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Saadi - The Gulistan of Sa‘di – 04 from the Cause for composing the Rose garden

Identifier

015274

Type of spiritual experience

A description of the experience

Saadi - The Gulistan of Sa‘di – 04 from the cause for composing the Rose garden

I was one night meditating on the time which had elapsed, repenting of the life I had squandered and perforating the stony mansion of my heart with adamantine tears. I uttered the following verses in conformity with this state of mind:

Every moment a breath of life is spent,
If I consider, not much of it remains.
O you, whose fifty years have elapsed in sleep,
Will you perhaps overtake them in these five days?
Shame on him who has gone and done no work.
The drum of departure was beaten but he has not made his load.

Sweet sleep on the morning of departure
Retains the pedestrian from the road.
Whoever had come had built a new edifice.
He departed and left the place to another
And that other one concocted the same futile schemes
And this edifice was not completed by anyone.

Cherish not an inconstant friend.
Such a traitor is not fit for amity.
As all the good and bad must surely die,
He is happy who carries off the ball of virtue.
Send provision for your journey to your tomb.
Nobody will bring it after you; send it before.

Life is snow, the sun is melting hot.
Little remains, but the gentleman is slothful still.
O you who have gone empty handed to the bazar,
I fear you will not bring a towel filled.
Who eats the corn he has sown while it is yet green,
Must at harvest time glean the ears of it.

Listen with all your heart to the advice of Sa‘di.
Such is the way; be a man and travel on.

The capital of man’s life is his abdomen.
If it be gradually emptied there is no fear
But if it be so closed as not to open
The heart may well despair of life;
And if it be open so that it cannot be closed,
Go and wash your hands of this world’s life.

Four contending rebellious dispositions
Harmonize but briefly with each other.
If one of these four becomes prevalent,
Sweet life must abandon the body
Wherefore an intelligent and perfect man
Sets not his heart upon this world’s life.

After maturely considering these sentiments, I thought proper to sit down in the mansion of retirement to fold up the skirts of association, to wash my tablets of heedless sayings and no more to indulge in senseless prattle:

To sit in a corner, like one with a cut tongue, deaf and dumb,
Is better than a man who has no command over his tongue.

I continued in this resolution until a friend, who had been my companion in the camel-litter of misery and my comrade in the closet of affection, entered at the door, according to his old custom with playful gladness, and spread out the surface of desire; but I would give him no reply nor lift up my head from the knees of worship. He looked at me aggrieved and said:

“Now, while you have the power of utterance,
Speak, O brother, with grace and kindness
Because tomorrow, when the messenger of death arrives,
You will of necessity restrain your tongue.”

The source of the experience

Saadi

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