Sufi Circle 6 December 2016
When a man taps a new pot with his hand at the time when he is buying it, he detects the cracked one by its sound.
One of the three brothers said to the cadi, “I know a man at once by his speech: and if he does not speak, I know him within three days.”
The second said, “I know him if he speaks, and if he does not speak, I engage him in conversation.”
The cadi said, “But if has already heard of this stratagem of yours, he will close his lips and take refuge in silence.”
………….He (the cadi) said, “Suppose the worthy man is not induced to speak by your stratagem and has already perceived the trick,
Tell me truly, how can you know his hidden nature?” He replied, “I sit before him in silence
And make patience a ladder to climb upwards: patience is the key to success.
And if in his presence there should gush from my heart a speech beyond this realm of joy and sorrow,
I know that he has sent it to me from the depths of a soul illumined like Canopus rising in Yemen.
The speech in my heart comes from that auspicious quarter, for there is a window between heart and heart.”
Mathnawi Book 6, vv.4899-4902;4911-4916
Note: The above are the final lines of the 6 volume Mathnawi
Sufi Circle 22 November 2016
There is no room for a child beside grown-up men: how should God let a child sit with men?
If fruit become old, yet so long as it is immature and not ripe it is called ghura (unripe grapes).
Though (one resembling) immature and sour fruit reach the age of a hundred years, he is still a child and unripe (ghura) in the opinion of every sagacious person.
Though his hair and beard be white, he is still in the childish state of fear and hope,
Saying, “Shall I attain to maturity or am I to be left immature? Oh, I wonder, will the Vine bestow that bounty on me?
Notwithstanding such an incapacity and remoteness (from God), will He confer on these unripe grapes (ghura) of mine a perfection like that of the ripe grape (angur)?
I have no hopes from any quarter, but that Divine Bounty is saying to me, ‘Do not you despair!’”
Our Khaqan (Emperor) has made a perpetual feast for us: He is always pulling our ears (drawing us thither and saying), “Do not lose hope!”
Although we are in the ditch and overwhelmed by this despair, let us go dancing along since He has invited us.
Let us dance like mettlesome horses galloping towards the familiar pasturage.
Let us toss our feet, though no foot is there; let us drain the cup, though no cup is there,
Because all things there are spiritual: ’tis reality on reality on reality.
Form is the shadow, reality is the sun: the shadowless light is only to be found in the ruin.
When not a brick is left (resting) on a brick there, no ugly shadow remains in the moonlight.
Even if the brick be of gold it must be torn away, since the removal of the brick is the price paid for inspiration and light.
Mathnawi Book 6, vv.4735-4749
Sufi Circle 15 November 2016
The flowers that grow from plants are living but a moment; the flowers that grow from Divine Intelligence are ever fresh.
The flowers that bloom from earth become faded; the flowers that bloom from the heart – oh, what a joy!
Know that all the delightful sciences known to us are only two or three bunches of flowers from that Garden.
We are devoted to these two or three bunches of flowers because we have shut the Garden-door on ourselves.
Alas, O dear soul, that on account of your greed for bread such admirable keys are always dropping from your fingers.
Mathnawi Book 6, vv.4649-4653
How long will you follow the glittering phantom reflected from another? Strive to make this experience actual for yourself,
So that your words will be prompted by your immediate feelings, and your flight will be made with your own wings and pinions.
’Tis with alien feathers that the arrow captures its prey; consequently it gets no share of the bird’s flesh;
But the falcon brings its quarry from the mountains itself; consequently the king lets it eat partridge and starling.
The speech that is not derived from Divine inspiration springs from self-will: it is like dust floating in the air and among the motes in the sunbeams.
Mathnawi Book 6, v.4664-4668
Sufi Circle 13 September 2016
The lover who has fallen passionately in love with an earthly object of affection has gone into the ‘chest’*, though in appearance he is outside.
He has wasted his life in the chest on account of worldly cares: he can see nothing of the world except a chest.
The head that is not raised above the sky – know that it is confined in that chest by its vain desires.
When such a one goes forth from the chest of the body, he will only go from one tomb to another tomb.
*referring to the story of the Cadi tricked into hiding in a chest
Mathnawi Book 6, vv.4496-4499
O Lord, appoint a spiritually endowed company to redeem us from the chest of the body!
Who but the prophets and pirs can redeem the people from confinement in the chest of guile?
Among thousands there is only one person of comely aspect, who knows that he is inside the chest.
He must formerly have beheld the spiritual world, so that by means of that contrary, this contrary should be made evident to him.
Mathnawi Book 6, v.4503-4506
Veil the faults of others in order that the like veiling may be vouchsafed to you: do not deride any one till you see yourself in security.
Many like you have been left in this chest and have landed themselves in tribulation.
Inflict upon another only the pain and injury that you would wish and approve for yourself,
For God is lying in wait and in ambush, ready to give retribution before the Day of Judgement.
All-encompassing is the Throne of Him who is throned in grandeur: over all souls is spread the Throne of Justice.
A corner of His throne is touching you: beware, do not move a hand to act impiously or unjustly.
Keep a careful watch over your own behaviour: observe that the honey is in justice and that after injustice comes the sting.
Mathnawi Book 6, vv.4526-4532
O you that finds wickedness agreeable, you are always in the chest: the hatifs (voices from Heaven) and those who belong to the Unseen are redeeming you.
Mathnawi Book 6, v.4537
Sufi Circle 6 September 2016
O sincere man, a single atom of the light of mystic knowledge within you is better than a hundred announcers.
To confine one’s attention to the announcer is a mark of being debarred from access to real knowledge and of being pre-occupied with conjecture and mere opinion.
He whose scout is his inward eye – his eye will behold with the very acme of clairvoyance.
His soul is not content with traditional authority: nay, his feeling of absolute certainty comes from the inward eye.
Mathnawi Book 6, vv.4403-4406
He is a Sufi: he has flung away his mantle in ecstasy: how should he turn again to his mantle?
Mathnawi Book 6, v.4415
Love is worth a hundred mantles like that of the body, which contains a life and sensation and reason;
Especially the mantle of worldly dominion, which is cut short and scanty: a few cents of intoxication with it results in a headache.
Worldly dominion is lawful only to those who indulge the body: We lovers are devoted to the everlasting kingdom of Love.
Mathnawi Book 6, vv.4419-4421
These parables have no limit: do not seek more words (of this kind): go and acquire capability!
Mathnawi Book 6, v.4436
Sufi Circle 23 August 2016
Every particle of the world, one by one, is a fetter for the fool and a means of deliverance for the wise.
It is sweet as candy for one and bitter as poison for another: it is beautiful as mercy for one and terrible as wrath for another.
Every inanimate thing tells a tale to the Prophet: the Ka‘ba testifies to the pilgrim and is eloquent on his behalf.
The mosque, too, bears witness to him who performs the ritual prayer, saying, “He came a long way to visit me.”
The fire is like flowers and sweet basil and roses to one like Khalil (Abraham); to those like Nimrod, on the contrary, it is death and anguish.
Mathnawi Book 6, vv.4287-4291
The Gracious One has put an antidote in the poison in order that they may say He is the Lord of hidden grace.
That Divine bounty is not mysterious in the case of piety; but the Divine Forgiveness bestows a robe of honour even in the case of sin.
The unbelievers sought to abase those (the prophets) who were worthy of trust: that abasement became exaltation and the cause of miracles being displayed.
In their unbelief they attempted to abase the true religion: that very abasement was turned to glory for the prophets.
Mathnawi Book 6, v.4344-4347
The hidden grace consists in this, that the Lord shows unto him (the recipient of grace) a terrible fire, but it is really a gracious light.
Mathnawi Book 6, v.4360
Sufi Circle 16 August 2016
God has said that He is with us, but He has sealed the heart in order that the real meaning may enter the heart’s ear contrariwise (indirectly), not directly.
When the seeker has made many journeys and performed the duties of the Way, after that (and not before) the seal is removed from his heart.
Mathnawi Book 6, vv.4180-4181
O such-and-such, you know not the value of your soul because God bountifully gave it to you for nothing.
Mathnawi Book 6, v.4209
Verily, who shall knock at this Door, from which mercy is showered, without gaining in response a hundred springs (seasons of spiritual refreshment)?
Mathnawi Book 6, v.4239
Sufi Circle 9 August 2016
O you who scrape together the means of livelihood, in your desire for worms and morsels do not feel secure from the artfulness of the crocodile, which is Time.
Mathnawi Book 6, vv.4087
Give up the business that has no permanence: hark, old donkey, get for yourself a Pir.
May none but the Pir be your master and captain! – not the Pir of the rolling sky (old man Time), but the Pir of right guidance (spiritual director).
The devotee of darkness sees the light immediately as soon as he becomes subject to the authority of the Pir.
What is required is self-surrender, not long toil: ’tis useless to rush about in error.
Henceforth I will not seek the way to the Ether (the highest celestial sphere): I will seek the Pir, I will seek the Pir, the Pir, the Pir!
The Pir is the ladder to Heaven: by whom is the arrow made to fly? By the bow.
Mathnawi Book 6, vv.4120-4125
As the heart, without provisions or riding-camel, travels swiftly as lightning to west and east;
As man’s consciousness, wandering abroad whilst he is asleep, travels during the night to remote cities;
As the gnostic, sitting quietly in one place, travels by a hidden track through a hundred worlds.
If he has not been endowed with power to travel like this, then from whom are derived these reports concerning that spiritual country?
Hundreds of thousands of Pirs are agreed upon the truth of these reports and these veracious narratives.
Mathnawi Book 6, vv.4130-4134
Sufi Circle 19 July 2016
The vulgar are always pronouncing the Holy Name, but it does not do this work for them since they are not endowed with true love.
That miracle which Jesus had wrought by pronouncing the Name of Hu (God) was manifested to her (Zalaikha) through the name of him (Joseph).
When the soul has been united with God, to speak of that (God) is to speak of this (soul), and to speak of this is to speak of that.
Mathnawi Book 6, vv.4038-4040
God’s fishes receive directly from the Essence of the Water their bread and water and clothes and remedies and sleep.
The lover is like a child getting milk from the breast: he knows nothing in the two worlds except the milk.
The child knows the milk and yet he does not know it: intellectual consideration has no means of entrance here.
This circular issued by Love made the spirit crazy to find both the Opener and that which opened by Him.
The spirit is not crazy in going on that quest; nay, for ’tis the Sea within it that bears it along, not a torrent or a river. How should the spirit find God? He that finds God becomes lost (in Him): like a torrent he is absorbed in the Ocean.
Mathnawi Book 6, vv.4047-4052
Sufi Circle 12 July 2016
Knowledge (‘ilm) is an ocean without bound or shore: the seeker of knowledge is like the diver in those seas.
Though his life be a thousand years, never will he become weary of seeking.
Mathnawi Book 6, vv.3881-2
This is like the behaviour of carnal, earthly-minded people in the world when they sit with spiritual folk.
God keeps His elect ever drinking secretly the wine of the free.
They offer the cup to one who is veiled (uninitiated), but his perception apprehends naught thereof except the literal words.
He averts his face from their guidance because he does not see their gift with his eye.
If there were a passage from his ear to his throat, the hidden meaning of their admonition would have entered his inward parts.
Inasmuch as his spirit is wholly fire, not light, who would throw anything but husks into a blazing fire?
The kernel remains outside and the husk, consisting of mere words, goes in: how should the stomach be made warm and stout by husks?
Mathnawi Book 6, vv.3921-3927
Sufi Circle 17 May 2016
Form is brought into existence by the Formless, just as smoke is produced by fire.
The least blemish in the qualities of that which is endowed with form becomes annoying when you regard it continually;
But Formlessness throws you into absolute bewilderment: from non-instrumentality a hundred kinds of instruments are born.
Handlessness is fashioning hands: the Soul of the soul makes a fully formed Man.
Mathnawi Book 6, vv.3712-3715
Assuredly the Absolute Agent is formless: form is a tool in His hand.
Sometimes the Formless One graciously shows His face to the forms from the concealment (veil) of non-existence,
In order that every form may thereby be replenished with some perfection and beauty and power.
When, again, the Formless One has hidden His face, they come to beg in the realm of colour and perfume.
If one form seek perfection from another form, ’tis the quintessence of error.
Why, then, O worthless man, are you submitting your need to another needy creature?
Mathnawi Book 6, vv.3742-3747
Sufi Circle 19 April 2016
O you who have drawn stocks of nourishment from heaven and earth, so that your body has grown fat,
All this is a loan: you need not stuff your body so much, for you must needs pay back what you have
All except that of which God said “I breathed,” for that has come from the Munificent. Cleave to the spirit! The other things are vain.
I call them vain in relation to the spirit, not in relation to their Maker’s consummate making.
Mathnawi Book 6, vv.3592-3595
How goodly is the Conduit which is the source of all things! It makes you independent of these other conduits.
You are quaffing drink from a hundred fountains: whenever any of those hundred yields less, your pleasure is diminished;
But when the sublime Fountain gushes from within you, no longer need you steal from the other fountains.
Mathnawi Book 6, vv.3596-3599
Sufi Circle 12 April 2016
He that was born in the well (of the material world) and the black water, how should he know the pleasantness of the open country and distinguish it from the pain of being in the well?
When, from fear of God, you have relinquished self-will, the goblet of drink from God’s Tasnim* will arrive.
Do not in your self-will make a way: ask of God’s Majesty the way to Salsabil*.
Be not submissive to self-will and yielding like hay: in truth the shade of the Divine Throne is better than the summer-house of the world.
*fountain in Paradise
Mathnawi Book 6, vv.3500-3503
Sufi Circle 5 April 2016
How can a world (microcosm) be contained under the clay (of the body)? How should a Heaven be contained in the earth?
God forbid! You are beyond this world both in your lifetime and at the present hour.
A bird is flying in the atmosphere of the Unseen: its shadow falls on a piece of earth.
The body is the shadow of the shadow of the shadow of the heart: how is the body worthy of the lofty rank of the heart?
A man lies asleep: his spirit is shining in Heaven, like the sun, while his body is in bed.
His spirit is hidden in the Void, like the fringe (sewn inside a garment): his body is turning to and fro beneath the coverlet.
Since the spirit, being from the command of my Lord, is invisible, every similitude that I may utter (concerning it) is denying the truth of the description.
Mathnawi Book 6, vv.3304-3310
The water-skin is with the water-carrier, O adept: else how should it become full or empty by itself?
You are being filled and emptied at every moment: know, then, that you are in the hand of His working.
On the Day when the eye-bandage falls from the eye, how madly will the work be enamoured of the Worker!
If you have an eye, look with your own eye: do not look through the eye of an ignorant fool.
Mathnawi Book 6, vv.3339-3342
Sufi Circle 22 March 2016
The business of love is to make that window in the heart, for the breast is illumined by the beauty of the Beloved.
Therefore gaze incessantly on the face of the Beloved! This is in your power. Hearken, O father!
Make a way for yourself into the innermost parts: banish the perception that is concerned with other than God.
Mathnawi Book 6, vv.3096-3098
What is the animal soul that you should rely on it? God will make you living by His love.
Ask of Him the life of love and do not ask for the animal soul: ask of Him that spiritual provision and do not ask for bread.
Know that the world of created beings is like pure and clear water in which the attributes of the Almighty are shining.
Their knowledge and their justice and their clemency are like a star of heaven reflected in running water.
Mathnawi Book 6, vv.3170-3173
Sufi Circle 15 March 2016
Any one whose food is the Light of Divine Majesty, how should not lawful magic (wondrous eloquence) spring from his lips?
Any one who, like the bee, has been given (Divine) inspiration as a prize, how should not his house be full of honey?
Mathnawi Book 6, vv.2925-6
The spirit is like an ant, and the body like a grain of wheat which the ant carries to and fro continually.
The ant knows that the grains of which it has taken charge will be changed and become homogeneous with it.
One ant picks up a grain of barley on the road, another ant picks up a grain of wheat and runs away.
The barley does not hurry to the wheat, but the ant comes to the ant; yes it does.
The going of the barley to the wheat is merely consequential: ’tis the ant, mark you, that returns to its congener.
Do not say, “Why did the wheat go to the barley?” Fix your eye on the holder, not on that which he holds in pawn.
As when a black ant moves along on a black felt cloth: the ant is hidden from view, only the grain is visible on its way,
But Reason says, “Look well to your eye: when does a grain ever go along without a grain-bearer?”
’Twas on this account that the dog came to the Companions of the Cave: the outward forms are like the grains, while the heart (spirit) is the ant.
Mathnawi Book 6, vv.2955-2963
Sufi Circle 8 March 2016
Mohammed was the intercessor for every brand (of disgrace) because his eye did not swerve for aught except God.
In the night of this world, where the sun (of Reality) is veiled, he was beholding God, and all his hope was in Him.
His eyes received collyrium from Did we not expand (thy breast)? He saw that which Gabriel could not endure.
The orphan to whose eyes God applies collyrium becomes the orphan (unique) pearl endowed with Divine guidance.
Its light overpowers that of all other pearls, because it desires such an exalted object of desire.
All the spiritual stations of God’s servants were visible to him (the Prophet): consequently God named him ‘The Witness’.
Mathnawi Book 6, vv.2861-2866
The object of God’s regard in both worlds is the (pure) heart, for the king’s gaze is fixed upon the favourite.
Mathnawi Book 6, vv.2882
Sufi Circle 1 March 2016
Hark, come, O soul of my soul and (O thou who are the soul) of a hundred worlds, gladly take the opportunity of seizing the cash of this present moment.
Mathnawi Book 6, vv.2719
Whenever a feeling of repugnance comes into the heart of a good man, ’tis not devoid of some significance.
Deem that intuitive sagacity to be a Divine attribute, not a vain suspicion: the light of the heart has apprehended (by intuitive perception) from the Universal Tablet.
Mathnawi Book 6, vv.2743-2744
Sufi Circle 16 February 2016
The ritual prayer is five times daily, but the guide for lovers is the Verse, (they who are) in prayer continually.
The wine-headache that is in those heads is not relieved by five times nor by five hundred thousand.
“Visit once a week” is not the ration for lovers; the soul of the sincere (lovers) has an intense craving to drink.
“Visit once a week” is not the ration for those fishes, since they feel no spiritual joy without the Sea.
Notwithstanding the crop-sickness of the fishes, the water of this Sea, which is a tremendous place, is but a single draught (too little to satisfy them).
To the lover one moment of separation is as a year; to him a whole year’s uninterrupted union is a fleeting fancy.
Love craves to drink and seeks the one who craves to drink: this Love and that lover are at each other’s heels, like Day and Night.
Mathnawi Book 6, vv.2669-2675
In the lover’s heart is naught but the beloved: there is nothing to separate and divide them.
These two bells are on one camel: how, then, in regard to these two should the injunction, “Visit once a week,” be admissible?
Did any one ever pay recurring visits to himself? Was any one ever a companion to himself at regular intervals?
That of which I speak is not the sort of oneness that reason apprehends: the apprehension of this oneness depends on a man’s dying to self.
Mathnawi Book 6, vv.2680-2683