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(Masnavi Book 3: 10) The people of Zarwan

The Story of the people of Zarwán and how they contrived that they should pick the fruit in their orchards without being troubled by the poor.

You have read the story of the people of Zarwán: then why have you persisted in seeking expedients?

475. Several (noxious) men who stung like scorpions were contriving that they might cut off part of the daily bread of some poor folk.
During the night, the whole night, they were devising a plot; many a ‘Amr and Bakr had put their
faces together.
Those wicked men were speaking their inmost thoughts in secret, lest God should discover it. Did the clay devise (evil) against the Plasterer? Is the hand doing any work that is hidden from
the heart?
He (God) has said, Doth not He who created (you) know your desire, (doth not He know)
whether in your secret conversation there is sincerity or cajolery?”

480. How should a traveller who has set out at morn be unheeded by One who sees plainly where shall be his lodging to-morrow?
Wheresoever he has descended or mounted, He has taken charge of it and reckoned (it) up by
Now purge your ear of forgetfulness and listen to the separation (forlorn plight) of the sorrowful one.
Know that when you set your ear to his tale, that is the alms which you give to the sad;
(For) you will hear the sorrows of the heart-sick—the starvation of the noble spirit by the water and clay (of the body).

485. (Though it is) one filled with knowledge, it has a house filled with smoke: open a window for it by listening.
When your ear becomes a way of breath (relief) for it, the bitter smoke will decrease (and disappear) from its house.
Show sympathy with us, O well-watered (prosperous) one, if you are faring to wards the most high Lord.
This vacillation is a prison and gaol that will not let the soul go in any direction.
This (motive) draws (you) in one direction, and that (motive) in another, each (motive) saying, I
am the right way.”

490. This vacillation is a precipice on the Way to God: oh, blest is he whose feet are loosed
(from its bonds).
He fares on the right way without vacillation: (if) you do not know the way, seek (to find) where his footprints are.
Cleave to the footprints of the deer and advance safely, that from the deer's footprints you may attain to the musk-gland.
By means of this wayfaring you will ascend to the most luminous zenith, O brother, if you will
walk on the fire (of tribulation).
(There is) no fear of sea or waves or foam, since you have heard the (Divine) allocution, Be not afraid.

495. Know that it is (a fulfilment of) Be not afraid, when God has given you the fear (which causes you to refrain from sin): He will send the bread, since He has sent the tray to you.
The fear (danger) is for that one who has no fear (of God); the anguish (is) for that one who
does not frequent this place (where God is feared).

The Khwajas departure to the country.

The Khwaja got to work and made preparations (for the journey): the bird, his resolve (to set out), sped rapidly towards the country.
His kinsfolk and children made ready for the journey and threw the baggage upon the ox of departure,
Rejoicing and hastening towards the country, saying, “We have eaten some fruit (in anticipation)
: give (us) the glad news of ( arrival in) the country!

500.The place for which we are bound is a sweet pasturage, and our friend there is kind and charming.
He has invited us with thousands of wishes, he has planted for us the shoot of kindness.
From him we shall bring back to town the store of the country-side ( to sustain us) during the ling winter.
Nay, he will give up the orchard for our sake, he will make a place for us in the middle of his
Hasten, friends, that ye may get gain! (But) Reason from within was saying ( to them), Do not rejoice!

505. Be gainers by the gain of God: lo, my Lord loveth not them that rejoice (overmuch). Rejoice (but) moderately on account of what He causeth to come to you: everything that comes and is a source of preoccupation diverts you (from Him).
Rejoice in Him, do not rejoice in aught except Him: He is (as) the spring, and (all) other things
(as) the month of December.
Everything other than He is the (means of) leading you gradually to perdition, (even) though it is your throne and kingdom and your crown.
Rejoice in sorrow, for sorrow is the snare of (means of attaining to) union (with God): in this Way
the ascent is downwards.

510. Sorrow is a treasure, and your pain is as the mine, but how should this (saying) catch hold of (make an impression on) children?
When children hear the name of “play, they all run (after it) with the speed of a wild ass. O blind asses, in this direction there are snares; in this direction there are bloodsheds (concealed) in ambush.
The arrows are flying, (but) the bow is hidden: from the Unseen World come upon youth a hundred arrows of hoary eld.
You must set foot on the plain of the heart (spirit), because in the plain of (the body’s) clay there
is no opening ( for spiritual progress).

515. The heart is the abode of security, O friends; (it has) fountains and rose-gardens within rose-gardens.
Turn towards the heart and journey on, O night-travellers: therein are trees and (many) a flowing spring.
Do not go to the country: the country makes a fool of a man, it makes the intellect void of light
and splendour.
O chosen one, hear the Prophets saying: “To dwell in the country is the grave of the intellect.”
If any one stay in the country a single day and evening, his intellect will not be fully restored for a month.

520. For a (whole) month foolishness will abide with him: what but these things should he reap from the parched herbage of the country?
And he that stays a month in the country, ignorance and blindness will be his (lot) for a long time.

What is the country? The Shaykh that has not been united (with god), but has become addicted to conventionality and argument.
Compared with the town, (which is) Universal Reason, these senses (of ours) are like asses
(going round and round) in an ass-mill with their eyes bandaged.
Leave this (inner meaning) and take the outward form of the tale: let the pearlseed alone and take the cornseed.

525.  If there is no way to the pearl, come, take the wheat; if there is no way for you in that
(direction), push on in this direction.
Take its outward (form)! Though the outward (form) fly crookedly (not straight), the outward
(form) at last will lead (you) to the inward (meaning).
In sooth, the first (stage) of every human being is the form; after that (comes) the spirit, which is beauty of disposition.
How is the first (stage) of every fruit anything but the form?
After that (comes) the delicious taste which is its real meaning.
First they make or buy a tent; afterwards they bring the Turcoman (their beloved) as a guest.

530. Deem your form to be the tent, your real essence the Turcoman, regard your essence as the sailor, your form as the ship.
For God’s sake, quit this (topic) for a moment, so that the Khwaja’s ass may shake its bell
(proceed on its journey).

How the Khwaja and his family went to the country.

The Khwaja and his children prepared an outfit and galloped on their beasts towards the country. Merrily they rode a field; they chanted, Travel, that ye may gain advantage”;
For by traveling the moon becomes (splendid, like) Kay Khusraw: how should it become an emperor (khusraw) without traveling?

535. Through travel the pawn becomes a noble queen, and through travel Joseph gained a hundred objects of desire.
By day they scorched their faces in the sun, by night they were learning the away from the stars. The bad road to them seemed good: from (their) delight in the country the road seemed like
From sweet-lipped ones (even) bitterness becomes sweet; from the rose-garden (even) thorns become charming.
Colocynth turns into dates (when it comes) from the beloved; the (narrow) house is made (like)
spacious fields by the house-mate.

540. Oh, (there is) many a dainty youth that suffers thorns (of anguish) in the hope of
(winning) a rose-cheeked moon-like (sweetheart).
Oh, (there is) many a porter, his back torn with wounds for the sake of the moon-faced one to whom he has lost his heart.
The ironsmith has blackened his beauty, that (when) night comes he may kiss the face of (a beloved like) the moon.
The merchant (sits), racked, on a bench (in his shop) till nightfall, because (some one tall and slender as) a cypress has taken root in his heart.
A trader is faring over sea and land: he runs (makes those swift journeys) for live of one who sits at home.

545. Whoever has a passion for that which is dead, it is in hope of (gaining) one who has the features of the living.

The carpenter turns his face (attention) to wood, in the hope of rendering service to a fair one whose face is like the moon.
Do you exert yourself in hope of the Living One who does not become lifeless after a day or two! Do not from meanness choose a mean person as your friend: that friendship in him is borrowed (unessential).
If your friends other than God possess constancy (permanence), where is your friendship with the
mother and father?

550. If any one but God is worthy to be relied upon, what has become of your friendship with your nurse and tutor?
Thy friendship with the milk and the teat did not endure, your shyness of (going to) school did not endure.
That (friendship) was a radiance (cast) upon their wall: that sign (of the Sun) went back towards the Sun.
On whatsoever thing that radiance may fall, you becomest in love with that (thing), O brave man.
On whatsoever existent thing your love (is bestowed), that (thing) is gilded with Divine qualities.

555. When the goldenness has gone to its original source and (only) the copper remains, (your)
nature is surfeited and proceeds to divorce (discard) it.
Withdraw your foot from that which is gilded by His qualities, do not from ignorance call the base alloy beautiful;
For in base coin the beauty is borrowed: beneath the comeliness is the substance uncomely.
The gold is going from the face of the false coin into the mine (whence it came): do you too go towards the Mine to which it is going.
The light is going from the wall up to the sun: do you go to that Sun which ever goes (moves) in
proportion (with eternal right and justice).

560. Henceforth take you the water (that comes) from Heaven, forasmuch as you have not found faithfulness in the aqueduct.
The lure to catch the wolf is (the sheeps tail; it is) not the place (shop) where the sheeps tail came from: how should that fierce wolf know the place of provenance?
They (the Khwaja and his family) imagined (that they would be) gold tied in knots, (so) the
deluded (party) were making haste to (reach) the countryside.
Thus were they going alone, laughing and dancing and caracoling towards the water-wheel. Whenever they saw a bird flying in the direction of the country, (their) patience rent its

565. (And) they would kiss joyfully the face of any one who came from the country, from his
(the countrymans) neighbourhood,
Saying, You have seen the face of our friend, therefore to the (beloved) Soul you are (as) the soul, and to us (as) the eye.”

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