Masnavi 11

HomeIranPoetryMowlana Jalaluddin Rumi - Masnavi Stories

STORY XVIII. The Young Ducks who were brought up under a Hen.
Although a domestic fowl may have taken thee,
Who art a duckling, under her wing and nurtured thee,
Thy mother was a duck of that ocean.
Thy nurse was earthy, and her wing dry land.
The longing for the ocean which fills thy heart,
That natural longing of thy soul comes from thy mother.
Thy longing for dry land comes to thee from thy nurse;
Quit thy nurse, for she will lead thee astray.
Leave thy nurse on the dry land and push on,
Enter the ocean of real Being, like the ducks!
Though thy nurse may frighten thee away from water,
Do thou fear not, but haste on into the ocean!
Thou art a duck, and flourishest on land and water,
And dost not, like a domestic fowl, dig up the house.
Thou art a king of "the sons of Adam honored by God," 1
And settest foot alike on sea and land;
For impress on thy mind, "We have carried them by sea,"
Before the words, "We have carried them by land."
The angels go not on dry land,
And the animals know nothing of the sea;
Thou in body art an animal, in thy soul an angel;
Hence thou goest both upon earth and on heaven."
Hence to outward view "He is a man like you," 2
While to his sharp-seeing heart "it hath been revealed."
His earthy form has fallen on earth,
His spirit revolving above highest heaven.
O boy, we are all of us waterfowl,
The sea knows full well our language.
Solomon 3 is, as it were, that sea, and we as the birds;
In Solomon we hold our course to eternity.
Along with Solomon plunge into the ocean, 4
Then, like David, the water will make us coats-of-mail.
That Solomon is present to every one,
But negligence closes their eyes and bewitches them.
Hence, through ignorance, sloth, and folly,
Though he stands hard by us, we are shut off from him.
The noise of thunder makes the head of the thirsty ache;
When he knows not that it unlocks the blessed showers,
His eyes are fixed on the running stream,
Unwitting of the sweetness of the rain from heaven.
He urges the steed of his desire towards the caused,
And perforce remains shut off from the Causer.
Whoso beholds the Causer face to face,
How can he set his heart on things caused on earth?