The Mirror of This World

Every particle of the world is a mirror,

In each atom lies the blazing light

of a thousand suns.

Cleave the heart of a raindrop,

a hundred pure oceans will flow forth.

Look closely at a grain of sand,

The seed of a thousand beings can be seen.

The foot of an ant is larger than an elephant;

In essence, a drop of water

is no different than the Nile.

In the heart of a barley-corn 

lies the fruit of a hundred harvests;

Within the pulp of a millet seed

an entire universe can be found.

In the wing of a fly, an ocean of wonder;

In the pupil of the eye, an endless heaven.

Through the inner chamber of the heart is small,

the Lord of both worlds

gladly make his home there.

~ Mahmud Shabestari


Mahmud Shabestari (c,1250-1320)

Known through his only work, the venerated Gulshan-i Raz (“Garden of Secrets” or “Secret Rose Garden”), a masterpiece of Sufi literature. Shabestari spent his life in Tabriz, a city in what is now northwestern Iran, during a golden age of Sufi mysticism that included araqi and Jaaluddin Rumi. This translation is from Jonathan Star, The Inner Treasure (J.P.Putnam/Tarcher, 1999).

~ Eknath Eswaran

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