|Source: Abu'l-Fazl 'Allami, A'IN-I AKBARI (3 vols.). Vol. 3 trans. H. S. Jarrett, 1894. Vol. 3, pp. 422-452. Ed *FWP*|
Book 5, Chapter 12: The Happy Sayings of His Majesty
|As I have now succinctly described
the Sacred Institutes, in acknowledgment of my own obligations and as a
gift of price to the rest of mankind, it appears fitting that I should
record somewhat of the sayings of His Imperial Majesty in relation both
to secular and spiritual concerns, in order that his words and actions
may become known to far and near.
The following are among his utterances :--
1) There exists a bond between the Creator and the creature which is not expressible in language.
2) Each thing has a quality inseparable from it and the heart is influenced by some irresistible attachment to the power of which it submits; and it builds thereon the foundation of its sorrows and joys. Whosoever by his brilliant destiny withdraws his affections from all worldly concerns, attains to the Divine love which is above all others.
3) The existence of creatures depends on no other bond than this. Whoever is gifted with this wisdom shall reach a high perfection.
4) Whosoever habituates himself to preserve this sacred relation, will be withheld from it by no other occupation.
5) Hindu women fetch water from their rivers, tanks or wells, and many of them bear several pitchers one above the other upon their heads and converse and chat freely with their companions, walking the while over any inequalities of ground. If the heart in like manner preserves the balance [] of its pitchers, no harm will befall thern. Why should men be inferior to these in their relations with the Almighty?
6) When this interior affection in both its immaterial and material aspects is thus strengthened, who can sever the attachment of the rational soul to the Supreme Being?
7) From the practice of real asceticism the transition is easy to unlawful mendicancy. Since a thing is best comprehended by contrast with its opposite, the latter also thus comes to be pleasurably regarded.
8) The intellect will not with the full assent of reason, confessedly oppose the divine law, but some do not believe in the divine books, nor credit that the Supreme essence that is tongueless will express itself in human speech, while others again differ in their interpretation of them.
9) The divine grace is shed upon all alike, but some from unpreparedness in due season and others from incapacity are unable to profit thereby; the handiwork of the potter evidences this truth.
10) The object of outward worship which they affect to call a new divine institute, is for the awakening of slumberers, otherwise the praise of God comes from the heart, not the body.
11) The first degree of dutiful obedience is not to scowl with knitted brows when trials befall, but regarding them as the bitter remedies of a physician, to accept them with a cheerful countenance.
12) That which is without form cannot be seen whether in sleeping or waking, but it is apprehensible by force of imagination. To behold God in vision is, in fact, to be understood in this sense.
13) Most worshippers of God are intent on the advancement of their own desires, not on His worship.
14) As the dark hair turns to grey, the hope arises that this hue which is never far distant. may be kept burnished by the [] wondrous workings of destiny, in order that the rust of the heart may be cleansed with it and its vision illumined.
15) Some there are who maintain that men walk in opposition to the will of God, and that their salvarion depends on their renunciation of this evil habit; but he who is spiritually illumined knows that none can effectually oppose His commands, and from this reflection physicians provide a remedy for those that are sick.
16) Each person according to his condition gives the Supreme Being a name, but in reality to name the Unknowable is vain. The object of an appellative is the removal of ambiguity, but this is not predicable of the All-Holy Essence.
17) There is no need to discuss the point that a vacuum in nature is impossible. God is omnipresent.
18) All that men account good and bad and virtue and vice, arises .from the wondrous phases of God's grace: the discorda:nt effects result from human action.
19) To impute the existence of evil to Satan is to make him a co-partner of the Almighty. If he is the robber, who is responsible for his being one? The legend of Satan is an old-world notion. Who has the power to oppose the will of God?
20) A peasant was seized with a desire to seek the Lord. His spiritual guide, learning his love for his cow, placed him in a confined space and directed him to exercise himself in meditation on that object. After a time he called him forth to test him. As the man had been absorbed in that contemplation, he persuaded himself that he had horns, and replied that his horns prevented his exit. His director, seeing his single-mindedness, by degrees weaned him from his error.
21) The superiority of man rests on the jewel of reason. It is meet that he should labour in its burnishing, and turn not from its instruction. A man is the disciple of his own reason. If it has naturally a good lustre, it becomes itself his director, and if [] it gains it under the direction of a higher mind, it is still a guide.
22) Commending obedience to the dictates of reason and reproving a slavish following of others need the aid of no arguments. If imitation were commendable, the prophets would have followed their predecessors.
23) Many whose minds are diseased persuade themselves into an affectation of health, but the spiritual physician recognises the impress on their brows. As the body becomes sickly from indisposition, so the mind has its disorder; knowledge decays until a remedy is applied. For a disordered mind there is no healing like the society of the virtuous.
24) To read the characters of men is a thing of great difficulty and is not in the power of everyone.
25) The soul notwithstanding its superiority, takes the tone of the natural disposition by association with it and the brilliancy of its lustre thus becomes dimmed with dirt. Through dullness of insight the concerns of the soul which are the source of happiness are neglected, while the pampering of the body, which enfeebles the spirit, is eagerly practised.
26) Men through attachments to their associates acquire their disposition, and much of good and of evil thus results to them.
27) When his understanding is still undeveloped, man is in constant change of mood; at one time taking joy in festivities, at another sitting disconsolate in the house of mourning. When his vision is raised to higher things, sorrow and joy withdraw.
28) Many in the conceit of their imagination, and entangled in the thornbrake of a blind assent to tradition, believe themselves to be followers of reason, whereas if it be carefully regarded, they are not in its vicinity. Many simpletons, worshippers of imitative custom, [] mistake the traditions of the ancients for the dictates of reason, and garner for themselves eternal perdition.
29) Acts and words are variously the effects of good sense, or of desire or of passion, but through the withdrawal of impartial judgment the facts are noisily misrepresented.
30) When rising from sleep which is a semblance of death, one should be earnest in giving thanks for a renewed life by seemly thoughts and virtuous actions.
31) Conscience requires that rectitude and probity, which is commendable in the sight of all men, should be associated with appropriate action.
32) One should first labour lor one's own edification, and then turn to the acquisition of knowledge in the hope of lighting the lamp of wisdom and extinguishing the risings of dissension.
33) Alas! that in the first flush of youth our inestimable lives are unworthily spent. Let us hope that in future they may virtuously terminate.
34) The vulgar believe in miracles, but the wise man accepts nothing without adequate proof.
35) Although temporal and spiritual prosperity are based on the due worship of God, the welfare of children first lies in obedience to their fathers. Alas! that the Emperor Humayun died so early and that I had no opportunity of showing him faithful service!
36) The sorrows of men arise from their seeking their fortune before its destined time, or above what is decreed for them.
37) (To his son.) My good counsel is your brother. Hold it in honour.
38) Hakim Mirza* is a memorial of the Emperor Humayun. Though he has acted ungratefully, I can be no [] other than forbearing. Some bold spirits asked permission to lie in ambush and put an end to that rebel. I could not consent, thinking it remote from what was befitting in his regard. Thus both that distinguished memorial of majesty escaped from harm, and my devoted friends were shielded from peril.
*Akbar's brother, king of Kabul. He rebelled against Akbar, invaded India and besieged Labor in the 11th year of Akbar's reign. See Akbarnamah, Eng. tr., vol. ii. 407-412, vol. iii, 532.543.39) The concerns of men are personal to themselves, but through the predominance of greed and passion they intrude upon (those of) others.
40) It is meet that worldlings should lead a busy life, in order that idleness may be discouraged and the desires may not wander towards unlawful objects.
41) It was my object that mendicancy should disappear from my dominions. Many persons were plentifully supplied with means, but through the malady of avarice it proved of no avail.
42) The world of existence is amenable only to kindness. No living creature deserves rejection.
43) The impulse of avarice, like pride, is not consonant with magnanimity, and, therefore, should not be suffered to enter or influence the mind.
44) The office of a spiritual director is to discern the state of the soul and to set about its reform, and does not lie in growing the locks of an Ethiop and patching a tattered robe and holding formal discourses to an audience.
45) By guidance is meant indication of the road, not the gathering together of disciples. To make a disciple is to instruct him in the service of God, not to make him a personal attendant.
46) Formerly I persecuted men into conformity with my faith and deemed it Islam. As I grew in knowledge, I was overwhelmed with shame. Not being a Muslim myself, it was unmeet to force others to become such. What constancy is to be expected from proselytes on compulsion?
[] 47) Clemency and benevolence are the sources of happiness and length of days. Sheep thai produce but one or two young ones in a year are in great numbers, while dogs notwithstanding their prolificness are few.
48) The phrase is remarkable that one sits down [when asked] to show the road, but one rises to rob it.*
*Alluding to the Persian idiom, ba-rahnumai nishistan va ba-rahzani barkhastan.49) The difficulty is to live in the world and to refrain from evil, for the life of a recluse is one of bodily ease.
50) Although knowledge in itself is regarded as the summit of perfection, yet unless displayed in action it bears not the impress of worth; indeed, it may be considered worse than ignorance.
51) From shortsightedness men frequently seek their own advantage in what is harmful to them: how much the more must they err in regard to others.
52) Through blindness men do not observe what is around them, being intent only on their own advantage. If a cat defiles its claws in the blood of a pigeon they are annoyed, but if it catches a mouse they rejoice. In what way has the bird served them or the latter unfortunate animal done them wrong?
53) The first step in this long road is not to give rein to desire and anger, but to take a measured rule and align one's actions thereon.
54) When the light of wisdom shines, a man distinguishes what is truly his own. What he has is only borrowed.
55) In a storehouse, mice and sparrows and other animals have a common interest; but from ill-nature each thinks the place his own.
56) Most people avoid the society of those they dislike, and do not let the displeasure of God occupy their thoughts
57) It is my duty to be in good understanding with all men. If they walk in the way of God's will, interference with them [] would be in itself reprehensible: and if otherwise, they are under the malady of ignorance and deserve my compassion.
58) An artisan who rises to eminence in his profession has the grace of God with him. The worship of God is the occasion of his being honoured.
59) Sleep and food are a means for the renewal of strength in seeking to do the will of God. Miserable man from folly regards them as an end. Although sleep brings health of body, yet as life is the greatest gift of God, it were better that it should be spent in wakefulness.
60) A man of penetration finds no (preordained) injustice. He regards adversity as a chastisement.
61) A wise man does not take heed for his daily sustenance. The analogy of bondsman and servant is an exhortation to him.
62) Happy is he who hath an ear wherewith to hear and an eye to see, for as truth cannot be overthrowm, [even] a blind man in possession thereof will not choose a bad path.*
*The latter part of this sentence is corrupt in the reading. My rendering is, therefore, conjectural.63) Children are the young saplings in the garden of life. To love them is to turn our minds to the Bountiful Creator.
64) To bestow in alms a coin which bears the impress of the name of God is very reprehensible.
65) In our prayers we should avoid the asking of temporal blessings in which the humiliation of another person is involved.
66) As to the seeking after God being thought to consist in controlling the natural bent of the spirit, most people find the solution of their troubles therein; were it otherwise, fruition would in many become a stair to further gratification.
67) The material world is analogous to the world of the spirit, for as in the one what is given in trust is again reclaimed, [] so in the other, works are required in accordance with knowledge.
68) In the receiving of admonition there is no respect of age or wealth. No distinction is recognized between the tender in years or the poor and others in the necessily of listening to the truth.
69) The prophets were all illiterate.* Believers should therefore retain one of their sons in that condition.
*"Who shall follow the apostle, the illiterate prophet." Quran, vii; and again "It is he who hath raised up amidst the illiterate Arabians an apostle from among themselves." Sur. lxii.70) Since the poet builds on fiction, his creation cannot be seriously accepted. A rope-dancer performs with feet and hands, a poet with his tongue.
71) He who happily introduces the verses of another in his own compositions or appositely quotes them, discovers the other's merit and his own.
72) A certain seeker after God was addicted to gluttony. He went to an adviser of practical experience, who gave him a bowl made of (the shell of a dried) pumpkin which he was told to fill in measuring his daily food and also to grind its edge a little (daily) and apply (the paste) to his forehead as a sectarian mark. At the same time, to throw him off the scent, he taught him a prayer to be recited. In a short time his failing was cured.*
*Thus, starting with his accustomed quantity of food on the first day, the amount of it was reduced imperceptibly day by day and the patient felt no sudden privation. I have heard of a Bengali Vaishnav sadhu who reduced his food in old age by measuring out his daily portion of rice in a half cocoanut shell, whose edge he used to rub against his curry-stone once daily, thus decreasing its capacity imperceptibly. Jarrett missed the point of the anecdote in his tranlation, which I have rejected. (J. S.)73) Would that we did not hear of such differences of opinion among professors of secular learning, nor were confounded by contradictory commentaries and explanations of tradition.
[] 74) Discourses on philosophy have such a charm for me that they distract me from all else, and I forcibly restrain myself from listening to them, lest the necessary duties of the hour should be neglected.
75) There are but three causes of aberrant judgment, viz., incapacity of mind; the society of enemies in the guise of friends; the duplicity of friends who seek their own interest.
76) Would that none other than the prudent had the reading and writing of letters, in order that the base might have no opportunity of fabrication for their own purposes, or of persuading short-sighted simpletons by every specious lie. The detection of fabrication is exceedingly difficult, but it can be compassed by weighing well the words of the speaker.
77) Although I am the master of so vast a kingdom, and all the appliances of government are to my hand, yet since true greatness consists in doing the will of God, my mind is not at ease in this diversity of sects and creeds, and my heart is oppressed by this outward pomp of circumstance; with what satisfaction can I undertake the conquest of empire? How I wish for the coming of some pious man, who would resolve the distractions of my heart.
78) On the completion of my twentieth year, I experienced an internal bitterness, and from the lack of spiritual provision for my last journey, my soul was seized with exceeding sorrow.
79) A darvesh on the northern bank of the Ravi entered his cell and allowed no one to frequent it. On being asked the reason, he replied that he was engaged in a special devotion, and that until the death of Abdullah Khan, governor of Turan,* he would not leave it, nor allow anyone access to [] him. His majesty said, "If he is one whose prayers are heard, then let him gird up his loins for my welfare, and refrain from this foolish prayer."
*See Vol. I. XXX. and 468; this prince had written to Akbar regarding his apostasy from Islam. and Miran Sadr and Hakim Humam were sent to him on an embassy to explain matters with an ambiguous Arabic verse to the effect that. as God and the Prophet had not escaped the slander of men neither could His Majesty. I am not sure whether 1 have seized the sense of the concluding lines. I infer that Akbar wished it to be known that he had no grudge against Abdullah. [Jarrett] [The translation of the last sentence has been changed by me. J. S. ]80) If I could but find anyone capable of governing the kingdom, I would at once place this burden upon his shoulders and withdraw therefrom.
81) If I were guilty of an unjust act, I would rise in judgment against myself. What shall I say, then, of my sons, my kindred and others?
82) The Giver of desires has committed to my charge many a noble fortress. No one has thought of provisioning them, yet confiding in the strength of God, no further apprehension alarms me.
83) Whoever seeks from me permission to retire from the world will meet with cheerful acquiescence in his desires. If he has really withdrawn his heart from the world that deceives only fools, to dissuade him therefrom would be very reprehensible; but if he only affects it from ostentation, he will receive the requital thereof .
84) If in ailments of the body which are visible, its physicians have made and do make such errors of treatment, in the disorders of the soul which is invisible, and its remedies scarce attainable, what medicine will avail?
85) It was the effect of the grace of God that I found no capable minister, otherwise people would have considered that my measures had been devised by him.
86) On the day when the Almighty wills that my life should cease, I also would not further prolong it. My constant prayer to the Supreme Giver is that when my thoughts and actions no longer please Him he may take my life, in order that I may not every moment add to His displeasure.
[] 87) The solution of difficulties depends on the assistance of God, and the evidence of the latter is the meeting with a wise spiritual director. Many persons through not discovering such a one, have their real capabilities obscured.
88) One night my heart was weary of the burden of life, when suddenly, between sleeping and waking, a strange vision appeared to me, and my spirit was somewhat comforted.
89) Whosoever with a sincere heart and in simplicity of mind follows my institutes will profit, both spiritually and temporally, to the fulfilment of his wishes.
90) The source of misery is self-aggrandizement and unlawful desires.
91) The welfare of those who are privileged to confidential counsel at the court of great monarchs has been said to lie in rectitude and loyalty; no self-interest or mercenary motive should intervene; and especially in times ot the royal displeasure, if no conciliatory language will avail, they should be silent.
92) A special grace proceeds from the sun in favour of kings, and for this reason they pray and consider it a worship of the Almighty; but the short-sighted are thereby scandalized. How can the common people possessed only with the desire of gain, look with respect upon sordid men of wealth? From ignorance these fail in reverence to this fountain of light, and reproach him who prays to it. If their understanding were not at fault, how could they forget the Surah beginning "By the sun," &c.*
*The XCI. of the Kuran. "By the sun and its rising brightness ; by the moon when she followeth him: by the day when it showeth its splendour: by the night when it covereth him with darkness: by the heaven and him who built it: by the earth and him who spread it forth... how is he who hath purified the same, happy, but he who hath corrupted the same is miserahle. --Sale.[] 93) The reason why the hair of the head turns grey first is because it comes before the beard and the whiskers .
94) I have heard no good reason from the Hindus for the sounding of the gong and blowing the conch at the time of worship. It must be for the purpose of warning and recollection.
95) When it rains, if light breaks from the west, the air will clear, for radiance from the quarter whence darkness proceedeth is a harbinger of light.
96) The reason why under the Muhammadan law an inheritance seldom passes to the daughter, notwithstanding that her helplessness seems deserving of greater consideration, is that she passes to her husband's house, and the legacy would go to a stranger.
97) The meat which is nearer the bone is sweeter because it contains the essence of the nutriment.
98) Fruit in a plentiful season is never so luscious and sweet, because the source of supply of these qualities is proportionately subdivided.
99) The tales of the ancients, that in certain places of worship fire from heaven was present, were not credited, and it was held to be exaggeration, it not being known that a mirror or the sun-crystal* being held to the sun would produce fire.
*The Surya-kanta or 'sun-Ioved', a sunstone or crystal, cool to the touch and supposed to possess fabulous properties because, like a glass lens, it gives out heat when exposed to the rays of the sun. Monier-WilIiams, S D.100) For all kinds of animals there is a fixed breeding season. Man alone is constantly under the impulse of desire to that end. Indeed, by this providential multiplication of the species a greater stability is given to the bond of union upon which the foundation of social life depends.
101) Eating anything that dies of itself is unlawful. There is a natural repugnance against it.
[] 102) A man's being eaten after he has been killed is the just requital of his own baseness.*
*Or perhaps 'his own gormandising nature.' (Khwari.)103) The prohibition against touching anything killed by the act of God, the cause of which is unknown, is in order to respect the dead.
104) Blood contains the principle of life. To avoid eating thereof is to honour life.
105) The birth of ugliness from beauty is not surprising. Indeed, if a man were to beget a different kind of animal, it would not be extraordinary, for as a matter of fact forms are designed from concepts, and since these are capable of being imagined, their production may take place.
106) If the love of the husband prevail, he but idolises his own partialities and begets a daughter; if the wife has the stronger affection, the image of her husband is oftenest present, and a boy appears.
107) As to what is said in ethical treatises, that an enemy should not be despised, the meaning is that since friendship and enmity are but phantasms of the divine dispensation, one should overlook the intervening enemy and view .the Deity beyond.
108) Many a disciple surpasses his master, and his attitude to him must be one of deference and submission.
109) Miracles occur in the temples of every creed. This is the product of mental enthusiasm, for the truth can be but with one.
110) A gift is the deposit of a pledge, and a lightening of an obligation from a former debt.
111) The origin of wearing the sacred thread (in a Brahman), is that in ancient times they used to pray with a rope round their necks, and their successors have made this a religious obligation.
[] 112) In Hindustan no one has ever set himself up as a prophet. The reason is that pretensions to divinity have superseded it.
113) When anyone is said to be of a good, or low, origin, what is meant is, that one of his ancestors attained to spiritual or temporal distinction, or was known to fame from connection with some city or profession. It appears to me that good breeding should involve good works.
114) It is said that greater friendship is shown by the receiver of a gift than by the giver*; but I consider that in the giver it is personal. He does not give but to a worthy object, and this can be evidenced in a receiver only by a gift.
*Cf. Benjamin Franklin's Autobiography, ch. vi.. An old maxim I had learned.says, "He that has once done you a kindness will be more ready to do you another, than he whom you yourself have obliged." [J. S.]115 In Hindu treatises it is said that, in the acquisition of learning or of wealth, a man should so toil as though he were never to grow old, or to die.* But since the luxurious, from fear of these two sources of despair, withhold themselves from labour, it appears to me that in acquiring these twin needs of a worldly career, we should regard each morrow as our last, and postpone not the work of one day to the next.
*"The wise man must fix his thoughts on knowledge and wealth, as if he were never to grow old, or to die: but he must practise virtue as if Death had already seized him by the locks." lntrod. Hitopadesa. Sir W. Jones' Trans. [corrected here by J. S.]116) The Hindu philosopher says that in the garnering of good works, one should have death constantly in view, and, placing no reliance on youth and life, never relax one's efforts. But to me it seems that in the pursuit of virtue, the idea of death should not be entertained, so that freed from hopes and fears, we should practise virtue for the sake of its own worth.
117) It is strange that in the time of our Prophet no commentaries on the Quran were made, so that differences of interpretation might not afterwards arise.
[] 118) (Regarding the saying), "the love of a cat is a part of religion," if the noun of action is not in construction with the agent, as Mir Sayyid Sharif put it to escape a difficulty, it would not be humane to avoid a cat or regard it with repugnance. The silence of Maulana Saidu'ddin from this (obvious) reply is, therefore, not to be defended.*
*The ephemeral controversies of the Court which Abu'l Fazl seemed to regard as enduring to all time, and of which the subjects and actors have long been forgotten, are to be elucidated only on conjecture. The saying alluded to in the text appears to be a parody on the tradition, 'the love of country is a part of religion'. Some traditions regarding the cat have been preserved and will be found in the Hayat u'l Hayawiin [Vita animalium: auctore Shaykh Kamalu'ddin Mhd. b-Ben Isa Demiri, anno, A.H. 808 (A.D. 1405) mortuo. Haj. Khal] .One of these, on the authority of Salman al-Farsi. says that "the Prophet gave an admonition respecting the cat," i.e., its humane treatment. Abu Hurayrah, the well known companion, who received his epithet (father of the kitten), on account of having always a kitten with him, narrated a tradition that a woman was punished in hell for maltreatment of a cat. Ayesha asked him if this was true. He replied, he had heard it from Mumammad's own lips. She rejoined that a Muslim woman could not have been so punished on account of a cat, and that the culprit was an infidel. He should, therefore, be careful how he repeated these traditions. In explanation of the grammatical point. I suggest that what is meant is the duty of mankind in the humane treatment of cats, and, no doubt, all other animals: but if the word 'love' be in construction with a definite agent, and it be said that "the love of Zayd towards a cat is a part of religion," the application is censurable,119) "What the ancients have said, viz., that the heaviest trials fall on the prophets, next upon the saints, and by proportionately diminishing degrees upon the virtuous, does not commend itself to me. How can the elect of God be thus punished?" Some of the philosophers suggested to his Majesty that these were trials sent by God. The king was amazed and said: "How can trials be justifiable by one who knows both what is hidden and what is manifest?"
120) Every sect favourably regards him who is faithful to its precepts, and in truth he is to be commended. If he be engaged in worldly pursuits he should pass his days in righteousness and well-doing, and in fulfilling the needs of the time; [] and if of a retired habit, he should live in warfare with himself and at peace with others, and regard praise and blame indifferently.
121) Some are of opinion that the greater the number of intermediaries between him that seeks the truth and him that has reached it, the more the grace of God abounds. But this is not so: rather the attainment thereto is dependent on attrahent [??] grace and good works.
122) It is strange that the Imamis make beads of the earth of Karbala, and believe that it is mixed with the blood of the Imam (Husayn).
123) Whoever bestows his garments upon ignoble people, upon rope-dancers and buffoons, it is as though he went through their antics himself.
124) He alone whose knowledge is superior in degree to that of the author of a work should make selections therefrom, otherwise it is not a choice of passages but showing his own merit.
125) The legend of Alexander's stratagem against Porus* does not carry the appearance of truth. A man raised to power by the Almighty does not act in this manner, especially when he thinks his end is drawing near.
*The stratagem is thus described by Firdausi: Now spies arrived from Hind before the world-lord and informed him at large of how the elephant contendeth in warfare! "It will rout two miles of horse. No cavalier will dare to face that beast." Then the Shah (Alexander) assembled all the master-smiths ...who made a horse with saddle and rider complete, of iron. ..They charged it with black naphtha, and then ran it on wheels before the troops. ..He bade to make a thousand such and more. ..[] 126) One should write out a quatrain of Omar Khayyam, atter reading an ode of Hafiz, otherwise the latter is like drinking wine without a relish.
127) Men give the names of eminent men to their sons. Although it is done by way of good augury, it is not respectful. And what is most curious is that this is chiefly practised by theologians who do not believe in metempsychosis [=transmigration of the soul]; while the Hindus who do, refrain from it.
128) It is a remarkable thing that men should insist on the ceremony of circumcision for children who are otherwise excused from the burden of all religious obligations.
129) If the reason of the prohibition of swine (as food), be due to its vileness, lions and the like should be held lawful.
130) Burial of the dead is an ancient custom; otherwise, why should a traveller on the road of annihilation bear a load? He should return as he came.
131) One day Qalij Khan brought a register to His Majesty, and said, "I have named this the Khulasatu'l Mulk" (the Abstract of the Kingdom). His Majesty replied: "This name would more befit a province, a district, or a town: it should rather be called Haqiqatu'l Mulk" (the Real State of the Kingdom). Qalij Khan then represented his own capacity in affairs. Others who were present raised objections. During the discussion his knowledge of mathematics was questioned; on this he was silent, but introduced religion. His Majesty uttered the following verse:
132) On one occasion at a meeting for philosophical discussion, one of the poets in the assembly uttered the following couplet:"Hath earth so prospered 'neath thy care,
[] His Majesty said, "Instead of 'my sun' if you read 'my knight', it would be more appropriate." Discerning judges were loud in applause."The Messiah his friend, Khizr his guide, Joseph riding at his rein,
133) One day the following quatrain of Mulla Talib Isfahani, in an elegy on Hakim Abu'l Fath and congratulatory on the arrival of Hakim Humam,* was quoted in His Majesty's presence:
His Majesty remarked that the word 'dumbalah' (behind) was prosaic and it would better run, 'ze raftanash' (from his going). The critics much approved."My brothers in their love what concord show!
*See Vol. I, p. 474.134) Solicitation from every man is reprehensible, especially from those who are disinterested and of lofty spirit, for these defile not their hands save with necessities: therefore to solicit of them is to dishonour oneself and them.
135 Difference of capacity is the cause of the continuance of mankind.
136) The truth is such that where it reaches the ear it must penetrate the heart. Conviction is irresistible.
137) The severe illness of the young suggests the doctrine of metempsychosis [=transmigration of the soul].
138) What the divine books say, that great sinners in ancient times were changed into monkeys and boars, is credible. If the idea were merely that souls were transfused into a few determinate shapes, this would be unworthy; but if the strange workings of destiny joined them to mineral, vegetable and animal life in serial progression till they were exalted to a high dignity, where would be the wonder?
Some of the ancients say that the punishment of each continues through various bodies, and that a body is thus [] prepared for the expiation of each period--this corroborates the above.
139) To light a candle is to commemorate the (rising of the) sun. On whomsoever the sun sets, what other remedy hath he but this?
140) The darkness of smoke is due to the absence of light and its own worthlessness.
141) When the time of death approaches, a certain sadness supervenes, and when it is at hand, a faintness also ensues. this, indeed, indicates that the gift and withdrawal of life are in the hands of God.
142) The ear is the sentinel of the voice. When the speaker becomes deaf, he loses the need of speech.
143) Although thieving is worse than fornication when it is practised when the faculties are first developed and in old age, yet because the commission of the latter grave sin contaminates another as well as the doer thereof, it involves the greater guilt.
144) It is not right that a man should make his stomach the grave of animals.
145) The killing of an innocent man is a benevolence towards him, for it is committing him to the mercy of God.
146) The authority to kill should be his who can give life, and he who performs this duty at the command of right judgment, does so with reference to God.
147) When an inheritance passes, while a daughter is alive, to the brother's child, it having been transmitted to the deceased from his father, there is justification, otherwise how can it be equitable?
148) A city may be defined to be a place where artisans of various kinds dwell, or a population of such an extent that a voice of average loudness will not carry at night beyond the inhabited limits.
149) A river is that which flows throughout the whole year.
[] 150) Kingdoms are divided from each other by rivers, mountains, deserts, or languages.
151) In cold climates such as Kabul and Kashmir guns should be made thicker than ordinary, so that dryness and cold may not crack them.
152) A moderate breeze differs relatively in reference to a mill or a ship, but what is commonly understood by this term is one of sufficient force to extinguish a lamp.
153) The interpretation of dreams belongs to the world of augury. For this reason it is established that none but a learned man of benevolent character should be entrusted to draw a good omen therefrom.
154) Rhetoric consists in the language being commensurate with the capacity of the hearer, and that a pregnant meaning shall be pithily expressed in a manner intelligible without difficulty.Eloquence requires the delivery to be accompanied with elegance of diction.
155) One moral may be drawn from the instances of the ruler of Egypt (Pharaoh), and Husayn Mansur (Hallaj): namely that presumptuous contemplation of one's self (khud-bini) and gazing at God (Khuda-bini) are things different from each other.*
*And Pharaoh said, '0 ye nobles, ye have no other God that I know of but myself. Burn me then, Hamam, bricks of clay, and build me a tower, that I may mount up to the God of Moses, for, in sooth, I deem him a liar' ...But we seized on him and his hosts and cast them into the sea: Behold, then, the end of the wrongful doers'. (Quran, xxviii. 38-40).[] 156) Dignity is the maintenance of one's station.
157) A wise man was asked the reason of the long life of the vulture and the short existence of the hawk. He replied, "The one injures no animal, and the other hunts them." On this His Majesty remarked, "If the penalty to a hawk that lives only on animal life, be a brief span of existence, what shall happen to man who notwithstanding abundant provision of other kinds, does not restrain himself from meat? Nevertheless, the thought that harmless animals are lawful and animals of prey forbidden food, is full of suggestion."
158) Learning to speak comes from association, otherwise men would remain inarticulate. But when the experiment was tried it was shown through the instance of a dumb man, how, though silent in such a case, he might make himself understood by strangers.
159) Whosoever imprecates upon another the vengeance of God will not be heard. It was this reflection that comforted a man who had been cursed by others.
160) Since I used nitre (for cooling water), I recognise the rights of salt (fidelity) in water also.*
*This is a conceit on the well.known eastern duty of protecting a guest who has eaten of one's salt. This protection does not extend to the offer of water, but the use of nitre gives water this salt and its consequent rights.161) When I came to India I was much attracted by the elephants, and I thought that the use of their extraordinary strength was a prognostication of my universal ascendancy.
162) Men are so accustomed to eating meat that were it not for the pain, they would undoubtedly fall to [eating] themselves. Would that my body were so vigorous as to be of service to eaters of meat who would thus forego other animal life, [] or that as I cut off a piece for their nourishment, it might be replaced by another.
163) Would that it were lawful to eat an elephant, so that one animal might avail for many. Were it not for the thought of the difficulty of sustenance, I would prohibit men from eating meat. The reason why I do not altogether abandon it myself is, that many others might willingly forego it likewise, and be thus cast into despondency.
164) From my earliest years, whenever I ordered animal food to be cooked for me, I found it rather tasteless and cared little for it. I took this feeling to indicate a necessity for protecting animals, and I refrained from animal food. Men should annually refrain from eating meat on the anniversary of the month of my accession, as a thanksgiving to the Almighty, in order that the year may pass in prosperity.
165) Butchers, fishermen and the like who have no other occupation but taking life, should have a separate quarter and their association with others should be prohibited by a fine.*
*This was the old Hindu and Buddhistic rule Fa Hsien observed in North India in 399 AD.-- "Only the Chandalas are fishermen and hunters, and sell fresh meat. They are [held to be] wicked men, and live apart from others" [Legge's tr., ch, xvi] Yuan Chwang not;ced the same pract;ce about 629,-- "Butcher, fishers, dancers, executioners, and scavengers, and so on, have their abodes outside the city" [Bk, II 5, Beal's tr. i.74) J. S.166) A merchant was approaching his end and his four sons were about to quarrel over his property. He directed them with due counsel, and told them that he had providently bequeathed them equal portions and had left these, one for each, in the four corners of his house, and that when he died they were to take their several shares. When his instructions were carried out, one found gold, another grain, and the other two paper and a bone respectively. Not [] comprehending this they began to make a disturbance. The King of Hindustan, Salivahana, thus interpreted it: "By the bone is meant that cattle should be demanded (by its holder) of the first, and by the paper, a money credit of the second.' When the whole was computed, the shares were thus found to be equal.
167) Hasan Sabbah* was once on a journey by sea with a numerous company. Suddenly a storm arose, and consternation seized the people. He himself was cheerful, and when questioned thereon, he announced to them that they would be saved. On reaching land all of them were assured that the future was revealed to him. In point of fact he was undisturbed through his assurance that the will of God could not be altered, and his announcement of the good tidings of their security was caused by this reflection, that if they were drowned no one could save them; had they thought otherwise they would have taken to (vain) supplication.
*This was the famous chief of the Persian Ismailians and known in the history of the Crusades ander the name of the 'Old man of the Mountain', by which is meant, the mountainous district from Isfahiin to Zanjiin, Qazwin, Hamadiin, Dinawar and Qirmisin. Founder of the sect of Assassins. The legends about his life are given in Sargudhast-i-Sayidna. He ended his reign and life in A.H. 518 (A.D. 1124) Enc. lsl. ii, 276.168) Ali, called also Kharwa*, used to say that he had seen a person in Balia whose upper part consisted of two bodies, each possessing a head, eyes, and hands, with but a single body below. The man was married, and a jeweller by profession.
*For Kharwa the variants are Khaura and Hara, and for Balia, Malibar and Balisa. For the man's name I suggest Kharjah, "a certain man whose mother is called amm-i-Kharijah who is also the mother of several tribes." [Richardson's Dict.] and for the place Malibar. This would make Akbar's story an Arab sailor's yarn like those given in Ajaib-ul-Hind about India's coastal ports. (Devic's French trans., 1875.) [J. S.]169) In the year [968 A.H.=1560 A.D.] that Bayram Khan received permission to depart for Hijaz, a hunting [] leopard killed a doe near Sikandrah; a live young one was taken from its stomach. I separated the flesh from the bone myself and gave the leopard its fill. In doing so something pricked my hand. I thought it was a piece of a bone. When carefully examined, an arrow-head was found in its liver. The doe must have been hit by an arrow when young, but by God's protection it had touched no vital part, and did not hinder the animal from waxing strong and becoming pregnant.
170) A mouse will take an egg in its paws and lie on its back, while the others seize him by the tail and drag him into his hole. It will also give a twist to its tail while inserting it into a bottle and draw out opium or whatever else may be inside. There are many such instances of their ingenuity.
171) If a wolf opens its mouth impelled by desire to seize its prey, it can do so. At other times it cannot open it, however much it may wish. When captured it utters no sound.
172) The difference between stone and salt* lies in this, that the former is not soluble in water and the latter dissolves.
*I hazard the emendation of "mang" into "namak." [ J. S. ]173) Once in a game preserve, a tame deer had a fight with a wild one. The latter was cleverly caught. Some of the spectators quoted the following line: "We have never seen anyone who could overtake a deer by running." The point was thus explained, that "ahu," a "deer" in Persian, means also a "defect," and this is not (required to be) secured by pursuit and effort.
174) The marriage of a young child is displeasing to the Almighty, for the object which is intended is still remote, and there is proximate harm. In a religion which forbids the re-marriage of the widow, the hardship is grave.
[] 175) Marriage between those who are not related is commendable in order that heterogeneity may become kinship, and between relations, the more remote the affinity the closer is the concord; and what has been recorded of the time of Adam, viz., that as sons and daughters were born to each, the son of one was given to the daughter of another, sustains this view. As to the kinship between cousins being within the permitted degrees under the Muhammadan law, this was established in the beginning and was analogous to (the custom in) the time of Adam's birth.
176) It is improper to consort with a woman when moved by concupiscence, or with one too young or too old,--most of the latter cease to be capable of child-bearing after 55,--with a pregnant woman or a female during her monthly course ...
[Reason given in every case, not translated. Akbar followed the Hindu maxim, putriirthe kriyate varya, i.e., a man takes a wife with the object of having sons. J. Sarkar.]177) To seek more than one wife is to work one's own undoing. In case she were barren or bore no son, it might then be expedient.
178) Had I been wise earlier, I would have taken no woman from my own kingdom into my seraglio, for my subjects are to me in the place of children.
179) The women of Hindustan rate their dear lives at a slender price. It is an ancient custom in Hindustan for a woman to burn herself, however unwilling she may be, on her husband's death and to give her priceless life with a cheerful countenance, conceiving it to be a means of her husband's salvation. It is a strange commentary on the magnanimity of men that they should seek their deliverance through the self-sacrifice of their wives.
180) A monarch is a pre-eminent cause of good. Upon his conduct depends the efficiency of any course of action His [] gratitude to his Lord, therefore, should be shown in just government and due recognition of merit; that of his people, in obedience and praise. The very sight of kings has been held to be a part of divine worship. They have been styled conventionally the shadow of God, and indeed to behold them is a means of calling to mind the Creator, and suggests the protection of the Almighty.
181) Sovereignty is a supreme blessing, for its advantages extend to multitudes, and the good works of such as have attained to true liberty of spirit also profit these. A monarch should not himself undertake duties that may be performed by his subjects. The errors of others it is his part to remedy, but his own lapses who may correct?
182) Sovereignty consists in distinguishing degrees of circumstance and in meting out reward and punishment in proportion thereto. This quality of appreciation adds dignilt to the pursuit of happiness and is the chief source of success. What is said of monarchs, that their coming brings security and peace, has the stamp of truth. When minerals and vegetables have their peculiar virtues, what wonder if the actions of a specially chosen man should operate for the security of his fellows?
183) In the reciprocity of rule and obedience, the sanctions of hope and fear are necessary to the well-ordering of temporal government and the illumination of the interior recesses of the spirit; nevertheless a masterful will, never suffering the loss of self control under the dominance of passion, should weigh well and wisely the measure and occasion of each.
184) Whoever walks in the way of fear and hope, his temporal and spiritual affairs will prosper. Neglect of them will result in misfortune.
185) Idleness is the root of evils. The duty of one who seeketh his own welfare is to learn a profesion and practise [] it. It is imperative in prefects never to be remiss in watchfulness.
186) The anger of a monarch, like his bounty, is the source of national prosperity.
187) Tyranny is unlawful in everyone, especially in a sovereign who is the guardian of the world.
188) Divine worship in monarchs consists in their justice and good administration: the adoration of the elect is expressed in their mortificaticn of body and spirit. All strife is caused by this, that men neglecting the necessities of their state, occupy. themselves with extraneous concerns.
189) A king should abstain from four things: excessive devotion to hunting; incessant play; inebriety night and day; and constant intercourse with women.
190) Although hunting suggests many analogies of kingly action, certainly the foremost of them is that the granting of life [to the doomed] becomes a habit.*
* I have modified Jarrett's translation here. There are many instances in Mughal Indian history of the Emperors ordering the encircled deer in a qamurgha hunt to be set free. [J .Sarkar.]191) Falsehood is improper in all men, and most unseemly in monarchs. This order is termed the shadow of God, and a shadow should throw straight.
192) Superintendents (daroghahs) should be watchful to see that no one from covetousness abandons his own profession. Shah Tahmasp, king of Persia, one night forgot a verse. His torchbearer quoted it. He punished the speaker somewhat, and said, "When a menial takes to learning he does so at the expense of his duties."
193) A king should not be familiar in mirth and amusement with his courtiers.
194) A monarch should be ever intent on conquest, otherwise his neighbours rise in arms against him. The army should be exercised in warfare, lest from want of training they become self-indulgent.
[] 195) A king should make a distinction in his watch over the goods, the lives, the honour, and the religion of his subjects. If those who are led away by greed and passion will not be reclaimed by admonition, they must be chastised.
196) He who does not speak of monarchs for their virtues will assuredly fall to reproof or scandal in their regard.
197) The words of kings resemble pearls. They are not fit pendants to every ear.
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