The Bohemian Imperative Part 2

The Voice Of The Ancient Bard
Youth of delight! come hither
And see the opening morn,
Image of Truth new-born.
Doubt is fled, and clouds of reason,
Dark disputes and artful teazing.
Folly is an endless maze;
Tangled roots perplex her ways;
How many have fallen there!
They stumble all night over bones of the dead;
And feel–they know not what but care;
And wish to lead others, when they should be led.
– William Blake –


Hey All,
Think of this as a love letter. A love letter to you all, and to the wide and swirling world. Think of it as a note, a note to remember where we come from, and where we are going to. Think of this as the first alert, on the Shulgin’s scale… 80)

Right now, Mary is in the kitchen, Rowan is at school. I am online, typing like a madman, again. I seriously need to do art at this point, but writing is where the muse has directed me, so here I am. I am impelled at this point to rattle on. (things have changed since I wrote this, the world she is nothing if not change)

In the middle of trying to keep the collective family nose above the waters of the recession (recession if you are gainfully employed, DEPRESSION if you are not) and to keep Caer Llwydd going. The waves are choppy, but I think we might make it. Rowan went off for an interview today, and is starting to make another leap in his life.

I am thrashing about, in my unfocused way; this entry though has been a source of focus for me in these chaotic days. I have a small tale to tell, and I have picked up the thread again in this entry after a few years. Did you know that there are almost 900 entries on Turfing? Almost 9.00USD if I had a penny for all the postings. 8-)

Think of it as a love letter. Though some of us have never gazed upon each other, still there is colloquy, there are these shared moments, there is beauty. We meet not face to face, flesh to flesh, but in a place that resides in our minds, shining.


On The Menu:
The Bohemian Imperative…
Patti Smith – Changing Of The Guards
Isadora Duncan – The Quotes
SAYYIDNA HASAN BIN SABBAH – Shaykh Muhammad lqbal
Patti Smith – My Blakean Year
The Bard: William Blake
Patti Smith – Gimme Shelter
Art – Mostly William Blake

The Bohemian Imperative…

This is a continuation of a post over 4 years ago. You should not read this as serious scholarship (though heaven knows if I could sit still long enough I could produce some back up for my conjectures), but view it as an act of imagination, and contemplation.

I have posted some of my favourite pieces of music, art and poetry on this round, all seemingly connected at least in my mind to certain derivations of the Acadian Stream. In my mind, I trace this line of thought back across the last century to Wilde, MacGregor Mathers, Blake, Dee, and to earlier times.

I imagine as David Hykes did with his brilliant album “Harmonic Meetings” (His take about a fictitious meeting of the elders of the three monotheistic religions of the book), only that the conclave/ that I envision eventually gave birth to the Bohemian Imperative (in the late 18th, early 19th century.) which gave ries to various movements throughout the 19th and 20th century. (Think the American/French Revolutions/Paris Commune/Anarchist/Artistic Expansions) After years of thinking about it, I have come to the point that I believe that what we are a part of/witnessing is (possibly) a brilliant social engineering experiment and less a series of serendipitous events. Though serendipity does indeed take place within the parameters of what I am positing here, is that something probably greater has been unfolding.

What was it that occurred? Was an agreement reached between various mystery schools and the artist who disguised the teachings in art, music, and theatre? Does this “agreement” find its way back to the Troubadours, Sufi trance masters, Ollaves and Bards who met perhaps in Palestine, or Galicia, and again later at the court of Eleanor of Aquitaine? One would imagine in this lineage, we would find teachings that go back to Eleusis, Anglesey, Alexandria, Babylon and beyond. It is not a hard leap to think that this agreement was to undermine the headlong dive into the state/religious matrix that the waning Roman Empire & Church had thrust the collective soul of the west into. The dark ages, were…. dark.

We see a rapid social change starting at the time of Eleanor, and truly accelerating during the late medieval and even more so during the reformation. This speaks of more than just societal change, something is swimming deeper through the stream. There are to many abrupt mutations in the social meme in a world that was socially static for ages… Though I won’t go into depths with this, I think that we see a schism develop during the reformation, and competing schools vie through various scenarios up into the late 18th century, culminating in revolution. Even the best laid plans/ideas can have results not planned for.

I sit and think that this stream’s ancient traditions came out of the conclaves using the forms of exoteric schools to conceal esoteric structures within. For centuries, artist, teachers, and organizations have worked in loose confederations to bring about shifts in policies, practices, and the gradual shift in societal and individuals consciousness across multiple lands, countries and regions. As there were different traditions there were many manifestations of the secret teachings. As an example the Sufi’s introduced the concepts of a new form of love as well as the oud (at the same time) which became the lute, (and of course the guitar) to the Troubadours, who under the guidance/and protection of Elanor, spread a new vision of love into the west, romantic love which slowly replaced the sanctioned forms of marriage etc through the late medieval period. Subtle shifts that changed consciousness… where women were no longer viewed as property, and began the dismantling of the male centric monotheistic viewpoint. This process is still underway today. What we have witnessed with this one example is social engineering that took centuries, and more than likely was shaped along the way by various hidden groups, as well as the artist and musicians and poets who tapped in either consciously, or by intuition to this subtle shift.

Was this social engineering exercise a success? Any experiment, any feat of engineering will find resistance, or happenstance to overcome, or grow into and merge with.

Such are the meanderings of my mind as of late. More to come, I am sure….

Patti Smith – Changing Of The Guard (Bob Dylan)

Changing Of The Guard – Bob Dylan
Sixteen years,

Sixteen banners united over the field
Where the good shepherd grieves.

Desperate men, desperate women divided,
Spreading their wings ‘neath the falling leaves.

Fortune calls.
I stepped forth from the shadows, to the marketplace,
Merchants and thieves, hungry for power, my last deal gone down.
She’s smelling sweet like the meadows where she was born,
On midsummer’s eve, near the tower.

The cold-blooded moon.
The captain waits above the celebration
Sending his thoughts to a beloved maid
Whose ebony face is beyond communication.
The captain is down but still believing that his love will be repaid.

They shaved her head.
She was torn between Jupiter and Apollo.
A messenger arrived with a black nightingale.
I seen her on the stairs and I couldn’t help but follow,
Follow her down past the fountain where they lifted her veil.

I stumbled to my feet.
I rode past destruction in the ditches
With the stitches still mending ‘neath a heart-shaped tattoo.
Renegade priests and treacherous young witches
Were handing out the flowers that I’d given to you.

The palace of mirrors
Where dog soldiers are reflected,
The endless road and the wailing of chimes,
The empty rooms where her memory is protected,
Where the angels’ voices whisper to the souls of previous times.

She wakes him up
Forty-eight hours later, the sun is breaking
Near broken chains, mountain laurel and rolling rocks.
She’s begging to know what measures he now will be taking.
He’s pulling her down and she’s clutching on to his long golden locks.

Gentlemen, he said,
I don’t need your organization, I’ve shined your shoes,
I’ve moved your mountains and marked your cards
But Eden is burning, either brace yourself for elimination
Or else your hearts must have the courage for the changing of the guards.

Peace will come
With tranquility and splendor on the wheels of fire
But will bring us no reward when her false idols fall
And cruel death surrenders with its pale ghost retreating
Between the King and the Queen of Swords.

Isadora Duncan – The Quotes:

Any intelligent woman who reads the marriage contract, and then goes into it, deserves all the consequences.

Art is not necessary at all. All that is necessary to make this world a better place to live in is to love – to love as Christ loved, as Buddha loved.

It has taken me years of struggle, hard work and research to learn to make one simple gesture, and I know enough about the art of writing to realize that it would take as many years of concentrated effort to write one simple, beautiful sentence.

Most human beings today waste some 25 to 30 years of their lives before they break through the actual and conventional lies which surround them.

My motto – sans limites.

People don’t live nowadays: they get about ten percent out of life.

Perhaps he was a bit different from other people, but what really sympathetic person is not a little mad?

So long as little children are allowed to suffer, there is no true love in this world.


The Assassins
by Hakim Bey

Across the luster of the desert & into the polychrome hills, hairless & ochre violet dun & umber, at the top of a desiccate blue valley travelers find an artificial oasis, a fortified castle in saracenic style enclosing a hidden garden.

As guests of the Old Man of the Mountain Hasan-i Sabbah they climb rock-cut steps to the castle. Here the Day of Resurrection has already come & gone–those within live outside profane Time, which they hold at bay with daggers & poisons.

Behind crenellations & slit-windowed towers scholars & fedayeen wake in narrow monolithic cells. Star-maps, astrolabes, alembics & retorts, piles of open books in a shaft of morning sunlight–an unsheathed scimitar.

Each of those who enter the realm of the Imam of one’s own being becomes a sultan of inverted revelation, a monarch of abrogation & apostasy. In a central chamber scalloped with light and hung with tapestried arabesques they lean on bolsters & smoke long chibouks of haschisch scented with opium & amber.

For them the hierarchy of being has compacted to a dimensionless punctum of the real–for them the chains of Law have been broken–they end their fasting with wine. For them the outside of everything is its inside, its true face shines through direct. But the garden gates are camouflaged with terrorism, mirrors, rumors of assassination, trompe l’oeil, legends.

Pomegranate, mulberry, persimmon, the erotic melancholy of cypresses, membrane-pink shirazi roses, braziers of meccan aloes & benzoin, stiff shafts of ottoman tulips, carpets spread like make-believe gardens on actual lawns–a pavilion set with a mosaic of calligrammes–a willow, a stream with watercress–a fountain crystalled underneath with geometry– the metaphysical scandal of bathing odalisques, of wet brown cupbearers hide-&-seeking in the foliage–”water, greenery, beautiful faces.”

By night Hasan-i Sabbah like a civilized wolf in a turban stretches out on a parapet above the garden & glares at the sky, conning the asterisms of heresy in the mindless cool desert air. True, in this myth some aspirant disciples may be ordered to fling themselves off the ramparts into the black–but also true that some of them will learn to fly like sorcerers.

The emblem of Alamut holds in the mind, a mandal or magic circle lost to history but embedded or imprinted in consciousness. The Old Man flits like a ghost into tents of kings & bedrooms of theologians, past all locks & guards with forgotten moslem/ninja techniques, leaves behind bad dreams, stilettos on pillows, puissant bribes.

The attar of his propaganda seeps into the criminal dreams of ontological anarchism, the heraldry of our obsessions displays the luminous black outlaw banners of the Assassins… all of them pretenders to the throne of an Imaginal Egypt, an occult space/light continuum consumed by still-unimagined liberties.

Sayyidna Hasn Bin Sabbah

by Shaykh Muhammad lqbal
Karachi (Pakistan)

In his words Mowlana Abdur Razak Kanpuri on behalf of Sayyidna Hasan bin Sabbah says: “Khawaja Nizamul Mulk and Hakim Umar Khayyam are those sky shining stars who came to be known as radiants of an empire. In comparison to them, after some frustrations, Hasan bin Sabbah achieved, that success which was only the result of his virtues and skill, extraordinary wisdom and God given intelligence.”


There is a difference of opinion with the historian about the correct date of birth of Sayyidna Hasan bin Sabbah. Some historians presume that he was born in 432 A.H., while others surmise that it was 445 A.H. Dr. W. Ivanow says that Sayyidna Hasan bin Sabbah was born after 440 A.H. [1] On the other hand, Dr. Bernard Lewis says that Sayyidna Hasan was born approximately by in the middle of 1100 C.E. i.e. 442 or 443 A.H. [2] But if we take into consideration the date of death of Hasan bin Sabbah namely 517 A.H. – 1124 C.E. for which all historians are unanimous [3], when he was 90 years of age, then his year of birth could be ascertained to be in 428 A.H. – 1034 C.E. [4]


We are unable to find any information regarding his childhood or ancestry, but some history books describing his ancestry say that Hasan bin Aly bin Mohammed bin Ja’far bin Husayn bin Sabbah al-Hamari was connected with the dynasty of the king of Yaman. However, when people began to mix up Hasan bin Sabbah’s ancestry with that of the lmam, he himself is reported to have said: “Instead of becoming an unlawful descendant of the Imam I would prefer to be his devoted servant.” [5]


Sayyidna Hasan was born in an lthna ‘Ashari family’ of Ray. His father was a learned leading personality of lthna ‘Ashari faith. His father took keen interest in the education of Sayyidna Hasan and from the age of 7 to 17 he prosecuted his study at home. [6] With vigorous effort and resistance he acquired perfect knowledge of the then prevailing sciences of mathematics, philosophy and languages. lbn Athir says Hasan was an intelligent man who had perfect command over palmistry and mathematics (in the wider sense). [7]


Enemies of Sayyidna Hasan bin Sabbah have concocted unbelievable stories and sayings which go to show that there was nothing else behind it, save the malign intention of defaming Hasan. One famous and popular story is that Hasan acquired knowledge from Imam Maufique Annishapuri and that Nizamul Mulk and Umar Khayyam were his colleagues. And it is also said that during their collegiate they arrived at a joint decision that after acquiring the knowledge if they took part in politics, they would cooperate with each other and if any of them attained a prosperous fortune, he would have to assist his companions. It is stated upon this unfounded basis that when Nizamul Mulk acquired the post of ‘Wizarat’ i.e., he became Minister in the Saljuq reign, Umar Khayyam approached him and became successful in getting sanctioned a good amount of finance toward his pension, which is wrong [8]. Moreover that, Sayyidna Hasan also approached Nizamul Mulk and reminded him of the promise. It is said that Nizamul Mulk offered him the rule over an Islamic province but Sayyidna Hasan refused to accept it and desired a post in the king’s court, for he was covetous for the position of ‘Wizarat’. Nizamul Mulk tried for this also and got him fixed.

If we review it from the view of chronology we would find that Nizamul Mulk was born in 408 A.H. [9], while the date of birth of Sayyidna Hassan is arrived at being either 427 A.H. or thereafter. This shows that Nizamul Mulk was almost 20 or more years older than he was. It is impossible that with the difference of such a gap of years in age Sayyidna Hasan and Nizamul Mulk could have been colleagues at school. Over and above this, the prescribed period of education of Nizamul Mulk is 440 A.H. and the learning center of Imam Maufique had already ended in 440 A.H. [10] As mentioned heretofore that the date of birth of Sayyidna Hasan was 428 A.H. and that for 17 years, i.e., until 445 A.H., he was acquiring education at home, it makes it quite obvious that before Sayyidna Hasan reached Nishapur that lmam Maufique had expired and his learning center was closed and hence the question of collegiate of Nizamul Mulk and Sayyidna Hasan could not arise at all.

History has preserved the names of the teachers of Nizamul Mulk and also about his education, but the mention of lmam Maufique as his teacher is made nowhere. [11] Then how is it possible that Sayyidna Hasan bin Sabbah remained a colleague of Nizamul Mulk in the tuition of Imam Maufique. It is equally false that Nizamul Mulk tried for Sayyidna Hasan to secure the service in the Saljuq Court. The entering of Sayyidna Hasan in the Saljuqui Court was entirely due to his own efforts and qualification and not because of the help of Nizamul Mulk, as it is generally presumed. Sayyidna Hasan secured this position at the age of 30 years, and it goes to show how vast his knowledge and experience were.

All historians and biographers are unanimous that Sayyidna Hasan was an outstanding, highly qualified authority on sciences of politics and mathematics. He was expert also in administration. His way of organization was very precise and up to the mark. He would prefer nothing except carrying out his work up to the mark and to fulfil his duties. Due to his such qualities in the performance of his responsibilities, the ruler Malik Shah was highly impressed by him and used to take his counsel on the matters of administration, especially economic planning; while contrary to this Nizamul Mulk was breeding jealousy and enmity against Sayyidna Hasan and was considering him to be an obstacle in his way; therefore he was anxiously contemplating doing away with him. With this purport Nizamul Mulk used to find faults with him and reprimand him. In this behalf an example is quoted here below:

Once Sultan called Wazir-e-Azam and ordered him to reorganize various departments of his Government and enquired of him as to the time he would require to complete it. Wazir asked for two years time. Sultan considered it to be too long as he was anxious to get it done quickly. As he was aware of the capability of Sayyidna Hasan, he called him and enquired as to whether he would be able to do this job soon enough. Sayyidna Hasan was willing and was ready to complete it within 40 days. [12] Sultan was wonderstruck and said “it seems that you have not properly understood the nature of work: Wazir-e-Azam pleads for longer time than compared to yours.” Sayyidna Hasan assured Sultan that it would not take more than a month to complete it. Sultan was highly pleased with him and ordered the staff of his administration to supply Sayyidna Hasan with what ever papers and documents he required. So Sayyidna Hasan started the work with great pleasure.

Plot of Nizamul Mulk

On the other hand, Nizamul Mulk got horrified with this incident and feared of losing his office of Wizarat, for he was well aware of the unique ability and intelligence of Sayyidna Hasan and was certain that he would succeed in his task. Therefore, he tried to remove Sayyidna Hasan from the services through a plot. He contemplated confusing the documents of the scheme worked upon by Sayyidna Hasan and he arranged this plot through his confidential person and asked him to be friendly with the slave of Sayyidna Hasan. When his confidential person secured the assurance of the slave of Sayyidna Hasan, one day he seized the opportunity of confusing the documents of Sayyidna Hasan. [13] However, Sayyidna Hasan was unaware of this and when he came to present the documents before Sultan, Sayyidna Hasan was taken aback to find that the papers were not in order as arranged by him. When Sultan demanded the documents Sayyidna Hasan could not present them instantaneously, by which Nizamul Mulk got the opportunity of prejudicing Sultan Malik Shah against Sayyidna Hasan and said that if Sultan were to trust such persons who do not know anything then surely he would fall prey to their intrigues and snares. In this way Nizamul Mulk began to poison the ears of Sultan with the result that Sultan ordered to arrest Sayyidna Hasan. He would have slain him if he had no love for Sayyidna Hasan and regard for his work. Ultimately Sayyidna Hasan slipped away and fled to Ray.

Religious arguments and discussions

Before the period of Sayyidna Hasan, Islamic ideas were tested through philosophy and split into many schools of thought, just as Mu’tazili, Ashari, etc., and in the period of Banu Abbas, due to the problems arising from different interpretations of the Holy Quran, wide fields of arguments and discussions were created. Sayyidna Hasan also being a scholar, took part in the discussions and was advocating lthna ‘Ashari school of thought, but he could not remain firm on this belief, neither was he satisfied with the doctrines of Mu’tazila and ‘Asha’ra. To him doctrines of these schools of thought were of no avail to him. Thus, he was deeply entangled in confusion.

Sayyidna Hasan embracing Ismaili Faith

Since from the period of Ummayyads Iran had become the centre of Shi’ism. Ismaili Da’is vigorously propagated Ismaili faith in Tabaristan, Delam, Ray, etc., and they were holding arguments with authorities of different schools of thought. Sayyidna Hasan was also prompted to hold discussions with the Da’is and he was all praise for the capabilities, learned qualities and the art of deliberations of the Da’is. After all this, he was so inclined that he came to be magnetised towards Ismaili faith, in as much as he commenced grasping tenets of Ismaili concepts through Da’is Abu Najam Siraj and Momin and begged of Da’i Momin to accept his allegiance on behalf of Hazrat Imam. However, Da’i Momin, who was well conversant with the intelligence and abstinence of Sayyidna Hasan, said: “Though you are Hasan and if I am Momin even then your position is higher than mine. You are in fact very high to the lmam. How am I supposed to take allegiance from you.” [14] Notwithstanding this, upon Sayyidna Hasan’s repeated requests, Momin took the allegiance and converted him to Ismaili faith. At that time Sayyidna Hasan was about 35 to 36 years of age.

Tour to Egypt

After embracing Ismaili faith. in 464 A.H. – 1071 C.E. Sayyidna Hasan came into contact with Abdul Malik bin Attash and worked in Da’wat as his assistant for 2 years at Isfahan. [15] Then Abdul Malik bin Attash asked him to go to Egypt and seek the holy interview of the lmam. Accordingly in 467 A.H. 1074 C E. Sayyidna Hasan left Ray and after travelling for three to four years, reached Egypt in 411 A.H. 1078-9 C.E. and became fortunate to have holy deedar of the Imam, and upon the solicitation of Sayyidna Hasan, lmam Mustansir billah ordered that after him his son ‘Nizar’ would be his successor. [l6]

Return from Egypt

For about 18 months Sayyidna Hasan remained in Egypt and during this period had the opportunity of seeking several interviews of the lmam. However, by his frequent interviews with the lmam, Wazir Badarul Jamali used to be agitated. By this, he began to breed suspicion and doubts regarding Sayyidna Hasan because Badarul Jamali was from the beginning opposed to Hazrat Imam Nizar. When he came to know that Sayyidna Hasan was the supporter of Hazrat Nizar he became his opponent also and imprisoned him in the castle of ‘Dumyat’. By chance some day, a wall of the prison, which was quite strong, collapsed [l7], and it gave chance Sayyidna Hasan to be able to escape. He boarded a vessel at the port of Alexandria and thus in 473 A.H. – 1081 C.E. reached lsfahan, and remained engaged in propagation of Da’wa at Yezd, Kirman, Tabaristan, Damgan in Iran. Then he proceeded to Qazwin and toured the suburbs of the fortress of Alamut. There he remained in prayers and through his preaching converted the natives to Ismaili faith so much their chief also came into Ismaili fold.

Capture of Alamut

There are two versions about the capture of fortress of Alamut. [18] One is that the possessor of the fortress, Mahdi, the governor of Sultan Malik Shah, belonged to Alvi dynasty. One day Sayyidna Hasan invited him wherein, besides faithfuls of Ismaili concept, other dignitaries of the town were present. Sayyidna Hasan bin Sabbah upon conversing on the service to lmam said that the fortress would be of great value for the service to lmam and there on the spot a bargain of the fortress at the price of 3000 dinars was arrived at. Mahdi thought that Sayyidna Hasan would not be able to pay the said sum of the price. Hence he accepted the bargain. Sayyidna Hasan wrote to Rais Muzaffar of Girdkub and Damgan mentioning the sum, who on receiving the letter immediately remitted the amount. Governor Mahdi, as promised, assigned the fortress to Sayyidna Hasan.

Another version is that Sayyidna Hasan bin Sabbah asked of governor Mahdi for only that much portion of land which would cover the skin of a cow. Governor consented to that. Whilst measuring the land Sayyidna Hasan made the skin into such tiny pieces that it covered the whole fortress. In this way the entire fortress was handed over to Sayyidna Hasan. In any case, in 483 A.H. Sayyidna Hasan got the fortress of Alamut. [l9]

Fight with Saljuqs

When the news of the fortress of Alamut having fallen to Sayyidna Hasan reached the court of Malik Shah, Nizamul Mulk became highly perturbed and despatched several units of army one after another, one of which laid a seige to the fortress for nearly 4 months but to no purpose as it was all in vain. In the mean time in 485 A.H. – 1092 C.E. Malik Shah discharged Nizamul Mulk from the office of Wizarat and got him slain and within a few days time in the same year Malik Shah also expired. His sons quarrelled over the throne continuously for nearly 10 years.

During this lapse of time Hasan found the golden opportunity of propagating Ismaili concept and strengthening his hold, and captured Rudbar, Tabaristan, Khuz, Khosaf, Zozan, Quain and Tune.

However, whenever any of the heirs of Malik Shah used to find any chance, he would dispatch a unit of army against Sayyidna Hasan, but due to the vigilance and dauntlessness of Sayyidna Hasan their attacks were foiled. Eventually Saljuq Sultan Sanjar, made truce with Sayyidna Hasan by which it was agreed upon that any trader passing through Khurasan shall have to pay a tax to Ismailis and on the other hand Ismailis would neither construct new forts nor convert or bring more people into Ismaili Da’wat and faith. [20] Nevertheless groups of people embraced Ismaili faith without any propagation. In this way reliance upon Sayyidna Hasan began to shine like day’s light throughout Iran and Khurasan and high officials of Saijuq Sultan also became Ismailis. [21]

In short Sayyidna Hasan bin Sabbah, during his life time, achieved his aims like freedom of Ismaili territory, freedom of Ismaili faith and established peace between him and his opponents. By his political and intelligible skill he made the powerful Saljuqi government to come down to terms of freedom for Ismaili politics and concepts.

After having overcome Saljuqs in Iran and Khurasan, Sayyidna Hasan turned his attention towards Syria and India and deputed Da’is there. Upon having spread Ismaili Da’wat in Iran and Syria as well as introducing the Dawa in India, Sayyidna Hasan Bin Sabbah took to reducing his lofty ideas and thoughts in writing. He continued his work pertaining to Ismaili faith and tenets till he breathed his last. Incidentally, in 518 A.H. – l124 C.E. a fatal disease attacked him and he succumbed to it. He was 90 years of age at the time of his death.

Fidai or Assassin

Ismailis of the era of Sayyidna Hasan bin Sabbah were termed to be Fidais of Assassin. The word ‘Fidai’ is derived from ‘Fida’ meaning sacrifice. Because Ismailis used to sacrifice, i.e. give away their lives and everything for faith, they are termed as ‘Fidais’. But as far as the word ‘Assassin’ is concerned there is a controversy. Some say it is ‘derived from the word ‘Hasaneen’ meaning followers of ‘Hasan’, Some say that the word actually was ‘Hashish’ meaning addict of a green intoxicating herb ‘Hashish’. This assumption is founded on their belief that at the time of war to keep up the spirit of his soldiers, Sayyidna Hasan used to drug them with ‘Hashish’. But what an illogical belief it is that if a person who has lost his control over self through the drug how can he vouchsafe his defence with sensible strategy, for their valour and intrepidity was specifically in enthusiasm of their faith to which they were attached.

Allegations against Sayyidna Hasan and its refutation

Many allegations are being made against Sayyidna Hasan to the effect that he was blood thirsty and through his ‘Fidais’ he had made lives of people repressed and unrestful. But all this is totally untrue. His only purpose and meaning of recruiting army of Fidais was to protect Ismailis from the foil and destructive attacks of enemies. The very significant example of this is his human behaviour with Sultan Sanjar. If Sayyidna Hasan wished to, he would not have forgone the opportunity of slaying him, for he only wanted him to get horrified and give up the seige.

One of the allegations against him is that he murdered Nizamul Mulk through one of his Fidais. However, the history itself is a witness to the fact that Nizamul Mulk was murdered by Sultan Malik Shah. There were many reasons for that. One of it is that Sultan was afraid of his increasing powers to his detriments. Another reason is that Malik Shah was already in the influence of Ismaili concept, and he was in contradiction to the vindicative nature of Nizamul Mulk against Ismaili faith. [22] The third and main reason was that Turkan Khatun, begum [wife] of Malik Shah was deadly against Nizamul Mulk for she wanted her son, Mahmood, to succeed Malik Shah and it was not possible with the deviation of Nizamul Mulk, who had made it clear to Turkan Khatun that son of Malik Shah’s cousin Zubeda, Barruk bin Dawood, was to succeed Malik Shah, as he had the qualities of wisdom befitting a ruler and also belonged to Saljuq dynasty. For this Turkan Khatun poisoned the ears of Sultan against Nizamul Mulk and Malik Shah got him murdered and this became the reason of downfall of the famous position of Wizarat and murder of Nizamul Mulk. In the face of this it is absurd and nothing but a false allegation against Sayyidna Hasan bin Sabbah for the murder of Nizamul Mulk. [23]

The most defamatory allegation against Sayyidna Hasan is that he had created a paradise in the fortress of Alamut. If we consider this allegation also in the light of history, it will prove to be nothing else then a fiction. If such a paradise was at all created by Sayyidna Hasan it would not have remained unaccounted for by the historians. However, no such account is to be found anywhere in Ata Malik Juwayni, who was a historian and a companion of the destroyer of Ismaili reign in Alamut in 654 A.H. – 1256 C.E. i.e. Halaku Khan. He has made no mention of anything of that sort in his book “Tarikh-e-Jahan Gusha”. Mention of this paradise is found only in ‘the “Travels of Marco Polo”, who reached thereafter one and half century of the existence of Sayyidna Hasan bin Sabbah in 673 A.H. – 1273 C.E. and it was no doubt the stories that he had collected without any foundation. But for the welfare and progress of Ismailis Sayyidna Hasan bin Sabbah had created peace, comfort and settled condition in the fortress.

One more allegation made against Sayyidna Hasan is that he was desirous of acquiring political power and strength and for that he had disguised himself in the cloak of Nizari Da’wat. But the history proves that he had no such aims and historians agree that neither he himself had been addicted to alcohol nor did he allow anybody to do so. He killed one of his own sons for accusation of taking alcohol. He intended Ismailis to be as firm in faith as he himself was. He had inculcated the habit of earning their livelihood through hard work and toil and his wife and children and himself were leading a simple life. The effect of this was that his command to faithful was carried out immediately and the glory that credited Sayyidna Hasan is not to be found for anybody else in the pages of history.

’1. Jawad al-Mascati ‘Hasan bin Sabbah’ (first edition), pg. 38. Published by Ismailia Association in English.
2. Bernard Lewis ‘The Assassins’ (1967), pg. 38.
3. Encyclopedia of Islam (old edition), pg. 267; W. Ivanow ‘Alamut and Lamasar’, pg. 20; Syed Suleman Nadvi ‘Khayyam’ (1933), pg. 56; Bernard Lewis ‘The Assassins’, pg. 40 & 61.
4. Jawad al-Mascati ‘Hasan bin Sabbah’, pg. 152; Nizam ul-Mulk Tusi, pg. 447.
5. Rashid ud-din Fazalellah ‘Jame-ut-Tawrikh’, pg. 1 (in Persian).
6. Nizam ul-Mulk Tusi, pg. 420, foot note No. 3
7. E. G. Brown ‘Literary History of Persia’, Vol. 11, pg. 201.
8. Syed Suleman Nadvi, ‘Khayyam’, pg. 38.
9. Syed Suleman Nadvi ‘Khayyam’, pg. 18; Nizam ul-Mulk Tusi, pg. 48.
10. ncf. Ibn Khallikan, pg. 43, Vol. I.
11. Syed Suleman Nadvi, ‘Khayyam’, pg. 28.
12. Syed Suleman Nadvi, ‘Khayyam’, pg. 28.
13. Karim Kishawars ‘Hasan Sabbah’, pg. 64.
14. Karim Kishawars ‘Hasan Sabbah’, pg. 64; Nizam ul-Mulk Tusi ‘Dihastan ui-Madhhab’, pg. 423, foot note, NQ. 2; Nizam ul-Mulk Tusi ‘Tadhkar-e-Daulat Shah’ pg. 423; Karim Kishawars ‘Hasan Sabbah’, footnote pg. 72.
15. E. G. Brown ‘Literary History of Persia’, Vol. 11, pg. 203.
16. ‘Tarikh-e-lbn Khaidun’, Vol. V, pg. 156.
17. Nizam ul-Mulk Tusi, pg. 425.
18. Ali Mohammedd Jan Mohammedd Chunara ‘Noor-e-Mubin’, pg. 366 (first ed. in Urdu).
19. Nizam ul-Mulk Tusi, pg. 428.
20. Jawad al-Muscati ‘Hasan bin Sabbah’, pg. 150.
21. Jawad al-Muscati ‘Hasan bin Sabbah’, pg. 150.
22. Jawad al-Muscati ‘Hasan bin Sabbah’, pg. 141.
23. Nizam ul-Mulk Tusi, pg. 149.

Patti Smith – My Blakean Year


The Bard: William Blake

Ah, Sunflower

Ah, sunflower, weary of time,
Who countest the steps of the sun;
Seeking after that sweet golden clime
Where the traveller’s journey is done;

Where the Youth pined away with desire,
And the pale virgin shrouded in snow,
Arise from their graves, and aspire
Where my Sunflower wishes to go!

Auguries of Innocence

To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour.

A Robin Red breast in a Cage
Puts all Heaven in a Rage.
A dove house fill’d with doves & Pigeons
Shudders Hell thro’ all its regions.
A dog starv’d at his Master’s Gate
Predicts the ruin of the State.
A Horse misus’d upon the Road
Calls to Heaven for Human blood.
Each outcry of the hunted Hare
A fibre from the Brain does tear.
A Skylark wounded in the wing,
A Cherubim does cease to sing.
The Game Cock clipp’d and arm’d for fight
Does the Rising Sun affright.
Every Wolf’s & Lion’s howl
Raises from Hell a Human Soul.
The wild deer, wand’ring here & there,
Keeps the Human Soul from Care.
The Lamb misus’d breeds public strife
And yet forgives the Butcher’s Knife.
The Bat that flits at close of Eve
Has left the Brain that won’t believe.
The Owl that calls upon the Night
Speaks the Unbeliever’s fright.
He who shall hurt the little Wren
Shall never be belov’d by Men.
He who the Ox to wrath has mov’d
Shall never be by Woman lov’d.
The wanton Boy that kills the Fly
Shall feel the Spider’s enmity.
He who torments the Chafer’s sprite
Weaves a Bower in endless Night.
The Catterpillar on the Leaf
Repeats to thee thy Mother’s grief.
Kill not the Moth nor Butterfly,
For the Last Judgement draweth nigh.
He who shall train the Horse to War
Shall never pass the Polar Bar.
The Beggar’s Dog & Widow’s Cat,
Feed them & thou wilt grow fat.
The Gnat that sings his Summer’s song
Poison gets from Slander’s tongue.
The poison of the Snake & Newt
Is the sweat of Envy’s Foot.
The poison of the Honey Bee
Is the Artist’s Jealousy.
The Prince’s Robes & Beggars’ Rags
Are Toadstools on the Miser’s Bags.
A truth that’s told with bad intent
Beats all the Lies you can invent.
It is right it should be so;
Man was made for Joy & Woe;
And when this we rightly know
Thro’ the World we safely go.
Joy & Woe are woven fine,
A Clothing for the Soul divine;
Under every grief & pine
Runs a joy with silken twine.
The Babe is more than swadling Bands;
Throughout all these Human Lands
Tools were made, & born were hands,
Every Farmer Understands.
Every Tear from Every Eye
Becomes a Babe in Eternity.
This is caught by Females bright
And return’d to its own delight.
The Bleat, the Bark, Bellow & Roar
Are Waves that Beat on Heaven’s Shore.
The Babe that weeps the Rod beneath
Writes Revenge in realms of death.
The Beggar’s Rags, fluttering in Air,
Does to Rags the Heavens tear.
The Soldier arm’d with Sword & Gun,
Palsied strikes the Summer’s Sun.
The poor Man’s Farthing is worth more
Than all the Gold on Afric’s Shore.
One Mite wrung from the Labrer’s hands
Shall buy & sell the Miser’s lands:
Or, if protected from on high,
Does that whole Nation sell & buy.
He who mocks the Infant’s Faith
Shall be mock’d in Age & Death.
He who shall teach the Child to Doubt
The rotting Grave shall ne’er get out.
He who respects the Infant’s faith
Triumph’s over Hell & Death.
The Child’s Toys & the Old Man’s Reasons
Are the Fruits of the Two seasons.
The Questioner, who sits so sly,
Shall never know how to Reply.
He who replies to words of Doubt
Doth put the Light of Knowledge out.
The Strongest Poison ever known
Came from Caesar’s Laurel Crown.
Nought can deform the Human Race
Like the Armour’s iron brace.
When Gold & Gems adorn the Plow
To peaceful Arts shall Envy Bow.
A Riddle or the Cricket’s Cry
Is to Doubt a fit Reply.
The Emmet’s Inch & Eagle’s Mile
Make Lame Philosophy to smile.
He who Doubts from what he sees
Will ne’er believe, do what you Please.
If the Sun & Moon should doubt
They’d immediately Go out.
To be in a Passion you Good may do,
But no Good if a Passion is in you.
The Whore & Gambler, by the State
Licenc’d, build that Nation’s Fate.
The Harlot’s cry from Street to Street
Shall weave Old England’s winding Sheet.
The Winner’s Shout, the Loser’s Curse,
Dance before dead England’s Hearse.
Every Night & every Morn
Some to Misery are Born.
Every Morn & every Night
Some are Born to sweet Delight.
Some ar Born to sweet Delight,
Some are born to Endless Night.
We are led to Believe a Lie
When we see not Thro’ the Eye
Which was Born in a Night to Perish in a Night
When the Soul Slept in Beams of Light.
God Appears & God is Light
To those poor Souls who dwell in the Night,
But does a Human Form Display
To those who Dwell in Realms of day

The Divine Image

To Mercy, Pity, Peace, and Love
All pray in their distress;
And to these virtues of delight
Return their thankfulness.

For Mercy, Pity, Peace, and Love
Is God, our father dear,
And Mercy, Pity, Peace, and Love
Is Man, his child and care.

For Mercy has a human heart,
Pity a human face,
And Love, the human form divine,
And Peace, the human dress.

Then every man, of every clime,
That prays in his distress,
Prays to the human form divine,
Love, Mercy, Pity, Peace.

And all must love the human form,
In heathen, Turk, or Jew;
Where Mercy, Love, and Pity dwell
There God is dwelling too.


He who binds to himself a joy
Does the winged life destroy;
But he who kisses the joy as it flies
Lives in eternity’s sun rise.

The Land of Dreams

Awake, awake, my little boy!
Thou wast thy mother’s only joy;
Why dost thou weep in thy gentle sleep?
Awake! thy father does thee keep.

“O, what land is the Land of Dreams?
What are its mountains, and what are its streams?
O father! I saw my mother there,
Among the lilies by waters fair.

“Among the lambs, cloth?d in white,
She walk’d with her Thomas in sweet delight.
I wept for joy, like a dove I mourn;
O! when shall I again return?”

Dear child, I also by pleasant streams
Have wander’d all night in the Land of Dreams;
But tho’ calm and warm the waters wide,
I could not get to the other side.

“Father, O father! what do we here
In this land of unbelief and fear?
The Land of Dreams is better far
Above the light of the morning star.

Patti Smith – Gimme Shelter


Room At The Feast

O infinite Consciousness,
brimming with elixir,
You live within my body,
and I worship only You.
I do not care
if I die, take birth,
or pass into some other state.
These things are so ordinary now
. – Lalla Ded

Sappho on the Leucadian Cliff – Pierre Narcisse Guerin

Room At The Feast…
I have laid a banquet out for all of you; and you can partake of it as you like. A large serving of Coleman Barks reciting Rumi, The Diamond Sutra, as well as the Poetic works of Lalla Ded, the poetess of Kashmir. I am also introducing you to Roberto Labansat, one of the most influential persons in my life, and to the quotes of his last teacher, Yogananda. For desert, there are the links, and a bit of a message about Poetry Post… and the art of Pierre Narcisse Guerin.

I have been assembling this one for awhile, and it just kept growing. I better get it out there!

We all got out today, washed the Land Cruiser and Rowan’s car. We spent a long time at it, but it was a lot of fun. I think the vehicles appreciated it! We vacuumed, scrubbed the dirt off, put tools and ladder away, and used old tooth brushes for a bit of detailing the shiny bits.

I have been doing a re-design of Earth Rites as well, stay tuned on that side of things. Teaching myself Word Press……. another trick for an old dog.

Hope that spring (or fall) is treating you nicely. It is lovely in South East Portland, I swear.

Bright Blessings,

On The Menu:
The Links…
Poetry Post!
Paramahansa Yogananda Quotes
Roberto Labansat
Coleman Barks “Love Dogs” by Rumi
The Diamond Scripture( (Vajracchedika Sutra)
Coleman Barks “What Was Said To The Rose” by Rumi
The Poetic Gems of Lalla Ded
Lalla Ded: A Short Biography
RUMI: 800th Birthday, Coleman Barks, Sukhawat Ali Khan, Stephen Kent
The Links:
Who’s Daddy?
Air Traffic in a 24 Hour Period
The Day The Earth Froze?
The Cop Who Saw Reptilians..

Poetry Post:
I have launched a new site in conjunction with two friends of mine, Paul and Terry. We have decided to provide Poetry Post to those who want them. Our first installations are going in this next week, I will be alerting people to where you can find them.

I became obsessed by the idea about a year ago, and Paul made one up for me (see the illustration to the left) and it was pretty amazing to see peoples reactions to it. I have had just about every neighbor on the block come by and comment on it (favorably), and have been thanked again and again by passers by. I am introduced in the greater neighborhood as the guy who put up the Poetry Post… Well, it has had a positive effect here, and I am sure it will in other locations.

The Poetry Post can be used for poetry, art work, community announcements and more. We will be providing a poetry service as well, please check out the new site!


In memory of my teacher, Roberto Labansat…
Paramahansa Yogananda Quotes:

“There is a magnet in your heart that will attract true friends. That magnet is unselfishness, thinking of others first… when you learn to live for others, they will live for you.”

“Let my soul smile through my heart and my heart smile through my eyes, that I may scatter rich smiles in sad hearts.”

“Truth is exact correspondence with reality.”

“The happiness of one’s own heart alone cannot satisfy the soul; one must try to include, as necessary to one’s own happiness, the happiness of others.”

“Remain calm, serene, always in command of yourself. You will then find out how easy it is to get along.”

Roberto Labansat:

This is a picture of Roberto Labansat; dear friend and teacher for many of my early years. He may of introduced me to Yogananda, it has been so many years ago now, I can’t quite really recall.

Roberto worked for many years in the film industry. I first met him in the summer of 1967 on Westwood Blvd. in Los Angeles. It was late at night, and I was visiting the metaphysical school that my mother had become involved with. Roberto took one look at me, started to laugh and gave me a big hug. He knew crazy when he saw it! 80) He also knew how to make a young person feel comfortable, and accepted. He had such a talent of truly being human. In the 25 years that I knew him, I never heard an unkind word, or raised voice from Roberto. He was an early psychedelic pioneer (hence knowing “crazy”), and at the end of his life a devoted member of the Yogananda community.

He came from an amazing background; his grandfather had come to Mexico from France with the army of Napoleon III, and deserted shortly after, marrying into an indigenous family in Northern Mexico. His son, Roberto’s father was a scout for Pancho Villa. Roberto on his off time from the film industry would travel the back ways of Central and South America. He was known to disappear for 6 months at a time into the depths of the Yucatan with a canoe going up the back waters, or into the Peruvian Amazon. He taught me much through his kindness and his keen observations of indigenous life. He never would be brusque when I made a glaring error, but would guide me back to track very readily and gently. He taught me that dreams were important, and that they were visionary and not to be forgotten. We had long conversations about Brujos and Brujas back before the term “Shamanism” had crept into our collective vocabulary. He had no illusions about the concepts of spiritual warfare that shamanism holds for those that actually practice it. He cautioned me deeply about this path; as he was quite familiar with its traditions from his past.

Roberto died in 1992, 3 years after Mary and I last saw him in Los Angeles. I remember his visits to our place on Orange Grove near the L.A. Museum. Late afternoons, sunset off into the west, and Roberto weaving stories and allegories for the pair of us. I thought we had years more together, but it wasn’t to be. Like all good story tellers, Roberto left me wanting more.

His presence is dearly missed until this day. Roberto… here is to thinking about you, and to the legacy you past on.

Coleman Barks “Love Dogs” by Rumi


For The Buddha’s Birthday, this past week!

The Diamond Sutra (Vajracchedika Scripture)

Thus have I heard. Upon a memorable occasion, the Lord Buddha sojourned in the kingdom of Shravasti, lodging in the grove of Jeta, a park within the royal domain which Jeta, the heir-apparent, had bestowed upon Sutana, a minister of state renouned for his charities and benefactions. With the Lord Buddha there were assembled twelve hundred and fifty mendicant disciples, besides many who had attained to eminent degrees of spiritual wisdom.

As the hour for the morning meal approached, Lord Buddha attired in a mendicant’s robe and carrying an alms bowl, walked towards the great cry of Shravasti which he entered to beg for food. Within the city he went from door to door and received such gifts as the good people severally bestowed. Concluding this religious exercise, the Lord Buddha returned to the grove of Jeta and after bathing his sacred feet partook of the frugal meal which he had received as alms. Thereafter he divested himself of the mendicant’s robe, laid aside the alms bowl and accepted the seat of honor which his disciples had reserved for him.

The venerable Subhuti, who occupied a place in the midst of the assembly, rose from his seat, arranged his robe so that his right shoulder was exposed, pressing the palms of his hands together, and kneeling upon his right knee, respectfully bowed to the Lord Buddha, saying: “Thou art of transcendent wisdom, Honored of the Worlds! With wonderful solicitude thou dost instruct in the Dharma and preserve in the faith this illustrious assembly of enlightened disciples. Blessed One, may I beseech of you to discourse upon the theme: How should a disciple who has entered upon the path behave? How should he advance? How should he restrain his thoughts? How may he realise Buddahood? What immutable Truth is there that shall sustain the mind of a good disciple, who is seeking to attain supreme spiritual wisdom, and bring into subjection every inordinate desire?”

The Lord Buddha replied to Sabuti, saying: “Truly a most excellent theme. Attend diligently unto me and I will enunciate a Truth whereby the mind of a good disciple, whether man or woman, seeking to attain supreme spiritual wisdom shall be adequately sustained and enabled to bring into subjection every inordinate desire.

“Subhuti, it is by the Truth of emptiness and egolessness that enlightened disciples are to advance along the Path, to restrain their thoughts, to attain Buddahood. If they diligently observe the Paramitas, and fully enter into a realisation of the profound Prajna Paramita, they will attain the supreme spiritual wisdom they seek.”


“Subhuti, good disciples, whether man or woman, should thus arrange their thoughts. Every species of life whether hatched in an egg, formed in a womb, evolved from spawn, produced by metamorphosis, with or without form, possessing or devoid of natural instinct or intelligence,–from these changeful conditions of being, I urge you to seek deliverance in the transcendental concept of Nirvana. Thus shall disciples be delivered from the immeasurable, innumerable, and illimitable world of sentient life, but, in reality, there is no world of sentient life from which to seek deliverance. And why? Because, in the minds of enlightened disciples there have ceased to exist such arbitrary concepts of phenomena as an entity, a being, a living being, a personality.”

(Subhuti, regarding the Dana Paramita–Ideal Charity, the Awakening of Faith Scripture teaches how disciples should practise charity. It says: “If persons should come to them and ask for something, they should as far as their means allow, supply it ungrudgingly and thus make them happy. If they see people threatened with danger, they should try every means for rescuing them and restore them to a feeling of safety. If people come to them desiring instruction in the Dharma, they should, as far as they are acquainted with it and according to their discretion, deliver discourses upon religious themes. And when they are performing these acts of charity, let them not cherish any desire for fame or advantage, nor covet any earthly reward. Thinking only of the benefits and blessings that are to be mutually shared, let them aspire for the most excellent, the most perfect wisdom.”)

The Lord Buddha resumed: “Moreover, Subhuti, an enlightened disciple in his acts of charity, ought to act spontaneously, uninfluenced by such things as form, sound, taste, odour, touch, discrimination, and favoritism. It is imperative that an enlightened disciple, in the exercise of charity, should act independent of phenomena. And why? Because, acting without regard to illusive forms of phenomena, he will realise in the exercise of charity a merit inestimable and immeasurable.

“Subhuti, what think you? Is it possible to estimate the distances that comprise the illimitable universe of space?”

Subhuti replied: “Blessed One! It is impossible to estimate the distances comprising the illimitable universe of space.”

The Lord Buddha continued: “It is equally impossible to estimate the merit of an enlightened disciple who practises charity unperturbed by the disturbing influences of Phenomena. Subhuti, the minds of all disciples ought thus to be taught.”


The Lord Buddha addressing Subhuti, said: “What think you? If a benevolent person bestowed as alms an abundance of the seven treasures sufficient to fill the universe, would there accrue to that person a considerable merit?”

Subhuti replied, saying: “A very considerable merit; Honored of the Worlds! Because what is referred to does not partake of the nature of ordinary merit; in that sense the Lord Buddha rightly speaks of ‘a considerable merit.’”

The Lord Buddha continued: “If a disciple studies and adheres with implicit faith to even a stanza of this Scripture, the intrinsic merit of such a disciple would be relatively greater. And why? Because, the Tathagatas who have attained supreme spiritual wisdom, all owe their beginning to the Truth of this sacred Scripture–the Truth of Emptiness and Egolessness.”

(Regarding the Sila Paramita–Ideal Behavior–the Sutra says: “Lay members should abstain from all unkindness, stealing, unchastity, lying, duplicity, slander, frivolous talk, covetousness, malice, currying favor, and false teachings. Disciples, in order to disarm prejudice, should retire from the excitement of the worldly life and, abiding in solitude, should practise those deeds which lead to restraint and contentment. In the case of advanced bhikshus, they have other rules to follow and should feel all the more shame, fear and remorse for any failure to observe the minor precepts. Strictly observing all the precepts given by the Tathagatas, they should endeavor, by their example, to induce all beings to abandon evil and practise the good.”)

“What do you think, Subhuti? If a disciple, whether man or woman, were to collect a store of precious gems as great as this universe and was to bestow them on the holy Tathagatas, would that disciple on the strength of his gift lay up a large stock of merit?”

Subhuti replied: “Yes, Blessed One, he would lay up a very great merit.”

The Lord Buddha replied: “Subhuti, if another disciple after reading even one verse of this Scripture and observing it by living a good life, he will lay up a greater merit than the one who merely makes gifts in charity and continues his egoistic life. And why? Because, making gifts may or may not involve an advance along the Path that leads to Nirvana, but this Scripture points the way to the stages of Bodhisattvahood and the supreme spiritual enlightenment of the Buddhas. The disciple who sincerely reads this Scripture and lives a virtuous life is laying up merit immeasurable. But, Subhuti, a virtuous life, even the life of a Buddha, what is it? There is no such thing, it is only a name.

“Subhuti, suppose a man had a body as large as Mount Sumeru, would he be counted a great man?”

Subhuti replied: “Exceedingly great, Honored of the Worlds!”

The Lord Buddha enquired: “Would his mind and heart be correspondingly great, Subhuti? What is it that makes a man great? Is it the size of his body? Is it his unusual personality? Is it the work he accomplishes? Or is it the wisdom and compassion and selflessness of this behavior? Subhuti, what is behavior? There is no such thing; it is something the mind imagines, just like body and personality; it is only a name.

Then the Lord Buddha continued: “Nevertheless, if a good disciple, man or woman, studies this Scripture and thoughtfully observes even a verse of it, his merit will be very great. What words can express the merit of a disciple who, living with restraint and kindness, diligently studies and observes it! Such a disciple is attaining powers commensurate with the supreme and most wonderful Dharma. Wherever there is the hermitage of such a good disciple, it is the treasure-house of this sacred Scripture; it is a shrine of the Lord Buddha; and over it will hover uncounted Bodhisattvas of highest reverence and honor.”


At that time the Lord Buddha addressed Subhuti, saying: “If a good disciple, whether man or woman, devoted to the observance and study of this Scripture, is thereby lightly esteemed or despised, it is because, in a previous life there had been committed some grievous transgression, now followed by its inexorable retribution. But, although in this life lightly esteemed or despised, he bears it patiently, the compensating merit thus acquired will cause the transgression of a former life to be fully expiated, and the patient disciple will be adequately recompensed by his final attainment of supreme spiritual enlightenment.”

(Regarding this Kshanti Paramita–Ideal Patience–it is said in the Sutra: “If disciples meet with the ills of life they should not shun them. If they suffer painful experiences, they should not feel afflicted or treated unjustly, but should always rejoice in remembering and contemplating the deep significance of the Dharma.’)

The Lord Buddha continued: “Numberless ages ago, Subhuti, before the advent of Dipankara Buddha, there were many other Buddhas and I recall my difficult experiences while serving them and receiving their religious instruction and discipline, but I endured it patiently and, because my conduct was entirely blameless and without reproach, I was reborn in the days of Dipankara Buddha. But in the ages to come, if a disciple faithfully study and put into practice the teaching of this Scripture, the merit that he will thus acquire will far exceed the merit of my service in the days of those many Buddhas. “In a previous life, Subhuti, when the Prince of Kalinga severed the flesh from my limbs and body, because of the discipline I had undergone in the past I remained patient, I was oblivious to such ideas as phenomena as an entity, a person, a living person, a personality. If I had not been oblivious to such ideas, when my limbs and body were torn apart, there would have originated in my mind feelings of anger and resentment. I recollect, five hundred incarnations ago, that I was practising this Kshanti Paramita and, because of it, I got rid of such arbitrary ideas. Therefore, Subhuti, an enlightened disciple ought to discard, as being unreal and illusive, every conceivable form of hindering phenomena.

Subhuti, in aspiring to supreme spiritual wisdom, the mind ought to be insensible to every sensuous influence, and be independent of everything pertaining to form, sound, odour, taste, touch, or discrimination. There ought to be cultivated a condition of complete independence of mind; because, if the mind is depending upon any external thing, it is cherishing a delusion; in reality, there is nothing external to the mind. Even the whole realm of sentient life is ephemeral and illusory. Therefore, in the exercise of this Paramita, the mind of an enlightened disciple ought to be unperturbed by any form of phenomena.”

The Lord Buddha addressed Subhuti, saying: “If an enlightened disciple in the exercise of this Paramita was patient in the face of external difficulties and steadily studied and observed this Scripture; and another disciple, realising that within the meaning and purport of it, there could be no abstract individual existence–no suffering, no one to suffer, no one to attain supreme spiritual enlightenment–and yet patiently accepts it and continues to perfect himself in its virtue, this disciple will have a cumulative merit greater than the former. And why? Because, he is unaffected by any consideration of merit or reward.”

Subhuti enquired of the Lord Buddha: “In what respect are enlightened disciples unaffected by merit or reward?”

The Lord Buddha replied: “Enlightened disciples, having patiently accepted the truth of egolessness, do not aspire for supreme enlightenment in any spirit of covetousness or acquisitiveness; they never think of merit and its commensurate reward. But the Tathagata, because of his perfect wisdom, knows of their patience and knows that for them there is reserved a cumulative merit that is immeasurable and illimitable.”


The Lord Buddha said to Subhuti: “If within this universe a good disciple heaped together the seven treasures forming many elevations as Mount Sumeru, and entirely bestowed these treasures on the Tathagata as a gift in his exercise of charity; and another disciple sacrificed his life as many times as there are grains of sand in the river Ganges, would such disciples accumulate great merit, Subhuti?”

Subhuti replied: “They would accumulate great merit, indeed, Blessed One.”

The Lord Buddha continued: “If a good disciple were to select a single verse of this Scripture, faithfully observe and study it, and then zealously explain it to others, he would relatively accumulate a greater merit.”

(Regarding this Virya Paramita–Ideal Zeal-the Sutra says: “In the practice of all good deeds, disciples should never indulge in indolence. They should recall all their great mental and physical sufferings that they have undergone in the past on account of having coveted worldly objects and comforts during former existences and which did not give the least nourishment to their physical lives. They should, therefore, in order to be emancipated in the future from these sufferings, be indefatigably zealous and never let even the thought of indolence arise in their minds; but steadily and persistently out of deep compassion endeavor to benefit all beings. They should dauntlessly, energetically, unintermittently, six watches, day and night, pay homage to all the Buddhas, make offerings to them, praise them, repent and confess to them, aspire to the most excellent knowledge, and make sincere vows of unselfish service. It is only, thereby, that they can root, out the hindrances and foster their root of merit.”)

“Subhuti, if a disciple takes pleasure in a narrow and exclusive form of doctrine, or is attached to false ideas as to an entity, a being, a living being, a personality, he cannot receive with profit the instruction of this Scripture nor can he find delight in its study. This Scripture is intended for those who are entering upon the path, as well as for those who are attaining the highest planes of spiritual wisdom. If a disciple zealously observes, studies and widely disseminates the knowledge of this Scripture, for such an one there will be cumulative merit, immeasurable, incomparable, illimitable, inconceivable. All such disciples will be endowed with transcendent spiritual wisdom and enlightenment.”

The Lord Buddha continued: “What think you? May an enlightened disciple ponder within himself, saying, ‘I will create numerous Buddhist Kingdoms?’”

Subhuti replied: “No, Honored of the Worlds! And why? Because, such thoughts would be incompatible with the Virya Paramita, and kingdoms thus imagined would not, in reality, be Buddhist Kingdoms. Such a phrase as ‘the creation of Buddhist Kingdoms,’ is merely a figure of speech.”

The Lord Buddha continued: “What think you, Subhuti? Do you imagine that the Tathagata reflects within himself, ‘I will bring salvation to all beings’? Entertain no such delusive thought. And why? Because, in reality, there is no such dharma as ‘salvation’ for any one; and there is no such thing as a living being to whom ‘salvation’ can be brought. What is referred to as an entity, a being, a living being, a personality, is not so in reality–it is only so understood by ignorant and uneducated people.”

The Lord Buddha enquired of Subhuti, saying: “May a disciple who has ‘entered the stream’ which bears on to Nirvana, thus moralise within himself: I have attained the fruits commensurate with the merits of one who has ‘entered the stream’?”

Subhuti replied: “No, Honored of the Worlds! And why? Because, ‘entered the stream’ is simply a descriptive term. A disciple who avoids the seductions of form, sound, odour, taste, touch, and their discriminations, is merely called, ‘one who has entered the stream.’”

The Lord Buddha again enquired of Subhuti, saying: “What think you? Is a bhikshu who is subject to only one more reincarnation, to muse within himself, ‘I have obtained the fruits in agreement with the merits of “a once returner”?’ “Subhuti replied, saying: “No, Honored of the Worlds! And why? Because, ‘a once returner’ is merely a descriptive title denoting only one more reincarnation; but, in reality, there is no such condition as ‘only one more reincarnation.’ ‘A once returner’ is merely a descriptive title.”

The Lord Buddha once again enquired of Subhuti, saying: “What think you? May a bhikshu who has attained so high a degree of spiritual merit that he is never again to be reincarnated, may he thus reflect within himself, I have obtained the fruits which accord with the merits of one who is never to return to this world of life-and-death?” Subhuti replied, saying: “No, Honored of the Worlds! And why? Because, ‘a never returner’ is merely a designation, meaning, ‘immunity from reincarnation’; but, in reality, there is no such condition, hence ‘a never returner’ is merely a convenient name.”

The Lord Buddha yet again enquired of Subhuti, saying: “What think you? May a Bodhisattva who has attained to absolute tranquillity of mind thus meditate within himself: I have obtained the position of an Arhat?” Subhuti replied, saying: “No, Honored of the Worlds! And why? Because, in reality, there is no such condition synonymous with the term Arhat. If an Arhat thus meditates within himself, ‘I have obtained the condition of an Arhat,’ there would be the obvious occurrence to his mind of such arbitrary concepts as an entity, a being, a living being, a personality. When the Blessed One declared of me that in tranquillity of mind, observance of the Dharma and spiritual perception, I was preeminent among the disciples, I did not think within myself: ‘I am free from desire, I am an Arhat.’ Had I thought thus, the Blessed One would not have declared concerning me: ‘Subhuti delights in the austerities of an Arhat.’ It was because I was perfectly tranquil and oblivious to all conditions, that the Lord Buddha declared: ‘Subhuti delights in the austerities practised by the Arhats.’”

The Lord Buddha added: “True, Subhuti! Enlightened disciples in the exercise of the Viya Paramita ought to maintain within themselves a pure and single mind; they should be unconscious of sensuous conditions and cultivate a mind that is independent of material circumstances. And why? Because, all sensuous conditions and material circumstances are only manifestations of mind and are alike dream-like and imaginary.

“Subhuti, A Bodhisattva should have a heart filled with compassion for all sentient life, but if he should think within his mind: ‘I will deliver all beings,’ he ought not to be called a Bodhisattva. And why? Because, in the first place, if there is no living being, no personality, then there is no one to be called a Bodhisattva. And in the second place, the Tathagata has declared: ‘All beings are without self, without life, without personality.’ Who then is to be delivered? If a Bodhisattva were to say: ‘I will create many Buddha-lands,’ he would say what is untrue. And why, Because, the idea of a Buddha-land is wholly imaginary, it is only a name.

“But O Subhuti, the Bodhisattva who believes that all things are without selfhood, and still has compassion and faith, he is, indeed, a noble minded Bodhisattva, and is so considered by the all-wise Tathagatas.”


Subhuti enquired of the Lord Buddha, saying: “Honored of the Worlds! In future ages, when this scripture is proclaimed amongst those beings destined to hear it, shall any conceive within their minds a sincere, unmingled faith?”

The Lord Buddha replied, saying: “Have no such apprehensive thought. Even at the remote period of five centuries subsequent to the Nirvana of the Tathagata, there will be many disciples observing the monastic vows and assiduously devoted to good works. These, hearing this Scripture proclaimed, will believe in its immutability and will conceive within their minds a pure, unmingled faith. Besides, it is important to realise that faith thus conceived, is not exclusively in virtue of the individual thought of any particular Buddha, but because of its affiliation with the universal thought of all the myriad Buddhas throughout the infinite ages. Therefore, among the beings destined to hear this Scripture proclaimed, many, by the Dhyana Paramita, will intuitively conceive a pure and holy faith.

“Subhuti, the Tathagata by his prescience is perfectly cognisant of all such potential disciples, and for these also there is reserved an immeasurable merit. And why? Because, the minds of these will not revert to such arbitrary concepts of phenomena as an entity, a being, a living being, a personality, having qualities or ideas coincident with the Dharma, or existing apart from the principle of the Dharma. And why? Because, assuming the permanency and reality of phenomena, the minds of these disciples would be involved in such distinctive ideas as an entity, a being, a living being, a personality. Affirming the permanency and reality of qualities or ideas coincident with the Dharma, their minds would inevitably be involved in resolving these same definitions. Postulating the inviolate nature of qualities or ideas which have an existence apart from the Dharma, there yet remains to be explained these abstruse distinctions–an entity, a being, a living being, a personality. Therefore, enlightened disciples ought not to affirm the permanency or reality of qualities or ideas coincident with the Dharma, nor postulate as being of an inviolate nature, qualities and ideas having an existence apart from the concept of the Dharma.

“Thus enlightened disciples are enabled to appreciate the significance of the words which the Tathagatas invariably repeat to their follows: ‘Disciples must realise that the Dharma is presented to your minds in the simile of a raft.’ If the Dharma–having fulfilled its function in bearing you to the other shore–must be abandoned together with all its coincident qualities and ideas, how much more inevitable must be the abandonment of qualities and ideas which have an existence apart from the Dharma?”
The Lord Buddha continued: “If a disciple had an amount of treasure sufficient to fill the illimitable universe and bestowed it upon the Tathagata in the exercise of charity, and if another disciple, having aspired to supreme spiritual wisdom, selected from this Scripture even a stanza of four lines only, observed it, diligently studied it and with zeal explained it to others, the cumulative merit of such a disciple would be relatively greater than the merit of the former. But, Subhuti, the attitude of his mind in which he explained it is important. It should be explained with a mind filled with compassion but free from any assumption as to the reality of an entity, a being, a living being, a personality, or as to the permanency or reality of earthly phenomena, or as to the validity of any ideas concerning them. And why? Because the phenomena of life are like a dream, a phantasm, a bubble, a shadow, the glistening dew, a lightning flash; thus should they be contemplated by an enlightened disciple. His mind should, at all times, be resting in the blessedness of tranquillity which invariably accompanies the practice of the Dhyana Paramita.”

(Regarding the Dhyana Paramita–Ideal Tranquillity–the Sutra says: “The beginner should consider and practise Dhyana in two aspects: as cessation of the mind’s intellectual activities, and as realisation of insight. To bring all mental states that produce vagrant thinking to a stand is called cessation. To adequately understand the transitory and emptiness and egolessness of all things is insight. At first each of them should be practised separately by the beginner, but when, by degrees, he attains facility, and finally attains perfection, the two aspects will naturally blend into one perfect state of mental tranquillity. Those who practise Dhyana should dwell in solitude and, sitting erect, should remain motionless, seeking to quiet the mind. Do not fix the thoughts on any definite thing that you have sensed or discriminated, or memorised; all particularisations, all imaginations, all recollections, are to be excluded, because all things are uncreate, devoid of all attributes, ever changing. In all thinking, something precedes that has been awakened by an external stimuli, so in Dhyana one should seek to abandon all notions connected with an external world. Then in thinking, something follows that has been elaborated in his own mind; so he should seek to abandon thinking. Because his attention is distracted by the external world, he is warned to turn to his inner, intuitive consciousness. If the process of mentation begins again, he is warned not to let his mind become attached to anything, because, independent of mind they have no existence. Dhyana is not at all to be confined to sitting erect in meditation; one’s mind should be concentrated at all times, whether sitting, standing, moving, working; one should constantly discipline himself to that end. Gradually entering into the state of Samadhi, he will transcend all hindrances and become strengthened in faith, a faith that will be immovable.”)

The Lord Buddha resumed his words to Subhuti, saying: “What think you, Subhuti, are the atoms of dust in the myriad worlds which comprise the universe, are they very numerous?”

Subhuti replied: “Very numerous, indeed, Blessed One.”

The Lord Buddha continued: “Subhuti, these atoms of dust, many as they are, are not in reality ‘atoms of dust,’ they are merely termed so. Moreover, these ‘myriad worlds’ are not really worlds, they are merely termed so because of ignorance.

“Subhuti, if a good disciple were to take these infinite worlds and reduce them to exceedingly minute particles of dust and blow them away into space, would the so-called ‘infinite worlds’ cease to exist?”

Subhuti replied: “The Blessed One has already taught us that ‘myriad worlds’ is only a name; how can that which is only a name, cease to exist?”

Then the Lord Buddha continued: “True, Subhuti, but if it were otherwise, and the infinite worlds were a reality, then it would be asserting the unity and eternality of matter, which every one knows is dream-like, changing and transitory. Unity and eternality of matter, indeed! There is neither matter, nor unity, nor eternality–they are merely names. Belief in the unity and eternality of matter is incomprehensible; only common and worldly minded people, for purely materialistic reasons, cling to that hypothesis. Subhuti, enlightened disciples must thoroughly understand that emptiness and egolessness are characteristic of’ all Truth. The Dhyana Paramita can be successfully practised only from that viewpoint.”

Then the Lord Buddha continued: “If a disciple should affirm that the Tathagata had enunciated a doctrine that the mind could comprehend the idea of an entity, a being, a living being, a personality, or ally other discrimination, would that disciple be interpreting aright the meaning of this Scripture?”

Subhuti replied: “Blessed One, that disciple would not be interpreting aright the meaning of the Lord Buddha’s discourse. And why? Because, Blessed One, when you discoursed on belief in the reality of an entity, a being, a living being, a personality, it was plainly declared that there were no such things; that they were entirely unreal and illusive; that they were merely words.”

The Lord Buddha continued: “Subhuti, the disciples who aspire to supreme spiritual wisdom ought thus to know, to believe in, and to interpret all phenomena. They ought to eliminate from their minds every seeming evidence of concrete objects; they ought to eliminate from their minds even the notions of such things; and become oblivious to every idea connected with them. And why? Because, so long as he cherishes ideas of and concerning an entity, a being, a living being, a personality, his mind is kept in confusion. He must even become oblivious to the idea that there is any one to whom the idea of sentient life can become oblivious. If he were to think within his mind, ‘I must become oblivious to every idea of sentient life,’ he could not be described as being wholly enlightened. And why? Because, within the bounds of reality there is no such thing, no entity, no being, no living being, no personality, nothing whatever that can be discriminated, and therefore, there can be no reality to ideas concerning them, for all these things are merely manifestations of the mind itself.”

Subhuti enquired, saying: “Blessed One, in the ages to come, will sentient beings destined to hear this Dharma, awaken within their minds these essential elements of faith?”

The Lord Buddha replied, smiling: “Subhuti, it cannot be asserted that there are or will be any such things as sentient beings, nor can it be asserted that there will not be. At present there are none, they are merely termed ‘sentient beings.’ And as to any one being saved: how can there be one to find it by seeking, or to know it if it is ever found? One cannot gain self-realisation of Prajna Paramita without transcending the conscious faculty. To fully realise emptiness, egolessness, imagelessness by the use of the discriminating mind is futile. It is only by practising the Dhyana Paramita, by identifying oneself with emptiness and egolessness, that emptiness and egolessness is to be realised. In the exercise of the Dhyana Paramita, unless the mind of the enlightened disciple is independent of all phenomena, he is like a person lost in impenetrable darkness, to whom every object is invisible and himself helpless. But an enlightened disciple practising the Paramita with a mind independent of every phenomena, is like unto a person to whom suddenly the power of vision is restored, and he sees every thing as in the meridian glory of the sunlight.”

The Lord Buddha said:

“Not by means of visible form,
Not by audible sound,
Is Buddha to be perceived;
Only in the solitude and purity of Dhyana
Is one to realise the blessedness of Buddha.”


The Lord Buddha addressing Subhuti, said: “What think you? When in a previous life I was a disciple of Dipankara Buddha, did I eventually become a Buddha because of some prescribed teaching or system of doctrine?”

Subhuti replied: “No, Blessed One. When the Lord Buddha was a disciple of Dipankara Buddha neither prescribed teaching nor system of doctrine was communicated to him, whereby he eventually became a Buddha.”

The Lord Buddha continued, saying: “In my discourses have I presented a system of doctrine that can be specifically formulated?”

Subhuti replied: “As I understand the meaning of the Blessed One’s discourses, he has no system of doctrine that can be specifically formulated. And why? Because, what the Blessed One adumbrates in the terms of the Dharma is, in reality, inscrutable and inexpressible. Being a purely spiritual concept, it is neither consonant with the Dharma, nor synonymous with anything apart from the Dharma; but it is exemplified in the manner in which Bodhisattvas and holy Buddhas have regarded intuitive self-realisation as the highest law of their minds and by it have severally attained to different planes of spiritual wisdom.”

The Lord Buddha endorsed these words, saying: “True it is; Subhuti! True it is. There is no dharma by means of which Buddhas attain supreme spiritual wisdom. Wisdom is attained only by self-realisation through the practice of the Dhyana Paramita. If there had been such a Dharma, Dipankara would not have prophesied when I was a disciple of his: ‘In future ages, my boy, you will become Shakyamuni Buddha.’ And why? Because in the concept Buddha every dharma is wholly and intelligibly comprehended. How could there be a Dharma by which that all-inclusive state could be attained? The supreme spiritual wisdom to which Buddhas attain, cannot, in its essence, be defined as either real or unreal. That which is commonly spoken of as the Buddha Dharma is synonymous with every moral and spiritual dharma. Subhuti, what are spoken of as ‘systems of dharma,’ including even the so-called Buddha Dharma, are not in reality systems of dharma, they are merely termed ‘systems of dharma.’”

(Regarding the Prajna Paramita–Ideal Wisdom–really, there is no such thing. Prajna Paramita transcends all ideation, all knowledge, all wisdom; It is Noble Wisdom in its “suchness” and its self-nature is manifested in the transformation-bodies of the Tathagatas.)

Subhuti enquired of the Lord Buddha: “In attaining supreme spiritual wisdom did the Lord Buddha, then, attain nothing definite and tangible?”

The Lord Buddha replied: “In attaining supreme spiritual wisdom, not a vestiage of dharma nor doctrine was obtained, that is why it is called ‘supreme spiritual wisdom.’ Prajna Paramita is universal, coherent, indivisible; it is neither above nor below; it excludes all such arbitrary ideas as an entity, a being, a living being, a personality, discrimination, ideation; but it includes every dharma pertaining to the cultivation of wisdom and compassion. And even these, when defined and thought about, are not in reality ‘dharmas of wisdom and compassion’; they are only termed ‘dharmas of wisdom and compassion.’

“Do not think that the Tathagatas consider within themselves: ‘I ought to promulgate a system of Dharma.’ Have no such irrelevant thought, Subhuti. and why? because by so thinking the disciple would expose his ignorance and defame the Tathagatas. In reality there is no ‘system of Dharma’ to promulgate; it is only termed ‘a system of Dharma.’

“What think you? Can the Tathagatas be perceived by their perfect material bodies, or by any physical phenomena?”

Subhuti replied: “It is improbable that a Lord Buddha can be perceived by his perfect material body, or by any physical phenomena; because, in reality, there is no such thing as a material body, nor physical phenomena; they are only terms that are in common use.”

Then the Lord Buddha said: “Why is the Tathagata so named? It is because he manifests the essential nature of reality. ‘He who thus comes,’ comes from nowhere. He symbolises the emptiness of qualities, the egolessness, the imagelessness, of ultimate reality. He symbolises the un-born, the un-originate, the truly eternal because the ultimate. And yet, Subhuti, if any one should affirm that by the Tathagata ultimate Wisdom is manifested, he would speak an untruth, he would slander me by his limited knowledge. That which is manifested by the Tathagatas is neither truth nor falsehood: it is no-thing-ness; and yet it is inconceivable Oneness, because it is Prajna Paramita, because it is the essence nature of Buddahood.

“Subhuti, the plane of thought to which the Buddhas attain and which the Tathagatas manifest, cannot be expressed in terms of reality or in terms of non-reality. Their utterances are neither extravagant nor chimerical; they are true, credible, immutable, but can never be expressed in the limits of words and doctrines.

Then the Lord Buddha enquired of Subhuti, saying: “Are Tathagatas to be recognised by the works they do and the effects they produce?”

Subhuti replied: “No, Blessed One; a Buddha is not to be known by his works, else would a great world-conquering King be a Buddha.”

The Lord Buddha said: “Just so, Subhuti. It is not by a great show of erudition, nor by the building of anything, nor by the destruction of anything, that the Tathagatas are to be known. It is only within the deepest consciousness of Bodhisattvas through the self-realisation of the Prajna Paramita, that the Tathagatas are to be realised.

The Lord Buddha continued: “What think you, Subhuti? Does the Tathagata possess a physical eye?” Subhuti assented, saying: “The Blessed One truly possesses a physical eye.”

“What think you, Subhuti? Does the Tathagata possess the eye of enlightenment?” Subhuti assented, saying: “The Blessed One truly possesses the eye of enlightenment.”

“What think you, Subhuti? Does the Tathagata possess the eye of Wisdom?” Subhuti assented, saying: “The Blessed One truly possesses the eye of Wisdom.”

“What think you, Subhuti? Does the Tathagata possess the eye of Compassion?” Subhuti assented, saying: “The Blessed One truly possesses the Buddha eye of Compassion.”

The Lord Buddha continued: “If there were as many river Ganges as there are grains of sand in the river Ganges, and if there were as many Buddha-lands as there are grains of sand in all the innumerable rivers, would these Buddha-lands be numerous?”

Subhuti replied: “Buddha-lands are innumerable.”

The Lord Buddha continued: “Subhuti, within these innumerable worlds are every form of sentient life with all their various mental capacities, dispositions, and temperaments, all alike are fully known to the Tathagatas, and the Tathagatas are filled with compassion for them. Nevertheless, what are referred to as mental capacities, dispositions, and temperaments, are not in reality mental capacities, dispositions and temperaments; they are merely termed such. Dispositions of mind, modes of thought, whether relating to the past, present or future, are all alike unreal and illusory.

“Thus should the Noble Prajna Paramita be explained. Thus should a young disciple, whether man or woman, thus should the highest Bodhisattva, understand and explain the Prajna Paramita. Everything should be seen as solitude, as egoless, as imageless; everything should be seen as the sky, as sunlight, as darkness, as a phantom, as a dream, as a flash of lightning, as a bubble. Thus is Prajna Paramita to be conceived and to be explained.”

Then the venerable Subhuti, hearing the text of this sacred Scripture expounded by the Lord Buddha, and realising its profound meaning, was moved to tears and, addressing the Lord Buddha, said: “Thou art of transcendent wisdom, Blessed One! In thus expounding this supreme Scripture, thou hast surpassed every exposition previously given. True it is that all things and all phenomena and all definitive ideas are transitory, empty, egoless, imageless and dream-like! Only Prajna Paramita abides.”

The Lord Buddha assenting, said: “Subhuti, in future ages, disciples destined to hear this Scripture, discarding every arbitrary idea, neither becoming perturbed by its extreme mode of thought, nor carried away by its lofty sentiment, nor fearful as to realising its noble sentiment, who faithfully and zealously study it, observe its precepts, and patiently explain it to others, their intrinsic merits will excite superlative wonder and praise. Moreover, as they gain in realisation of this profound Prajna Paramita through the practice of Dhyana, they will eventually become wholly enlightened, wholly compassionate–themselves revealed as Buddha.”

Subhuti enquired of the Lord Buddha: “Blessed One, by what name shall this Scripture be known, that we may regard it with reverence?”

The Lord Buddha replied: “Subhuti, this Scripture shall be known as THE DIAMOND SCRIPTURE, because, by its Transcendent Wisdom all sentient life shall reach the other shore. By this name you shall reverently regard it, always remembering that what is referred to as Transcendental Wisdom is only a name,–Prajna Paramita transcends all wisdom.”
Coleman Barks “What Was Said To The Rose” by Rumi

The Poetic Gems of Lalla Ded

A Stream Flowing

Now I saw a stream flowing;
Now neither bank nor bridge was seen.
Now I saw a bush in bloom;
Now neither rose nor thorn was seen.

I was passionate

I was passionate,
filled with longing,
I searched
far and wide.
But the day
that the Truthful One
found me,
I was at home.

For ever we came

For ever we come, forever we go;
Forever, day and night, we are on the move.
Whence we come, thither we go,
Forever in the round of birth and death,
From nothingness to nothingness.
But sure, a mystery here abides,
A Something is there for us to know.
(It cannot all be meaningless).
I cannot convince a fool
I might disperse the southern clouds,
I might drain out the sea,
I might cure the incurable sick,
But I cannot convince a fool.

” I saw and found I am in everything
I saw God effulgent in everything.
After hearing and pausing see Siva
The House is His alone; Who am I, Lalla. ”

The way is difficult and very intricate.
Lalla discarded her books that told
about it, and through meditation
saw the truth that never comes
to anyone from reading words.

If you’ve melted your desires
in the river of time, choose
to be a recluse, or choose
a family, the village job.

If you know the pure Lord within you,
you’ll be That, wherever.

I, Lalla, willingly entered through the garden-gate,
There, O Joy! I found Siva united with Sakti;
There and then I got absorbed drinking at the Lake of Nectar.
Immune to harm am I, dead as I am to the world, though still alive

Meditate within eternity.
Don’t stay in the mind.

Your thoughts are like a child fretting
near its mother’s breast, restless
and afraid, who with a little guidance,
can find the path to courage.

Day will be erased in night.
The ground’s surface will extend outward.

The new moon will be swallowed
in eclipse, and the mind in meditation

will be completely absorbed
by the Void inside it.

What is worship? Who are this man
and this woman bringing flowers?

What kinds of flowers should be brought,
and what streamwater poured over the images?

Real worship is done by the mind
(Let that be a man) and by the desire
(Let that be a woman). And let those two
choose what to sacrifice.

There is a liquid that can be released
from under the mask of the face,
a nectar which when it rushes down
gives discipline and strength.

Let that be your sacred pouring,
Let your worship song be silence.

Lalla Ded: A Short Biography

Lal Ded, also affectionately called Lalla, Lalli, Lal Diddi (“Granny Lal”), or Lalleshwari, was born near Srinagar in Kashmir in northern India.

Little is known with certainty about her life, other than hints that come to us through her poetry and songs.

She was a young bride, married, tradition says, at the age of twelve. After moving into her husband’s family home, she was abused by her mother-in-law and ignored by her husband.

A story is told about “Lalla’s Lake” — one day when returning from the well with a clay water jug on her head, her husband lost his temper over her delay and struck the jug in his anger. The clay vessel broke but, miraculously, the water held its shape above her head. This becomes an important symbol of the heavenly nectar that rains down from the crown.

Finally, Lalla could endure no more mistreatment and, in her early 20s, she left. She became a disciple of a respected saint in the Kashmir Shaivism tradition of yoga and she took up the life of a holy woman dedicated God in the form of Shiva. Lalla began wandering about, village to village, going naked or nearly naked, and singing songs of enlightenment.

Lalla’s songs are short, using the simple, direct language of the common people, yet she touches on complex yogic techniques and the most elevated states of awareness.

The name Lalla can be translated as either “seeker” or “darling.”

Lalla is deeply loved by both Hindus and Muslims in Kashmir today, even amidst the terrible fighting ravaging the land. There is a saying that in Kashmir only two words have any meaning: Allah and Lalla.

RUMI: 800th Birthday, Coleman Barks, Sukhawat Ali Khan, Stephen Kent


Dido and Aeneas – Pierre Narcisse Guerin

Introducing Music Meditations

I. 83. candâ jhalkai yahi ghat mâhîn

“But who will lead the Mystery Theatre, where dreams are revealed and the ancient rites are held”?

The moon shines in my body, but my blind eyes cannot see it:
The moon is within me, and so is the sun.
The unstruck drum of Eternity is sounded within me; but my deaf ears cannot hear it.

So long as man clamours for the I and the Mine, his works are as naught:
When all love of the I and the Mine is dead, then the work of the Lord is done.
For work has no other aim than the getting of knowledge:
When that comes, then work is put away.

The flower blooms for the fruit: when the fruit comes, the flower withers.
The musk is in the deer, but it seeks it not within itself: it wanders in quest of grass.
– Kabir


Eostre Sunday in the NW… Rowan, sitting and watching “Farscape” (actually, he’s snoring now on the couch), Mary has been baking bread. I’m dinking away on art for some web applications. I have been working on a new site, which I hope to unveil this next week.

Todays entry is an amalgam of several unreleased entries from the last month. One of the funny things about Turfing is the number of them that I don’t publish. Entries have to meet a certain criteria in my view, though it may not be discernible to anyone else. Anyway, I hope you enjoy this one, I like all the components to it, though the flow is a bit different and all of that. I actually started the original entry on the 28th of January, and there has been some 70 revisions. Weird I know, but what can I do?

I hope your day is a pleasant one!

Bright Blessings,

On The Menu:
Nuit Blanche
The Unmistaken Child
Music Meditations: A new possibility…
The Songs Of Kabir
Poetry of Jack Kerouac
Main Artist: Hosman Bey

Nuit Blanche

Nuit Blanche from Spy Films on Vimeo.


The Unmistaken Child

Watched this twice. What a great little film. Mary and I watched it, and were taken with the beauty of it. I recommend “The Unmistaken Child” to anyone. Having heard tales of this form of selection, it was deeply interesting to watch the drama unfold in the telling of this simple tale.


Music Meditations: A new possibility…

So… I thought of adding a new feature for Turfing, Music Meditations. Rather than videos, I will every once in awhile, upload music that I find that is conducive to meditation, or just sitting back and thinking. I have included 4 tracks today from Jocelyn Pook’s wonderful soundtrack from “Flood”. You may want to open another browser window if you want to continue reading Turfing. If not, just sit back and listen to the tracks. I hope you enjoy this new feature!

Jocelyn Pook

I first became acquainted with Jocelyn Pook’s music in the late 90′s. It took me a while to track it down, and it has only offered me delights ever since. Her film sound tracks, make me want to see the film that they sonically illustrate. Her pieces stand so well on their own. She is a modern classicist, with a wonderful sensibility.
Jocelyn Pook: Station
Jocelyn Pook: Driving Back To Childhood
Jocelyn Pook: Child’s Play
Jocelyn Pook: Quivering Tree

The Songs Of Kabir

I. 85. Sâdho, Brahm alakh lakhâyâ

When He Himself reveals Himself, Brahma brings into manifestation That which can never be seen.
As the seed is in the plant, as the shade is in the tree, as the void is in the sky, as infinite forms are in the void–
So from beyond the Infinite, the Infinite comes; and from the Infinite the finite extends.

The creature is in Brahma, and Brahma is in the creature: they are ever distinct, yet ever united.
He Himself is the tree, the seed, and the germ.
He Himself is the flower, the fruit, and the shade.
He Himself is the sun, the light, and the lighted.
He Himself is Brahma, creature, and Maya.
He Himself is the manifold form, the infinite space;
He is the breath, the word, and the meaning.
He Himself is the limit and the limitless: and beyond both the limited and the limitless is He, the Pure Being.
He is the Immanent Mind in Brahma and in the creature.

The Supreme Soul is seen within the soul,
The Point is seen within the Supreme Soul,
And within the Point, the reflection is seen again.
Kabîr is blest because he has this supreme vision!

II. 61. grah candra tapan jot varat hai

THE light of the sun, the moon, and the stars shines bright:
The melody of love swells forth, and the rhythm of love’s detachment beats the time.
Day and night, the chorus of music fills the heavens; and Kabîr says
“My Beloved One gleams like the lightning flash in the sky.”

Do you know how the moments perform their adoration?
Waving its row of lamps, the universe sings in worship day and night,
There are the hidden banner and the secret canopy:
There the sound of the unseen bells is heard.
Kabîr says: “There adoration never ceases; there the Lord of the Universe sitteth on His throne.” p. 61
The whole world does its works and commits its errors: but few are the lovers who know the Beloved.
The devout seeker is he who mingles in his heart the double currents of love and detachment, like the mingling of the streams of Ganges and Jumna;
In his heart the sacred water flows day and night; and thus the round of births and deaths is brought to an end.

Behold what wonderful rest is in the Supreme Spirit! and he enjoys it, who makes himself meet for it.
Held by the cords of love, the swing of the Ocean of Joy sways to and fro; and a mighty sound breaks forth in song.
See what a lotus blooms there without water! and Kabîr says
“My heart’s bee drinks its nectar.” p. 62
What a wonderful lotus it is, that blooms at the heart of the spinning wheel of the universe! Only a few pure souls know of its true delight.
Music is all around it, and there the heart partakes of the joy of the Infinite Sea.
Kabîr says: “Dive thou into that Ocean of sweetness: thus let all errors of life and of death flee away.”

Behold how the thirst of the five senses is quenched there! and the three forms of misery are no more!
Kabîr says: “It is the sport of the Unattainable One: look within, and behold how the moon-beams of that Hidden One shine in you.”
There falls the rhythmic beat of life and death: p. 63
Rapture wells forth, and all space is radiant with light.
There the Unstruck Music is sounded; it is the music of the love of the three worlds.
There millions of lamps of sun and of moon are burning;
There the drum beats, and the lover swings in play.
There love-songs resound, and light rains in showers; and the worshipper is entranced in the taste of the heavenly nectar.
Look upon life and death; there is no separation between them,
The right hand and the left hand are one and the same.
Kabîr says: “There the wise man is speechless; for this truth may never be found in Vadas or in books.”

I have had my Seat on the Self-poised One, p. 64
I have drunk of the Cup of the Ineffable,
I have found the Key of the Mystery,
I have reached the Root of Union.
Travelling by no track, I have come to the Sorrowless Land: very easily has the mercy of the great Lord come upon me.
They have sung of Him as infinite and unattainable: but I in my meditations have seen Him without sight.
That is indeed the sorrowless land, and none know the path that leads there:
Only he who is on that path has surely transcended all sorrow.
Wonderful is that land of rest, to which no merit can win;
It is the wise who has seen it, it is the wise who has sung of it.
This is the Ultimate Word: but can any express its marvellous savour? p. 65
He who has savoured it once, he knows what joy it can give.
Kabîr says: “Knowing it, the ignorant man becomes wise, and the wise man becomes speechless and silent,
The worshipper is utterly inebriated,
His wisdom and his detachment are made perfect;
He drinks from the cup of the inbreathings and the outbreathings of love.”

There the whole sky is filled with sound, and there that music is made without fingers and without strings;
There the game of pleasure and pain does not cease.
Kabîr says: “If you merge your life in the Ocean of Life, you will find your life in the Supreme Land of Bliss.”

What a frenzy of ecstasy there is in p. 66 every hour! and the worshipper is pressing out and drinking the essence of the hours: he lives in the life of Brahma.
I speak truth, for I have accepted truth in life; I am now attached to truth, I have swept all tinsel away.
Kabîr says: “Thus is the worshipper set free from fear; thus have all errors of life and of death left him.”

There the sky is filled with music:
There it rains nectar:
There the harp-strings jingle, and there the drums beat.
What a secret splendour is there, in the mansion of the sky!
There no mention is made of the rising and the setting of the sun;
In the ocean of manifestation, which is the light of love, day and night are felt to be one. p. 67
Joy for ever, no sorrow,–no struggle!
There have I seen joy filled to the brim, perfection of joy;
No place for error is there.
Kabîr says: “There have I witnessed the sport of One Bliss!”

I have known in my body the sport of the universe: I have escaped from the error of this world..
The inward and the outward are become as one sky, the Infinite and the finite are united: I am drunken with the sight of this All!
This Light of Thine fulfils the universe: the lamp of love that burns on the salver of knowledge.
Kabîr says: “There error cannot enter, and the conflict of life and death is felt no more.”

II. 56. dariyâ kî lahar dariyâo hai jî

THE river and its waves are one
surf: where is the difference between the river and its waves?
When the wave rises, it is the water; and when it falls, it is the same water again. Tell me, Sir, where is the distinction?
Because it has been named as wave, shall it no longer be considered as water?

Within the Supreme Brahma, the worlds are being told like beads:
Look upon that rosary with the eyes of wisdom.

I. 101. is ghat antar bâg bagîce

Within this earthen vessel are bowers and groves, and within it is the Creator:
Within this vessel are the seven oceans and the unnumbered stars.
The touchstone and the jewel-appraiser are within;
And within this vessel the Eternal soundeth, and the spring wells up.
Kabîr says: “Listen to me, my Friend! My beloved Lord is within.”

I. 104. aisâ lo nahîn taisâ lo

O how may I ever express that secret word?
O how can I say He is not like this, and He is like that?
If I say that He is within me, the universe is ashamed:
If I say that He is without me, it is falsehood.
He makes the inner and the outer worlds to be indivisibly one;
The conscious and the unconscious, both are His footstools.
He is neither manifest nor hidden, He is neither revealed nor unrevealed:
There are no words to tell that which He is.



Poetry From Jack Kerouac

In Vain

The stars in the sky
In vain
The tragedy of Hamlet
In vain
The key in the lock
In vain
The sleeping mother
In vain
The lamp in the corner
In vain
The lamp in the corner unlit
In vain
Abraham Lincoln
In vain
The Aztec empire
In vain
The writing hand: in vain
(The shoetrees in the shoes
In vain
The windowshade string upon
the hand bible
In vain—
The glitter of the greenglass
In vain
The bear in the woods
In vain
The Life of Buddha
In vain)

Three Haiku

Birds singing
in the dark
—Rainy dawn.

The low yellow
moon above the
Quiet lamplit house

The taste
of rain
—Why kneel?

ORLANDO BLUE: 31st Chorus

O Gary Snyder
we work in many ways
In Montreal I suffered tile
and rain

In Additional Christmas
waylayed babes

In old crow Hotels
full of blue babes
in pink dressinggowns

But O Gary Snyder
where’d you go,
What I meant was
there you go

In Montreal I worked a manied-way

And better than Old Post
I learned to appreciate
in many ways
Montreal, Soulsville,
and Drain

Bowery Blues

The story of man
Makes me sick
Inside, outside,
I don’t know why
Something so conditional
And all talk
Should hurt me so.

I am hurt
I am scared
I want to live
I want to die
I don’t know
Where to turn
In the Void
And when
To cut

For no Church told me
No Guru holds me
No advice
Just stone
Of New York
And on the cafeteria
We hear
The saxophone
O dead Ruby
Died of Shot
In Thirty Two,
Sounding like old times
And de bombed
Empty decapitated
Murder by the clock.

And I see Shadows
Dancing into Doom
In love, holding
TIght the lovely asses
Of the little girls
In love with sex
Showing themselves
In white undergarments
At elevated windows
Hoping for the Worst.

I can’t take it
If I can’t hold
My little behind
To me in my room

Then it’s goodbye
For me
Girls aren’t as good
As they look
And Samadhi
Is better
Than you think
When it starts in
Hitting your head
In with Buzz
Of glittergold
Heaven’s Angels


We’ve been waiting for you
Since Morning, Jack
Why were you so long
Dallying in the sooty room?
This transcendental Brilliance
Is the better part
(of Nothingness
I sing)


All The Hemispheres

Dividing God

The moon starts singing
When everyone is asleep
And the planets throw a bright robe
Around their shouldersand whirl up
Close to her side.

Once I asked the moon,
Why do you and your sweet friends
Not perform so romantically like that
To a larger crowd?

And the whole sky chorus resounded,

“The admission price to hear
The lofty minstrels
Speak of love

Is affordable only to those
Who have not exhausted themselves
Dividing God all day
And thus need rest.

The thrilled Tavern fiddlers
Who are perched on the roof

Do not want their notes to intrude
Upon the ears
Where an accountant lives
With a sharp pencil
Keeping score of words
In their great sorrow or sad anger
May have once said
To you.”

Hafiz knows:
The sun will stand as your best man
And whistle
When you have found the courage
To marry forgiveness

When you have found the courage
to marry
Love. – Hafiz

A short one…
Wanted to get this out, as it is timely and all that. Hope to see you at the Practical Magic Art Showing…

Bright Blessings,
On The Menu:
Massive Attack – Paradise Circus
Practical Magic Art Show
The Cobbler Who Became An Astrologer (A Sufi Tale)
All The Hemispheres – The Poetry Of Hafiz
Massive Attack – Atlas Air (Heligoland)
Art: Lord Fredric Leighton
Massive Attack – Paradise Circus

Practical Magic
My Friends Nemo, and Chris Haberman are in a gallery show starting Thursday, April 1st… Be there or be square!

The Cobbler Who Became an Astrologer – A Sufi Tale

There was in the city of Isfahan a poor cobbler called Ahmed, who was possesses of a singularly greedy and envious wife. Every day the woman went to the public baths, the Hammam, and each time saw someone there of whom she became jealous. One day she espied a lady dressed in a magnificent robe, jewels on every finger, pearls in her ears, and attended by many persons. Asking whom this might be, she was told, “The wife of the king’s astrologer”.

“Of course, that is what my wretched Ahmed must become, an astrologer,” thought the cobbler’s wife, and rushed home as fast as her feet would carry her. The cobbler, seeing her face asked: “What in the world is the matter, my dear one?”

“Don’t you speak to me or come near me until you become a court astrologer!” she snapped. “Give up your vile trade of mending shoes! I shall never be happy until we are rich!”

“Astrologer! Astrologer! Cried Ahmed, “What qualifications have I to read the stars? You must be mad!”

“I neither know nor care how you do it, just become an astrologer by tomorrow or I will go back to my father’s house and seek a divorce,” she said.

The cobbler was out of his mind with worry. How was he to become an astrologer – that was the question? He could not bear the thought of losing his wife, so he went out and bought a table of the zodiac signs, an astrolabe and an astronomical almanac. To do this he had to sell his cobblers’ tools, and so felt he must succeed as an astrologer. He went out into the market-place, crying: “O, people, come to me for all answers to everything! I can read the stars, I know the sun, the moon and the twelve signs of the zodiac! I can foretell that which is to happen!”

Now it so happened that the king’s jeweller was passing by, in great distress at losing one of the crown jewels, which had been entrusted to him for polishing. This was a great ruby, and he had searched for it high and low without success. The court jeweller knew that if he did not find it his head would be forfeit. He came to the crowd surrounding Ahmed and asked what was happening.

“Oh, the very latest astrologer, Ahmed the cobbler, now promises to tell everything there is to know!” laughed one of the bystanders. The court jeweller pressed forward and whispered into Ahmed’s ear: “If you understand your art, discover for me the king’s ruby and I will give you two hundred pieces of gold. If you do not succeed, I will be instrumental in bringing out your death!”

Ahmed was thunderstruck. He put a hand to his brow and shaking his head, thinking of his wife, said: “O, woman, woman, you are more baneful to the happiness of man than the vilest serpent!”. Now the jewel had been secreted by the jeweller’s wife, who, guilty about the theft, had sent a female slave to follow her husband everywhere. This slave, on hearing the new astrologer cry out about a woman who was as poisonous as a serpent, thought that all must be discovered, and ran back to the house to tell her mistress.

“You are discovered by a hateful astrologer! Go to him, lady, and plead with the wretch to be merciful, for if he tells your husband you are lost”. The woman then threw on her veil, and went to Ahmed and flung herself at his feet, crying: “Spare my honour and my life and I will tell all!”

“Tell what?” inquired Ahmed.
“Oh nothing that you do not know already!” she wept, “You know well I stole the ruby. I did so to punish my husband, he uses me so cruelly! But you, o most wonderful man from whom nothing is hidden, command me and I will do whatever you ask that this secret never sees the light”.

Ahmed thought quickly, then said: “I know all you have done and to save you I ask you to do this: Place the ruby at once under your husband’s pillow and forget all about it”. The jeweller’s wife returned home and did as she was bidden. In an hour Ahmed followed her and told the jeweller that he had made his calculations and by the sun, moon and stars the ruby was at that moment lying under his pillow. The jeweller ran from the room like a hunted stag and returned a few moments later the happiest of men. He embraced Ahmed like a brother and placed a bag containing two hundred pieces of gold at his feet.

The praises of the jeweller ringing in his ears, Ahmed returned home grateful that he could now satisfy his wife’s lust for money. He thought he would have to work no more, but he was disenchanted to hear her say: “This is only your first adventure in this new way of life! Once your name gets known, you will soon be summoned to court!”

Unhappily Ahmed remonstrated with her. He had no wish to go further in his career of fortune-telling, it simply was not safe. How could he expect to have further strokes of luck like the last, he asked? But his wife burst into tears and again threatened him with divorce.

Ahmed agreed to sally forth next day t the market-place, to advertise himself once more. He exclaimed as loudly as before “I am an astrologer! I can see everything which will happen by the power given to me by the sun, the moon and the stars!”

The crowd gathered again and a veiled lady was passing while Ahmed was holding forth. She paused with her maid and heard of the success he had had the day before with the finding of the king’s ruby, together with a dozen other stories, which had never happened. The lady, very tall and dressed in fine silks, pushed her way forward and said: “I ask you this conundrum. Where are my necklace and earrings, which I mislaid yesterday? I dare not tell my husband about the loss, as he is a very jealous man and may think I have given them to a lover. Do you, astrologer, tell me at once where they are or I am dishonoured! If you give me the right answer, which should not be difficult for you, I will at once give you fifty pieces of gold”.

The unfortunate cobbler was speechless for a moment, on seeing such an important-looking lady before him, plucking at his arm and he put a hand over his eyes. He looked at her again, wondering what he should say. Then he noticed that part of her face was showing, which was quite unsuitable for one of her social level, and the veil was torn, apparently in her pressing through the crowd. He leaned down and said in a quiet voice: “Madam, look down to the rent, look to the rent!”

He meant the rent in her veil, but it immediately touched off a recollection in her mind. “Stay here, o greatest of astrologers,” she said and returned to her house, which was not far away. There, in the rent in her bathroom wall, she discovered her necklace and earrings, which she herself had hidden them from prying eyes. Soon she was back, wearing another veil and carrying a bag containing fifty pieces of gold for Ahmed. The crowd pressed around him in wonder at this new example of the brilliance of the cobbler astrologer.

Ahmed’s wife, however, could not yet rival the wife of the chief court astrologer, so she still urged her husband to continue seeking fame and fortune.

Now, at this time, the king’s treasury was robbed of forty chests of gold and jewels. Officers of state and the chief of police all tried to find the thieves but to no avail. At last, two servants were dispatched to Ahmed to ask if he would solve the case of the missing chests.

The king’s astrologer, however, was spreading lies about Ahmed behind his back and was heard to say that he gave Ahmed forty days to find the thieves, then he prophesied, Ahmed would be hanged for not being able to do so.

Ahmed was being summoned to the presence of the king and bowed low before the sovereign. “Who is the thief, then, according to the stars?” asked the king.

“It is very difficult to say, my calculations will take some time,” stammered Ahmed, “but I will say this so far, your majesty, there was not one thief, but forty who did this dreadful robbery of your majesty’s treasure”.

“Very well,” said the king, “where are they and what can they have done with my gold and jewels?”
“I cannot say before forty days,” answered Ahmed, “if your majesty will grant me that time to consult the stars. Each night, you see, there are different conjunctions to study…”.

“I grant you forty days, then,” said the king, “but when they are past, if you do not have the answer, your life will be forfeit”.

The court astrologer looked very pleased and smirked behind his beard and that look made poor Ahmed very uncomfortable. Suppose the court astrologer was right after all? He returned to his home and told his wife: “My dear, I fear that your great greed has meant that I have now only forty more days to live. Let us cheerfully spend all we have made, for in that time I shall have to be executed”.

“But husband,” she said “you must find out the thieves in that time by the same method you found the king’s ruby and the woman’s necklace and the earrings!”

“Foolish creature!” said he, “do you not recall that I found the answers to those two cases simply by the will of Allah! I can never pull off such a trick again, not if I live to be a hundred. No, I think the best thing will be for me each night to put a date in a bowl, and by the time that there are forty in it, I shall know that it is the night of the fortieth day and the end of my life. You know I have no skill in reckoning and shall never know if I do not do it in this way”.

“Take courage,” she said, “mean, spiritless wretch that you are and think of something even while we are putting dates in the bowl, so that I may ever yet be attired like the wife of the court astrologer and placed in that rank of life to which my beauty has entitled me!” Not a word of kindness did she give him, not a thought of herself and her personal victory over the wife of the court astrologer.

Meanwhile, the forty thieves, a few miles away from the city, had received accurate information regarding the measures taken to detect them. They were told by spies that the king had sent for Ahmed, and hearing that the cobbler had told of their exact number, feared for their lives. But the captain of the gang said: “Let us go tonight, after dark, and listen outside his house, for in fact he might have made an inspired guess and we might be worrying over nothing”.

Everybody approved of this scheme, so after nightfall one of the thieves listening on the terrace just after the cobbler had offered his evening prayer, heard Ahmed say: “Ah, there is the first of the forty!” He had just been handed the first date by his wife. The thief, hearing these words, hurried back in consternation to the gang and told them that somehow, through wall and window, Ahmed had sensed his unseen presence and said: “Ah, there is the first of the forty!”

The tale of the spy was not believed and the next day two members of the band were sent to listen, completely hidden by darkness, outside the house. To their dismay they both heard Ahmed say quite distinctly: “My dear wife, tonight there are two of them!” Ahmed, of course, having finished his evening prayer, had been given the second date by his wife. The astonished thieves fled into the night, and told their companions what they had heard.

The next night three men were sent and the fourth night four, and so for many nights they came just as Ahmed was putting the date into the bowl. On the last night they all went and Ahmed cried loudly: “Ah, the number is complete! Tonight the whole forty are here!”

All doubts were now removed. It was impossible that they could have been seen, under cover of darkness they had come, mingling with passers-by and people of the town. Ahmed had never looked out of the window; had he done so, he would not even been able to see them, so deeply were they hidden in the shadows.

“Let us bribe the cobbler-astrologer!” said the chief of the thieves. “We will offer him as much of the booty as he wants and then we will prevent him telling the chief of police about us tomorrow,” he whispered to the others.
They knocked at Ahmed’s door, it was almost dawn. Supposing it to be the soldiers coming to take him away to be executed, Ahmed came to the door in good spirits. He and his wife had spent half of the money on good living and he was feeling quite ready to go. He did not even feel sorry that he was to leave his wife behind. She, in fact, was secretly pleased at having quite a lot of money left over to spend solely on herself.

“I know what you have come for!” he shouted out, as the cock crowed and the sun began to rise. “Have patience, I am coming out to you now. But what a wicked deed are you about to do!’ and he stepped forward bravely.

“Most wonderful man!” cried the head of the thieves. “We are fully convinced that you know why we have come, but can we not tempt you with two thousand pieces of gold and beg you to say nothing about the matter!”

“Say nothing about it?” said Ahmed. “Do you honestly think it is possible that I should suffer such gross wrong and injustice without making it known to all the world?”

“Have mercy upon us,” exclaimed the thieves and most of them threw themselves at his feet. “Only spare our lives and we shall return the treasure we stole!”

The cobbler was not sure if he was indeed awake or perhaps still sleeping, but realising that these were the forty thieves he assumed a solemn tone and said: “Wretched men! You cannot escape from my penetration, which reaches to the sun and the moon and knows every star in the sky. If you restore every chest of the forty I will do my very best to intercede with the king on your behalf. But go now, get the treasure and place it in a ditch a foot deep, which you must dig under the wall of the old hammam, the public baths. If you do this before the people of Isfahan are up and about, your lives will be spared. If not, you shall all hang! Go or destruction will fall upon you and your families!”

Stumbling and falling and picking themselves up, the band of thieves rushed away. Would it work? Ahmed knew he had only a short time to wait and find out. It was a very long shot, but he knew that he had only one life to lose and that he was in great danger anyway.

But Allah is just. Rewards suitable to their merits awaited Ahmed and his wife. At midday Ahmed stood cheerfully before the king, who said: “Your looks are promising, have you good news?”

“Your majesty!” said Ahmed, “the stars will only grant one or the other – the forty thieves or the forty chests of treasure. Will your majesty choose?”

“I should be sorry not to punish the thieves” said the king, “but if it must be so, I choose the treasure”.

“And you give the thieves a full and free pardon, O king?”

“I do,” said the monarch “provided I find my treasure untouched”.

“Then follow me,” said Ahmed and set off to the old hammam.

The king and all his courtiers followed Ahmed, who most of the times was casting his eyes to heaven and murmuring things under his breath, describing circles in the air the while. When his prayer was finished, he pointed to the southern wall and requested that his majesty ask the slaves to dig, saying that the treasure would be found intact. In his heart of hearts he hoped it were true.

Within a short while all the forty chests were discovered, with all the royal seals intact. The king’s joy knew no bounds. He embraced Ahmed like a father and immediately appointed him chief court astrologer. “I declare that you shall marry my only daughter,” he cried delightedly, “as you have restored the fortunes of my kingdom and to thus promote you is nothing less than my duty!”

The beautiful princess, who was as lovely as the moon on her fourteenth night, was not dissatisfied with her father’s choice, for she had seen Ahmed from afar and secretly loved him from the first glance.

The wheel of fortune had taken a complete turn. At dawn Ahmed was conversing with the band of thieves, bargaining with them; at disk he was lord of a rich palace and the possessor of a fair, young, highborn wife who adored him. But his did not change his character and he was as contented as a prince as he had been as a poor cobbler. His former wife, for whom he had now ceased to care, moved out of his life, and got the punishment to which her unreasonableness and unfeeling vanity had condemned her. Thus is the tapestry, which is our life, completed by the Great Designer.
All The Hemispheres – The Poetry Of Hafiz

I Have Learned So Much
So much from God
That I can no longer

A Christian, a Hindu, a Muslim,
a Buddhist, a Jew.

The Truth has shared so much of Itself
With me

That I can no longer call myself
A man, a woman, an angel,
Or even a pure

Love has
Befriended Hafiz so completely
It has turned to ash
And freed

Of every concept and image
my mind has ever known.
Laughing At the Word Two

That Illumined

Who keeps
Seducing the formless into form

Had the charm to win my

Only a Perfect One
Who is always
Laughing at the word

Can make you know
School of Truth

O fool, do something, so you won’t just stand there looking dumb.
If you are not traveling and on the road, how can you call yourself a guide?

In the School of Truth, one sits at the feet of the Master of Love.
So listen, son, so that one day you may be an old father, too!

All this eating and sleeping has made you ignorant and fat;
By denying yourself food and sleep, you may still have a chance.

Know this: If God should shine His lovelight on your heart,
I promise you’ll shine brighter than a dozen suns.

And I say: wash the tarnished copper of your life from your hands;
To be Love’s alchemist, you should be working with gold.

Don’t sit there thinking; go out and immerse yourself in God’s sea.
Having only one hair wet with water will not put knowledge in that head.

For those who see only God, their vision
Is pure, and not a doubt remains.

Even if our world is turned upside down and blown over by the wind,
If you are doubtless, you won’t lose a thing.

O Hafiz, if it is union with the Beloved that you seek,
Be the dust at the Wise One’s door, and speak!
All the Hemispheres

Leave the familiar for a while.
Let your senses and bodies stretch out

Like a welcomed season
Onto the meadows and shores and hills.

Open up to the Roof.
Make a new water-mark on your excitement
And love.

Like a blooming night flower,
Bestow your vital fragrance of happiness
And giving
Upon our intimate assembly.

Change rooms in your mind for a day.

All the hemispheres in existence
Lie beside an equator
In your heart.

Greet Yourself
In your thousand other forms
As you mount the hidden tide and travel
Back home.

All the hemispheres in heaven
Are sitting around a fire

While stitching themselves together
Into the Great Circle inside of

– Hafiz
One of the books that is often by my side. “The Gift” Poems by Hafiz The Great Sufi Master – I discovered Hafiz whilst in pursuit of Rumi. Hafiz is a different flavour, but the depths are much the same. I recommend!


Massive Attack – Atlas Air (Heligoland)