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(Masnavi Book 4: 37) The hypocritical Encomiast

Story of the encomiast who from regard for reputation was thanking the object of his praise, while the scent (signs) of his inward grief and pain and the shabbiness of his outward garb showed that those expressions of gratitude were vain and false.

A certain man came (home) fromIq, (clad) in a tattered cloak: his friends inquired concerning
(his) separation (from them).

1740. “Yes, he replied; “there was (the sorrow of) separation, but the journey was very blessed and fortunate for me,
For the Caliph gave me ten robes of honour—may a hundred praises and laudations (ever)
accompany him!”
He was reciting expressions of gratitude and praise till he carried gratitude beyond bound and limit.

Then they said to him,Thy wretched guise bears witness to your mendacity.
(You art) naked, bare-headed, consumed (with afflictions): you have stolen (these) expressions of gratitude or learned (them by rote).

1745. Where are the signs of the gratitude and praise due to your prince on your unplenished head and feet?
If your tongue is weaving (making up) praise of that king, (yet) your seven members are complaining (of him).
In the generosity of that king and sultan of munificence was there not (room for) a pair of shoes
and trousers for thee?
He replied,I gave away what he bestowed: the prince left nothing undone in the way of solicitude.
I received all the presents from the prince and distributed them among the orphans and the poor.

1750. I gave the riches away and received long (everlasting) life in return, because I was utterly self-sacrificing.”
Then they said to him, “Bless you! the riches are gone: what (then) is this naphtha-smoke within thee?
A hundred loathings like thorns are in your heart: how should grief be the sign of rejoicing? Where are the signs of love and charity and being pleased (with God), if what you have said of what passed is true?
I grant, forsooth, that the riches are gone: (then) where is (your) desire (for spiritual riches)? If
the torrent has gone by, where is the torrent-bed?

1755. If (as you pretendest) yours eye was (once) black and soul-inspiring, and if it is soul- inspiring no longer, (then) why is it blue?
Where are the signs of self-sacrifice, O sour one? The smell of false and empty words is coming
(from thee): be silent!”
Charity (for God's sake) has a hundred signs within (in the heart): the good deed has a hundred tokens.
If riches be consumed in charity, a hundred lives come into the heart as a substitute.
A sowing of pure seeds in God's earth, and then no income! (That is impossible.)

1760. If the (spiritual) ears of corn grow not from the gardens of Hú (God), then tell (me), how should God's earth be spacious”?
Since this earth of mortality is not without produce, how should God's earth be (without it)? That
(earth of God) is a spacious place.
Verily, the produce of this earth (of God) is infinite: even the least (produce) for a single seed is seven-hundredfold.
You said, “Glory to God! Where are the signs (in you) of those who glorify? Neither in your exterior nor within is there a trace.
(Only) the gnostic's glorification of God is right (perfect), for his feet and hands have borne
witness to his glorification.

1765. It has lifted him up from the dark pit of the body and redeemed him from the bottom of the dungeon of this world.
On his shoulder is the sign of glorification—the silken robe of piety and the light which associates itself (with him).
He is delivered from the transitory world, he is dwelling in the Rose-garden, and (therein is) a
running fountain.
His sitting-place and home and abode is on the throne of the high-aspiring inmost consciousness, and his station

Is the Seat of sincerity in which all the siddíqs are flourishing and joyous and fresh of countenance.

1770. Their praise (of God), like the garden's praise on account of spring, has a hundred signs and a hundred pomps.
Fountains and palms and herbs and rose-beds and plots of bright-coloured flowers bear witness
to its springtide.
Everywhere thousands of witnesses to the Beloved are (engaged) in bearing testimony, as the pearl (bears testimony) to the oyster-shell.
(But) from your breath (words) comes the smell of a bad conscience, and your (inward) pain is reflected from your head and face, O braggart!
In the battle-field (of this world) there are sagacious ones who know (distinguish) the smell: do
not in (your) presumption idly utter (imitate) the ecstatic cries (of the true enthusiasts).

1775. Do not brag of musk, for that smell of onions is revealing the secret (true nature) of your breath (words and professions).
You are saying, I have eaten rose-sugar, while the smell of garlic is striking (your hearers) and saying (in effect), “Don't talk nonsense.
The heart is like unto a great house: the house of the heart has neighbours concealed (from
Through the window-slit and (crevices in) the walls they observe the hidden thoughtsThrough a slit whereof the owner of the house has no conception and in which he has no share.

1780. Recite from the Qur’án (the verse which declares) that the Devil and his tribe secretly get scent of (become acquainted with) the (inward) state of humankind,
By a way of which humankind are ignorant, because it is not of this sensible (world) or one of these semblances (phenomenal objects).
Do not devise any fraud amongst the assayers: do not address any idle boast to the touchstone, O base spurious coin.
The (spiritual) touchstone has a way to (know) the genuine and the spurious coin, for God made him the commander of (both) body and heart.
Since the devils, notwithstanding their grossnesses, are acquainted with our inmost soul and
thought and belief,

1785. (And) have a passage (means of penetrating) stealthily within, (so that) we are overthrown by their thievish practices,
(And since) they continually inflict a (great) derangement and damage (upon us), for they are masters of the (interior) tunnel and window-slit—
Why, then, should the illuminated spirits in the world be unaware of our hidden state?
Have the spirits that pitched their tent on Heaven become inferior to the devils in respect of permeation (the power of insinuating themselves into our hearts)?
The devil goes like a thief towards Heaven, and he is pierced with a burning meteor:

1790. He falls down headlong from the sky as the wretched (infidel falls when smitten) in battle by the blow of the spear-point.
That is caused by the jealousy (indignation) of the delectable spirits (the prophets and saints):
(hence) they (the angels) cast them (the devils) headlong from Heaven.
If you are palsied and lame and blind and deaf, (yet) do not hold this (bad) opinion of the great spirits.
Be ashamed and do not utter idle words, do not torment yourself (in vain), for there are many spies (observing you) beyond the (ken of the) body.

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