Behold Mirdad, the vine whose crop is still unharvested, whose blood
is yet undrunk.
Heavy is Mirdad with his crop. But the harvesters, alas, are busy in other vineyards.
And choking is Mirdad with an overflow of blood. But the cupbearers and the drinkers are fast adrunk with other wines.
Men of the plough and pick and pruning-hook, I bless your ploughs and picks and pruning-hooks.
What have you ploughed and picked and pruned until this day? Have you ploughed up the weary wastelands in your Souls, so overgrown with all manner of weed, and thus become a veritable jungle where fearsome beasts and hideous reptiles thrive and multiply?
Have you picked out the noxious roots entwining in the dark and strangling your roots, and thus nipping your fruitage in the bud?
Or have you pruned away those branches of yourselves which are hollowed by busy worms, or withered by onslaughts of parasites?
Well have you learnt to plough and pick and prune your vineyards of the earth. But the unearthly vineyard which is you lies woefully waste and unhusbanded.
How very vain are all your labours except you attend to the vineyardist before the vineyard!
Men of the calloused hand! I bless your callouses.
Friends of the plumbline and rule; companions of the hammer and the anvil; road-fellows of the chisel and the saw. how skilled and competent you are in all your chosen crafts!
You know how to find of things their level and their depth. But your own depth and level you know not how to find.
Deftly do you shape a raw piece of iron with the hammer and the anvil. But the raw man you know not how to shape with the hammer of Will on the anvil of Understanding. Nor have you learnt of the anvil the priceless lesson of how to be struck without the slightest thought of striking back.
And clever are you with the chisel and the saw in wood and rock alike. But man uncouth and gnarled you know not how to render gainly and smooth.
Men trafficking for gain in the needs of men for the bounties of their Mother-Earth and the products of the hands of their fellow men!
I bless the needs, the bounties and the products, and bless the traffic, too. But the gain itself, which is in truth a loss, finds not a blessing in my mouth.
When in the fateful hush of night you strike the balance of the day's proceeds, what do you set to profit, what, to loss? Set you to profit monies realized above and beyond cost? Then worthless, indeed, were the day which you had traded away for a sum of money no matter how great. And lost to you were all its infinite riches of harmony, peace, and light. Lost also its incessant calls to Freedom: and lost the hearts of men it held for you as gifts upon its palm.
When your main concern is with the pocketbooks of men, how can you find your way into their hearts? And save you find your way into men's hearts, how can you hope to reach the heart of God? And save you reach the heart of God, what life have you?
If that which you esteem a profit be a loss, how very great must be the loss?
Vain, indeed, is all your trading except the profits be accounted Love and Understanding.
Men of the Sceptre and the crown!
A serpent is the sceptre in the hand that is too quick to wound but to slow to apply the healing ointments. While in the hand dispensing balm of Love, the sceptre is a lightning-rod forestalling gloom and doom.
Examine well your hands.
A crown of gold, studded with diamond, ruby and sapphire, sits very cumbrous, sad and ill at ease upon the head swollen with vain-glory, ignorance and lust for power over men. Aye, such a crown, pedestalled, is but a stinging mockery of its own pedestal. Whereas a crown of the rarest and most exquisite gems would be too bashful of its own unworth to sit upon a head haloed with Understanding and victory over self.
Examine well your heads.
Would you be rulers of men? Learn first to rule yourselves.
How else can you rule well except you be well self-ruled? Can a wind-whipped, foaming wave give peace and quiet to the Sea? Can a tearful eye project a blissful smile into a tearful heart? Can a fear or anger-shaken hand keep a ship on an even keel?
The rulers of men are ruled by men. And men are full of tumult, anarchy and chaos. For like the sea they lie exposed to every wind of heaven. And like the sea, they ebb and flow and seem at times as if about to override the shore. But like the sea, their depths are immune to the lashes of winds on the surface.
If you would truly govern men, dive to their utmost depths. For men are more than foaming waves. But to dive to the utmost depths of men you must first dive to your own utmost depth. And to accomplish that you must lay down the sceptre and the crown that the hand may be free to feel, and the head unencumbered to think and estimate.
Vain is all your rule, and lawlessness are all your laws, and chaos is all your order except you learn to rule the intractable man in you whose favorite hobby is to play with sceptres and crowns.
Men of the censer and the Book! What burn you in the censer? What read you in the book?
Burn you the amber blood that oozes and congeals out of the fragrant hearts of certain plants? But that is bought and sold in the public marts, and a penny's worth thereof can fully discommode any god.
Think you the smell of incense can drown out the stench of hatred, envy, greed? Of quibbling eyes, prevaricating tongues, lascivious hands? Of unbelief parading as belief, and sordid earthliness blowing the horn of blissful paradise?
More pleasant in the nostrils of your God would be the smell of all these things starved unto death and one by one cremated in the heart, and their ashes scattered to the four Winds of heaven.
What burn you in the censer? Propitiation, praise and supplication?
A wrathful god is better left to burst with his wrath. A praise-hungry god is better left to starve for praise. A hard-hearted god is better left to die of the hardness of his heart.
But neither wrathful, praise-hungry, nor hard of heart is God. Rather are you full of wrath, hungry for praise and hard of heart.
Not incense would God have you burn, but your wrath and pride and heartlessness that you may be like him: free and omnipotent. And he would have your hearts be the censers.
What read you in the Book?
Read you commandments to be writ in gold upon the walls and domes of temples? Or living truths to be engraved upon the heart?
Read you doctrines to be taught from pulpits and zealously defended with logic. trickeries of speech, and if need be, with money and the edge of the sword? Or read you Life which is not a doctrine to be taught and defended, but a Way to be walked with a Will to freedom, in the temple as outside of it, in the night as in the day, and in the low places as in the high? And except you walk that Way and be certain of its goal, how can you have the temerity to invite others to walk it?
Or read you charts, and maps, and price-lists in the Book showing men how much of heaven can be bought with so or so much of the earth?
Tricksters and agents of Sodom! You would sell Heaven unto men and take their shares of the earth as the price. You would make a gehenna of the earth and urge men to flee it while you entrench yourselves the deeper therein. Why do you not make men sell their share in heaven for a share in the earth?
Did you read well your Book, you would show men how to make a heaven of the Earth. For to the heavenly-hearted the Earth is a heaven. While to the earthly-hearted heaven is an earth.
Uncover Heaven in the hearts of men by levelling therein all bars between Man and his fellow-men; between Man and all the creatures; between Man and God. But for that you must be heavenly-hearted yourselves.
Not a garden in bloom is Heaven to be bought or rented. But a state of being is Heaven attainable as well upon the Earth as anywhere within this boundless Universe. Why crane your necks and strain your eyes beyond?
Nor a raging furnace is Hell to be escaped with much praying and incense burning. But a state of the heart is Hell experienced as well on the Earth as anywhere in this uncharted immensity.
Where would you flee the fire whose fuel is the heart unless you flee the heart?
Vain is the search for Heaven, and vain the evasion of Hell so long as Man is held by his shadow. For both Heaven and Hell are states inherent in Duality. Except Man become single of mind, single of heart and single of body; except he be shadowless and single of Will, he shall always have one foot in Heaven and another in Hell. And that is Hell indeed.
Aye, it is more than Hell to have wings of light and feet of lead; to be buoyed up by hope and dragged down by despair; to be unfurled by fearless faith and furled by fearful doubt.
No heaven is heaven which is to others hell. No hell is hell which is to others heaven. And since one's hell is oft another's heaven, and one's heaven is oft another's hell. then Heaven and Hell were not enduring and conflicting states, but stages to be passed on the long road to freedom from both.
Pilgrims of the Sacred Vine!
No heavens has Mirdad to sell or grant to those who would be righteous. No hells to hold as scarecrows to the ones who would be wicked.
Except your righteousness be its own heaven it shall bloom for a day and then wither away.
Except your wickedness be its own scarecrow it shall sleep for a day and come to bloom at the first favourable season.
No hells and heavens has Mirdad to offer you, but Holy Understanding which lifts you far beyong the fires of any hell and the luxuriance of any heaven. Not with the hand, but with the heart must you receive this gift. For that the heart must needs be disencumbered of every stray desire and will, save the desire and will to understand.
No strangers are you to the Earth; nor is the Earth to you a step-mother. But a very heart of her heart are you, and a very backbone of her very backbone. Glad is she to bear you upon her sturdy, broad and steady back. Why do you insist on bearing her upon your puny, fallen chests and moan, and puff and gasp for breath in consequence?
Flowing with milk and honey are the udders of the Earth. Why do you let them sour with your greed by taking of them more than you need?
Serene and comely is the face of the Earth. Why would you mar and ruffle it with bitter strife and fear?
A perfect unit is the Earth. Why do you persist in dismembering her with swords and boundary marks?
Obedient and carefree is the Earth. Why are you full of anxiety and insubordination?
Yet you are more enduring than the Earth, than the Sun and all the spheres in the heavens. All shall pass away, but you shall not. Why tremble you as leaves in the wind?
If nothing else can make you feel your oneness with the Universe, the Earth alone should make you feel it. Yet Earth herself is but the mirror wherein your shadows are reflected. Is the mirror more than the mirrored? Is the shadow cast by a man more than the man?
Rub your eyes and be awake. For you are more than earth. Your destiny is more than to live and die and to provide abundant food for the ever-hungry jaws of Death. Your destiny is to be free from living and from dying; from Heaven and Hell and all the warring opposites incumbent on Duality. Your destiny is to be fruitful vines in the eternally fruitful vineyard of God.
As a living branch of a living vine, when buried in the ground, strikes root and ultimately becomes an independent, grape-bearing vine like its mother with which it remains connected, so shall Man; the living branch of the Vine Divine, when buried in the soil of his divinity, become a god, remaining permanently one with God.
Shall Man be buried alive that he may come to Life?
Yea and yea again. Except you be buried to duality of life and death you shall not rise to singleness of Being.
Except you be fed with the grapes of Love you shall not be filled with the wine of understanding.
And except you be drunk with the wine of Understanding you shall not be sobered by the kiss of Freedom.
Not Love do you eat when you eat of the fruit of the earthly vine. You eat a greater hunger in order to appease a lesser one.
Not Understanding do you drink when you drink the blood of the earthly vine. You drink but a brief forgetfulness of pain the which, when spent, doubles the keeness of your pain. You flee from an irksome self only to meet that self around the corner.
The grapes that Mirdad offers you are not exposed to mould and rot. To be once filled with them is to remain forever full. The wine he has distilled for you is too strong for the lips afraid of being burnt, but quickening to the hearts that would be drunk with self-forgetfulness unto eternity.
Are there among you those enhungered for my grapes? Let them come forward with their baskets.
Are there any athirst for my blood? Let them bring their cups.
For heavy is Mirdad with his crop, and choking with an overflow of blood.
A day of self-forgetfulness was the Day of the Sacred Vine. A day intoxicated with the wine of Love and bathed in the glow of Understanding. A day ecstatic with the rhythmic beat of Freedom's wings. A day of levelling bars and merging one in all and all in one. But, lo! What has it become to-day?
It has become a week of morbid self-assertion; of sordid greed trading in sordid greed; of slavery frolicking with slavery, and ignorance debauching ignorance.
The Ark herself, once a distillery of Faith, and Love and Freedom has now been turned into a huge wine-press and monstrous trading mart. She takes the yield of your vineyards and sells it back to you as stupefying wine. The labour of your hands she turns into fetters for your hands. The sweat of your brows she turns into live embers werewith to brand your brows.
Far, too far, has the Ark swerved from her chartered course. But now her rudder is set right. She would be rid of all dead weight that she may ply her course with ease and safety.
Therefore shall all gifts be returned ro the givers, and all debts be remitted to the debtors. The Ark knows no giver but God, and God would have no one in debt, not even to Himself.
So taught I Noah.
So I teach you.