Sunday, June 01, 2014

Behind the veils..

Can the intellect perceive thee, or love, or the pure spirit? 
Does the Guarded Tablet know thee, do the angels in heaven?*
Do Gabriel or Jesus or Moses even see thee in their dreams? 
Is the celestial sphere worthy to be thy abode, or the Lote Tree of the Far Boundary?
Moses' Mount Sinai has become blood many times in love's madness, 
because an echo of Lord Shams al- Din's fame fell upon it.
The jealousy of the One has woven radiance upon radiance over his face. 
Muhammad's spirit shouts,
 "Oh, how I desire to meet him!"*
God's Jealousy would burn the two worlds to a cinder 
if a single hair of his beauty were to appear to us without veil.
His beauty has shone forth from behind a hundred thousand veils. 
The spirit has fallen to shouting,
"Welcome, oh king, welcome!"
The elegant cypress has bent itself double in prostrating itself before Tabriz; 
tiny Suha* shines forth over Tabriz like a sun.

  Ghazal 144
Translation by William C. Chittick
"The Sufi Path of Love"
SUNY Press, Albany, 1983

* The Guarded Tablet (lawh-i mahfuz), mentioned in the Koran as the locus wherein the Koran is inscribed (LXXXV 22), is usually interpreted in a cosmological sense to mean the Universal Soul, the passive pole of spiritual existence. Within it the Pen--the Universal Intellect--inscribes the knowledge of all things which are to come into existence. As a result, the created universe is born.

* The Prophet said, "Oh how I desire to meet my brothers," a saying that is taken to refer to the saints who would be born in coming generations.

* "Suha" -- the name of a small star
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