God said to David:
“Tell my servants prayer
Should be creation’s all-consuming care;
Though hell were not his fear
not heaven his goal,
The Lord should wholly occupy man’s soul.
But if the sun did not light up the day,
They would not think of Me, nor ever pray
Their prayers know nothing
of love’s selfless pain;
Not love inspires them
but mere lust for gain.
True prayer seeks God alone; its motives start
Deep in the centre of a contrite heart.
Tell them to turn from all that is not Me;
To worship none but God continuously;
To heap together all the world can show;
To break it piece by piece and blow by blow;
To burn these fragments in one vivid flash,
And scatter on the winds the swirling ash –
When they have done this they will understand
The ash they grasped for with each greedy hand.”
If it is paradise for which you pray
You can be sure that you have lost your way.
- Conference of the Birds by Farid Ud-Din Attar
Translated with an introduction by Afkham Darbadni and Dick Davis
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