The Mouse and the Camel

Funny how situations rarely change throughout history. I wonder who was being checked by Rumi here. Did he too live in a time where mere rats...erm mice... wanted to lead camels?
The Mouse and the Camel

A mouse caught hold of a camel's lead rope
in his two forelegs and walked off with it,
imitating the camel drivers.

The camel went along,
letting the mouse feel heroic.
"Enjoy yourself,"
he thought, " I have something to teach you, presently."

They came to the edge of a great river.
The mouse was dumbfounded.

Step forward into the river. You are my leader.
Don't stop here."
"I'm afraid of being drowned."

The camel walked into the water. "It's only just about the knee."
"Your knee! Your knee
is a hundred times over my head!"

"Well, maybe you shouldn't
be leading a camel, Stay with those like yourself.
A Mouse has nothing really to say to a camel."

"Would you help me get across?"

You are not a prophet, but go humble on the way of the prophets,
and you can arrive where they are. Don't try to steer the boat.
don't open up a shop by yourself. Listen. Keep silent.
you are not God's mouthpiece. Try to be an ear,and if you do speak, ask for explanations.

The source of your arrogance and anger is your lust
and the rootedness of that is in your habits.

Someone who makes habit of eating clay
gets made when you try to keep him from it.
Being a leader can also be a poisonous habit,
so that when someone questions your authority,
you think, "He's trying to take over."
You may respond courteously, but inside you rage.

Always check your inner state
with the Lord of your heart.
Copper doesn't know it copper,
until its change to gold.

Your loving doesn't know its majesty
until it knows its helplessness.

The Essential Rumi, p. 142-144
Translated by Coleman Barks


The Hikam of Ibn 'Ata'llah

I. A feeling of discouragement when you slip up
is a sure sign that you put your faith in deeds.

Your desire to withdraw from everything
when Allah has involved you in the world of means
is a hidden appetite.

Your desire for involvement with the world of means
when Allah has withdrawn you from it
is a fall from high aspiration.

Aspiration which rushes on ahead
cannot break through the walls of destiny.

Give yourself a rest from managing!
When Someone Else is doing it for you,
don't you start doing it for yourself!

Your striving for what is absolutely guaranteed to you
and your laxness in what is required of you
are evidence that your inner eye is dull.

If you make intense supplication
and the timing of the answer is delayed,
do not despair of it.
His reply to you is guaranteed;
but in the way He chooses,
not the way you choose,
and at the moment He desires,
not the moment you desire.

If something that is promised does not happen
even though the time for it is set,
do not doubt the promise!
If you do, that will dim your inner eye
and put out the light of your secret.

When He opens a way for you and makes Himself known to you,
then do not worry about your lack of deeds.
He only opened the way for you
because He desired to make Himself known to you.
Do you not see that while He grants gnosis of Himself to you,
you have only deeds to offer Him?
What He brings you -
What you bring Him -
What a difference there is between them!

Different states have different outcomes.
This accounts for the variety of types of action.

Actions are merely propped-up shapes.
Their life-breath is the presence of the secret of sincerity in them.

Bury your existence in the earth of obscurity.
If something sprouts before it is buried,
its fruits will never ripen.

Withdraw the heart into the arena of reflection
- nothing helps the heart more than that!
The Hikam of Ibn 'Ata'llah