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The Bustan of Sadi, tr. by A. Hart Edwards, [1911], at

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Concerning Love

Happy are the days of them that are infatuated by love for Him, whether they be sorrowed by separation from Him or made joyous by His presence.

They are mendicants who fly from worldly sovereignty; in the hope of meeting Him they are patient in their mendicity. Oft have they drunk of the wine of anguish; be it bitter, they remain silent. In the remembrance of Him patience is not bitter, for wormwood is sweet from the hand of a friend.

They that are captive in the coils of His love, seek not to escape; they suffer reproach, but are monarchs in the seclusion of their meditation, and their way is not known. They are like the temple of Jerusalem, splendid of which is the interior, but whose outer wall is left in ruin.

Like moths, they burn themselves in the fire of love. Their beloved is in their breasts,

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yet do they seek Him; though near a fountain, their lips are parched. 18


Thy love renders thee impatient and disturbed. With such sincerity hast thou placed thy head at her feet that thou art oblivious to the world.

When in the eyes of thy beloved riches count not, gold and dust are as one to thee.

Thou sayest that she dwelleth in thine eyes—if they be closed, she is in thy mind.

If she demand thy life, thou dost place it in her hand; if she place a sword upon thy head, thou holdest it forward.

When earthly love produces such confusion and such obedience demands, dost thou wonder if travellers of the road of God remain engulfed in the Ocean of Reality?

In the remembrance of their Friend they have turned their backs upon the world; they are so fascinated by the Cup-bearer that they have spilled the wine.

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No medicine can cure them, for no one has. knowledge of their pains.

With their cries of longing do they root up a mountain; with their sighs they dismember a kingdom.

Such is their weeping at dawn that the tears wash the collyrium of sleep from their eyes. Night and day are they immersed in the sea of love; so distracted are they that they know not night from day.

So enamoured are they of the beauty of the Painter that they care not for the beauty of His designs.

He drinks of the pure wine of Unity who is forgetful of both this world and the next.


I have heard that, at the singing of a musician, one of fairy-face began to dance. Surrounded by distracted hearts, the flame of a candle caught her skirt. She was distressed and angered.

One of her lovers said, "Why agitate thyself? The fire has burned thy skirts—it 19 has entirely consumed the harvest of my life."

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One who loved God set his face towards the desert. His father, being grieved at his absence, neither ate nor slept.

Some one admonished the son, who said "Since my Friend has claimed me as His own, no other friendship do I own. When He revealed to me His beauty, all else that I saw appeared unreal."

They that love Him care for no one else; their senses are confused and their ears are deaf to the words of them that reproach.

They wander through the desert of Divine Knowledge without a caravan.

They have no hope of approbation from their fellow-men, for they are the chosen of the elect of God.


An old man begged at the door of a mosque. Some one said to him: "This is not the place to beg; stand not here with impudence."

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"What house is this," the man inquired, "from which no pity comes upon the condition of the poor?"

"Silence!" was the reply. "What foolish words are these! This is the house of our Master!"

The beggar raised a cry: "Alas," he said, "that I should be disappointed at this door. I have not gone hopeless from any street; why should I go thus from the door of God? Here will I stretch forth my hand of want, for I know that I shall not depart empty-handed."

For a year he remained devoutly employed in the mosque. One night, through weakness, his heart began to palpitate, and at daybreak his last breath flickered like a morning lamp. Thus did he exclaim with joy: "And whoever knocked at the door of the Bounteous One, it opened."

He who seeks God should be patient and enduring; I have not heard of an alchemist being sad. Much gold he reduces to ashes so that he may one day turn copper into gold. Gold is good with which to buy—and what

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couldst thou wish to buy better than the face of thy Friend? 20


An old man spent the night in worship and the morning in prayer. A guardian angel whispered to him: "Go, take thy way, for thy prayers are not acceptable at this door."

The next night again he passed the night in devotion; and a disciple, being informed of his circumstances, said: "When thou seest that the door is shut, why dost thou thus exert thyself?"

Weeping, he replied: "O my son! Dost thou suppose that although He has torn my reins I shall keep my hands from off his saddle-straps? When a supplicant is repelled at one door, what is his fear if he know of another?"

While thus he spoke, with his head upon the ground, the angel uttered this message in his ears: "Although there is no merit in him, his prayers are accepted, for except Me he has no refuge."


Some one found fault with the king of

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[paragraph continues] Ghazni, saying: "Ayaz, his favourite slave, possesses no beauty. It is strange that a nightingale should love a rose that has neither colour nor perfume."

This was told to Mahmud, who said: "My love, O sir, is for his virtues, not for his farm and stature."

I have heard that in a narrow pass a camel fell and a chest of pearls was broken. The king gave the signal for plunder, and urged on his horse with speed. The horsemen did likewise, and, leaving the king behind, gathered up the pearls. Not one of them remained near the king but Ayaz.

"O thou of curly locks!" said Mahmud, "what hast thou gained of the plunder?"

"Nothing," he replied. "I walked in haste behind thee: I do not occupy myself with riches away from thy service."

If an honourable place in the court be thine, be not neglectful of the king on account of gain elsewhere.

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A village chief passed with his son through the centre of the imperial army. In the presence of such pomp and splendour the man displayed humility and fled, through fear, into a corner.

"After all," observed his son, "thou art a 'village chief, and in chieftaincy greater than the nobles. Why dost thou tremble like a willow tree?"

"True," replied his father. I am a chief and a ruler, but my honour lies as far as my village."

Thus are the saints overwhelmed with fear when they stand in the court of their King.


Perhaps thou mayest have seen the fire-fly shine like a lamp in the garden at night.

"O night-illuminating moth!" some one said, "why comest thou not out in the daytime?"

The fly gave an answer full of wisdom: Because I am not visible before the sun."

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Some one said to a moth: "Go, thou contemptible creature, and make friendship with one worthy of thyself; go where thou seest the path of hope. How different is thy love from that of the candle! Thou art not a salamander—hover not around the fire, for bravery is necessary before combat. It is not compatible with reason that thou shouldst acknowledge as a friend one whom thou knowest to be thine enemy."

"What does it matter if I burn?" the moth replied. "I have love in my heart, and this flame is as a flower to me. Not of my own accord do I throw myself into the fire; the chain of her love is upon my neck. Who is it that finds fault with my friendship for my friend? I am content to be slain at her feet. I burn because she is dear to me, and because my destruction may affect her. Say not to the helpless man from whose hands the reins have fallen, 'Drive slowly.'"


One night, as I lay awake, I heard a moth

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say to a candle: "I am thy lover; if I burn, it is proper. Why dost thou weep?"

The candle replied: "O my poor friend! Love is not thy business. Thou fliest from before a flame; I stand erect until I am entirely consumed. If the fire of love has burned thy wings, regard me, who from head to foot must be destroyed."

Before the night had passed, some one put the candle out, exclaiming: "Such is the end of love!"

Grieve not over the grave of one who lost his life for his friend; be glad of heart, for he was the chosen of Him.

If thou art a lover, wash not thy head of the sickness of love; like Sadi, wash thy hands of selfishness.

A devoted lover holds not back his hand from the object of his affections though arrows and stones may rain upon his head.

Be cautious; if thou goest down to the sea, give thyself up to the storm.

Next: Chapter IV. Concerning Humility