Parable of a Murderer Graced by a Glance

Attar’s Parable of a Murderer Graced by a Glance from The Conference of the Birds (Wolpe translation, pg. 116)

A Sufi saw in his dream a murderer who was executed by a king. The dead fellow was cruising Paradise in great joy, strutting proudly and laughing.

The Sufi asked him: “You were a murderer and always on the run, how have you come to be here and achieve such a high station?”

The man replied: “When my blood was flowing onto the ground, Habib Ajmi, that pure soul, happened to be passing by. That wise Wayfarer secretly cast a glance in my direction. All this honor, and a hundred-fold more, was bestowed on me in that single glance.”

If the royal glance falls upon you, in that moment
a hundred secrets will be unveiled to your soul.
But if such a glance does not grace you
you may never know yourself or gain awareness.

If all your life you seek solitude,
how can you then move forward
without a guide in the Path?
You must walk with a wise one.
Do not walk the Path alone.
Do not plunge into the sea like one blind.

A knower of the Way has come to be your guide
to shelter you through hardship and adversity.
You who cannot see the pitfalls in the road,
how will you manage walking it without a cane?

The road is long and your eyes look but do not see.
Only a sage can guide you in this Path.
You will know no shame if you walk this Road
in the shadow of an enlightened sage.

If you are graced by such fortune,
even the thornbrush in your hand
will burst into flowers.

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