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(Masnavi Book 4: 62) The Purpose of Creation

Commentary on the Verse, And We did not create the heavens and the earth and what is between them save with real ground: (i.e.) I did not create them for the sake of just this which ye see; nay, but for the sake of the essential meaning and everlasting providence which ye see not.”

Does any painter paint a beautiful picture for the sake of the picture itself, without hope of conferring benefit?

Nay, (he paints it) for the sake of guests and young people who by diverting themselves (with it)
may be relieved from cares.
From his picture (arises) the joy of children and the remembering of departed friend's by their friends.
Does any potter make a pot in haste for the sake of the pot itself and not in hope of the water?

2885. Does any bowl-maker make a finished bowl for the sake of the bowl itself and not for the sake of the food?
Does any calligrapher write artistically for the sake of the writing itself and not for the sake of the
The external form is for the sake of the unseen form; and that took shape for the sake of another unseen (form).
Count up these corollaries to the third, fourth, or tenth in proportion to (your) insight.
As (for example) the moves in chess, O son: behold the result of each move in the next one.

2890. They made this (move) for the sake of that concealed move, and that for the next, and that (again) for such and such.
Even so (proceed), having perceived reasons within reasons, one after the other, in order that you may arrive at victory and checkmate.
The first is for the sake of the second, like mounting on the steps of a ladder;
And deem the second to be for the sake of the third, (and so on) to the end, in order that you may arrive, step by step, at the roof.
The desire to eat is for the sake of the semen: that semen is for the sake of procreation and the
light (which glows in the eyes of parents).

2895. The man of dull sight sees naught but this: his intelligence is without motion, like the plants of the earth.
Whether the plant is summoned (to move) or not summoned, its foot remains stuck fast in the mud.
If its head move with the motion of the wind, go, be not deceived by its moving its head.
Its head says, We obey, O zephyr! Its foot says, We refuse to obey: let us alone!”
Since he (the man of dull sight) does not know how to move (on the Way to God), he advances like the vulgar, stepping (forward) on trust, like a blind man.

2900. Consider what comes of acting on trust in warfare: (it is vain) like the trust of dice- players.
But those insights that are not frozen (dense and dull) are nothing if not piercing and veil- rending.
He (such a one) sees with his own eye at the present moment that which will come to pass in ten years.
Similarly, every one sees the unseen and the future, (both) good and evil, according to the measure of his insight.
When the barrier in front and the barrier behind are removed, the eye penetrates and reads the
tablet of the Unseen.

2905. When he (such a one) looks back to the origin of existence, the past circumstances and beginning of existence display themselves (to him)
(Namely), the disputation of the terrestrial angels with the (Divine) Majesty as to making our
Father (Adam) the Vicegerent.
When he casts his eye forward he sees plainly that which shall be (all that shall come to pass) till the (Last) Congregation.
Therefore he sees back to the root of the root (the primal origin), and he sees forward
clairvoyantly to the Day of Decision.

Every one, according to the measure of his spiritual enlightenment, sees the things unseen in proportion to the polishing (of the heart's mirror).

2910. The more he polishes, the more he sees and the more visible does the form (of things unseen) become to him.
If you say that that (spiritual) purity is (bestowed by) the grace of God, this success in polishing
(the heart) is also (derived) from that (Divine) bounty.
That (devotional) work and prayer is in proportion to the (worshipper's) aspiration: Man has nothing but what he has striven after.
God alone is the giver of aspiration: no base churl aspires to be a king.
God's assignment of a particular lot to any one does not hinder (him from exercising) consent and will and choice;

2915. But when He brings some trouble on an ill-fated man, he (that man) ungratefully packs off in flight;
(Whereas), when God brings some trouble on a good-fortuned (blessed) man, he always
(approaches and) abides nearer (to God).
In battle the pusillanimous from fear for their lives have chosen the means (resource) of flight, (While) the courageous, also from fear for their lives, have charged towards the ranks of the
Rustams (heroes) are borne onward by (their) fear and pain; from fear, too, the man of infirm spirit dies within himself.

2920. Tribulation and fear for one's life are like a touchstone: thereby the brave man is distinguished from every coward.

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