There is a head which is adorned by a golden cap; and there is a head, the beauty of whose curls in concealed by a golden cap and a jewelled crown. For the curls of the lovely ones attract love; love is the throne-room of the hearts; the golden crown is an inanimate thing, whereof the wearer is the heart’s beloved. We sought everywhere Solomon’s ring, peace be upon him; we found it in poverty. In this beauteous one likewise took we our repose, and she was pleased with nothing so much as with this.
Well, I am a whoremonger; since I was little, this has been my trade. I know that this remove hindrances, this consumes veils; this is the root of all acts of obedience, the rest are mere branches. If you do not cut the throat of a sheep, of what use is it to blow on its trotter? Fasting lead to annihilation, where is the last of all pleasures
And God is with the patients
Whatever shop is in the bazaar, or any potion, or merchandise, or trade, the end of the thread of each one of these is the need of the human soul, and that end of the thread is hidden; until the need for those things arises, the end of the thread is hidden; until the need for those things arises, the end of the thread does not stir or become visible. Similarly with every religion, every faith, every grace, every miracle, all the states of the prophets – the end of the thread of every one of these is in the human spirit; until the need arises, that end of the thread does not stir or become visible.
We have numbered in a clear register.
The Master said: Is the agent of good and evil one thing or two things? The answer, from the point of view that in the time of hesitation they are in dispute one with the other, is categorically two; for one person cannot be opposed to himself. From the point of view that evil is inseparable from good – for good is the abandonment of evil and the abandonment of evil is impossible without evil: that good is incitement of evil, there would be no abandonment of good – from this point of view they are not two. The Magians said that Yazdan is the creator of good things and Ahriman is the creator of evil and hateful things. To this we reply that desirable things are not apart from hateful things. The desirable cannot exist without the hateful, since the desirable is the cessation of the hateful, and the cessation of the hateful without the hateful is impossible. Joy is the cessation of sorrow; the cessation of sorrow without sorrows is impossible. So they are one and indivisible.
I said: Until a thing passes away, its use does not become manifest. So, until the letters of a word pass away into speech, their use does not reach the listener. Whoever says evil of the gnostic in reality says good reality says good of the gnostic; for the gnostic shies away from that quality, blame for which might settle on him. The gnostic is the enemy of that quality; hence, he who speaks evil of that quality speaks evil of the enemy of the gnostic and praises the gnostic; for the gnostic shies away from such a blameworthy thing, and he who shies away from the blameworthy is himself praiseworthy. ‘Things become clear through their opposites.’ Hence the gnostic knows that the critic is not really his enemy and his dispraiser.
I am as a smiling garden set about by a wall, and on that wall are all kinds of filth and thorns. The passer-by does not see the garden; he sees that wall and its uncleanness, and speaks evil of it. Why then should the garden by angry with him? Except that his evil speaking is to his own detriment; for he must put up with the wall in order to reach the garden. So by finding fault with the wall he remains far from the garden; hence h has worked his own destruction. Therefore the prophet, God’s blessing be upon him, said, ‘I laugh as I slay.’ That is, ‘I have no enemy’-that he should be angry in chastising him. He kills the unbeliever in one way, so that the unbeliever may not kill himself in a hundred manners. So of course he laughs as he slays.
The main topic of this discourse is that good and evil are one and indivisible, being the creation of the one God. This paradox leads, on to other paradoxes.
‘And God is with the patient’: Koran II 250.
‘Everything We have numbered’: Koran XXXVI 12.
‘I laugh as I slay’: also quoted in Discourse 48.