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(Masnavi Book 1: 37) Light and colour

Explaining how every one's movement (action) proceeds from the place where he is, (so that) he sees every one (else) from the circle of his own self-existence: a blue glass shows the sun as blue, a red glass as red, (but) when the glass escapes from (the sphere of) colour, it becomes white, (and then) it is more truthful than all other glasses and is the Imám (exemplar to them all).

2365. Abú Jahl saw Ahmad (Mohammed) and said, ‘’Tis an ugly figure that has sprung from the sons of Háshim!’
Ahmad said to him, ‘Thou art right, thou hast spoken truth, although thou art impertinent.’
The Siddíq (Abú Bakr) saw him and said, ‘O Sun, thou art neither of East nor of West: shine beauteously!’
Ahmad said, ‘Thou hast spoken the truth, O dear friend, O thou that hast escaped from this world of nothingness.’
They that were present said, ‘O king, why didst thou call both of them truth-tellers when they contradicted each other?’

2370. He replied, ‘I am a mirror polished by the (Divine) hand: Turcoman and Indian behold in me that which exists (in
O wife, if thou deemest me very covetous, rise above this womanish care (for worldly things).
This (state of mine) resembles cupidity and (in reality) it is a (Divine) mercy: where that (spiritual) blessing is, where is cupidity?
Make trial of poverty for a day or two, that thou mayst see (find) in poverty double riches.
Have patience with poverty and abandon this disgust, because in poverty there is the light of the Lord of glory.

2375. Do not look sour, and (thou wilt) see thousands of souls plunged, through contentment, in an ocean of honey.
Behold hundreds of thousands of bitterly suffering souls steeped in rose-syrup, like the rose.
Oh, alas, would that thou hadst comprehension, so that the unfolded tale of my heart might be shown forth to thee from my soul.
This discourse is milk in the teat of the soul: it will not flow well without some one to suck (the teat).
When the hearer has become thirsty and craving, the preacher, (even) if he be (as good as) dead, becomes eloquent.

2380. When the hearer is fresh and without fatigue (not bored), the dumb and mute will find a hundred tongues to speak withal.
When a stranger comes in at my door, the women of the harem hide themselves in the veil,
But if a harmless relative should come in, those covered ones will lift up their faceveils.
Everything that is made beautiful and fair and lovely is made (so) for the eye of him that sees.
How should the sound of melody and treble and bass be (made) for the insentient ear of one who is deaf?

2385. Not in vain did God make musk fragrant: He made it (so) for the sense (of smell),
He did not make it for one whose nostrils are stopped (by disease).
God hath fashioned the earth and the sky, He hath raised in the midst much fire and light.
(He made) this earth for those (created) of clay, (He made) heaven to be the abode of the celestials.
The low (base) man is the enemy of what is high: the purchaser (seeker) of each place (Heaven or Hell) is manifest (made known by his actions).
O chaste woman, hast thou ever risen up and decked thyself for the sake of him that is blind?

2390. If I should fill the world with hidden pearls (of wisdom), how should I fare (what good would it do me), since they are not thy portion (since thou art unfit to receive them)?
O wife, take leave of quarrelling and waylaying, and if thou wilt not, (then) take leave of me!
What room have I for quarrelling with the good or the bad? —for this heart of mine is recoiling (even) from acts of peace.
If thou keep silence, (’tis well), and if not, I will so do that at this very moment I will leave my house and home.”
How the wife paid regard to her husband and begged God to forgive her for what she had said.
When the wife saw that he was fierce and unmanageable, she began to weep: tears in sooth are a woman's lure.

2395. She said, “When did I imagine such (words) from thee? I hoped of thee something different.”
The wife approached by the way of self-naughting (self-abasement). “I am thy dust,” said she, “not (worthy to be) thy ladywife.
Body and soul and all I am is thine: the entire authority and command belongs to thee.
If because of poverty my heart has lost patience, it is not for my own sake, but for thine.
Thou hast been my remedy in afflictions: I am unwilling that thou shouldst be penniless.

2400. On my soul and conscience, this is not for my own sake: this wailing and moaning is on account of thee.
(I swear) by God that at every moment my self would fain die for thy self before thee.
Would that thy soul, to which my soul is devoted, were aware of my soul's inmost thoughts!
Inasmuch as thou hast such (an ill) opinion of me, I am grown weary both of soul and of body.
I cast earth on (renounce) silver and gold, since thou behavest thus to me, O comfort of my soul.

2405. Thou who dwellest in my soul and heart, wilt thou declare thyself to be quit of me for this (small) amount (of offence)?
Be quit (then)! for thou hast the power, (but) oh, my soul pleads against thy making this declaration.
Remember the time when I was (beautiful) as the idol, and thou (adoring) as the idolater.
Thy slave has kindled her heart (in eagerness) to comply with thee: whatever thou callest ‘cooked,’ she says it is ‘burnt.’
Whatever thou mayst cook me with, I am thy spinach: whether (thou art) sour broth (to me) or sweet, thou art worthy (of my affection).

2410. I uttered infidelity (blasphemy): lo, I have returned to the true faith, I am come (to submit) with all my soul to thy command.
I did not know thy kingly nature, I rudely urged my beast (intruded) before thee.
Since I have made (for myself) a lamp of thy forgiveness, I repent, I cast away (abandon) opposition.
I am laying before thee sword and winding-sheet: I am bending my neck towards thee: smite!
Thou art talking of bitter separation (from me): do whatever thou wilt, but do not this.
2415. Thy conscience within thee is a pleader on my behalf, it is a perpetual intercessor with thee in my absence.
What pleads within thee for me is thy (noble) nature: from reliance on it my heart sought (to) sin (against thee).
Have mercy, unbeknown to thyself (without any self-conceit), O angry one, O thou whose nature is better than a hundred maunds of honey.”
In this fashion was she speaking graciously and winningly: meanwhile a (fit of) weeping came upon her.
When the tears and sobs passed beyond bounds—from her who was fascinating even without tears—

2420. There appeared from that rain a lightning-flash (that) shot a spark of fire into the heart of the lonely man.
She by whose beauteous face man was enslaved, how will it be when she begins to play the (humble) slave?
She at whose haughtiness thy heart is trembling, how wilt thou fare when she falls aweeping before thee?
She from whose disdain thy heart and soul are bleeding, how will it be when she turns to entreaty?
She in whose tyranny and cruelty we are snared, what plea shall we have when she rises to plead?

2425. (The love of desired things, women, etc.) is decked out for men (made attractive to them): God has arranged it: how can they escape from what God has arranged?
Inasmuch as He created her (the woman) that he (Adam) might take comfort in her, how can Adam be parted from Eve?
Though he (the husband) be Rustam son of Zál and greater than Hamza (in valour), as regards authority he is his old woman's (his wife's) captive.
He (the Prophet), to whose words the (whole) world was enslaved (obedient), used to cry, “Speak to me, O Humayrá!”
The water prevailed over (extinguished) the fire by its dread onset, (but) the fire makes it seethe when it (the water) is screened (hidden in the cauldron).

2430. When a cauldron comes between (them), O king, it (the fire) annihilates the water and converts it into air.
If outwardly thou art dominating thy wife, like the (fire-quenching) water, (yet) inwardly thou art dominated and art seeking (the love of) thy wife.
This is characteristic of Man (alone): to the (other) animals love is wanting, and that (want of love) arises from (their) inferiority (to Man).

1 comment:

Trademark Solicitor said...

This writing is so dramatic and rich, it's just spellbinding to read!

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