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(Masnavi Book 5: 31) The Ascetic and his Honorable Wife









Explaining the case of a person who makes a statement when his behaviour is not consistent with that statement and profession, like the infidels (of whom God has said): and if you ask them who created the heavens and the earth they will surely say, Allah.How is the worship of a stone idol and the sacrifice of life and wealth for its sake appropriate to a soul which knows that the creator of heaven and earth and (all) created beings is a God, all-hearing, all-seeing, omnipresent, all-observing, all dominating, jealous, etc.?

A certain ascetic had a very jealous wife: he also had a maid-servant (beautiful) as a houri. The wife used to watch her husband jealously and not let him be alone with the maid.

2165. For a long time the wife watched them both, lest an opportunity should occur for their being alone
(together)—
Until the decree and fore-ordainment of God arrived: (then) the watchman, Reason, became giddy-headed and good-for-nothing.
When His decree and fore-ordainment arrives unawares, who is Reason? Eclipse overtakes (even) the
moon.
The wife was at the (public) bath: suddenly she remembered the wash-basin and (that) it was (had been left) at home.
She said to the maid, Hark, go like a bird and fetch the silver basin from our house.”

2170. On hearing this, the maid came to life, for (she knew that) now she would obtain (a meeting with)
the master,
(Since) the master was then at home and alone. So she ran joyously to the house. For six years the maid had been longing to find the master alone like this.
She flew off and hastened towards the house: she found the master at home and alone.
Desire took possession of both the lovers so (mightily) that they had no care or thought of bolting the door.

2175. Ambo summa alacritate coierunt: copulatis corporibus anima cum anima conjuncta est. Then the wife recollected (and said to herself), Why did I send her (back) to the house?
I have set the cotton on fire with my own hand, I have put the lusty ram to the ewe.” She washed off the clay (soap) from her head and ran, beside herself (with
anxiety): she went in pursuit of her (the maid), drawing the chádar (over her head as she ran).
The former (the maid) ran because of the love in her soul, and the latter (the wife) because of fear. What is fear in comparison with love? (There is) a great difference.

2180. The mystic's progress is (an ascension) at every moment to the throne of the (Divine) King; the ascetic's progress is one day's journey every month.
Although, for the ascetic, one day is of great value, (yet) how should his one day be (equal to) fifty thousand (years)?
The length of every day in the life of the adept is fifty thousand of the years of the world. Intellects are excluded from this mystery: if the heart of Imagination burst, let it burst!
In the sight of Love, fear is not (so much as) a single hair: in the law of Love, all things (else) are (offered)
as a sacrifice.

2185. Love is an attribute of God, but fear is an attribute of the servant (of God) who is afflicted by lust and gluttony.
Since you have read in the Qur’án (the words) they love Him joined in a certain place with (the words) He loves them,”
Know, then, that love (mahabbat), and excessive love (‘ishq) too, is an attribute of God: fear is not an attribute of God, O honoured sir.
What relation exists between the attributes of God and those of a handful of earth? What relation exists between the attributes of him who is originated in time and those of the Holy (Eternal) One?
If I should continue to describe Love, a hundred Resurrections would pass, and it (my description would still be) incomplete;

2190. For there is a limit to the date of the Resurrection, but what limit can there be where the Divine attributes are (concerned)?
Love has five hundred wings, and every wing (extends) from above the empyrean to beneath the earth. The timorous ascetic runs on foot; the lovers (of God) fly more quickly than the lightning and the wind. How should those fearful ones overtake Love?for Love's passion makes the (lofty) heaven its carpetUnless perchance the favours of the (Divine) Light come and say, Become free from the world and from this wayfaring;

2195. Escape from yours own qush and dush, for (only) the royal falcon has found the way to the King.” This qush and dushis necessity and free-will: the pull of the Beloved (who draws you to Himself) transcends these twain.
When the wife arrived home, she opened the door: the sound of the door fell on their ears.
The maid jumped up in consternation and disorder; the man jumped up and began to say his prayers. The wife saw that the maid was dishevelled and confused and excited and witless and unmanageable.

2200. She saw her husband standing up (and engaged) in the ritual prayer: the wife was made suspicious by (all) that agitation.
Periculi nulla ratione habita, mariti laciniam sustulit: testiculos et penem vidit semine inquinatos. Seminis quod reliquum erat e pene stillabat: femur genuque inquinata et spurca evaserant.
Caput ejus colapho percussit et O vilissime, inquit, num hujusmodi sunt testiculi viri preces sollennes rite facientis?
Num iste penis cum Dei commemoratione precibusque sollennibus conveniens est? Num femur tale et inguen sordibus plenum?”

2205. Deal equitably (answer fairly): is a scroll (a register of actions) full of injustice and wickedness and unbelief and enmity fit (to be placed) in the right hand?
If you ask an infidel, By whom were this heaven and these creatures and this world created?”

He will reply that they were created by the Lord to whose Lordship the Creation bears witness.
Do his unbelief and great wickedness and wrong-doing fit (properly agree with) such a confession by him? Do those infamous deeds and that vicious conduct go fitly with such a true confession?

2210. His actions have given the lie to his words, so that he has become fit for (deserving of) the awful torment.
On the Day of Resurrection every hidden thing will be made manifest: every sinner will be ignominiously exposed by himself.
His hands and feet will give evidence and declare his iniquity in the presence of Him whose help is sought. His hand will say, I have stolen such and such”; his lip will say, I have asked such and such questions”; His foot will say, I have gone to (enjoy) things desired”; his pudendum will say, I have committed fornication.”

2215. His eye will say, I have cast amorous glances at things forbidden”; his ear will say, I have gathered evil words.
Therefore he is a lie from head to foot, for even his own members give him the lie,
Just as, in (the case of) the specious prayers (performed by the ascetic), their fine appearance was proved to be false testimonio testiculi.
Act, then, in such wise that the action itself, without (your) tongue (uttering a word), will be (equivalent to)
saying I testify and (to making) the most explicit declaration,
So that your whole body, limb by limb, O son, will have saidI testify as regards both good and ill.

2220. The slave's walking behind his master is a testimony (equivalent to saying), I am subject to authority and this man is my lord.
If you have blackened the scroll (record) of your life, repent of the deeds you did formerly.
Though your life has (almost) passed, this (present) moment is its root: water it with repentance if it lacks moisture.
Give the Living Water to the root of your life, in order that the tree of your life may become verdant.
By this (Water) all past (sins) are made good: by this (Water) last year's poison is made (sweet) as sugar.

2225. God has changed your evil deeds (to good), in order that what has preceded may become wholly
(acts of) piety.
O master, cleave bravely to a repentance (like that) of Nasúh: strive earnestly both with body and spirit. Hear from me the description of this repentance of Nasúh: (if) you have believed (in it before), (yet now) believe afresh.

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