The life of the heart is the soul of the soul of the body.
The precedence of Mercy over Wrath exists (as a fact), O youth: clemency was (eternally) predominant in the nature of God.
His (chosen) servants necessarily possess His disposition: their water-skins are filled from the water of His stream.
The Messenger of God and the Guide on the (mystic) journey said that men follow the usage of their kings.
The soul must needs be devoted to earnest endeavour, for the earnest seeker will be a finder.
Learn these ways of acting from the Friend of God (Abraham), who first renounced his father,
That in the presence of God you may become (one of those who) hate for God’s sake, lest the jealousy of (Divine) Love take offence at you.
Until you recite “(There is) not (any God)” and “except Allah,” you will not find the plain track of this Way.
Night flees when Light comes from afar: what, then, should the darkness of Night know concerning Light?
The gnat flees from the keen wind: what, then, should the gnat know of the (delicious) savour of the winds?
When the Eternal comes, the temporal is made vain: what, then, should the temporal know of Eternity?
When Eternity comes in contact with the temporal, it strikes it dumb; when it has naughted it, it makes it of the same colour (homogeneous) (with itself).
You can find a hundred parallels (of this sort) if you wish, but I do not care (to supply them), O dervish.
There is a basket full of loaves on the crown of your head, and you are begging a crust of bread from door to door.
Attend to your own head, abandon giddy-headedness; go, knock at the door of your heart: why are you knocking at every door?
Whilst you are up to the knee in the river-water, you are heedless of yourself and are seeking water from this one and that one.
Water in front; and behind, too, an unfailing supply of water; but before your eyes is a barrier and behind them a barrier.*
The horse is under (the rider’s) thigh, and the rider is seeking the horse. (When asked), “What is this?” he says, “A horse, but where is the horse?”
“Eh, is not this a horse under you, plain to see?” “Yes,” says he, “but whoever saw a horse?”
He (such a one) is mad with thirst for the water, and it (the water) is before his face: he is in the water and unconscious of the running water.
Bestow the bounty of God on the spirit and reason, not on the carnal nature full of disease and complications (knots).
Load the conflict of worldly cares upon your body: do not lay your anxiety upon the heart and spirit.
The pack is laid upon the head of Jesus*, while the ass** is frisking in the meadow.
’Tis not right to put eye-ointment (collyrium) in the ear: ’tis not right to demand from the body the work of the heart (spirit).
Praise to Thee, O Master-weaver of magic who has made the dregs to seem pure wine to them that turn away (from the Truth).
Magicians quickly measure moonbeams in the presence of the merchant and receive gold as profit.
When by artful tricks of this sort they take money, the money is gone from his (the purchaser’s) hand, but there is no linen (to be seen).
This world is a sorcerer, and we are the merchants who buy from it the measured moonbeams.
Magician-like, it hastily measures out by the yard five hundred yards of linen from the light of the moonbeams,
Yet, when it takes the money, which is your life, O slave, the money is gone, there is no linen, and your purse is empty.
Mathnawi Book 5, vv.1036-1041
Your deeds alone are faithful: make of them your refuge, for they will come with you into the depths of the tomb.
Mathnawi Book 5, vv.1050
If you desire spiritual poverty, that depends on companionship (with a Shaykh): neither your tongue nor your hand avails.
Soul receives from soul the knowledge thereof, not by way of book nor from tongue.
If those mysteries (of spiritual poverty) are in the traveller’s heart, knowledge of the mystery is not yet possessed by the traveller.
Let him wait until the expansion (illumination) of his heart shall make it (full of) the Light: then God says, “Did We not expand…….? *
For We have given you the expansion (illumination) within your breast, We have put the expansion into your breast."
You are still seeking it from outside; you are a source of milk: how are you a milker of others?
There is an illimitable fountain of milk within you: why are you seeking milk from the pail?
O lake, you have a channel to the Sea: be ashamed to seek water from the pool;
For ‘did We not expand……?’ Again, have you not the expansion? How are you become a seeker of the expansion and a mendicant?
Contemplate the expansion of the heart within you, lest there come the reproach, ‘Do you not see?’**
Mathnawi Book 5, vv.1063-1072
*Holy Qur’an XCIV,1; **Holy Qur’an LI,21
Sufi Circle 18 September 2012
All that beauty and power and virtue and knowledge have journeyed hither from the Sun of Excellence.
They, the light of that Sun, turn back again, like the stars, from these (bodily) walls.
When the Sunbeam has gone home, every wall is left dark and black.
That which made you amazed at the faces of the fair is the Light of the Sun (reflected) from the three-coloured glass.
The glasses of diverse hue cause that Light to seem coloured like this to us.
When the many-coloured glasses are no more, then the colourless Light makes you amazed.
Make it your habit to behold the Light without the glass, in order that when the glass is shattered there may not be blindness (in you).
You are content with knowledge learned from others: you have lit your eye at another’s lamp.
He takes away his lamp, that you may know you are a borrower, not a giver.
If you have rendered thanks (to God for what you have received) and made the utmost exertion (in doing so), be not grieved (at its loss), for He will give you a hundred such gifts in return;
But if you have not rendered thanks, weep tears of blood now, for that spiritual excellence has become quit of (has abandoned) the ungrateful.
He (God) causes the works of the unbelieving people to be lost; He makes the state of the believing people to prosper.
Mathnawi Book 5, vv.985-996
Sufi Circle 4 September 2012
The gazelle said to himself, “That which you offer me is your food, whereby your limbs are revived and renewed.
I have been familiar with a beauteous pasture, I have reposed amongst rivulets of clear water and meadows.
If Destiny has cast me into torment, yet how should that goodly disposition and nature depart from me?
If I have become a beggar, yet how should I have the face (impudence and greed) of a beggar? And if my bodily raiment become old, yet I am spiritually new.
I have eaten hyacinth and anemone and sweet basil too with a thousand disdains and disgusts.”
The donkey said, “ Yes; boast and boast and boast away! In a strange country one can utter many an idle brag.”
The gazelle replied, “Truly my navel (musk-gland) bears (me) witness: it confers a great favour even on aloes-wood and ambergris.
But who will hearken to (perceive) that? Only he that has the (spiritual) sense of smell. ’Tis taboo for the donkey addicted to dung.
The donkey smells donkey’s urine on the road: how should I offer musk to creatures of this class?”
Hence the Prophet, (who was always) responsive (to the Divine command), spake the parable, “Islam is a stranger to this world,”
Because even his (the true Moslem’s) kinsfolk are fleeing from him, though the angels are in harmony with his essence.
The people deem his (outward) form homogeneous (with theirs), but they do not perceive in him that spiritual fragrance.
Mathnawi Book 5, vv.916-927
Sufi Circle 28 August 2012
Hark, what is that torment, O trusted friend? To be in a cage without your congener (kindred spirit).
O Man, you are in torment on account of this body: the bird, your spirit, is imprisoned with one of another kind.
The spirit is a falcon, and the bodily properties are crows: it has (receives) painful brands (painful anguish)from the crows and owls.
It remains amongst them in sore misery, like an Abu Bakr in the city of Sabzawar.
Mathnawi Book 5, vv.841-844
Sabzawar is this world, and in this place the man of God is wasted and good-for-naught. Khwarizmshah is God Almighty: He demands from this wicked folk the (pure) heart.
The Prophet said, “He (God) does not regard your (outward) form: therefore in your devising seek ye the owner of the Heart.*”
(God says), “I regard you through the owner of the Heart, not because of the (external) marks of prostration (in prayer) and the giving away of gold (in charities).”
Since you have deemed your heart to be the Heart, you have abandoned the search after those who possess the heart –
The Heart into which if seven hundred heavens like these Seven Heavens should enter, they would be lost and hidden from view.
Do not call such fragments of heart as these “the Heart”: do not seek an Abu Bakr in Sabzawar!
*i.e. the Perfect Man, the saint united with God
'Mathnawi Book 5, vv.867-873
Sufi Circle 10 July 2012
Life without repentance is all agony of spirit: to be absent from God is present death.
Life and death – both these are sweet with the presence of God: without God the Water of Life is fire.
Mathnawi Book 5, vv.771-2
O contumacious man, you have experienced a hundred thousand resurrections at every moment from the beginning of your existence until now:
From inanimateness you did move unconsciously towards (vegetal) growth, and from (vegetal) growth towards (animal) life and tribulation;
Again, towards reason and goodly discernments; again, towards what lies outside of these five senses and six directions.
These footprints extend as far as the shore of the Ocean; then the footprints disappear in the Ocean;
Because from Divine precaution, the resting-places (appointed for the traveller) on the dry land are like villages and dwellings and caravanserays,
While on the contrary the resting-places of the Ocean, when its billows swell, have no floor or roof (to shelter the traveller) during his stay and detention.
These (Oceanic) stages have no visible beacon: these resting-places have neither sign nor name.
Between every two resting-places Yonder there is a distance a hundred times as much as from the vegetal state to the Essential Spirit.
You have seen this life (to be implicit) in (previous) deaths: how, then, are you so attached to the life of the body?
Mathnawi Book 5, vv.799-807
Sufi Circle 3 July 2012
Selflessness is cloudlessness, O well-disposed one: in (the state of) selflessness you will be like the orb of the moon.
Again, when a cloud comes, driven along, the light goes: of the moon there remains (only) a phantom.
Mathnawi Book 5, vv.684-5
Beware! Do not be like sugar before parrots; nay, be a poison, be secure from loss;
Or (otherwise) for the sake of having a ‘Bravo’ addressed to you, make yourself (you will become) as a carcase in the presence of dogs!
Therefore Khadir scuttled the boat for this purpose, (namely) that the boat might be delivered from him who would have seized it by force.
(The mystery of) ‘Poverty is my pride’ is sublime: it is for the purpose that I may take refuge from the covetous with Him who is Self-sufficient.
Treasures are deposited in a ruined spot to the end that they may escape the greed of those who dwell in places of cultivation.
If you canst not tear out your feathers, go, adopt (a life of) solitude, that you may not be entirely squandered (consumed) by that one and this one;
For you are both the morsel and the eater of the morsel: you are the devourer and the devoured. Apprehend this, O dear soul!
Mathnawi Book 5, vv.712-718
Sufi Circle 4 June 2012
In this world you see the shoes upside down: the title of “kings” is conferred on those who are really bondsmen.
Many a one who deserves to mount the scaffold with a halter on his throat – a crowd gathers round him, crying, “Behold, an emperor!”
Mathnawi Book 5, vv.415-6
’Tis a topsy-turvy game and a terrible quandary; do not try to escape by cunning: ’tis all a matter of Divine favour and fortune.
Do not weave plots in vain imagination and cunning; for the Self-sufficient One does not give way to the contriver.
Contrive, by following the guidance of one who serves God well, that you may gain the position of a prophet in a religious community.
Contrive that you may be delivered from your own contrivance; contrive that you may become detached from the body.
Contrive that you may become the meanest slave of God: if you enter into the state of meanness (self-abasement), you will become lordly.
Never, O old wolf, practise foxiness and perform service with the purpose of gaining lordship;
But rush into the fire like a moth: do not hoard up that service (seek to profit from it), play for love!
Renounce power and adopt piteous supplication: the Divine mercy comes towards piteous supplication, O dervish.
Mathnawi Book 5, vv.467-474
Sufi Circle 22 May 2012
The moth says, “I was deceived by your outward features and too late did I regard your inward condition.”
The candle is extinguished, the wine gone, and the Beloved has withdrawn himself from the disgrace of our squintness.
Your profits have become a loss and a penalty: you complain bitterly to God of your blindness.
How excellent are the spirits of brethren trustworthy, self-surrendering, believing, obeying!
Everyone else has turned his face in some direction, but those holy ones have turned towards that which transcends direction.
Every other pigeon flies on some course, but this pigeon flies n a region where no region is.
We are neither birds of the air nor domestic fowls: our grain is the grain of grainlessness.
Our daily bread is so ample because our stitching the coat (of bodily existence) has become the tearing (of it to pieces).
Mathnawi Book 5, vv.346-353
Sufi Circle 15 May 2012
But the inner light of the traveler (mystic) who has passed beyond the pale (of selfhood) – the deserts and plains are filled with his radiance.
The fact of his being a witness (to God) is independent of witnesses and works of supererogation and of self-devotion and self-sacrifice.
Since the light of that (spiritual) substance has shone forth, he has gained independence of these hypocrisies.
Therefore do not demand of him the testimony of act and speech, for through him both the worlds have blossomed like a rose.
What is this testimony? The making manifest of that which is hidden, whether by word or act or something else;
For its object is to make manifest the inward nature of the spiritual substance: the attributes (of that substance) are permanent, though these accidents (such as acts and words) are fleeting.
The mark of the gold on the touchstone does not remain, but the gold itself remains – of good renown and undoubted.
Similarly, (all) this ritual prayer and holy war and fasting does not remain, but the spirit remains in good renown (for ever).
Mathnawi Book 5, vv.242-249
Sufi Circle 8 May 2012
You must needs have a weeping eye, like the little child: do not eat the bread (of worldliness), for that bread takes away your water (spiritual excellence).
When the body is in leaf (well-furnished), on that account by day and night the bough, (which is) the soul, is shedding its leaves and is in autumn.
The leafage (flourishing state) of the body is the leaflessness (unprovidedness) of the soul. Be quick! You must let this (body) dwindle and that (soul) increase.
Lend unto God, give a loan of this leafage of the body, that in exchange a garden may grow in your heart.
Give a loan, diminish this food of the body, that there may appear the face (vision) of that which eye has not seen.
When the body empties itself of dung, He (God) fills it with musk and glorious pearls.
He (such a person) gives this filth and gets purity (in return): his body enjoys (what is signified by the words) He will purify you.
Mathnawi Book 5, vv. 143-149
Sufi Circle 1 May 2012
’Tis like the looter who digs up (ravages) the house and very quickly fills his bag,
Cramming into the bag good and bad (indifferently), single pearls and chick-peas,
Cramming dry and wet into the sack, for fear lest another enemy should arrive.
Time presses, the opportunity is small, he is terrified: without delay he heaves it under his arm as speedily as possible.
He has not such confidence in his Sovereign as to believe that no enemy will be able to come forward against him.
But the true believer, from his confidence in that (Divine) Life, conducts his raid in a leisurely manner and with deliberation.
He has no fear of missing his chance or of the enemy, for he recognizes the King’s dominion over the enemy.
He has no fear of the other fellow-servants coming to jostle him and gain the advantage,
For he perceived the King’s justice in restraining his followers so that none dares do violence to any one.
Consequently he does not hurry and is calm: he has no fear of missing his appointed portion.
He has much deliberation and patience and long-suffering; he is contented and unselfish and pure of heart,
For this deliberation is the ray of the Merciful (God), while that haste is from the impulse of the Devil,
Because the Devil frightens the greedy man away from poverty and kills the beast of burden, patience, by stabbing.
Mathnawi Book 5, vv. 48-60
Sufi Circle 13 March 2012
Man’s bodily senses are infirm, but he has a potent nature within.
This body resembles flint and steel, but in quality (intrinsically) it is a striker of fire.
Flint and steel are the birth-place whence fire is brought into being: from them fire is born, domineering over both its parents.
Fire, again, exercises sway over the bodily nature: it is dominant over the body and flaming;
Yet again, there is in the body an Abraham-like flame whereby the tower of fire is subdued.
In consequence of this the all-accomplished Prophet said symbolically, “We are the hindmost and the foremost.”
The material form of these two (flint and steel) is vanquished by a hammer and anvil, but in quality (intrinsically) they are superior to the mine of iron ores.
Therefore Man is in appearance a derivative of the world, and intrinsically the origin of the world. Observe this!
A gnat will set his outward frame whirling round (in pain and agitation); his inward nature encompasses the Seven Heavens.
Mathnawi Book 4, vv. 3759-3767
This tale of the elect losing their senses in contemplation of the most elect is naught but amazement on amazement.
Here all other unconsciousnesses are a mere play. How long will you keep possession of your soul? For it is a case of abandoning your soul.
Mathnawi Book 4, vv. 3805-6
Speech would be a spiritual garden to the soul, if it were independent of letters and sounds.
Mathnawi Book 4, v. 3820
Sufi Circle 6 March 2012
Forasmuch as you are too dull to apprehend these wonders (of God), if you say “yes” you will be prevaricating;
And if you say “no”, the “no” will behead (undo) you: on account of that “no” (the Divine) Wrath will shut your (spiritual) window.
Be, then, only dumbfounded and distraught, nothing else, that God’s aid may come in from before and behind.
When you have become dumbfounded and crazed and naughted, you have said with mute eloquence, “Lead us.”
It (the wrath of God) is mighty, mighty; but when you begin to tremble, that mighty (wrath) becomes assuaged and equable,
Because the mighty shape is for (terrifying) the unbeliever; when you have become helpless, it is mercy and kindness.
Mathnawi Book 4, vv. 3749-3754
Sufi Circle 21 February 2012
No created being is unconnected with Him: that connection, O uncle, is indescribable,
Because in the spirit there is no separating and uniting, while (our) thought cannot think except of separating and uniting.
Pursue that which is without separation and union by aid of a spiritual guide; but the pursuit will not allay your thirst.
Yet pursue incessantly, if you are far from the Source, that the vein of true manhood in you may bring you to the attainment (of your desire).
How should the intellect find the way to this connection? The intellect is in bondage to separation and union.
Hence Mustafa (Mohammed) enjoined us, saying, “Do not seek to investigate the Essence of God.”
Mathnawi Book 4, vv. 3695-3700
After that…….he (SultanVeled) revealed the secret of the following hadith: ‘Doing good is to worship God, as if you see Him, for even if you do not see Him, He sees you.’ And he said: “When the bondsman who is a sincere lover perceives that God is aware of his behavior in all circumstances and he is certain of this, see what things he necessarily does and how he necessarily makes efforts and exerts himself in order to be distinguished by limitless divine favour and to be honoured with eternal guidance and to become illuminated by means of everlasting sufficiency!”
Aflaki Pg 560 Manaqeb al Arefin (tr. J O’Kane)