The third part is the development of teaching skills, and the fourth and final part is the attainment of the highest level of God-knowledge, in which the seeker-now a master-can actually aid others in making the transition from this life to the next at the time of death.
While Hafiz spoke little about the fourth part, he spoke in great detail about the first three parts. In regards to annihilation, he wrote:
The funeral pyre
Where I have laid my living body.
All the false notions of myself
That once caused fear, pain
Have turned to ash
As I neared God.
What has risen
From the tangled web of thought and sinew
Now shines with jubilation
Through the eyes of angels
And screams from the gust of Infinite existence
Love is the funeral pyre
Where the heart must lay
It's body. (Ladinsky, 69)
Therefore by relinquishing one's ties to the physical realm, to the illusion of separateness from God, one annihilates "all the false notions of [one]self" that cause one to fear and experience pain.
The seeker's plight to overcome fear is a popular theme in Hafiz's poetry. Hafiz and the school of Sufism regard fear as an obstacle to Truth, as fear prevents one from experiencing love for all living things. As a practical example, consider encountering a homeless person on the subway. The homeless person stinks; his clothes are ragged; for all you know, he might be crazy or carrying a weapon, all which causes you to recoil in disgust born of fear. Your fear of the homeless man-of what he is, and also what the two of you might have in common-prevents you from embracing the man as the manifestation of God that he is. Rather than fear what the man is and what you have in common with him, you should rejoice in your common source-God -- and greet the man as an old friend, as opposed to a potential threat. Says Hafiz in his poem, Your Mother and My Mother:
Fear is the cheapest room in the house.
I would like to see you living
In better conditions,
For your mother and mother
Were friends. (Ladinsky, 39, lines 1-6)
While Hafiz begins by identifying fear as "cheap," and by recognizing the bond between him and the reader, he goes on to assert himself as a teacher-Baqu, the second part of the path-able to lead the reader to God:
I know the Innkeeper
In this part of the universe.
Get some rest tonight,
Come to my verse again tomorrow.
We'll go and speak to the Friend together. (Ladinsky, 39, lines 8-12)
Next, he makes a call to action on the part of the reader, yet another popular theme:
I should not make any promises right now,
But I know if you
Somewhere in this world-
Something good will happen. (Ladinsky, 39, lines 14-22)
God wants to see
More love and playfulness in our eyes
For that is your greatest witness to Him.
And finally, he ends by once again reasserting his bond, born of the "Beloved," with the reader:
Your soul and my soul
Once sat together in the Beloved's womb
Your heart and my heart
Are very, very old
Friends. (Ladinsky, 39, lines 24-30).
The influence of Hafiz's poetry on modern-day Sufism is therefore made apparent, particularly in regards to the notion of enlightenment as something to be consciously, aggressively pursued on the part of the seeker, as opposed to a state of mind that one passively comes by. In other words, you have to do the work. While having a spiritual master as a guide can be helpful, it is essentially the responsibility of the seeker to open his heart to the point that God-realization is possible for, as Hafiz says, "However great be the teacher, he is helpless with the one whose heart is closed" (Khan, 256).
Hafiz's works have been praised by numerous modern Sufi masters, to include Hazrat Inayat Khan, credited with bringing Sufism to the western world. Says Khan of Persian poetry, "No poet of Persia has given such a wonderful picture of metaphysics, of the path of evolution, and of higher realization as Rumi, although the form of his poetry is not as beautiful as that of Hafiz" (Khan, 11). Furthermore:
The difference between Jelaluddin Rumi's work and the work of the great Hafiz
of Persia is that Hafiz has pictured the outer life, whereas Rum has pictured the inner life. And if I were to the compare the three greatest poets of Persia, I would call Sa'di the body of the poet, Hafiz the heart of the poet, and Rumi the soul of the poet. (Khan, 11-12).
Indeed, of all the themes and words of wisdom contained in Hafiz's poetry, there is no greater a theme or word of widsom than that of Love, as Love is the source of courage and therefore the way to wisdom. Says Hafiz in his poem, it Felt Love:
Did the rose
Ever open its heart
And give to this world
It felt the encouragement of light
Against its Being,
We all remain
Frightened. (Ladinsky, 121)
Bayat, Mojdeh and Jamia, Mohammad Ali. Tales from the Land of the Sufis. Boston and London: