January 11, 2013
A Long Excerpt From Sanai's "The Walled Garden of Truth"
"Your intellect is just a hotch-potch
of guesswork and thought,
limping over the face of the earth;
wherever they are, he is not;
they are contained within his creation.
Man and his reason are just the latest
ripening plants in his garden.
Whatever you assert about his nature,
you are bound to be out of your depth,
like a blind man trying to describe
the appearance of his own mother.
While reason is still tracking down the secret,
you end your quest on the open field of love.
The path consists in neither words nor deeds:
only desolation can come from these,
and never any lasting edifice.
Sweetness and life are the words
of the man who treads this road in silence;
when he speaks it is not from ignorance,
and when he is silent it is not from sloth.
These learned fools, these thieves and pickpockets:
they use what they have learnt for highway robbery!
Listen to me, you lord of language:
better fill your heart with light,
than with a hundred thousand words;
when silent you are eloquence itself:
open your mouth, and you're a rabble-rouser.
Nobody sees the heart and soul
of the seeker after truth;
but his tongue speaks truly:
'I am the truth.'
For the wise man
evil and good
are both exceeding good.
No evil ever comes from God;
whenever you think to see
evil proceeding from him,
you were better to look on it
I'm afraid that on the way of faith,
you are like a squinter seeing double,
or a fool quarrelling with the shape of a camel.
Evil can never arise from him:
how should evil co-exist with him?
Only the foolish and ignorant work evil,
--never the beneficient friend.
If he gives you poison, deem it honey;
and if he shows you anger, deem it mercy.
Whatever befalls you,
misfortune or fortune,
the attendant evil
a fleeting shadow.
How should the author
of 'Be, and it was.'
ever bring down evil
on his own creation?
'Good' and 'evil' have no meaning
in the world of the Word:
they are mere names, coined
in the world of 'me' and 'you';
in God's creation there is no such thing
as absolute Evil.
Your life is just a morsel in his mouth;
his feast is both a wedding and a wake.
Why should darkness grieve the heart?
--for night is pregnant with new day.
You say you've unrolled the carpet of time,
and passed beyond the four, beyond the nine:
step then beyond life itself and reason,
till you arrive at God's command.
You cannot see anything, being blind by night,
and by day one-eyed with your foolish wisdom!
Humility suits you, violence doesn't:
a naked man frantic in a beehive
is out of place.
My friend, everything existing
exists through him;
your own existence is a mere pretence.
No more nonsense! Lose yourself,
and the hell of your heart becomes a heaven.
Lose yourself, and anything can be accomplished.
Your selfishness is an untrained colt.
You are what you are:
hence your loves and hates;
you are what you are:
hence faith and unbelief.
Hope and fear drive fortune from your door;
lose yourself, and they will be no more.
At his door, what is the difference
between Moslem and Christian,
virtuous and guilty?
At his door all are seekers
and he the sought.
God is without cause:
why are you looking for causes?
The sun of truth rises unbidden,
and with it sets the moon of learning."
- Sanai, "The Walled Garden of Truth." Translated by David Pendlebury. 1974. London: The Octagon Press Ltd. Pg. 15 - 19.