Afghanistan (1044? - 1150?) Timeline
Muslim / Sufi
Poems by Hakim Sanai
Books - Links
Rumi acknowledged Sanai and Attar as his two primary inspirations, saying, "Attar is the soul and Sanai its two eyes, I came after Sanai and Attar."
Sanai was originally a court poet who was engaged in writing praises for the Sultan of Ghazna.
The story is told of how the Sultan decided to lead a military attack against neighboring India and Sanai, as a court poet, was summoned to join the expedition to record the Sultan's exploits. As Sanai was making his way to the court, he passed an enclosed garden frequented by a notorious drunk named Lai Khur.
As Sanai was passing by, he heard Lai Khur loudly proclaim a toast to the blindness of the Sultan for greedily choosing to attack India, when there was so much beauty in Ghazna. Sanai was shocked and stopped. Lai Khur then proposed a toast to the blindness of the famous young poet Sanai who, with his gifts of insight and expression, couldn't see the pointlessness of his existence as a poet praising such a foolish Sultan.
These words were like an earthquake to Hakim Sanai, because he knew they were true. He abandoned his life as a pampered court poet, even declining marriage to the Sultan's own sister, and began to study with a Sufi master named Yusef Hamdani.
Sanai soon went on pilgrimage to Mecca. When he returned, he composed his poetic masterpiece, Hadiqatu'l Haqiqat or The Walled Garden of Truth. There was a double meaning in this title for, in Persian, the word for a garden is the same word for paradise, but it was also from within a walled garden that Lai Khur uttered the harsh truths that set Hakim Sanai on the path of wisdom.
Poems by Hakim Sanai
- And if, my friend, you ask me the way
- At his door, what is the difference
- Belief and unbelief
- Belief brings me close to You
- Bloom Like a Rose
- Bring all of yourself to his door
- It's your own self
- Love's conqueror is he
- Melt yourself down in this search
- My friend, everything existing
- Mystic Chat
- Naked in the Bee-House
- No tongue can tell Your secret
- Stop weaving a net about yourself
- Take everything away
- The Good Darkness
- The path consists of neither words nor deeds
- The way is not far
- The Way of the Holy Ones
- The way to You
- The Wild Rose of Praise
- Then through that dim murkiness
- There is no place for place!
- Until you are complete
- We tried reasoning
- When he admits you to his presence
- Your intellect is just a hotch-potch
Author Hakim Sanai, from the Oldpoetry Poetry Archive
A brief biography and several excerpts of his writings.
Virtual Afghans - Afghan Poetry - Sanai
A brief biography online.
Afghanland.com Hakim Sanai
An extended biography and discussion of the poetry and philosophy of Sanai.
A few poem selection by Sanai, as well as several other great Sufi poets.