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Seest thou not that before the beginning of thy existence God the All-wise, the Ineffable, when He had created thee in the womb gave thee of blood thy sustenance for nine months? Thy mother nourished thee in her womb, then after nine months brought thee forth; that door of support He quickly closed on thee, and bestowed on thee two better doors, for He then acquainted thee with the breast,--two fountains running for thee day and night; He said, Drink of these both; eat and welcome, for it is not forbidden thee. When after two years she weaned thee, all became changed for thee; He gave thee thy sustenance by means of thy two hands and feet,--'Take it by means of these, and by those go where thou wilt! ' If He closed the two doors against thee, it is but Light, for instead of two, four doors have appeared,--'Take by means of these, by those go on to victory; go seek thy daily bread throughout the world!'

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When suddenly there comes on thee thy appointed time, and the things of the world all pass away, and the two hands and feet fail in their office, to thee in thy helpless state He gives an exchange for these four. Hands and feet are shut up in the tomb, and eight heavens become thy fortune; eight doors are opened to thee, the virgins and youths of Paradise come before thee, that going joyfully to any door thou wilt thou mayest lose remembrance of this world.

O youth, hear this saying, and despair not of God's bounty. If God has given thee knowledge of Himself and put belief within thy heart, the robe of honour which is to thee like thy wedding-garment He will not take from thee on the day of resurrection. If thou hast neither learning nor gold, yet hast this, thou wilt not be destitute. He will bring thee to glory,--thou shalt not be disgraced; He will set thee in honour,--thou shalt not be despised. Thy possessions,--give not thy soul to their keeping; what He has given thee, hold thou fast to that. Thou layest up treasure,--thou shalt not see it again; if thou gavest it to Him, He would give it thee again. Thou puttest gold in the fire,--it burns up the dross, so He burns thy pure gold; when He has burnt out the bad, the good He gives to thee; fortune bends down her head to thee from the skies. The more enduring the benefit afforded by the fire, the kinder on that account is He who kindles the fire; thou knowest not what is good nor what bad; He is a better treasurer for thee than thou for thyself. A friend is a serpent; why seekest thou his door? the serpent is thy friend; why fliest thou from it in terror?

O seeker of the shell of the pearl of 'Unless', lay down clothing and life on the shore of 'Not'; God's existence inclines only towards him who has ceased to exist; non-existence is the necessary provision for the journey. Till in annihilation thou lay aside thy cap thou wilt not set thy face on the road to eternal life; when thou becomest nothing, thou runnest towards God; the path of mendicancy leads up

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to Him. If fortune crushes thee down, the most excellent of Creators will restore thee. Rise, and have done with false fables; forsake thy ignoble passions, and come hither.