Sunday, June 23, 2013

Fariduddin Attar on the Human Condition


A man is walking through a luscious garden filled with all the bounties of nature, when all of a sudden the ground beneath his feet gives way and he plummets into a hole. Grasping out blindly, he feels his hands close around the roots of a tree. Terrified, he looks below him and sees a monstrous dragon at the bottom of the pit, waiting for him to fall. He begins to pull himself up by the fortunately-placed tree roots, when his eyes happen upon a beehive lodged in the side of the hole. He lets go of the roots with one hand, and plunges his free hand into the beehive, never minding the stings of the protective bees. He draws out his hand, dripping now with honey, and licks his fingers clean of it. "Ah," he says, "what a joyous thing life is!"

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm a bit thick, please explain the meaning behind this.

Khalid Williams said...

Hang about, I only just posted it! Give it a while to sink in; there's nothing thick about needing thinking time. :)

Jaser Saed said...

Man is facing an imminent threat (the passing of time) yet whenever he comes by a transient pleasure he sooner than later gets swallowed by his passions and forgets about the impending reckoning with his Lord. Thank you for sharing.

abdul said...

I recall a parable I'd like to find and read again: a king toured a town where his subjects had prepared food and entertainments, after which he visited a local prison where inmates had hung grotesque displays from the bars. The king commented, "The townspeople made show for themselves, but these inmates' display is purely for my sake."

Does this seem familiar? Perhaps in Attar's Conference of the Birds?

Khalid Williams said...

I've not heard of that one. I'm a bit rusty with Attar, need to do some reading.

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