Saturday, June 17, 2006

Feb 2006 - Part II

Tue Feb 14, 2006

The world is like a tree,
and we are the half-ripe fruit upon it.
Unripe fruit clings tight to the branch
because, immature, it's not ready for the palace.
When fruits become ripe, sweet and juicy,
then biting their lips, they loosen their hold.
When the mouth has been sweetened by felicity,
the kingdom of the world loses its appeal.
To be tightly attached to the world signifies immaturity;
as long as you're an embryo,
blood-drinking is your business.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

In jahân hamchon derakhtast ay kerâm
mâ beru chon mivehâ-ye nim khâm
Sakht girad khâm-hâ mar shâkh-râ
zânke dar khâmi na-shâyad kâkh-râ
Chon be-pokht va gasht shirin-e lab gazân
sost girad shâkh-hâ-râ ba`d az ân
Chon az ân eqbâl shirin shod dahân
sard shod bar âdami molk-e jahân
Sakht-giri va ta`assob khâmist
tâ janini kâr khun-âshâmist

-- Mathnawi III:1293-1297
Version by Camille and Kabir Helminski
Rumi: Jewels of Remembrance
Threshold Books, 1996
(Persian transliteration courtesy of Yahyل Monastra)

The image:

and the recitation:


Wed Feb 15, 2006

I've had enough
no more patience left.
I will give away your secret.
My heart is burning in this blazing fire,
drunk with pain.
I've had enough
I will give away your ancient secret.
You can choose to listen or not.

Lost in the grip of my passion,
I heard the Moon say,
"Am I not your friend and companion
why do you want to betray me?"

Startled, I looked at that Beauty,
at my life giver, my soul's music,
the water for my burning heart
and promised
to keep her secret forever.

-- Ghazal (Ode) 1831
Translated by Azima Melita Kolin
and Maryam Mafi
"Rumi: Hidden Music"
HarperCollins Publishers Ltd, 2001


Thu Feb 16, 2006
On the bank of the river,
water is grudged by that one alone
who is blind to the flowing stream.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Bar lab-e ju bokhl-e âb ân-râ bovad
ku ze ju-ye âb nâ-binâ bovad

-- Mathnawi II:894
Version by Camille and Kabir Helminski
"Rumi: Daylight"
Threshold Books, 1994
Persian transliteration courtesy of Yahyل Monastra

the image:

the recitation:


Fri Feb 17, 2006

Here, Sunlight offers Ghazal (ode) 2996, in a version by Jonathan Star, and
in translation by William C. Chittick.

Inner Sunrise

If I were the plaything of every thought
I'd be a fool, not a wise man.
If the Sun of Love was not my own
I'd be mournful like Saturn,
rising and falling in the night sky.

If I were not guided by the fragrance of Love's City
I'd have followed dark spirits
into the endless desert of greed.

If the soul's light had to stay inside its house
I'd open every door and window!

If the garden of the soul
did not comfort those in pain
I could not carry Love's message
on the east wind.

If lovers were not addicted to music and dancing
why would I sing all day and night
like a wailing flute?

If the Saaqi's weight-giving wine
had been kept from my mouth
I'd be like the thin lip of a cup!

If the Garden had no leaves or shade I'd'be rootless
like the fortune-trees of deceitful men.

If God's servants were not upon the earth I'd have fallen into
the sin and folly of this world.

If there was no way from the grave to paradise I could not
behold the joyful heavens in this body.

If there was no road from East to West

I would not be dancing through the garden with the North
and South winds!

If the Abundant Garden did not grow my soul would never blossom.
If God's grace were not with me
I'd be a babbling fool!

Go within.

Hear the story of sunrise from the Sun itself.
if there were no sunrise within
I would have set long ago!

-- Version by Jonathan Star
"Rumi - In the Arms of the Beloved "
Jeremy P. Tarcher/Putnam, New York 1997


Were I a plaything in the hand of every
heartache, I would not be clever and wise, but a fool.
Did not the sun of Love belong to me, like
Saturn I would sometimes ascend in grief, and sometimes
Were the fragments of Love's city not my guide,
I would be caught by the ghouls, like those lost in greed's
If the Sun of the spirits remained sitting in its
house, I would be busy with opening doors and coming and
If the Rosegarden of the spirit did not caress the
afflicted, how could I be a messenger from the Garden of
Faithfulness, like the east wind?
Were Love not a sama-lover and tambourine-
addict, why would I be singing songs like a flute and a harp?
If my Saki did not give me a potion to make me
plump, I would be as thin as the lip of the cup.
Did not the Garden have branches and shade, I
would be without roots, like the trees of fortune of vile men.
Had not God's trust shone upon my earth, I
would be sinful, very foolish, like the earthly temperament.*
Were there no way from grave to paradise,
why am I so joyful and expansive in this grave of the body?
And were there no road from left to right, why
am I the companion of the north and south winds like the
Were there no Garden of Generosity, how could
I have blossomed? If not for God's Gentleness and Bounty, I
would be a meddlesome bore!
Enough! Listen to the story's sunrise from the
Sun! If there were no such sunrise, I would have set!

-- Translation by William C. Chittick
"The Sufi Path of Love"
SUNY Press, 1983

* Chittick refers readers to an earlier section of the same volume,
a section which discusses the creation of God's viceregent, man.


Mon Feb 20, 2006

Here, Sunlight offers Ghazal (Ode) 2776, in a poetic version by
Coleman Barks and in the literal translation by A.J. Arberry, from
which Barks derived his version:

You miss the garden,
because you want a small fig from a random tree.
You don't meet the beautiful woman.
You're joking with an old crone.
It makes me want to cry how she detains you,
stinking mouthed, with a hundred talons,
putting her head over the roof edge to call down,
tasteless fig, fold over fold, empty
as dry-rotten garlic.

She has you tight by the belt,
even though there's no flower and no milk
inside her body.
Death will open your eyes
to what her face is: leather spine
of a black lizard. No more advice.

Let yourself be silently drawn
by the stronger pull of what you really love.

-- Version by Coleman Barks
"Open Secret"
Threshold Books, 1984

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

You who let a garden go for the sake of a small fig, let slip the
houri for the sake of an unworthy crone.
I am rending my shirt, and repulsion comes over me from the
glance that a crone cast at a youth.
A stinking-mouthed crone with a hundred clutching talons and
tricks, putting her head down from the roof to snare a clever one.
Who is such a crone? A savorless deception, fold on fold like
an onion, fetid as garlic.
A prince has become her captive, pledged his belt--she laughs
in secret, "Fool of a princeling!"
No full blossom is the garden of her beauty, no milk in the
breasts of fidelity of that whore.
When death opens your eyes, then you will behold her, her
face like the back of a lizard, her body black as pitch.
Now be silent, give no more counsel. The master's bond is
very strong; the chain of his love draws without the help of a
miserable chain.

-- Translation by A. J. Arberry
"Mystical Poems of Rumi 2"
The University of Chicago Press, 1991


Tue Feb 21, 2006

A bird flies to the nest by means of wings:
the wings of the human being are aspiration.
In the case of the lover who is soiled with good and evil,
don't pay attention to the good and evil, pay attention to the
If a falcon is white and beyond compare,
still it becomes despicable when it hunts a mouse;
and if there is an owl that yearns for the king,
it's as noble as the falcon's head:
don't pay attention to the hood.
The human being, no bigger than a wooden kneading trough,
has surpassed in glory the heavens and the empyrean.
Did heaven ever hear the words We have honored*
which this sorrowful human being heard from God?


Morgh bâ parr mi parrad tâ âshyân
parr-e mardom hemmatast ay mardomân
â`sheqi k-âludeh shod dar khayr o sharr
khayr o sharr ma-negar to dar hemmat negar
Bâz agar bâshad sapid o bi nazir
chonkeh saydesh mush bâshad shod haqir
Var bovad choghdi o mayl-e u beh-shâh
u sar-e bâzast ma-negar dar kolâh
âdami bar qadd-e yek tasht-e khamir
bar fozud az âsmân o az asir
Hich Karramnâ* shenid in âsmân
keh shenid in âdami por ghammân

*al-Isrâ', 70

-- Mathnawi VI:134-139
Version by Camille and Kabir Helminski
"Rumi: Jewels of Remembrance"
Threshold Books, 1996
Persian transliteration courtesy of Yahyل Monastra

the image:

the recitation:


Wed Feb 22, 2006

Pure attributes

Sunlight offers Ghazal (Ode) 385 in two translations, by
Annemarie Schimmel, and by William Chittick:

Your fine ethical qualities will run before you after your
death -
Like moon-faced ladies do these qualities proudly walk ...
When you have divorced the body, you will see houris in
"Muslim ladies, faithful women, devout and repenting
ladies" (Sura 66/5)
Without number will your characteristics run before your
bier ...
In the coffin these pure qualities will become your
They will cling to you like sons and daughters,
And you will don garments from the warp and woof of your
works of obedience. . . .

-- Translation by Annemarie Schimmel
"I Am Wind, You are Fire"
Shambhala, 1992

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

After your death, your good traits will run on ahead of you;
like moon-faced ladies, those attributes will stroll gracefully.
One will take your hand, another will ask after you, and
still another will bring you offerings of ruby lips and sugar
Once you have divorced the body, you will see houris lined
up, "submissive, obedient, penitent, devout." *
Uncountable, your traits run before your casket - your
patience has become "those that pluck out," your gratitude
"those that draw out." **
In the grave those pure attributes become your intimate
friends, clinging to you like sons and daughters.
The warp and weft of your obedience will weave you
many robes; the expanse of your spirit will be displayed
outside the six directions.
Take heed! Be quiet, so that you may plant the seeds of
good works - for the Garden of Eden will grow up from the
acts of faithful servants.

-- Translation by William C. Chittick
"The Sufi Path of Love"
SUNY Press, Albany, 1983

*Quran LXVI, 5
**Quran LXXIX, 1-2


Thu Feb 23, 2006

The four elements are four strong pillars
that support the roof of this present world.
Each pillar is a destroyer of the other:
the pillar known as water destroys the flames of fire.
The edifice of creation is based upon opposites,
and so we are always at war.
My states of mind and body are mutually opposed:
each one is opposite in its effect.
Since I am incessantly struggling with myself,
how should I act in harmony with someone else?
You cannot escape unless God saves you from this war
and brings you into the unicolored world of peace.
That world is forever flourishing,
because it's not composed of opposites.

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

Châr `onsor châr ostun-e qavist
keh bedishân saqf-e donyâ mostavist
Har sotuni eshkanandeh-ye ân degar
oston-e âb eshkanandeh-ye ân sharar
Pas benâ-ye khalq bar azdâd bud
lâ jaram mâ jangiyim az zarr o sud
Hast ahvâlam khelâf-e hamdegar
har yeki bâ ham mokhâlef dar asar
Chonkeh har dam râh khvod-râ mi zanam
bâ degar kas sâzgâri chon konam
Yâ magar zin jang Haqqet vâ kharad
dar jahân-e solh-e yek ranget barad
آn jahân joz bâqi o âbâd nist
zânkeh ân tarkib az azdâd nist

-- Mathnawi VI: 48-52; 55-56
Version by Camille and Kabir Helminski
"Rumi: Jewels of Remembrance"
Threshold Books, 1996
(Persian transliteration courtesy of Yahyل Monastra)

the image:

and the recitation:


Fri Feb 24, 2006

Sunlight offers Ghazal 3071, in versions by Barks and Star,
and in translation by A.J. Arberry:


Think of the phoenix coming up out of ashes,
but not flying off.
For a moment we have form.
We can't see.
How can we be conscious and you be conscious
at the same time and separate?
Copper when an alchemist works on it loses its copper
qualities. Seeds in Spring
begin to be trees, no longer seed. Brushwood
put in the fire changes. The snow-world melts.
You step in my footprint and it's gone.

It's not that I've done anything to deserve
this attention from you. Predestination
and freewill: We can argue them,
but they're only ideas. What's real
is a presence, like Shams.

-- Version by Coleman Barks
"Open Secret"
Threshold Books, 1984



O Soul,
You are the Phoenix
rising up from the ashes of Union.
Why don't you fly? -
No one knows you on the ground.

You are the heart's sweetness
And by some magical power
your form ravishes a thousand hearts.

For a time you took form in the body.
For a time you passed beyond the heavens
and the bonds of both worlds.

Why can't the spirit find you? -
You are its wings and its feathers.
Why can't the eye see you? -
You are the source of its sight.

What will happen to your copper soul
when the Alchemist arrives?
Will it not become gold?
What will become of your little seed
when the Springtime arrives? -
Will it not become a towering tree?
What will happen to brushwood
when it falls into fire? -
Will it not change into sparks and rise to heaven?

Reason and intellect
Are like the dim light of distant stars.
You are the bright Sun
that shines through every veil.

The world is nothing but snow and ice.
You are the burning heat of Summer.
O King, no trace of this world remains
the moment you arrive!

Who can sit by your side?
Everyone would vanish with one glance of yours.

O blessed eyes!
I have seen something beyond imagination,
unreachable by fortune or human effort -
I have seen the perfect face
of Shams-e Tabriz.

-- Version by Jonathan Star
"Rumi - In the Arms of the Beloved"
Jeremy P. Tarcher/Putnam, New York 1997


Heart, you are the phoenix of union. Fly, why do you not fly?
No one recognizes you, neither man nor peri*.
You are the sweetheart, not the heart; but with every device
and trickery you have taken the shape of the heart so that you
will ravish a thousand hearts.
For a moment faithfully you mingle with earth, and for a
moment you pass beyond empyrean and firmament and the
bounds of the two worlds.
Why does not spirit find you, for you are its wings and
feathers? Why does not sight see you who are the source of sight?
What fear has penitence to repent of you? What is conscious-
ness that it should remain conscious along with you?
What shall be that poor copper when the alchemy comes?
Will it not pass away from copperhood into the attribute of gold?
Who is that poor seed when the springtime comes? Does not
its seedhood pass away into treehood?
Who is poor brushwood when it falls into the fire? Is not the
brushwood transformed into a spark by the flame?
All reason and science are stars; are you the sun of the world
who tear asunder their veils?
The world is like snow and ice, and you are the season of sum-
mer; when you, king, are on its track, no trace of it remains.
Say, who am I to remain along with you? I and a hundred like
me will pass away when you gaze towards me.
The perfection of the description of the lord Shams-e Tabrizi
surpasses the imaginations of predestinator and free-willer.

-- Translation by A. J. Arberry
"Mystical Poems of Rumi 2"
The University of Chicago Press, 1991

* "Peri" -- a supernatural being in Persian folklore descended from
fallen angels and excluded from paradise until penance is accomplished;
also, a beautiful and graceful girl. (Sunlight footnote)


Mon Feb 27, 2006

Mathnawi, Volume VI, verses 2510-54, the story of
the King of Tirmid and the fool, as interpreted by Coleman Barks:

The King of Tirmid
has urgent business in Samarcand.

He needs a courier to go there and return
in five days. He offers many rewards to anyone
who will make the journey -- horses, servants, gold,
and the robes of honor.
Dalqak, the court clown,
is out in the country when he hears of this.
He quickly mounts a horse and rides toward town.
He rides furiously. Two horses drop dead
of exhaustion under his whip.
He arrives
covered with dust at some ungodly hour,
demanding an audience with the king.

A panic sweeps the city. What calamity
could be so imminent that Dalqak, the buffoon,
should be so distraught? Everyone gathers
at the palace.
"An evil omen is upon us!"
"Something has been spilled on the rug
this time!"
The king himself is worried.
"What is it, Dalqak?"
Whenever anyone asks Dalqak
for particulars about anything, he first puts his finger
to his lips,
Shhhhh ...
Everyone gets very quiet.
Dalqak makes another gesture as though to say
he needs more time to catch his breath.

Another long wait. No one has ever seen Dalqak
like this. Usually, he's a constant stream
of new jokes. Usually, the king would be
laughing so hard he'd fall on the floor
holding his stomach. This quietness
is very odd and foreboding.
Everyone's worst fears
come up.
"The tyrant from Khwarism
is coming to kill us!"
"Dalqak, say what it is!"

"I was far from the court when I heard
that you needed a courier, someone who could go
to Samarcand and come back in five days."
"I hurried here to tell you
that I will not be able to do it."
"I don't have the stamina or the agility.
Don't expect me to be the one."
is what you made such a commotion about,
that you won't do it?"
Dalqak is like those who pretend
to be on a brave spiritual path.
The bridgegroom's house
is in an uproar of preparation, making always ready
to receive the bride,
but the girl's family
knows nothing. Any message yet?
have been
and sent, but have any of them reached
the Friend? Has your inner lover read them?

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

The image:


Tue Feb 28, 2006
Since the object of praise is one,
from this point of view,
all religions are but one religion.
Know that all praise belongs to the Light of God
and is only lent to created forms and beings.
Should people praise anyone but the One
who alone deserves to be praised?
But they go astray in useless fantasy.
The Light of God in relation to phenomena
is like light shining upon a wall-
the wall is but a focus for these splendors.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Zânke khvod mamduh joz yek pish nist
kish-hâ zin ruy joz yek kish nist
Dân ke har madhi be-Nur-e Haqq ravad
bar sovar o ashkhâs `âriyat bovad
Madh-hâ joz Mostaheqq-râ kay konand
lik bar pendâsht gomrah mi shavand
Hamcho Nuri tâfteh bar hâyeti
hâyet ân anvâr-râ chon râbeti

-- Mathnawi III: 2124-2127
Version by Camille and Kabir Helminski
"Rumi: Jewels of Remembrance"
Threshold Books, 1996
(Persian transliteration courtesy of Yahyل Monastra)

the image:

and the recitation:


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