Photo: Street in the old town, I, Biskra, Algeria. ca. 1899.
Cast away your existence entirely,
for it is nothing but weeds and refuse.
Go, clear out your heart's chamber;
arrange it as the abiding-place of the Beloved.
When you go forth, He will come in,
and to you, with self discarded,
He will unveil His beauty.
'Garden of Mystery: The Gulshan-i Raz of Mahmud Shabistari'
by Mahmud ibn 'Abd al-Karim Shabistari (Author), Robert Darr (Author)
Garden of Mystery, the 'Gulshan-i Raz', holds a unique position in Persian Sufi literature. It is a compact and concise exploration of the doctrines of Sufism at the peak of their development that has remained a primary text of Sufism throughout the world from Turkey to India. It comprises a thousand lines of inspired poetry taking the form of answers to questions put by a fellow mystic. It provides a coherent literary bridge between the Persian 'school of love' poetry and the rapidly growing number of metaphysical and gnostic compositions from what had come to be known as the school of the 'Unity of Being'. Translated by Robert Darr who has for thirty-five years been a student of classical Islamic culture.