Sevenhe son of the Amir entered.
Rumi said: Your father is always occupied with God. His faith is overwhelming, and reveals itself in his words. One day your father said, The people of Rum have urged me to give my daughter in marriage to the Tartars, so that our religion may become one, and this new religion of Muslimdom can disappear.I said, When has religion ever been one? There have always been two or three, and they have always had war and fighting between them. How do you expect to make religion one? It will be one only in the next world, at the resurrection. As for this present world, it isnt possible here, for here each religion has a different desire and design. Here unity is impossible. It will be possible only at the resurrection, when humanity becomes one and all people fix their eyes on one place, and all have one ear and one tongue. Within us are many things. There is mouse in us, and there is bird. The bird carries the cage upwards, while the mouse drags it down. A hundred thousand different wild beasts are together within us, but they are all converging on that moment when the mouse will renounce its mousehood and the bird its birdhood, and all become one. For the goal is neither going up or down. When the goal shows itself clearly, it will be neither above nor below. A woman lost something. She looks left and right, in front and behind. Once she has found that thing she no longer searches above and below, left and right, in front or behind. All at once she becomes calm and collected. Similarly, on the resurrection day all people will be of one eye, tongue, ear and understanding. When ten friends share a garden or a shop in common, they speak as one, they plan as one, and their work is with one thing since their objective is the same. So, on the resurrection day, since the affair of all will be with God, they will all be one. In this world everyone is preoccupied with a separate affair. One is in love with women, one is in love with wealth, another is engaged in acquiring possessions, another in acquiring knowledge. Everyone believes that their cure, their joy, their pleasure and comfort can be found in that one thing. And that is a Divine mercy, because when they search they cannot find, and so they return. After they have waited a while, they say again, That joy and pleasure must be looked for. Perhaps I didnt try hard enough. I will search again. Then they look again, but still they cannot find their desire. So they continue, until that time when Truth removes Its veil. Then they know. But God has certain servants who know even before the resurrection. Ali [cousin and son-in-law of Mohammed] said, Even if the veil was removed, my faith would not increase. That is to say, Even when the body is gone and the resurrection appears, my certainty can become no greater. This is like a group of people at prayer on a dark night; they turn their faces in every direction, being unable to see. When day comes they all turn themselves around, except for that one individual who through the night was facing towards Mecca. Why should that individual turn around? So, those special servants of God keep their faces towards the One even in the night, and have turned their faces away from all else. Therefore, for them, the resurrection is already manifest and present. There is no end to words, but they are given according to the capacity of the seeker. Wisdom is like the rain. Its supply is unlimited, but it comes down according to what the occasion requires - in winter and spring, in summer and autumn, always in due measure, more or less, but the source of that rain is the oceans itself, which has no limits. Druggists put sugar or drugs in a twist of paper, but sugar is not limited by the amount in the paper. The stocks of sugar and the stocks of drugs are unlimited and unbounded; how can a piece of paper contain them? Some people uttered taunts at Mohammed, saying, Why does the Koran come down upon you word by word? Why not chapter by chapter? Mohammed answered, What do these fools say? If it were to come down upon me all at once, I would dissolve and vanish away. Those who truly understand a little, understand much; of one thing, many things; of one line, whole volumes. It is like when a group is seated listening to a story, but one woman knows all the circumstances, having been there when it occurred. From the first hint she understands it all. She turns pale, then crimson, changing from one feeling to another. The others understand only as much as they hear, since they do not know what really happened. But the one who knows understands the whole story from even a few words. To return: When you come to the druggist, they have sugar in abundance. But they see how much money you brought, and give accordingly. By money is meant sincerity and faith. The words are imparted according to ones sincerity and faith. When you come seeking sugar, they examine your bag to see what its capacity is, then they measure out accordingly, one bushel or two. But if someone brings a string of camels, they call the weighmen to be help. So, someone comes along whom oceans do not satisfy; another finds a few drops enough and any more would be harmful. This applies not only to the world of ideas, sciences and wisdom. It is true of everything. Property, wealth, gold, all are unbounded and infinite, but they are imparted according to the capacity of the individual. Who could support an endless supply without being driven mad? Do you not see how Majnun and Farhad, and the other famous lovers, took to the mountain and desert for the love of a woman, when they were filled with a passion beyond their power to control? Do you not see how Pharaoh, when empire and wealth were showered upon him without end, laid claim to being a god? Yes, indeed these people have faith, but they do not know what that faith is in. In the same way a child has faith it will have bread to eat, but they dont know where this bread comes from. It is the same with all things that grow. A tree turns yellow and dry of thirst, but it doesnt know what thirst really is. Our faith is like a flag. First we set the flag fluttering in the air to proclaim our belief, and then send troops to the foot of that flag from every direction to support and defend it. We send reason, understanding, fury and anger, forbearance and liberality, fear and hope, on and on without end. Whoever looks from afar sees only the flag, but those who see from close at hand know the essences and realities that reside within us. Someone came in and Rumi said: Where have you been? We have been longing to see you. Why have you stayed away? The visitor replied, It was just how things conspired. Rumi said: We, for our part, have been praying that this conspiracy of things might come to an end. A conspiracy of things that produces separation is an improper conspiracy. Yes, by Allah, it too comes from God, and in relation to God is good. It is a true saying, that all things are good and perfect in relation to God, but in relation to us, how can this be true? Fornication and purity, avoiding prayer and praying, unbelief and Islam, idolatry and Gods unity - with God all these are good. But to us, fornication and thieving, unbelief and idolatry are bad, while Gods unity and prayer are good. Even though in relation to God all are good. A king has in his realm prisons and gallows, robes of honor and wealth, estates and attendants in waiting, feasting and celebration, drums and flags. In relation to the king all these things are good. Just as robes of honor are the perfect flourish for his kingdom, in the same way gallows and prisons are perfect ornaments. In relation to him all these things are perfect, but in relation to his people how could robes of honor and the gallows be one and the same?
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Copyright © 1999 by Doug Marman