STORY X. Bayazid and the Saint.
The celebrated Sufi, Abu Yazid or Bayazid of Bastam, in Khorasan, who lived in
the third century of the Flight, was once making a pilgrimage to Mecca, and
visiting all the "Pillars of insight" who lived m the various towns
that lay on his route. At last he discovered the "Khizr of the age"
in the person of a venerable Darvesh, with whom he held the following
The Sage said, "Whither are you going, O Bayazid?
Where will you bring your caravan to a halt?"
Bayazid replied, "At dawn I start for the Ka'ba."
Quoth the Sage, "What provision for the way have you?"
He answered, "I have two hundred silver dirhams;
See them tied up tightly in the corner of my cloak."
The Sage said, "Circumambulate me seven times;
Count this better than circumambulating the Ka'ba;
And as for the dirhams, give them to me, O liberal one,
And know you have finished your course and obtained your wish,
You have made the pilgrimage and gained the life to come,
You have become pure, and that in a moment of time.
Of a truth that is God which your soul sees in me,
For God has chosen me to be His house.
Though the Ka'ba is the house of His grace and favors,
Yet my body too is the house of His secret.
Since He made that house He has never entered it,
But none but That Living One enters this house;
When you have seen me you have seen God,
And have circumambulated the veritable Ka'ba.
To serve me is to worship and praise God;
Think not that God is distinct from me.
Open clear eyes and look upon me,
That you may behold the light of God in a mortal.
Tho Beloved once called the Ka'ba 'My house,'
But has said to me 'O my servant' seventy times;
O Bayazid, you have found the Ka'ba,
You have found a hundred precious blessings."
Bayazid gave heed to these deep sayings,
And placed them as golden earrings in his ears.
Then follow anecdotes of the Prophet paying a visit to one of his disciples who
lay sick, of Shaikh Bahlol, nicknamed "The Madman," who was a favorite
at the court of Harunu-'r-Rashid, and of the people of Moses.
The sweet uses of adversity.
The sick man said, "Sickness has brought me this boon.
That this Prince (Muhammad) has come to me this morn,
So that health and strength may return to me
From the visit of this unparalleled King.
O blessed pain and sickness and fever!
O welcome weariness and sleeplessness by night!
Lo! God of His bounty and favor
Has sent me this pain and sickness in my old age;
He has given me pain in the back, that I may not fail
To spring up out of my sleep at midnight;
That I may not sleep all night like the cattle,
God in His mercy has sent me these pains.
At my broken state the pity of kings has boiled up,
And hell is put to silence by their threats!"
Pain is a treasure, for it contains mercies;
The kernel is soft when the rind is scraped off.
O brother, the place of darkness and cold
Is the fountain of life and the cup of ecstasy.
So also is endurance of pain and sickness and disease.
For from abasement proceeds exaltation.
The spring seasons are hidden in the autumns,
And autumns are charged with springs; flee them not.
Consort with grief and put up with sadness,
Seek long life in your own death!
Since 'tis bad, whatever lust says on this matter
Heed it not, its business is opposition.
But act contrary thereto, for the prophets
Have laid this injunction upon the world. 2
Though it is right to take counsel in affairs,
That you may have less to regret in the upshot;
The prophets have labored much
To make the world revolve on this pivot stone; 3
But, in order to destroy the people, lust desires
To make them go astray and lose their heads;
The people say, 'With whom shall we take counsel?'
The prophets answer, 'With the reason of your chief.'
Again they say, 'Suppose a child or a woman enter,
Who lacks reason and clear judgment; '
They reply, 'Take counsel with them,
And act contrary to what they advise.'
Know your lust to be woman, and worse than woman;
Woman is partial evil, lust universal evil.
If you take counsel with your lust,
See you act contrary to what that base one advises.
Even though it enjoin prayers and fasting,
It is treacherously laying a snare for you.'
You must abandon and ignore your own knowledge,
And dip your hand in the dish of abnegation of knowledge.
Whatever seems profitable, flee from it,
Drink poison and spill the water of life.
Contemn whatever praises you,
Lend to paupers your wealth and profits!
Quit your sect and be a subject of aversion,
Cast away name and fame and seek disgrace!"
God the Author of good and evil.
If you seek the explanation of God's love and favor,
In connection therewith read the chapter "Brightness." 4
And if you say evil also proceeds from Him,
Yet what damage is that to His perfection?
To send that evil is one of His perfections.
I will give you an illustration, O arrogant one;
The heavenly Artist paints His pictures of two sorts,
Fair pictures and pictures the reverse of fair.
Joseph he painted fair and made him beautiful;
He also painted ugly pictures of demons and 'afrits.
Both sorts of pictures are of His workmanship,
They proceed not from His imperfection, but His skill,
That the perfection of His wisdom may be shown,
And the gainsayers of His art be put to shame.
Could He not paint ugly things He would lack art,
And therefore He creates Guebers as well as Moslems.
Thus, both infidelity and faith bear witness to Him,
Both alike bow down before His almighty sway.
But know, the faithful worship Him willingly,
For they seek and aim at pleasing Him;
While Guebers worship Him unwillingly,
Their real aim and purpose being quite otherwise.
Evil itself is turned into good for the good.
The Prophet said to that sick man,
"Pray in this wise and allay your difficulties;
'Give us good in the house of our present world,
And give us good in the house of our next world. 5
Make our path pleasant as a garden,
And be Thou, O Holy One, our goal!'"
The faithful will say on the last day, "O King!
Was not Hell on the route all of us traveled?
Did not faithful as well as infidels pass through it?
Yet on our way we perceived not the smoke of the fire;
Nay, it seemed Paradise and the mansion of the blessed."
Then the King will answer, "That green garden,
As it appeared to you on your passage through it,
Was indeed Hell and the place of dread torment;
Yet for you it became a garden green with trees.
Since you have labored to make hellish lusts,
And the 'fire of pride that courts destruction,
To make these, I say, pure and clean,
And, to please God, have quenched those fires,
So that the fire of lust, that erst breathed flame,
Has become a holy garden and a guiding light,
Since you have turned the fire of wrath to meekness,
And the darkness of ignorance to shining knowledge,
Since you have turned the fire of greed into bounty,
And the vile thorns of malice into a rose-garden;
Since you have quenched all these fires of your own
For my sake, so that those poisons are now pure sweets;
Since you have made fiery lust as a verdant garden,
And have sowed therein the seed of fidelity,
So that nightingales of prayer and praise
Ever warble sweetly around this garden;
Since you have responded to the call of God,
And have drawn water out of the hell of lust,
For this cause my hell also, for your behoof,
Becomes a verdant garden and yields leaves and fruit."
What is the recompense of well-doing, O son?
It is kindness and good treatment and rich requital.
Have ye not said, "We are victims,
Mere nothings before eternal Being?
If we are drunkards or madmen,
'Tis that Cup-bearer and that Cup which make us so.
We bow down our heads before His edict and ordinance,
We stake precious life to gain His favor.
While the thought of the Beloved fills our hearts,
All our work is to do Him service and spend life for Him.
Wherever He kindles His destructive torch,
Myriads of lovers' souls are burnt therewith.
The lovers who dwell within the sanctuary
Are moths burnt with the torch of the Beloved's face."
O heart haste thither, 6 for God will shine upon you,
And seem to you a sweet garden instead of a terror.
He will infuse into your soul a new soul,
So as to fill you, like a goblet, with wine.
Take up your abode in His soul!
Take up your abode in heaven, O bright full moon!
Like the heavenly Scribe, 7 He will open your heart's book
That He may reveal mysteries unto you.
Abide with your Friend, since you have gone astray,
Strive to be a full moon; you are now a fragment thereof.
Wherefore this shrinking of the part from its whole?
Why this association with its foes?
Behold Genus become Species in due course,
Behold secrets become manifest through his light!
So long as woman-like you swallow blandishments,
How, O wise man, can you get relief from false flatteries?
These flatteries and fair words and deceits (of lust)
You take, and swallow, just like women.
But the reproaches and the blows of Darveshes
Are really better for you than the praises of sinners.
Take the light blows of Darveshes, not the honey of sinners,
And become, by the fortune of good, good yourself.
Because from them the robe of good fortune is gained,
In the asylum of the spirit blood becomes life.