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Love and the Heart

Listen to the heart as it tells a tale:

how could one who is content with God complain? 

He speaks of submission and contentment,

not of possessing more or less. 

His every moment is full of joy,

for at every instant he is with God.

                    * * * * *

Complaining of separation is a sign of self-involvement;

“near” and “far” are terms invented by cunning reason.

The heart purified of everything becomes the place of God;

such a heart exists within the friends of God. 

How could a heart freed of the self’s deceit

ever think of prison and liberty?

How could a real heart ever become disturbed?

How could it ever become weary of separation?

How could a heart overcome with love for the Glorious God

have room for anything that is other than the Truth?

The heart that is smitten with God loses its self;

one who has become a Sufi loses his heart.

One who is a Sufi has no desires;

desires are for those who are insincere.

Seek a heart, O you prisoners of the self,

that you may reach the station of security.

What you call the “heart” is really your carnal self,

subject day and night to fear and hope. 

What you call the “heart” is nothing but the passions,

which cause you to have regrets and expectations.

What you call the “heart” is really the cunning intellect,

which is imprisoned in the grip of “I” and “we.”

What you call the “heart” is really your desires,

which exert their influences on both your words and deeds. 

                    * * * * *

The heart is the mirror of the Lord;

how could anything other than Him become settled there? 

The heart sees only Unity;

it is freed from perceiving separate things. 

The eye of the heart sees with certainty that everywhere

there is only one Being, in both this world and the hereafter. 

The heart perceives unbelief in others as faith;

the heart sees offense by others as kindness.

The one who still feels offense has no heart;

the one who still sees bad in things has no heart. 

Whatever may happen is good for those of heart;

whatever is said by one with heart is good.

Those of heart do not speak with an acid tongue;

their speech is like a salve.

The heart is the first stage of Unity,

for it is detached from the realm of matter and multiplicity. 

The thing in your breast that you name the “heart” is no heart;

that’s merely what ordinary people mean by “heart.” 

The heart has no limit, it is infinite;

that is why it is called the “Throne of God.”

This material organ that can be replaced,

that can be serviced and repaired, 

how could it be the heart of those of heart?

How could it represent God’s throne?

Abandon this patent superstition!

The thing that fills the chest’s cavity is not the heart!

No one knows the extent of the heart

that serves as the abode of God.

The heart bestows purity on Adam’s soul,

the soul that rules over the world. 

It’s not easy to reach the station of the heart;

it is difficult to arrive at that stage. 

As long as you are obsessed by “I” and “we,”

the heart will have nothing to do with you. 

As long as your intellect guides your soul,

how can you begin to know the heart? 

                    * * * * *

To reach the heart you must have a master;

to reach its district you must possess love. 

You must offer up your head in the way of the master

if you are to be led by him on this path.

To give up one’s head is not in everyone’s capacity;

surrendering the self is not for every rascal. 

Giving heart and soul to someone is not just talk;

not everyone is fit to embrace this undertaking.

Of the thousands who become Sufis

few are so yielding as to give up their selves. 

Many a one, motivated by desire,

has called himself a Sufi to show off.

Many a one has become a Sufi

in order to show that he is someone important. 

There’s many a one ruled by the intellect

who becomes a Sufi purely in name

in order to learn the Sufis’ secrets

so he may, in turn, reveal them to others,

thereby becoming known as a sage

and gratifying the base self that rules him.

There is one who becomes a Sufi

that he may be supported by others. 

He has a dependent personality,

becoming a Sufi without understanding. 

To acquire peace of soul,

he becomes a simpleminded Sufi.

Another becomes a Sufi without hesitation or doubt,

seeking the mysteries of the unseen.

Another sincerely becomes a Sufi,

so that his sickness may be cured.

Another becomes a Sufi out of despair

over the loss of all that he has possessed.

Out of thousands, few become real Sufis;

the others only pretend to be such. 

                    * * * * *

If you’re to travel this endless path,

your heart must be guided by love. 

Few fall heart and soul into the trap of love;

few are given the chance of a lifetime to drink from the cup of love.

What others call “love” is no more than desire;

one is to the other like a phoenix to a fly!

Those moved by desire become Sufis just in name

and after a while go off another way.

Moved by desire each new day,

they invent a hundred pretexts to follow a different master.

Moved by desire, their heads a-buzz,

they’re always rushing to join a new order.

Since they never see their own shortcomings,

they’re forever blaming their masters.

This is desire, brother; it’s not love!

The lover has but one master of love.

Your constant changing of direction arises from desire,

not from love, O lost one!

It is desire that pulls to war and peace,

and is forever changing its hue. 

This desire is now in concord, now in conflict,

now a friend, now a stranger.

Now it wants someone fervently;

now it has become a fierce enemy. 

                    * * * * *

If you were to give up your heart to a master on the path,

you would never detach your heart from that master. 

All else that you give you can claim back,

but how can you reclaim the heart pledged to another?

To do so means that from the beginning you did not give your heart

but acted merely from desire. 

Surrendering oneself means forgetting one’s self;

the aim of Sufism is to become nothing.

If you surrender yourself and thus have no self,

then how can you go another way? 

Open your eyes! This is the way of the valiant!

This is a matter of surrendering self and soul!

A man like Shams can be found in any age,

but where is a Rumi to surrender his head?

There is many a Shams of Tabriz to be found,

but not everyone has a love like Rumi’s. 

The Shams of the time is not hidden from people,

but there’s only one who can love him like Rumi. 

                    * * * * *

I spoke of love — pure love has three conditions:

the first is that one must possess a worthy, shining essence,

an essence that over the years

is cleansed of the stain of the passions.

One with a bad essence is far from love;

the eye that is blind can see no light.

The second condition is that one must be well-trained,

so as to be prepared from the very first day.

The third condition is that one must enjoy God’s favor,

the special grace of that Absolute Friend, 

Who sends His friends

to show the way to Him. 

                    * * * * *

Sufism is the crucible of hearts,

in which the genuine and the counterfeit within everybody comes to light. 

That which is bitter in nature emerges from the crucible as such;

that which is basically sweet comes out nectar-like.

The time it takes for the truth to emerge from the touchstone

varies with each person.

One’s essence may be revealed in a month;

sometimes it may take a full forty years.

Most often it takes until old age

before the control of the mind is weakened,

when things are made easy for the carnal self

and its true nature is revealed.

This is why after the passage of years

a nature that’s bitter is fully revealed. 

                    * * * * *

I spoke of love — that’s different from desire.

Love has no “I” and “we”; love is being no one.

It is desire that makes you want to be a Sufi

so you may feel superior to others.

It is this desire that whispers in your ear,

“Be a master! Dominate those who are fools.”

It is desire that urges, “Why doubt?

The only perfect mystic is you!

Consider others to be lacking and unworthy;

rally all the ignorant around you.

Gather those who are ruled by desire;

boast of your miracles and spiritual stations

so that, moved by desire, they praise your work

and lavish you with their souls and worldly goods.”

Such sorcery is to provide contentment

for the cunning self.

This is why one is warned of the dangers of the path

and the provisions on the way are patience and endurance.

So, you should not go to just anyone,

for there are many monsters on this path.

Here God’s hand must guide

and assist the people of heart.

God guides you step by step

so that you may not be waylaid by thieves. 

                    * * * * *

I spoke of love — its substance is sincerity,

which nurses the heart as if it were a child.

If you approach God with sincerity,

you won’t run the risk of going astray.

Sincerity will distance you from the people of desire;

it will attract you towards and transform you into light.

Sincerity will show you the way of guidance

if you let it be your teacher on the path.

Sincerity with God and His creation

will make it easy for you to know the people of heart.

It will smooth your way to Unity

and transform your body into soul.

The seeker who travels the path with sincerity  —

his soul is never inclined towards crookedness and deception.

Through sincerity he will find the One he seeks;

through sincerity he will surrender to his Beloved. 

                    * * * * *

I spoke of love — its place is the heart;

where there is no heart, loving becomes difficult.

Where there is no heart, love has no abode;

the only place for love is within the heart.

Where there is no heart, love cannot be found;

where there is no heart, love can’t be revealed.

Where there is no heart, love can bear no fruit;

the lover’s burning and endurance take place in the heart.

Acquire a heart, O wretched ones,

and your words and claims will take effect! 

Acquire a heart, illuminate your soul,

and you’ll be released from the darkness of “I” and “we.”

Acquire a heart, become a human being;

then you will be privy to God’s own mystery.

Whoever has no heart is no more than a corpse;

the dead-hearted one is unworthy of the Beloved.

Until you escape from the state of desire,

you’ll never be in reach of a heart.

If you trample upon the image of “I” and “we,”

you’ll find yourself living in the district of the heart.

Though deliverance from self is a difficult task,

if you accomplish that you’ll have arrived at the first stage of the heart.

Drunkenly stamp upon your own being;

night and day consider yourself to have nothing,

so that you may receive God’s grace

and come to possess a heart. 

                    * * * * *

We’ve arrived at the point of defining what a Sufi is —

in fact, a Sufi has no existence in the world. 

A Sufi is someone who has been delivered from self

and has committed his heart to God.

In this entangling world a Sufi possesses

and desires nothing.

The Sufi is one who is empty of self;

he is unaware whether he exists or not.

One who becomes a Sufi is never truly a Sufi

until he is annihilated totally from himself.

As long as you are thinking in terms of possessing more or less,

how can you possibly be a Sufi, brother?

As long as you are still conscious of “I” and “we,”

how can you be secure from the deceit of your base self?

You go about talking like a Sufi

in order to hide your inward corruption

so that people won’t realize what you really are,

what you are doing and what you desire.

In truth, you are putting a spell on yourself,

you’re a slave of the self and thus your heart is distressed.

No one can become a Sufi by making outward claims;

you must have love in the heart and inward burning.

The Sufi path is one of faqr and fana,

free from all attachment and involvement in the world.

The Sufi is adorned with God’s Attributes;

the Sufi’s substance is the Essence of God.

If you don’t suffer the pain of love, stay away!

Stay out of the circle of the people of heart.

Since you are not aware of their mysteries,

you will reject them out of suspicion.

This increases your darkness

and deprives you of humanity.

Don’t play with the tails of the lions of God;

do not create havoc out of your ignorance!

                    * * * * *

All in all, whatsoever I say is not love itself;

unless you have a heart you cannot know what love is.

Love requires a heart free from everything other than God

so that the light of Reality may burn brightly therein.

Love requires a heart that is like the clearest mirror,

that the Light Bestower of the soul might shine His light upon it.

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