Saturday Sanctuary…

Well, it has been longer than I ever wanted to go without posting, so this is a bit over the top. Sooooo much for you to check out.
Have mercy, I can’t stop finding stuff.
Have a good weekend, and thoroughly enjoy yourselves!

On The Menu:

George Santayana Quotes

Ustad Amjad Ali Khan playing 12 and half beats

Sufi Tales –


A Chishti Tale

The Dream

Poetry: RUMI…. Dreams of Eternity….

Ustad Amjad Ali Khan – Malkauns (80′s)


George Santayana Quotes

“It is easier to make a saint out of a libertine than out of a prig.”
“Chaos is a name for any order that produces confusion in our minds.”
“For a man who has done his natural duty, death is as natural as sleep.”
“Almost every wise saying has an opposite one, no less wise, to balance it.”
“All living souls welcome whatever they are ready to cope with; all else they ignore, or pronounce to be monstrous and wrong, or deny to be possible.”
“A soul is but the last bubble of a long fermentation in the world.”


Ustad Amjad Ali Khan playing 12 and half beats




People say that when Iblis was cursed, he was so excited and overcome by the intensity of his joy that he filled the whole world by himself. Some asked him: ‘How can you act this way seeing that you have been driven from the Divine Presence?’
He replied: ‘By this robe of honour the Beloved has singled me out; neither an angel who has been brought near, wears it, nor a prophet who has been sent forth’.

A Chishti Tale
A parrot, called Tuti, was asked by Khojasta, its mistress: “I like to hear a Sufi tale. Why don’t you tell me one?” Tuti answered, “Oh mistress, no evil will come to one who avoids these four things: first, anger; second, temper; third, indolence; fourth, haste. Although love and patience are not compatible, still one should not act in haste. If an unfortunate incident should arise, you should be able to extricate yourself just as the woman who saved herself from the leopard.”
Khojasta inquired: “How did that happen?”
Tuti replied: “It is reported that there lived a man in a city who had a wife who was extremely bad-tempered, quarrelsome, sharp-tongued, gossipy and peevish.
O Nakhshabi, if a woman always act like a shrew

Even a div will not endure a tongue so insolent.

There is no one on earth who will not run from a demon;

Even a devil shuns a female who is virulent.
The woman ranted as though she had thirty-two tongues like the harp. Her husband continually heard profanity pouring forth from her windpipe. One day as if he was tuning a rubab, he twisted her ears and pummelled her several times like a bass drum.
This woman from the gutter, who in wickedness was like a two-faced drum, left the house in a rage with her two children and went to the jungle. She reached a desolate wasteland, which was so terrifying that even a frog because of fear would not dare to make a noise and even a bird because of fright would not flap its wings.
Suddenly a leopard looking like a lion and with the power of an elephant appeared before her and wanted to carry off her children.
The woman thought to herself, “Whoever disobeys her husband and leaves her house without permission will experience what I am undergoing.” She greatly regretted her action and was so repentant in her heart that she made a vow saying to herself, “If I am ever rescued from this danger, I will never again leave my husband and will always serve and obey him”. Yea, the ignorant will act in the same way as the wise but only after feeling the whip of indignation and being subjected to humiliation.
O Nakhshabi, ignorance creates a heavy shackle.

I do not know what would cause you to become ecstatic.

The fact that the unwitting will follow the wise man’s path

Only after shame and disgrace is axiomatic.
When the woman realized that she was overtaken by disaster, she thought to herself, “I must devise a scheme and must think of some stratagem. If I am successful, I will achieve my purpose; if not my conscience will be clear that I have done everything I could.”

The woman shouted in a loud voice, “Oh leopard, come closer and listen to me.”
The leopard was astonished and said, “How dare you address me in this fashion?”
“There is a lion in this vicinity,” she said, “which by one assault can destroy the whole world. Every day three human beings supply the food for his kitchen. The people in my community have agreed to provide these to him. Today it is my turn with my children for our names have been drawn by lot.
“I am a woman who is descended from a tribe of dervishes. None of my ancestors has ever refused anyone his daily bread. Although you are here to make an attempt against my life, I do not wish you to go away unsatisfied. Come and eat one of my children and half of my body. In this way you will not be deprived of your share and at the same time the lion will get his portion.”
When the leopard heard these words, he was amazed and said, “Oh madam, I have never heard of anyone generous enough to offer herself as a means of subsistence to her enemy!”
The woman said, “Oh leopard, acts like these are not unusual for the devout and are not uncommon amongst the observers of religious precepts. ‘Umar bin ‘Abd al-‘Aziz (he was noted for his high religious and ethical standards, so much so that ‘Umar II was his nickname; he ruled as an ‘Umayyad caliph between 717-720; Siraj) who was the enthroned sultan of the caliphate was given poison by a slave, the news of which was widely reported. ‘Umar summoned the slave and asked him, ‘Did you commit the act of administering poison to me?’ He replied, ‘Yes the vizier, may his gall bladder rupture, forced me to do this for he coveted abundant riches. ‘Umar gave him money for travel and said, ‘This poison has been effective, and I will not survive its fatal dose. The rumour of this deed has spread. While I am still alive and before they arrest you for the attempt on my life, take this money and leave the city’.”
O Nakhshabi, be like the companions of Muhammad

In distinguishing between true friend and deceitful foe.

Others will have generosity only for their friends

Buth those with the prophet to their enemies grace did show.

“Oh leopard, since I am going to die today and my body is going to be eaten, it does not matter whether it is by a lion or by a leopard. To me you are more deserving because I have met and talked with you, but not with the lion. If you eat one of the children and half of my body and leave the other half for the lion, take care not to remain in these parts for the lion will not touch what has been eaten by another. Since we have been promised to him, he will ask for us. When he finds us in such a condition, he will pursue you and no matter where he overtakes you, he will not only slaughter you but will also exterminate your wife and children.”
When the leopard heard these words, he left the woman in such haste that for several miles he did not even glance back. Suddenly a fox appeared and saw the leopard in a state of great agitation and trepidation.
He said: “Oh leopard, what has happened?”
The leopard related to him everything that the woman had told him. The fox opened his mouth and said, “What people say is true: All brave men are foolish. Oh leopard you are not very proud of your courage. God has bestowed reason and the Creator has given intelligence. From head to foot man is full of deceit, hypocrisy and trickery. We who are famous for our cunning and shrewdness and are celebrated for our craftiness and chicanery have our hides made into capes by men and sometimes our pelts into garments.”
“How can a woman recognise bravery, and how can a female intimidate a leopard? Oh leopard, what does she mean with a promise to provide food for the lion and ‘eat half of us and leave the other half for the lion?’ Do not be deceived by her words. Go back immediately and free your heart from fear of her and do not miss eating such a delicious meal. Take me along with you so that through your charity I may replenish my kitchen and by your good fortune I may have some kebab.”
The leopard replied: “Oh fox, it is possible that the woman was telling the truth and the lion will come. Then you will dash into a hole and I will be left to be caught by his claws.”
“If you do not have faith in my ingenuity and do not trust my judgment”, the fox said, “tie me firmly to your leg and take me there with you. If the lion appears, throw me at his feet and run away from him.” The leopard agreed.
When the woman saw the fox bound to the leopard’s leg, she surmised that this was a manoeuvre of the fox. She cried out, “Oh hello, hello! You are welcome. Nowadays it is considered that one’s daily bread and food allotment should be brought and placed before him, and for a human being it should be delivered to his home.”
“Oh leopard, I am a woman who is a sorceress and a female who is a hyena. In this wilderness my food consists of the meat of crocodiles and my stew of the kebab of leopards. When I told you the story of the lion and of the promise made to him, I did so thinking that you would become angry and would come nearer to me, then with my own hands I would prepare kebab from your meat for my children and make soup from your bones. You left me and I regretted what I have said. Now you have returned and brought the fox as your donation, but what purpose will this lump of flesh serve and how can this meat satisfy my needs? If you intended to make a gift, you should have brought a lion or an elephant.”
When the fox heard these words, he said: “Oh leopard, this is not a human being. It is a curse from heaven. This is not a woman but a witch of the wilderness. If you can, escape as quickly as possible and safe your life by running away from her at once.”
The leopard fled and the fox, which was tied to his leg, was hit and wounded by flying stones and clods of dirt, while at the same time he was laughing and smiling in ridicule.
The leopard said, “Oh fox, why are you laughing?”
He replied: “I am laughing at your stupidity. Is this the time for you to carry a heavy load with you. If that sorceress overtakes you and swallows you like a morsel, what will become of you?”
The leopard untied the fox from his leg and the fox immediately dashed into a hole. Then the leopard ran so fast that he looked neither to the right nor left and never once looked backward. By this trick the woman saved herself from the leopard.

O, Nakhshabi, it is wise to take careful precautions

To escape from fatal entanglements by some device.

Should a man find himself in a perilous position

For lack of craftiness he must not his life sacrifice.

The Dream
A visitor came to a Chishti pir. This visitor wanted to demonstrate his own knowledge of the Qur’an and intended to overpower the Chishti pir in a debate. When he entered, the Chishti pir took the initiative however and mentioned Yusuf and the dreams he has had according to the Qur’an. He then suddenly turned to his visitor and asked him if he could tell him about a dream, so that the visitor may give his interpretation thereof. After receiving permission the Sufi told that he has had a dream and both of them were in it. The Chishti pir then went on by describing the following dream event: “I saw your hand immersed in a jar of honey, while my hand was immersed in the latrine”.
The visitor hastened to interpret: “It is quite obvious! You are immersed in wrong pursuits whereas I am leading a righteous life”.
“But’, the Sufi said, “there is more to the dream”. The visitor asked him to continue. The Chishti pir then went on by telling this: “You were licking my hand and I was licking yours”.
RUMI…. Dreams of Eternity….

Gone to the Unseen
At last you have departed and gone to the Unseen.

What marvelous route did you take from this world?
Beating your wings and feathers,

you broke free from this cage.

Rising up to the sky

you attained the world of the soul.

You were a prized falcon trapped by an Old Woman.

Then you heard the drummer’s call

and flew beyond space and time.
As a lovesick nightingale, you flew among the owls.

Then came the scent of the rosegarden

and you flew off to meet the Rose.
The wine of this fleeting world

caused your head to ache.

Finally you joined the tavern of Eternity.

Like an arrow, you sped from the bow

and went straight for the bull’s eye of bliss.
This phantom world gave you false signs

But you turned from the illusion

and journeyed to the land of truth.
You are now the Sun –

what need have you for a crown?

You have vanished from this world –

what need have you to tie your robe?
I’ve heard that you can barely see your soul.

But why look at all? –

yours is now the Soul of Souls!
O heart, what a wonderful bird you are.

Seeking divine heights,

Flapping your wings,

you smashed the pointed spears of your enemy.
The flowers flee from Autumn, but not you –

You are the fearless rose

that grows amidst the freezing wind.
Pouring down like the rain of heaven

you fell upon the rooftop of this world.

Then you ran in every direction

and escaped through the drain spout . . .
Now the words are over

and the pain they bring is gone.

Now you have gone to rest

in the arms of the Beloved.

( “Rumi – In the Arms of the Beloved”, Jonathan Star

New York 1997)

He Comes
He comes, a moon whose like the sky ne’er saw, awake or dreaming.

Crowned with eternal flame no flood can lay.

Lo, from the flagon of thy love, O Lord, my soul is swimming,

And ruined all my body’s house of clay!
When first the Giver of the grape my lonely heart befriended,

Wine fired my bosom and my veins filled up;

But when his image all min eye possessed, a voice descended:

‘Well done, O sovereign Wine and peerless Cup!’
Love’s mighty arm from roof to base each dark abode is hewing,

Where chinks reluctant catch a golden ray.

My heart, when Love’s sea of a sudden burst into its viewing,

Leaped headlong in, with ‘Find me now who may!’
As, the sun moving, clouds behind him run,

All hearts attend thee, O Tabriz’s Sun!
R. A. Nicholson

‘Persian Poems’, an Anthology of verse translations

edited by A.J.Arberry, Everyman’s Library, 1972

I made a far journey

Earth’s fair cities to view,

but like to love’s city

City none I knew
At the first I knew not

That city’s worth,

And turned in my folly

A wanderer on earth.
From so sweet a country

I must needs pass,

And like to cattle

Grazed on every grass.
As Moses’ people

I would liefer eat

Garlic, than manna

And celestial meat.
What voice in this world

to my ear has come

Save the voice of love

Was a tapped drum.
Yet for that drum-tap

From the world of All

Into this perishing

Land I did fall.
That world a lone spirit


Like a snake I crept

Without foot or wing.
The wine that was laughter

And grace to sip

Like a rose I tasted

Without throat or lip.
‘Spirit, go a journey,’

Love’s voice said:

‘Lo, a home of travail

I have made.’
Much, much I cried:

‘I will not go’;

Yea, and rent my raiment

And made great woe.
Even as now I shrink

To be gone from here,

Even so thence

To part I did fear.
‘Spirit, go thy way,’

Love called again,

‘And I shall be ever nigh thee

As they neck’s vein.’
Much did love enchant me

And made much guile;

Love’s guile and enchantment

Capture me the while.
In ignorance and folly

When my wings I spread,

From palace unto prison

I was swiftly sped.
Now I would tell

How thither thou mayst come;

But ah, my pen is broke

And I am dumb.
A..J. Arberry

‘Persian Poems’, an Anthology of verse translations

edited by A.J.Arberry, Everyman’s Library, 1972

Our feast, our wedding

Will be auspicious to the world.

God fit the feast and wedding

To our length like a proper garment.
Venus and the moon

Will be matched to each other,

The parrot with sugar.

The most beautifully-faced Beloved

Makes a different kind of wedding every night.
With the favor of our Sultan’s prosperity,

Hearts become spacious

And men pair up with each other.

Troubles and anxieties are all gone.
Here tonight, You go again

To the wedding and feasting.

O beauty who adorned our city,

You will be groom to the beauties.
How nicely You walk in our neighborhood,

Coming to us so beautifully.

O our river, O One

Who is searching for us,

How nicely You flow in our stream.
How nicely You flow with our desires,

Unfastening the binding of our feet.

You make us walk so nicely, holding our hand,

O Joseph of our world.
Cruelty suits You well.

It’s a mistake for us to expect Your loyalty.

Step as You wish on our bloody Soul.
O Soul of my Soul, pull our Souls

To our Beloved’s temple.

Take this piece of bone.

Give it as a gift to our Huma.
O wise ones, give thanks

To our Sultan’s kindness, who adds Souls to Soul,

Keep dancing, O considerate ones.

Keep whirling and dancing.
At the wedding night of rose and Nasrin

I hang the drum on my neck.

Tonight, the tambourine and small drum

Will become our clothes.
Be silent! Venus becomes the Cupbearer tonight

And offers glasses to our sweetheart,

Whose skin is fair and rosy,

Who takes a glass and drinks.
For the sake of God, because of our praying,

Now Sufis become exuberant

At the assembly of God’s Absence.

They put the belt of zeal on their waists

And start Sama’.
One group of people froth like the sea,

Prostrating like waves.

The other group battles like swords,

Drinking the blood of our glasses.
Be silent! Tonight, the Sultan

Went to the kitchen.

He is cooking with joy.

But a most unusual thing,

Tonight, the Beloved is cooking our Halva.
– Ghazal (ode) 31 Divan-i Kebir, Meter 1

Translated by Nevit Oguz Ergin

Current Walla Walla, WA, U.S.A
Huma: legendary bird which eats bone. The person on whom she casts her shadow becomes a Sultan. Also called stately bird.

Nasrin: A variety of rose.

Sama’: Ritual of the Whirling Dervishes.

Halva: Sweetmeats.

Ustad Amjad Ali Khan – Malkauns (80′s)




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