: A Translation from Asrar-e-Khudi (Iqbal)
TO THE EFFECT THAT PLATO, WHOSE THOUGHT HAS DEEPLY INFLUENCED THE MYSTICISM AND LITERATURE OF ISLAM,FOLLOWED THE SHEEP'S DOCTRINE
PLATO, the prime ascetic and sage. Was one of that ancient flock of sheep. His Pegasus went astray in the darkness of idealism And dropped its shoe amidst the rocks of actuality. He was so fascinated by the invisible That he made hand, eye, and ear of no account. "To die," said he, "is the secret of Life: The candle is glorified by being put out." He dominates our thinking, His cup sends us to sleep and takes the sensible world away from us. He is a sheep in man's clothing, The soul of the Sufi bows to his authority. He soared with his intellect to the highest heaven And called the world of phenomena a myth. 'Twas his -work to dissolve the structure of Life' And cut the bough of Life's fair tree asunder. The thought of Plato regarded loss as profit, His philosophy declared that being is not-being. He natures drowsed and created a dream His mind's eye created a mirage. Since he was without any taste for action, His soul was enraptured by the nonexistent. He disbelieved in the material universe And became the creator of invisible Ideas. Sweet is the world of phenomena to be living spirit, Dear is the world of Ideas to the dead spirit: Its gazelles have no grave of movement, Its partridges are denied the pleasure of walking daintily. Its dewdrops are unable to quiver, Its birds have no breath in their breasts, Its seed does not desire to grow, Its moths do not know how to flutter. Our recluse had no remedy but flight: He could not endure the noise of this world. He set his heart on the glow of a quenched flame And depicted a word steeped in opium. He spread his wings towards the sky And never came down to his nest again. His fantasy is sunk in the jar of heaven: I know not whether it is the dregs or brick of the wine-jar. The peoples were poisoned by his intoxication: He slumbered and took no delight in deeds.