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(Masnavi Book 5: 30) Layla and Majnun





















Setting forth the real oneness of the lover and the beloved, although they are contrary to each other from the point of view that want is the opposite of wanting nothing. So a mirror is formless and pure, and formlessness is the opposite of form, yet in reality they have a oneness with each other which is tedious to explain: a hint is enough for the wise.

From grief for a (long) separation (from Laylá) there came suddenly a sickness into the body of Majnún.

2000. (Heated) by the flame of longing his blood boiled up, so that (the symptoms of) quinsy appeared in that mad (lover).
Thereupon the physician came to treat him and said, There is no resource but to bleed him. Bleeding is necessary in order to remove the blood. (So) a skilled phlebotomist came thither,
And bandaged his arm and took the lancet (to perform the operation); (but) straightway that passionate
lover cried out,
Take your fee and leave the bleeding! If I die, let my old body go (to the grave)!

2005. Why, said he, wherefore art you afraid of this, when you have no fear of the lion of the jungle? Lions and wolves and bears and onagers and (other) wild animals gather around you by night;
The smell of man does not come to them from you because of the abundance of love and ecstasy in your heart.”
Wolf and bear and lion know what love is: he that is blind to love is inferior to a dog.
If the dog had not a vein of love, how should the dog of the Cave have sought (to win) the heart (of the
Seven Sleepers)?

2010. Moreover, in the world there is (many a one) of its kind, dog-like in appearance, though it is not celebrated (like the dog of the Cave).
You have not smelt (discerned) the heart in your own kind: how should you smell the heart in wolf and sheep?
If there had not been Love, how should there have been existence? How should bread have attached itself to you and become (assimilated to) you?
The bread became you: through what? Through (your) love and appetite; otherwise, how should the bread
have had any access to the (vital) spirit?
Love makes the dead bread into spirit: it makes the spirit that was perishable everlasting.

2015. Majnún said, I do not fear the lancet: my endurance is greater than the mountain formed of rock.

I am a vagabond: my body is not at ease without blows; I am a lover: I am always in close touch with blows.
But my (whole) being is full of Lay: this shell is filled with the qualities of that Pearl.
I am afraid, O cupper, lest if you let my blood you suddenly inflict a wound with your lancet upon Laylá. The (man of) reason whose heart is enlightened knows that between Laylá and me there is no difference.

A beloved asked her lover, “Do you love yourself more or me?” He replied, “I am dead to myself and living by you; I have become non-existent to myself and my own attributes and existent through you; I have forgotten my own knowledge and have become knowing through your knowledge; I have lost all thought of my own power and have become powerful through your power. If I love myself, I must have loved you, and if I love you, I must have loved myself.(Verse): “Whoever possesses the mirror of clairvoyance sees God (even) though he see himself.” (God said to Báyazíd): “Go forth with My attributes to My creatures. Whoso shall see you shall see Me and whoso shall betake himself unto you shall betake himself unto Me”; and so on.

2020. At the hour of the morning-drink a beloved said to her lover by way of trial, O such-and-such son of such-and-such,
I wonder, do you love me or yourself more? Tell the truth, O man of sorrows.”
He replied, I have become so naughted in you that I am full of you from head to foot.
Of my existence there is nothing (left) in me but the name: in my being there is naught but you, O you whose wishes are gratified.
By that means I have become thus naughted, like vinegar, in you (who art) an ocean of honey.

2025. As the stone that is entirely turned into pure ruby: it is filled with the qualities of the sun. That stony nature does not remain in it: back and front, it is filled with sunniness.
Afterwards, if it love itself, that (self-love) is love of the sun, O youth; And if it love the sun with (all) its soul, it is undoubtedly love of itself. Whether the pure ruby loves itself or whether it loves the sun,

2030. There is really no difference in these two loves: both sides (aspects) are naught but the radiance of the sunrise.
Until it (the stone) has become a ruby, it is an enemy to itself, because it is not a single I”: two I's are there;
For the stone is dark and blind to the day (-light): the dark is essentially opposed to light. (If) it love itself, it is an infidel, because it offers intense resistance to the supreme Sun.
Therefore it is not fitting that the stone should say I, (for) it is wholly darkness and in (the state of) death.

2035. A Pharaoh saidI am God and was laid low; a Mansúr (Halláj) said I am God and was saved. The former I is followed by God's curse and the latter I by God's mercy, O loving man;
For that one (Pharaoh) was a black stone, this one (Halláj) a cornelian; that one was an enemy to the Light, and this one passionately enamoured (of it).
This I,” O presumptuous meddler, was He (God) in the inmost consciousness, through oneness with the
Light, not through (belief in) the doctrine of incarnation.
Strive that your stony nature may be diminished, so that your stone may become resplendent with the qualities of the ruby.

2040. Show fortitude in (enduring) self-mortification and affliction; continually behold everlasting life in dying to self.
(Then) your stoniness will become less at every moment, the nature of the ruby will be strengthened in you. The qualities of (self-)existence will depart from your body, the qualities of intoxication (ecstasy) will increase in your head (Your spiritual centre).
Become entirely hearing, like an ear, in order that you mayst gain an ear-ring of ruby.
If you art a man, dig earth, like a well-digger, from this earthen body, that you mayst reach some water;

2045. (And) if the pull (inspiration) of God come (to you), the running water will bubble up from the earth without your well having been dug.

Be always working, do not pay heed to that (hope of being enabled to dispense with work): keep scraping away the earth of the (bodily) well little by little.
To every one who suffers a tribulation there is revealed a treasure: every one who makes an earnest endeavour comes into a fortune.
The Prophet has said that acts of genuflexion and prostration (in the ritual prayer) are (equivalent to)
knocking the door-ring of (mystical) attainment on the Divine Portal.
When any one continues to knock that door-ring, felicity peeps out for his sake.

How the Amír who was the author of the mischievous intrigue came at midnight with his officers to open the chamber of Ayáz, and saw the sheepskin jacket and rustic shoon hanging (there) and supposed that this was a trick and pretence; and how he dug up every suspected corner and brought excavators and made holes in the walls and discovered nothing and fell into confusion and despair. So (it is with such) evil thinking men (as those) who imagined vain things about the work of the prophets and saints, saying that they were magicians and self-advertisers and (only) sought to occupy the chief position (among their people): after having investigated, they are covered with confusion, but it does not avail them.

2050. Those trusted (officers) came to the door of the chamber: they began to search for the treasure and the gold and the jar.
A number of them, (urged) by vain desire, unlocked the door with infinite dexterity and skill;
For it was a formidable lock with intricate bolts: he (Ayáz) had selected it from (many other) locks,
Not that he was avaricious of silver and riches and crude (uncoined) gold, (but) in order to hide that secret
(of his) from the vulgar,
“Lest (so he thought) “some people imagine evil, (while) others call me a hypocrite.

2055. With the man of lofty aspiration the soul's secrets are kept from the base (worldlings) more safely than the ruby in the mine.
To fools gold seems better than the soul; in the opinion of (spiritual) kings gold is to be scattered on the soul (as an offering).
In greed of gold they (the officers) were hastening rapidly (to the chamber), (though) their reason was saying, No; not so fast.”
Greed runs in vain towards the mirage, (though) reason says, “Look carefully: it is not water.”
Greed was predominant (in them), and gold had become (dear to them) as their souls: at that moment the cry of reason was unheard.

2060. Greed and its clamours had become hundredfold; wisdom and its suggestions had vanished,
To the end that he (the greedy man) may fall into the pit of delusion, and then hearken to the reproaches of
Wisdom.
When his wind (idle self-conceit) is broken by imprisonment in the trap, the rebuking soul gets the upper hand over him.
Until his head comes against the wall of affliction, his deaf ear will not listen to the counsel of his heart. Greed for walnut-cake and sugar makes the ears of children deaf to admonitions;

2065. (Only) when the pain of his abscess begins do his (the child's) ears become open to good advice. Then the party (of searchers), with cupidity and a hundred kinds of vain desire, opened the chamber. They swarmed in through the doorway, jostling each other, like vermin (falling) on fetid buttermilk.
They (the insects) fall on it triumphantly, like lovers, (but) there is no possibility of drinking, and both wings are stuck.
They (the officers) looked to the left and to the right: there was (only) a torn pair of shoon and a sheepskin jacket.

2070. After (having looked), they said (to one another), This place is not without balm: the shoon are only (displayed) here as a blind.
Hey, bring sharp picks: try excavation and tunnelling.”
The (searching) party dug and searched in every direction: they dug holes and deep cavities. Thereupon the holes were (virtually) crying out to them, We are empty holes, O ye stinkers!

Accordingly they (the officers) were ashamed of that (evil) thought (concerning Ayáz) and filled up the holes again.

2075. In every breast were innumerable (sighs of) hawl: the bird, their greed, was left without any food to peck.
The holes in the walls and in the door were informers against them (giving intelligence) of their futile aberrations.
The wall could not possibly be plastered (repaired): there was no possibility of denying before Ayáz (what they had done);
(For) if they make a pretence of being innocent, the wall and floor will bear witness (against them). (With such reflections) they were returning to the King, covered with dust and pale-faced and ashamed.

How the plotters returned from the chamber of Ayáz to the King with empty bags and overcome by shame, as those who thought ill of the prophets, on whom be peace, (shall be confounded) at the time when their (the prophets') innocence and holiness shall be made manifest; for (God has said),on the Day when (some) faces shall be white and (some) faces shall be black,” and He has said, “and you shalt see those who lied against God, their faces blackened.”

2080. The King, (speaking) with a purpose, said, What has happened? for your arms are empty of gold and purses;
And if ye have concealed the pounds and pence, (then) where is the brightness of joy (that should appear)
on cheeks and countenance?
Although the roots of every rooty (tree) are hidden, (yet) the leavestheir marks (upon) their facesare green.
Lo, the lofty bough is proclaiming what the root has imbibed, whether it be poison or sugar.
If the root is leafless and without sap, what (then) are (signify) the green leaves on the bough?

2085. The earth lays a seal on the root's tongue, (but) the bough, its hand and foot, is bearing witness.” All those trusted (officers) began to excuse themselves: they fell prostrate, like a shadow in the presence of the moon.
In excuse for that heat (hot-headedness) and boasting and egoism they went to the King with sword and winding-sheet,
All of them biting their fingers from thame, and every one saying, O King of the world,
If you shed (our) blood, it is lawful, lawful (for you to do so); and if you forgive, it is (an act of) grace and bounty.

2090. We have done those deeds that were worYour of us: consider what you wilt command, O glorious
King.
If you forgive our crime, O you who makest the heart radiant, the night will have shown the qualities of
night, and the day (those of) day.
If you forgive, despair will be removed; and if not, may a hundred like us be a sacrifice to the King!”
The King replied, Nay, I will not show this clemency or deal this punishment: that (right) belongs to Ayáz.

[How the King referred to Ayáz the question of accepting the repentance of the ploiters who had opened his chamber or of punishing them, because he judged that the offence had been committed against his honour.]

This is an offence against his person and honour: the blow is (inflicted) on the veins of that man of goodly ways.

2095. Although we are spiritually one, formally I am far from (I am unaffected by) this profit and loss.” An accusation against a (guilty) servant is no disgrace to the King: it is only (a means of) increasing (His) forbearance and (the servant's) reliance (on His
protection).

Inasmuch as the King makes one who is accused (rich as) Qárún (Korah), consider how He will act towards one who is innocent.
Deem not the King to be ignorant of any one's actions: it is only His forbearance that prevents it (the evil action) from being brought to light.
Here who shall recklessly intercede with His knowledge (who) except His forbearance?

2100. The sin arises at first from His forbearance; otherwise, how should His awful majesty give (any)
room for it (to arise)?
(Payment of) the blood-price for the crime of the murderous carnal soul falls on His forbearance: the blood- wit is (an obligation) on the (murderer's) kin.
Our carnal soul was intoxicated and made beside itself by that forbearance: during its intoxication the Devil snatched away its cap.
Unless the qí, Forbearance, had poured (the intoxicating) wine, how should the Devil have quarrelled with Adam?
At the time of (his being in possession of) knowledge, who was Adam in relation to the angels? (He was)
the teacher of knowledge and the assayer of (its) coins.

2105. After he had drunk the wine of (God's) forbearance in Paradise, he was confounded by a single trick of Satan.
The doses of anacardium, (namely), the lessons (given to him) by the Loving One, had made him sagacious and wise and clever;
(But) afterwards the potent opium of His forbearance brought the Thief to (carry away) his (Adam's)
property.
Reason comes to seek refuge with His forbearance, (saying), You have been my Sáqí (You have intoxicated me): take my hand (succour me)!”

How the King said to Ayáz, Choose either to pardon or to punish, for in the present case it is (equally) right whether you do justice or show mercy; and there are advantages in each.Within justice a thousand mercies are enclosed: (God has said), “and for you in retaliation there is a life.” He who deems retaliation abominable is regarding only the single life of the murderer and does not consider the hundreds of thousands of lives that will be protected and kept safe, as in a fortress, by fear of punishment.

O Ayáz, pass sentence on the culprits! O incorruptible Ayáz who takest infinite precautions (to keep yourself pure),

2110. Though I boil (test) you in practice two hundred times, I do not find any refuse in the foam of your boiling.
A countless multitude of people are ashamed of (being put to) the test, (but) all tests are ashamed of (being tried on) you.
It (Your knowledge) is a bottomless ocean: it is not (creaturely) knowledge alone; it (Your forbearance) is a mountain and a hundred mountains: indeed, it is not (creaturely) forbearance.
He (Ayáz) replied, I know that this is your gift; otherwise I am (nothing except) those rustic shoon and that
sheepskin jacket.”
Hence the Prophet expounded this (matter), (when he said), Whoso knoweth himself knoweth God.”

2115. The seed (from which you were conceived) is your shoon, and your blood is the sheepskin jacket: (all) the rest, O master, is His gift.
He has given it to you in order that you may seek more: do not say, He has only this amount (to give).” The gardener shows a number of apples, to the end that you may know the trees and produce of the orchard.
He (the wheat-merchant) gives the purchaser a handful of wheat, in order that he may know (the quality of)
the wheat in the granary.
The teacher explains a nice point in order that you may recognise that his knowledge exceeds (those limits);

2120. And if you say, This is all (the knowledge) he has,he will cast you far (from him) as sticks and straws (are cast) from the beard.
Now come, O Ayáz, and deal justice: lay the foundation of a rare justice in the world.
Those who have sinned against you deserve to be killed, but in hope (of escaping death) they are attending
(waiting upon) your pardon and forbearance,
To see whether mercy will prevail or wrath, whether the water of Kawthar will prevail or the flames (of
Hell).”
From the (ancient) Covenant of Alast (until now) both (these) boughs, (namely) forbearance and anger, are in existence for the purpose of carrying men (up to God).

2125. Hence the perspicuous word Alast is (a case of) negation and affirmation joined in one word, Because this (Alast) is an affirmative question, but (nevertheless) the word laysa is buried in it.
Leave off, and let this exposition remain incomplete: do not lay the bowl for the elect on the table of the vulgar.
(’Tis) a wrath and a mercy like the zephyr (sabá) and the plague (wabá): the former is (like) the iron- attracting (magnet) and the latter (like) the straw attracting (amber).
The truth draws the righteous to righteousness; the false class (of things) draws the false (the wicked).

2130. (If) the belly be sweet, it draws sweets (to itself); (if) the belly be bilious (acid), it draws vinegar
(to itself).
A burning (hot) carpet takes away coldness from one who sits (on it); a frozen (cold) carpet consumes (his)
heat.
(When) you see a friend, mercy is aroused in you; (when) you see an enemy, violence is aroused in you. O Ayáz, finish this affair quickly, for expectation is a sort of vengeance.”

How the King bade Ayáz make haste, saying, Give judgement and bring the matter to decision immediately, and do not keep them waiting or say, We shall meet after some days,’ for expectation is the red death”; and how Ayáz answered the King.

He said, O King, the command belongs entirely to you: when the sun is there, the star is naughted.

2135. Who is Venus or Mercury or a meteor that they should come forth in the presence of the sun? If I had omitted (to look at) the cloak and sheepskin, how should I have sown such seeds of blame?
What was the (use of) putting a lock on the door of the chamber amidst a hundred envious persons addicted to false imagination?
Every one of them, having put his hand into the river-water, seeks (to find there) a dry sod.
How, then, should there be a dry sod in the river? How should a fish become disobedient to the sea?

2140. They impute iniquity to poor me, before whom loyalty (itself) is ashamed.”
Were it not for the trouble caused by a person unfamiliar (with my meaning), I would have spoken a few words concerning loyalty;
(But) since a world (multitude of people) is seeking (to raise) doubt and difficulty, we will let the discourse run beyond the skin.
If you break your (material) self, you will become a kernel and will hear the tale of a goodly kernel. The voices of walnuts are in their skins (shells): where, indeed, is any voice in the kernel and the oil?

2145. It (the kernel) has a voice, (but one that is) not suited to the (bodily) ear: its voice is hidden in the ear of ecstasy.
Were it not for the sweetness of a kernel's voice, who would listen to the rattling voice of a walnut-shell? You endure the rattling of it (only) in order that you may silently come into touch with a kernel.
Be without lip and without ear for a while, and then, like the lip, be the companion of honey.
How long have you been uttering poetry and prose and (proclaiming) mysteries! O master, try the experiment and, for one day, be dumb!

Story in confirmation of the saying, We have tried speech and talk all this time: (now) for a while let us. try self-restraint and silence.”

2150. How long have you been cooking (things) sour and acid and (like the fruit of) the white tamarisk? For this one time make an experiment and cook sweets.
On waking at the Resurrection, there is put into the hands of a (wicked) man the scroll of his sins: (it will be) black,
Headed with black, as letters of mourning; the body and margin of the scroll completely filled with (his)
sins—
The whole (of it) wickedness and sin from end to end, full of infidelity, like the land of war. Such a foul and noxious scroll does not come into the right hand; it comes into the left hand.

2155. Here also (in this world) regard your scroll (the record of your actions), (and consider) whether it fits the left hand or the right.
In the (bootmaker's) shop, can you know before trying (them) on that the left boot or shoe belongs to the left (foot)?
When you are not right,know that you are left”; the cries of a lion and an ape are distinct (from one another).
He (God) who makes the rose lovely and sweet-scented—His bounty makes every left” to be right.” He bestows rightness on every one belonging to the left” He bestows a (fresh) running water on the (salt) sea.

2160. If you areleft, be right (in perfect harmony) with His Lordship, that you may see His mercies prevail (over His wrath).
Do you think it allowable that this vile scroll (of yours) should pass from the left hand and come into the right?
How indeed should a scroll like this, which is full of iniquity and injury, be fit (to place) in the right hand?

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