Both worlds within my compass come, but this world cannot compass me

by Imadeddin Nasimi

English version by P. Tempest
Original Language Persian/Farsi

Both worlds within my compass come, but this world cannot compass me.
An omnipresent pearl I am and both worlds cannot compass me.

Because in me both earth and heaven and Creation's “BE!” were found,
Be silent! For there is no commentary can encompass me.

Through doubt and surmise no one came to be a friend of God and Truth.
The man who honours God knows doubt and surmise cannot compass me.

Pay due regard to form, acknowledge content in the form, because
Body and soul I am, but soul and body cannot compass me.

I am both shell and pearl, the Doomsday scales, the bridge to Paradise.
With such a wealth of wares, this worldly counter cannot compass me.

I am “the hidden treasure” that is God. I am open eyes.
I am the jewel of the mine. No sea or mine can compass me.

Although I am the boundless sea, my name is Adam, I am man.
I am Mount Sinai and both worlds. This dwelling cannot compass me.

I am both soul and word as well. I am both world and epoch, too.
Mark this particular: this world and epoch cannot compass me.

I am the stars, the sky the angel, revelation come from God.
So hold your tongue and silent be! There is no tongue can compass me.

I am the atom, sun, four elements, five saints, dimensions six.
Go seek my attributes! But explanations cannot compass me.

I am the core and attribute, the flower, sugar and sweetmeat.
I am Assignment Night, the Eve. No tight-shut lips can compass me.

I am the burning bush. I am the rock that rose into the sky.
Observe this tongue of flame. There is no tongue of flame can compass me.

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Commentary by Ivan M. Granger

This selection reminds me of Whitman's "Song of Myself."

What a wonderful, swirling, kaleidoscopic sense of the self as being all things until it ultimately resolves into a vision of non-dual reality. Nasimi gathers everything into his sense of self until he is beyond definition, beyond form. For Nasimi, all things are recognized as being within until all descriptions fail: "Explanations cannot compass me."

In reality, we are all like that -- too vast to be corralled into some safe, limited notion of what we are. Whatever you think you are, you are greater still, because the limited mind cannot conceive of something so limitless as your true being. In our deepest self, we are too big to be a 'thing', to big to be anything. Instead, there is something of all things in us all. Realizing this, we settle into a state of pure witnessing ("I am open eyes"), free from the doomed effort of endless self-definition.

Silent be! There is no tongue can compass me.

Time for me to take some good advice and be silent...



Recommended Books: Imadeddin Nasimi

The Drunken Universe: An Anthology of Persian Sufi Poetry Quarreling with God: Mystic Rebel Poems of the Dervishes of Turkey





Both worlds within