Sun-Reflections (from The Secret Rose Garden)

by Mahmud Shabistari

English version by Florence Lederer
Original Language Persian/Farsi

Sun-reflections from the unseen world
are all the object of this mortal sphere,
as curl, down, mole, and brow on a fair face,
for Beauty absolute reigns over all.

...When the ears first hear these words
they seem to denote sensual objects.
But as there is no language for the infinite,
how can we express its mysteries
in finite words?
Or how can the visions of the ecstatic
be described in earthly formula?
So mystics veil their meanings
in these shadows of the unseen,
the objects of the senses.

...As a nurse to an infant,
so is the infinite to the finite.

...Once these words were used in their proper sense,
but now are concealed lest the vulgar should profane.

Annihilation, intoxication, the fever of love
are the three states of the mystic,
and those who abide in these states
at once comprehend the meanings
veiled in these words.
But if you know them not,
don't pretend you understand like an igonorant infidel,
for all cannot be mystics or grasp the mysteries:
no mere illusions are the mystic's dreams,
and a man of truth does not speak vainly.
To comprehend requires revelations or great faith.

Briefly have I explained these words and their meanings
so that you may apply them in their right intent,
remembering the attributes of each.
Compare them in a right manner,
and refrain from the wrong comparisons.

Now that these rules are understood
I will show you more of their application.

-- from The Secret Rose Garden: Mahmud Shabistari, Translated by Florence Lederer / Edited by David Fideler

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Recommended Books: Mahmud Shabistari

The Longing in Between: Sacred Poetry from Around the World (A Poetry Chaikhana Anthology) Perfume of the Desert: Inspirations from Sufi Wisdom The Secret Rose Garden: Mahmud Shabistari Beyond Faith and Infidelity: The Sufi Poetry and Teachings of Mahmud Shabistari

Sun-Reflections (from