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(Masnavi Book 4: 75) The Mule and the Camel








Story of the mule's complaining to the camel (and saying), I often fall on my face when going along, while you seldom do so: why is this? and the camel's answer to him.

One day a mule saw a camel, since he had been put into a stable with him.
He (the mule) said, I often fall on my face in hill and road and in market and street. Particularly (in descending) from the top of the mountain to the bottom I come down on my head every moment from terror.

3380. You do not fall on your face: why is it? Or maybe in sooth your pure spirit is destined to felicity.
I come down on my head every instant and strike my knees (on the ground): by that slipping I
make muzzle and knees all bloody.
My pack-saddle and trappings become awry (lie in disorder) on my head, and I always get a beating from the muleteer;
Like the unintelligent man who, from corrupt understanding, in (the case of his committing) sin continually breaks (his vow of) penitence.
Through weakness of resolution that breaker of (vows of) penitence becomes the laughing-stock of Iblís in the world.

3385. He constantly comes down on his head, like a lame horse, for his load is heavy and the road is (full of) stones.
He is always getting blows on his head from the Unseen, that man of luckless nature, from breaking (his vows of) penitence.
Then again he repents with infirm resolution: the Devil spits (in scorn) and shatters his penitence.
Weakness on weakness! (Yet) his arrogance is such that he regards with contempt those that attain (to God).
O camel, you who art a type of the true believer do not fall on your face, nor do you turn up
thy nose (in disdain).

3390. What have you that you art so untouched by bane and free from stumbling and do not fall on your face?”
He (the camel) said, “Though every felicity is from God, there are many differences between me and you.
I have a high head, my eyes are high: lofty vision is a protection against injury.
From the top of the mountain I see the mountain-foot, I see every hollow and level, fold by fold, Just as that most noble prince (the perfect saint) saw his future destiny till the day of death.

3395. That person of goodly qualities knows at the present time what will happen after twenty years.
That God-fearing man did not see his own destiny only; nay, the destiny of (every) inhabitant of the West and East.
The Light makes its abode in his eye and heart. Wherefore does it make (its abode there)? For love of home.
(He is) like Joseph, who at first dreamed that the sun and moon bowed in worship before him: After ten years, nay, more, that which Joseph had seen came to pass.

3400. That (saying), he sees by the Light of God, is not vain: the Divine Light rives the sky asunder.
In yours eye that Light is not. Go! You art in pawn to the animal senses.
From weakness of eye you seest (only) in front of your foot: you art weak and your guide, too, is weak.
The eye is the guide for hand and foot, for it sees (both) the right and the wrong place.
Another thing is that my eye is clearer; another, that my nature is purer,

3405. Because I am one of the lawfully begotten, not one of the children of adultery and the people of perdition.
You art one of the children of adultery: without doubt the arrow flies crookedly when the bow is bad.

How the mule declared the replies of the camel to be true and acknowledged his (the camel's) superiority to himself and besought his aid and took refuge with him sincerely; and how the camel treated him with kindness and showed him the way and gave help in fatherly and kingly fashion.

The mule said, You have spoken the truth, O camel. This he said and filled his eye with tears. He wept awhile and fell at his (the camel's) feet and said,O chosen of the Lord of men,
What harm will it do if thou, by (favour of) your blessedness, wilt receive me into your service?”

3410. He (the camel) said, Since you have made confession in my presence, go (in peace), for you art saved from the contaminations of Time.
You have given justice (have made just amends) and art saved from tribulation: you wast an enemy, you have become one of the leal.
The evil disposition was not original (innate) in your person; for from original evil comes naught but denial.
The borrowed (temporary) evil is such that he (in whom it appears) makes confession and desires to repent;
Like Adam, whose lapse was temporary: of necessity he showed penitence at once.

3415. Since the sin of Iblís was original, for him there was no way to precious penitence. Go, for you art delivered from yourself and from the evil disposition and from the (flaming) tongue of the Fire and from the teeth of the wild beasts (of Hell).
Go, for now you have grasped felicity, you have thrown yourself into everlasting fortune.

You have gained (that which is signified by the words) Enter in amongst My servants; you have annexed (the implication of) Enter into My Paradise.
You have made a way for yourself (to enter) amongst His servants; you have gone into Eden by the secret way.

3420. Guide us, you saidst, in the straight path: He took your hand and led you to the abode of bliss.
You wast fire: you have become light, O noble one; you wast an unripe grape: you have become a (ripe) grape and raisin.
You wast a star: you have become the Sun. Rejoice! God best knoweth the right.”
O Ziyá’u ’l-Haqq (Radiance of God) Husámu’ddín, take your honey and cast it into the basin of milk,
To the end that that milk may escape from having its savour corrupted and may gain much increase of savour from the Sea of Deliciousness,

3425. (And) may be united with the Sea of Alast: when it becomes the Sea, it is delivered from every corruption;
(If) it find a passage into that Sea of honey, no contamination will have an effect upon it. Roar like a lion, O Lion of God, in order that that roar may mount to the seventh tier (of
Heaven)!
(But) what knowledge (thereof) has the weary surfeited soul? How should the mouse know the roar of the lion?
(Therefore) write your (spiritual) experiences with gold-water for the sake of every one of goodly
substance whose heart is (deep) as the sea.

3430. This spirit-augmenting discourse is (like) the water of the Nile: O Lord, let it seem blood to the eye of the Egyptian!

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