Mysticism of Persian Sufi Poet, Attar

The eminent 13th century Persian Sufi Poet, Attar Neishapouri 
(1119 - 1230)

The Persian Sufi and mystic, Attar is one of the most voluminous authors in Persian literature on Sufism topics. His best-known work, Conference of the Birds, is an elaborate allegory of the soul's quest for reunion with God. He wrote about 114 books and was the inspiration of Rumi. Attar was killed during the 13th century Mongol invasion of Persia.The rich and glorious Persian legend has it that Rumi had met Attar as a young boy as Rumi's family abandoned the city of Balkh, fleeing the onslaught of Genghis Khan and his dreaded Mongol Army. On their way to Konya, Rumi's father had come to visit the great Sufi Attar in Nishapur. Attar gave a copy of one of his mystic poetry books, Asrarnama (The Book of Secrets), a book about the entanglement of the soul in the material world, to the young Rumi. Attar had foreseen Rumi's spiritual eminence. As he saw the father walking ahead of the son, Attar had commented "Here comes a sea followed by an ocean! This son of yours will soon set on fire the hearts that burn with divine love."

Rumi has mentioned Attar with highest esteem several times in his poetry. Rumi glowingly praises Attar in these verses:

Attar has already roamed the seven cities of Love
I'm just barely around the corner of its first alley.

Mystical Poems of Attar

In the dead of night, a Sufi began to weep.
He said, "This world is like a closed coffin, in which
We are shut and in which, through our ignorance,
We spend our lives in folly and desolation.
When Death comes to open the lid of the coffin,
Any one who has wings will fly off to Eternity,
But those without will remain locked in the coffin.
So, my friends,
before the lid of this coffin is taken off,
Do all you can to become a bird of the Way to God;
Do all you can to develop your wings and your feathers."

Intoxicated by the Wine of Love
From each mystic
silence Love demands.
What do all seek so earnestly?
What do they whisper to each other?
Love is the subject of their inmost thoughts.
In Love, no longer 'You' and 'I' exist,
For Self has passed away in the Beloved.
Now will I draw aside the veil from Love,
And in the temple of my inmost soul,
Behold the Friend; Incomparable Love.
He who would know the secret of both worlds,
Will find that the secret of both is:

A frenzied dervish, mad with love for God,
Sought out bare hills where none had ever trod.
Wild leopards kept this madman company --
His heart was plunged in restless ecstasy;
He lived within this state for twenty days,
Dancing and singing in exultant praise:
"There's no division; we two are alone --
The world is happiness and grief has flown."
Die to yourself -- no longer stay apart,
But give to Him who asks for it your heart;
The man whose happiness derives from Him
Escapes existence, and the world grows dim;
Rejoice for ever in the Friend, rejoice
Till you are nothing, but a praising voice.

I shall grasp the soul's skirt with my hand
and stamp on the world's head with my foot.
I shall trample Matter and Space with my horse,
beyond all Being I shall utter a great shout,
and in that moment when I shall be alone with Him,
I shall whisper secrets to all mankind.
Since I shall have neither sign nor name
I shall speak only of things unnamed and without sign.
Do not delude yourself that from a burned heart
I will discourse with palette and tongue.
The body is impure, I shall cast it away
and utter these pure words with soul alone.

ove remains remote.
The Eternal Wisdom made all things in Love.
On Love they all depend, to Love all turn.
The earth, the heavens, the sun, the moon, the stars
The center of their orbit find in Love.
By Love are all bewildered, stupefied,
Intoxicated by the Wine of Love.

I have chosen four things to know
and discarded all other things of knowledge.
The first is this: I know that my daily bread is apportioned
to me and will neither be increased or decreased,
so I have stopped trying to add to it.
Secondly, I know I owe to God a debt which no one else
can pay for me, so I am busy about paying it.
Thirdly, I know that there is someone pursuing me ---
Death --- whom I cannot escape from,
so I have prepared myself to meet him.
Fourth, I know that God is observing me,
so I am ashamed to do what I should not."

The sun can only be seen by the light
of the sun. The more a man or woman knows,
the greater the bewilderment, the closer
to the sun the more dazzled, until a point
is reached where one no longer is.

A mystic knows without knowledge, without
intuition or information, without contemplation
or description or revelation. Mystics
are not themselves. They do not exist
in selves. They move as they are moved,
talk as words come, see with sight
that enters their eyes. I met a woman
once and asked her where love had led her.
"Fool, there's no destination to arrive at.
Loved one and lover and love are infinite."

This celebrated Sufi poem, also known as Conference of the Birds, by the 12th century Persian poet Farid ud-Din Attar, is a tale of a journey of a group of thirty birds to the summit of the world mountain, Qaf. An allegory of the Sufi journey to realization of the nature of God, each bird has a particular significance, a special fault, and a tale to tell.

In spite of its significance for world literature and the study of religion, Attar's poem was not translated in its entirety until the mid-twentieth century, and the standard English translations are hence not in the public domain. However Edward FitzGerald, best known as the translator of The Rubayyat of Omar Khayyam worked on this abridged translation of the Bird Parliament through 1857. It is little known today, primarily because it was only published posthumously (FitzGerald died in 1883), in Letters and Literary Remains, edited by William Aldis Wright, in 1889. This is the first time an etext of FitzGerald's translation of this work has been posted on the Internet

Read the entire eBook below:

Title Page

Bird Parliament

شيخ عطار نيشابوري

دیوان عطار نیشابوری

شيخ فريدالدين محمد عطار نيشابوري، از بزرگان مشايخ تصوف ايران در قرن ششم و اوايل قرن هفتم هجري است. وي در سال 537 هجري در قريه (کدکن) نيشابور به دنيا آمد؛ و چون در آن شهر به دارو فروشي و عطاري اشتغال داشت، بدين لقب معروف شد.عطار در دکان دارو فروشي به درمان بيماران مي پرداخت و به کسب علوم و درک صحبت مشايخ و بزرگان اهل تصوف مانند: شيخ نجم الدين کبري و ديگران نيز روزگار مي گذراند. در اين راه آنقدر پيش رفت که خود از پيشوايان اين طريقت گشت و مقامش بجائي رسيد که مولانا جلال الدين محمد بلخي (مولوي) درباره او گفت: هفت شهر عشق را عطار گشت
ما هنوز اندر خم يک کوچه ايم

عطار در سال 627 هجري در فتنه مغولان در نيشابور به قتل رسيد. درباره کشته شدن او بدست مغولان داستانهائي نقل کرده اند.عطار در داستان سرائي به مراتب چيره دست تر از سنائي است، در آثار عطار ميتوان يک نوع سير تکاملي دروني را به وضوح مشاهده کرد که در مورد شاعران ديگر نادر است.تأليف ها و تصنيف هاي عطار را در نظم و نثر به عدد سوره هاي قرآن 114 دانسته اند و معروفترين آنها عبارتست از: ديوان قصيده ها و غزل هاي او که در حدود ده هزار بيت است. ديگر الهي نامه، خسرو نامه، پندار نامه، اسرار نامه، مصيبت نامه، و از مثنويهاي بسيار مشهور او منطق الطير است که نزديک به هفت هزار بيت دارد و مراتب سير و سلوک و رسيدن بحق و توحيد را از زبان مرغان که در طلب سيمرغ حرکت مي کنند، بيان ميدارد و هفت منزل، طلب، عشق، معرفت، استغنا، توحيد، حيرت و فنا را در آن شرح ميدهد.سرمشق عطار در اين کتاب به نحو اکمل «رسالةالطير» منثور، غزالي است که آن را با «منطق الطير» از مشاجره بين انسان و حيوان که رساله معروفي از اخوان صفاست درآميخته و علاوه بر آن از «سير العباد الي المعاد سنائي» نيز سود جسته است

از تأليف هاي مهم شيخ عطار به نثر فارسي «تذکرةالاولياء» است، که آن را در سال 617 هجري تأليف کرد. در آن شرح حال و اقوال و کرامت هاي نود و شش تن از پشوايان طريقت تصوف و عارفان بزرگ را به نثري ساده و شيوا نگاشته است.شيخ عطار از شاعران بزرگ و از عارفان نامي ايران است که مقام معنوي و تأثير وجود او در تاريخ تفکر معنوي ايرانيان بسيار با اهميت و در خور توجه و دقت مي باشد.
 جامي در نفحات الانس آورده است که جلال الدين رومي (بلخي) گفته: « نور منصور (حسين بن منصور حلاج) بعد از صد و پنجاه سال به روح فريدالدين عطار تجلي کرد و مربي او شد.»، اين نکته را مؤلفان هفت اقليم و بستان السياحه و سفينةالاولياء و خزينةالاصفياء و روز روشن نيز آورده اند.به عقيده نگارنده، شيخ فريدالدين عطار نيشابوري يکي از حاملان بزرگ فلسفه اشراق بوده است و غزل معروف: «مسلمان من اگر گبرم که بتخانه بنا کردم»، وي نيز مؤيد اين نظريه مي باشد. بديهي است، شهادت شيخ شهاب الدين يحيي سهروردي فيلسوف بزرگ ايراني در سال 587 هجري که شيخ عطار در آن موقع پنجاه سال داشته است، در روحيه وي بسيار مؤثر افتاده و کتاب اسرارنامه را که در آن ميگويد 
ز بس معني که دارم در ضميرم خدا داند
که در گفتن اسيرم
 ز ما چندان که گويي ذکر ماند

وليکن اصل معني بکر ماند
 با آگاهي بر واقعه دل خراش مرگ شيخ اشراق در آن عصر سروده است. برخي گفته اند که کتاب مصيبت نامه را نيز تحت تأثير همين واقعه تأثر انگيز به نظم در آورده است. در پايان شرح حال او غزل معروف مورد بحث در بالا که حاوي اشارات عرفاني و فلسفي و نکته هاي روشن ارتباط و هم بستگي فکري و پي گيري در يافتن رگه 

هاي طلائي فلسفه اشراق در ايران بعد از اسلام است نقل ميشود

 مسلمانان من آن گبرم که بتخانه بنا کردم
شدم بر بام بتخانه درين عالم ندا کردم

صلاي کفر در دادم شما را اي مسلمانان
که من آن کهنه بتها را دگر باره جلا کردم
  از آن مادر که من زادم دگر باره شدم جفتش
از آنم گبر ميخوانند که با مادر زنا کردم
  به بکري زادم از مادر از آن عيسيم ميخوانند
که من اين شير مادر را دگر باره غذا کردم

 اگر "عطار" مسکين را درين گبري بسوزانند
گوه باشيد، اي مردان که من خود را فدا کردم

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