A pious one with a hundred beads on your rosary

by Abu-Said Abil-Kheir

English version by Vraje Abramian
Original Language Persian/Farsi

A pious one with a hundred beads on your rosary,
or a drunkard in a tavern,
any gift you bring the Beloved will be accepted
as long as you come in longing.
It is this most secret pain,
this bleeding separation,
which will guide you to your Heart of Hearts.

-- from Nobody, Son of Nobody: Poems of Shaikh Abu-Saeed Abil-Kheir, Translated by Vraje Abramian

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Commentary by Ivan M. Granger

A short poem, but lines worth contemplating...

A pious one with a hundred beads on your rosary,
or a drunkard in a tavern...


The Eternal isn't somehow harmed by an individual's history or imperfect actions. The value of "purity," if we want to think in those terms, or overt "piousness," is that, done properly, they help the individual to dethrone the ego and awaken awareness of the sacred spark within. It can give us the courage to approach the Beloved, gift in hand.

That's if it's done right. But let's be honest here: Most people who call themselves pious are more trapped by ego than the average person on the street... or in the tavern. (Of course, this being a Sufi poem, the reference to a drunkard in a tavern is actually meant to suggest the Sufis themselves, who are "drunk" on love for God.)

any gift you bring the Beloved will be accepted
as long as you come in longing.


Pious or profane, it's all really a question of sincerity. The judgment of society doesn't enter in to this divine equation. Sincerity and longing. Sincerity is the dropping of masks and shields. Longing is the longing for wholeness that we all intuitively know is our true nature but somehow evades our common experience. This longing, well tended, becomes so intense that it awakens the wild determination to witness the heart unhidden. Anything less is meaningless.

It is this most secret pain,
this bleeding separation,
which will guide you to your Heart of Hearts.


Rather than fleeing from that deep spiritual ache, settle down into it. Let it burn. "This most secret pain" magnetizes us, drawing us naturally into "the Heart of Hearts."



Recommended Books: Abu-Said Abil-Kheir

Nobody, Son of Nobody: Poems of Shaikh Abu-Saeed Abil-Kheir The Drunken Universe: An Anthology of Persian Sufi Poetry Love's Alchemy: Poems from the Sufi Tradition The Mystics of Islam Under the Sufi's Cloak: Stories of Abu Said and His Mystical Teaching





A pious one