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Faith in the Providence - From Rumi's Masnavi: The Lion and the Creatures, Part 2 of 2

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Let us continue with selections from The Masnavi by the venerated Master Rumi (vegetarian), Book 1, The Lion and the Creatures, whereby the animal-people could not convince the lion to have restraint and sadly agreed to an unfair treaty.

“Of this complexion, many excuses the lion brought; No answer those compulsionists in dispute sought. The fox, the deer, the hare, and eke the sly jackal, Were fain to quit compulsion’s cause, for good and all.

A treaty they concluded with the forest king, That he, by this concession, should not lose a thing. His daily ration ready always should be found; And he should have no cause to trespass on their ground. Lots they would cast among themselves from day to day. On whom the lot should fall, he’d be the lion’s prey.

But lo, at length the lot upon the hare did light. He found it very hard, and wailed his awful plight. The other creatures remarked: ‘We each have had our turn; And none of us refused the agreement to confirm. By breach of faith on us fresh infamy bring not. Begone forthwith; the lion must not be forgot.’

The hare replied: ‘Dear friends, a respite to me grant. A scheme I’ll plan, and evade this grim tyrant. My wily plan shall save the souls of all alive; And safety heirloom be your children shall derive. Thus every prophet’s promised to his sect, at least, Salvation from the doom overhanging man and beast. They found a ready way to escape beyond the spheres, So soon as to reflect they turned their minds from fears. Man sees another’s eye is but a wee, wee thing; He knows how great a service can the eye’s pupil bring.’

The creatures in answer: ‘Prate to us no more. Consider. Thou are a hare; a creature of no great store.’

To them as a rejoinder puss spoke: ‘My dear friends, My inspiration’s God’s; small means effect great ends. The wisdom God has taught the little honey-bee, You do not find possessed by lion, or by me. We see its cells arranged, with liquid sweetness filled, The portals of such art to open God has willed.’”

“Let’s ask about the hare; hear what he has to say. Go to. Examine well the hare’s most foxy wile The subtle scheme that did the lion foil.”
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