Riddle

by Gharib Nawaz

English version by Peter Lamborn Wilson and Nasrollah Pourjavady
Original Language Persian/Farsi

Lord,
     whose face is this
          reflected in spirit's mirror?
               Such beauty painted
                    on the inner screen--
                         who is he?
Each atom
     in all space
          is filled...
               Who transcends the galaxies,
                    shows himself in every molecule--
                         who is he?
Sun
     in the costume
          of various specks of dust
               sparks forth various rays
                    of light at every moment--
                         who is he?
Outwardly
     you appear in the meat
          of our existence
               but he who is hidden
                    in soul's marrow--
                         who is he?
In soul's fete
     every now and again he sings
          a new song, melodies of peace
               touching the veils
                    of the people of the heart--
                         who is he?
He who manifests himself
     upon himself
          makes love to himself
               in the name
                    of lovers--
                         who is he?
How many times, Mo'in
     will you drag yourself and me
          between us?
               He, the goal of I and thou,
                    is there -- right there!
                         Who is he?

-- from The Drunken Universe: An Anthology of Persian Sufi Poetry, Translated by Peter Lamborn Wilson / Translated by Nasrollah Pourjavady

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Commentary by Ivan M. Granger

A riddle for us today--

Lord,
     whose face is this
          reflected in spirit's mirror?
               Such beauty painted
                    on the inner screen--
                         who is he?


The thinking mind, every eager for praise, says this is an easy riddle. Clearly the poet is speaking of God.

Having answered, the mind believes it can then dismiss the question and move on to the next puzzle. But answering the puzzle is not the same thing as solving it.

We are speaking of the mystic's grand mysteries here, not to be neatly tied up in a conceptual answer, but to be witnessed, experienced directly. We don't answer this question, we participate in it, we give ourselves to it, and thus know.

Each atom
     in all space
          is filled...
               Who transcends the galaxies,
                    shows himself in every molecule--
                         who is he?


There is a riddle within a riddle here. How is it that the immense Eternal, transcending the vast universe, can still be discovered within the smallest mote of creation?

How is it that the great Unity is still found at the heart of every atom of separated reality?

Sun
     in the costume
          of various specks of dust
               sparks forth various rays
                    of light at every moment--
                         who is he?


How does the One Light divide itself into every ray and glimmer? How is the radiant measure of time found within time?

We look without and see a world, a universe, expanses beyond the mind's comprehension. Small patterns join into great tapestries, multiplicities form a unified vision. And the One is all that and more.

Yet-- when we look within, into the heart of the smallest grain or the mirror of one's own soul, and instead of smallness, we again see expanses! How can the individual contain that which contains the stars? An impossibility! Yet the mystic sees it is so.

The intellect, having quickly answered its question, is content -- and remains blind. But the full awareness, fully engaged, sees the full mystery, and in its awe is unable to answer.

He, the goal of I and thou,
                    is there -- right there!
                         Who is he?



Recommended Books: Gharib Nawaz

The Drunken Universe: An Anthology of Persian Sufi Poetry





Riddle