The birds question the hoopoe and he advises them
An ancient secret yielded to the birds
When they had understood the hoopoe’s words –
Their kinship with the Simorgh was now plain
And all were eager to set off again.
The homily returned them to the Way
And with one voice the birds were heard to say:
‘Tell us, dear hoopoe, how we should proceed –
Our weakness quails before this glorious deed.’
‘A lover’, said the hoopoe, now their guide,
‘Is one in whom all thoughts of Self have died;
Those who renounce the Self deserve that name;
Righteous or sinful, they are all the same!
Your heart is thwarted by the Self’s control;
Destroy its hold on you and reach your goal.
Give up this hindrance, give up mortal sight,
For only then can you approach the light.
If you are told: “Renounce our Faith”, obey!
The Self and Faith must both be tossed away;
Blasphemers call such action blasphemy –
Tell them that love exceeds mere piety.
Love has no time for blasphemy or faith,
Nor lovers for the Self, that feeble wraith.
They burn all that they own; unmoved they feel
Against their skin the torturer’s sharp steel.
Heart’s blood and bitter pain belong to love,
And tales of problems no one can remove;
Cupbearer, fill the bowl with blood, not wine –
And if you lack the heart’s rich blood take mine,
Love thrives on inextinguishable pain,
Which tears the soul, then knit the threads again.
A mote of love exceeds all bounds; it gives
The vital essence to whatever lives.
But where love thrives, there pain is always found;
Angels alone escape this weary round –
They love without that savage agony
Which is reserved for vexed humanity.
Islam and blasphemy have both been passed
By those who set out on love’s path at last;
Love will direct you to Dame Poverty,
And she will show the way to Blasphemy.
When neither Blasphemy nor Faith remain,
The body and the Self have both been slain;
Then the fierce fortitude the Way will ask
Is yours, and you are worthy of our task.
Begin the journey without fear; becalm;
-Farid Ud-Din Attar –The Conference of the Birds, Page 56-57