Wednesday, February 11, 2015
When the path ignites a soul,
there's no remaining in place.
The foot touches ground,
but not for long.
The way where love tells its secret
stays always in motion,
and there is no you there, and no reason.
The rider urges his horse to gallop,
and so doing, throws himself
under the flying hooves.
In love-unity there's no old or new.
Everything is nothing.
God alone is.
For lovers the phenomena-veil is very transparent,
and the delicate tracings on it cannot
be explained with language.
Clouds burn off as the sun rises,
and the love-world floods with light.
But cloud-water can be obscuring,
as well as useful.
There is an affection that covers the glory,
rather than dissolving into it.
It's a subtle difference,
like the change in Persian
from the word "friendship"
to the word "work."
That happens with just a dot
above or below the third letter.
There is a seeing of the beauty
of union that doesn't actively work
for the inner conversation.
Your hand and feet must move,
as a stream streams, working
as its Self, to get to the ocean.
Then there's no more mention
of the search.
Being famous, or being a disgrace,
who's ahead or behind, these considerations
are rocks and clogged places
that slow you. Be as naked as a wheat grain
out of its husk and sleek as Adam.
Don't ask for anything other
than the presence.
Don't speak of a "you"
apart from That.
A full container cannot be more full.
Be whole, and nothing.
~ Hakim Sanai
version by Coleman Barks
from The Hand of Poetry: Five Mystic Poets of Persia,
with Lectures by Inayat Khan
with thanks to Ivan at Poetry Chaikhana
who also provided the following:
Not much is known about Hakim Sanai, often just called Sanai or Sanai of Ghazna. Sanai is one of the earlier Sufi poets. He was born in the province of Ghazna in southern Afghanistan in the middle of the 11th century and probably died around 1150.
Sanai was originally a court poet who was engaged in writing praises for the Sultan of Ghazna.
The Sultan decided to invade 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 invade another country, 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, The Walled Garden of Truth. There was a double meaning in this title for, in Persian, the word for a garden is the same as the 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.