Saturday, June 17, 2006

Feb 2006 - Part I

Wed Feb 1, 2006

Here, Sunlight presents Ghazal (Ode) 1397, in a poetic version by
Coleman Barks, a translation by Azima Melita Kolin and Maryam Mafi,
and a translation by A.J. Arberry:

Saladin's Begging Bowl

Of these two thousand "I" and "We" people,
which am I?

Don't try to keep me from asking!
Listen, when I'm this out of control!
But don't put anything breakable in my way!

There is an original inside me.
What's here is a mirror for that, for you.

If you are joyful, I am.
If you grieve, or if you're bitter, or graceful,
I take on those qualities.

Like the shadow of a cypress tree in the meadow,
like the shadow of a rose, I live
close to the rose.

If I separated myself from you,
I would turn entirely thorn.

Every second, I drink another cup of my own blood-wine.
Every instant, I break an empty cup against your door.

I reach out, wanting you to tear me open.

Saladin's generosity lights a candle in my chest.
Who am I then?
His empty begging bowl.

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


I wonder
from these thousands of "me's",
which one am I?
Listen to my cry, do not drown my voice
I am completely filled with the thought of you.
Don't lay broken glass on my path
I will crush it into dust.
I am nothing, just a mirror in the palm of your hand,
reflecting your kindness, your sadness, your anger.
If you were a blade of grass or a tiny flower
I would pitch my tent in your shadow.
Only your presence revives my withered heart.
You are the candle that lights the whole world
and I am an empty vessel for your light.

-- Translation by Azima Melita Kolin
and Maryam Mafi
"Rumi: Hidden Music"
HarperCollins Publishers Ltd, 2001


Of these two thousand I's and we's I wonder, which one am I?
Give ear to my babble, do not lay your hand on my mouth.
Since I have gone out of control, do not put glass on my path,
for if you do I will stamp and break all that I find.
Because every moment my heart is confused with your fantasy,
if you are joyous I am joyful, if you are sorrowing I am sorrowful.
You give bitterness and I become bitter, you give grace and I
become all grace; with you it is pleasant, O my sugar-lipped,
sweet-chinned idol.
You are the original-what person am I? A mirror in your
hand, whatever you show, that I become, I am a well proved
You are like the cypress of the meadow, I am like your
shadow; since I have become the shadow of the rose, I have
pitched my tent beside the rose.
If without you I break off a rose, it will become a thorn in my
hand, and if I am all thorn, through you I am all rose and
Every moment I drain a bloody beaker of the blood of my
heart; every instant I break my own pitcher against the saki's
Every second I reach out my hand towards the skirt of an idol,
that he may scratch my cheek, that he may rend my shirt.
The grace of Salah-i Dil u Din shone in the midst of my heart;
he is the heart's candle in the world; who am I? His bowl.

-- Translation by A. J. Arberry
"Mystical Poems of Rumi 1"
The University of Chicago Press, 1968


Thu Feb 2, 2006

Strip the raiment of pride from your body:

in learning, put on the garment of humility.
Soul receives from soul the knowledge of humility,
not from books or speech.
Though mysteries of spiritual poverty are within the seeker's heart,
she doesn't yet possess knowledge of those mysteries.
Let her wait until her heart expands and fills with Light:
God said, "Did We not expand your breast. . .?*
For We have put illumination there,
We have put the expansion into your heart."
When you are a source of milk, why are you milking another?
An endless fountain of milk is within you:
why are you seeking milk with a pail?
You are a lake with a channel to the Sea:
be ashamed to seek water from a pool;
For did We not expand. . .? Again, don't you possess the expansion?
Why are you going about like a beggar?
Contemplate the expansion of the heart within you,
that you may not be reproached with, Do you not see?**

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Pas lebâs-e kebr birun kon ze tan
malbas-e zoll push dar âmukhtan
Dânesh ân-râ satânad jân ze jân
nah ze rah-e daftar o nah az zabân
Dar del-e sâlek agar hast ân romuz
ramz dâni nist sâlek-râ hanuz
Tâ delesh-râ sharh ân sâzad ziyâ
pas A-lam nashrah* be-farmâyad Khodâ
Keh darun sineh sharhet dâdeh-'im
sharh andar sineh-'et be-nehâdeh-'im
To hanuz az khârej ân-râ tâlebi
mohlebi az digarân chon hâlebi
Cheshmeh-ye shirast dar to bi kenâr
to cherâ mi shir juyi az taghâr
Manfazi dâri be-bahr ay âb-gir
nang dâr az âb jostan az ghadir
Keh A-lam nashrah nah sharhet hast bâz
chon shodi to sharh ju o kodyeh sâz
Dar negar dar sharh-e del dar andarun
tâ niyâbad ta`neh-ye Lâ tubsirûn**

*al-Sharh, 1
**al-Dhâriyât, 21

-- Mathnawi V:1061; 1064-1072
Version by Camille and Kabir Helminski
"Rumi: Jewels of Remembrance"
Threshold Books, 1996
(Persian transliteration courtesy of Yahyل Monastra)

The calligraphy:

The recitation:


Fri Feb 3, 2006


You are my Sultan, you are my Lord;
You are my heart, my soul, and the faith of mine.

By your breath I am alive;
What is one life? – you are a hundred lives of mine.

Without you, bread cannot feed a man;
You are the water and the bread of mine.

By your touch, poison becomes medicine;
You are the cure and the sweet nectar of mine.

You are the garden, the grass, and the heavens;
You are the cypress, and the laughing jasmine of mine.

I have entered that supreme silence.
Please, you go on . . .
My mouth may open, words may come out,
But you are every sweet song of mine.

-- Ghazal (Ode) 3365
Version by Jonathan Star
"A Garden Beyond Paradise: The Mystical Poetry of Rumi"
Bantam Books, 1992


The image of Ghazal 3137:

The recitation of Ghazal 3137:-

The music of Ghazal 3137:

Fri Feb 3, 2006

One who sees without distortion, free of prejudice,
has light in the eyes.
Self-interest blinds you
and buries your knowledge in a grave.
Lack of prejudice makes ignorance wise;
its presence makes knowledge perverse.
Accept no bribe, and your sight is clear;
act selfishly, and you will be enslaved.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Zânke to `ellat na-dâri dar miyân
ân farâghet hast nur-e didegân
Vân do `âlam-râ gharazeshân kur kard
`elmeshân-râ `ellat andar gur kard
Jahl-râ bi `ellati `âlem konad
`elm-râ `ellat kazh o zâlem konad
Tâ to reshvat na-setadi binandeh-'i
chon tama` kardi zarir o bandeh-'i

-- Mathnawi II: 2750-2753
Version by Camille and Kabir Helminski
"Rumi: Daylight"
Threshold Books, 1994
Persian transliteration courtesy of Yahyل Monastra

The image-

The recitation-


Mon Feb 6, 2006


One night a man was crying, Allah! Allah!
His lips grew sweet with the praising,
until a cynic said,
"So! I have heard you calling out,
but have you ever gotten any response?"

The man had no answer to that.
He quit praying and fell into a confused sleep.

He dreamed he saw Khidr, the guide of souls,
in a thick, green foliage.

"Why did you stop praising?"

"Because I've never heard anything back."

"This longing you express IS the return message."

The grief you cry out from
draws you toward union.

Your pure sadness
that wants help
is the secret cup.

Listen to the moan of a dog for its master.
That whining is the connection.

There are love dogs
No one knows the names of.

Give your life
to be one of them.

-- Mathnawi III, 189 – 211
Version by Coleman Barks
"Say I am You"
Maypop, 1994


One night a certain man was crying "Allah!" till his lips
growing sweet with the praise of Him.
The Devil said, "Prithee, O garrulous one, where is the
(response) `Here am I' to all this `Allah'?
Not a single response is coming from the Throne: how long
will you cry `Allah' with grim face?"
He became broken-hearted and laid down his head (to sleep):
in a dream he saw Khadir amidst the verdure.
He (Khadir) said, "Hark, you have held back from praising
God: how is it that you repent of having called unto Him?"
He said, "No `Here am I' is coming to me in response, hence
I fear that I may be (a reprobate who is) driven away from the
He (Khadir) said, "(God saith), that `Allah' of thine is My
`Here am I,' and that supplication and grief and ardour of thine
is My messenger (to thee).
Thy shifts and attempts to find a means (of gaining access
Me) were (in reality) My drawing (thee towards Me), and re-
leased thy feet (from the bonds of worldliness).
Thy fear and love are the noose to catch My favour; beneath
every `O Lord' (of thine) is many a `Here am I' (from Me)."
Far from this prayer is the soul of the fool, because to him it
is not permitted to cry "O Lord."
On his mouth and heart are lock and bolt, to the end that he
may not moan unto God in the hour of bale.
He (God) gave to Pharaoh hundredfold possessions and riches,
so that he claimed (Divine) might and majesty.
In his whole life that man of evil nature felt no
headache, lest he should moan unto God.
God gave him all the empire of this world, (but) He did not
give him grief and pain and sorrows.
Grief is better than the empire of the world, so that you may
call unto God in secret.
The call of the griefless is from frozen heart*, the call
of the
grieving one is from rapture:
(`Tis) to withdraw the voice under the lips, to bear in mind
(one's) origin and beginning;
(`Tis) the voice become pure and sad, (crying) "O God!"
and "O Thou whose help is besought!" and "O Helper!"
(Even) the moan of a dog for His sake is not void of
attraction, because every one who desires (Him) is a brigand's
captive* –
As (for example) the dog of the Cave*, which was freed from
(eating) carrion and sat at the table of the (spiritual) emperors:
Until the Resurrection, before the Cave it is drinking in
gnostic wise without (any) pot the water of (Divine) mercy.
Oh, there is many a one in a dog's skin, who hath no name
(and fame), yet is not without that cup (of Divine knowledge)
in secret.
Give thy life for this cup, O son: how may victory be (won)
without (spiritual) warfare and patience.?

-- 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"

* Literally, "congelation."
* I.e. "every seeker of God falls a prey to tribulation, with
which God afflicts him in order that it may be the means of drawing
him towards God."
* See Qur'an, xviii, 17

The image:


Tue Feb 7, 2006

Sometimes, in order to help, He makes us miserable;
but heartache for His sake brings happiness.

Laughter will come after tears.

Whoever foresees this is a servant blessed by God.
Wherever water flows, life flourishes:
wherever tears fall, divine mercy is shown.

-- Mathnawi I, 817-20
Version by Camille and Kabir Helminski
"Rumi: Daylight"
Threshold Books, 1994

The image:

The recitation:


Wed Feb 8, 2006

find yourself a friend
who is willing to
tolerate you with patience

put to the test the essence
of the best incense
by putting it in fire

drink a cup of poison
if handed to you by a friend
when filled with love and grace

step into the fire
like the chosen prophet
the secret love will change
hot flames to a garden
covered with blossoms
roses and hyacinths and willow

spinning and throwing you
a true friend can hold you
like God and His universe

-- Ghazal 994
Translation by Nader Khalili
Rumi, Fountain of Fire
Cal-Earth Press, 1994


Thu Feb 9, 2006

You may be tired by ten cycles of prayer;
I may not be worn out by five hundred.
One goes barefoot all the way to the Ka`bah,
and another is totally exhausted
just going as far as the mosque.
One in utter self-devotion gives away his life,
while another agonizes over the gift of a loaf.
This middle way belongs to the realm of the finite,
for that finite has a beginning and an end.
A beginning and end are necessary
to conceive of the middle point.
As the Infinite doesn't have limits,
how can you apply a mean to it?

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

To be-dah rak`at-e namâz âyi malul
man be-pânsad dar niyâyam dar nohul
آn yeki tâ Ka`beh hâfi mi ravad
v-ân yeki tâ masjed khvod mi shavad
آn yeki dar pâk bâzi jân be-dâd
v-ân yeki jân konad tâ yek nân be-dâd
In vasat dar bâ-nehâyat mi ravad
keh mar ân-râ avval o âkher bovad
Avval o âkher be-bâyad tâ dar ân
dar tasavvor ganjad awsat tâ miyân
Bi-nehâyat chon na-dârad do taraf
kay bovad u-râ miyâneh monsaraf

-- Mathnawi II: 3537-3542
Version by Camille and Kabir Helminski
"Rumi: Daylight"
Threshold Books, 1994
Persian transliteration courtesy of Yahyل Monastra

The image:

and the recitation:


Fri Feb 10, 2006

Sunlight offers Ghazal (Ode) 2693, in versions by Coleman Barks
and Kabir Helminski, and in a poetic translation by A.J. Arberry:

The Diver's Clothes Lying Empty

You're sitting here with us, but you're also out walking
in a field at dawn. You are yourself
the animal we hunt when you come with us on the hunt.
You're in your body like a plant is solid in the ground,
yet you're wind. You're the diver's clothes
lying empty on the beach. You're the fish.

In the ocean are many bright strands
and many dark strands like veins that are seen
when a wing is lifted up.
Your hidden self is blood in those, those veins
that are lute strings that make ocean music,
not the sad edge of surf, but the sound of no shore.

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


Clothes Abandoned on the Shore

Your body is here with us,
but your heart is in the meadow.
You travel with the hunters
though you yourself are what they hunt.

Like a reed flute,
you are encased by your body,
with a restless breathy sound inside.

You are a diver;
your body is just clothing left at the shore.
You are a fish whose way is through water.

In this sea there are many bright veins
and some that are dark.
The heart receives its light
from those bright veins.

If you lift your wing
I can show them to you.
You are hidden like the blood within,
and you are shy to the touch.

Those same veins sing a melancholy tune
in the sweet-stringed lute,
music from a shoreless sea
whose waves roar out infinity.

-- Version by Kabir Helminski
"Love is a Stranger"
Threshold Books, 1993


In body you are with us, in heart you are in the meadow; you
are the quarry yourself when attached to the hunt.
You are girdled here in the body like a reed, inwardly you are
like a restless wind.
Your body is like the diver's clothes on the shore; you like a
fish, your course is in the water.
In this sea are many bright veins, many veins too that are dark
and black;
The brightness of the heart drives from those bright veins; you
will discern them when you lift your wings.
In those veins you are hidden like the blood, and if I lay a fin-
ger, you are shy.
From those veins the voice of the sweet-veined lute is melan-
choly, reflecting the face of that melancholy.
Those melodies come from the shoreless sea which thunders
like waves out of the infinite.

-- Translation by A.J. Arberry
"Mystical Poems of Rumi 2"
The University of Chicago Press, 1979


Mon Feb 13, 2006

Today, Sunlight offers a selection from the Mathnawi,
approximately comprising Mathnawi VI:1430-1449, in three forms: a
version from Professor Barks, and translations from Professor
Nicholson, and Dr. Gamard.

The core of masculinity does not derive
from being male, nor friendliness
from those who console.

Your old grandmother says, "Maybe you
shouldn't go to school. You look a little pale."

Run when you hear that.
A father's stern slaps are better.

Your bodily soul wants comforting.
The severe father wants spiritual clarity.

He scolds but eventually
leads you into the open.

Pray for a tough instructor
to hear and act and stay within you.

We have been busy accumulating solace.
Make us afraid of how we were.

--Mathnawi, VI 1430-1445
Version by Coleman Barks
"We Are Three"
Maypop, 1987


The gist (of the matter) is that masculinity does not come
from every male: beware of the ignorant man if you are wise.
Do not listen to the friendliness of the fair-spoken ignorant
man, for it is like old (virulent) poison.
He says to you, "O soul of thy mother!* O light of my eye! *
(but) from those (endearments) only grief and sorrow are added to
That (foolish) mother says plainly to your father, "My child
has grown very thin because of (going to) school.
If thou hadst gotten him by another wife, thou wouldst not
have treated him with such cruelty and unkindness."
(Your father replies), "Had this child of mine been (born) of
another (wife), not of thee, that wife too would have talked this
(same) nonsense."
Beware, recoil from this mother and from her blandishments:
your father's slaps are better than her sweetmeat.
The mother is the carnal soul, and the father is noble reason:
its beginning is constraint, but its end is a hundred expansions
(of the spirit).
O Giver of (all) understandings, come to my help: none wills
(aught) unless Thou will (it).
Both the desire (for good) and the good action (itself) proceed
from Thee: who are we? Thou art the First, Thou art the Last.
Do Thou speak and do Thou hear and do Thou be! We are
wholly naught notwithstanding all this hewing.*
Because of this resignation (to Thy will) do Thou increase our
desire for worship (of Thee): do not send (upon us) the sloth
and stagnation of necessitarianism.
Necessitarianism is the wing and pinion of the perfect;
necessitarianism is also the prison and chains of the slothful.
Know that this necessitarianism is like the water of the Nile ?
water to the true believer and blood to the infidel.*
Wings carry falcons to the king; wings carry crows to the
Now return to the description of non-existence, for it (non-
existence) is like bezoar**, though you think it is poison.

-- Mathnawi, VI 1430-1445
"The Mathnawi of Jalalu'ddin Rumi"
Translation and Commentary by Reynold A. Nicholson
Published and Distributed by
The Trustees of The "E.J.W. Gibb Memorial"

* The ignorant man is compared to a foolish mother.
* Literally, "O (my ) bright eye."
* I.e. effort and exertion.
* Literally, "extinction (of a fire)."

Sunlight footnote:

** "bezoar" - Persian (pad-zahr, counter-poison or antidote)


Not Every Male Is A True Man

In sum, masculinity* doesn't match every male. Take care (and)
fear [the company of] the ignorant, if you are a wise man.
Don't listen to the friendly affection of the sweet-spoken
man, because it is (deadly) like old poison.*
He speaks to you (like a mother, saying), "(O) mother's dear
one!' (and) '(O) light of (my) eyes!"* (But) nothing is increased for
you [by these words] except sorrow and regret.
That (foolish) mother speaks loudly to (your) father: "My child
has become much too thin because of (going to) school.
"If you had produced him by another wife,* you would have acted
with less injustice and cruelty* toward him."
(But he replies), "If this child of mine were from another besides
you, that woman also* would have spoken this vain talk."
Take care, (and) jump (away) from this (kind) of mother and her
endearments. The slaps of (your) father are better* than her sweet
The mother (here) is the base ego. And the father is the
virtue-restoring (faculty of) reason: its beginning is narrow
confinement, but (its) end is a hundred spacious openings.*
O Giver of intelligent understandings and Protector of those who
cry for help! No one can will (anything) unless You will (it)!
The seeking is from You, as well as the benefit [of what is
Who are we, (since) You are the First (and) You are the Last!*
May You [alone] speak, may You [alone] listen, and may You
[alone] be! (For) we are entirely nothing, (despite) all these
adornments* (of ours).
(And) because of this entrusting of (our) power [to You], increase
(our) longing [for You] during the prostrations (of prayer)! Don't
send (us) the laziness and the reduction (of our inward fire because)
of predestination!
(Now) predestination* is the wings and feathers of the
(spiritually) complete; it is also the prison and chains of those
are lazy.
Know that predestination is like the water of the Nile: (it is
pure)water for the believer and blood for the unbeliever.*
Wings take falcons to the king, but they (also) take crows to the
(But) now turn back to the description of non-existence,* for it
like a kind of antidote,* yet you think it (is) poison.
Hurry up (and) go, O fellow-servant, like the Hindu boy-- (and)
don't be afraid of the (King) Mahmood of non-existence.*
(But) be afraid of an existence* in which you are now, (because)
that imaginary phantom of yours* is nothing and you are (also)
A nothing has become the lover of some (other) nothing! (But) a
nothing has never robbed [the heart of] some (other) nothing.*
When these vain fantasies have gone out from (your) midst, your
misunderstandings will become clear.

-- Mathnawi VI: 1430-1449
From "The Mathnawî-yé Ma`nawî" [Rhymed Couplets of
Deep Spiritual Meaning] of Jalaluddin Rumi.
Translated from the Persian by Ibrahim Gamard (with
gratitude for R.A. Nicholson's 1934 British
Translation, footnotes, & transliteration
(C) Ibrahim Gamard

*masculinity: Nicholson referred here to a comment he made on
another line (I: 90), that true men [mard-ân] have self-control;
whoever does not, as Rumi said, "is no man." He also referred to
where Rumi says, "It is (true) manliness and the nature of
prophethood to abandon anger and lust and greed" (V: 4026,
translated by Nicholson)
Just prior to this (lines 1424-1429), Rumi had said: "If an
ignorant man appears sympathetic and cordial to you, in the end he
will hurt you out of ignorance. He is (like) a hermaphrodite
(and)has two organs [dô âlat]; the function of both is obvious,
without doubt. He keeps (his) penis [Zakar] hidden from women so
he can make himself (seem like) a sister to them. (And) he hides
vagina [sholla] with (his) hand from men so that he can make himself
(seem like) the (same) gender as men. (But) God said, 'Because of
that hidden vagina [kos-é maktûm] of his, We will make a slit
[shollayê] on his nose [khurTûm],* so that Our seeing ones may not
become deceived by the skill of that (deceitful) flirt.'" Nicholson
translated most of these lines into Latin (first translated into
English by Afzal Iqbal, "The Life and Work of Rumi," 1956, p. 310).
*"We will make a slit on his nose" (literally, "a vagina on his
[sholla'yê sâz-êm bar khurTûm-é ô]): a reference to the Qur'anic
verse: "Soon We will brand him on the snout" (68:16). The word
"snout" is the trunk of an elephant or the nose of a beast of prey
is an idiom meaning the ugly nose of a man. Commentators of the
Qur'an have said that this verse as a whole, has the meaning of
earning permanent disgrace. Nicholson adds that this verse was also
believed to be a prophecy which was later fulfilled against an enemy
of the Prophet Muhammad, who "in fact, had his nose slashed while
fighting in the ranks of the Quraysh at Badr and bore this
conspicuous mark of ignominy [== disgrace] for the rest of his life."
*old poison: Nicholson translated, "like old (virulent) poison."
*light of (my) eyes: lit., "shining eye." An idiom meaning
happiness. The ignorant man here speaks like a foolish mother, with
whom Rumi compares him.
*another wife: up to five are allowed in Islam, unless the bride has
marriage contract which stipulates that she is to be the only wife.
*injustice and cruelty: means by making him go to school.
*that woman also: the husband's exasperation with his wife is
expressed here. Rumi's criticism is not of wives in general, but of
ignorant men (symbolized here by very foolish wives) who are not
"real men" of self-control, self-discipline, and virtue.
*The slaps of (your) father are better: means, "The discipline given
to you by your father is better than the indulgences given to you by
your mother-- which will cause you to fail to learn self-control over
your ego and thereby end up becoming unmanly."
*a hundred openings: Nicholson translated, "a hundred expansions
(of the spirit)."
*the First, the Last: "He is the First and the Last [huwa 'l-awwalu
wa 'l-âkhir], the Outward and the Inward, and He is the Knower of
everything" (Qur'an, 57:3).
*adornments [tarâsh]: literally, shaving, carving. An idiom meaning
elegant appearance, decoration. Nicholson translated this as
"hewing," and explained it as meaning "effort and exertion"
*predestination [jabr]: the meaning here is that for the spiritually
complete [kâmil-ân-- a word related to the sufi term "insânu
'l-kâmil," the completed or perfected human being], their attitude
toward compulsion of the Divine Will is to surrender so completely
that God may see, hear, and act through them-- which is the function
of sainthood. Whereas for ordinary and ego-driven people, their
attitude often leads to a passive and lazy fatalism. In the Mathnawi,
Rumi strongly advocates making efforts and striving to reach closer
to God, and rejects passive fatalism.
"For the distinction between jabr-i mahmْd [== praiseworthy
predestination] and jabr-i madhmْm [== blamable predestination], see
I: 470-471, 637-641, 1068-1075, 1463, and the notes ad loc."
(Nicholson, Commentary) Nicholson's notes describe the heretical
interpretation, called necessitarianism, according to which human
beings have no power at all over their actions and no power to fulfil
the commandments of God. He refers to Rumi's verse which says
that the prophets do not accept free will in regard to the works of
this world, but do in regard to the next world-- whereas unbelieving
worldly people have the opposite attitude. "Elsewhere (IV 401 sqq.,
V 3095 sqq.) Rْmي asserts that although the power to choose good
and reject evil is not annulled by Divine omnipotence, complete
freedom belongs only to the Perfect Men whose self-will has been
extinguished and submerged in the will of the Beloved."
*blood for the unbeliever: refers to one of the plagues sent by God
to the Egyptians, who would not release the children of Israel. This
plague is mentioned in a list of the plagues in the Qur'an (7:130,
regarding the story from Exodus 7:17-25, well-known to the Arabs
in the time of the Prophet Muhammad). See also Mathnawi IV:
*crows to the graveyard: common images in Persian literature. The
trained falcon symbolizes the saintly soul which longs to return to
the (gloved) hand of the king-- meaning to return to God. The crow
well as the owl) symbolizes lowly people who desire base material
*non-existence [`adam]: the spiritual realm which transcends
material existence and separate ego-identity.
*a kind of antidote [pâzahr, from "pâd-zahr," poison-protecting]:
refers to the powder from the bezoar stone, or a type of sweet
treacle, believed to be an antidote against poison.
*the (King) Mahmood of non-existence: refers to Rumi's story just
prior to this section, about how the Muslim king, Mahmood of
Ghazna (now in Afghanistan), had invaded India and placed a Hindu
boy on his throne, preferred him over all his officers, and called
"son." The boy wept from joy at the king's noble generosity, and
explained that his mother used to frighten him into obedience by
saying, "May you fall into the hands of the lion Mahmood" (if you
don't obey me)! Rumi interpreted: "(Spiritual) poverty is your
Mahmْd, O man without affluence: your (sensual) nature is always
making you afraid of it. If you come to know the mercifulness of this
noble Mahmْd, you will cry joyously, 'May the end be praised
(mahmْd)!' Poverty is your Mahmْd, O craven-hearted one: do not
listen to this mother, namely, your misguiding nature. When you
become a prey to poverty, you will certainly shed tears (of delight),
like the Hindْ boy, on the Day of Judgement. Although the body is
(like) a mother in fostering (the spirit), yet it is more inimical
you than a hundred enemies." (VI: 1400-1404, translated by Nicholson)
*be afraid of an existence: an unreal existence based on the ego's
fantasies about the material world.
*that imaginary phantom of yours: "I.e. the illusion of your
existence." (Nicholson, footnote)
*some (other) nothing: Nicholson later changed his translation to, "a
mere nothing has waylaid (captivated) a mere nothing" (from, has
any naught ever waylaid (and attacked) any other naught?" He also
explained his change of interpretation: "Hيch nي == lل shay'."


HâSil ân-k az har Zakar n-ây-ad narî
hîn ze-jâhil tars agar dân-sh-war-î

dôstî-yé jâhil-é shîrîn-sokhon
kam shenô, k-ân hast chûn samm-é kahon

jân-é mâdar, chashm-é rôshan gôy-ad-at
joz gham-o Hasrat az ân n-afzôy-ad-at

mar pedar-râ gôy-ad ân mâdar jihâr
ke ze-maktab bachcha-am shod bas nizâr

az zan-é degar gar-ash âward-î'iy
bar way în jawr-o jafâ kam kard-î'iy

az joz-é tô gar bod-y în bachcha-am
în foshâr ân zan be-goft-y nêz ham

hîn be-jeh z-în mâdar-o tibây-é ô
saylê-yé bâbâ beh az Halwây-é ô

hast mâdar nafs-o bâbâ `aql-é râd
awwal-ash tangîy-o âkhir Sad goshâd

ay dehanda-yé `aql-hâ faryâd-ras
tâ na-khwâh-î tô, na-khwâh-ad hêch kas

ham Talab az to-st-o ham ân nêkô'î
mâ key-êm awwal tow-î, âkhir tô-î

ham be-gô tô, ham tô be-sh'naw ham tô bâsh
mâ hama lâsh-êm bâ chand-în tarâsh

z-în Hawâla, raghbat afzâ dar sujûd
kâhiliy-é jabr ma-frest-o khumûd

jabr bâ-shad parr-o bâl-é kâmil-ân
jabr ham zendân-o band-é kâhil-ân

hamchô âb-é nîl dân în jabr-râ
âb mû'min-râ-wo khûn mar gabr-râ

bâl bâz-ân-râ sôy-é sulTân bar-ad
bâl zâgh-ân-râ ba-gûrestân bar-ad

bâz gard aknûn tô dar sharH-é `adam
ke chô pâzahr-ast-o pendâr-î-sh sam

hamchô hendô-bachcha hîn, ay khwâja-tâsh
raw ze-maHmûd-é `adam tarsân ma-bâsh

az wujûdê tars k-aknûn dar way-î
ân khayâl-at lâshî-o tô lâshiy-î

lâshiyê bar lâshiyê `âshiq shod-ast
hêch nayê mar hêch nayê-râ rah zad-ast

chûn berûn shod în khayâlât az meyân
gasht nâ-ma`qûl-é tô bar tô `ayân

the image:

and the recitation:


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