Fariduddin Attar

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Quotes & Sayings

1. If you are possessed of discernment joined with knowledge, seek the company of the dervishes and become one with them : associate with none but them. Love for the dervishes is the key which opens the door into Paradise and those who hate them are worthy of shame.
2. The dervish's garment is nothing but a patched robe, and he is not led astray by worldly desires and passions.
3. Until a man treads his carnal self (nafs) underfoot, how can he find the way to the abode of God Most High?
4. The man who walks in the Path of God has no longing after fine palaces and fair gardens: in his heart is nothing but the pain of yearning love.
5. Though you build lofty palaces as high as the heavens, in the end you will come to be buried under the earth.
6. Do not be unmindful of Eternity and do not set your heart upon the transient goods of this world. Be patient in the midst of the trials and tribulations of this life and when things go well, give thanks to God Most High.
7. O you who wander wilfully away from the true Path, know that he who desires the palace of the King, which is more desirable than any palace here, has but to draw near to it. It is the habitation of the soul, which abides for ever ; it is the goal of our desires, the resting-place of the heart, the seat of Truth itself.
8. The Presence of God Most High is as a mighty Ocean and the Gardens of Paradise, with all their joys, are but as the least drop in it. He Who possesses the Ocean, possesses the drop also. All that is not the Ocean is mere vanity. Since you can find the way to the Ocean itself, why do you hasten to seek a single drop of dew? Can the one who shares in the secrets of the Sun dally with a mote in its beams? When a man has become one with the Whole, what concern has he with the part? What need of the members of his body, has one who has found his soul? If you, O man, have found your reality to be one with the Whole, then contemplate the Whole, seek out the Whole, become one with the Whole and choose for yourself the Whole.
9. The Valley of Gnosis has neither beginning nor end. No other road is like the road which is hidden therein, nor any road there like any other road there, but the traveller in the body is other than the traveller in the spirit. Soul and body are for ever in a state of deficiency or perfection according to their strength and weakness. Therefore, of necessity, the road is revealed to each one according to his capacity for that revelation. On this road, trodden by Abraham, the friend of God, how could the feeble spider be a companion to the elephant ? The progress of each will be in accordance with his spiritual state. Though the gnat were to fly with all its might, could it ever equal the perfection of the wind ? Since, then there are different ways of making the journey, no two birds will fly alike. Each finds a way of his own, on this road of mystic knowledge, one by means of the Mihrab and another through the idols. When the Sun of Gnosis shines forth from the heaven above, on to this most blessed road, each is enlightened according to his capacity and finds his own place in the knowledge of the Truth.
10. When that sun shines upon him, the dustbin of this world is changed for him into a rose-garden : the kernel (grain or seed) is seen beneath the husk (the outer shell of a seed). No longer does the lover see any particle of himself, he sees only the Beloved: wheresoever he looks, he sees always His Face, in every atom he beholds His dwelling-place. A hundred thousand mysteries are revealed to him from under the veil, as clearly as the sun. Yet thousands of men are lost eternally, for one who perfectly apprehends these mysteries. He must be perfect, who would succeed in this quest, who would plunge into this fathomless sea. If the joy of its secrets be revealed to him, every moment will renew his longing for it.
11. Even if you should attain to the Throne of Glory, do not cease each moment to say: " Is there more than this?" Plunge yourself into the Sea of Gnosis, or if you cannot do that, sprinkle the dust of the road upon your head. O you who remain asleep - and it is no matter for congratulation - why do you not put on mourning? If you have not attained to the joy of union with the Beloved, at least arise and put on Signs Of Mourning for your separation from Him. If you have not looked upon the Beauty of the Beloved, arouse yourself, do not sit still, but seek out those mysteries destined for you, and if as yet you do not know them, seek them out in shame.
12. Strive to acquire the mystic gnosis, so that you may learn to know God. He who truly knows God by contemplation, realises that Eternal Life means passing away from the personal self. Without this knowledge man has no real existence : he is not worthy to approach God, nor will he attain to the goal of his desires. If you really know your self and its desires, you will know God Most High and His gifts.
13. He alone is the true gnostic who knows God, and whoever is without this knowledge is unfit to be counted among human beings. The gnostic has a heart full of sincere and constant love, all his actions are pure and without stain. The one to whom the gift of gnosis has been given finds no place in his heart save for God alone.
14. To the gnostic, this world is of no concern, nay, more, he gives no thought to himself. Gnosis means that the gnostic passes away from himself into God. How can the one who does not completely pass away from self attain to this perfection? The gnostic is occupied neither with this world nor the next: he is not concerned with any but his Lord. Because he has died altogether to himself, he is completely absorbed in the attainment of union with God.
15. You (God) are fire, but Your fire is veiled, for in all to which You have joined Yourself, You are under a veil. You are the Breath of Life in both body and soul. You are the Water of Life to be found in every place. In every form You manifest Yourself, according to Your will; even in the dust are Your mysteries shown forth. You are the mine and do show Yourself in its jewels. You, the Creator, are seen in the creatures, Spirit shining through gross matter.
16. You are God in Absolute Unity and you dwell here in body and soul, for You are the Divine Essence dwelling in the midst of each one of us. O Lord! How glorious is the manifestation of Your Light! You are the Sought and the Seeker. Give me, I pray to You, to drink from the cup of Immortality, for You are the Cup and the Wine and Cup-bearer.
17. In the deep waters of the ocean of annihilation I would seek to be, for though I aspire to the Sun, yet, since one is powerless to attain to Your great height, I would aspire to sleep at Your feet. Behold what grief I suffer without You! But now, since I have become nothing, I know that in the end I shall attain again to my desire. I said unto Thee: " I have passed away, as I was asked to do." You said unto me: " I will bring you unto Eternal Life, as you have wished, for when you do see yourself as nothing, then will I give unto thee such an existence as you have desired."
18. Every moment now I spend in loving adoration of Another than myself. Long ago I died to mine own existence and if now I live, it is in the existence of Another. I sacrificed all tranquillity and ease and renounced all hope of fame, so that I might attain to complete annihilation I laid down my life and sacrificed my soul, and all mankind became as nothing to me. Now I have arisen, and I am free from all grief of soul, for I am set free from the world of Existence and Non-Existence and I dwell beyond both. I have taken my flight from phenomenal existence to non-entity.
19. I am without body and soul and surely these are necessary to me. Without these, what am I? I am that which I was meant to be. Within myself, I have no knowledge of myself, for self-less I was meant to be. Happy is the one who has thus passed away from mortality, for passing away is the essence of abiding in immortality. This I know, that self-annihilation is a glorious thing, but that which I do not know is what I am yet to be.
20. For you there is an ascent of the soul towards the Divine Light, therefore shall your heart and soul in the end attain to union with that Light. With your whole heart and soul, seek to regain Reality, nay, seek for Reality within your own heart, for Reality, in truth, is hidden within you. The heart is the dwelling-place of that which is the Essence of the universe, within the heart and soul is the very Essence of God. Like the saints, make a journey into your self; like the lovers of God, cast one glance within. As a lover now, in contemplation of the Beloved, be unveiled within and behold the Essence. Form is a veil to you and your heart is a veil. When the veil vanishes, you will become all light.
21. Tear aside the veils of all you see in this world and you will find yourself apart in solitude with God. If you draw aside the veils of the stars and the spheres, you will see that all is one with the Essence of your own pure soul. If you will but tear aside the veil, you will become pure, as He is pure. Cast aside the veil from existence and non-existence and you will see forthwith the true meaning of God's purpose. When you have cast aside the veil, you will see the Essence and all things will be shown forth within the Essence. If you draw aside the veil from the Face of the Beloved, all that is hidden will be made manifest and you will become one with God, for then will you be the very Essence of the Divine.
22.Except You, I see nought in the two worlds, for in truth You alone dost exist in this world and in that. From everlasting You were and changeless shall be : unto eternity is Your Being and shall be forever. O You Who made manifest both time and place, You have created both the soul of man and the universe wherein he dwells, and You cause the spheres to revolve and make the hearts of thousands to be filled with awe and amazement at Your manifestation of Yourself.
23.Now I am made one with You and from that Union my heart is consumed with rapture and my tongue is bewildered. By union, I have been merged in the Unity, I am become altogether apart from all else. I am You and You are I - nay, not I, all is altogether You. I have passed away, "I " and " You " no more exist. We have become one and I have become altogether You.
24.By union with You, I have become the perfected gnostic and now the gnostic has vanished away and I have become altogether the Creative Truth. I am free from both pride and passion and desire. I reveal the Divine Mysteries and thereby I fill the lovers of God throughout the world with amazement and a hundred thousand creatures remain astonished at me. All forms are consumed in the flames, when the candle of Union with Him is set alight and blazes up.
25.When the paintings are hidden, you will see the Painter.
26.O brother, I will tell you the mystery of mysteries. Know, then, that the painting and the Painter are one! When your faith is made perfect, you will never see yourself, except in Him.



  1. Readings from the Mystics of Islam - Margaret Smith
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