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(Masnavi Book 5: 20) The Disciple who imitated the Shaykh









A disciple came in to pay his respects to the Shaykh—and by this (word) “Shaykh” I do not mean one old in years, but one old in understanding and knowledge (of God), even if he is Jesus, on whom be peace, in the cradle, or Yah (John the Baptist), on whom be peace, in the children's school. The disciple saw the Shaykh weeping; he too acted in conformity (with the Shaykh) and wept. When he had finished and gone forth (from the Shaykh's presence), another disciple, who was more cognisant of the Shaykh's spiritual state, impelled by (noble) jealousy, went out quickly after him and said to him, “O brother, (whatever may happen) I shall have told you: for God's sake, for God's sake, beware of thinking or saying that the Shaykh wept and you wept likewise; you must practise self-discipline without
hypocrisy for thirty years, and you must traverse ravines and seas full of leviathans, and lofty mountains full of lions and leopards, that you may attain to that weeping of the Shaykh or not attain. If you attain, you will often utter thanksgiving (as immense as is the extent of the earth, described in the words of the Tradition), The earth was gathered together for me.’”

A disciple came into the presence of the r: the r was (engaged) in weeping and lamentation.

When the disciple saw the Shaykh weeping, he began to weep: the tears ran from his eyes.
The man possessed of an ear (sense of hearing) laughs once, when a friend repeats a joke to a friend; the deaf man (laughs) twice:
The first time by way of conformity and affectation, because he sees the company laughing.

1275. The deaf man laughs then like them, without knowing the (inward) state of the laughers. Afterwards he inquires what the laughter was about, and then, having heard, he laughs a second time. Hence the mere imitator (of a Shaykh), too, resembles the deaf man in respect of the (feeling of) joy that is in his head.
It is the Shaykh's reflexion, and its source is in the Shaykh: the overflow of joy is not (derived) from the disciples; nay, it is from the Shaykh.
Like a basket in water or a (ray of) light on glass: if they think it (comes) from themselves, it is (owing to)
defect (of intelligence).

1280. When it (the basket) is separated from the river, that perverse one will recognise that the sweet water within it was from the river;
The glass also will recognise, at the setting (of the moon), that those beams (of light) were from the beauteous shining moon.
When the (Divine) command “Arise! opens his (the imitator's) eye, then he will laugh, like the (true)
dawn, a second time.
He will even laugh at his own (former) laughter which was produced in him in that (period of) imitation,
And will say (to himself), (Travelling) by all these far and long ways, and thinking that this was the
Reality and that this was the Mystery and Secret,

1285. How forsooth, in that valley (of imitation), did I rejoice from afar through blindness and confusion?
What was I fancying, and what was it (in truth)? My weak perception was showing (only) a weak image (of
the reality).”
Where is the thought of the (holy) men in relation to the child of the (mystic) Way? Where is his fancy in comparison with true realisation?
The thought of children is (of) the nurse or milk or raisins and walnuts or weeping and crying.
The imitator is like a sick child, although he may have (at his disposal) subtle argumentation and (logical)
proofs.

1290. That profundity in (dealing with) proofs and difficult problems is severing him from (spiritual)
insight.
It took away (from him) the stock (of insight), which is the collyrium of his inmost consciousness, and applied itself to the discussion of (formal) problems.
O imitator, turn back from Bukhárá: go to self-abasement (ba-khwárí) that you mayst become a (spiritual)
hero,
And that you mayst behold within (you) another Bukhárá, in the assemblyplace whereof the champions
are unlearned.
Although the courier is a swift runner on land, when he goes to sea his sinews are broken.

1295. He is only (like those of whom God says in the Qur’án) We have borne them on the land; (but)
that one who is borne on the seahe is somebody.
The King (God) has great bounty: run (to receive it), O you who have become in pawn to an imagination and fancy.
From conformity that simple disciple, too, was weeping in concert with the venerable (Shaykh); (For), like the deaf man, he regarded the (Shaykh's) weeping in the manner of a conformist and was unaware of the cause.
When he had wept a long while, he paid his respects and departed: the (Shaykh's) favourite disciple came
quickly after him,

1300. And said, O you who art weeping like a witless cloud in concert with the weeping of the Shaykh
(possessed) of insight,
For God's sake, for God's sake, for God's sake, O loyal disciple, although in (your) conformity you art seeking (spiritual) profit,
Take heed not to say, ‘I saw that (spiritual) king weeping, and I wept like him’; for that is denial (of his exalted state).”
A weeping full of ignorance and conformity and (mere) opinion is not like the weeping of that trusted one.
Do not judge (one) weeping by the analogy of (another) weeping: it is a long way from this weeping to that
(weeping).

1305. That (weeping) is after a thirty years' (spiritual) warfare: the intellect can never get there. Beyond reason there are a hundred stages: deem not the intellect to be acquainted with that caravan.
His weeping is neither from sorrow nor from joy: (only) the spirit knows the weeping of (him who is) the fountain of beauties.
His weeping, his laughter—(both) are of Yonder (World) and transcend all that the intellect may conceive. His tears are like his eye: how should the sightless eye become a (seeing) eye?

1310. That which he sees cannot be touched (apprehended) either by the analogical judgement of the intellect or by way of the senses.
Night flees when Light comes from afar: what, then, should the darkness of Night know concerning Light? The gnat flees from the keen wind: what, then, should the gnat know of the (delicious) savour of the winds? When the Eternal comes, the temporal is made vain: what, then, should the temporal know of Eternity? When Eternity comes in contact with the temporal, it strikes it dumb; when it has naughted it, it makes it homogeneous (with itself).

1315. You can find a hundred parallels (of this sort) if you wish, but I do not care (to supply them), O
dervish.
This Alif-Lám-Mím and -Mím—these Letters become, on (real) comprehension (of their meaning), like the rod of Moses.
The (other) letters resemble these Letters outwardly but are subject (to them) in respect of the (sublime)
attributes of the latter.
A staff that any one takes on trialhow should it be described as being like that staff (Moses' rod)?
This Breath is (like the breath) of Jesus (in its effects); it is not (like) any wind and breath that arises from joy or sorrow.

1320. This Alif-Lám-m and -Mím, O father, have come from the presence of the Lord of Mankind. What resemblance has any (other) alif-lám to these? Do not regard them with this (external) eye, if you have a (rational) soul.
Although they are composed of letters, O sire, and resemble the composition of (words used by) the common folk, (yet they are not the same).
Mohammed is composed of flesh and skin; (but he is unique) although every body is homogeneous with him in its composition.
It has flesh, it has skin and bone; (yet) has this (ordinary) constitution the same (qualities as his)?

1325. (No); for in that constitution (of Mohammed) there appeared miracles by which all (other)
constitutions were vanquished.
Likewise, the composition of the (Letters) Há-Mím in the (Holy) Book is exceedingly lofty, while the others are low (in comparison),
Because from this composition comes life, like the blast of the trumpet (of Resurrection), (to those) in helplessness.
By the dispensation of God Há-Mím becomes a dragon and cleaves the sea like the rod (of Moses).
Its external appearance resembles (other) appearances, but the disc (round cake) of bread is very far from
(being) the disc of the moon.

1330. His (the Shaykh's) weeping, his laughter, and his speech are not from him: they are the pure nature of Hú (God).
Since the foolish took (only) the external appearances (into consideration), and (since) the subtleties
(inward aspects) were very much hidden from them,
Necessarily they were debarred from (attaining to) the (real) object; for the subtlety escaped (them) on the occasion when it (the object) presented itself.

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