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Seyyed Hossein Nasr: Stations of Wisdom

Seyyed Hossein Nasr: Stations of Wisdom
Photo: Dervish from Iran during the Qajar period.



O Reality , pure and inviolable, protect me,
I take refuge in Thy incorruptible Name.
The world corrodes my soul and leads to death;
it devours, kills and mutilates,
For it is the abode of becoming and of change.
Its forms unclear, its contours vague,
It veils Thy Truth and seduces and ensnares,
Dissolving the soul into amorphous forgetfulness.
But Thou art purity, beyond all corruption,
White snow covering in innocence this lowly world,
Crystalline perfection, coldness of life eternal,
O Reality pure and inviolable, protect me.

O Reality ever powerful and vigilant,
Awaken me from all dreams of negligence.
Thy Name is a thunder bursting that death-like stillness,
That stupor which is the suffocation of the Spirit within
Rendered mute by the sloth of a soul that dreams.
Thy Name is the lightning that illuminates the horizons
And shatters all that is in its way.
Give me the power of Thy perfect Act,
Let that Act remove from within my soul
All that inertia which makes me dead in life.
Let every breath celebrate Thy perfect Act,
Let me be awake as at the moment of death.
Thou art like the dryness of the desert, austere,
And like the sword of the holy warrior invincible.
Let me take part in that inner holy war,
Let me not rest until I die in Thee.

O Reality that art Peace and Beauty that frees,
The world is but ugliness petrified, clamour congealed.
Without Thee my soul is dispersed, dust in the wind.
No peace can I attain nor lasting beauty behold.
Let me gather myself in Thy open embrace,
In that Beauty which is Peace, that Peace whose Beauty saves.
Thy Nature is soft like a humid day
And placid like a mountain lake.
To behold Thee is to be free from care,
From all the anxiety that dissipates the soul,
From all the ugliness that imprisons my being.
Thy Beauty is the splendour which draws as all
To the holy courtyard of inwardness, the heart,
To the Center where all we love is found,
To the gate that opens unto infinite Life,
To the Peace and Mercy of Thy Sacred Face.
Keep me present in Thy Holy Presence,
To remain collected, content with Thy Name,
Wherein is found all that I love, can love,
Wherein the caravan of the journey of life can rest
At last peace at home where all began.

O Reality whose Love embraces all that is.
Thou art Love and Warmth in this coldness of earthly life.
I am drowning in the storm of life, below;
Cast Thy rope of Mercy to save my soul.
The heat of Thy Love does melt the hardened heart
And Thou does save those who turn their face to Thee,
For Thou art by nature Merciful, caring for all.
How can thou not save me who in Thy Mercy confides?
Thy love is like a rose that has grown in my heart,
Watered therein by the spring of Life Divine,
Gushing forth when the Sun of Thy Being melts
The hardened shell of the heart of Thy creature man.
O Reality whose Love embraces us all,
I confide in Thee, desperate as a drowning man,
For I am drowning in this sea of change
And only Thy remembrance can save my immortal soul
And reinstate it in the world of permanent Love.
Let not my soul ever forget this Love supreme,
Nor that Reality which cares and saves, here, now.
I live and die confident in that Love,
Which moves the sun and the stars, within the sky,
Which enlivens the soul and gives it eternal life.

O Unique Reality, beyond equal and like,
All besides Thee is a shadow, evanescent mist of dawn
That fades away in the light of the morning sun.
The world is not, we are not, Thou art.
The Source of all, Thyself Being and Beyond.
Transcendent above all that one can think
Or grasp with imagination's wings or eyes, or feel.
How can one seize Thee when Thou alone hast Being
While we are not non-existence dressed to appear as beings?
O let me not be, and true to my nature remain;
Grant me the gift of nothingness to realize,
To pass through the gate of annihilation of self,
To see that only Thou art Real, the One.
Like a shining moon in the darkness of the night,
All things do perish save Thy Face Divine,
And such is now as it was at the dawn
When at alpha pint Thou didst create the world,
Casting those forms of celestial origin upon
That mirror of nothingness that the world and I
Were and are and will always be,
As dust before Thy Majesty, Thy Throne,
O Unique Reality, beyond equal and like.

O Immanent Reality, Self of all selves,
The Sun shinning at the heart of every I,
The Supreme Self who alone can utter I,
In whom alone am I my real I.
All else is projection of that consuming Sun,
The Self whose knowledge is the world itself
And to know it brings freedom from the world that binds.
O Self of all the selves let me be my-Self,
Of all the confines of the ego free.
Thou are the supernal Sun which alone is Real;
Let my soul be crystallised as a star, 
To reside at the proximity of that luminous Sun,
Let Thy Name shine in my heart and reign
Supreme as the Self which alone can say I am.
Slay the ego which claims itself
To be the I that knows and feels and lives,
Warping the vision of things as they really are;
Let me cease to be myself as self,
And remove from me the mantle of the selfhood now,
Rend asunder the veil of my heart and claim
Thy I-ness through this self of mine which is Thine.
In Thee am I myself and Thou my-Self
Who alone dost see and hear and know and feel.
Dead to the world and my self, let me subsist,
In Thee who alone art the Being of my being,
Sacred Reality, whose Blessed Name is all,
O Immanent Reality, Self of all selves.

(Seyyid Hossein Nasr)



Quote Reference and Recommended Reading: 

'Poems of the Way'
By Seyyed Hossein Nasr 

Purchase Book:



With this volume of poetry, Seyyed Hossein Nasr, whose name the reader usually associates with the philosopher, the historian and the scientist, firmly establishes his role as a spiritual mentor of the highest rank. In Poems of the Way, the poet describes the spiritual path and invites us to realize what our true transcendent destination really is. Nasr's poetical rendering of the Way uncovers increasingly deeper spiritual secrets of the mystical path. In English and Persian.
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