As sunlight is attributed to the moon, so is the Beloved's form ascribed to the lover; but in truth

by Fakhruddin Iraqi

English version by William Chittick and Peter Lamborn Wilson
Original Language Persian/Farsi

As sunlight is attributed to the moon, so is the Beloved's form ascribed to the lover; but in truth

each image painted
     on the canvas of existence
is the form
     of the artist himself.
Eternal Ocean
     spews forth new waves.
"Waves" we call them;
     but there is only the Sea.

-- from Fakhruddin Iraqi: Divine Flashes (Classics of Western Spirituality) , Translated by William Chittick / Translated by Nasr Seyyed Hossein

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Commentary by Ivan M. Granger

This brief poem is a beautiful metaphor illustrating how the fragmented, separated sense of existence is finally recognized as numberless expressions of the Eternal Unity.

What is he saying, first of all, when he suggests that "sunlight is attributed to the moon"? In reality, the moon has no light of its own. The light we call moonlight is actually reflected sunlight. This was understood by the Persian world, which had an advanced understanding of astronomy at the time.

The full moon, therefore, is sometimes used to represent the individual awareness matured into enlightened awareness. The individual mind, full and pure, comes to reflect the eternal light of Spirit.

And so it is with all of existence... The lover, the one who has awakened through eternal love, is a reflection of the Eternal Beloved. This is why all the great wisdom traditions instruct us to "Know Thyself." When we look deeply within, we come to know the artist behind the canvas.

Eternal Ocean
     spews forth new waves.


We like to imagine we are separate creatures, separate expressions of life. But there is really only one life, with myriad points-of-view. Each individual being claims a vantage point and calls it "self," but when we investigate deeply, we discover that the point-of-view is not fixed and neither is the self. There is just the one ocean of life with many peaking waves...

"Waves" we call them;
     but there is only the Sea.



Recommended Books: Fakhruddin Iraqi

Poetry for the Spirit: Poems of Universal Wisdom and Beauty The Drunken Universe: An Anthology of Persian Sufi Poetry Fakhruddin Iraqi: Divine Flashes (Classics of Western Spirituality) Love's Alchemy: Poems from the Sufi Tradition





As sunlight is