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Listen to the Cupbearer

Listen to the cupbearer, who is making a commotion,

exposing the fake drunkards.

He says, “These people who are acting drunk

are in fact displaying self-existence.

Their crying out like Sufis is really the yell of the self and lust;

it is from neither burning of the soul nor pain for God.

They’re drunk with the wine of arrogance and pride;

they’re far from the vat and the wine cellar of love.”

                    * * * * *

“I will never pour wine in just any cup.

My wine is not just water flowing in a ditch.

I will pour wine only into the cup

of one whose nature is primed.

He must first offer up his being to me, 

for that is the price of a drop of my wine.

By giving him my purest wine

I will separate him from his ego.

Intoxication from my cup takes one away from self;

one’s drunkenness will never wane, as it is eternal.”

                    * * * * *

Now let me tell you of a group of imposters

who deceitfully call themselves “masters.”

They all scheme to swindle people;

they are void of purity and truth.

They are slaves to the ego and desire;

they “guide” people with their trickery and antics.

They are drunk with the wine of selfishness and pride;

they are talented experts in fooling people.

Their cups are empty of the wine of true meaning;

all of their claims derive from rank stupidity.

                    * * * * *

They speak of transcendence with the roll of drums;

their adherents are an ignorant pack of sycophants.

They may consider themselves to be like Bayazid;

inwardly, however, they are like Yazid.

People who are filled with selfish desire follow them, 

being well aware of their tricks and deceit.

They gather around them for the sake of status and wealth,

telling tall tales about their working wonders and their spiritual states.

They talk about miracles and spiritual stations;

they are out to trick innocent people.

They use thousands of schemes to gather

ordinary people into their snares. 

These imposters are in the grip of lust;

they are paragons of negligence, ignorance and deception.

                    * * * * *

Indeed, these men, who still exist, are not drunk with wine;

they lie in wait for simple, naive people.

My wine is not an intoxicant meant for monsters;

the feast of Divine Unity is not for befuddled fools.

The basis of Divine Unity is drunkenness and selflessness;

being nothing is the essence of being a Sufi.

The Sufis have the way and practice of the friends of God,

renouncing consciousness of self and boastful claims.

                    * * * * *

The one who makes a show of doing prayers

is not drunk with love but is just a trickster.

Though he may do exegesis of the Qur’an,

in reality he is just brainwashing the ignorant. 

If his table is laden with food and drink,

it is because his hands are in the pockets of other people. 

                    * * * * *

Another one claims to be a healer,

but in reality his vocation is to destroy.

He boasts about healing the blind and lame;

however, he is just spouting gibberish and empty words.

While being sick himself he wants to treat others,

making people ill in body and soul. 

                    * * * * *

Another discloses openly so-called secrets,

though these “mysteries” do not come from the Divine Essence.

He is confirmed as a man of insights and a discerner of mysteries,

but only by his carnal self.

And, being ignorant of the tricks of the base ego,

the idiot calls himself “master of all arts.”

                    * * * * *

Another considers himself a saint

and mesmerizes people by chanting God’s names.

He makes a Sufi-seeming clamor before the ignorant

but only leads people further from God. 

This chanting is just for making a living,

as if to say, “O people, I am short of funds!”

                    * * * * *

Another dreams and tells fortunes

and rolls his head about to feign ecstasy,

claiming, “I’m a perfect human being;

there’s no master like me in this day and age.” 

                    * * * * *

Another dresses in white 

to hide the tarnish over his heart.

He wears a white robe just to show off,

to make others fall into his trap.

He doesn’t know that the heart’s work is not about showing off;

the dress of the friends of God is the color of colorlessness.

                    * * * * *

Another fills many pages, delivering verbose accounts 

about “the school of God’s gnosis,”

all to satisfy his own cunning self, which is

the source of all his words.

His aim is to make ignorant people

throw silver and gold at his feet.

                    * * * * *

Another type of charlatan is one 

who uses obscure discourse as his trap,

Fortifying himself with drugs to smoke,

he uses them to manipulate the simple-minded.

He uses hallucinogens to drag them to the stars,

for which the toll exacted is their souls and all they own.

He makes claims about his own achievements,

but his so-called miracles are made by hashish and hemp.

                    * * * * *

Another, to engage in discourse on mysticism,

first grows a special kind of moustache,

believing that whoever does not sport twisted whiskers

will not be able to serve as a guide on the path.

He wears his hair long like a woman, 

claiming “I am the perfect Sufi of the time,

and no one is allowed to follow the Sufi path

without a moustache and long hair!”

                    * * * * *

Yet another one talks loudly about the sharia

and only mentions the spiritual path in secret.

He is full of airs and self-importance

and is obviously proud of his religion and dogmas. 

To save himself from the muftis’ anathema

he does whatever they demand.

He is a slave to the world, as everyone can see,

even though he constantly claims to transcend it. 

All this he does to make himself acceptable in other people’s eyes

and thereby remain safe from the sting of their reproach.

This trickster is drunk with pretense;

his aim is to lead astray a group of clueless people.

                    * * * * *

The fact is that these sober pretenders are not drunk,

even though they call themselves “drunkards.”

These base people have not offered up their hearts;

they have not drunk the wine from the vat of Unity.

All of them are ignorant of divine love;

they are fervently drunk on their own self-existence.

Their jugs contain no genuine red wine;

their fake wine is nothing but colored water.

They poison cup after cup

with countless tricks and fairy tales.

The cup of these self-worshiping charlatans

is full of deceit and superstition. 

Even though they do it in the name of Sufism,

all their trickery and posturing

is not the way of God; it is not Sufism.

O brother, you must value your love!

Drunkenness from God is far from deception;

fulfilling human potential is our creed and practice.

Drunkenness from our wine brings peace and purity,

the essence of which is love and fidelity.

It is love’s religion sanctioned by God;

this teaching will last forever.

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