7 Days of Perception - 2/7 - Love. Allegory of Butterflies

October 26, 2018

Love. Allegory of the Butterflies

Butterflies (or Moths) and Candle are one of the recurring metaphors in Persian poetry and especially in the works of the Mystics. I’ll put the short version here, but i highly recommend you read the longer version as well:

Poem of the Butterflies - Performed by Salar Aghili

We’re all really three butterflies
In the world of love, we are a legend

The first came near the candle and said
“I have found the meaning of love”

The second fluttered its wing near the flame and said,
“I’ve been burned by the fire of love”

The third threw himself into the flame
Yes, yes, this is the meaning of love


Long version, plus some good commentary

Well, in sufi mysticism the ones that are more enlightened are also the ones more in love. “The more fruitful the tree, the more bent it becomes”. So the enlightened holds himself of spilling the truths, or better yet, “burns” in it:

from Gulistan by Sa’di - Page 2 - Archive.org

One of the devout who had deeply plunged his head into the cowl of meditation and had been immersed in the ocean of visions, was asked, when he had come out of that state, by one of his companions who had desired to cheer him up: ‘What beautiful gift hast thou brought us from the garden in which thou hast been?’ He replied: ‘I intended to fill the skirts of my robe with roses, when I reached the rose-tree, as presents for my friends but the perfume of the flowers intoxicated me so much that I let, go the hold of my skirts.’

O bird of the morning, learn love from the moth
Because it burnt, lost its life, and found no voice.
These pretenders are ignorantly in search of Him,
Because he who obtained knowledge has not returned.

This a radically different approach to the dynamic. This is the follower dynamic, the master / apostle dynamic. The counterpart of what happens to the released prisoner in the allegory of the cave. He will definitely have his followers as well.

Nice thing to consider the other outcome.

The burning fire of love

Flame in the Reeds - Transliteration

Flame in the Reeds - Translation

Flames in the Reeds, Music of Maestro Nazeri

One night-time, the fire climbed– to the farm of reeds, inside the wilds.

As the fires engaged– in their ravaging spree, alike the drops of tears– shed down a glass of wine, the crowd of reeds falling down, in the lake of fire, one by one– they drowned!

The flames carried on, in fervor and rave, And the enduring reeds, each became– a vigil lighting-on its own grave.


At last, the Reed, reddened and in pain, complained: “Why is it? Why this riot? Why this unrest?”

And The Fires said: “Day and night, you brag, My Friend, of the tales of your exploits, your legend! But beneath the shell, you remain– a void shell, vain and mundane. Burning your false claims– is the aim of the flames!”

“With the fire of life, the mankind is prized– to seek a purpose and foster a cause! For the fruitless, there is no reward, but the raving flames of demise”.

“The hollow inside- is the target of my raid! To the deceit and conceit, the dues are such paid!”

Translation: Maryam Dilmaghani, March-October 2012, Halifax.

PS. The verses are recently said to belong to the 17th century mystics and poet Majzoub Ali-Shah. They have been believed to be Rumi’s by many, for the similarity in the style and the contents.

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