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Wherefore at his solicitation I began
An answer to that epistle in concise terms.
Forthwith, in that illustrious congregation,
I pronounced this discourse without hesitation or repetition.
Now, with their wonted favour and kindness,

They will pardon my shortcomings;
50 All know that this person in his whole life

Has never attempted to write poetry.
And though his talents be competent thereto,
He has rarely had to compose verse.
Though he has composed many works in prose,
He has never compiled a masnavi in verse.
Prosody and rhyme weigh not mysteries,
The pearl of mystery is not held in all vessels.
Mystery cannot be compressed into letters,

The Red Sea is not contained in a jug.
55 Why should I, to whom even words are lacking,

Why should I take on myself a further burden ?
This is not boasting, but it is by way of compliment
And of apology to the men of heart.
I take no reproach to myself for my poor poetry,
For no poet like 'Attar is born in a hundred centuries.
Were there a hundred worlds of mystery set forth in this wise,
They would be only one grain from 'Attar's shop,
But all this have I written of my own experience,

And not plagiarized as a demon from angels.
60 In short, I delivered the answers to the questions

Off hand, each to each, neither more nor less.
The messenger took the letter with reverence,
And departed again by the road that he came.

'Prosody can “weigh” heavy and light (or, as we should say, long and short) syllables, but not Sufi mysteries. L.

? Fariduddin 'Attar, author of the Mantik ut Tair, &c., was a druggist.

* Koran, Sura XV. 18. The devils are said to ascend to overhear the talk of the angels in heaven.


Again that noble was instant with me,
Saying, “Do me yet another favour,
« Expound these mysteries which you have spoken.
“Out of theory bring them into evidence.”ı
I did not think it possible for me at that season
To treat thereof with the unction’ of ecstasy,
For the explanation thereof in speech is impossible, 3
The master of ecstasy alone knows what is ecstasy.
Nevertheless, according to the word of the teacher of the faith,
I rejected not the postulant of the faith,
But to the end that these mysteries might be explained,
The parrot of my eloquence lifted up his voice.
By aid of heavenly grace and divine blessing
I spoke the whole discourse in a few hours.
When my heart craved of heaven a title for this book,
There came an answer to my heart, “ It is our Rose Garden.”
Since heaven has named it “ Rose Garden,"
May it enlighten the eyes of all souls.


From demonstrated knowledge, 'ilm ul yakin, bring them to the stage of experienced or evidenced knowledge, 'ayn ul yakin. The first is the knowledge gained by logical demonstration, the second that “spiritually discerned " by illumination, Kashf. L.

? Zauk, 'taste," • delight,' religious exaltation.'
* Compare 1 Corinthians, ii. 14.
* Alluding to the Hadis, “ Reject not questioners."



First of all I am perplexed about my own thought;
What is that which they call thinking ?


You say, “ Tell me what is thinking,'
“Since I am perplexed as to its meaning."
Thinking is passing from the false to the truth,
And seeing the Absolute Whole in the part.
Philosophers who have written books on it,
Say as follows when they are defining it,
That when a conception 2 is formed in the mind,
It is first of all named reminiscence.
And when you pass on from this in thinking, *
It is called by the learned interpretation."
When conceptions are properly arranged in the mind,
The result with logicians is known as thinking.
From proper arrangement of known conceptions
The unknown proposition becomes known.
The major premiss is a father, the minor a mother,
And the conclusion a son, O brother !

· Thinking is the means to reach knowledge of God, m'arifat; and thinking is of two kinds, logical demonstration, and spiritual illumination. L.

* Tasawwur, conception, “idea.”

3 Tazakkar, reminiscence, the anamnesis of Plato. All major premisses, or first principles, says Labiji, are gained by intuition, or reminiscence of ideas known to the mind in a former state.

• Compare Risala Shamsiya 5, Part is intuitive and part is inferential and the result of thought, i.e. of such an arrangement of known things, that it leads to the knowledge of unknown things.' See Aristotle, An Pri. I. i. 6.

s 'Ibrat, from 'abr, passing over, interpretation, explication, probably a translation of Aristotle's Peri Hermeneias, which treats of propositions.

* Tasdik, assertion, verification, proposition, as in Risala Shamsiya 3.


But to learn of what kind this arrangement is,
Reference must be made to books of logic.
Moreover, unless divine guidance aids it,
Verily logic is mere bondage of forms.'
That road is long and hard, leave it,
Like Moses for a season cast away that staff.?
Come for a season into the “ Valley of Peace,” 3
Hear with faith the call, “ Verily I am God.
He that knows “ The Truth,"4 and to whom Unity is revealed,
Sees at the first glance the light of very Being.
Nay more, as he sees by illumination that pure Light,
He sees God first in everything that he sees;
Abstraction is a condition of good thinking,
For then the lightning of divine guidance illumines us.
To him, whom God guides not into the road,
It will not be disclosed by use of logic.
Forasmuch as the philosopher is bewildered,
He sees in things nothing but the contingent ;

| Taklid. See note on couplet 109.

• Koran, Sura XX. 14 and 11: “ What is that in thy right hand, O Moses? He answered, It is my staff whereon I lean, and wherewith I beat down leaves for my flock. God said, Cast it down, O Moses ! And he cast it down, and behold it became a serpent, which ran about .... And when he was come near unto it (the burning bush), a voice called to him, saying, O Moses, verily I am thy Lord, wherefore put off thy shoes, for thou art in the sacred Valley Towa.'

I.e., the tarikat, or Sufi's progress and course of illuinination which leads him to the true knowledge of God. L.

+ The Truth, Hakk, is the usual Sufi expression for the Absolute Divine Being.

5 Tajrid, stripping off, making bare, seclusion from the world, logical abstraction, purification from self. Lahiji explains it as ' Passing by the stages of carnal lusts, and mental operations, and human pleasures and relations, and emerging from the limitation of self, which veils man's real essence. Similarly, Plotinus directs the mystical aspirant to 'simplify his nature,' that he may become identified with the infinite. And Dionysius, the pseudo-Areopagite, exhorts his disciple 'to abandon the senses and all operations of the intellect, all objects of sense and all objects of thought, and ignorantly to strive upwards towards union with Him who is above all essence and knowledge ; inasmuch as by separation of himself from all things, he will be exalted to the super-essential radiance of the Divine darkness.'— Vaughan, Hours with the Mystics, I. 288.


From the contingent he seeks to prove the necessary,
Therefore is he bewildered at the essence of the necessary.
Sometimes he travels backwards in a circle,
Sometimes he is imprisoned in the chain of proofs.
While his reason goes deep into phenomenal existence,
His feet are caught in the chain of proofs.
All things are manifested through their likes,
But “ The Truth” has neither rival nor like,
Since “ The Truth” has neither rival nor peer,
I know not how you can know Him.
Necessary matter has no sample in contingent :3
How can man know it, tell me how ?4
Fool that he is ! for he seeks the blazing sun
By the dim light of a torch in the desert.



If the sun tarried always in one position,
And if his shining were all after one manner,

? He argues in a circle ; proves one contingent proposition by another contingent, which in its turn is proved by the first, and so on in an endless circle. L.

: Sense supplies us with finite objects only, and reason has only these finite objects to work on. It cannot transcend them, or mount from them to the infinite.

3 The figment of contingent being occurs for the first time in the fifth book of Plato's Republic. Being, he argues, is the object of knowledge, and not being of ignorance, and therefore opinion which lies between them must have an object of its own as well, and this object is intermediate or contingent being, which is and is not, and partakes both of existence and non-existence. On this Professor Jowett notes :-“ Plato did not remark that the degrees of knowledge in the subject have nothing corresponding to them in the object. With him a word must answer to an idea, he could not conceive of an opinion which was an opinion about nothing.”— Jowett's Plato, II. 59. * Compare Hafiz, Ode 355 (Brockhaus' edition):

‘But how can our eyes behold Thee as Thou art ?

As our sight is, so see we, and only in part.' 6 Tamsil, simile, analogy in logic. Schmölders (Documenta Philosophiæ Arabum). This illustration was probably suggested by Ghazzali. See Lewes, History of Philosophy, II. 51.

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