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

p. 104


Story of the diamond and the coal.

Now I will open one more gate of Truth,
I will tell thee another tale.
The coal in the mine said to the diamond,
"O thou entrusted with splendours everlasting,
1195 We are comrades, and our being is one;
The source of our existence is the same,
Yet while I die here in the anguish of worthlessness,
Thou art set on the crowns of emperors.

p. 105

My stuff is so vile that I am valued less than earth,
Whereas the mirror's heart is rent by thy beauty. 1200
My darkness illumines the chafing-dish,
Then my substance is incinerated at last.
Every one puts the sole of his foot on my head
And covers my stock of existence with ashes.
My fate must needs be deplored; 1205
Dost thou know what is the gist of my being?
Thou art a condensed wavelet of smoke,
Endowed with the properties of a single spark;
Both in feature and nature thou art star-like,
Splendours rise from every side of thee. 1210
Now thou becom’st the light of a monarch's eye,

p. 106

Now thou adornest the haft of a dagger."
"O sagacious friend!" said the diamond,
Dark earth, when hardened, becomes in dignity as a bezel.
1215 Having been at strife with its environment,
It is ripened by the struggle and grows hard like a stone.
’Tis this ripeness that has endowed my form with light
And filled my bosom with radiance.
Because thy being is immature, thou hast become abased;
1220 Because thy body is soft, thou art burnt.
Be void of fear, grief, and anxiety;
Be hard as a stone, be a diamond!
Whosoever strives hard and grips tight,
The two worlds are illumined by him.
1225 A little earth is the origin of the Black Stone

p. 107

Which puts forth its head in the Ka‘ba:
Its rank is higher than Sinai,
It is kissed by the swarthy and the fair.
In solidity consists the glory of Life;
Weakness is worthlessness and immaturity." 1230

Next: XIV. The Sheikh and the Brahmin, and the Ganges and the Himalaya