The Devil’s Conference
This ancient game of elements, this base world!
The frustration of the longings of the great Empyrean’s dwellers.
Upon its destruction is bent to-day that Fashioner of things,
Who gave it the name, “The world of Be it so.”
I inspired in the European the dream of Imperialism:
I broke the spell of the Mosque, the Temple and the Church.
I taught the destitute to believe in Destiny:
I infused into the wealthy the craze for Capitalism.
Who dare extinguish the blazing fire in him,
Whose tumults are stimulated by the inherent passion of Satan?
Who could summon the courage to bend down the old tree,
Whose branches their height to our watering owe?
|First Councilor |
Stable is the Satanic system, no doubt there is!
It has further strengthened in the commoners their slavishness indeed.
Since the dawn of Time have these helpless mortals been ordained to prostration:
Prayer devoid of the posture of standing erect is their nature’s constant urge.
In their heart no desire can in fact take its birth:
But if it does, perchance, it dies or is left unripe.
What wonders have our hard, persistent endeavours wrought!
To-day finds the mystics and the priests all as subjects of Imperialism.
Suited to the disposition of the East was this opium indeed:
Otherwise Ilm-i-Kalam is no less self-effacing than qawwali in effect.
What matters it, if the tumult of the pilgrimage and tawaf abides?
For, rendered blunt, lies unused the unsheathed sword of the Faithful.
Whose despair does this latest Ordinance prove:
“To the Muslim in this age is forbidden fighting in Lord’s name”?
Is the clamour for “Government by the people” evil or good?
Art thou unaware of the fresh mischiefs of the world?
Aware am I! but tells me my cosmic foresight:
No danger from what is but a masquerade for imperialism.
We ourselves have dressed imperialism in the garb of democracy
When man has grown to be a little self-conscious and self-observant.
The true nature of the system of imperialism lies elsewhere:
It depends not on the existence of an individual leader of a king.
Be it a national assembly of the court of Parviz,
Whoever casts a covetous eye on other’s harvest is a king.
Hast thou not observed the democratic system of the West?
With a brilliant exterior, its interior is darker than Genghis’s.
No cause for anxiety then, if the spirit of imperialism be preserved:
But what counter-measure to the mischief wrought by that Jew have you?
That Moses without Light, that Jesus without the Cross:
No prophet is he, yet with him a book he carries.
I can hardly explain what significance does the infidel penetrating vision possess:
It is, methinks, the day of reckoning for the peoples of the East and the West.
No greater corruption of human nature than this would be:
Slaves have broken asunder the ropes of the masters’ tents.
Watch its counteraction in the palaces of Imperial Rome:
Again did we inspire in the descendants of Caesar the dream of Caesar.
Who is coiled round the waves of the Mediterranean?
That now expands like a pine, and then wails like a rebeck!
Little do I recognize him to be a man of far-sighted wisdom:
(A fool!) who has thus European politics exposed.
|Fifth Councilor |
(Turning to Iblis)
O thou! the fire of whose breath lends stability to the world-process:
Whenever thou wished, everything hidden presently did thou reveal.
It is thy fire that has transformed dead earth and water into a world of beauty and endeavour:
Inspired by thy instruction, the fool of Paradise turns a seer.
More closely familiar with man’s nature than thee is not He:
Who among the simpletons is known as God the Sustainer.
Those whose business was confined to sanctifying, singing hymns and going round:
Thy sense of self-respect has out them to shame for ever, with their heads hanging low.
Though the wizards of Europe all are disciples to thee:
No longer have I faith in their sagacity left.
That Jew, that mischief-maker, that reincarnation of Mazdak:
Each tunic is about to be torn to shreds by his fanaticism.
Behold! the wild crow is vying with the falcon and the hyena:
Lo, how swiftly does the disposition of Time allow of a change!
It spread about, and covered the whole expanse of skies:
What we unwisely had taken for a handful of dust.
Such is the state of the ghastly dread of the morrow’s disturbance:
To-day tremble with overwhelming awe, mountains, meadows and rivers all.
That world is going to turn topsy-turvy, my Lord!
The world which resteth solely on thy governance.
(to his councilors)
Absolute command have I of the world of scent and hue!
The earth, the sun, the moon and the firmaments all!
With their own eyes shall the West and the East witness the Spectacle:
When I but warm the blood of the nations of Europe.
The leaders of politics and the patriarchs of church all:
One call from me would be enough to turn them mad.
The fool who considers it to be mere glass-work:
Let him dare smash the goblets and ewers of this Civilization.
The collars torn asunder by the hand of Nature:
Can’t be darned with the needle of the Mazdakite logic.
How could I be frightened by these Socialists, straying about the streets?
Wretched and straitened, distracted in mind, incoherent in speech!
The only menace I anticipate may come that community:
Which still a spark of ambition hidden in its ashes retains.
Amongst this people there are still to be seen a few
Who go so far as to perform their ablutions with the tears of pre-morning hours.
Knows he to whom are revealed the inner secrets of Time:
Not Mazdakism, but Islam is to be the trouble of the morrow.
I do know this community is no longer the bearer of the Quran:
The same Capitalism is the religion of the Believer now.
And I know, too, that in the dark night of the East
The sleeve of the holy ones of the Sanctuary is bereft of the white, illuminating hand.
The demands of the present age, however, spell the apprehension:
Lest the Shari‘ah of the Prophet should come to light one day:
Beware, a hundred times beware, of the Law of the Prophet!—
The protector of women’s honour, the tester of men’s capacities, the rearer of worthy men!
The message of death to any kind of slavery!
No sovereigns and no monarchs, no mendicants begging!
It does purify wealth of all pollution:
It makes the wealthy trustees of wealth and property.
What greater revolution in thought and action will there be:
Not to the crowned heads, but to God alone does this Earth belong!
Better, if this Law be kept hidden from the world’s eye:
So much the better, the Believer himself is deprived of inner conviction.
Better that he remains busy and entangled in the metaphysical theology:
Better, that he remains busy and entangled in the interpretations of the Book of God.
Whose cries of God is Most High could break the charm of the universe:
May the dark night of that God-thinking man not ever turn bright!
Is the Son of Mary dead or is he endowed with eternal life?
Are the Attributes of God separate from God, or do they form what He is?
Does the expected mean Jesus of Nazareth?
Or a Renewer, endowed with the attributes of the Son of Mary?
Are the letters of the Word of God New or of Old?
In which of the doctrines does the salvation of the Blessed Community lies?
Are not enough to the Faithful in this age:
These idols of worship carved by Metaphysical Theology?
Our safety lies in that Believer remains a slave till Doomsday:
Renouncing this transitory world for others’ sake.
He’s better a slave upto the dooms day,
Leave the mortal world for others hey-day.
What is good in his case is that poetry and mysticism
Which may keep hidden from his eyes the game of Life.
Every moment do I dread the awakening of this community
Whose religion is, in reality, nothing short of taking account of the universe.
Keep him well absorbed in the thought and contemplation of God in pre-morning hours:
Ye all make him grow stronger in his monastic disposition!
Translated by: Muhammad Ashraf