Friday, December 21, 2012

The story of Bayazid Bestami

That magnificent dervish, Bayazid Bestami, came to his disciples and said, "I am God." It was night, and he was drunk with his ecstasy. "There is no God but me. You should worship me."

At dawn, when he had returned to normal, they came and told him what he'd said. "If I say that again, bring your knives and plunge them into me. God is beyond the body, and I am in this body. Kill me when I say that."

Each student then sharpened his knife, and again Bayazid drank the God-Wine. The sweet dessert-knowing came. The Inner Dawn snuffed his candle. Reason, like a timid advisor, faded to a far corner as the Sun-Sultan entered Bayazid. Pure spirit spoke through him.

Bayazid was not there. The "he" of his personality dissolved. Like the Turk who spoke fluent Arabic, then came to, and didn't know a word. The Light of God poured into the empty Bayazid and became words.

Muhammed did not dictate the Qur'an. God did. The mystic osprey opened its wings in Bayazid and soared.

"Inside my robe there is nothing but God. How long will you keep looking elsewhere!"

The disciples drew their knifes and slashed out like assassins, but as they stabbed at their Sheikh, they did not cut Bayazid. They cut themselves.

There was no mark on that Adept, but the students were bleeding and dying.

Those who somewhat held back, respecting their Teacher, had only lightly wounded themselves.

A selfless One disappears into Existence and is safe there. He becomes a mirror. If you spit at it, you spit at your own face.

If you see an ugly face there, it's yours. If you see Jesus and Mary, they're you.

Bayazid became nothing, that clear and that empty.

A saint puts your image before you. When I reach this point, I have to close my lips.

Those of you who are love-drunk on the edge of the roof, sit down, or climb down. Every moment spent in Union with the Beloved is a dangerous delight, like standing on a roof-edge.

Be afraid up there, of losing that connection, and don't tell anybody about it. Keep your secret.

Mathnawi IV: 2102-2148
Version by Coleman Barks
"Delicious Laughter"
Maypop, 1990
(credit :
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