Shabistari: When Pure Gold is Melted

This is an excerpt from Mahmud Shabistari’s response to the ninth inquiry in the Garden of Mystery, in which he treats the subject of the independent Essence and the dependent–and therefore transient–creation.

If a Light from the Self reaches within you
it frees you from your personal existence.

What have you achieved between Being and nonbeing?
You are one moment afraid and the next full of hope.

Whoever knows Him does not fear Him,
yet a child is afraid of his own shadow.

Attributing actions to ourselves is just imagination.
Such attribution is really jest and amusement.

No fear will remain if you set out on the Way.
The Arab steed needs no prodding of the whip.*

What fear can you have of the fire of hell
when your body and soul are purified of existence?

When pure gold is melted in a furnace blaze,
as it has no impurity, what can burn away?

There is nothing in the way except your self,
but beware of the tenacious existence of the self.

If you become trapped in yourself,
the world will at once become your veil.

The basest place in the circle of existence,
you-ness is the point opposite to Unity.

The phenomena of this world have affected you,
and you say with Satan, “Who is there like me?”**

*’Arab steed’, meaning a horse of the highest quality, here represents the soul; once it has begun to awaken, the soul goes forward eagerly.

**According to the legends, Satan was once the highest of the angels.  When God had fashioned man from the earth, He commanded all the angels to bow down before him, but ‘Lucifer,’ (‘light-bearer’) refused, saying, “Who is there like me?”  For this display of ego, he was cast from heaven–the same condition experienced by humans trapped in the illusion of ‘I-ness.’

–from Garden of Mystery
The Gulshan-i raz of Mahmud Shabistari
Tr. Robert Abdul Hayy Darr

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.