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(Masnavi Book 4: 81) The Ant that saw the pen writing






An ant, walking on a piece of paper, saw the pen writing and began to praise the pen. Another ant, which was more keen-sighted, said,Praise the fingers, for I deem this accomplishment to proceed from them. Another ant, more clear-sighted than either, said, I praise the arm, for the fingers are a branch of the arm, et cetera.


A little ant saw a pen (writing) on a paper, and told this mystery to another ant,
Saying, That pen made wonderful pictures like sweet basil and beds of lilies and roses.” The other ant said, “That artist is the finger, and this pen is actually (no more than) the derivative (instrument) and the sign.”
A third ant said,It is the work of the arm, by whose strength the slender finger depicted it.”

3725. In this fashion it (the argument) was carried upward till a chief of the ants, (who) was a little bit sagacious,
Said, Do not regard this accomplishment as proceeding from the (material) form, which becomes unconscious in sleep and death.
Form is like a garment or a staff: (bodily) figures do not move except by means of intellect and
spirit.”
He (the wise ant) was unaware that without the controlling influence of God that intellect and heart (mind) would be inert.
If He withdraw His favour from it for a single moment, the acute intellect will commit (many)
follies.

3730. When Dhul-Qarnayn found it (Mount Qáf) speaking, he said, after Mountf had bored the pearls of speech,
O eloquent one, who art wise and knowest the mystery, expound to me the Attributes of God.
It answered, “Go, for those qualities are too terrible for (oral) exposition to put its hand on them, Or for the pen to dare inscribe with its point information concerning them on the pages (of
books).”
He said, “Relate a lesser tale concerning the wonders of God, O goodly divine.”

3735. It said, Look, the King (God) has made a plain full of snow-mountains, for the distance of a three hundred years' journey—
Mountain on mountain, beyond count and number: the snow comes continually to replenish them.
One snow-mountain is being piled on another: the snow brings coldness to the earth.
At every moment snow-mountain is being piled on snow-mountain from the illimitable and vast storehouse.
O king, if there were not a valley (of snow) like this, the glowing heat of Hell would annihilate me.”

3740. Know that (in this world) the heedless are (like) snow-mountains, to the end that the veils of the intelligent may not be consumed.
Were it not for the reflexion (effect) of snow-weaving (chilling) ignorance, that Mountf would be consumed by the fire of longing.
The Fire (of Hell) in sooth is (only) an atom of God's wrath; it is (only) a whip to threaten the base.
Notwithstanding such a wrath, which is mighty and surpassing all, observe that the coolness of
His clemency is prior to it.
(’Tis) a spiritual priority, unqualified and unconditioned. Have you seen the prior and the posterior without duality (have you seen them to be one)?

3745. If you have not seen them (as one), that is because of feeble understanding; for the minds of God's creatures are (but) a single grain of that mine.
Lay the blame on yourself, not on the evidences of the (true) Religion: how should the bird of
clay reach the sky of the (true) Religion?
The bird's lofty soaring-place is (only) the air, since its origin is from lust and sensuality.

Therefore be dumbfounded without nay or yea, in order that a litter may come from (the Divine) Mercy to carry you.
Forasmuch as you are too dull to apprehend these wonders (of God), if you say “yea you will be prevaricating;

3750. And if you say “nay, the “nay will behead (undo) you: on account of that nay (the
Divine) Wrath will shut your (spiritual) window.
Be, then, only dumbfounded and distraught, nothing else, that God's aid may come in from before and behind.
When you have become dumbfounded and crazed and naughted, you have said with mute eloquence, Lead us.
It (the wrath of God) is mighty, mighty; but when you begin to tremble, that mighty (wrath)
becomes assuaged and equable,
Because the mighty shape is for (terrifying) the unbeliever; when you have become helpless, it is mercy and kindness.

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