Chapter 7: Raw, Cooked, Burnt
A ruby, there, is just a piece of stone:
and spiritual excellence the height of folly.
Silence is praise - have done with speech;
your chatter will only bring you harm and sorrow -
Belief and unbelief
both have their origin
in your hypocrite’s heart;
the way is only long
because you delay to start on it:
one single step
would bring you to him:
become a slave,
and you will become a king.
The dumb find tongues,
when the scent of life reaches them
from his soul.
Listen truly - and don’t be fooled -
this is not for fools:
all these different shades
become one color
in the jar of unity;
the rope becomes slender
when reduced to a single strand.
Your intellect is just a hotchpotch
of guesswork and thought,
limping over the face of the earth;
wherever they are, he is not;
they are contained within his creation.
Man and his reason are just the latest
ripening plants in his garden.
Whatever you assert about his nature
you are bound to be out of your depth,
like a blind man trying to describe
the appearance of his mother.
While reason is still tracking down the secret,
you end your quest on the open field of love.
The path consists in neither words nor deeds:
only desolation can come from these,
and never any lasting edifice.
Sweetness and life are the words
of the man who treads this path in silence;
when he speaks it is not from ignorance,
and when he is silent it is not from sloth.
The Sufi is not an escapist, that is not his climate. He is utterly against escapism. He believes in celebrating the world, celebrating existence, celebrating life. It is the very fundamental of Sufism that the creator can be reached only through the creation. You need not renounce his creation to get to him. In fact if you renounce his creation you will never get to him. Renouncing his creation, indirectly you have renounced the creator himself.
But renunciation still happens. Not that the Sufi renounces the world, but that he attains to godliness - and the moment godliness is attained, the world disappears. There is nothing to renounce, then only godliness is.
The Sufi does not escape from the world, but a moment comes when the world disappears, dissolves. The Sufi lives in the world, and one day he finds that there is no world, only godliness is.
The Sufi is not an ascetic. He does not believe in inflicting pain on himself, he is not pathological. The Sufi lives life in an utterly normal way, with no perversions, with no obsessions, although slowly, slowly, the quality of his life goes on changing. Not that he tries to change it; his whole effort consists in remembering godliness, not in changing himself.