Sanai (on pearls, swine, and patience)

Jesus Christ, when he made the famous statement Cast not pearls before swine, must have meant something like “Hey buddy, don’t waste your breath. No sense talkin’ if there’s nobody listenin’.” Something like, “Speak not until ye obtain a hearing”. Something like, Don’t let a precious thing be plopped down into the porking feedlot of distraction.

Sanai, I read recently, put it this elegant way:

“If to the fool my love you’d bring,

Or think my secret can be told

To him who is not wise —

Then to the deaf go harp and sing,

Or stand before the blind and hold

A mirror to his eyes.”


Sanai (approx. 1080-1141 C.E.) is how we refer to a Persian poet named Hakim Abul-Majd Majdūd ibn Ādam Sanā’ī Ghaznavi, who lived and wrote in what is now Afghanistan. He was the first in a line of Sufi mystical poets, of whom Jalaluddin Rumi is the best known. I wish I could give credit to the English translator for this graceful rendering into a language I love to understand.

I found this poetic reminder in a book by the Baha’i Master, ‘Abdu’l-Baha, called Memorials of the Faithful, in which he eulogizes steadfast early believers in the newborn Baha’i Faith in the 19th century.

READER ALERT: In absolutely no way should this quote be construed as bearing even a slight resemblance to the attitude JHdotCOM has towards its own steadfast audience. It does make the writer, though, think twice before he waxes opinionated to teenaged boys when the blinds are drawn and the drawbridge is emphatically UP. (I’m learning, still.)


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