He described his height and his complexion and his figure and spoke in detail of his locks of hair and his face.
He also declared his spiritual features—his qualities and the way (he should follow in his religion)
and his (spiritual) rank and estate.
1840. The bodily features, like the body (itself), are borrowed (transient): set not your heart on them, for they are lasting (only) one hour.
The features of the natural (animal) spirit also are perishable: seek the features of that spirit which is above the sky.
Its body is on the earth, like a lamp, (but) its light is above the Seventh Roof (of heaven). Those rays of the sun are in the house, (but) their orb is in the Fourth Dome (of heaven).
The form of the rose is (placed) beneath the nose for idle pleasure's sake, (but) the scent of the rose is on the roof and palace of the brain.
1845. A man asleep sees terror (dreams of something which terrifies him) at Aden: the reflexion thereof appears as sweat on his body.
The shirt (of Joseph) was in Egypt in the keeping of one exceedingly careful (of it): (the land of)
Canaan was filled with the (sweet) scent of that shirt.
Thereupon they wrote down the (predicted) date: they adorned the spit with the meat for roasting.
When the right time and date arrived, that (spiritual) king was born and played the dice of
After those years (had passed), Bu ’l-Hasan appeared (in the world) after the death of Báyazíd.
1850. All his dispositions, (whether in the way) of withholding tenaciously or bestowing liberally, proved to be such as that (spiritual) king (Báyazíd) had foretold.
His (Báyazíd's) guide is “the guarded tablet.” From what is it guarded? It is guarded from error. The inspiration of God is not (like) astrology or geomancy or dreams—and God best knoweth
what is right.
The Súfís in explaining (their doctrine) call it (the Divine inspiration) the inspiration of the heart, in order to disguise (its real nature) from the vulgar.
Take it to be the inspiration of the heart, for it (the heart) is the place where He is seen: how should there be error when the heart is aware of Him?
1855. O true believer, you have become seeing by the light of God: you have become secure from error and inadvertence.
The reduction of the allowance of God’s food for the soul and heart of the Súfí .
How should a Súfí be grieved on account of poverty? The very essence of poverty becomes his nurse and his food,
Because Paradise has grown from thing disliked, and Mercy is the portion of one who is helpless and broken.
He that haughtily breaks the heads (of people), the mercy of God and His creatures cometh not towards him.
This topic has no end, and that youth (the slave) has been deprived of strength by the reduction of his bread-allowance.
1860. Happy is the Súfí whose daily bread is reduced: his bead becomes a pearl, and he becomes the Sea.
Whosoever has become acquainted with that choice (spiritual) allowance, he has become worthy of approach (to the Presence) and of (Him who is) the Source of (every) allowance.
When there is a reduction of that spiritual allowance, his spirit trembles on account of its reduction;
(For) then he knows that a fault has been committed (by him) which has ruffled the jasmine-bed
of (Divine) approbation,
Just as (happened when) that person (the slave), on account of the deficiency of his crop, wrote a letter to the owner of the harvest.
1865. They brought his letter to the lord of justice: he read the letter and returned no answer.
He said, “He has no care but for (the loss of) viands: silence, then, is the best answer to a fool. He has no care at all for separation (from me) or union (with me): he is confined to the branch (the derivative); he does not seek the root (the fundamental) at all.
He is a fool and (spiritually) dead in egoism, for because of his anxious care for the branch he has no leisure for the root.”
Deem the skies and the earth to be an apple that appeared from the tree of Divine Power.
1870. You art as a worm in the midst of the apple and art ignorant of the tree and the gardener.
The other worm’ too is in the apple, but its spirit is outside, bearing the banner aloft.
Its (the worm’s) movement splits the apple asunder: the apple cannot endure that shock. Its movement has rent (all) veils: its form is (that of) a worm, but its reality is a dragon. The fire that first darts from (the impact of) the steel puts forth its foot very feebly.
1875. Cotton is its nurse at first, but in the end it carries its flames up to the aether. At first, man is in bondage to sleep and food; ultimately he is higher than the angels. Under the protection of cotton and sulphur matches his flame and light rises above Suhá He illuminates the dark world: he tears the iron fetter (in pieces) with a needle.
Though the fire too is connected with the body, is ‘it not derived from the spirit and the spiritual?
1880. The body has no share in that glory: the body is as a drop of water in comparison with the sea of the spirit.
The days of the body, are increased by the spirit: mark what. becomes of the body when the
spirit goes (from it).
The range of your body is an ell or two, no more: your spirit is a maker of swift flights to heaven. In the spirit’s imagination, O prince, it is (but) half a step to Baghdad and Samarcand.
The fat (white) of yours eye is two dirhems in weight: the light of its spirit (reaches) to the lofty
region of the sky.
1885. The light sees in dream without this eye: without this light what would the eye be but ruined?
The spirit is unconcerned with the heard and moustache of the body, but without the spirit the body is a carcase and vile.
Such is the magnificence of the animal spirit: advance farther, behold the human spirit.
Pass beyond Man and (logical) disputation unto the shore of the sea of the spirit of Gabriel.
After that, the, spirit of Ahmad (Mohammed) will bite your lip (kiss you lovingly), and Gabriel will creep back in fear of you,
1890. And will say, “If I come one bow’s length towards you, I shall be instantly consumed.”
How the slave was indignant because no reply to his letter arrived from the king.
Truly this desert has no head or foot (top or bottom). That youth, (being) without a reply to his letter, is aggrieved
And says, “Oh, it is a wonder. How did the king give me no reply? Or (perchance) the carrier of the letter behaved treacherously because of the torment (of envy),
And concealed the letter and did not show it to the king; for he was a hypocrite and (like) a piece
of water beneath straw.
I will write another letter by way of test and seek another accomplished messenger.”
1895. That heedless man ignorantly puts the blame on the Amir and the steward and the letter-carrier.
Never does he go round about (inspect) himself and say, “I have acted perversely, like the idolater in (turning away from’ the true) religion.”