Sacred Texts Journals Islamic Articles
Selected and Translated by E. Rehatsek, Esq., M.C.E.,
I.—From the Mesnawy of Jellâl-al-dyn Rûmy, 1st Duftur.
|When a small sage professed the belief
That heaven is an egg and earth its yolk,
An asker asked: "How does the earth abide
In this great ocean of the firmament,
A lamp suspended in the welkin vast?
Does it slide neither down nor up at all?"
The sage replied: "The attraction of the sky
From all directions keeps it in the air;
As dome of loadstone molten standing fair
Holds iron with itself suspended high."
The man rejoining said: "Can heaven pure
Attract this sinful melancholy earth?
It so repels it from all sides alike
To fix it amidst awful hurricanes!"
Thus the aversion of the blessed saints
In aberration fetters impious men
In the repulsion of this world and next
For either hopeful pledges they have none.
You spite the servants of the Lord Most High
Because they are aggrieved at your life.
They possess the electrum and reveal it.
Then they entice your straw, your nature vile;
But when their grand electrum they conceal
Your resignation quickly turns revolt!
II.—From the Mesnawy of Jellâl-al-dyn Rûmy, 2nd Duftur.
|All things attract each other in the world,
The heat allures the heat, and cold the cold,
A foolish portion fascinates the fools,
The well-directed the remainder lure;
The igneous attract the hell-destined,
The luminous draw on the sons of light;
Also the pure attract the immaculate,
Whilst the melancholy are courting pain;
The Zangi from the Zangi friendship seeks,
A Roman with a Roman gently deals.
With closèd eyes you are dismayed indeed
Because the light of day rejoiced the eye;
The eye's assimilation caused your grief,
It longèd quick to join the light of day.
If eye again be thus dismayed to you,
The heart's eye you have closed! Why not indulge
That heart-proclaiming bent of your two eyes
Which longs for infinite brilliancy?
When absence of those mundane fickle lights
Distressèd you, your eyes you opened!
Thus separation from eternal lights
Dismay will bring to you; then cherish them!
When He calls me I must investigate,
Am I to be attracted or repelled?
III.—From the Mesnawy of Jellâl-al-dyn Rûmy, 3rd Duftur.
|The wisdom of the Lord by fate destined
To mutual love this family—mankind,
All beings must, obeying that command,
Reciprocal, as loving couples, stand;
Each couple in this world a pair must want
Exact as amber with a blade of grass.
The firmament salutes the earth beneath,
"I unto thee as iron to the magnet am!"
The sky is man, and earth his fitting spouse.
Whate'er the sky throws off, the earth receives;
When she no heat possesses, he it sends,
When she no moisture has, dew he presents.
The spheric sign of earth will earth bestow,
The aqueous sign humidity will bring,
The sign of wind will fleeting clouds afford—
Absorbing noxious vapours of the land;
The element of fire will heat produce,
Which issues from the flaming disc—the sun.
The heaven still rotates for the earth—
Like the husband for his wife providing.
This earth a faithful housewife represents,
Who toileth for the offspring she begat;
The Lord implanted love in man and wife,
This unison endues the world with life!
IV.—From the Mesnawy of Jellâl-al-dyn Rûmy, 3rd Duftur.
|The dust to body's dust exclaims:—"Return!
The soul abandon; join us like a rose;
Thou'rt of our nature and our kind,
Prefer to leave that body, flee to us!"
The dust replies:—"My feet are shackled so,
Although like thee I, separated, groan."
The moisture of the body waters seek:—
"Humidity, come back from wand'ring far!"
The sphere of fire invites the body's heat:—
"Thou art of fire! Thine origin approach!"
Maladies seventy-two do bodies feel
From the attraction of the elements.
Diseases try to tear the body up,
That the elements four may separate.
Four they are, these birds with captive feet,
But death, disease, and dissolution fell
Untie the ligatures of the nimble feet;
And liberate each elemental bird.
Attraction of these roots and branches great
Subjects our body every moment to disease,
That these connections may be severed all,
And every bird to its original fly!
But the wisdom of the Lord forbids this haste,
And keeps them join'd in health till doom arrives.
V.—From the Mesnavy of Jellâl-al-dyn Rûmy, 3rd Duftur.
|Fine brooks and meadows do the body lure,
Because they both the body did produce.*
All life and souls the spirit doth attract—
The universal Spirit gave it birth!
Science and wisdom fascinate the soul,
Vineyards and gardens please the body much;
The soul aspires to virtue and to worth,
The body groans for wealth and earthly pelf;
And virtue to the soul inclines with worth:
Good men by God are loved and cherish him.†
Here explanation boundless would become,
This book to many mâṇs would swell in weight:—
p. 306 Man is a brute, a plant, a mineral:
Each hopeful part must love each hopeless one;*
The hopeless ones around the hopeful spin,
Just as the hopeful ones these do attract.
The Lover, straw-attractor,† needs no shape—
The straw contends on that far distant way.
Abandon this.—Mute adoration's love
Into the heart of God most brightly shines;
His mercy pities human creatures all,
His glory from this perfect grace will shrink.
Man's reason is astonishèd to know:
Is this attraction human or divine?
VI.—From Shyryn Ferhád
|Attraction drives each dancing atom far
With other atoms to its special sphere,
It draws the gard'ner to the rosy grove,
Conveys the coalman to the furnace hot,
If you the nadir to the zenith scan,
Exceptions to this law you cannot find;
In fire, in wind, in earth; in water, not
Beneath the earth up to the lofty sky,
The same attraction must govern them all,
Affection, kindness, sympathy together
Obey this great governing pow'r divine.
Besides this impulse nothing is all else:
From this attraction ev'ry motion seen
On earth or in the heavens is derived.
The puny straw obeys the same attraction,
And clings to the electrum willingly;
Implanted in each nature is its bent
Compelling ev'ry man to his pursuit.
Distracted Mejnun this impulse obeys,
It hands to La-i-ly his chain to draw,
Compels Ferhâd for Shyryn to lament,
Commanding him Mount Bisetún to dig;
From heat the lamp will be a burning flame
Which draws the moth its proper doom to seek;
The bulbul sighing for the rose obeys
This bent when stung by brambles in his foot.
When this attraction strength and power gets
To love it turns, the body permeates.
Abundance of this feeling so prevails
That universal love the world maintains;
At first you nothing see but La-i-ly
If love's origin you investigate;
Although a flame a hundred thousand is,
It is derivèd from a single spark
From which the greatest conflagrations rise;
It is its prevalence that fans the flame.
O let this fiery ardour be in us,
Its many sparks illuminate our hearts!
Journals Islamic Articles
p. 305* Water and meadows produce nourishment for animals and men; part of this vegetable and animal food becomes sperm, from which the body of man is produced. † Qorán, V. 59.
p. 306* Hopeful = immortal, hopeless = mortal; i.e. spiritual and material. † This is the literal translation of the Persian word for amber, which, together with Lover in the simile, stands for God, and straws for man, to express the attraction exerted by the Creator on the creature. There occur figures of speech still more strange and incongruous to our notions; the translator has accordingly omitted four lines here.