from The Mystic Rose Garden

We present this work in honor of Eid-al-Fitr.

05-03 Shabestari
Mahmoud Shabestari
Persian
1288 – 1340

 

In the name of Him who taught the soul to think,
And kindled the heart’s lamp with the light of soul;
By Whose light the two worlds were illumined,
By Whose grace the dust of Adam bloomed with roses;
That Almighty one who in the twinkling of an eye,
From Kaf and Nun brought forth the two worlds!
What time the Kaf of His power breathed on the pen,
It cast thousands of pictures on the page of Not being.
From that breath were produced the two worlds,
From that breath proceeded the soul of Adam.
In Adam were manifested reason and discernment,
Whereby he perceived the principle of all things.
When he beheld himself a specific person,
He thought within himself “What am I?”
From part to whole he made a transit,
And thence returned back to the world.
He saw that the world is an imaginary thing,
Like as one diffused through many numbers.
The worlds of command and of creatures proceed from one breath,
And the moment they come forth they go away again.
Albeit here there is no real coming and going,
Going, when you consider it, is naught but coming.
Things revert to their proper original,
All are one, both the visible and the invisible.
God most high is the eternal one who with a breath
Originates and terminates both worlds.
The world of command and that of creatures are here one,
One becomes many and many few.
All these varied forms arise only from your fancy,
They are but one point revolving quickly in a circle.
It is but one circular line from first to last
Whereon the creatures of this world are journeying;
On this road the prophets are as princes,
Guides, leaders and counsellors.
And of them our lord Muhammad is the chief,
At once the first and the last in this matter.
That One (Ahad) was made manifest in the mim of Ahmad.
In this circuit the first emanation became the last.
A single mim divides Ahad from Ahmad;
The world is immersed in that one mim.
In him is completed the end of this road,
In him is the station of the text ‘I call to God,’
His entrancing state is the union of union,
His heart ravishing beauty the light of light.
He went before and all souls follow after
Grasping the skirts of his garment.
As for the saints on this road before and behind
They each give news of their own stages.
When they have reached their limits
They discourse of the ‘knower’ and the ‘known,’
One in the ocean of unity says ‘I am the Truth,’
Another speaks of near, and far, and the moving boat,
One, having acquired the external knowledge,
Gives news of the dry land of the shore.
One takes out the pearl and it becomes a stumbling-block,
Another leaves the pearl and it remains in its shell.
One tells openly this tale of part and of whole,
Another takes his text from eternal and temporal:
One tells of curl, of mole, and of eyebrow,
And displays to view wine, lamp and beauty.
One speaks of his own being and its illusion,
Another is devoted to idols and the Magian girdle.
Since the language of each is according to his degree of progress,
They are hard to be understood of the people.
He who is perplexed as to these mysteries
Is bound to learn their meaning.

 

Translation by E.H. Whinfield

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