Search Poetry

(Masnavi Book 1: 35) False saints

Explaining how it may happen, (though) rarely, that a disciple sincerely puts his faith in a false impostor (and believes) that he is a (holy) personage, and by means of this faith attains unto a (spiritual) degree which his Shaykh has never (even) dreamed of, and (then) fire and water do him no hurt, though they hurt his Shaykh; but this occurs very seldom.

But exceptionally comes (the case of) a disciple to whom, because of his (spiritual) illumination, that falsehood (of the impostor) is beneficial.
He, by his goodly purpose, attains unto a (high) degree, although he fancied (the impostor to be) soul, and that (soul) proved to be (only) body.

2285. (It is) like trying to find the qibla in the heart (depth) of night: the qibla is not (found), but his (the seeker's) prayer is valid.
The impostor has a dearth of soul within, but we have a dearth of bread without.
Why should we conceal (our poverty) like the impostor and suffer agony for the sake of false reputation?”
How the Bedouin bade his wife be patient and declared to her the excellence of patience and poverty.
Her husband said to her, “How long wilt thou seek income and seed-produce? What indeed is left of (our) life? Most (of it) is past.
The sensible man does not look at increase or deficiency, because both (these) will pass by like a torrent.

2290. Whether it (life) be pure (clear and untroubled) or whether it be a turbid flood, do not speak of it, since it is not enduring for a moment.
In this world thousands of animals are living happily, without up and down (anxiety).
The dove on the tree is uttering thanks to God, though her food for the night is not (yet) ready.
The nightingale is singing glory to God (and saying), ‘I rely on Thee for my daily bread, O Thou who answerest (prayer).’
The falcon has made the king's hand his joy (the place in which he takes delight), and has given up hope of (has become indifferent to) all carrion.

2295. Similarly you may take (every animal) from the gnat to the elephant: they all have become God's family (dependent on Him for their nourishment), and what an excellent nourisher is God!
All these griefs that are within our breasts arise from the vapour and dust of our existence and wind (vain desire).
These uprooting griefs are as a scythe to us: (to think that) this is such and such or that that is such and such is a temptation (of the Devil) to us.
Know that every pain is a piece of Death: expel (that) part of Death from thee, if there be a means (of doing so).
When thou canst not flee from the part of Death, know that the whole of it will be poured upon thy head.

2300. If the part of Death has become sweet to thee, know that God will make the whole sweet.
Pains are coming from Death as (his) messengers: do not avert thy face from his messenger, O foolish one!
Whoever lives sweetly (pleasantly) dies bitterly (painfully): whoever serves his body does not save his soul.
Sheep are driven from the plains (to the town): the fatter they are, the quicker they are killed.
The night is past and dawn is come. O my soul, how long wilt thou take up (again) the tale of gold from the beginning?

2305. Thou wert young (once), and (then) thou wert more contented: (now) thou hast become a seeker of gold, (but) at first thou wert gold indeed (precious and perfect).
Thou wert a fruitful vine: how hast thou become unsaleable (worthless)? How hast thou become rotten when thy fruit is ripening?
Thy fruit ought to become sweeter and not move farther backwards like rope-makers.
Thou art my wife: the wife must be of the same quality (as the husband) in order that things may go rightly.
The married pair must match one another: look at a pair of shoes or boots.

2310. If one of the shoes is too tight for the foot, the pair of them is of no use to thee.
Hast thou ever seen one leaf of a (folding) door small and the other large, or a wolf mated with the lion of the jungle?
A pair of sacks on a camel do not balance properly when one is small and the other of full size.
I march with stout heart towards contentment: why art thou betaking thyself to revilement?”
In this fashion the contented man, moved by sincerity and ardour, was talking to his wife till daybreak.

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