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(Masnavi Book 4: 69) The Ascetic who laughed while the people were dying of hunger





Story of the ascetic who, notwithstanding his destitution and numerous family, was rejoicing and laughing in a year of drought whilst the people were dying of hunger.
They said to him, “What is the occasion for joy? It is an occasion for a hundred
mournings. For me at any rate it is not (so), he replied.

Even as (for example) that ascetic was laughing in a year of drought, while all (his) folk were weeping.
So they said to him, “What is the occasion for laughter, (when) the drought has uprooted
(destroyed) the true believers?
The (Divine) mercy has closed its eyes to us: the plain is burnt by the fierce sun.

3245. Crops and vineyards and vines are standing black: there is no moisture in the earth, neither up nor down.
The people are dying from this drought and torment by tens and hundreds like fish far from the water.
You art taking no pity on the Moslems; (yet) the true believers are kinsmen and one body (of)
fat and flesh.
The pain of one part of the body is the pain of all (its parts), whether it be the hour of peace or war.”
He (the ascetic) replied, In your eyes this is a drought, (but) to my eye this earth is like
Paradise.

3250. I am beholding in every desert and everywhere ears of corn in abundance, reaching up to the waist;
(I see) the wilderness full of ears of corn (tossed) in waves by the east-wind, (so that it is)
greener than the leek.
By way of trial I am putting my hand thereon: how should I remove my hand and eye?
Ye are friends of Pharaoh, (who is) the body, O base people: hence the Nile seems to you to be blood.
Quickly become friends of Moses, (who is) the intellect, in order that the blood may remain not
and ye may behold the river-water.

3255. (If) an injustice is proceeding from (is being done by) you towards your father, that father will become (as) a (biting) cur in yours eyes.
That father is not a cur: it is the effect of (your) injustice that such mercy appears to your sight (as)
a cur.
Since the brethren (of Joseph) had envy and anger, they were regarding Joseph as the wolf. When you have made peace with your father, anger is gone; that currishness departs, and thy
father at once becomes your friend.

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