Simurgh and he is the king of birds.
He is close to us, but we are far from him. The place where
he dwells is inaccessible, and no tongue is able to utter his
name. Before him hang a hundred thousand veils of light
and darkness, and in the two worlds no one has power to
dispute his kingdom. He is the sovran lord and is bathed in
the perfection of his majesty. He does not manifest himself
completely even in the place of his dwelling, and to this no
knowledge or intelligence can attain. The way is unknown,
and no one has the steadfastness to seek it, though thousands
of creatures spend their lives in longing. Even the purest
soul cannot describe him, neither can the reason compre-
hend: these two eyes are blind. The wise cannot discover
his perfection nor can the man of understanding perceive
his beauty. All creatures have wished to attain to this perfec-
tion and beauty by imagination. But how can you tread that
( 13 )
path with thought? How measure the moon from the fish?
So, thousands of heads go here and there, like the ball in
polo, and only lamentations and sighs of longing are heard.
Many lands and seas are on the way. Do not imagine that
the journey is short; and one must have the heart of a lion
to follow this unusual road, for it is very long and the sea
is deep. One plods along in a state of amazement, sometimes
smiling sometimes weeping. As for me, I shall be happy to
discover even a trace of him. That would indeed be some-
thing, but to live without him would be a reproach. A man
must not keep his soul from the beloved but must be in a
fitting state to lead his soul to the court of the King. Wash
your hands of this life if you would be called a man of action.
For your beloved, renounce this dear life of yours, as worthy
men. If you submit with grace, the beloved will give his life
FIRST MANIFESTATION OF THE SIMURGH
‘An astonishing thing! The first manifestation of the
Simurgh took place in China in the middle of the night.
One of his feathers fell on China and his reputation filled
the w’orld. Ever^^one made a picture of this feather, and
from it formed his own system of ideas, and so fell into a
turmoil. This feather is still in the picture-gallery of that
country; hence the saying, ” Seek knowledge, even in China 1 ”
‘But for his manifestation there would not have been so
much noise in the world concerning this mysterious Being.
This sign of his existence is a token of his glory. All souls
carry an impression of the image of his feather. Since the
description of it has neither head nor tail, beginning nor
end, it is not necessary to say more about it. Now, any of
you who are for this road, prepare yourselves, and put your
feet on the Way.’
When the Hoopoe had finished the birds began excitedly
to discuss the glory of this king, and seized with longing to
( 14 )
have him for their own sovereign they were all impatient to
be off. They resolved to go together; each became a friend
to the other and an enemy to himself. But when they began
to realize how long and painful their journey was to be, they
hesitated, and in spite of their apparent good-will began to
excuse themselves, each according to his type.