The Ego Animal
The angel is free because of his knowledge,
the beast because of his ignorance.
Between the two remains the son of man to struggle.
Fihi Ma Fihi
Answers From The Elements
The whole afternoon field inside me from one stem of reed.
The messenger comes running toward me, irritated:
Why be so hard to find?
Last night I asked the moon about the Moon, my one question
for the visible world, Where is God?
The moon says, I am dust stirred up
when he passed by. The sun, My face is pale yellow
from just now seeing him. Water: I slide on my head and face
like a snake, from a spell he said. Fire: His lightning,
I want to be that restless. Wine, why so light?
I would burn if I had a choice. Earth, quiet
and thoughtful? Inside me I have a garden
and an underground spring.
This world hurts my head with its answers,
wine filling my hand, not my glass.
If I could wake completely, I would say without speaking
why I’m ashamed of using words.
We Are The Last And The Foremost
Make real the sublime words of the Prophet:
“We are the last and the foremost.”
The fresh and perfect fruit is the last thing to come into existence
For although the fruit is the last thing to come into existence,
It is, in fact, the first, for it was the goal.
When Satan sees, to the left or right, anyone who is perfect,
he becomes ill with envy,
for every wretch whose stack has been burnt
is unwilling that anyone else’s candle should be lighted.
Pay attention and work on perfecting yourself,
so that the perfection of others may not grieve you.
Beg of God the removal of envy,
that God may deliver you from externals,
and bestow upon you an inward occupation,
which will absorb you
so that your attention is not drawn away.
What Is This Fragrance?
what is this fragrance?
is it from heaven?
whose laughter is this?
is it Houris in paradise?
what wedding is this
with moon for a platter
and heaven for a veil?
what banquet is this
that the Sultan of Baghdad
licks the platters
in our kitchen?
God alone knows!
but come! Take a pick-axe
and break apart
your stony self
the heart’s matrix
is gutted with rubies
springs of laughter
are buried in your breast
unstop the wine jar,
batter down the door
to the treasury of nonexistence
the water in your jug
is brackish and low
smash the jug
and come to the river!
The Mill, The Stone, And The Water
All our desire is a grain of wheat.
Our whole personality is the milling-building.
But this mill grinds without knowing about it.
The millstone is your heavy body.
What makes the stone turn is your thought-river.
The stone says: I don’t know why we do all this, but the river has knowledge!
If you ask the river, it says,
I don’t know why I flow.
All I know is that a human opened the gate!
And if you ask the person, he says:
All I know, oh gobbler of bread, is that if this stone
stops going around, there’ll be no bread for your bread-soup!
All this grinding goes on, and no one has any knowledge!
So just be quiet, and one day turn
to God, and say: “What is this about bread-making?”
The Jar With The Dry Rim
The mind is an ocean…I and so many worlds
are rolling there, mysterious, dimly seen!
And our bodies? Our body is a cup, floating
on the ocean; soon it will fill, and sink…
Not even one bubble will show where it went down.
The spirit is so near that you can’t see it!
But reach for it…don’t be a jar
full of water, whose rim is always dry.
Don’t be a rider who gallops all night
and never sees the horse that is beneath him.
The big ear on the outside of our head could be closed.
It is so good at hearing that the inner ear goes deaf.
What if you had no hearing at all, no nose, no mind-stuff!
Then one could hear well the three syllables: “Turn around.”
Our sounds, our work, our renown, these are outer.
When we move inwardly, we move through inner space.
Our feet walk firmly, they experience sidewalks well.
There is one inside who walks like Jesus on the sea.
We should ask God
to help us toward manners. Inner gifts
do not find their way
to creatures without just respect.
If a man or woman flails about, he not only
smashes his house,
he burns the world down.
Your depression is connected to your insolence
and refusal to praise. Whoever feels himself walking
on the path, and refuses to praise—that man or woman
steals from the others every day—is a shoplifter!
The sun became full of light when it got hold of itself.
Angels only began shining when they achieved discipline.
The sun goes out whenever the cloud of not-praising comes.
The moment the foolish angel felt insolent, he heard the door close.
The one who cheerfully goes alone on a journey—
if he travels with companions
his progress is increased a hundredfold.
Notwithstanding the insensitivity of a donkey,
even the donkey is exhilarated, O dervish,
by comrades of its own kind
and so becomes capable of exerting strength.
To a donkey who goes alone and away from the caravan,
the road is made longer a hundredfold by fatigue.
How much more it suffers the crop and the whip
that it might cross the desert by itself!
That ass is implicitly telling you, “Pay attention!
Don’t travel alone like this, unless you are an ass!”
Beyond a doubt the one
who cheerfully goes alone into the toll house
proceeds more cheerfully with companions.
Every prophet on this straight path
produced the testimony of miracles and sought fellow travellers.