The conflict of being and not-being is universal;
no man knows the secret of yon azure sky. 2680
Everywhere death brings the message of life—
happy is the man who knows what death is.
Everywhere life is as cheap as the wind,
unstable, and aspiring to stability.
My eyes had beheld a hundred six-day worlds 2685
and at last the borders of this universe appeared;
each world had a different moon, a different Pleiades,
a different manner and mode of existence.
Time in each world flowed like the sea,
here slowly, and there swiftly; 2690
our year was here a month, there a moment,
this world’s more was that world’s less.
Our reason in one world was all-cunning,
in another world it was mean and abased.
On the frontiers of this world of quality and quantity 2695
dwelt a man with a voice full of agony,
his vision keener than an eagle’s,
his mien witness to a heart afire;
every moment his inward glow increased.
On his lips was a verse he chanted a hundred times: 2700
‘No Gabriel, no Paradise, no houri, no God,
only a handful of dust consumed by a yearning soul.’
I said to Rumi, ‘Who is this madman?’
He answered: ‘This is the German genius
whose place is between these two worlds; 2705
his reed-pipe contains an ancient melody.
This Hallaj without gallows and rope
has spoken anew those ancient words;
his words are fearless, his thoughts sublime,
the Westerners are struck asunder by the sword of his speech. 2710
His colleagues have not comprehended his ecstasy
and have reckoned the ecstatic mad.
Intellectuals have no share of love and intoxication;
they placed his pulse in the hand of the physician,
yet what have doctors but deceit and fraud? 2715
Alas for the ecstatic born in Europe!
Avicenna puts his faith in textbooks
and slits a vein, or prescribes a sleeping-pill.
He was a Hallaj who was a stranger in his own city;
he saved his life from the mullahs, and the physicians slew him. 2720
‘There was none in Europe who knew the Way,
so his melody outstretched the strings of his lute;
none showed the wayfarer the road,
and a hundred flaws vitiated his visitations.
He was true coin, but there was none to assay him, 2725
expert in theory, but none to prove him;
a lover lost in the labyrinth of his sighs,
a traveller gone astray in his own path.
His intoxication shattered every glass;
he broke from God, and was snapped too from himself. 2730
He desired to see, with his external eyes,
the intermingling of power with love;
he yearned for these to come forth from water and clay
a cluster sprouting from the seed-bud of the heart.
What he was seeking was the station of Omnipotence, 2735
which station transcends reason and philosophy.
Life is a commentary on the hints of the Self,
"no" and "but" are of the stations of the Self;
he remained fast in "no" and did not reach "but"
being a stranger to the station of "His servant". 2740
Revelation embraced him, yet he knew it not,
being like fruit all the farther from the roots of the tree.
His eyes desired no other vision but man;
fearlessly he shouted, "Where is man? "
and else he had despaired of earth’s creatures 2745
and like Moses he was seeking the vision.
Would that he had lived in Ahmad’s time,
so that he might have attained eternal joy.
His reason is in dialogue with itself;
take your own way, for one’s own way is good. 2750
Stride onwards, for now that station has come
wherein speech sprouts without spoken words.’