Tell us not the tale of Layli
or of Majnun’s woe—
Thy love hath made the world forget the loves of long ago.
When once thy name was on the tongue, the lovers caught it
And it set the speakers and the hearers dancing to and fro.(87)
And of divine wisdom and heavenly counsel, [Rumi says]:
Each moon, O my beloved, for
three days I go mad;
Today’s the first of these—’Tis why thou seest me glad.
We hear that thou hast journeyed to Tabriz and Tiflis to disseminate knowledge, or that some other high purpose hath taken thee to Sanandaj.(88), (89)
O My eminent friend! Those who progress in mystic wayfaring are of four kinds. I shall describe them in brief, that the grades and qualities of each kind may become plain to thee.
The First Valley
If the travelers seek after the goal of the Intended One (maqsud), this station appertaineth to the self—but that self which is “The Self of God standing within Him with laws."(90)
On this plane, the self is not rejected but beloved; it is well-pleasing and not to be shunned. Although at the beginning, this plane is the realm of conflict, yet it endeth in attainment to the throne of splendor. As they have said: “O Abraham of this day, O Friend Abraham of the Spirit! Kill these four birds of prey,"(91) that after death the riddle of life may be unraveled.
This is the plane of the soul who is pleasing unto God. Refer to the verse:
O thou soul who art well assured,
Return to thy Lord, well-pleased, and pleasing unto Him.(92)
Enter thou among My servants,
And enter thou My paradise.(93)
This station hath many signs, unnumbered proofs. Hence it is said: “Hereafter We will show them Our signs in the regions of the earth, and in themselves, until it become manifest unto them that it is the truth,"(94) and that there is no God save Him.
One must, then, read the book of his own self, rather than some treatise on rhetoric. Wherefore He hath said, “Read thy Book: There needeth none but thyself to make out an account against thee this day."(95)
The story is told of a mystic knower, who went on a journey with a learned grammarian as his companion. They came to the shore of the Sea of Grandeur. The knower straightway flung himself into the waves, but the grammarian stood lost in his reasonings, which were as words that are written on water. The knower called out to him, “Why dost thou not follow?” The grammarian answered, “O Brother, I dare not advance. I must needs go back again.” Then the knower cried, “Forget what thou didst read in the books of Sibavayh and Qawlavayh, of Ibn-i-Hajib and Ibn-i-Malik,(96) and cross the water.”
The death of self is needed
here, not rhetoric:
Be nothing, then, and walk upon the waves.(97)