Little is known by any one but the spiritual man,
Who has in his heart a touchstone of vital truth.
The others, hovering between two opinions,
Fly towards their nest on a single wing.
Knowledge has two wings, opinion only one wing;
Opinion is weak and lopsided in its flight.
The bird having but one wing quickly drops down,
And again flies on two steps or more.
This bird of opinion goes on rising and falling
On one wing, in hope to reach his nest.
When he escapes from opinion and knowledge is seen,
This bird gains two wings and spreads both of them.
Afterwards he “goes upright on a straight path,
Not grovelling on his face or creeping.”
He flies up on two wings even as the angel Gabriel,
Free of opinion, of duplicity, and of vain talk.
Though the whole world say to him,
“Thou art firm in the road of God’s faith,”
He is not made more ardent by their saying this,
Nor is his lofty soul inclined from its course.
And though all say to him, “Thou art in the wrong way,
Thou thinkest thyself a rock who art but a blade of grass,”
He relapses not into opinion at their rebukes.
Nor is he vexed at their malevolence.
Nay, even if sea and mountains should cry out,
Saying, “Thou art mated with error,”
He would not relapse one jot into vain imaginations.
Nor would he be grieved by the reproaches of his foes.
Extract from: The Masnavi, Book III Story VII,
by Mawlana Jalal-ud-din Rumi, translation by E.H. Whinfield