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(Masnavi Book 4: 44) The Ecstasy of Bayazid











Story of Báyazíd's—may God sanctify his spiritsaying, “Glory to me! How grand is my estate! and the objection raised by his disciples, and how he gave them an answer to this, not by the way of speech but by the way of vision (immediate experience).

That venerable dervish, Báyazíd, came to his disciples, saying, “Lo, I am God.”
That master of the (mystic) sciences said plainly in drunken fashion, Hark, there is no god but I, so worship me.
When that ecstasy had passed, they said to him at dawn, You saidest such and such, and this is impiety.”

2105. He said, “This time, if I make a scandal, come on at once and dash knives into me. God transcends the body, and I am with the body: ye must kill me when I say a thing like this.” When that (spiritual) freeman gave the injunction, each disciple made ready a knife.
Again he (Báyazíd) became intoxicated by that potent flagon: those injunctions vanished from his mind.
The Dessert came: his reason became distraught. The Dawn came: his candle became helpless.

2110. Reason is like the prefect: when the sultan arrives, the helpless prefect creeps into a corner.
Reason is the shadow of God: God is the sun: what power has the shadow to resist His sun? When a genie prevails over (gains possession of) a man, the attributes of humanity disappear
from the man.
Whatsoever he says, that genie will (really) have said it: the one who belongs to this side will have spoken from (the control of) the one who belongs to yonder side.
Since a genie has this influence and rule, how (much more powerful) indeed must be the
Creator of that genie!

2115. His (the possessed man's) he (personality) is gone: he has in sooth become the genie: the Turk, without (receiving) Divine inspiration, has become a speaker of Arabic.
When he comes to himself, he does not know a word (of Arabic). Inasmuch as a genie has this essence and quality,
Then how, pray, should the Lord of genie and man have inferiority to the genie?
If a pot-valiant fellow has drunk the blood of a fierce lion, you will say that the wine did it, not he;
And if he fashion words of old (pure) gold, you will say that the wine has spoken those words.

2120. A wine has this (power to excite) disturbance and commotion: has not the Light of
God that virtue and potency
To make you entirely empty of self, (so that) you should be laid low and He should make the
Word lofty (within you)?

Though the Qur’án is (dictated) from the lips of the Prophet —if any one says God did not speak it, he is an infidel.
When the humá of selflessness took wing (and soared), Báyazíd began (to repeat) those words. The flood of bewilderment swept away his reason: he spoke more strongly than he had spoken at first,

2125. (Saying), “Within my mantle there is naught but God: how long wilt you seek on the earth and in heaven?”
All the disciples became frenzied and dashed their knives at his holy body.
Like the heretics of Girdakúh, every one was ruthlessly stabbing his spiritual Director.
Every one who plunged a dagger into the Shaykh was reversely making a gash in his own body. There was no mark (of a wound) on the body of that possessor of the (mystic) sciences, while
those disciples were wounded and drowned in blood.

2130. Whoever aimed a blow at his throat saw his own throat cut, and died miserably;
And whoever inflicted a blow on his breast, his (own) breast was riven, and he became dead for ever;
And he that was acquainted with that (spiritual) emperor of high fortune, (and) his heart
(courage) did not consent to strike a heavy blow,
Half-knowledge tied his hand, (so that) he saved his life and only wounded himself.
Day broke, and the disciples were thinned: wails of lamentation arose from their house.

2135. Thousands of men and women came to him (Báyazíd), saying,O you in whose single shirt the two worlds are contained,
If this body of yours were a human body, it would have been destroyed, like a human body, by the daggers.
A self-existent one encountered a selfless one in combat: the self-existent one drove a thorn into his own eye (hurt himself).
O you who stab the selfless ones with the sword, you are stabbing your own body with it. Beware!
For the selfless one has passed away (in God) and is safe: he is dwelling in safety for ever.

2140. His form has passed away and he has become a mirror: naught is there but the form
(image) of the face of another.
If you spit (at it), you spit at your own face; and if you strike at the mirror, you strike at yourself; And if you see an ugly face (in that mirror), it is you; and if you see Jesus and Mary, it is you.
He is neither this nor that: he is simple (pure and free from attributes of self): he has placed your image before you.
When the discourse reached this point, it closed its lips; when the pen reached this point, it broke to pieces.

2145. Close your lips (O my soul): though eloquence is at your command, do not breathe a word—and God best knoweth the right way.
O you who are drunken with the wine (of love), you are on the edge of the roof: sit down or
(else) descend, and peace be with you!
Every moment when you enjoy (union with the Beloved), deem that delightful moment to be the edge of the roof.
Be trembling for (fear of losing) the delightful moment: conceal it like a treasure, do not divulge it.
Lest calamity suddenly befall (your) plighted love, take heed, go very fearfully into that place of
ambush.

2150. The spirit's fear of loss at the moment of enjoyment is (the sign of its) departure
(descent) from the hidden roof-edge.
If you do not see the mysterious roof-edge, (yet) the spirit is seeing, for it is shuddering (with fear).
Every sudden chastisement that has come to pass has taken place on the edge of the turret of enjoyment.
Indeed there is no fall except (on) the edge of the roof: (take) warning from (the fate of) the people of Noah and the people of Lot.

Explaining the cause of the eloquence and loquacity of that impertinent man in the presence of the Prophet, on whom be peace.

When the ray (reflexion) of the Prophet's boundless intoxication struck (the objector), that stupid fellow also became drunken and merry.

2155. Of course, in consequence of (drunken) glee he became loquacious: the intoxicated man neglected (to observe) respect and began to rave.
Not on every occasion does selflessness (intoxication) work mischief, (but) wine makes the unmannerly person more so.
If he (the wine-drinker) be intelligent, he becomes decorous (displays goodly qualities when beside himself); and if he be evil-natured, he becomes worse.
But since the majority are evil and reprobate, wine has been forbidden to all.

How the Prophet, on whom be peace, explained the cause of his preferring and choosing the (young) man of Hudhayl as commander and chief of the army over the heads of the elders and veterans.

Cases are decided by the general rule (not by the exceptions):since the majority are evil, the sword was taken away from the hand of the highwayman.

2160. The Prophet said, O you who lookest on externals, do not regard him as a youth and unskilled.
Oh, there is many a black beard and the man (its owner) old (in wisdom); oh, there is many a
white beard with a heart (black) as pitch.
Often have I tested his understanding: that youth has shown (the ripe experience of) age in
(handling) affairs.
O son, the (really) old is the old in understanding: it is not whiteness of the hair in the beard and on the head.
How should he (any old man) be older than Iblis? When he lacks understanding, he is good-for- naught.

2165. Suppose he is a child: (what matter) when he has the (life-giving) breath of Jesus
(and) is purged of vainglory and vain desire?
That whiteness of hair is a proof of maturity to the bandaged eye that has little penetration. Since the blind imitator recognises nothing but (an external) proof, he continually seeks the way (to the truth) in the (out ward) sign.
For his sake we have said, When you wish to plan (anything), choose an elder (to advise you).
He who has escaped from the purdah of blind imitation sees by the light of God that which
(really) is.

2170. Without proof and without exposition the pure Light cleaves its (the objects) skin and enters into the middle (the core).

To one who regards (only) the appearance, what is (the difference between) the adulterated and genuine coin? How should he know what is in the date-basket?
Oh, there is much gold made black with smoke, that it may be saved from (falling into) the hands of every envious thief.
Oh, there is much copper gilded with gold, that he (the counterfeiter) may sell it to (those of)
small understanding.
We, who see the inward (reality) of the whole world, see the heart and look not on the outward form.”

2175. The cadis who are concerned with the outward form (the letter of the law) give judgement according to outward appearances.
When he (the suspected person) has uttered the profession of the Faith and has shown some
(formal sign of) true belief, at once these people (the cadis) pronounce him a true believer.
There is many a hypocrite who has taken refuge in this out ward form and has shed the blood of a hundred true believers in secret.
Endeavour to become old in intelligence and religion, that you may become, like the Universal
Intelligence, a seer of the in ward (reality).
When the beauteous Intelligence unveiled its face (revealed itself) from non-existence, He (God)
gave it a robe of honour and a thousand names.

2180. Of those sweet-breathing names the least is this, that it (the Intelligence) is not in need of any one.
If the Intelligence display its face in visible form, day will be dark beside its light;
And if the shape of foolishness become visible, beside it the darkness of night will be radiant, For it is darker and more murky than night; but the miserable bat is a buyer (seeker) of darkness.
Little by little accustom yourself to the daylight, else you will remain a bat deprived of splendour.

2185. He (the bat-like person) is the lover of every place where there is difficulty and perplexing doubt, and the enemy of every place where there is the lamp of (spiritual) felicity The intelligent man is he who bath the lamp: he is the guide and leader of the caravan.
That leader is one who goes after his own light: that selfless traveller is the follower of himself. His heart seeks the darkness of perplexity in order that his acquirements may seem greater (than
they are),
So that he may preoccupy you with that difficult question and make you oblivious of his own evil nature.

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