Search Poetry

(Masnavi Book 4: 47) The ablutionary Prayers

The inner meaning of the recitation of the ablutionary prayers by one who performs the ritual ablution.

In the ritual ablution, a separate form of prayer for each member of the body has been handed down in Tradition.
When you snuff up water into your nose, beg of the self-sufficient Lord the scent of Paradise,

2215. In order that that scent may lead you towards Paradise: the scent of the rose is the guide to the rose-trees.
When you perform the act of abstersion, the (proper) form of prayer and words is this: O Lord,
cleanse me from this (defilement).
My hand has reached this place and washed it, (but) my hand is weak (unable) to wash my spirit.

O You by whom the spirit of the unworthy is made worthy, the hand of Thy bounty is reaching the spirits.
This (which) I, vile (as I am), have done was my limit (the utmost within my power): do You make clean that (which lies) beyond the limit, O gracious One.

2220. O God, I have washed my skin clean of ordure: do You wash this beloved (spirit) clean of worldly taints.

A certain person used to say at the time of abstersion, O God, let me smell the sweet odour of Paradise instead of O God, make me one of those who repent much, and make me one of those who purify themselves, which is the (proper) form of prayer in abstersion; and he (also) used to recite the formula proper to abstersion at the time of rinsing his nose. A venerable man heard (him) and could not endure it.

A certain one said at the time of abstersion, “(O God), unite me with the scent of Paradise!” (Thereupon) a person said, You have used a good formula, but you have missed the (proper) hole for the prayer.
Since this prayer was the formula applicable to the nose, why have you applied the nose-formula to the arse?
One free (from sensuality) gets the odour of Paradise from his nose: how should the odour of
Paradise come from the rump?”

2225. O you who have brought humility into the presence of fools, and O you who have brought pride into the presence of (spiritual) kings,
The pride shown to the base is goodly and fitting. Take heed, do not behave in the reverse manner: the reverse thereof is (the cause of) your bondage.
The rose grew for the sake of the nostrils: sweet scent is the stipend of the nose, O churl.
The scent of the rose is for organs of smell, O bold man: this hole below is not the place for that scent.
How should the scent of Paradise come to you from this place? If you requirest the (sweet)
scent, seek it from its (proper) place.

2230. Likewise, “love of country is right, (but) first, O master, know (what really is) your country.
That sagacious fish said, I will journey, I will withdraw my heart from their advice and counsel.”
It is no time for counsel. Hark, journey! LikeAlí, sigh (the secret) into the well.
Very seldom is there found a fit confidant for that sigh: go by night and let your movement be hidden, like (that of) the night-patrol.
Set out from this lake towards the sea: seek the sea and take leave of this whirlpool.

2235. That wary (fish) made its breast o afoot (swam away) and was going from its perilous abode to the sea of light,
Like the deer of which a dog is in pursuit and which keeps running so long as there is a single
nerve in its body.
Hare’s sleep (heedlessness) with the dog in pursuit is a sin: how indeed is sleep (dwelling) in the eye of him who has fear?
That fish departed and took the way to the sea: it took the far way and the vast expanse.
It suffered many afflictions, and in the end it went after all towards safety and welfare.

2240. It cast itself into the deep Sea whose bound no eye can reach.
So when the fishermen brought their net (to the lake), the half-intelligent (fish) was bitterly grieved thereat.
And said, Alas, I have lost the opportunity: how did not I accompany that guide?

He went off suddenly, but seeing that he went I ought to have gone after him in hot haste.”
It is wrong to regret the past: what is gone will not come back: to remember it is of no avail.

Story of the captive bird which gave the (following) injunctions: do not feel sorrow for what is past, think about taking precaution for the present (need), and do not spend time in repenting.

2245. A certain man caught a bird by guile and trap: the bird said to him, O noble sire, You have eaten many oxen and sheep, you have sacrificed many camels;
You have never in the world been sated by them, neither wilt you be sated by my limbs.
Let me go, that I may bestow on you three counsels, that you mayst perceive whether I am wise or foolish.
(I will give thee) the first of those counsels on your hand, the second of them on your plastered roof,

2250. And the third counsel I will give you on a tree. (Let me go), for you wilt become fortunate through these three counsels.
(As for) that saying which is (to be said) on your hand, it is this: ‘do not believe an absurdity (when you hearest it) from any one.’”
When it (the bird) had uttered the first grave counsel on his palm, it became free and went (to perch) on the wall (of his house),
And said, The second is, ‘do not grieve over (what is) past: when it has passed from you, do not feel regret for it.
After that, it said to him, “In my body is concealed a solitary (large and precious) pearl, ten dirhems in weight.

2255. By your soul's truth (as sure as you livest), that jewel was your fortune and the luck of your children.
You have missed the pearl, for it was not your appointed lot (to gain it)—a pearl the like of which is not in existence.”
Even as a woman big with child keeps wailing at the time of parturition, so the Khwája began to cry out clamorously.
The bird said to him, “Did not I admonish you, saying, ‘Let there be no grief in you for what
passed yesterday’?
Since it is past and gone, why art you grieving? Either you didst not understand my counsel or you art deaf.

2260. And (as regards) the second counsel I gave you, (namely), Do not from misguidedness put any belief in an absurd statement,
O lion, I myself do not weigh ten dirhems: how should the weight of ten dirhems be within me?”
The Khwája came back to himself (recovered his wits) and said, Hark, disclose the third (piece of) excellent counsel.”
“Yes, said the bird, “you have made good use of those (former counsels), that I should tell
(you) the third counsel in vain!”
To give counsel to a sleepy ignoramus is to scatter seed in nitrous soil.

2265. The rent of folly and ignorance does not admit of being patched up: do not give the seed of wisdom to him (the fool), O counsellor.

How the half-intelligent fish devised a means (of escape) and feigned to be dead.

The second fish said in the hour of tribulation, when he was left sundered from the shadow
(protection) of the intelligent one,

“He has gone towards the sea and is freed from sorrow: such a good comrade has been lost to me!
But I will not think of that and will attend to myself: at this (present) time I will feign to be dead. Then I will turn my belly upwards and my back downwards and will move on the water.

2270. I will move upon it as weeds move, not by swimming as a person (swimmer) does. I will become dead, I will commit myself to the water: to die before death is to be safe from torment.”
To die before death is to be safe, O youth: even so has Mustafa (Mohammad) commanded us. He said,Die, all of you, ere death come, else ye will die with (the certainty of suffering) sore
afflictions (hereafter).”
He (the fish) died in that manner and threw his belly upwards: the water was carrying him, now alow, now aloft.

2275. Every one of those pursuers (the fishermen) bore great vexation (in his heart), saying, “AJas, the best fish is dead.”
He (the fish) was made glad by their sayingAlas”: (he said to himself), This trick of mine has come off, I am delivered from the sword.”
Then a worthy fisherman seized him and spat on him and flung him on the ground.
He (the half-intelligent fish), rolling over and over, went secretly into the water; the (entirely)
foolish one remained (where he was), moving to and fro in agitation.
That simpleton kept leaping about, right and left, in order that he might save his skin by his own efforts.

2280. They cast the net, and he (at last) remained in the net: foolish ness ensconced him in that fire (of perdition).
On the top of the fire, on the surface of a frying-pan, he be came the bedfellow of Folly. (There) he was seething from the heat of the flames Reason was saving to him, Did not a warner come to thee?
He, from the rack of torture and tribulation, was replying like the souls of the unbelievers: they
said, “Yea.”
Then again he was saying, If this time I escape from this neck-breaking affliction,

2285. I will not make my home except in a sea: I will not make a lake my dwelling-place. I will seek the boundless sea and become safe: I will go in safety and welfare for ever.”

No comments:

Post a comment