Twenty Quatrains (Rubaiyats)
translated from Persian into English
Thou hast made thyself famous in winning hearts,
Also in the art of friendship and affection,
Those eyes which are vigilant are observant of thyself;
Every moment thou showest thyself in a hundred colors.
If I am a devotee, my object is the Friend,
What have I to do with the rosary and the sacerdotal thread !
This woolen garment wherein lie a hundred evils
Never shall I put on my shoulder : it is disgusting to me.
Our every-day avocation is villainy and wickedness.
Our flatterers and vessels have been filled with sins.
Creation is laughing and life is wailing
At our prayers, genuflections and fastings.
Sarmad is a body, his soul is in the hand of another:
An arrow, but its bow is in the hand of another.
He wished to be a man in order to jump out of the nest.
He became a cow whose tether is in the hand of another.
Not only are these temples and sanctuaries
His house This earth and this sky are entirely His abode.
The whole world is mad about His fictions.
He is truly mad who is mad about Him.
His tyrannous passion, ho ! is Satan :
Always visible, yet hidden.
Thou art thyself the Devil, why are thou ill-disposed to the Devil?
Before thy thoughts, he is bewildered.
Sarmad ! If He is true to his word, He Himself will come :
If His coming is permissible, He Himself will come.
Why shouldst thou wander aimlessly after Him?
Sit down : if He be the Khud-a(*3) ; He Himself will come.
Sarmad ! the pang of love is not given to the self-seeking,
The fire in the heart of the moth is not given to the fly.
It takes a life-time for the beloved to come to the lap :
This everlasting wealth is not given to every one.
Although a hundred friends have turned mine enemies,
Owing to the friendship of the one, my mind has become contented.
I have accepted Unity and been freed from multiplicity
At last I became of Him and He of me.
He who gave thee the sovereignty of the world,
Gave me all the causes of anxiety.
He covered with a garment those with whom He found fault.
To the faultless He gave the robe of nudity.(*4)
O King of Kings. I am not a hermit like thee, I am not nude,
I am frenzied, I am distracted, but I am not depressed,
I am an idolator, I am an infidel, I am not of the people of the faith,
I go towards the mosque, but I am not a Mussulman.
Pass on from the wordly fancy, thought and care.
Like the breeze of morn pass on from the garden and field.
Be not mad on the colour and smell of the rose and wine,
Be wise, pass on from these hallucinations.
Sarmad ! thou shouldst shorten thy murmurings.
Thou shouldst adopt one course out of these two courses—
Either, thou shouldst give thy body for the pleasure of the Friend;
Or, thou shouldst sacrifice thy life in His way.
To put trust in the promises of the man of the world is wrong :
Yea wrong, verily wrong to-night wrong, to-morrow wrong.
Of the copy of the inquiry of our Book of life do not ask.
Its transcriptions are wrong, meaning wrong, composition wrong, and spellings
I have no business with the fancy and thought of others.
In composing a ghazal, I adopt the manner of Hafez.
But in a rubai (quatrain) I am the disciple of Khayyam,
But do not quaff much of his wine.(*5)
Sarmad ! speak not of the Kaaba and of the temple.
In the valley of doubt do not wander like the strayed wayfarer.
Go and learn from Satan(*6) how to worship.
Accept one qebla and do not bow before every stranger.
Say, who is in the world that has not committed a sin?
He who has sinned not : say, how could he live?
I do evil thou requitest with evil,
Then say, what is the difference between me and thee?
Sometimes thou are a cypress, sometimes a hyacinth and sometimes a jasmine,
Now a mountain, a wilderness, and at another time a flower-garden.
Now thou are the light of a candle, now the scent of a rose,
Sometimes thou art in a garden, and sometimes in an assembly.
Sarmad ! thou hast done strange injury to the religion,
Thou hast bartered thy faith for one with an intoxicating eye.
With supplication and belief —thy entire wealth—
Thou didst go and squander on an idol-worshipper.(*7)
He who believed in the secret of esoteric doctrine, Became more expanded
than the expanded heavens. The Mulla [doctor] says that Ahmad [Mohammad]
went up to heaven, Sarmad says that heaven came down into Ahmad [Mohammed
(*1) Kaaba is the inner part of the
temple at Mecca. "Hajrul Aswad", or the black stone, has come down from
the time of heathenism in Arabia, and is venerated by the pilgrims who
flock to Mecca every year from all parts of the Mohammedan world.
(*2) A "qalandar" is a darwish of
a different sect.
(*3) "Khuda" is here used in a double
sense. "Khuda" is the Persian word God and "Khud-a" means a self-comer.
(*4) Sarmad's clothes' philosophy
or "Sartor resartus" is beautifully expressed in this quatrain.
(*5) Sarmad who himself was a great
poet, pays a well-deserved compliment to two of the greatest poets of
Persia—Hafiz the master of "ghazal", justly called the Anacreon of the
East and Omar Khayyam, the tent-maker philosopher of Nishapur whose quatrains
are greatly admired in the East and in the West.
(*6) According to Mohammedan tradition,
the Devil fell for refusing to pay homage to Adam at the command of God.
(*7) In this beautiful quatrain, Sarmad
apparently refers to his prosperous and happy days at Thatta, his love
for the Hindoo lad Abhai Chand, his neglect of his flourishing business
as a merchant and his renunciation of the exoteric religion of Islam,
being a faithful follower of the esoteric doctrine of the Safis.
(*8) This fatal distitch brought on
his head the wrath of the Emperor Aurungzebe—the bigot, the fanatic and
the assassin— and he was beheaded by the order of the Emperor for blasphemy,
in 1661 A.D. the capital city of Delhi where his grave can be seem to
“Armenians in India”, Mesrovb
Jacob SETH, Calcutta 1937, (pp 188-192)