Discourse 42

Discourse 42

People who are interested in their scholarly studies think that if they faithfully attend our meetings they will forget and lose all they have learned. On the contrary, when they come here their sciences acquire soul. For all sciences, when they acquire soul, are like an empty body that springs to life. The heart of knowledge originates beyond this world of letters and language. It comes to us from that world where speech is without sound or sign.

“And to Moses, God spoke directly.”

Well, God did not speak with letters and sounds, with throat and tongue. Letters require a throat and lips to be heard. God is exalted far above lips, mouth and throat. So prophets in that world speak with God in a way that partial intelligences cannot imagine or understand. Yet the prophets come down from that world without letters into this world of letters, and become children for the sake of these children. Thus, Mohammed said, “I was sent as a teacher.”

Although the masses of people in this world do not reach the spiritual states of the prophets, still this world derives strength from the saints, and grows and finds comfort in them. In the same way, an infant, not knowing or recognizing its mother in detail, still finds comfort and derives strength from her. Just as the fruit is nourished by the branch, becoming sweet and ripe, yet knows nothing of the tree. So, the great saints, with their letters and speech, though the masses do not know them, still the people gain strength from the saints and are nourished.

There is fixed within soul – beyond reason, letter and sound – a macrocosm. But look at how many seek out those demented gurus who make outrageous claims. People think, “what these gurus say may be true. Such things might exist, even if they are wrong in this case. Not everything can be known by reason and logic.” But this doesn’t mean that everything outside of reason and logic is true. “Every nut is round, but not every round thing is a nut,” is a sign of that.

Although a saint has a state that cannot be expressed through words and writing, still from the saint’s presence reason grows and develops. This cannot be found from those demented ones around whom the masses circle. No one who visits them is transformed beyond their own state, and no one finds completeness through such guidance. People might think they have found completeness, but that is not what we call completeness. Just like a child who is separated from its mother finds comfort for a moment with someone else, this is not what we call comfort, since the child has simply made a mistake.

Physicians say that whatever is agreeable to the temperament and brings satisfaction gives strength and purifies the blood. However, this is only true when someone is without disease. For instance, a bilious person finds sour things agreeable, and sugar disagreeable, because their taste has become changed by their own distemper. And so the truly agreeable is what is agreeable to someone before they fall sick. For example, a woman breaks her hand and then hangs it in a sling so that it heals all crooked. Her surgeon must make the bones straight and set them to their original form. This is not agreeable to the woman. Indeed, she finds it painful. Being crooked is much more agreeable to her. So the surgeon says, “First of all your hand was straight, and you found comfort in that. When you broke it, you felt pain and suffered. Although being crooked is more agreeable to you now, this comfort is false and means nothing.”

Beings in the world of pure spirit find the commemoration of God and absorption in God agreeable, like the angels. However, if they fall sick through connection with the body, and eating sour things becomes agreeable to them, then the prophets and saints who are physicians, say, “This is not really what you want. This agreeableness is a lie. Your real desire is for something else that you have forgotten. What is agreeable to your original and sound temperament is what you truly want. But since this sickness now seems appealing, you do not recognize the truth.”

A Sufi was seated before a grammarian. The grammarian said, “A word must be one of three things: either it is a noun, a verb, or a particle.” The Gnostic tore his robe and cried, “Alas! Twenty years of my life striving and seeking have gone to the winds, for I labored in the hope that there was another word beyond this. Now you have destroyed my hope.” Though the Sufi had already attained the Word he sought, he said this to arouse the grammarian.

The greater the number of guests, the larger they make the house, the more furniture they bring in, and the more food they prepare. This is why the stature of little children is small, and their thoughts too, which are their guests, are appropriate to the house of their bodies. They know nothing except milk and their nurses. When they grow older the guests, their thoughts, also increase, and their house of reason, perception and discrimination expands. When the guests of passionate love arrive, they are too much for the house. They demolish it and build anew.

God’s veils and God’s scouts and troops cannot be contained in God’s house. God’s veils cannot hide Its door. To accommodate infinite guests, an infinite station is required. When God’s veils are hung, they shed light and dissolve all shadows, so that the secret things become manifest. This is opposite of the veils in this present world, that add to the shadows.

I suffer wrongs that will not be said.

None will hear my excuse or cries.

Just as the candle weeps,

No one knows if the tears it sheds,

Come from its closeness to the fire

Or the longing of the bee’s wax for the honey’s sweetness, now parted.

This whole world is the prisoner of destiny, and destiny is the prisoner of beauty. Beauty reveals, it does not conceal.

God has certain servants that are men who, when they see a woman in a veil, command her, “Remove your veil so we may see your face and who you are. When you pass by veiled, we are distracted, wondering, ‘What manner of person is this that passes before us.’ We are not like those who are attracted and enslaved by you if they see your face. It has been a long time now that God has made us innocent and free from such charms. We are quite secure. You will not disturb us or tempt us. But it is when we do not see you that we are disturbed, wondering, ‘Who is this?’”

These men are very different from others who are driven by their desires. If other men see the faces of beauty, they are captivated and become disturbed. Therefore, it is better for these beauties to hide themselves, so as not to tempt such men. As for the Sufis, however, it is better to show their faces, to spare God’s servants the distraction.

Someone said: “In Khvarizm, no one falls in love, because in Khvarizm there are many beautiful women. No sooner do they see a beauty and fix their hearts on her, than they see another still more beautiful, and the first one is forgotten.”

Rumi said: If there are no lovers for the beauties of Khvarizm, then certainly there are lovers of Khvarizm, itself, seeing the many beauties in that land. But the “Khvarizm” I speak of is poverty, where countless mystical and spiritual forms show their faces. Each one you turn to and find comfort in, leads to yet another more beautiful, so that you forget all before. On and on this leads – ad infinitum. So let us be lovers of poverty, where such true beauties are found.