The Prophet said, "Don't think of my ascension
as superior to that of Jonah:
mine was up to heaven; his was below into the belly of the fish,
but nearness to God is beyond calculation."
Nearness to God is neither up nor down:
to be near God is to escape the prison of existence.
What room has nonexistence for "up" or "down"?
Nonexistence has no "soon" or "far" or "late."
The laboratory and treasure house of God is in nonexistence.
Since existence deludes you,
how will you know what nonexistence is?
Goft Payghambar keh "Me`râj-e merâ
nist bar me`râj-e Yunos ejtebâ
Ân-e man bar charkh va ân-e u neshib
zânke qorb-e Haqq berunast az hesâb"
Qorb nah bâlâ nah pasti raftanast
qorb-e Haqq az habs-e hasti rastanast
Nist-râ cheh jâ-ye bâlâ ast o zir
nist-râ nah zud o nah durast o dir
Kâr-gâh o ganj-e Haqq dar nistist
gherreh-ye hasti cheh dâni nist chist
-- Mathnawi III: 4512-4516
Version by Camille and Kabir Helminski
"Rumi: Jewels of Remembrance"
Threshold Books, 1996
Persian transliteration courtesy of Yahyá Monastra
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