Saturday, June 17, 2006

Work in the Invisible


Work in the Invisible

The Prophets have wondered to themselves,
³How long should we keep pounding this cold iron?
How long do we have to whisper into an empty cage?²

Every motion of created beings comes from the creator.
The first soul pushes, and your second soul responds.

So don't be timid.
Load the ship and set out.
No one knows for certain
whether the vessel will sink
or reach the harbor

Just don't be one of those merchants
who won't risk the ocean!
This is much more important
than losing or making money!

This is your connection to God.

Think of the fear and the hope
that you have about your livelihood.
They make you go to work diligently every day.

Now consider what the prophets have done.
Abraham wore fire for an anklet.
Moses spoke to the sea.
David moulded iron.
Solomon rode the wind.

Work in the invisible world
at least as hard as you do in the visible.

Be companions with the prophets
even though no one here
will know that you are,
not even the helpers of the Qutb, the abdals.

You can't imagine what profit will come!
When one of those generous ones
invites you into the fire, go quickly!
Don't say, ³But will it burn me? Will it hurt?²

-- Mathnawi III, 3077-3109
Version by Coleman Barks
³Rumi: One-Handed Basket Weaving²
Maypop, 1991

The image:

The Persian recitation:

The Persian interpretation:

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