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Showing that the education of the self has three stages : Obedience, Self-control, and Divine Vicegerence


1. OBEDIENCE


SERVICE and toil are traits of the camel, 815
Patience and perseverance are ways of the camel.
Noiselessly he steps along the sandy track,
He is -the ship of those who voyage in the desert.
Every thicket knows the print of his foot:
He eats seldom, sleeps little, and is inured to toil. 820
He carries rider, baggage, and litter:
He trots on and on to the journey's end,
Rejoicing in his speed,
More patient in travel than his rider, -
Thou, too, do not refuse the burden of Duty: 825
So wilt thou enjoy the best dwellingplace, which is with God.
Endeavour to obey, O heedless one!
Liberty is the fruit of compulsion.
By obedience the man of no worth is made worthy;
By disobedience his fire is turned to ashes. 830
Whoso would master the sun and stars,
Let him make himself a prisoner of Law!
The air becomes fragrant when it is imprisoned in the flower-bud;
The perfume become musk when it is confined in the -navel of the muskdeer.
The star moves towards its goal 835
With head bowed in surrender to a law.
The grass springs up in obedience to the law of growth:
When it abandons that, it is trodden underfoot.
To burn unceasingly is the law of the tulip.
And so the blood leaps in its veins 840
Drops of water become a sea by the law of union,
And grains of sand became a Sahara.
Since Law makes everything strong within,
Why dost thou neglect this source of strength?
O thou that art emancipated from the old Custom.66 845
Adorn thy feet once more with the same fine silver chain!
Do not complain of the hardness of the Law.
Do not transgress the statutes of Muhammad!


2. SELF-CONTROL

 

Thy soul cares only for itself, like the camel:
It is self-conceited, self-governed, and self-willed. 850
Be a man, get its halter into thine hand,
That thou mayst become a pearl albeit thou art a potter's vessel.
He that does not command himself
Becomes a receiver of commands from others.
When they moulded thee of clay, 855
Love and fear were mingled in thy making:
Fear of this world and of the world to come, fear of death,
Fear of all the pains of earth and heaven;
Love of riches and power, love of country,
Love of self and kindred and wife. 860
Man, in whom clay is mixed with water, is fond of ease,
Devoted to wickedness and enamoured of evil.
So long as thou hold'st the staff of "There is no god but He,"67
Thou wilt break every spell of fear.
One to whom God is as the soul in his body, 865
His neck is not bowed before vanity.
Fear finds no way into his bosom,
heart is afraid of none but Allah.
Whoso dwells in the world of Negation.68
Is freed from the bonds of wife and child. 870
He withdraws his gaze from all except God
And lays the knife to the throat of his son.69
Though single, he is like a host in onset:
Life is cheaper in his eyes than wind.
The profession of Faith is the shell, and prayer is the pearl within it: 875
The Moselm's heart deems prayer a lesser pilgrimage.70
In the Muslim's hand prayer is like a dagger.
Killing sin and forwardness and wrong.
Fasting makes an assault upon hunger and thirst.
And breaches the citadel of sensuality. 880
The pilgrimage enlightens the soul of the Faithful:
It teaches separation from one's home and destroys attachment to one's native land;
It is an act of devotion in which all feel themselves to be one,
It binds together the leaves of the book of religion,
Almsgiving causes love of riches to pass away 885
And makes equality familiar;
It fortifies the heart with righteousness,71
It increases wealth and diminishes fondness for wealth.
All this is a means of strengthening thee:
Thou art impregnable, if thy Islam be strong. 890
Draw might from the litany "O Almighty One!"
That thou mayst ride the camel of thy body.72

3. DIVINE VICEGERENCY7

 

If thou canst rule thy camel, thou wilt rule the world.
And wear on thine head the crown of Solomon.
Thou wilt be the glory of the world whilst the world lasts, 895
And thou wilt reign in the kingdom incorruptible.
'Tin sweet to be God's vicegerent in the world
And -exercise sway over the elements.
God's vicegerent is as the soul of the universe,
His being is the shadow of the Greatest Name. 900
He knows the mysteries of part and whole,
He executes the command of Allah in the world.
When he pitches his tent in the wide I world.
He rolls up this ancient carpet74
His genius abounds with life and desires to manifest itself: 905
He will bring another world into existence.
A hundred worlds like this world of parts and wholes
Spring up, like roses, from the seed of his imagination.
He makes every raw nature ripe,
He puts the idols out of the sanctuary.
Heart-strings give forth music at his touch. 910
He wakes and sleeps for God alone.
He teaches age the melody of youth
And endows every thing with the radiance of youth.
To the human race he brings both a glad message and a warning, 915
He comes both as a soldier and as a marshal and prince.
He is the final cause of "God taught Adam the names of all things,"75
He is the inmost sense of "Glory to Him that transported His servant by night."76
His white hand is strengthened by the staff.77
His knowledge is twined with the power of a perfect man. 920
When that bold- cavalier seizes the reins,
The steed of Time gallops faster.
His awful mien makes the Red Sea dry,
He leads lsrael out of Egypt.
At his cry, "Arise," the dead spirits 925
Rise in their bodily tomb, like pines in the field.
His person is an atonement for all the world,
By his grandeur the world is saved.78
His protecting shadow makes the mote familiar with the sun,
His rich substance makes precious all that exists, 930
He bestows life by his miraculous actions,
He renovates old ways of life.
Splendid visions rise from the print of his foot.
Many a Moses is entranced by his Sinai.
He gives a new explanation of Life, 935
A new interpretation of this dream.
His hidden life is being Life’s mystery.
The unheard music of Life’s harp.
Nature travels in blood for generations.
To compose the harmony of his personality. 940
Our handful of earth has reach the zenith,
For that champion will come forth from this dust
There sleeps amidst the ashes, of our To-day
The flame of a world consuming morrow.
Our bed enfolds a garden of roses, 945
Our eyes are bright with to-morrow's dawn.
Appear, O rider of Destiny!
Appear, O light of the dark realm of Change
Illumine the scene of existence.
Dwell in the blackness of our eyes! 950
Silence the noise of the nations,
Imparadise our ears with thy music!
Arise and tune the harp of brotherhood,
Give us back the cup of the wine of love !
Bring once more days of peace to the world, 955
Give a message of peace to them that seek battle !
Mankind are the cornfield and thou the harvest,
Thou art the goal of Life's caravan.
The leaves are scattered by Autumn's fury
Oh, do thou pass over our gardens as the Spring! 960
Receive from our downcast brows
The homage of little children and of young men and old!
It is to thee that we owe our dignity
And silently undergo the pains of life.

 

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