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Farid ud-Din Attar - Mysticism

English version by Coleman Barks

The sun can only be seen by the light
of the sun. The more a man or woman knows,
the greater the bewilderment, the closer
to the sun the more dazzled, until a point
is reached where one no longer is.

A mystic knows without knowledge, without
intuition or information, without contemplation
or description or revelation. Mystics
are not themselves. They do not exist
in selves. They move as they are moved,
talk as words come, see with sight
that enters their eyes. I met a woman
once and asked her where love had led her.
"Fool, there's no destination to arrive at.
Loved one and lover and love are infinite."


-- from The Hand of Poetry: Five Mystic Poets of Persia, with Lectures by Inayat Khan, Translated by Coleman Barks
Poetry Chaikhana | Farid ud-Din Attar - Mysticism


 1. Yes!!!  This might be the best description of a mystic that i have seen.

 2. When Attar mentions a specific mystic, it is a woman he describes!  If i had only the words of men to go by, i would not know that  women exist except as adjuncts, afterthoughts, or distractions.  The mystic seems genderless or male.

 3.  It turns out that love is, once again, the  answer.  Tapping into the perennial wisdom, as this poem does, as most sacred poetry does, i found myself saying: "that's Taoism."  (Or replace Tapism with your favorite philosophy, religion, or word.

 4. The mystic knows non knowing.  Here are some of the tools she (he) does not use:
      a) knowledge
      b) intuition
      c) information
      d) contemplation
      e) description
      f) revelation`

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