What sort of thought is the condition of my path?
Wherefore is it sometimes a duty, sometimes a sin?


To think on the mercies is the condition of your path,*
But to think on the essence of “The Truth” is grievous sin.
Thinking on the essence of “The Truth” is vain;
Know it is impossible to demonstrate the manifest.*
115 Since His works are manifested from His essence,
His essence is not manifested from His works.*
The whole universe is exposed to view by His light,—
But how is He exposed to view in the universe?*
The light of His essence is not contained in phenomena,
For the glory of His majesty is exceeding great.
Let reason go, and abide in “The Truth.”
The eye of a bat endures not the bright sun.
In that place where God's light is our guide,
What room is there for the message of Gabriel?*
120 Though the angels stand hard by the throne,
They reach not the station, ‘I am with God.’*
Like as His light utterly burns up the angels,*
So it burns up reason from head to foot.
Reason's light applied to the very Light of lights,
Is as the eye of the head applied to the sun.
When the object seen is very near to the eye,
The eye is darkened so that it cannot see it.*
This blackness,* if you know it, is the light of very Being;
In the land of darkness is the well-spring of life.*
125 Since the dark destroys the light of vision,
Give up looking, for this is no place for looking.*
What connection has the dust with the pure world?
Its perception is impotence to perceive perception.*
Blackness of face* is not divorced from the contingent
In the two worlds; Allah is all wise.
Blackness of face in both worlds is poverty,*
Blackness is most precious, neither more nor less.
What shall I say? since this saying is fine,
‘A light night that shineth in a dark day.’*
130 On this place of witnessing which is the light of Epiphany,*
I have much to say, but not to say it is best.


If you desire to behold the eye of the sun,
You must make use of another body;
Since the eye of the head has not strength enough,
You may look on the brilliant sun in the water.
Since its brightness shows less brightly therein,
You can bear to look on it for a longer space.
Not being* is the mirror of absolute Being,
Therein is reflected the shining of “The Truth.”
135 When Not being is set opposite to Being,
It catches its reflection in a moment.
That Unity is exposed to view in this plurality,
Like as when you count one it becomes many.
Though all numbers have one for their starting point,
Nevertheless you never come to the end of them.
Forasmuch as Not being in itself is pure,
Therein is reflected ‘The hidden treasure.’
Read the tradition ‘I was a hidden treasure,’*
That you may see clearly this concealed mystery.
140 Not being is the mirror, the world the reflection, and man
Is as the reflected eye of The unseen Person.
You are that reflected eye, and He the light of the eye,
In that eye His eye sees His own eye.*
The world is a man and man is a world:*
There is no clearer explanation than this.
When you look well into the root of this matter,
He is at once seer, seeing eye, and thing seen.
The holy tradition* has declared this,
And, ‘without eye or ear,’ demonstrated it.
145 Know the world is a mirror from head to foot,*
In every atom are a hundred blazing suns.
If you cleave the heart of one drop of water,
A hundred pure oceans emerge from it.
If you examine closely each grain of dust,
A thousand Adams may be seen in it.
In its members a gnat is like an elephant,
In its qualities a drop of rain is like the Nile.
The heart of a barley-corn equals a hundred harvests,
A world dwells in the heart of a millet seed.
150 In the wing of a gnat is the ocean of life,*
In the pupil of the eye a heaven.
What though the corn grain of the heart* be small,
It is a station for the Lord of both worlds to dwell therein.
Therein are gathered the two worlds,
Sometimes Iblis and sometimes Adam.*
Behold the world mingled together,
Angels with demons, Satan with the archangel.
All mingled like unto seed and fruit,
Infidel with faithful, and faithful with infidel.
155 Together are gathered, in the point of the present,*
All cycles and seasons, day, month, and year.
World without beginning is world without end,
The mission of Jesus falls with the creation of Adam.*
From every point in this concatenated circle
A thousand forms are drawn;
Every point as it revolves in a circle
Is now a centre, now a circling circumference.*
If you take one atom link from its place
The entire universe falls to ruin.
160 The whole in a dizzy whirl, and yet no single part
Placing foot beyond the limit of contingency,
Phenomenal being* holding each one in bondage,
Each is in despair at its particularization from the Whole.
You may say each is ever travelling and yet restrained,
Each is ever being unclothed and clothed upon;*
Each is alway in motion, yet ever at rest,
Never beginning and never ending.
Each ever cognizant of his own essence, and for that cause
Ever pressing his way towards the throne on high.
165 Beneath the veil of each atom is hidden
The heart-ravishing beauty of the Beloved's face!


You have heard thus much of the universe,
Come, say what you have seen of the universe.
What know you of form or of substance?
What is the next world, and what is this world?
Say what is Simurg, and what mount Kaf,*
What heaven and hell, and hades* what?
What is that world which is not seen,
One day whereof equals a year of this world?
170 That world, in fine, is not what you see.
Have you not heard the text, ‘What ye see not?’*
Come, show me what is Jabulca,*
What that city whose name is Jabulsa.
Consider the East along with the West,
For this world contains no more than one of each.*
Come and hear the meaning of ‘like unto them;’*
Hear it from Ibn Abbas, and then know yourself!
You are asleep, and this vision of yours is a dream,
All that you see thereby is an illusion.
175 On the morn of the last day, when you shall awake,
You will know all this to be the baseless fabric of fancy.
When the illusion of seeing double is removed,
Earth and heavens will become transfigured.
When the true Sun displays his face to you*
There remains not the light of Venus, moon or sun.
Falls one beam of His on the hard rock,
It is torn to pieces like wool of divers colours.*
Know now is the time that you have power to act:
What profit is there in knowing, when you are powerless?*
180 How shall I tell the tale of ‘states’ of heart*
To you, O man, with head downcast and feet in the mire?
The world is yours and yet you remain indigent.
Has man ever seen one so pitiable as you are?
Like captives you are confined to one spot,
Binding your feet with your own helpless hand.
You sit like women in the street of ill fortune,
You take no shame to yourself for your ignorance.
The valiant of the world are rolling in carnage;
You, with head wrapped up, put not forth your foot.
185 How read you the text, “old woman's creed,”
That you hold ignorance to be lawful for you?
Whereas “women are wanting in intellect and faith,”*
Why should men choose their road?
If you are a man, come forth and pass on,
Whatever hinders you, pass aside by it.
Tarry not day or night at the halting places,*
Linger not behind your fellow travellers and camels.
Like ‘The Friend of God,’ go seek “The Truth,”*
Turn night into day and day into night.*
190 Stars with moon and most brilliant sun
Represent sense, imagination and brilliant reason.*
Turn your face from all these, O pilgrim,
Say alway, ‘I love not them that set.’
Like Moses, son of Amran, press onwards in this road,
Till you hear the words, ‘Verily I am God.’*
So long as the mount of your being remains* before you,
The answer to ‘Show me’ is ‘Thou shalt not see me.’*
“The Truth,” as amber, attracts you like a straw.
If there were no mount of “youness,” where were the road?*
195 When its Lord appears in glory to the mount of existence,
Existence is laid low, even as the dust of the road.
The beggar becomes by one attraction a king,
In one instant it makes the mount as a straw.*
Follow the steps of the prophet in his ascension,
Marvel at all the mighty signs.*
Come forth from the dwelling of Umháni,*
Say only, “Whoso hath seen me hath seen The Truth.”*
Forsake the Kaf of the corner of both worlds,
Sit on mount Kaf at “the distance of two bows' lengths.”*
200 “The Truth” will then grant you whatsoever you ask,
And show you all things as they really arc.*


To him, whose soul attains the beatific vision,*
The universe is the book of “The Truth Most High.”
Accidents are its vowels, and substance its consonants,
And grades of creatures its verses and pauses.
Therein every world is a special chapter,
One the chapter Fatihah, another Ikhlas.
Of this book the first verse is ‘Universal Reason,*
For that is like the B of Bismillah;
205 Second comes “Universal Soul,” ‘the verse of light,’*
For that is as a lamp of exceeding light;
The third verse thereof is “Highest heaven.”*
Read the fourth verse, it is “The throne;”*
After that are the seven heavenly spheres,
The “chapter of the seven limbs” answers to these.*
After these, behold the bodies of the four elements,
Whereof each answers to its respective verse.
After these come the three kingdoms of nature,
Whose verses you cannot count.
210 The last that came down was the soul of man,*
And thus the Koran ends with the chapter “Men.”


Rest not in bondage in the prison of nature,
Come forth and behold the divine handiwork.
Consider the structure of the heavens,
So that you may praise “The Truth” for His signs.*
Look up and see how the vault of “highest heaven”*
Is stretched round about both worlds.
Wherefore do they name it “throne of the Merciful?”
What connection has it with the heart of man?*
215 Wherefore are these two continually in motion,
Never for a moment taking rest?
Peradventure the heart is the centre of that heaven,
Heart the central point and heaven the circumference.*
In the space of one day and night, more or less,
Highest heaven surpasses your circuits, O Durvesh!*
Moved by this the other heavenly spheres are circling:
Mark well how they all move in one direction.
From east to west, like a water-wheel,
They are ever hastening, without food or sleep.
220 Each day and night this highest sphere
Makes a complete revolution round the world.
Moved by this, the other heavenly spheres
Are revolving in circular orbits in like manner,
But contrary to the rotation of the crystalline sphere,*
These eight lower spheres revolve crookedly.*
The Ecliptic holds the signs of the zodiac,*
In them is no interval nor any interstice.
Aries and Taurus, and Gemini and Cancer,
Are hung upon it with Leo and Virgo.*
225 Then Libra and Scorpio, then Sagittarius,
Capricorn, and Aquarius, and then the sign Pisces,
The fixed stars are one thousand twenty and four,
Who have their stations round about the “throne.”*
Of the seventh heaven Saturn is the watchman,
The sixth is the mansion and house of Jupiter,
The fifth heaven is the house of Mars,
The fourth of the Sun, adorner of the earth,
The third of Venus, the second of Mercury:
The Moon holds its orbit on the sphere of the Earth.
230 The house of Saturn is in Capricorn and Aquarius,
Jupiter waxes and wanes in Sagittarius and Pisces.*
In Aries and Scorpio is found the place of Mars,
In Leo is the Sun's place of rest;
Like as Venus makes her house in Taurus and Libra,
So does Mercury abide in Gemini and Virgo.
The Moon sees in Cancer a creature akin to herself,
When head becomes tail she assumes the form of a knot.*
The Moon passes through eight and twenty mansions,*
And then she returns opposite to the Sun.*
235 Then she becomes like to a crooked palm-branch,*
By command of the Almighty who is Allwise.
If you think on this, as a perfect man,
Assuredly you will say, ‘All this is not vain.’*
The words of “The Truth” are clear on this point,*
That to call this vain is weakness of faith.
O fool, the body of a gnat enshrines wisdom,*
Then how is there no wisdom in Mercury and Mars?
Albeit if you look into the roots of this matter,
You see the heavens subject to the Almighty.*
240 When the astrologer is destitute of religion, and says
That starry influences proceed from the heavenly motions,*
He sees not that these revolving heavens
Are all under the sway and dominion of “The Truth.”


You may say these heavens are revolving
In the rotation of day and night like a potter's wheel.
And thereby every moment the wisdom of the Master
Fashions a new vessel out of water and clay.
Whatever exists in time and in space
Proceeds from one master hand, one workshop.
245 The stars, who are of the people of perfection,*
Wherefore are they always undergoing the defect of setting?
Why are they continually varying in position,
In place and orbit, in colour and size?
Why are they now in Nadir, now in Zenith?
Sometimes in opposition, sometimes in conjunction?
Wherefore again is the heart of heaven fretted with fire?
What does it desire that it is always in a whirl?
All the planets circling round in search of this,
Sometimes above, sometimes beneath the earth?
250 The elements water, air, fire and earth
Have taken their station below the heavens;
Each serving diligently in its own appointed place,
Before or behind which it never sets its foot.
Though all four are contrary in their nature and position,
Still one may see them ever united together.*
Inimical are they to each other in essence and form
Yet united into single bodies by fiat of necessity.*
From them is born the three-fold kingdom of Nature,
Minerals, them plants, then animals,
255 Setting up substance in their midst,*
As Sufis becoming pure from form.*
All at the command and by favour of the Master,
Standing in their places subject to His will,
The minerals by His wrath laid low in the dust,
The plants by His favour standing erect,
The sexual passion of animals with ardour unfeigned
Preserving their genera, species, and individuals,
All confessing the rule of their Master,
Searching out His will day and night!


260 Ponder well once for all on your own origin,
Your first mother had a father who was also her mother.*
Behold the world entirely comprised in yourself,
That which was made last was first in thought.*
The last that was made was the soul of Adam,
The two worlds were a means to his production.
There is no other final cause beyond man,
It is disclosed in man's own self.*
The black hearted and the fool are the opposites of light
Yet are they the theatres of the true epiphany.*
265 When the back of a mirror is blackened,
It will reflect a man's face from its face;*
And the rays of the sun in the fourth heaven
Are not reflected till they fall on the dust of earth.
You are the reflection of “The Adored of angels,”
For this cause are you worshipped of angels.*
Each creature that goes before you has a soul,
And from that soul is bound a cord to you.*
Therefore are they all subject to your dominion,
For that the soul of each one is hidden in you,
270 You are the kernel of the world in the midst thereof,
Know yourself that you are the world's soul.
The north quarter of the world is your dwelling place,*
Because the heart is on the left side of the body.
The world of reason and mind is your stock in trade,
Earth and heavens are your vesture.
Behold this Not being which is the evidence*
of Being,
See this height how it is the essence of depth.*
Your natural powers are ten thousand,*
Your volitions transcend limits and counting.
275 For that cause is each man* furnished with instruments,
With limbs, members, and sinews.
Physicians become bewildered at these,
And stand amazed at the anatomy of man.
Not one has mastered this science,
Who does not avow his ignorance thereof.
His limit and portion are appointed to each by “The Truth,”
Each arises from and returns to one Name.*
In that name each creature has its being,
To that name it is ever giving praise;
280 At its beginning each proceeds from that source,
At its return that is its door of departure.
By the door whereat each enters, it departs,
Though in its lifetime each wanders from door to door.*
Hence you learn all the names of God,
For that you are an image reflected from “The Named.”*
Power and Knowledge and Will are shown forth
In you, O slave of the Lord of bliss!
You are the Hearing, Seeing, Living, Speaking,
Yet you endure not of yourself but of Him!
285 O first who are also the essence of the last!
O inner who are also the essence of the outward!*
You day and night are cogitating about yourself,
It is most meet that you should think on self no more,*
Since the end of thought is bewilderment,*
This discourse on thonght ends at this point.