Search Poetry

(Masnavi Book 2: 06) Shaykh Ahmad son of Khizrúya and his creditors

How by Divine inspiration Shaykh Ahmad son of Khizrúya, may God sanctify his revered spirit, bought halwá (sweetmeat) for his creditors.

There was a Shaykh who was continually in debt because of the generosity which that illustrious one had (in his nature).

He used to make myriads of debts (by borrowing) from the great, and spend (all the money) upon the poor (dervishes) of the world.

He had also built a monastery (for Súfís) by (running into) debt; he had devoted life and wealth and monastery (to God).

God was paying his debts from every quarter: God made flour out of sand for the Friend's (Abraham's) sake.

380. The prophet said that two angels are (always) praying here in the markets, (saying),

O God, do you give the prodigal a boon in return, and O God do you give the miserly a bane (in return).”

Especially (does this apply to) the prodigal who has freely spent his soul (life) and made his throat a sacrifice to the Creator. He offers his throat, like Ismá‘íl (Ishmael): the knife cannot do anything to (hurt) his throat.
On this account, then, the martyrs are living in joy: do not, infidel-like, look at the body (alone),

385. Since God has given them in return the spirit of everlastingness—a spirit safe from grief and pain and misery. The debtor Shaykh acted in this fashion for years, taking and giving like a steward.
He was sowing seeds till the day of death, that on the day of death he might be a most glorious prince. When the Shaykh's life reached its end and he saw in his (bodily) existence the signs of death,
The creditors were seated together around him, (while) the Shaykh was gently melting on himself, like a candle.

390. The creditors had become despairing and sour-faced: the pain in (their) hearts was accompanied by pain in (their) lungs.
Look at these evil-thinking men,” said the Shaykh. “Has not God four hundred gold dinars?”

A boy outside shouted Halwá!” and bragged of (the excellence of) the hal in hope of (getting) some dángs.

The Shaykh with (a nod of) his head directed the famulus to go and buy the whole of the halwá,

(Saying to himself), “so that the creditors, when they eat the halwá, for a (short) while may not look bitterly on me.”

395. The famulus at once went out through the doorway to buy with gold the halwá entire.

He said to the boy, “How much is the halwá in the lump?” The boy said, “Half a dinar and some small change.”

Nay, he replied; “don't ask too much from Súfís: I will give you half a dinar. Say no more.”

The boy put the tray before the Shaykh. Behold (now) the mysterious secret thoughts of the Shaykh!

He made a sign to the creditors (as though to say), Look, this gift (of sweetmeat) is a present (to you): eat this gladly, it is lawful (food).”

400. When the tray was emptied, the boy took it and said, “Give me the gold, O Sage.”

The Shaykh said, “From where shall I get the money? I am in debt and going towards non-existence.”

The boy in (his) grief dashed the tray upon the ground; he raised (his voice in) lamentation and weeping and moaning.

The boy was weeping with loud sobs because of the swindle, (and crying), “Would that both my legs had been broken (ere I
came hither)!

Would that I had loitered round the bath-stove and had not passed by the door of this monastery!

405. Lickspittle gluttonous Súfís, dogs at heart and washing their faces like cats!” At the boy's clamour all and sundry gathered there and crowded round the boy.
He came to the Shaykh and said, “O cruel Shaykh, know for sure that my master will kill me (with blows). If I go (back) to him empty-handed, he will kill me: wilt you give (him) leave (to do that)?
And those creditors too turned to the Shaykh with disbelief and denial, saying, “What game was this?

410. you have devoured our property and art carrying off your iniquities (to the next world): for what reason was this other injustice (put) on the top (of all the rest)?”

Till afternoon prayers the boy wept; the Shaykh closed his eyes and did not look at him.

The Shakyh, unconcerned with abuse and opposition, had withdrawn his moon-like face under the coverlet, Pleased with eternity, pleased with death, joyous, unconcerned with revilement and the talk of high or low.
He in whose face the Beloved smiles sweetly, what harm can befall him from the sour looks of (other) people?

415. He on whose eye the Beloved bestows a kiss, how should he grieve at Heaven and its anger? On a moonlight night what cares the moon in (the mansion of) Simák for dogs and their barking?
The dog is performing his task; the moon is smoothly fulfilling her task by means of her (bright) countenance. Every one is executing his little business: water does not lose purity because of a bit of weed (rubbish).
The weeds float weedily (contemptibly) on the surface of the water: the pure water flows on undisturbed.

420. Mustafá (Mohammed) splits the moon at midnight; Abú Lahab from hatred talks drivel. The Messiah (Jesus) brings the dead to life, and the Jew tears his moustache in wrath.
Does the dog's bark ever reach the moon's ear, especially that Moon who is the chosen of God?
The king drinks wine on the bank of the stream till dawn, and in listening to the music is unaware of the croaking of the frogs. The division of (the money due to) the boy (amongst the creditors) would have been (only a few dángs (for each to pay); (but)
the Shaykh's (spiritual) influence stopped that generosity,

425. So that no one should give the boy anything: the power of the Pírs is even greater than this. (When) it was (time for) afternoon prayers, a servant came with a tray in his hand from one like Hátim, A man of property and condition: he sent it as a present to the Pír (Shaykh), for he knew about him. (There were) four hundred dinars, and in a corner of the tray another half-dinar in a piece of paper.
The servant advanced and did honour to the Shaykh, and laid the tray before the peerless Shaykh.

430. When he (the Shaykh) uncovered the face of the tray, the people beheld the miracle (manifested) from him.

Immediately cries of sorrow and lamentation arose from all —“O head of the Shaykhs and (spiritual) kings, what was (the meaning of) this?

What secret is this? Once more, what sovereignty is this, O lord of the lords of mystery? We knew not. Pardon us. Very deranged were the words that went out from us.
We who blindly brandish staffs cannot help breaking lamps.

435. We, like deaf men, without having heard a single thing spoken (to us), are answering idly from our own surmise. We have not taken warning from Moses, who was made shamefaced by disbelief in a Khizr,
Notwithstanding (that he had) an eye that sped aloft, and the light of his eye was piercing heaven.
O Moses (of this age), through foolishness the eye of a mill-mouse has fanatically set itself against yours eye.” The Shaykh said, I forgive all that talk and palaver: it is lawful to you.

440. The secret of this (matter) was that I besought God: consequently He showed me the right way, And said, ‘Though that dinar is little, yet (the payment of) it is dependent on the boy's outcry.

Until the halwá-selling boy weeps, the sea of (My) mercy is not aroused’.”

O brother, the child (boy) is the child (pupil) of your eye: know surely that (the gaining of) your desire is dependent on (tears of) distress.

If you wish that that robe of honour (which you desire) should come (to you), then make the child (pupil) of your eye weep over your body.

No comments:

Post a comment