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(Masnavi Book 4: 67) Body and Spirit








Explaining that the animal spirit and the particular (discursive) reason and the imagination and the fancy may be compared to buttermilk, while the spirit, which is everlasting, is hidden in this buttermilk, like the butter.

3030. Thy true substance is concealed in falsehood, like the taste of butter in the taste of buttermilk.
Thy falsehood is this perishable body; your truth is that lordly spirit.
(During many) years this buttermilk, (which is) the body, is visible and manifest, (while) the butter, (which is) the spirit, is perishing and naughted within it,
Till God send a messenger (prophet), a (chosen) servant, a shaker of the buttermilk in the churn, That he may shake (it) with method and skill, to the end that I may know that (my true) ego was hidden;

3035. Or (till) the speech of a (chosen) servant, which is part is part of (the speech of) him
(the prophet), enter into the ear of him who is seeking inspiration.
The true believer's ear is retaining our inspiration: such an ear is closely linked to the caller (the perfect saint)—
Just as (for example) the infant's ear is filled with its mother's words, (and then) it (the infant)
begins to speak articulately;
And if the infant have not a right (rightly-hearing) ear, it does not hear its mother's words and becomes a mute.
Every one born deaf has always been dumb: (only) that one who heard (speech) from his mother became a speaker.

3040. Know that the deaf ear and the dumb man are the result of a certain defect; for it (the deaf ear) is not capable of (hearing) words and being taught.
The (only) one that possessed speech without being taught is God, whose attributes are separated (exempt) from infirmities,
Or one like Adam whom God instructed without the screen (mediation) of mother and nurse and necessaries,
Or the Messiah (Christ) who, through being taught by the Loving (God), at his birth came speaking into the world,
For the purpose of repelling the suspicion as to his birth (and proving) that he was not born of
fornication and wickedness.

3045. A (great) shaking was required in the effort that the buttermilk might render back that butter from its (inmost) heart.
The butter in the buttermilk is (invisible) like non-existence; the buttermilk has raised its banner
(has become manifest) in existence.
That which seems to you to be (really) existent is (mere) skin, while that which seems to have perished—that (in reality) is the root.
The buttermilk has not (yet) taken (the form of) butter and is old: lay it (in store) and do not
squander it till you pick out (the butter from it).
Hark, turn it knowingly from hand to hand (side to side), that it may reveal that which it has hidden;

3050. For this perishable (body) is a proof of the everlasting (spirit): the maundering of the intoxicated is a proof of (the existence of) the Cupbearer.

Another parable on the same subject.

The gambols of the lion on the banner are indicative of winds concealed (from view).
If there were not the movement of those winds, how would the dead lion leap into the air?

By that (means) you know whether the wind is the east-wind or the westwind: this (movement of the lion) is the explanation of that occult matter.
This body is like the lion on the banner: thought is causing it to move continually.

3055. The thought that comes from the east is (as) the (refreshing) east-wind, and that which
(comes) from the west is (as) the west-wind fraught with pestilence.
The east of this wind of thought is different; the west of this wind of thought is from Yonder side. The moon is inanimate, and its east is inanimate: the heart's east is the soul of the soul of Soul. The east of that Sun which illumines the inward partthe sun of day is (only) the husk and reflexion thereof;
For when the body is dead (and) without the (vital) flame, neither day nor night appears to it;

3060. But though it (the flame) be not (there), (yet) when this (spiritual Sun) is (present) in perfection, it (the Sun) maintains itself intact without night and day,
Just as the eye, without moon and sun, sees moon and sun in dream.
Since our sleep is the brother of death, O such and such, know (the difference of) that brother from this brother.
And if they tell you that that is the branch (derivative) of this, do not hear (believe) it, O follower
of authority, without (having) certain knowledge.
During sleep your spirit is beholding the representation of a state (of things) which you wilt not behold, whilst you art awake, in twenty years,

3065. And you art running, for (whole) lifetimes, to the sagacious (spiritual) kings in quest of the interpretation thereof,
Saying, Tell (me), what is the interpretation of that dream? To call such a mystery a “branch is currishness.
This is the sleep of the vulgar; but truly the sleep of the elect is the root of (their) privilege and election.
There must needs be the elephant, in order that, when he sleeps supinely, he may dream of the land of Hindustán.
The ass does not dream of Hindustán at all: the ass has never journeyed from Hindustán to a foreign country.

3070. There is need of the elephant-like and very robust spirit, that in sleep it may be able to go speedily to Hindustán.
Because of desire the elephant remembers Hindustán; then by night that remembrance of his
takes form.
(The worship commanded in the text) Remember ye Allah is not a (devotional) work (that is within the reach) of every rascal; (the command) Return you is not (a fetter) on the foot of every reprobate.
But still do not you despair, be an elephant; and if you art not an elephant, be in quest of transmutation.
Behold the alchemists of Heaven; hear at every moment the sound (of the words that come)
from the (spiritual) makers of the philosophers' stone.

3075. They are designers in the celestial atmosphere; they are workers for me and you. If you do not see the musky-bosomed people, behold this touch (laid upon thee), O night- blind (purblind) one.
At every moment the touch is (laid) upon your apprehension: behold the plants ever springing up anew from your earth!
Of this (sort) was Ibráhím son of Adham, who beheld in sleep, without veil, the unfolding of the spiritual Hindustán.

(Therefore), of necessity, he burst the (worldly) chains asunder and dashed his kingdom to pieces and disappeared.

3080. The sign of beholding Hindustán is that he (who beholds it) starts up from sleep and becomes mad.
He will scatter dust upon (worldly) plans and will burst the links of the chains (that bind him),
Even as the Prophet said of the (Divine) light, that the sign thereof in (men's) breasts
Is that he (who has the light) withdraws from the abode of delusion and also turns back from the abode of joy.
For the exposition of this hadíth of Mustafá (Mohammed), hearken to a tale, O sincere friend.

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