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17 August, 2008


There was a cage formed of mirrors,
With a fresh rose hanging in the middle.
The flower was one, but each reflection
Was a separate object of love
To the nightingale caged within.
Every time the nightingale flew towards a flower,
It received a rap.
What it thought was a flower
Was only a reflection.
When it flew towards it,
It knocked its head against the glass.
When it looked to the right,
There was the rose.
When it ran to the left,
It suffered the same fate.
When it flew forward
It stubbed its beak.
And when it fell
It received another wound.
But once it turned back
And lifted up its eyes,
There was the real rose smiling.
Feeling startled, it thought
‘Let there be no more deception.
Is this a real rose
Or a rose only in name?’
It flew up at once to the rose.
Now there was joy, no cage, no mirrors.
It was free.
O Man, this is your condition
Encompassed by the world.
He in search of whom
You are wandering from door to door
Is shining peacefully within your heart.


Source: Songs of Enlightenment by Swamy Rama Tirtha
Translated from the Urdu and Perisian by A.J.Alston –
Heritage Publishers, New Delhi, India.1983.

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