بخش 11

کتاب: ملت عشق / فصل 11

بخش 11

توضیح مختصر

  • زمان مطالعه 10 دقیقه
  • سطح متوسط

دانلود اپلیکیشن «زیبوک»

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متن انگلیسی فصل

The Novice


Bowing and scraping, I showed the judge to the door and quickly returned to the main room to collect the dirty bowls. I was surprised to find Baba Zaman and the wandering dervish in the same position as when I left them, neither one saying a word. Out of the corner of my eye, I checked them, wondering if it could be possible to carry on a conversation without talking. I lingered there as long as I could, arranging the cushions, tidying up the room, picking up the crumbs on the carpet, but after a while I ran out of reasons to stay.

Halfheartedly, I dragged my feet back to the kitchen. As soon as he saw me, the cook started to rain orders. “Wipe the counter, mop the floor! Wash the dishes! Scrub the stove and the walls around the grill! And when you are done, don’t forget to check the mousetraps!” Ever since I’d come to this lodge some six months ago, the cook had been riding roughshod over me. Every day he made me work like a dog and called this torture part of my spiritual training, as if washing greasy dishes could be spiritual in any way.

A man of few words, the cook had one favorite mantra: “Cleaning is praying, praying is cleaning!”

“If that were true, all the housewives in Baghdad would have become spiritual masters,” I once dared to say.

He threw a wooden spoon at my head and yelled at the top of his lungs, “Such back talk will get you nowhere, son. If you want to become a dervish, be as mute as that wooden spoon. Rebelliousness is not a good quality in a novice. Speak less, mature quicker!” I hated the cook, but, more than that, I feared him. I had never disobeyed his orders. That is, until this evening.

As soon as the cook turned his back, I sneaked out of the kitchen and tiptoed to the main room again, dying to learn more about the wandering dervish. Who was he? What was he doing here? He wasn’t like the dervishes in the lodge. His eyes looked fierce and unruly, even when he bowed his head in modesty. There was something so unusual and unpredictable about him that it was almost frightening.

I peeped through a crack in the door. At first I couldn’t see anything. But soon my eyes adjusted to the semidarkness inside the room and I could make out their faces.

I heard the master ask, “Tell me, Shams of Tabriz, what brings someone like you to Baghdad? Have you seen this place in a dream?”

The dervish shook his head. “No, it wasn’t a dream that brought me here. It was a vision. I never have dreams.”

“Everybody has dreams,” Baba Zaman said tenderly. “It’s just that you might not remember them all the time. But that doesn’t mean you don’t dream.”

“But I do not,” the dervish insisted. “It is part of a deal I made with God. You see, when I was a boy, I saw angels and watched the mysteries of the universe unfold before my eyes. When I told this to my parents, they weren’t pleased and told me to stop dreaming. When I confided in my friends, they, too, said I was a hopeless dreamer. I tried talking to my teachers, but their response was no different. Finally I understood that whenever people heard something unusual, they called it a dream. I began to dislike the word and all that it represented.” Upon saying this, the dervish paused as if he had heard a sudden sound. Then the strangest thing happened. He stood up, straightened his spine, and slowly, deliberately began to walk toward the door, all the while looking in my direction. It was as if he somehow knew I was spying on them.

It was as if he could see through the wooden door.

My heart pounded like mad. I wanted to run back to the kitchen but couldn’t see how. My arms, my legs, my whole body froze. Through and beyond the door, the dark eyes of Shams of Tabriz were fixed upon me. As terrified as I was, I also felt a tremendous amount of energy rushing through my body. He approached, put his hand on the door handle, but just when I thought he was about to open the door and catch me, he stopped. I couldn’t see his face from this close and had no idea what had changed his mind. We waited like that for an unbearably long minute. Then he turned his back, and as he paced away from the door, he continued with his story.

“When I got a little older, I asked God to take away my ability to dream, so that every time I encountered Him, I would know I wasn’t dreaming. He agreed. He took them all away. That’s why I never dream.”

Shams of Tabriz now stood by the open windows across the room. Outside, there was a light drizzle, and he watched it pensively before he said, “God took away my ability to dream. But to compensate for that loss, He allowed me to interpret the dreams of others. I am a dream interpreter.” I expected Baba Zaman not to believe this nonsense and to scold him, as he scolds me all the time.

But instead the master nodded respectfully and said, “You seem to be an unusual person. Tell me, what can I do for you?”

“I don’t know. Actually, I was hoping you could tell me that.”

“What do you mean?” asked the master, sounding puzzled.

“For almost forty years, I have been a wandering dervish. I am skilled in the ways of nature, although the ways of society are still alien to me. If necessary, I can fight like a wild animal, but I myself cannot hurt anyone. I can name the constellations in the sky, identify the trees in the forests, and read like an open book the types of people the Almighty has created in His image.” Shams paused briefly and waited as the master lit an oil lamp. Then he continued. “One of the rules says, You can study God through everything and everyone in the universe, because God is not confined in a mosque, synagogue, or church. But if you are still in need of knowing where exactly His abode is, there is only one place to look for Him: in the heart of a true lover. There is no one who has lived after seeing Him, just like there is no one who has died after seeing Him. Whoever finds Him will remain with Him forever.” In that dim, flickering light, Shams of Tabriz seemed even taller, his hair falling to his shoulders in disorderly waves.

“But knowledge is like brackish water at the bottom of an old vase unless it flows somewhere. For years I prayed to God for a companion to share the knowledge accumulated inside me. Finally, in a vision in Samarkand, I’ve been told I should come to Baghdad to fulfill my destiny. I understand that you know the name of my companion and his whereabouts and will tell me, if not now, then later.” Outside, the night had settled, and a wedge of moonlight streamed in through the open windows. I realized how late it was. The cook must have been looking for me. But I didn’t care. For once it felt good to break the rules.

“I don’t know what kind of answer you are asking of me,” murmured the master. “But if there is a piece of information I am destined to reveal, I know it will happen in due time. Until then you can stay here with us. Be our guest.” Upon hearing this, the wandering dervish bowed humbly and gratefully to kiss Baba Zaman’s hand. That is when the master asked that bizarre question: “You say you are ready to deliver all your knowledge to another person. You want to hold the Truth in your palm as if it were a precious pearl and offer it to someone special. But opening up someone’s heart to spiritual light is no small task for a human being. You’re stealing God’s thunder. What are you willing to pay in return?” For as long as I live, I will never forget the answer the dervish gave then. Raising an eyebrow, he said firmly, “I am willing to give my head.”

I flinched, feeling a cold shiver travel down my spine. When I put my eye to the crack again, I noticed that the master looked shaken by the answer as well.

“Perhaps we have done enough talking for today.” Baba Zaman exhaled a sigh. “You must be tired. Let me call the young novice. He will show you to your bed and provide clean sheets and a glass of milk.”

Now Shams of Tabriz turned toward the door, and I felt down to my bones that he was gazing at me again. More than that. It was as if he were looking through and into me, studying the pits and peaks of my soul, inspecting secrets that were hidden even from me. Perhaps he was involved with black magic or had been trained by Harut and Marut, the two angels of Babylon that the Qur’an warned us against. Or else he possessed supernatural talents that helped him to see through doors and walls. Either way he scared me.

“No need to call the novice,” he said, his voice attaining a higher pitch. “I’ve a feeling he is nearby and has already heard us.”

I let out a gasp so loud it might have woken the dead in their graves. In utter panic I jumped to my feet and scurried into the garden, seeking refuge in the dark. But an unpleasant surprise was awaiting me there.

“So there you are, you little rascal!” yelled the cook as he ran toward me with a broom in his hand. “You are in big trouble, son, big trouble!”

I jumped aside and managed to duck the broom at the last minute.

“Come here or I’ll break your legs!” the cook shouted behind me, puffing.

But I didn’t. Instead I dashed out of the garden as fast as an arrow. While the face of Shams of Tabriz shimmered before my eyes, I ran and ran along the winding trail that connected the lodge to the main road, and even after I had gotten far away, I couldn’t stop running. My heart pounding, my throat dried up, I ran until my knees gave out and I could run no more.

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