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Precepts written for the Muslimss of India by Mir Naj«t Nakshbandi. Who is generally known as Baba Sahr'ai


O THOU that hast grown from earth, like a rose,
Thou too art born of the womb of Self.
Do not abandon Self Persist therein
Be a drop of water and drink up the ocean 1390
Glowing with the light of Self as thou art,
Make Self strong, and thou with endure.
Thou gett'st profit from the trade,
Thou gain'st riches by preserving this commodity.
Thou art Being, and art thou afraid of not-being? 1395
Dear friend, thy understanding is at fault.
Since I am acquainted with the harmony of Life.
I will tell thee what is the secret of Life
To sink into thyself like the pearl,
Then to emerge from thine inward solitude; 1400
To collect sparks beneath the ashes,
And become a flame and dazzle -men's eyes.
Go, burn the house of forty years' tribulation,
Move round thyself! By a circling flame
What is Life but to be freed from moving round others 1405
And to regard thyself as the Holy Temple ?
Beat thy wings and escape from the attraction of Earth:
Like birds be safe from failing.
Unless thou art a bird., thou wilt do wisely
Not to build thy nest on the top of a cave. 1410
O thou that seekest to acquire knowledge,
I say o'er to thee the message of the Sage of Rum:103
"Knowledge, if it lie on thy skin, is a snake;
Knowledge, if thou take it to heart, is a friend."
Hast thou heard how the Master of Rum 1415
Gave lectures on philosophy at Aleppo?
Fast in the bonds of intellectual proofs,
Drifting o'er the dark and stormy sea of understanding;
A Moses unillumined by Love's Sinai,
Ignorant of Love and of Love's passion. 1420
He discoursed on Scepticism and Neoplatonism,
And strung many a brilliant pearl of - metaphysics.
He unravelled the problems of the Peripatetics,
The light of his thought made clear whatever was obscure.
Heaps of books lay around and in front of him, 1425
And on his lips was the key to all their mysteries.
Shams-i-Tabriz, directed by Kamal,104
Sought his way to the college Of Jalauddin Rumi
And cried out, "What is all 'this noise and babble ?
What are all these syllogisms and judgements and demonstrations?" 1430
"Peace, O fool!" exclaimed the Maulvi,
"Do not laugh at the doctrines of the sages.
Get thee out of my college!
This is argument and discussion; what hast thou to do with it ?
My discourse is beyond thy under standing. 1435
It brightens the glass of perception!
These words increased the anger of Shams-i-Tabriz
And caused a fire to burst forth from his soul.
The lightning of his look fell on the earth,
And the Slow of his breath made the dust spring into flames. 1440
The spiritual fire burned the intellectual stack
And clean consumed the library of the philosopher.
The Maulvi, being a stranger to Love's miracles
And unversed in Love's harmonies,
Cried, "How didst thou kindle this fire, 1445
Which hath burned the books of the philosophers ?"
The Sheikh answered, "O unbelieving Muslim,
This is vision and ecstasy: what hast thou to do with it ?
My state is beyond thy thought,
My flame is the Alchemist's elixir," 1450
Thou hast drawn thy substance from the snow of philosophy,
The cloud of thy thought sheds nothing but hailstones.
Kindle a fire in thy rubble,
Foster a flame in thy earth!
The Muslim's knowledge is perfected by spiritual fervour, 1455
The meaning of Islam is Renounce what shall pass away.
When Abraham escaped from the bondage of "that which sets,"105
He sat unhurt in the midst of flames.106
Thou hast cast knowledge of God behind thee
And squandered thy religion for the sake of a loaf. 1460
Thou art hot in pursuit of antimony,
Thou art unaware of the blackness of thine own eye.
Seek k the Fountain of Life from the sword's edge.
And the River of Paradise from the dragon's mouth.
Demand the Black Stone from the door of the house of idols. 1465
And the musk-deer's bladder from a mad dog,
But do not seek the glow of Love from the knowledge of today,
Do not seek the nature of Truth from this infidel's cup!
Long have I been running to and fro,
Learning the secrets of the New Knowledge 1470
Its gardeners have put me to the trial
And have made me intimate with their roses.
Roses! Tulips, rather, that warn one not to smell them
Like paper roses, a mirage of perfume.
Since this garden ceased to enthrall me 1475
1 have nested on the Paradisal tree.
Modern knowledge is the greatest blind
Idol-worshipping, idol-selling, idol making!
Shackled in the prison of phenomena,
It has not over leaped the limits of the sensible. 1480
It has fallen down in crossing the bridge of Life,
It has laid the knife to its own throat.
Its fire is cold as the flame of the tulip;
Its flames are frozen like hail.
its nature remains untouched by the glow of Love, 1485
It is ever engaged in joyless search.
Love is the Plato that heals the sicknesses of the mind:107
The mind's melancholy is cured by its lancet.
The-whole world bows in adoration to Love,
Love is the Mahmud that conquers the Somnath of intellect.108 1490
Modern science lacks this old wine in its cup,
Its nights are not loud with passionate prayer.
Thou hast misprized thine own cypress
And deemed tall the cypress of others.
Like the reed, thou hast emptied thyself of Self. 1495
And given thine heart to the music of others,
O thou that begg'st morsels from an other's table.
Witt thou seek thine own kind in another's shop?
The Muslim's assembly-place is burned up by the lamps of strangers,
His mosque is consumed by the sparks of monasticism. 1500
When the deer fled from the sacred territory of Mecca,
The hunter's arrow pierced her side.109
The leaves of the rose are scattered like its scent:
O thou that has fled from the Self, come back to it:
O trustee of the wisdom of the Koran, 1505
Find the lost unity again!
We, who keep the gate of the citadel of Islam,
Have become unbelievers by neglecting the watchword of Islam.
The ancient Saqi's bowl is shattered,
The wine-party of the Hijaz is broken up. 1510
The Ka'ba is filled with our idols,
Infidelity mocks at our Islam.
Our Sheikh hath gambled Islam away for love of idols.
And made a rosary of the zunnar.110
Our spiritual directors owe their rank to their white hairs 1515
And are the laughing-stock of children in the street;
Their hearts bear no impress of the Faith
But house the idols of sensuality.
Every long-haired fellow wears the garb of a dervish
Alas for these traffickers in religion! 1520
Day and night they are travelling about with disciples,
Insensible to the great needs of Islam.
Their eyes are without light, like the narcissus.
Their breasts devoid of spiritual wealth.
Preachers and Sufis, all worship worldliness alike; 1525
The prestige of the pure religion is ruined.
Our preacher fixed his eyes on the pagoda
And the mufti of the Faith sold his verdict.
After this, O friends, what are we to do?
Our guide turns his face towards the wine-house.


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