Serving the Guest: A Sufi Cookbook
Essays | Recipes | Gallery

Ripening, Cooking, Burning
Abraham amid the flames. Shiraz, 1410. Click for larger image.

This process is the dissolution of individual identity that is attached to personal preferences. It is a human heart opening to the recognition of the perpetual, all-encompassing activity of Divine Grace. It is the often painful process of spiritual maturation. To the Sufi, to burn is to be consumed by love, so that the inessential concerns of life lose their sense of urgency.

All is ripe; 'tis we who are raw.
All is wheat; 'tis we who are straw.
I said to God, "My heart!"
He said, "It must become roast..."
I said, "My heart is no more."
He said, "Abandon the roast!"
O God, if I am raw, cook me;
And if I am cooked, burn me.
The spiritual fire will cook you.
If you retreat like a coward you will remain raw.
If you don't flee the fire you will be cooked completely,
you will become lord of the table.
Come to the table, be served to your companions,
like bread, become help for the soul — become soul.
Poor Yunus, raw and tasteless,
Finally got cooked, glory be to God.