Saturday, June 17, 2006

Apr 2006 - Part I

April 3rd, 2006

"I Throw It All Away "

You play with the great globe of
union, you that see everyone so

clearly and cannot be seen. Even
universal intelligence gets blurry

when it thinks you might leave.
You came here alone, but you create

hundreds of new worlds. Spring is
a peacock flirting with revelation.

The rose gardens flame. Ocean
enters the boat. I throw it all

away, except this love for Shams.

-- Ode (Ghazal) 2368
Version by Coleman Barks
"The Soul of Rumi"
HarperSanFrancisco, 2001

The image:

The Persian recitation:


April 4th, 2006

The Prophet said, "My eyes sleep,
but my heart is not asleep to the Lord of created beings."
Your eyes are awake,
and your heart is sunk in slumber;
my eyes are asleep,
but my heart is contemplating the opening
of the door of Divine grace.
My heart has five other senses than the physical:
both worlds are the theater
for the senses of the heart.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Goft Payghambar keh "`Aynâya tanâm
lâ yanâmu qalb `an Rabb al-anâm"
Cheshm-e to bidâr va del khofteh be-khvâb
cheshm-e man khofteh delam dar fath-e bâb
Mar delam-râ panj hess digarast
hess-e del-râ har do `âlam manzarast

-- Mathnawi II: 3549-3551
Version by Camille and Kabir Helminski
"Rumi: Daylight"
Threshold Books, 1994
Persian transliteration courtesy of Yahyá Monastra

The image:

The Persian recitation:


April 5th, 2006

Sunlight offers Ghazal 2730, from the Divan-e Shams, in a translation
by William Chittick, and in an interpretive version by Coleman Barks:

^ ^ ^ ^ ^

A sugar lipped sweetheart brought news, "A caravan
has come from Egypt!
A hundred camels, all sugar and candy oh
Lord, what a fine gift!
A candle has come at midnight! A spirit has entered
a corpse!"
I said, "Speak plainly!" She said, "You-know-who
has come."
My heart flew up in joy and placed a ladder at the
intellects edge.
It rushed to the roof in its love, seeking a tangible
sign of that good news.
Suddenly from the housetop it saw a world outside
of our world
An all-encompassing ocean in a jug, a heaven in
the form of dust.
Upon the roof sat a king wearing the clothes of a
An infinite garden and paradise within that gardeners
His image traveled from breast to breast explaining
the Sultan of the heart.
Oh image of that king, flee not from my eyes!
Renew my heart for a moment!
Shams-I Tabrizi has seen No-place and built from
it a place.

-- Ghazal 2730
Translation by William C. Chittick
"The Sufi Path of Love - The Spiritual Teachings of Rumi"
State University of New York Press, Albany, 1983


A King Dressed As a Servant

A sweet voice calls out,
"The caravan from Egypt is here!"
A hundred camels with what amazing treasure!

Midnight, a candle and someone quietly
waking me, "Your friend has come."

I spring out of my body, put a ladder
to the roof, and climb up to see if
it's true.

Suddenly, there is a world within this world!
An ocean inside the water jar!
A king sitting with me wearing
the uniform of a servant!
A garden in the chest of the gardener!

I see how love has "thoughts,"
and that these thoughts are circulating
in conversation with majesty.
Let me keep opening this moment
like a dead body reviving.

Shamsi Tabriz saw the placeless one
and from That, made a place.

-- Ghazal 2730
Version by Coleman Barks
"Say I am You"
Maypop, 1994

The image:

The Persian recitation:


April 6th, 2006

"I want no kingdoms"

If you don't have sovereignty over your own beard,
how will you exercise sovereignty over good and evil?
Without your wish, your beard grows white:
be ashamed of your beard, you with your self-serving dreams.
God is the Owner of the Kingdom:
whoever lays his head before Him
will receive a hundred kingdoms without the terrestrial world;
but the inward savor of a single prostration before God
will be sweeter to you than a hundred empires:
then you will cry humbly, "I want no kingdoms
except the kingdom of that prostration."

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Pâdeshâhi nistet bar rish-e khvod
pâdeshâhi chon koni bar nik o bad?
Bi morâd-e to rishet sapid
sharm dâr az rish-e khvod ay kazh omid
Mâlek al-Molkast harkesh sar nehad
bi jahân-e khâk sad molkesh dehad
Lik zawq-e sajdeh-'i pish-e Khodâ
khvoshtar âyad az do sad dawlat torâ
Pas be-nâli keh "Na-khvâham molk-hâ
molk-e ân sajdeh mosallam kon merâ"

-- Mathnawi IV: 662-666
Version by Camille and Kabir Helminski
"Rumi: Jewels of Remembrance"
Threshold Books, 1996
(Persian transliteration courtesy of Yahyá Monastra)

The image:

The Persian recitation:


April 7th, 2006


O friend, can’t you see? –
Your face is flowing with light.
The whole world could get drunk
on the love found in your heart.

Don’t run here and there
looking all around –
He is right inside you.

Is there any place where the Sun doesn’t shine?
Is there anyone who can’t see the full Moon?

Veil upon veil, thought upon thought –
Let go of them all,
For they only hide the truth.

Once you see the glory
Of his moon-like face,
what excuse could you have
for pain and sorrow?

Any heart without his love –
even the king’s heart –
is a coffin for the dead.

Everyone can see God
within his own heart –
everyone who is not a corpse.
Everyone can drink
from the waters of life
and conquer death forever.

The veil of ignorance
covers the Sun and Moon;
It even causes Love to think, "I am not divine."

O Shams, Blazing Light of Tabriz,
There are still some secrets of yours
that even I cannot tell.

-- Ghazal 505
Version by Jonathan Star, with Shahram Shiva
"A Garden Beyond Paradise: The Mystical Poetry of Rumi"
Bantam Books, 1992

The Persian image:

The English image:

The Persian recitation:


April 10th, 2006

The Reasonable Father

The universe is a form of divine law,
your reasonable father.

When you feel ungrateful to him,
the shapes of the world seem mean and ugly.

Make peace with that father,
the elegant patterning,
and every experience will fill with immediacy.

Because I love this, I am never bored.
Beauty constantly wells up,
a noise of spring water
in my ear and in my inner being.

Tree limbs rise and fall like the
ecstatic arms of those
who have submitted to the mystical life.

Leaf-sounds talk together like poets
making fresh metaphors.
The green felt cover slips,
and we get a flash of the mirror underneath.

Think how it will be when
the whole thing is pulled away!
I tell only one one-thousandth
of what I see, because there is
so much doubt everywhere.

The conventional opinion of this poetry is,
it shows great optimism for the future.

But Father Reason says,
No need to announce the future!
This is it. This. Your deepest need
and desire is satisfied by the
moment's energy here in your hand.

-- Version by Coleman Barks
Say I Am You
Maypop, 1994


The whole world is the form of Universal Reason, which is
the father of whosoever is a follower of the (Divine) Word.
When any one shows excessive ingratitude to Universal Reason, the form of the universe appears to him (as ) a cur accordingly.
Make peace with this Father, abandon disobedience, that the
water and clay (the world) may appear (to thee as) a carpet of gold. Then the Resurrection will become thy present state (immediate experience): heaven and earth will be transfigured before thee.
Since I am ever at peace with this Father, this world is like
Paradise in my sight.
At every moment (appears) a new form and a new beauty, so
that from seeing the new (visions) ennui dies away.
I see the world to be full of bounty – the waters constantly
gushing from the springs.
The noise of their water is coming into mine ear: my inner consciousness and intelligence are being intoxicated.
(I see) the boughs dancing like penitents (i.e., those who
have been newly converted to the mystical life), the leaves clapping
their hands like minstrels.
The gleam of the mirror is flashing through the (cover of) felt cloth: think how it will be if the mirror (itself) be displayed!
I am not telling one (mystery) out of thousands, because every
ear is filled with a doubt.
To Opinion this saying (of mine) is (only) a joyful announcement (concerning the future), (but) Reason says, ‘What (occasion for) announcement? It is my cash in hand (actual and present experience).’”

Mathnawi IV, 3259-3270
-- Translation and Commentary by Reynold A. Nicholson
"The Mathnawi of Jalalu'ddin Rumi"
Published and Distributed by
The Trustees of The "E.J.W. Gibb Memorial"

The Persian image:

the Persian recitation:


April 11th, 2006

The discovery of treasure is by luck,
and even more, it is rare:
one must earn a living
so long as the body is able.
Does earning a livelihood
prevent the discovery of treasure?
Don’t retire from work:
that treasure, indeed,
follows after the work.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Kâr bakhtast ân va ân ham nâderast
kasb bâyad kard tâ tan qâderast
Kasb kardan ganj-râ mâne` kayst
pâ ma-kash az kâr ân khvod dar payst

-- Mathnawi II: 734-735
Version by Camille and Kabir Helminski
"Rumi: Daylight"
Threshold Books, 1994
Persian transliteration courtesy of Yahyá Monastra

The Persian image:

the Persian recitation:


April 12th, 2006

"Keep your aspiration high"

The tailor of Time has never sewn a shirt for
any man without tearing it to pieces.
See a thousand simple fools in this world,
paying Iblis skirts full of gold for pain.
These multicolored flowers that are sweetmeat
to your eye - you eat of them and they give you yellow
Oh you who have embraced a corpse saying,
"My darling!" In the end embracing corpses will freeze
body and soul.
Become accustomed to God, for when your
appointed time arrives, you will be parted unwillingly
from these paintings of the devil.
Stretch not your legs on this sweet carpet of
earth, for it is a borrowed bed: Fear the time when they
come to roll it up!
Throw not the dice recklessly into this cup of
Time! Beware of your opponent, for he is a master at
Behold not the dust of the body, gaze upon the
mounted horseman of the spirit! Use your vision to search for
the horseman in the midst of the dust!
Faces like roses must come from a rosegarden:
If there is no rosery, from whence the flowers?
When you see the apple - the chin - know that
there must be a tree. This apple serves as an exemplar -
it is not to be eaten.
Keep your aspiration high, for if you keep it
low, the King's chamberlain will drive you away -
Silence! No more words! Speak without words,
like the rational faculty of the angels upon the lapis
lazuli roof.

-- Ghazal (Ode) 869, from the Diwan-e Shams
Translation by William C. Chittick
"The Sufi Path of Love - The Spiritual Teachings of Rumi"
State University of New York Press, Albany, 1983

The Persian image:


April 13th, 2006

This world is a dream—don't be deluded;
if in a dream a hand is lost, it's no harm.
In dreams, no real damage is done
if the body is maimed or torn in two hundred pieces.
The Prophet said of this apparently substantial world
that it is but the sleeper's dream.
You've accepted this as an idea,
but the spiritual traveler has beheld this truth with an open eye.
You are asleep in the daytime; don't say this is not sleep.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

In jahân khvâbast andar zann ma-'ist
gar ravad dar khvâb dasti bâk nist
Hâsel andar khvâb noqsân-e badan
nist bâk, va ni dosad pâreh shodan
In jahân-râ keh be-surat-e qâyemast
goft Payghambar keh helm-e nâyemast
Az rah-e taqlid to kardi qabul
sâlekân in dideh paydâ bi rasul
Ruz dar khvâbi ma-gu kin khvâb nist
sâyeh far`ist asl-e jar mahtâb nist

-- Mathnawi III: 1729; 1732-1735)
Version by Camille and Kabir Helminski
"Rumi: Jewels of Remembrance"
Threshold Books, 1996
(Persian transliteration courtesy of Yahyá Monastra)

The Persian image:

the Persian recitation:


April 14th, 2006

“The time has come”

the time has come
to break all my promises
tear apart all chains
and cast away all advice

disassemble the heavens
link by link
and break at once
all lovers' ties
with the sword of death

put cotton inside
both my ears
and close them to
all words of wisdom

crash the door and
enter the chamber
where all sweet
things are hidden

how long can I beg and bargain
for the things of this world
while love is waiting

how long before
I can rise beyond
how I am and
what I am

-- Ghazal 1591
Translated by Nader Khalili
"Rumi, Fountain of Fire"
Cal-Earth Press, 1994

The Persian image:

the Persian recitation:


April 17th, 2006

"There is no dervish"

Sunlight offers two presentations of the verses from the Mathnawi*,
Volume III, lines 3669 - 3685 -- the first an interpretive version by Coleman
Barks, which Barks developed from Reynold Nicholson's translation;
and the second, Nicholson's literal translation:

^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^


Someone said, "There is no dervish, or if there is a dervish,
that dervish is not there."

Look at a candle flame in the bright noon sunlight
if you put cotton next to it, the cotton will burn,
but its light has become completely mixed
with the sun.

That candlelight you can't find is what's left of a dervish.

If you sprinkle one ounce of vinegar over
two hundred tons of sugar,
no one will ever taste the vinegar.

A deer faints in the paws of a lion. The deer becomes
another glazed expression on the face of the lion.

These are rough metaphors for what happens to the lover.

There's no one more openly irreverent than a lover. He, or she,
jumps up on the scale opposite eternity
and claims to balance it.

And no one more secretly reverent.

A grammar lesson: "The lover died."
"Lover" is subject and agent, but that can't be!
The lover is defunct.

Only grammatically is the dervish-lover a doer.

In reality, with he or she so overcome,
so dissolved into love,
all qualities of doingness

-- Version by Coleman Barks
"The Essential Rumi"
HarperSanFrancisco, 1995


The speaker said, "There is no dervish in the world; and if
there be a dervish, that dervish is (really) non-existent."
He exists in respect of the survival of his essence, (but) his
attributes have become non-existent in the attributes of Him
Like the flame of a candle in the presence of the sun, he
is (really) non-existent, (though he is) existent in (formal)
Its (the flame's) essence is existent, so that, if you put cotton
upon it, it (the cotton) will be consumed by the sparks;
(But) it is (really) non-existent: it gives you no light: the sun
will have naughted it.
When you have thrown an ounce of vinegar into two hundred
maunds of sugar, and it has become dissolved therein,
The flavour of the vinegar, when you taste (the sugar), is non-
existent, (though) the ounce exists (as a ) surplus when you weigh.
In the presence of a lion a deer becomes senseless: her
existence becomes a (mere) veil for his existence.
These analogies drawn by imperfect men concerning the
action of the Lord are (like) the emotion of love, (they are) not
from irreverence.
The lover's pulse bounds up without reverence, he lays him-
self on the scale of the King's balance.*
None is more irreverent than he in the world (outwardly);
none is more reverent than he is secret (inwardly).
Know, O chosen one, that these two opposites also, "re-
verent" and "irreverent," are reconciled by means of relation.
He (the lover) is irreverent when you regard the outward
aspect, for his claim of love is (involves) equality (with the
(But) when you regard the inward aspect, where is the claim?
He and (his) claim are naughted in the presence of that Sultan.
Mata Zayd (Zayd died): if Zayd is the agent (grammatical
subject), (yet) he is not the agent, for he is defunct.
He is the agent (only) in respect of the grammatical expres-
sion; otherwise, he is the one acted upon (the object of the
action), and Death is his slayer.
What agent (is he), since he has been so overpowered and all
the qualities of an agent have been removed from him?

-- Translation and Commentary by Reynold A. Nicholson
"The Mathnawi of Jalalu'ddin Rumi"
Published and Distributed by
The Trustees of The "E.J.W. Gibb Memorial"

* Fana, "passing away from self-existence", baqa, "subsistence
in God."
*i.e. "levels himself with the King."

The Persian image:

and the Persian recitation:


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