Someone who doesn't know the Tigris River exists
brings the caliph who lives near the river
a jar of fresh water. The caliph accepts, thanks him,
and gives in return a jar filled with gold coins.
"Since this man has come through desert,
he should return by water." Taken out by another door,
the man steps into a waiting boat
and sees the wide freshwater of the Tigris.
He bows his head, "What wonderful kindness
that he took my gift."
Every object and being in the universe is
a jar overfilled with wisdom and beauty,
a drop of the Tigris that cannot be contained
by any skin. Every jarful spills and makes the earth
more shining, as though covered in satin.
If the man had seen even a tributary
of the great river, he wouldn't have brought
the innocence of his gift.
Those that stay and live by the Tigris
grow so ecstatic that they throw rocks at jugs,
and the jugs become perfect!
The pieces dance, and water...
Do you see?
Neither jar, nor water, nor stone,
You knock at the door of reality,
shake your thought-wings, loosen
Mathnavi 1: 2850-70
Version by Coleman Barks
image via aristela