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The Secrets of the Self, by Muhammad Iqbal, tr. by Reynold A. Nicholson, [1920], at

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Showing that the system of the universe originates in the Self, and that the continuation of the life of all individuals depends on strengthening the Self.

The form of existence is an effect of the Self,
Whatsoever thou seest is a secret of the Self.
When the Self awoke to consciousness,
190 It revealed the universe of Thought.
A hundred worlds are hidden in its essence:
Self-affirmation brings Not-self to light.
By the Self the seed of hostility is sown in the world:
It imagines itself to be other than itself.

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It makes from itself the forms of others 195
In order to multiply the pleasure of strife.
It is slaying by the strength of its arm
That it may become conscious of its own strength.
Its self-deceptions are the essence of Life;
Like the rose, it lives by bathing itself in blood. 200
For the sake of a single rose it destroys a hundred rose-gardens
And makes a hundred lamentations in quest of a single melody.
For one sky it produces a hundred new moons,
And for one word a hundred discourses.
The excuse for this wastefulness and cruelty 205
Is the shaping and perfecting of spiritual beauty.

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The loveliness of Shírín justifies the anguish of Farhád, 1
The fragrant navel justifies a hundred musk-deer.
’Tis the fate of moths to consume in flame:
210 The suffering of moths is justified by the candle.
The pencil of the Self limned a hundred to-days
In order to achieve the dawn of a single morrow.
Its flames burned a hundred Abrahams 2
That the lamp of one Mohammed might be lighted.
215 Subject, object, means, and causes—
They all exist for the purpose of action.

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The Self rises, kindles, falls, glows, breathes,
Burns, shines, walks, and flies.
The spaciousness of Time is its arena,
Heaven is a billow of the dust on its road. 220
From its rose-planting the world abounds in roses;
Night is born of its sleep, day springs from its waking.
It divided its flame into sparks
And taught the understanding to worship particulars.
It dissolved itself and created the atoms, 225
It was scattered for a little while and created the sands.
Then it wearied of dispersion
And by re-uniting itself it became the mountains.
’Tis the nature of the Self to manifest itself:
In every atom slumbers the might of the Self. 230

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Power that is unexpressed and inert
Chains the faculties which lead to action.
Inasmuch as the life of the universe
comes from the strength of the Self,
Life is in proportion to this strength.
235 When a drop of water gets the Self's lesson by heart,
It makes its worthless existence a pearl.
Wine is formless because its self is weak;
It receives a form by favour of the cup.
Although the cup of wine assumes a form,
240 It is indebted to us for its motion.
When the mountain loses its self, it turns into sands
And complains that the sea surges over it;
But the wave, so long as it remains a wave in the sea's bosom,
Makes itself a rider on the sea's back.

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Light has been a beggar since the eye first rolled 245
And moved to and fro in search of beauty;
But forasmuch as the grass found a
means of growth in its self,
Its aspiration clove the breast of the garden.
The candle too concatenated itself
And built itself out of atoms; 250
Then it made a practice of melting
itself away and fled from its self
Until at last it trickled down from its own eye, like tears.
If the bezel had been more self-secure by nature,
It would not have suffered wounds,
But since it derives its value from the superscription, 255
Its shoulder is galled by the burden of another's name.
Because the earth is firmly based on self-existence,

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The captive moon goes round it perpetually.
The being of the sun is stronger than that of the earth:
260 Therefore is the earth bewitched by the sun's eye.
The glory of the plane fixes our gaze,
The mountains are enriched by its majesty:
Its raiment is woven of fire,
Its origin is one self-assertive seed.
265 When Life gathers strength from the Self,
The river of Life expands into an ocean.

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18:1 Shírín was loved by the Persian emperor Khusrau Parwíz. Farhád fell in love with her and cast himself down a precipice on hearing a false rumour of her death.

18:2 Abraham is said to have been cast on a burning pile by order of Nimrod and miraculously preserved from harm.

Next: II. The Life of the Self Comes From Forming Desires