are the days of them that are infatuated by love for Him, whether
they be sorrowed by separation from Him or made joyous by His
They are mendicants who
fly from worldly sovereignty; in the hope of meeting Him they
are patient in their mendicity. Often have they drunk of the
wine of anguish; be it bitter, they remain silent. In the remembrance
of Him patience is not bitter, for wormwood is sweet fromthe
hand of a friend.
They that are captive in
the coils of His love, seek not to escape; they suffer reproach,
but are monarchs in the seclusion of their mendication, and their
way is not known. They are like the temple of Jerusalem, splendid
of which is the interior, but whose outer wall is left in ruin.
Like moths, they burn themselves
in the fire of love. Their beloved is in their breasts, yet do
they seek Him; though near a fountain, their lips are parched.
TRUE LOVE'S DEVOTION
A DISCOURSE CONCERNING CONSTANCY
Thy love renders thee impatient
and disturbed. With such sincerity has thou placed thy head at
her feet that thou art oblivious to the world.
When in the eyes of thy
beloved riches count not, gold and dust are as one to thee.
Thou sayest that she dwelleth
in thine eyes - if they be closed, she is in thy mind.
If she demands thy life,
thou dost place it in her hand; if she places a sword upon thy
head, thou holdest it forward.
When earthly love produces
such confusion and such obedience demands, dost thou wonder if
travelers of the road of G-d remain engulfed in the Ocean of
In the remembrance of their
Friend they have turned their backs upon the world; they are
so fascinated by the Cup-bearer that they have spilled the wine.
No medicine can cure them,
for no one has knowledge of their pains.
With their cries of longing
do they root up a mountain; with their sighs they dismember a
Such is their weeping at
dawn that the tears wash the sand of sleep from their eyes. Night
and day are they immersed in the sea of love; so distracted are
they that they know not night from day.
So enamored are they of
the beauty of the Painter that they care not for the beauty of
He drinks of the pure wine
of Unity who is forgetful of both this world and the next.
THE STORY OF A DANCER
I have heard that, at the
singing of a musician, one of the fairy-fach began to dance.
Surrounded by distracted hearts, the flame of a candle caught
her skirt. She was distressed and angered.
One of her lovers said,
"Why agitate thyself? The fire has burned thy skirts - it
*19 has entirely consumed the harvest of my life."
A STORY ILLUSTRATING THE
REALITY OF LOVE
One who loved G-d set his
face towards the desert. His father, being grieved at his absence,
neither ate nor slept.
Someone admonished the son,
who said, "Since my Friend has claimed me as His own, no
other friendship do I own. When He revealed to me His beauty,
all else that I saw appeared unreal."
They that love Him care
for no one else; their senses are confused and their ears are
deaf to the words of them that reproach.
They wander through the
desert of Divine Knowledge without a caravan.
They have no hope of approbation
from their fellow-men, for they are the chosen of the elect of
A STORY ILLUSTRATIVE OF
An old man begged at the
door of a mosque. Someone said to him, "This is not the
place to beg; stand not here with impudence."
"What house is this,"
the man inquired, "from which no pity comes upon the condition
of the poor?"
the reply. "What foolish words are these! This is the house
of our Master!"
The beggar raised a cry,
"Alas," he said, "that I should be disappointed
at this door. I have not gone hopeless from any street; why should
I go thus from the door of G-d? Here will I stretch forth my
hand of want, for I know that I shall not depart empty-handed."
For a year he remained devoutly
employed in the mosque. One night, through weakness, his heart
began to palpitate, and at daybreak his last breath flickered
like a morning lamp. Thus did he exclaim with joy; "And
whoever knocked at the door of the Bounteous One, it opened."
He who seeks G-d should
be patient and enduring; I have not heard of an alchemist being
sad. Much gold he reduces to ashes so that he may one day turn
copper into gold. Gold is good with which to buy - and what couldst
thou wish to buy better than the face of thy Friend?*20
THE SUPPLICANT'S REFUGE
THE STORY OF ONE WHO WAS
ASSIDUOUS IN PRAYER
An old man spent the night
in worship and the morning in prayer. A guardian angel whispered
to him, "Go, take thy way, for thy prayers are not acceptable
at this door."
The next night again he
passed the night in devotion, and a disciple, being informed
of his circumstances said, "When thou seest that the door
is shut, why dost thou thus exert thyself?"
Weeping, he replied, "O,
my son! Dost thou suppose that although He has torn my reins
I shall keep my hands from off his saddle-straps? When a supplicant
is repelled at one door, what is his fear if he know of another?"
While thus he spoke, with
his head upon the ground, the angel uttered this message in his
ears, "Although there is no merit in him, his prayers are
accepted, for except Me, he has no refuge."
THE STORY OF SULTAN MAHMUD
LOVE FOR AYAZ
Some one found fault with
the king of Ghazani, saying, "Ayaz, his favorite slave,
possesses no beauty. It is strange that a nightin-gale should
love a rose that has neither color nor perfume."
This was told to Mahmud,
who said, "My love, O sir, is for virtue, not for form or
I have heard that in a narrow
pass a camel fell and a chest of pearls was broken. The king
gave the signal for plunder, and urged on his horse with speed.
The horsemen did likewise, and, leaving the king behind, gathered
up the pearls. Not one of them remained near the king except
"O, thou of curly locks!" said Mahmud, "What hast
thou gained of the plunder?"
replied. "I walked in haste behind thee, I do not occupy
myself with riches away from thy service."
If an honorable place in
the court be thine, be not neglectful of the king because of
THE STORY OF A VILLAGE CHIEF
A village chief passed with
his son through the center of the imperial army. In the presence
of such pomp and splendor the man displayed humility and fled,
through fear, into a corner.
"After all," observed
the son, "thou art a village chief, and of higher position
than the nobles. Why dost thou tremble like a willow tree?"
the father. I am a chief and a ruler, but my honor lies as far
as my village."
Thus, are the saints overwhelmed
with fear when they stand in the court of their King.
THE STORY OF A FIREFLY
Perhaps thou mayest have
seen the firefly shine like a lamp in the garden at night.
moth!" Someone said, "Why comest thou not in the daytime?"
The firefly gave an answer
full of wisdom, "Because I am not visible before the sun."
THE STORY OF A MOTH AND
Someone said to a moth,
"Go, thou contemptible creature, and make friendship with
one worthy of thyself. Go where thou seest the path of hope.
How different is thy love from that of the candle! Thou art not
a salamander - hover not around the fire, for bravery is necessary
before combat. It is not compatible with reason that thou shouldst
acknowledge as a friend one whom thou knowest to be thine enemy."
"What does it matter
if I burn?" The moth replied. "I have love in my heart,
and this flame is as a flower to me. Not of my own accord do
I throw myself into the fire; the chain of her love is upon my
neck. Who is it that finds fault with my friendship of my friend?
I am content to be slain at her feet. I burn because she is dear
to me, and because my destruction may affect her. Say not to
the helpless man from whose hands the rein have fallen, 'Drive
ANOTHER STORY ON THE SAME
One night, as I lay awake,
I heard a moth say to a candle, "I am thy lover; if I burn,
it is proper. Why dost thou weep?"
The candle replied, "O,
my friend! Love is not thy business. Thou fliest from before
a flame; I stand erect until I am entirely consumed. If the fire
of love has burned thy wings, regard me, who from head to foot
must be destroyed."
Before the night had passed,
someone put the candle out, exclaiming, "Such is the end
Grieve not over the grave
of one who lost his life for his friend; be glad of heart, for
he was the chosen of Him.
I thou art a lover, wash
not thy head of the sickness of love; like Sa'di, wash thy hands
A devoted lover holds not
back his hand from the object of his affections though arrows
and stones may rain upon his head.
Be cautious; if thou goest
down to the sea, give thyself up the storm.
i.e. Their love for G-d is instiable.
19. i.e. The fire of love
20. "Gold" refers to "life," and "Friend"
to "G-d." The meaning is that one should devote one's
life to religion, and thus gain an entrance to the presence of