Search Poetry

Loading...

(Masnavi Book 4: 52) The Purification of the Heart










[Explaining that the earthen body of man, like iron of fine substance, is capable of becoming a mirror, so that therein even in this world Paradise and Hell and the Resurrection et cetera are shown by immediate vision, not in the mode of phantasy.]

Then, though you art dark-bodied like iron, make a practice of polishing, polishing, polishing,

2470. That your heart may become a mirror full of images, (with) a lovely silverbreasted (form reflected) therein on every side.
Although the iron was dark and devoid of light, polishing cleared away the darkness from it. The iron saw (suffered) the polishing and made its face fair, so that images could be seen
therein.
If the earthen body is gross and dark, polish it—for it is receptive to the polishing instrument—
In order that the forms of the Unseen may appear in it, and that the reflexion of houri and angel may dart into it.

2475. God has given you the polishing instrument, Reason, to the end that thereby the leaf
(surface) of the heart may be made resplendent.
Thou, O prayerless man, have put the polisher (Reason) in bonds and have loosed the two hands of sensuality.
If bonds be put on sensuality, the hand of the polisher (Reason) will be untied.
A piece of iron that became a mirror of the Unseen—all the forms (of the Unseen) would be shot into it.
(But) you madest (thy heart) dark and didst let the rust into your nature: this is (the inner meaning of) they work evil on the earth.

2480. So have you done till now: now do it not. You have made the water turbid: do not make it more (so).
Do not stir it up (befoul it): let this water become clear, and (then) behold the moon and stars circling therein.
For man is like the water of the river: when it becomes turbid, you canst not see its bottom. The bottom of the river is full of jewels and full of pearls: take heed, do not make (the water)
turbid, for it is (originally) pure and free (from pollution).
The spirit of man resembles air: when it (air) is mixed with dust, it veils the sky,

2485. And prevents (the eye) from seeing the sun; (but) when its dust is gone, it becomes pure and undefiled.
Notwithstanding your complete darkness, God was showing visions unto you, that you might’st wend the way of deliverance.

How Moses, on whom be peace, declared (by inspiration) from the Unseen the secret thoughts and visions of Pharaoh, in order that he might truly believe in the omniscience of God or (at least) hold that opinion.

From the dark iron (of your nature) He, by His power, was showing forth the visions that should come to pass in the end,
In order that you might’st lessen (refrain from) that injustice and wickedness: you wert seeing those (visions) and becoming more wicked.
He was showing unto you hideous forms in dream: you wert shrinking back from them, and (in reality) they were your (own) form;


2490. Like the Ethiopian (negro) who saw in the mirror that his face was ugly, et in speculum cacavit,
Saying, ‘How ugly you art! You art deserving only of this. (The mirror replies), My ugliness belongs to you, O vile blind one.
You art putting this filth on your ugly face: it is not on me, for I have splendour.’
At one time you wert seeing (in vision) your raiment burnt; at another time your mouth and eyes stitched up;
Now a (rapacious) animal seeking your blood; now your head in the teeth of a wild beast;

2495. Now (in your dream you wert) upside down in the midst of a latrine; now sunk in a fierce blood-dyed torrent;
Now from this pure heaven came to you a voice crying, You art damned, you art damned, damned’;
Now from the mountains came to you a voice, (saying) plainly, Begone! You art one of the people of the left hand’;
Now from every inanimate thing was coming to you a voice (which cried), Pharaoh is fallen into
Hell for evermore’;
(And you sawest) worse things than these, which from shame I will not tell, lest your perverted nature become hot (with anger).

2500. I have told you a little, O you who wilt not accept (my warning): from a little you mayst know that I am acquainted (with the whole).
You wert making yourself blind and dead, that you might’st not bethink you of the dreams and visions.
How long wilt you flee? Lo, it is come to you in despite of your guile-meditating perception.

Explaining that the door of repentance is open.

Hark, do not act (so) henceforth, (but) take precaution, for through (God's) bounty the door of repentance is open.
From the quarter of the West a door of repentance is open to mankind till the Resurrection.

2505. Till the sun lifts up its head (rises) from the West, that door is open: do not avert your face from it.
By the mercy (of God) Paradise has eight doors: one of those eight is the door of repentance, O
son.
All the others are sometimes open, sometimes shut; and never is the door of repentance but open.
Come, seize the opportunity: the door is open: carry your baggage thither at once in despite of
the envious (Devil).

How Moses, on whom be peace, said to Pharaoh, Accept one counsel from me and take four excellent qualities as recompense.”

Come, accept from me one thing and bring (it into practice), and then take from me four as recompense for that.”

2510. He replied, O Moses, what is that one thing? Explain to me a little about that one thing.
That one thing, said he, “is that you shouldst say publicly that there is no god but the Maker,
The Creator of the heavenly spheres and of the stars on high and of man and devil and genie and bird,
The Creator of sea and plain and mountain and desert: His sovereignty is without limit and He is
without like.
He (Pharaoh) said, O Moses, what are those four things that you wilt give me in recompense? Declare (what they are) and bring (them before me),

2515. That perchance, by the favour of that goodly promise, the crucifixion (torment) of my unbelief may be assuaged.
Perchance the lock of my hundred maunds' weight of unbelief may be opened by those fair and
desirable promises.
Perchance, by the effect of the river of honey, this poison of hatred may be turned into honey in my body;
Or by the reflexion of the river of that pure milk, (my) captive intelligence may be nourished for a moment;
Or perchance, by the reflexion of those rivers of wine, I may be intoxicated and obtain a scent of the delight of (obedience to) the (Divine) command;

2520. Or perchance, by the favour of those rivers of water, my barren devastated body may gain refreshment—
Some verdure may appear on my barren soil, my thorn-brake may become the Garden of
(everlasting) abode;
Perchance, by the reflexion of Paradise and the four rivers, my spirit, through God's befriending
(it), may become a seeker of the Friend,
In the same fashion as from the reflexion of Hell I have become fire and am steeped in the wrath of God.
At one moment, from the reflexion of the snake of Hell I have become (engaged in) dropping
poison, like a snake, on those who shall dwell in Paradise;

2525. At another time, from the reflexion of the boiling of the hot water (of Hell), the water of my oppression has made the people (like) rotten bones.
From the reflexion of the zamharír (intense cold of Hell) I am (as) the zamharír; or from the reflexion of the saír (flames of Hell) I am as the sa‘ír.
I am now the Hell of the poor and oppressed: woe to him whom I suddenly find subject (to
me)!”

How Moses, on whom be peace, explained those four excellent qualities (which should be bestowed) as a reward for Pharaoh's coming into the Faith. Moses said, The first of those four will be constant health for your body: These maladies that are described in (books of) Medicine will be far from your body, O
estimable one.

2530. Secondly, you wilt have a long life, for death will be cautious of (attacking) your life;
And after a life uniform (in happiness) this will not be (the sequel, namely) that you wilt go forth from the world against your will;
Nay, but (you wilt go) desiring death as the sucking babe (desires milk), not on account of the
pain that holds you captive.

You wilt be seeking death, but not from painful infirmity; nay, you wilt see the treasure in the ruin of the house (of the body).
Therefore with yours own hand you wilt take a pick-axe and smite upon the house without any care;

2535. For you wilt deem the house to be the barrier to the treasure, and this single grain to be the obstacle to a hundred corn-stacks.
This grain, then, you wilt cast into the fire and adopt the (only) profession that is worthy of a man.”
O you who because of (addiction to) a single leaf have been left without (enjoyment of) a (whole) orchard, you art like the worm which (desire for) a leaf has driven away from (deprived of) the vineyard.
When Grace awakened this worm, this worm devoured the dragon of ignorance.
The worm became a vineyard full of fruit and trees: even so is the blessed man transformed.

No comments:

Post a Comment