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(Masnavi Book 5: 04) The Light which is the Food of the Spirit













Explaining that the Light which is the food of the spirit becomes the food of the saint's body, so that it (his body) also becomes friendly with the spirit (according to the saying of the Prophet), “My satan has accepted Islam at my hands.

Although that (Light) is the food of the spirit and the (spiritual) sight, the body too partakes of it, O son.
If the devilish body had not become fond of eating it, the Prophet would not have said, The devil accepted
Islam.”

290. How should the devil become a Moslem until it drink of the sweet food by which the dead is made living?
The devil is passionately in love with the world, blind and deaf; (but this) love, no doubt, may be cut off by another love.
When it tastes the wine from the cellar of clairvoyance, little by little it will transfer its love thither. O you whose belly is greedy, turn away thus (from the world): the only method is change of food. O you whose heart is sick, turn to the remedy: the entire regimen is change of disposition.

295. O you who art kept in pawn to food, you wilt escape if you suffer yourself to be weaned.
Verily, in hunger there is plenteous food: search after it diligently and cherish the hope (of finding it), O
shrinker.
Feed on the Light, be like the eye, be in accord with the angels, O best of mankind.
Like the Angel, make the glorification of God your food, that like the angels you mayst be delivered from
vexation.
If Gabriel pays no attention to the carcase, (yet) how should he be inferior in strength to the vulture?

300. What a goodly table is spread in the world! But it is quite hidden from the eyes of the vile. Though the world should become a delightful orchard, still the portion of the mouse and the snake would consist of earth.

How the corporealists ignore the food of the spirit and tremble with anxiety for the vile food.

Its (the vile creature's) food is earth, whether in winter or in spring; you art the lord of creation: how is it you eatest earth like the snake?
The wood-worm in the midst of wood says, For whom (else) should be such fine sweetmeat?The dung-worm amidst (all) that pollution knows no dessert in the world but filth.
Prayer.


305. O God who art without peer, show favour! Since you have bestowed on (our) ear this discourse as an ear-ring,
Take hold of our ear and draw us along to the assembly where the joyous revellers drink of your wine. Forasmuch as you have caused a waft of its perfume to reach us, do not stopple the head (mouth) of that wine-skin, O Lord of the Judgement!
Whether they are male or female, they (all your creatures) drink from You: O you whose help is
besought, you art stintless in giving.
O you by whom the unspoken prayer is answered, who bestowest at every moment a hundred bounties on the heart,

310. you have limned some letters of writing: rocks have become (soft) as wax for love of them. you have scribed the nún of the eyebrow, the sád of the eye, and the jím of the ear as a distraction to a hundred minds and understandings.
By those letters of yours the intellect is made to weave subtle coils (of perplexity): write on, O
accomplished Calligrapher!
At each moment you shapest beauteously pictured forms of phantasy, suitable to every thought, upon (the page of) non-existence.
On the tablet of phantasy you inscribest wondrous letterseye and profile and cheek and mole.

315. I am drunken with desire for non-existence, not for the existent, because the Beloved of (the world of) non-existence is more faithful.
He (God) made the intellect a reader of those figured characters, that thereby
He might put an end to its contrivances.

Comparison of the Guarded Tablet (the Logos), and the perception there from by every individual's mind of his daily fate and portion and lot, to the daily perception (of the Divine decree) by Gabriel, on whom be peace, from the Most Great Tablet.

Like the Angel, the intellect receives (reads) every morning its daily lesson from the Guarded Tablet. Behold the inscriptions made without (use of) fingers upon non-existence and the amazement of the madmen at the blackness of them.
Every one is infatuated with some phantasy and digs in corners in mad desire for a (buried) treasure.

320.  By a phantasy one person is filled with (desire for) magnificence and turns his face towards the mines (of precious ore) in the mountains;
And, (inspired) by a phantasy, another sets his face with bitter toil towards the sea for the sake of pearls; And another (goes) into a church to perform religious exercises, while another (betakes himself) to sowing in his greed (for gain).
Through phantasy that one becomes the waylayer (destroyer) of him who has escaped (unhurt); and through phantasy this (other) becomes the salve (deliverer) of him who has been (sorely) wounded.
One loses his soul in the invocation of demons, while another sets his foot upon the stars.

325. He (the observer) sees that these modes of action in the external world are diverse (since they arise)
from the various phantasies within.
This man (engaged in some occupation) is amazed at that man (occupied with something else) and says, “What is he about?Every taster denies the other (whose taste is different).
Unless those phantasies were incongruous, how did the modes of action become diverse externally?
Since the qibla (the true object) of the soul has been hidden, every one has turned his face to a (different)
quarter.

Comparison of the different practices and the various aspirations (of mankind) to the disagreement of those who at prayer-time endeavour to find the qibla (direction of Mecca) when it is dark, and to the search of divers (for pearls) at the bottom of the sea.

(They are) like folk trying to find (the direction of the Kaba) and (each) turning in a certain direction which they fancy is the qibla:

330. When at dawn the Kaba appears, it is discovered who has lost the (right) way;
Or like divers under the depth of the (sea)-water, every one (of whom) picks up something in haste: In hope of (getting) precious jewels and pearls, they fill their bags with that and this;
When they come up from the floor of the deep sea, the possessor of the great pearls is discovered,
And (also) the other who got the small pearls, and the other who got (only) pebbles and worthless shells.

335. Even thus in the hira (place of Judgement) a shameful overwhelming tribulation will afflict them
(the followers of phantasy).
Similarly, every class of people in the world are fluttering like moths round a candle. They attach themselves to a fire and circle round their own candle
In the hope of (gaining) the blessed fire of Moses, by the flame whereof the tree is made more green
(flourishing).
Every troop (of them) has heard of the excellence of that fire, and all imagine that any spark is that (same fire).

340. When the Light of Everlastingness rises at dawn, each (candle) reveals what (manner of) candle it was.
Whosoever's wings were burnt by the candle of victory, that goodly candle bestows on him eighty wings; (But) beneath the bad candle many a moth, whose eyes were sealed, is left (lying) with burnt wings, Quivering in sorrow and anguish, lamenting the vain desire that seals the eyes.
Its candle says (to it), Since I am burnt, how should I deliver you from burning (grief) and oppression?”

345. Its candle weeps, saying, My head is consumed: how should I make another resplendent?”

[Explanation of “Alas for the servants (of God)!”]

It (the moth) says, “I was deceived by your (outward) features and (too) late did I regard your (inward)
condition.
The candle is extinguished, the wine is gone, and the Beloved has withdrawn himself from the disgrace of our squintness.
Your profits have become a loss and penalty: you complainest bitterly to God of your blindness. How excellent are the spirits of brethren trustworthy, self-surrendering, believing, obeying!

350. Every one (else) has turned his face in some direction, but those holy ones have turned towards that which transcends direction.
Every (other) pigeon flies on some course, but this pigeon (flies) in a region where no region is. We are neither birds of the air nor domestic (fowls): our grain is the grain of grainlessness.
Our daily bread is so ample because our stitching the coat (of bodily existence) has become the tearing (of it to pieces).

The reason why the name farají was first given to the garment known by that name.

A certain Súfí tore his jubba in distress: after (its) tearing, relief (faraj) came to him.

355. He bestowed the name farají on that torn (garment): from that man (who was) a confidant (of God)
this title became well known.
This title became well known; but (only) the (Súfí) Shaykh apprehended the pure (essence) thereof: in the nature of the (common) people the (mere) letter, (which is) the dregs, remained.
Similarly, (with) every name, he (the Shaykh) has kept the pure (essence) and left the (mere) name behind, like dregs.
Whosoever is a clay-eater (corporealist) took the dregs, (but) the Súfí went impatiently towards the pure
(essence).

He said (to himself), “Of necessity the dregs have a pure (essence): by means of this indication the heart advances to purity.”

360. The dregs are difficulty and their pure (essence) is their ease: the pure (essence) is like the ripe date, and the dregs (are like) the date in its immature stage.
Ease is accompanied by difficulty; come, do not despair: through this death you have the way into Life. (If) you desirest (spiritual) peace, rend your jubba, O son, that immediately you mayst emerge pure.
The (true) Súfí is he who has become a seeker of purity: (it is) not from (wearing) the garment of wool and patching (it) and (committing) sodomy.
With these base scoundrels Súfism has become patching and sodomy, and that is all.

365. To wear colours (coloured garments) with the fancy of (attaining to) that purity and good name is good (commendable), but
(Only) if, with the fancy thereof, you go on (till you attain) to its (essential) principle; not like those who worship (worldly) fancies manifold.
Your fancy is the baton of (Divine) jealousy (which prevents you from prowling) round about the curtained pavilion of (Divine) Beauty;
It (fancy) bars every seeker, saying, “There is no way (admission): every fancy confronts him (the seeker)
and says Stop!”—
Except, indeed, that person of sharp hearing and keen intelligence who possesses enthusiasm (derived)
from the host of His (God's) helps (to victory).

370. He does not recoil from the fancies (which bar the way) nor is he checked: he shows the King's arrow (token); then way is made (for him to enter).
(O God), bestow forethought on this bewildered heart, and bestow the arrow (of resolution) on these bows bent double.
From that hidden goblet (of Yours) you have poured out of the cup of the noble (prophets and saints) a draught over the dusty earth.
From the draught thereof there is a trace on the locks and cheeks (of the fair): hence kings lick the earth (of which the bodies of the fair are made).
It is the draught of (Divine) beauty—(mingled) in the lovely earththat you art kissing with a hundred hearts day and night.

375. Since the draught, when mingled with dust, makes you mad, think how its pure essence would affect you!
Every one is tattered (torn with emotion) in the presence of a clod that has received a draught of Beauty. (There is) a draught (poured) on the moon and the sun and Aries; (there is) a draught (poured) on the Throne and the Footstool and Saturn.
Oh, I wonder, wilt you call it a draught or an elixir, since from contact with it so many splendours arise? Earnestly seek contact with it, O accomplished man: none shall touch it except the purified.

380. One draught (is poured) on gold and rubies and pearls; one draught (is poured) on wine and dessert and fruits;
One draught on the faces of the charming fair: (consider, then,) how (marvellous) must be that pure wine! Inasmuch as you rubbest your tongue (even) on this (earthly draught), how (enamoured of it) wilt you be when you seest (tastest) it without the clay!
When at the hour of death that pure draught is separated from the bodily clod by dying,
You quickly buriest that which remains, since it had been made such an ugly thing by that (separation).

385. When the Spirit displays its beauty without this carcase, I cannot express the loveliness of that union.
When the Moon displays its radiance without this cloud, it is impossible to describe that glory and majesty. How delightful is that Kitchen full of honey and sugar, of which these (worldly) monarchs are (only) the lick-platters!
How delightful is that Stack in the spiritual field, of which every (other) stack is (only) the gleaner! How delightful is the Sea of painless Life, of which the Seven Seas are (only) a dewdrop!


390. When the Cup-bearer of Alast poured a draught upon this nitrous abject earth,
The earth seethed, and we are (the result) of that seething. (O God, pour) another draught, for we are very effortless (unaspiring).
If it was permitted, I sang of non-existence; and if it was not to be told, lo, I was silent.
This is the account of the bent (grovelling) duck, which is greed: learn of Khalíl (Abraham) that the duck ought to be killed.
In the duck there is much good and evil besides this, (but) I am afraid of missing other (more important)
topics of discourse.

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