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(Masnavi Book 3: 76) The Lover in the haunted Mosque

Description of the lover-killing mosque and of the death-seeking reckless lover who became a guest there.

Lend ear to a story, O well-conducted man! There was a mosque on the outskirts of the city of
No one ever slept the night there but on the same night (he died) from terror (and) his children became orphans.
Many the naked (destitute) stranger that went into it (at nightfall) and went at dawn, like the
stars, into the grave.

3925. Make yourself very attentive to this (tale)! The dawn is come, cut short your slumber! Every one used to say that in it there were fierce Jinnís who killed the guests with blunt swords. Another would say, It is the magic and talisman, for this enchantment is the foe and enemy of life.”
Another would say, “Put an inscription (notice) conspicuously on its door—O guest, do not stay here.
Do not sleep the night here, if you want to live; otherwise, death will unmask an ambush for you in this place.’”

3930. And another would say, “Bolt (the door) at night, (and when) a heedless person comes, do not admit him.”

How the guest came into the mosque.

(So it continued) till a guest arrived at nightfall who had heard that marvellous rumour.
He was testing (it) in order to put (it) to the proof, for he was very valiant and surfeited with life. He said (to himself), I take little account of a (sheep's) head and belly: suppose that one grain is
gone from the spirit's treasure, (what does it matter?)
Let the bodily form go: who am I (in reality)? Is not the (bodily) figure of small account when I
am enduring for ever?

3935. Since by the grace of God the (Divine) spirit was breathed into me, I am the breath of
God (which is) kept apart from the windpipe of the body,

To the end that the sound of His breathing should not fall in this direction, and that that
(spiritual) pearl should escape from the narrow (bodily) shell.
Since God said, Desire death, O ye that are sincere, I am sincere: I will lavish my soul upon this
(I will sacrifice my life for this object).”

How the people of the mosque blamed the lover-guest for (his intention of) sleeping the night there and threatened him.

The people said to him, “Beware! Do not sleep here, lest the Taker of the soul pound you like the dregs of sesame-grain,
For you art a stranger and ignorant of the fact that any one who sleeps in this place perishes.

3940. This is not an (accidental) occurrence: we and all those possessed of intelligence have ofttimes witnessed this.
To whomsoever that mosque gave lodging for a single night, poisonous death came to him at midnight.
We have seen this not (only) once but a hundred times: we have not heard it at second-hand from any one.
The Prophet said, The (Mohammedan) religion is (consists in) sincerity (nasíhat): that nasíhat
etymologically is the opposite of ghulúl (unfaithfulness).
This nasíhat is ‘to be true in friendship: in an act of ghulúl you are treacherous and currish.

3945. We are showing this sincerity towards you, without treachery, from (motives of) love:
do not turn away from reason and justice!

The lover's reply to those who chid him.

He said, O sincere advisers, I have become unrepentantly weary of the world of life.
I am an idle vagabond, seeking blows and desiring blows: do not seek rectitude from the vagabond on the road.
(I am) not the vagabond who in sooth is a seeker of provender: I am the reckless vagabond
(who is) the seeker of death.
(I am) not the vagabond who gets small money into his palm, (but) the nimble vagabond who would cross this bridge (to the world hereafter)—

3950. Not the one who cleaves to every shop; nay, but (the one who) springs away from
(phenomenal) existence and strikes upon a mine (of reality).
Death and migration from this (earthly) abode has become as sweet to me as leaving the cage and flying (is sweet) to the (captive) bird—
The cage that is in the very midst of the garden, (so that) the bird beholds the rose-beds and the
(While) outside, round the cage, a multitude of birds is sweetly chanting tales of liberty:
At (the sight of) that verdant place neither (desire for) food remains to the bird in the cage, nor patience and rest,

3955. (But) it puts out its head through every hole, that perchance it may tear off this fetter from its leg.
Since its heart and soul are (already) outside like this, how will it be when you open the cage?”
Not such is the bird caged amidst anxieties—cats round about it in a ring:
How, in this dread and sorrow, should it have the desire to go out of the cage?
It wishes that, (to save it) from this unwelcome plucking (of its feathers), there might be a hundred cages round about this cage (in which it is confined).

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