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(Masnavi Book 1: 12) The Fall of Adam
The story of Adam, on whom be peace, and how the Divine destiny sealed up his sight so that he
failed to observe the plain meaning of the prohibition and to refrain from interpreting it.
The f ather of mankind, who is the lord of He (God) taught (Adam) the Names, hath hundreds of thousands
of sciences in every vein.
1235. To his soul accrued (knowledge of ) the name of every thing, even as that thing exists (in its real
nature) unto the end (of the world).
No title that he gave became changed: that one whom he called ‘brisk’ did not become ‘lazy.’
Whoso is (to be) a believer at the last, he saw at the f irst; whoso is (to be) an inf idel at the last, to him it
became manif est.
Do thou hear the name of every thing f rom the knower: hear the inmost meaning of the mystery of He
taught the Names.
With us, the name of every thing is its outward (appearance); with the Creator, the name of every thing is
its inward (reality).
1240. In the eyes of Moses the name of his rod was ‘staf f ’; in the eyes of the Creator its name was
Here the name of ‘Umar was ‘idolater,’ but in Alast. his name was ‘believer.’
That of which the name, with us, was ‘seed’ was, in the sight of God, thou who art at this moment beside
This ‘seed’ was a f orm (idea) in non-existence (potentiality), existent with God, neither more nor less (than
the f orm in which it appeared externally).
In brief , that which is our end is really our name with God.
1245. He bestows on a man a name according to his f inal state, not according to that (state) to which He
gives the name of ‘a loan.’
Inasmuch as the eye of Adam saw by means of the Pure Light, the soul and inmost sense of the names
became evident to him.
Since the angels perceived in him the rays of God, they f ell in worship and hastened to do homage.
The Adam like this whose name I am celebrating, if I praise (him) till the Resurrection, I f all short (of what is
All this he knew; (yet) when the Divine destiny came, he was at f ault in the knowledge of a single
1250. Wondering whether the prohibition was f or the purpose of making unlawf ul (the thing prohibited), or
whether it admitted of an interpretation and was a cause of perplexity.
When (the view that it admitted of ) interpretation prevailed in his mind, his nature hastened in bewilderment
towards the wheat.
When the thorn went into the f oot of the gardener (Adam), the thief (Satan) f ound an opportunity and
quickly carried of f the goods.
As soon as he escaped f rom bewilderment, he returned into the (right) road; (then) he saw that the thief
had carried of f the wares f rom the shop.
He cried, ‘O Lord, we have done wrong,’ and ‘Alas,’ that is to say, ‘darkness came and the way was lost.’
1255. This Divine destiny is a cloud that covers the sun: thereby lions and dragons become as mice.
If I (the hoopoe) do not see a snare in the hour of Divine ordainment, ’tis not I alone who am ignorant in the
course of Divine ordainment.”
Oh, happy he that clave to righteousness, he (that) let (his own) strength go and took to supplication!
If the Divine destiny shrouds thee in black like night, yet the Divine destiny will take thy hand (and guide
thee) at the last.
If the Divine destiny a hundred times attempts thy lif e, yet the Divine destiny gives thee lif e and heals thee.
1260. This Divine destiny, if a hundred times it waylays thee, (nevertheless) pitches thy tent on the top of
Know that this is f rom the loving kindness (of God), that He terrif ies thee in order that He may establish
thee in the kingdom of security.
This subject hath no end. ’Tis late. Hearken (now) to the story of the hare and the lion.
How the hare drew back f rom the lion when he approached the well.
When the lion came near the well, he saw that the hare lagged on the way and stepped back.
He said, “Why have you stepped back? Do not step back, come on!”
1265. The hare said, “Where is my (power to move a) f oot? f or (both) hand and f oot are gone. My soul
trembles and my heart (courage) has f led.
Seest thou not the colour of my f ace (pale) as gold? My colour indeed is giving knowledge of my inward
Since God has called the (external) sign (aspect) inf ormative, the eye of the gnostic has remained turned
towards the sign.
Colour and scent are signif icant like a bell: the neigh of a horse makes (one) acquainted with the horse.
The sound made by any thing conveys knowledge of it, so that you may distinguish the bray of an ass f rom
the creak of a door.
1270. Touching the discrimination of persons (one f rom another), the Prophet said, ‘A man is hidden when
his tongue is f olded up.’
The colour of the f ace indicates the state of the heart: have pity on me, implant love of me in thy heart.
A red complexion has the sound of (declares and expresses) thankf ulness (satisf action); the sound
(signif ication) of a pale complexion is patience and unthankf ulness.
There has come upon me that which took away hand and f oot, took away colour of f ace and strength and
(every outward) mark;
That which shatters every thing it comes upon, tears up every tree f rom root and bottom;
1275. There has come upon me that by which man and animal, mineral and plant have been checkmated.
These indeed are (only) parts, (but) wholes (too) are by him (Doom) made yellow in hue and corrupt in
So that the world is now patient, now thankf ul; the garden now puts on a robe (of verdure) and again is
The sun, which rises f ire-coloured, at another hour sinks headlong.
Stars shining in the f our quarters (of the sky) are, f rom time to time, af f licted with (consumed by) burning.
1280. The moon, which excels the stars in beauty, becomes like a phantom f rom the malady of a hectic
f ever.
This earth, quiet and controlled, is thrown by earthquakes into f everish tremors.
Oh, f rom this inherited woe many a mountain in the world has become tiny f ragments and (grains of ) sand.
This air is conjoined with the (vital) spirit, (but) when the Divine destiny comes, it turns f oul and stinking.
The sweet water that was a sister (congenial) to the spirit, (af ter standing) in a pool, became yellow and
bitter and turbid.
1285. The f ire that has wind in its moustache—a single puf f of wind calls death upon it.
The state of the sea (is such that) f rom its agitation and commotion (you may) perceive the changes of its
The whirling heaven, which is (ever engaged) in seeking and searching—its state is like the state of its
Now nadir, now middle, now zenith: therein are host on host of stars f ortunate and unlucky.
From thyself , O part made up of wholes, apprehend the state of every simple (uncompounded) thing.
1290. Inasmuch as wholes suf f er grief and pain, how should their part not be pale-f aced (sick and subject
to decay)?
Especially a part which is composed of contraries—of water and earth and f ire and air.
It is no wonder that the sheep recoiled f rom the wolf ; the wonder is that this sheep set its heart on
(became f riendly with) the wolf .
Lif e is the peace (harmony) of contraries; death is the f act that war arose between them.
The grace of God has given amity to this lion and wild-ass— these two f ar distant contraries.
1295. Since the world is sick and a prisoner, what wonder if the sick one is passing
From this point of view he (the hare) recited counsels to the lion. “I have lagged behind,” said he, “because
of these bonds.”
How the lion asked the reason of the hare's drawing back.
The lion said to him, “Amongst (all) the causes of your malady tell (me) the special cause, f or this is my
“That lion,” he said, “lives in this well: within this f ortress he is saf e f rom harms.”
Every one who is wise chose the bottom of the well (to live in), because spiritual joys are (to be attained
only) in solitude.
1300. The darkness of the well is better than the dark shades of the world: he that f ollowed at the heels of
the world never saved his head.
“Come on,” said the lion; “my blow subdues him: see thou whether that lion is in the well at present.”
The hare answered, “I am consumed with (dread of ) that f ieriness (wrath): perhaps thou wilt take me beside
That with thy support, O mine of generosity, I may open my eyes and look into the well.”
How the lion looked into the well and saw the ref lexion of himself and the hare in the
When the lion took him to his side, under the lion's protection he began to run towards the well.
1305. As soon as they looked at the water in the well, there shone f orth in the water the light (ref lected)
f rom the lion and him (the hare).
The lion saw his own ref lexion: f rom the water shone the image of a lion with a plump hare at his side.
When he beheld his adversary in the water, he lef t him (the hare) and sprang into the well.
He f ell into the well which he had dug, because his iniquity was coming (back) on his own head.
The iniquity of evil-doers became (f or them) a dark well: so have said all the wise.
1310. The more iniquitous one is, the more f rightf ul is his well: (Divine) Justice has ordained worse
(punishment) f or worse (sin).
O you who f rom iniquity are digging a well (f or others), you are making a snare f or yourself .
Do not weave (a cocoon) round yourself , like the silkworm. You are digging a well f or yourself (to f all in):
dig with moderation (not too deep).
Deem not the weak to be without a champion: recite f rom the Qur’án (the words), When the help of God
shall come.
If you are an elephant and your f oe f led f rom you, lo, the retribution came upon you, birds in f locks.
1315. If any poor man on the earth beg f or mercy, a loud tumult f alls on (arises among) the Host of
If you bite him with your teeth and make him bleed, toothache will attack you—how will you do (then)?
The lion saw himself in the well, and in his f ury he did not know himself at that moment f rom the enemy.
He regarded his own ref lexion as his enemy: necessarily he drew a sword against himself .
Oh, many an iniquity that you see in others is your own nature (ref lected) in them, O reader!
1320. In them shone f orth all that you are in your hypocrisy and iniquity and insolence.
You are that (evil-doer), and you are striking those blows at yourself : ’tis yourself you are cursing at that
You do not see clearly the evil in yourself , else you would hate yourself with (all) your soul.
You are assaulting yourself , O simpleton, like the lion who made a rush at himself .
When you reach the bottom of your own nature, then you will know that that vileness was f rom yourself .
1325. At the bottom (of the well) it became manif est to the lion that he who seemed to him to be another
was (really) his own image.
Whoever tears out the teeth of a poor wretch is doing what the f alsely-seeing lion did.
O you who see the bad ref lexion on the f ace of your uncle, it is not your uncle that is bad, it is you: do not
run away f rom yourself !
The Faithf ul are mirrors to one another: this saying is related f rom the Prophet.
You held a blue glass bef ore your eye: f or that reason the world seemed to you to be blue.
1330. Unless you are blind, know that this blueness comes f rom yourself : speak ill of yourself , speak no
more ill of any one (else).
If the true believer was not seeing by the Light of God, how did things unseen appear naked (plainly
revealed) to the true believer?
Inasmuch as you were seeing by the Fire of God, you did not discern the dif f erence between good and evil.
Little by little throw water on the f ire, that your f ire may become light, O man of sorrow!
Throw Thou, O Lord, the purif ying water, that this world-f ire may become wholly light.
1335. All the water of the sea is under Thy command; water and f ire, O Lord, are Thine.
If Thou willest, f ire becomes sweet water; and if Thou willest not, even water becomes f ire.
This search (aspiration) in us is also brought into existence by Thee; deliverance f rom iniquity is Thy gif t, O
Without (our) seeking Thou hast given us this search, Thou hast given (us) gif ts without number and
(without) end.
How the hare brought to the beasts of chase the news that the lion had f allen into the
When the hare was gladdened by deliverance (f rom the lion), he began to run towards the beasts until (he
came to) the desert.
1340. Having seen the lion miserably slain in the well, he was skipping joyously all the way to the meadow,
Clapping his hands because he had escaped f rom the hand of Death; f resh and dancing in the air, like
bough and leaf .
Bough and leaf were set f ree f rom the prison of earth, lif ted their heads, and became comrades of the
The leaves, when they had burst (f orth f rom) the bough, made haste to reach the top of the tree;
With the tongue of (seed that put f orth) its sprouts each f ruit and tree severally is singing thanks to God,
1345. Saying, “The Bounteous Giver nourished our root until the tree grew big and stood upright.”
(Even so) the spirits bound in clay, when they escape glad at heart f rom their (prisons of ) clay,
Begin to dance in the air of Divine Love and become f lawless like the f ull moon's orb,
Their bodies dancing, and their souls—nay, do not ask (how their souls f are); and those things f rom which
comes the soul's
delight—nay, do not ask (of those things)!
The hare lodged the lion in prison. Shame on a lion who was discomf ited by a hare!
1350. He is in such a disgrace, and still—this is a wonder—he would f ain be addressed by the title of Fakhr-
i Dín.
O thou lion that liest at the bottom of this lonely well, thy hare-like soul (naf s) has shed and drunk thy
Thy hare-soul is f eeding in the desert, (whilst) thou art (lying) at the bottom of this well of “How?” and
That lion-catcher (the hare) ran towards the beasts, crying, “Rejoice, O people, since the announcer of joy
is come.
Glad news! Glad news, O company of merry-makers! That hell-hound has gone back to Hell.
1355. Glad news! Glad news! The enemy of your lives—his teeth have been torn out by the vengeance of
his Creator.
He who smote many heads with his claws—him too the broom of Death has swept away like rubbish.”
How the beasts gathered round the hare and spoke in praise of him.
Then all the wild beasts assembled, joyous and laughing gleef ully in rapture and excitement.
They f ormed a ring, he (the hare) in the midst like a candle: all the animals of the desert bowed (in homage)
to him.
“Art thou a heavenly angel or a peri? No, thou art the Azrael of f ierce lions.
1360. Whatever thou art, our souls are of f ered in sacrif ice to thee. Thou hast prevailed. Health to thy hand
and arm!
God turned this water into thy stream. Blessing on thy hand and arm!
Explain how thou didst meditate with guile, and how thou didst guilef ully wipe out that ruf f ian.
Explain, in order that the tale may be the means of curing (our malady); explain, that it may be a salve f or
our souls.
Explain! f or in consequence of the iniquity of that tyrant our souls have myriads of wounds.”
1365. “O Sirs,” said he, “it was (by) God's aid; else, who in the world is a hare (who am I, that I should have
been able to do this)?
He (God) bestowed power on me and gave light to my heart: the light in my heart gave strength to hand and
f oot.”
From God come pref erments (to high position), f rom God also come changes (which bring one to low
God in (due) course and turn is ever displaying this (Divine) aid to doubters and seers (alike).
Take heed! Do not exult in a kingdom bestowed in turns (passing f rom one to another).
O thou who art the bondsman of Vicissitude, do not act as though thou wert f ree!
1370. (But) those f or whom is prepared a kingdom beyond Vicissitude, f or them the drums (of sovereignty)
are beaten beyond the Seven Planets.
Beyond Vicissitude are the kings everlasting: their spirits are circling with the Cupbearer perpetually.
If thou wilt renounce this drinking (of worldly pleasures) f or a day or two (f or thy brief lif etime), thou wilt dip
thy mouth in the drink of Paradise.