Make not thy soul’s nest in hell, nor thy mind’s lodging in deception;
wander not in the neighbourhood of foolishness and absurdities,
nor by the door of the house of vain imagining.
Abandon vain conceits, that thou mayest find admission to that court;
for that mansion of eternity is for thee,
and this abode of mortality is not thy place;
for thee is that mansion of eternity prepared,
–abandon to-day, and give up thy life for to-morrow’s sake.
This world’s evil and good, its deceit and truth, are only for the ignoble
among the sons of Adam.
To a high roof the steps are many,
–why art thou contented with one step?
The first step towards it is serenity,
according to the attestation of the lord of knowledge;
and after it thou comest to the second step,
–the wisdom of life, of form and matter.
Know thou the truth
–that there is not in the world for the offspring of Adam
a better staircase to mount the eternal heaven by,
than wisdom and work.
The wisdom of life makes strong the mind for both the upper and the lower abode; strive thou in this path, and although thou do not so in that,
yet thou shalt not do amiss.
Whoso sows the seed of sloth, sloth will bring him impiety for fruit;
whoso took unto himself folly and sloth,
his legs lost their power and his work failed I know nothing worse than sloth;
it turns Rustams into cowards.
Thou wert created for work, and a robe of honour is ready cut for thee;
why are thou content with tatters?
Why wilt thou not desire those striped garments of Arabia?
Whence wilt thou get fortune and kingdom
when thou art idle sixty days a month?
Idleness in the day, and ease at night,
–thou wilt hardly reach the throne of the Sasanians.
Know that handle of club and hilt of sword are crown and throne
to kings who know not the moisture of weeping eyes;
but he who wanders about after money and a meal cringes ignoble
and vile before a clenched fist.
Possessing knowledge, possess also serenity like the mountain;
be not distressed at the disasters of fortune.
Knowledge without serenity is an unlighted candle,
both together are like the bee’s honey;
honey without wax typifies the noble,
wax without honey is only for burning.
Abandon this abode of generation and corruption;
leave the pit, and make for thy destined home;
for on this dry heap of dust is a mirage,
and fire appears as water.
The man of pure heart unites the two worlds in one;
the lover makes but one out of all three abodes.
The HADÎQATU’ L-HAQÎQAT
(THE ENCLOSED GARDEN OF THE TRUTH)
by HAKÎM ABÛ’ L-MAJD MAJDÛD SANÂ’Î OF GHAZNA.
EDITED AND TRANSLATED BY J. STEPHENSON,