Masnavi 0D

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STORY XII. Joseph a‚d the Mirror.
An old friend came to pay his respects to Joseph, and, after some remarks upon
the bad behaviour of his brethren, Joseph asked him what present he had brought
to show his respect. The friend replied that he had long considered what gift
would be most suitable to offer, and at last had fixed upon a mirror, which he
accordingly produced from his pocket and presented to Joseph, at the same time
begging him to admire his own beauteous face in it.
Defect and Not-being the Mirror wherein
Absolute Perfect Being is reflected 1.
He drew forth a mirror from his side
A mirror is what Beauty busies itself with.
Since Not-being is tho mirror of Being,
If you are wise, choose Not-being (self-abnegation).
Being may be displayed in that Not-being,
Wealthy men show their liberality on the poor.
He who is an hungered is the clear mirror of bread,
The tinder is the mirror of the flint and steel.
Not-being and Defect, wherever they occur,
Are the mirrors of the Beauty of all beings.
Because Not-being is a clear filtered essence,
Wherein all these beings are infused.
When a garment is made by a good tailor,
'Tis an evidence of the tailor's art.
Logs of wood would not be duly shaped
Did not the carpenter plan outline and detail.
The leech skilled in setting bones goes
Where lies the patient with a broken leg.
If there were no sick and infirm,
How could the excellence of the leech's art be seen?
If vile base copper were not mingled,
How could the alchemist show his skill?
Defects are the mirrors of the attributes of Beauty,
The base is the mirror of the High and Glorious One,
Because one contrary shows forth its contrary, 2
As honey's sweetness is shown by vinegar's sourness.
Whoso recognizes and confesses his own defects
Is hastening in the way that leads to perfection!
But he advances not towards the Almighty
Who fancies himself to be perfect.
No sickness worse than fancying thyself perfect
Can infect thy soul, O arrogant misguided one!
Shed many tears of blood from eyes and heart,
That this self-satisfaction may be driven out.
The fault of Iblis lay in saying, "I am better than he," 3
And this same weakness lurks in the soul of all creatures.
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