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(Masnavi Book 4: 53) “I was a Hidden Treasure”







Exposition of I was a hidden treasure, and I desired to be known.

2540. Demolish the house, for a hundred thousand houses may be made from the cornelian of this Yemen.
The treasure lies beneath the house, and there is no help (for it): do not be afraid of destroying the house and do not stand still,
For from one treasure in hand it is possible to build a thousand houses without suffering toil and pain.
In the end this house will fall of itself into ruin and the treasure beneath it will certainly be uncovered;
But it (the treasure) will not be yours, since the spirit receives that (Divine) gift as wages for
destroying (the house).

2545. When it has not done that work, its wages are naught: there is nothing for Man
(hereafter) but (the recompense for) that which he wrought (here).
After that, you wilt gnaw your hand (in remorse), saying, “Alas, a moon like this was (concealed)
under the cloud.
I did not do the good which they told (me to do): the treasure and the house are gone, and my hand is empty.”
You have rented and hired a house: it is not your property by any act of sale or purchase.
The period of this hiring is till death, in order that you mayst work in it (the house) during this period.

2550. You art sewing patches in the shop, (while) under this shop of yours two mines (of treasure) are buried.
This shop is held on hire: be quick, take the pick-axe and break up its foundation,
That of a sudden you mayst lay the axe on the mine and be delivered from the shop and from patch-sewing.
What is patch-sewing? The drinking of water and the eating of bread: you art applying these patches to the heavy cloak.
This cloak, your body, is always being torn, and you art patching it by this eating and drinking of yours.

2555. O you who art of the progeny of the fortunate King, come to yourself, be ashamed of this patch-sewing.
Tear a patch (piece) from off this shop-floor, in order that two mines (of treasure) may lift up their head (emerge into view) before you,
Ere this lease of the hired house come to an end without your having gained any profit from it.

Then the owner of the shop will turn you out and will demolish this shop for the sake of the
(hidden) mine,
(While) you at one moment wilt beat your head in remorse, and at another tear your foolish beard,

2560. Saying, Alas, this shop was mine, (but) I was blind and got no profit from this place of abode.
Alas, the wind swept our existence away: (the text) O sorrow for the servants of God is come
(true) unto everlasting.

[How Man is deluded by the sagacity and imaginations of his (carnal) nature and does not seek knowledge of the Unseen, which is the knowledge possessed by the prophets.]

I saw (beautiful) pictures and paintings in the house: I was without self-control in (my) love of the house.
I was unaware of any hidden treasure; otherwise, the axe would have been (as) the pomander in
my hand.
Ah, if I had given the axe its due, I should now have given a quittance to (should have been quit of) grief.

2565. I was casting my eye on the picture and falling idly in love (with it), like children.That fortunate Sage, then, has said well, “You art a child: the house is full of pictures and paintings.”
In the Iláhí-náma he gave many an injunction, saying, Raise the dust from (utterly demolish)
thine own household.
(Pharaoh said), “Enough, O Moses! Tell (me) the third promise, for my heart has become lost
(distraught) from the agitation caused by (eagerness to hear) it.”
Moses said, This third (promise) is a twofold empire(an empire) appertaining to the two worlds (temporal and spiritual), free from adversary and enemy;

2570. Greater than the empire of which you art now in possession; for that was (whilst you wert) at war (with God), and this (will be whilst you art) at peace (with Him).
He who bestows on you, (whilst you art) at war, such an empire as this consider how
(bounteously) He will lay the table for you (when you art) at peace.
That (Divine) bounty which gave you those (goodly) things in your unrighteousness—consider what will be (its) care (for thee) in your faithfulness.”
O Moses, said he, “what is the fourth (promise)? Quickly declare (it): my patience is gone and my desire has waxed great.”
He said, The fourth is that you wilt remain (ever) young, (with) hair (black) like pitch and cheeks (pink) like the arghawán (flower of the Judas-tree).

2575. To us (prophets) colour and perfume are very worthless, but you art low, (so) we have made our words low.
Boasting of colour and perfume and dwelling-place is a joy and deception (only) to children.

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