11 – The Good Shepherd

In the name of the Great Life,
may the sublime light be exalted!

I am a shepherd who loves his sheep.
I tend the sheep and the lambs.

The fold is near me, and
the fold does not wander far from the village.

I do not bring them down them to the seashore,
lest they see the maelstrom;
‎‎lest they come to fear the water,
and when they thirst after water, ‎‎they do not drink.

I bring and provide them with water in the palm of my hand,
until ‎‎they drink their fill.

I bring them to the good fold,
and they graze with me.

From the mouth of the Euphrates,
from the mouth of the radiant Euphrates,
I brought them ‎‎a boon which is sublime,
I brought them myrtle and white sesame,
and I brought them shining banners.

I sweep them and I wash them,
and ‎‎I make them smell the scent of Life .

I bind to them a girdle
which the wolves see and take fright.

No wolf leaps into our fold
and ‎‎they need not fear the fierce lion,
and they need not fear the wind,
and a thief cannot succeed in entering our place.

A thief cannot enter their folds,
and they need not fear ‎‎the iron knife.

While my eyes [or sheep?] are resting peacefully
and my head is upon the threshold,
a fissure opened ‎‎in the heavens
and thunder boomed behind me.

Clouds overtook one another
and the boisterous winds broke loose.

Rain fell ‎‎in heaps and stones that could kill elephants,
a stone that could destroy mountains,
and winds blustered for an hour.

The seas came ‎‎and overflowed the whole world.
There, beneath the waters,
‎‎the lowlands did not differ from the highlands.

Like a mouth, the waters carried off
those who didn’t have wings and feet.

One could go and not know that one is going,
just as one could come and knows not that one has come.

I leaped up and entered the fold,
to learn about my sheep from their places.

My eyes were filled,
I saw the sea, ‎‎the raging wind,
I saw the rain clouds,
that ‎‎give no peace to one another.

Myriads upon myriads of dragons
were in every single cloud.

I weep for my sheep,
and my sheep weep for themselves.

The little lambs, who ‎‎cannot exit the gate of the fold,
are weeping when thus I brought him.

To the house I ascend;
I go up to the highest place.

I call out to my sheep;
‎‎to my sheep so that they be with me.

I call them and whistle to them
‎‎and make them hear so that they come to me.

I whistle for them ‎‎with my whistle,
I beat the waters with my “Victoria.”

I say to them, “My sheep, my sheep!
Come to my honest voice!

You, ‎‎come to my honest voice,
so that you may be saved from the dragons!

Come to me, I am a shepherd,
whose ship is swiftly coming,
my radiant ship is coming,
and I will come and lift my sheeps and lambs.

Everyone who has heeded my call and my voice,
and turned her face towards me,
I will hold in both my hands
and rise her up with me to my ship.

Every ram lamb and ewe lamb that was [let itself be] captured
the maelstrom brought down.
The voracious waters devour,
and whosoever did not heed my voice sank down below.

I rose to the highest point of the vessel,
the bow (?), standing near the pole (?).

I say, “How greatly am I distressed by my sheep,
who have sunk down from the scum!

The maelstrom, the rolling maelstrom,
has pulled them down from me.

How distressed am I for the rams (?),
the wool of whose sides she has pulled down!

How distressed am I for ‎‎the little lambs,
whose bellies are not filled with milk!

Out of ‎‎a thousand, I found only one,
and out of an entire generation, I found only two.

Happy is the one who is swept away by the water,
but doesn’t get any water in his ear!

‎‎Happy are the big rams (?),
who have kicked with their feet.

Happy is the one who is saved from the Seven [Planets]
and the Twelve [signs of the Zodiac], who steal the sheep.

Happy is the one who doesn’t lie down and fall asleep,
and who did not love deep sleep.

Happy is the one who, in this defective age,
is the one who has come to an end peacefully.

Happy is the one who put on a wreath,
and beside it put on a turban.

Happy are the women disciples/priests,
‎‎that are free from the snares of Ruha,
free ‎‎from the pollution, the snare,
and the chain that never ends.

My chosen ones! ‎‎Everyone who is at the end of the Age of Mars,
‎‎may his mind be a support for him.

He will come and ascend to the shining abode,
the place where the sun never sets,
and the lamps of light do not ‎‎grow dim.”

The victorious Life is upheld/speaks,
and victorious is the man who went thither.

The End.

About C.G. Häberl

Dr. Häberl is an Associate Professor at the Department of African, Middle Eastern, and South Asian Languages and Literatures (AMESALL). He was born and raised in the State of New Jersey, and received his PhD in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations from Harvard University. In addition to teaching Arabic and Aramaic language courses at AMESALL, he teaches content courses on the modern Middle East at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies (CMES), of which he was the Director from 2009-2012.
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