Search Poetry

(Masnavi Book 2: 12) The man who killed his mother because he suspected her of adultery

How men blamed a person who killed his mother because he suspected her (of adultery).

A certain man killed his mother in wrath, with blows of a dagger and also with blows of his fist. Some one said to him, “From evil nature you have not borne in mind what is due to motherhood. Hey, tell (me) why you killed your mother. What did she do? Pray, tell (me), O foul villain!”
He said, “She did a deed that is a disgrace to her; I killed her because that earth (her grave) is her coverer (hides her shame).”

780. The other said, “O honoured sir, kill that one (who was her partner in guilt).”

Then,” he replied, I should kill a man every day.

I killed her, I was saved from shedding the blood of a multitude: It is better that I cut her throat than the throats of (so many)

That mother of bad character, whose wickedness is in every quarter, is your fleshly soul.
Come, kill it, for on account of that vile (creature) you are every moment assailing one who is venerable. Through it this fair world is narrow (distressful) to you, for its sake (you are at) war with God and man.

785. (If) you have killed the fleshly soul, you are delivered from (the necessity of) excusing yourself: nobody in the world remains your enemy.

If any one should raise a difficulty about my words in regard to the prophets and saints,

(And should say), “Had not the prophets a killed (mortified) fleshly soul? Why, then, had they enemies and enviers?”— Give ear, O seeker of truth, and hear the answer to this difficulty (born) of doubt.
Those unbelievers were (really) enemies to themselves: they were striking at themselves such blows (as they struck).

790. An enemy is one who attempts (another's) life; he that is himself destroying his own life is not an enemy (to others). The little bat is not an enemy to the sun: it is an enemy to itself in the veil (of its own blindness).

The glow of the sun kills it; how should the sun ever suffer annoyance from it?
An enemy is one from whom torment proceeds, (one who) hinders the ruby from (receiving the rays of) the sun. All the infidels hinder themselves from (receiving) the rays of the prophets' (spiritual) jewel.

795. How should (unbelieving) people veil the eyes of that peerless one (the prophet or saint)? The people have (only)
blinded and distorted their own eyes.

(They are) like the Indian slave who bears a grudge and kills himself to spite his master:

He falls headlong from the roof of the house (in the hope) that he may have done some harm to his master. If the sick man become an enemy to the physician, or if the boy show hostility to the teacher,
In truth they act as brigands against themselves: they themselves waylay their own mind and spirit.

800. If a fuller take offence at the sun, if a fish is taking offence at the water,

Just once consider whom that (anger) injures, and whose star is eclipsed by it in the end.

If God create you with ugly features, take care lest you become both ugly-featured and ugly-natured;

And if your shoes are ripped, do not go into stony ground; and if you have two spikes, don't become four-spiked.

You are envious, saying, I am inferior to so-and-so: he (by his superior position) is increasing my inferiority in fortune.”

805. (But) indeed envy is another defect and fault; nay, it is worse than all inferiorities.

That Devil (Satan), through the shame and disgrace of inferiority (to Adam), cast himself into a hundred damnations. Because of envy, he wished to be at the top. At the top, forsooth! Nay, (he wished) to be a blood-shedder.
Abú Jahl was put to shame by Mohammed, and because of envy was raising himself to the top.

His name was Abu ’l-Hakam, and he became Abú Jahl: oh, many a worthy has become unworthy because of envy.

810. I have not seen in the world of search and seeking (trial and probation) any worthiness better than a good disposition.

God made the prophets the medium (between Him and His creatures) in order that feelings of envy should be displayed in the agitation (produced by something that rankles in the mind).

Inasmuch as no one was disgraced by (inferiority to) God, no one was (ever) envious of God; (But) the person whom he deemed like himself—he would bear envy against him for that reason.
(Now), as the grandeur of the Prophet has become established, none feels envy (of him), since he is accepted (by all the

815. Therefore in every epoch (after Mohammed) a saint arises (to act as his vicegerent): the probation (of the people) lasts until the Resurrection.

Whosoever has a good disposition is saved; whosoever is of frail heart is broken.

That saint, then, is the living Imám who arises (in every age), whether he be a descendant of ‘Umar or of ‘Alí.

He is the Mahdí (the God-guided one) and the Hádí (the Guide), O seeker of the (right) way: he is both hidden (from you) and seated before your face.

He is as the Light (of Mohammed), and (Universal) Reason is his Gabriel; the saint that is lesser than he is his lamp (and receives illumination from him).

820. That (saint) who is lesser than this lamp is our lamp-niche: the Light has gradations in degree, Because the Light of God has seven hundred veils: regard the veils of the Light as so many tiers.
Behind each veil a certain class (of saints) has its place of abode: these veils of theirs are (in ascending order), rank by rank, up

to the Imám.
Those in the last (lowest) rank, through their weakness, (are such that) their eyes cannot endure the light in front (of them); And that front rank, from weakness of sight, cannot support the light that is more advanced.

825. The light that is the life of the first (highest rank) is heartache and tribulation to this squinter;

(But) the squintnesses, little by little, grow less, and when he passes beyond the seven hundred (veils), he becomes the Sea. The fire that does good to iron or gold—how is it good for fresh quinces and apples?
The apple and quince have (only) a slight crudity: unlike iron, they want a gentle heat;

But those flames are (too) gentle for the iron, for it is (eagerly) drawing to (itself) the heat of that (fiery) dragon.

830. That iron is the dervish who bears hardship (self-mortification): under the hammer and the fire he is red and happy.

He is the chamberlain of the fire (and) in immediate touch (with it): he goes into the heart of the fire without (any) link
(between the fire and him).

Without some screen, water and water's children get no cooking or conversation from the fire. The medium is a pot or a pan—as (the medium) for the foot in walking (is) a sock (shoe)—
Or a space between, so that the air becomes burning hot and brings (the fire) to the water.

835. The dervish, then, is he that has no intermediary: the flames have (direct) connexion with his being. Therefore he is the heart of the world, because by means of this heart the body attains to (its proper) art (function).
(If) the heart be not there, how can the body talk and speak? (If) the heart seek not, how can the body seek and search? Therefore the theatre of the (Divine) rays is that iron; therefore the theatre of God is the heart, not the body.
Again, these partial (individual) hearts are as the body in relation to the heart of the man of heart (the perfect saint), which is the original source.

840. This argument wants much illustration and exposition, but I fear lest the opinion of the vulgar should stumble (and fall into error),

(And) lest my goodness should be turned (by them) to badness;—even this that I have spoken was (from) naught but selflessness.

The crooked shoe is better for the crooked foot; the beggar's power reaches only as far as the door.

No comments:

Post a comment