Author: Mason Balouchian
Attar Neishaboori is one of the most famous Persian poets and sages. He was born in Neishaboor in 1146 AD. His masterpiece is The Conference of the Birds with fantastic lyrical stories including a beautiful romantic poem titled Sheik San-on. There is a story about his recognition of gnosticism. One day, a spiritual traveler (dervish) went to his store and asked for charity and when he refused, the man asked him, “How are you going to die?”
“How are you going to die?” Attar returned the question.
Lying down, the traveler put his wooden bowl under his head, and died. This incident had a profound influence on Attar who abandoned his business and turned to gnosticism.
(A few verses from a love story by Attar)
Sam’an was once the first man of his time.
Belonged to him: for fifty years this sheikhWhatever praise can be expressed in rhyme
Kept Mecca’s holy place, and for his sake
Four hundred pupils entered learning’s way.
He mortified his body night and day,…
News spread among the Christians that this sheikh
Had chosen their religion for love’s sake.
They took him to a nearby monastery,
Where he accepted their theology;
He burnt his dervish cloak and set his face
Against the faith and Mecca’s holy place –
After so many years of true belief,
A young girl brought this learned sheikh to grief.