بخش 25

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بخش 25

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دانلود اپلیکیشن «زیبوک»

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متن انگلیسی فصل

Shams

KONYA, OCTOBER 17, 1244

Beholden to the peasant who dropped me off at the town center, I found myself and my horse a place to stay. The Inn of Sugar Vendors seemed just what I needed. Of the four rooms I was shown, I chose the one with the fewest possessions, which consisted of a sleeping mat with a moldy blanket, an oil lamp that was sputtering its last, a sun-dried brick that I could use as a pillow, and a good view of the whole town up to the base of the surrounding hills.

Having thus settled down, I roamed the streets, amazed at the mixture of religions, customs, and languages permeating the air. I ran into Gypsy musicians, Arab travelers, Christian pilgrims, Jewish merchants, Buddhist priests, Frankish troubadours, Persian artists, Chinese acrobats, Indian snake charmers, Zoroastrian magicians, and Greek philosophers. In the slave market, I saw concubines with skin white as milk and hefty, dark eunuchs who had seen such atrocities that they had lost their ability to speak. In the bazaar I came across traveling barbers with bloodletting devices, fortune-tellers with crystal balls, and magicians who swallowed fire. There were pilgrims on their way to Jerusalem and vagrants who I suspected were runaway soldiers from the last Crusades. I heard people speak Venetian, Frankish, Saxon, Greek, Persian, Turkish, Kurdish, Armenian, Hebrew, and several other dialects I couldn’t even distinguish. Despite their seemingly endless differences, all of these people gave off a similar air of incompleteness, of the works in progress that they were, each an unfinished masterwork.

The whole city was a Tower of Babel. Everything was constantly shifting, splitting, coming to light, transpiring, thriving, dissolving, decomposing, and dying. Amid this chaos I stood in a place of unperturbed silence and serenity, utterly indifferent to the world and yet at the same time feeling a burning love for all the people struggling and suffering in it. As I watched the people around me, I recalled another golden rule: It’s easy to love a perfect God, unblemished and infallible that He is. What is far more difficult is to love fellow human beings with all their imperfections and defects. Remember, one can only know what one is capable of loving. There is no wisdom without love. Unless we learn to love God’s creation, we can neither truly love nor truly know God.

I roamed the narrow alleys where artisans of all ages toiled in their small, dingy stores. In every place I visited, I overheard the townspeople talk about Rumi. How did it feel, I wondered, to be this popular? How did it affect his ego? My mind busy with these questions, I strolled in the opposite direction from the mosque where Rumi was preaching. Gradually the surroundings began to change. As I moved northward, the houses became more dilapidated, the garden walls falling down, and the children more raucous and unruly. The smells changed, too, getting heavier, more garlicky and spicy. Finally I stepped into a street where three odors loomed in the air: sweat, perfume, and lust. I had reached the seamy side of town.

There was a ramshackle house atop the steep cobbled street, the walls supported by bamboo pillars, the roof of thatched grass. In front of the house, a group of women sat chatting. When they saw me approach, they eyed me curiously, looking half amused. Beside them was a garden with roses of every color and shade imaginable and the most amazing smell. I wondered who tended to them.

I didn’t have to wait too long to learn the answer. No sooner had I reached the garden than the entrance door of the house was flung open and a woman dashed out. She was heavy-jowled, tall, and enormously fat. When she squinted, the way she did now, her eyes were lost in rolls of flesh. She had a thin, dark mustache and thick sideburns. It took me a while to comprehend that she was both man and woman.

“What do you want?” the hermaphrodite asked suspiciously. Her face was in constant flux: One moment it looked like the face of a woman; then the tide came back, replacing it with the face of a man.

I introduced myself and asked her name, but she ignored my question.

“This is no place for you,” she said, waving her hands as if I were a fly she’d like to chase away.

“Why not?”

“Don’t you see this place is a brothel? Don’t you dervishes take an oath to stay away from lust? People think I wallow in sin here, but I give my alms and close my doors in the month of Ramadan. And now I’m saving you. Stay away from us. This is the filthiest corner in town.” “Filth is inside, not outside,” I objected. “Thus says the rule.”

“What are you talking about?” she croaked.

“It is one of the forty rules,” I tried to explain. “Real filth is the one inside. The rest simply washes off. There is only one type of dirt that cannot be cleansed with pure waters, and that is the stain of hatred and bigotry contaminating the soul. You can purify your body through abstinence and fasting, but only love will purify your heart.” The hermaphrodite was having none of it. “You dervishes are out of your minds. I’ve got all sorts of customers here. But a dervish? When frogs grow beards! If I let you linger, God will raze this place to the ground and put a curse on us for seducing a man of faith.” I couldn’t help chuckling. “Where do you get these ridiculous ideas? Do you think God is an angry, moody patriarch watching us from the skies above so that He can rain stones and frogs on our heads the moment we err?”

The patron pulled at the ends of her thin mustache, giving me an annoyed look that verged on meanness.

“Don’t worry, I’m not here to visit your brothel,” I assured her. “I was just admiring your rose garden.”

“Oh, that”—the hermaphrodite shrugged dismissively—“is the creation of one of my girls, Desert Rose.”

With that, the patron gestured to a young woman sitting among the harlots ahead of us. Delicate chin, pearl-luster skin, and dark almond eyes clouded with worry. She was heartbreakingly beautiful. As I looked at her, I had a sense she was someone in the process of a big transformation.

I dropped my voice to a whisper so that only the patron could hear me. “That girl is a good girl. One day soon she’ll embark on a spiritual journey to find God. She’ll abandon this place forever. When that day comes, do not try to stop her.”

The hermaphrodite looked at me flabbergasted before she burst out, “What the hell are you talking about? Nobody is telling me what to do with my girls! You better get the hell out of here. Or else I’m calling Jackal Head!”

“Who’s that?” I asked.

“Believe me, you wouldn’t want to know,” the hermaphrodite said, shaking her finger to emphasize her point.

Hearing the name of this stranger made me shiver slightly, but I didn’t dwell on it. “Anyway, I’m leaving,” I said. “But I’ll come back, so don’t be surprised next time you see me around. I’m not one of those pious types who spend their whole lives hunched on prayer rugs while their eyes and hearts remain closed to the outside world. They read the Qur’an only on the surface. But I read the Qur’an in the budding flowers and migrating birds. I read the Breathing Qur’an secreted in human beings.” “You mean you read people?” The patron laughed a halfhearted laugh. “What kind of nonsense is that?”

“Every man is an open book, each and every one of us a walking Qur’an. The quest for God is ingrained in the hearts of all, be it a prostitute or a saint. Love exists within each of us from the moment we are born and waits to be discovered from then on. That is what one of the forty rules is all about: The whole universe is contained within a single human being—you. Everything that you see around, including the things you might not be fond of and even the people you despise or abhor, is present within you in varying degrees. Therefore, do not look for Sheitan outside yourself either. The devil is not an extraordinary force that attacks from without. It is an ordinary voice within. If you get to know yourself fully, facing with honesty and hardness both your dark and bright sides, you will arrive at a supreme form of consciousness. When a person knows himself or herself, he or she knows God.” Crossing her arms above her chest, the hermaphrodite leaned forward and squinted at me menacingly.

“A dervish who preaches to harlots!” she grunted. “I warn you, I’m not going to let you badger anyone around here with your silly ideas. You better stay away from my brothel! Because if you don’t, I swear to God, Jackal Head will cut off that sharp tongue of yours and I’ll eat it with pleasure.”

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