Wednesday, December 24, 2014
Nor Hands Incarnadine
I still have two books to complete. The first is the Vishvarupa, which has yet to be printed, but which is otherwise finished. The second is the Bhagavad Gita Interpreted, which I edited and for which I provide an extensive introduction. The Vishvarupa, and their immediately preceding books, the Ramlila and the Rasa Lila, are the last of my original works.
While I expect to continue editing works, much as I did with the Rose Garden of Sa'di, I believe that the period of original works, which began nearly 25 years ago, is over. The works that I produced during that period are concluded. Once emptied, the cup is overturned. So empty is that cup that I must borrow words I wrote years ago, knowing this time was drawing nearer:
O friend, I have composed these books for you. My subjects come before you, to honor you, and to give advice in its place. But if you would be guided you would know that these are not the best of books. They are the least of them. If you read these works yet understand only these few words, you will put my books aside and take up another's. Then you will have heeded my advice and this gift will have served some good purpose.
Why do you draw from your quiver the crooked arrow?
Toss it away and take up the straight!
Be satisfied with the work of Rumi or Attar instead. In verse and prose they might bring you nearer your goal; they offer rest and comfort and solace to the weary.
To Rumi’s tales a wiser man refers,
To Attar’s skillful verses he defers.
Though envious of them, I cannot claim,
Their finer bow, their arrow, or their aim.
These two surpass me, but if they are not to your liking, turn instead toward the bounty of Abha, risen in your midst if you but looked. From Him you will find sure footing on this ruined road, and clear vision through a fog of doubts.
For my part the season has ended, and the fruits were long ago gathered up. Upon that field the sun has set; in that effort the work is done, the foundation built and I offer no further service. Recall the words of Sa‘di.
If it should not touch anyone’s ear of desire,
The messenger told his tale; it is enough.
After doubting the angel, Zechariah could not speak. For nine months his tongue was locked; silence from that sage was His sign, for what tongue can move without His leave? I can say nothing more.
Whoever speaks when his speech is done,
Burns the very bread of his motives,
And bleaches the shirt of meaning to tatters.
As for the books you'll find here, I take leave of them, these dear companions, the best of this orchard.
These fruits won't fall; they'll ripen on the vine,
Nor ever rot, nor hands incarnadine.