On the Sprinkling of the Anemones of Philosophical subtle­ties, which have, in consequence of Drops from the Clouds of (Divine) Bounty, grown in the soil of the Hearts of Philosophers and in the Lands of their Minds, and adorned the Folds of their Books by the Explanation and Description thereof.

He is called a practical man, who studies the essence of things as much as he can, and makes an acquisition (or a quality) of his life as much art as is required as being co­related with science.

It will be a happy thing for you to abandon the fading pleasures (of the world), and invent some design for the eter­nal meeting (with God). Endeavour to know all things that you can know, and then (only) go to those things which you (perhaps) cannot know.

I. Alexander, at the time of his conquest of the world, captured a fortress by means of a great stratagem and ordered it to be razed. They told him that there was a philosopher there, learned and capable of solving difficult problems. He sent for him. He saw a figure repulsive to human nature and abhorrent to the nature of agreeable persons. Alexander ex­claimed: What a strange image is this, and what a frightful figure! The philosopher was consternated. He smiled and said astonishingly:

O you devoid of the excellence of justice, don't taunt me for my ugly countenance! The body is like the scabbard and the life like the sword: it is the sword that does the work, not the scabbard:

He continued: That person, who has no sympathy with the people, has his body imprisoned by his own skin, and so crammed up is his existence to him, that (an ordinary) prison is like a pleasure-ground when compared with it.

Know that that man, who is ill-natured with all people, will always suffer (lit., be tried) in the hand of a hundred sorrows. You do not (even) ask the policeman to put him into prison, because the skin on the body of an ill-natured man is gaol enough for him.

He said further: The envious person is always in troubles and waging (lit., weighing) strife with his Lord, because he frowns at whatever is the lot of others, while he is never satisfied with what is his own share.

That habit of an envious person,—may dust sit in his mouth, is to criticise disparagingly the dispensations of the wise Lord. At whatever he sees in the hands of others, he (thus) bemoans: Why did you unreasonably give that to him and not to me?

And moreover he observed: A generous wise man distri­butes his wealth among his friends, while a silly avaricious fellow leaves it for his enemies, (i. e., his heirs, who wish his death every moment in order to get his wealth).

Whatever comes to the hand of a generous man is thrown at the feet of his friends, (but) whatever the vile man of an avaricious nature gathers remains for his enemies (to be enjoyed by them) after his death.

Further he observed: To launch into joke and buffoonery with low persons is the degradation of one's own respectability, and is the raising of the dust of baseness and misery on one's own self.

O you who joke with a mean person! you will lose your (awe-inspiring) name of Rustom for that of meanness and cowardice. Do not play the buffoon before mean persons, otherwise you will lose the glory of your greatness.

(Lastly) he added: He, who adopts the practice of tyran­ny over his inferiors, will die under the kicks of his (own) superiors.

O heart! listen from me to this pithy saying, which has remained fixed in my ears from masters of wit: Whoever draws forth the word of ruthlessness, is killed by the sword of the ruthless.

Alexander's ears were repleted with those jewels of philosophy, and he filled the philosopher's mouth, like his own ears, with jewels, and turned away his rein from the destruction of that fort.

II. Sekunder Aafridun, who, in the land of kindness, sowed nothing but seeds of advice, wrote this royal letter to his children: The (blank) pages of Times constitute the book of (all men's) lives, in which nothing is recorded except the best of actions and impressions.

Thus said a wise man who has considered (the matter) well: The surface of Time is the book of the life of all men. Happy is that man who, on this quite blank book (lit., book free of all writing) writes a noble record and leaves a good trace!

III. One of the philosophers has said: I wrote forty books on philosophy but did not profit by them. (Then) I selected forty sentences out of them, and out of these also I derived no benefit. (At last) I picked out only four out of these, and got in them what I wanted.

Firstly. Do not render women objects of your confidence as you would render men, because, although the woman may come from a trustworthy family, she is not (yet) one of that class, deserving of confidence.

The intellect of the woman is imperfect, and so is her wisdom; do not ever render her deserving of your confidence. If she is bad, do not take any counsel from her, (attach not any importance to her); if she is good, (still) do not trust her.

Secondly. Do not be deceived by wealth, although it may be great, because at length it will be crushed under the feet of the vicissitudes of time.

Do not be deceived by your wealth like foolish persons, because it is as flitting as the cloud. Although the flitting cloud may shed jewels, the wise man will heed it not seriously.

Thirdly. Never relate your hidden secrets to any friends, because it oftentimes happens that there arise hitches in friendship, which is (thus) turned into enmity.

O Boy! It is better that you should absolutely keep silent from revealing to a friend that secret, which is proper to conceal from a foe. I have seen many times that, from the capricious movement of the sky, friends become enemies and amity is turned into enmity.

Fourthly. Do not acquire any knowledge excepting that by neglecting which you die a sinner: avoid all superfluity and pursue that which is necessary.

Be inclined to that science which is indispensable to you, and do not search for that which you can dispense with: and when you acquire that indispensable science, do not desire to act except in accordance therewith.

IV. Abu Muqanna' says: The library of Indian philo­sophers was carried on a hundred camels. Their king requested for a diminution thereof, and they brought two camels' load. By a repetition of the same request, it was settled down to four maxims. The first maxim was about direction to kings towards justice.

When the King of the world professes justice, the great always become a (source of) comfort to the small. When a distracted man cries from a broken heart, one single curse (lit., taunt) of his becomes (tantamount to) the very profession of tyranny (in point of the punishment from heaven, that is due thereon and incurred by the tyrant). The foundation of justice is one fold upon another. Justice it is that is required, other things are all insignificant.

The second maxim was about advice to the subjects to be well-behaving and obedient.

Disobedience of subjects is the seed of the king's oppres­sion: if you sow barley, how can you get a wheat-crop out of that seed?

The third maxim was about preserving the health of the body. Till a person is hungry, he should not take food; and when he sits down to dine, he should rise from his meals be­fore he has eaten quite his fill.

It is better to avoid the cause of satiety, and (thus) to escape the disgrace of (submitting oneself to the treatment of) medical impostors. Do not sit down at the table till the sto­mach is empty, and leave it before fully repleting it.

The fourth maxim was regarding advice to women, that they should keep their eyes far away from the face of strangers, and that they should keep veiled their own faces against the eyes of those, excluded from the seraglio.

She is a true woman, who does not show her face to any­body to whom it is unlawful to show it, although he may be the (very) pupil of her own eye, and who does not open her eyes to look at anybody except her husband, (even) though that person may be in point of beauty unique as the moon of the sky.

V. There are four discourses perfected by four sove­reigns, which, you may say, are like one (and the same) arrow darted from four (different) bows.

First. Nawshirwàn has said: I have never repented of what I have not said, though I have said much, out of repentance whereof I have slept in dust and blood.

Nobody has ever felt remorse for a secret under seal, but many revealed secrets there are that have caused distraction. Sit silent, because sitting tranquilly in silence is better than that speaking, which brings remorse.

Second. The Kaiser of Roum has said: I have greater control over what I have not said than over what is already said; that is to say, I am (yet) able to say what I have not said, while I cannot conceal what I have already said.

Do not give out with composure to your companions anything, the divulgence whereof is hard on you (once that it is divulged), (or, anything which is hard to conceal once that it is revealed), because whatever you keep concealed you can speak (afterwards at your leisure), while you cannot conceal what you have once said.

Third. The Khàqàn of Chin has spoken thus on this topic: It happens very frequently that the consternation of having given out something is more severe than that of concealment thereof.

Do not be in a hurry to paint with the caprice of descrip­tion every sealed secret, which comes uppermost to your mind, (because) I fear that the mulct for divulging it will be heavier than the repentance, that may be caused by concealing it.

Fourth. The Indian king has announced this pithy say­ing: As regards every word which has escaped from my ton­gue, the hand of my control over it is fettered, while I am (always) the disposer of what I have not said: (for) if I like I may speak that out, and if I don't, I may not.

This happy comparison between a secret concealed and re­vealed has been uttered by a wise man: The former is like an arrow yet under control; the latter is like an arrow, which has left the bow.

VI. The King of Hindustàn sent presents to a Khalif of Baghdàd and with them an intelligent physician, endowed with proficiency in medicine and philosophy. The latter rose before the Khalif and said: I have brought three bags fit for and ne­cessary to kings only. The Khalif inquired what they were, whereupon the physician replied: First. A tincture, by using which grey hair can be turned into black in such a way, that it never changes and turns white again. Second, a confection, by taking which, however much you indulge in food, the stomach does not become heavy and the human temperament does not lose its equilibrium. Third, a compound, which strengthens the backbone, * * * and a repeated use whereof prevents weakness of sight and loss of strength. The Khalif contem­plated for some time and (thus) retorted: I thought you to be wiser and more intelligent than what you are. As regards the tincture referred to, it is the stock of pride and the tinsel of falsehood and strength. Blackness of hair is symbolic of darkness and whiteness, of light. How foolish that person must be who endeavours to clothe light with darkness!

That fool, who dyes his grey hair black, (perhaps) hopes to regain youth after old age! Before intelligent persons, who are thinking of the game of good fortune, how can the black crow (in the falcon's feathers) have the lustre of a white falcon?

And as to that confection, which you have mentioned, I am not of that class, who eat much and relish that. * * * * Philosophers have said that hunger is a disease in the human constitution, and eating and drinking are a ready cure. Foolish is that person, who makes himself ill of his own accord, thus submitting himself to the constraints of infirmity.

The gentleman, who creates (artificial) appetite, thereby causes a fracture in his constitution, and then repairs that fracture with materials raw and ripe and whatever else that is required.

And as to that compound, which you have mentioned, dalliance with women is one ramification of madness, and it is far from the dictates of reason that the Khalif of the sur­face of the earth should prostrate on both his knees before a contemptible girl and flatter and adulate her.

O you who boast of possessing wisdom! how long will you roll in lust, shake the locks of your mistress and rock the chain of insanity? What can be greater madness than this?

VII. In the court of Nawshirwàn gathered three philo­sophers, one from Roum, another from Hind, and the third Buzarjamhir. Word came to this: Which is the harshest of all things? The Rumi said: Old age, langour, poverty and dis­tress. The Hindi observed: A sick body with abundance of grief. Buzarjamhir remarked: Proximity of death with an absence of a righteous action. All concurred with the words of Buzarjamhir.

Discussion was going on among intelligent philosophers before Nawshirwan as to what the heaviest wave was in the fathomless (abyss) of sorrow. One said: It is sickness and deep sorrow. A second observed: It is poverty with old age. The third (thus) averred: It is the proximity of death with evilness of action. And in the end, the third, in accordance with wisdom, was given preference.

VIII. A philosopher was asked: When should a man hasten to eat? He replied: A rich man (should eat) whenever he becomes hungry, and a poor man, whenever he gets some­thing to eat.

Eat in such a proportion, that the edifice of your con­stitution may not be ruined by excess or starvation. If you have (food), eat it when your appetite desires it: otherwise (if you have not food always available) sit down to eat wherever you get food.

IX. A philosopher said to his son: You ought not to stir out of your house early in the morning, without having first partaken of some food, inasmuch as satisfaction of hunger is the seed of gentleness and forbearance, while hunger is the cause of emptiness of mind and rashness.

Do not make your temper sensitive by fasting, because weakness and forbearance surpass all (evil) things. When fasting becomes the source of trouble, the avoiding of it is better than the keeping of it.

Maxim. When you are hungry, appetite for any soup or bread will be excited in your nature, and your appetite will provoke that of the friends with whom you sit.

It is better to eat, within the limits of fullness, whatever fresh and dry you get in your house. Do not covet the food of others; cut off your greed from the doles of mean persons.

Maxim. When the host sits at the edge of the table, and sees himself (as it were served) in its middle (to be eaten up by them), (i. e., when the host does not desire that the guests should eat anything), it is better for you to eat of your own liver than his bread, and to drink your own blood rather than any­thing from his table.

Withdraw your food from the table, and your hand from the bread, of that man who says: This is my table, this is my bread. Herbs that you may eat of your own garden are more relishing than his roasted meat.

Maxim. Five things there are which, when they are granted to any man, place under his control the reins of a happy life. First. Health of body. Second. Security. Third. Ample means of livelihood. Fourth. A kind friend. Fifth. Composure of mind. And whoever is deprived of these has the door of a pleasant life closed against him.

The causes of a happy life come to these five, according to the unanimous opinion of philosophers of universal fame: Freedom from cares, security, health, sufficient means of life. and a good-natured friend, a virtuous companion.

Maxim. A wise man does not count for anything any boon, which is susceptible to death or decline; and though life may be long, yet, as death does come (at last), that long duration is of no avail. The prophet Noah lived a thousand years in this world, but it is now five thousand years since he died. That boon has a value, which is eternal and secure from the calamity of decline.

Before a wise man, that thing is a (real) blessing by which your heart is rejoiced for ever. When the tomb will be your resting-place, gold and silver will remain on its top like the tombstone (and will be of no value whatever to you then).

Maxim. They asked Buzarjamhir: Which king is most virtuous? He replied: That king, under whom the virtuous are secure, and of whom the vicious are in dread.

He is a king, who has an enlightened mind and intelli­gence, and from whom the virtuous are in a happy state, and the vicious in an unhappy one.

X. They advised Hajjàj to fear God and not to oppress the faithful. He was a very eloquent man. Having ascended the pulpit he said: God has empowered me to rule over you with awe. If I die you will not, considering this your own conduct, escape oppression after me, for God has many ser­vants beside myself, and if I die, possibly a worse man will arrive to rule over you.

If you wish your sovereign to be just, you yourself be just in your own dealing, which is a field of exchange. The king is a mirror: whatever you see in it is the reflection cast by your own mode of dealing with him.

Maxim. A King sought for advice from a philosopher. The latter said: I will put you a question, which you must answer sincerely. Do you like gold more or an enemy? He replied: Gold. The philosopher observed: The thing you love, namely gold, you will leave here, and that one whom you do not love, namely, the enemy, you will carry with you to the next world. The King wept and said: You have given me a good piece of advice, wherein is comprised every good maxim.

On account of your extreme desire for gold and greed of silver, you give rise to a thousand kinds of hostility among the people of the world. Gold and silver are your friends, but the owner thereof is your enemy, from whose possession you wrest them by force and fraud. It is neither the demand of intellect nor the habit of prudence, that you should leave your friend behind you (on your death), and take your enemy with you, (as you have to do), (and so it is better to love your enemy, with whom you will have to go and despise gold and silver, which you will have to leave behind).

XI. Alexander dismissed one of his experienced officers from a great post, and employed him in a low one. One day that man came to see Alexander, when the latter asked him how he fared with his (new) post. He replied: May the king live long! The man is not ennobled by a great post, but the post is ennobled by a great man. In every post are needed virtue, justice, and equity. Alexander was pleased with these words and restored him to his former post.

If you desire a great post, try to combine in yourself virtue with skill. The greatness of man deos not arise from his (high) post, rather the post is exalted by the man.

Maxim. Three things are unbecoming in three classes of men: 1. A hot spirit in kings. 2. Avarice in intelligent persons. 3. Parsimony in rich persons.

Three actions are recorded by a writer's pen as ugly in three (classes of) persons: Hotness of temper in a powerful king, covetousness in a wise man, and parsimony in a rich man.

Maxim. Philosophers have said: Just as the world pros­pers by justice and ruined by oppression, similarly justice casts refulgence from its own side to the distance of a thousand farsangs, while oppression from its own centre emits darkness to that distance

Practise justice, so that when its morning may dawn, the refulgence thereof may extend to a thousand farsangs. When the darkness of oppression manifests itself, the world becomes replete with gloom, life's misery and destitution.

XII. A very magnanimous dervish was on the path of friendship with a glorious king, and on terms of long-standing intimacy, (lit., social merriment) with him. One day the dervish saw manifest on the king's forehead the effect of ennui. However much he inquired he could discover no cause thereof other than excess of intercourse and the fre­quency of (his own) visits. (Consequently) he relinquished his friendship, and rolled up the carpet of his intimacy (lit., gaiety). One day the king happened to meet him on a road, and open­ing the tongue of conversation, thus said: O dervish! why is it that you have cut off from us, and withheld the steps of your visits to us? He replied: The reason is this, that I know that it was more honorable for me to be questioned as to the reason of my absence, than to perceive ennui (on your face) on account of my presence.

That rich man asked the dervish: Why have you come to me after such a long time? He replied: (The question) ‘why don't you come to us’ is much preferrable to (the question) ‘why have you come here?’