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Listen to the Wine

Listen to the wine as it tells a tale, 

as it gives an account of the vat of Unity.

Whatever its color, wine is wine;

those drunk on wine know this.

Put aside the imaginary forms of color and aroma

so that you will see that all wines come from but one jug. 

Attention to the color confuses you,

distracting you from the wine and the drinking of it.

                    * * * * *

Drinking wine makes you drunk;

wine delivers you from self-existence.

How could the mere name “wine” ease your difficulties?

How could the cup without the wine put soul in your body?

The word “wine” is like an empty cup; it is not the same as real wine.

Wine worship is not a simple path and practice.

Wine must be drunk from the cup.

How can the word “wine” make one drunk?

Wine must be blended with the soul;

it does no good if poured down one’s front! 

You have slyly poured the wine inside your shirt;

you spend night and day talking about yourself.

You have not been aware that the adepts are present,

keeping an eye on you and your tricks.

They see your inner state in your eyes;

they pay no attention to your talk.

                    * * * * *

Love of God pours wine in your goblet;

one cannot receive this gift by pretention.

Only when God wills can you become a wine drinker

and find your way to the sanctuary of the wine seller.

Only when the sunlight of God’s love falls upon your roof

can you be fulfilled by the intoxication of this wine. 

Only when God’s hand seizes yours

can your soul become drunk with God.

The wine of God’s love makes you drunk,

leaving you bereft of self-existence.

God’s wine has nothing to do with Sufi caps and robes 

or seeking out this or that Sufi order.

The mystery of love does not lie in begging-bowls and axes;

one must be valiant to sacrifice one’s soul for love.

Sufism is not a matter of hooting and shouting, 

nor of lengthy scrolls with chains of spiritual lineage.

There must indeed be a chain — one of devotion — to capture the heart

so that the cry of the heart may reach the ear of the soul.

                    * * * * *

When the heart is torn apart with love of God,

it comes to the path, eager and willing.

It seizes the hem of the cloak of a master of hearts

and finds a home in the district of loving kindness.

When through drunkenness the Sufi loses his heart and self,

fidelity will bring him to God’s path.

Unadulterated wine is poured into his cup,

and he drinks that wine of Unity.

Through drunkenness he passes beyond his own existence; 

through annihilation of self he transcends self-existence.

He remains far from the transitory “I” and “we”

and veiled from others in the realm of non-existence.

He becomes a stranger to the world of “we” and “you,”

finally free from the need for the wine and the cup. 

Now in union with God he has broken all bonds

and has offered up his soul to the Beloved, having chosen only Him.

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