Chivalry by Dr. Javad Nurbakhsh Before Islam appeared, the tradition of chivalry javanmardi in the Middle East was maintained through the training of men to be chevaliers javanmardan. In addition to these attributes of a true human being, the chevaliers were committed to a particular code of etiquette and conventions, from which the main objective and principles of chivalry or javanmardi were derived. With the appearance of Islam, these chevaliers embraced the religion of Islam while retaining the conventions of chivalry, thereby founding the creed of Sufism on the basis of both Islam and chivalry. Thus, the etiquette of the chevaliers became part of the practice of the khaniqah and of the Sufis.
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Listen to the heart and the tale it tells: How could he content with God complain? He speaks of submission and contentment, Not of possessing more or less. His every moment is full of joy, For at every instant he is with God. The heart purified of everything becomes the place of God; A heart of this kind exists within the friends of God. How could it ever be distressed by separation? How could a heart overcome with love for God Have room for anything that is other than God?
The heart that is smitten with God loses its self; One who has become a Sufi loses his heart. One who is a Sufi has no desires; Desires are for those who are insincere. Seek a heart, O you prisoners of the self, That you may reach the station of security. The heart is the mirror of the Lord- How could That which is other than He be fixed in the heart?
The heart sees only Unity, when it is freed from this and that. The eye of the heart sees everywhere with certainty, That one alone exists in both worlds. The heart sees unbelief in others as faith, The heart considers offence by others as kindness. The one who still feels offence has no heart, The one who stills sees bad in things has no heart.
Whatever may happen is good for those of heart; Whatever is said by one with heart is good. Those of heart do not speak ill; Whatever they say is for the good.
The heart has no limit; it is infinite; This is why it is called the Throne of God. This material organ that can be replaced, That can be serviced and repaired, How could it be the heart of those of heart? The thing which fills the space in the breast is not the heart! Abandon this patent superstition! No one knows the extent of the heart, Which serves as the abode of God. As long as you are ensnared by the ego, The heart will have nothing to do with you. As long as your intellect guides your soul, How can you begin to know the heart?
To reach the heart you must have a master; To reach its lane you must possess love. You must offer up your head in the way of the master, If you are to be led by him on this path.
Giving heart and soul to someone is not just talk; Not everyone is fit to embrace this undertaking. Of the thousands who become Sufis Few are so yielding as to give up their selves. There is one who becomes a Sufi, That he may be supported by others; He has a dependant personality, Becoming a Sufi without understanding.
He seeks to acquire peace of soul, Becoming a Sufi solely for this. Another becomes a Sufi without a word, Seeking the mysteries of the Unseen. Another sincerely becomes a Sufi, So that his sickness may be cured. Another becomes a Sufi out of despair, Over the loss of all that he has possessed. Out of thousands, few become real Sufis; The others only pretend to be such. Few fall heart and soul into the trap of love, Few given the lifetime chance to drink from the cup of love.
Those moved by desire become a Sufi just in name; And after a while they go off another way. Moved by desire each new day, they invent A hundred pretexts to follow a different master. The lover has but one Master of Love. Your constant changing of direction Arises from desire, not from love, O lost one! This desire is now in concord, now in conflict, Now it is a friend, it is now a stranger.
If you were to give your heart To the master of the path in a manly way, It would never part from him. All else that you give you can claim back, But how can you reclaim the heart pledged to another? If you surrender yourself, thus, have no self, Then how can you go another way? Open your eyes! This is the way of men! This is a matter of surrendering self and soul!
A man like Shams can be found in any age, But where is a Rumi to surrender to Shams? There is many a Shams of Tabriz to be found, But not everyone has the love of a Rumi. The Shams of the time is not hidden from the people, But there is only one with the love of a Rumi. I spoke of love; pure love has three conditions: That one must possess a worthy, shining essence; An essence which over the years Becomes purged of the stain of the passions. One with a bad essence is far from love; The eye that is blind can see no light.
The second condition is that one be well-trained To be prepared from the very first day. Sufism is the crucible of hearts, in which Purity and impurity become apparent. That which is bitter in nature emerges from the crucible as such; That which is basically sweet comes out of it nectar-like. The time that it takes before one is tested with the touchstone Must vary with each individual. Most often it takes until old age Before the control of the mind is weakened.
When things are made easy for the nafs And its true nature reveals itself. It is desire that wishes you to be a Sufi, So you may seem to be superior to others. It is this desire which whispers into your ear, "Be a master! Dominate those who are fools! The only perfect Gnostic is you. This is why one is warned of the dangers on the Path; The provisions on the way are patience and endurance.
God guides you step by step, So that thieves may not way lay you. I spoke of love; its substance is sincerity, Which nurses the heart as if it were a child. Sincerity will distance you from people of desire, It will attract you and transform you into light. Sincerity will show you the way of guidance, If you let it be your teacher on the path.
Sincerity with God, sincerity with his creation, Will make it easy for you To know the people of the heart. It will smooth your way to Unity And transform your body and soul. The seeker who travels with sincerity Will find that his soul is ever-expanding. Through sincerity he will find his Beloved; Through sincerity he will surrender to Him. I spoke of love; its place is the heart. Where there is no heart, loving is hard. Where there is no heart. Love has no abode; The only place for love is within the heart.
Acquire a heart, O wretched ones, And your words and claims will take effect! Whoever has no heart is no more than a corpse; The dead-hearted one is unworthy of the beloved. Though deliverance of self is a difficult task, Accomplishment of it will bring opening of heart. A Sufi is someone delivered from self And who has committed his heart to God.
In this entangling world a Sufi Possesses naught and desires nothing. The Sufi is one who is empty of self; He is unaware if he exists or not. One who becomes a Sufi is never truly a Sufi, Until he is annihilated totally from himself. As long as your are thinking of yourself, how can you be secure From the deceit of the base nafs? No one can become a Sufi by making outward claims, You must have love in your heart and inward burning.
The Sufi Path is that of poverty and annihilation, Free from all attachment and involvement in the world. Stay out of the circle of the people of the heart. Love requires a heart free from other than God, That the light of Reality may burn brightly therein. Love requires a heart which is like the clearest mirror, That it reflect the light which Nurbakhsh shines thereon.