The Root of the Root of Love

Peace, one and all…

A certain lover in the presence of his beloved
was recounting his services and works,
Saying, “For your sake I did such and such,
in this war I suffered arrows and spears.
Wealth is gone and strength is gone and fame is gone:
on account of my love for you many a misfortune has befallen me.
No dawn found me asleep or laughing;
no eve found me with capital and means.”
What he had tasted of bitters and dregs
he was recounting to her in detail, point by point,
Not for the sake of reproach; nay,
he was displaying a hundred testimonies of the trueness of his love.
For men of reason a single indication is enough,
how should the thirst of lovers be removed thereby?
He ceaselessly repeats his tale:
how should a fish be satisfied with indication from the limpid water?
He, from that ancient grief, was speaking a hundred words in complaint, saying, “I have not spoken a word.”
There was a fire in him: he did not know what it was,
but on account of its heat he was weeping like a candle.
The beloved said, “You have done all this,
yet open your ear wide and apprehend well;
For you have not done what is the root of the root of love and fealty:
this that you have done is the branches.”
The lover said to her, “Tell me, what is that root?”
She said, “The root thereof is to die and be naught.
You have done all, you have not died, you are living.
Listen; die, if you are a self-sacrificing friend!”
Instantly he laid himself at full length and gave up the ghost:
like the rose, he played away his head, laughing and rejoicing.
That laughter remained with him as an endowment unto everlasting,
like the untroubled spirit and reason of the gnostic.

Masnavi 5. 1242-1257

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