Saturday, June 17, 2006

Jan 2006 - Part I

Mon Jan 2, 2006

The Importance of Gourdcrafting

There was a maidservant
who had cleverly trained a donkey
to perform the services of a man.

From a gourd,
she had carved a flanged device
to fit on the donkey's penis, to keep him
from going too far into her.

She had fashioned it just to the point
for her pleasure, and she greatly enjoyed
the arrangement, as often as she could!

She thrived, but the donkey was getting
a little thin and tired-looking.

The mistress began to investigate. One day
she peeked through a crack in the door
and saw the animal's marvelous member
and the delight of the girl
stretched under the donkey.

She said nothing. Later, she knocked on the door
and called the maid out on a errand,
a long and complicated errand.
I won't go into details.

The servant knew what was happening, though.
³Ah, my mistress,² she thought to herself,
³you should not send away the expert.

When you begin to work without full knowledge,
you risk your life. Your shame keeps you
from asking me about the gourd, but you must
have that to join with this donkey.
There's a trick you don't know!²

But the woman was too fascinated with her idea
to consider any danger. She led the donkey in
and closed the door, thinking, ³With no one around
I can shout in my pleasure.²
She was dizzy
with anticipation, her vagina glowing
and singing like a nightingale.

She arranged the chair under the donkey,
as she had seen the girl do. She raised her legs
and pulled him into her.
Her fire kindled more,
and the donkey politely pushed as she urged him to,
pushed through and into her intestines,
and without a word, she died.

The chair fell one way,
and she the other.

The room was smeared with blood.
have you ever seen anyone martyred
for a donkey? Remember what the Qur'an says
about the torment of disgracing yourself.

If you die of what that leads you to do,
you are just like this woman on the floor,
She is an image of immoderation.

Remember her,
and keep your balance.

The maidservant returns and says, ³Yes, you saw
my pleasure, but you didn't see the gourd
that put a limit on it. You opened
your shop before a Master
taught you the craft.²

-- Mathanawi V: 1333-1405
Version by Coleman Barks
The Essential Rumi
HarperSanFrancisco, 1995


Tue Jan 3, 2006

A grain of intelligence

The generous Prophet said it so well:
"A grain of intelligence is better for you
than fasting and the performance of ritual prayer,"
because intelligence is the substance, the others are contingent:
these two are made obligatory for those who possess the complement,
in order that the mirror might shine brightly.
Purity comes to the heart from piety.
But if the mirror is fundamentally flawed,
it takes the polisher a long time to restore it to purity.
While in the case of the fine mirror,
which is like good soil for planting,
a little polishing is all that's needed.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Bas neku goft ân Rasul-e khvosh javâz
"Zarreh-ye `aqlet beh az sawm o namâz"
Zânke `aqlet jawharast in do `araz
in do dar takmil ân shod moftaraz
Tâ jalâ bâshad mar ân âyeneh-râ
keh safâ âyad ze tâ`at sineh-râ
Lik gar âyeneh az bon fâsedast
sayqal-e u-râ dir bâz ârad beh-dast
Vân gozin âyeneh keh khvosh maghres ast
andaki sayqal gari ân-râ bas ast

-- Mathnawi V: 454-458
Version by Camille and Kabir Helminski
"Rumi: Jewels of Remembrance"
Threshold Books, 1996
(Persian transliteration courtesy of Yahyل Monastra)

Wed Jan 4, 2006

Today, Sunlight offers Ghazal 143, from Rumi's Diwan-e Shams, in
a version by Cowan, a translation by Kolin and Mafi, and a
translation, with footnotes, by Nicholson:

Last night I pleaded with a star to intercede:
I said, 'My being is at the moon's service.'

Bowing, I added, 'Take this plea to the sun
Who makes rocks gold with his fire.'

Bearing the wounds on my breast, I cried,
'The Beloved, Whose drink is blood, must know!'

Like a child, I rocked my heart asleep
As a child does when its cradle sways.

Give my heart milk, stay its tears - you
Who help a hundred like me at every moment.

The heart's home is your city of union:
How long will you condemn mine to exile?

My head aches; there's nothing more I can say.
O cup-bearer, my troubled eye grows drunk!

-- Version by James Cowan
"Rumi's Divan of Shems of Tabriz, Selected Odes"
Element Books Limited 1997


Last night I gave a star a message for you.
On my knees I begged her to tell you
how much I pray that you turn my stony heart
golden with your radiance.
I bared my chest to show my wounds and
asked her to tell you that if I sway this way and that
it's because I need to calm the infant of my heart,
for babies sleep when rocked in their cradle.
My Beloved, my heart was yours always
nurse it like a child, save it from wandering.
How long will you keep me in exile?
I will be quiet now but even in my silence
my heart will long for the glance of your grace.

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



Yestereve I delivered to a star* tidings for thee:
'Present,' I said, 'my servant to that moon-like form.'
I bowed, I said: 'Bear that service to the sun
Who maketh hard rocks gold by his burning.'
I bared my breast, I showed it the wounds:
'Give news of me,' I said, 'to the Beloved whose drink
is blood.'*

I rocked to and fro* that the child, my heart*, might
become still;
A child sleeps when one sways the cradle.
Give my heart-babe milk, relieve us from its weeping,
O thou that helpest every moment a hundred helpless
like me.
The heart's home, first to last, is thy city of union:
How long wilt thou keep in exile this heart forlorn?
I speak no more, but for the sake of averting headache*,
O Cup-bearer*, make drunken my languishing eye*.

-- T.126.9 ("Tabriz Edition of the Divani
Shamsi Tabriz, p. 126, verse 9")
"Selected Poems from the Divani Shamsi Tabriz"
Edited and translated by Reynold A. Nicholson
Cambridge, At the University Press, 1898, 1952

Notes by Nicholson:

* "I delivered to a star" -- "cf.
I hold converse nightly with every star
From desire of the splendour of thy moon-like face.
(Hafiz, II. 468.5)."
* "Beloved whose drink is blood"--for the cruelty of the
Beloved, see Winfield's Masnavi, p. 30 seq. Grief and
pain are often synonymous with love in the language
of the mystics.
* "rocked to and fro": i.e., in the sama' (whirling dance)
(cf. Ibnu'l Farid, Taiyya, beyt 434).
* "the child, my heart": cf. the same author
(ib. betyts 435 and 436)
When it (the child) tosses about in longing for one
who shall sing it sleep, and yearns
To fly to its original home,
It is hushed by being rocked in its cradle
When the hands of its nurse set the cradle moving
The soul is like the Messiah in the cradle of the body;
Where there is the Mary who fashioned our cradle?
* "headache": the relapse from ecstasy into consciousness.
* "Cupbearer": the cupbearer is God, who intoxicates all
creations with the rapture of love (see Gulshini Raz, 805 seq.).
* "my languishing eye": the word is used adjectively=drunk.


Thu Jan 5, 2006

Envy and the heart

Since a group of people have bought my words, the
old rag sewers have all gone to work.
In order to set themselves up against me they
have all washed their beards; but their envy displays
their dirty faces.
By day they make blandishments like fair maidens,
by night they repeat their lines like frogs.
Thanks be to God that my voice has made these
sleepers abandon their slumber and stay awake -
But would they were staying awake for His sake,
that all their lamentation were not for the sake of silver
and gold!
How can they restore the sick to ruddy complexions?
For they are all yellow like gold coins.
How can they deliver the creatures from envy?
For envy has made them all ill.
Those kings that have come for the sake of vision
are like an illuminated eye in men's hearts.
Like the seven planets their light is but one,
like the five fingers they perform a single task.
Not wanting people to mock them, these fools show
themselves as all turbans and beards.
The People of the Heart are the sun, the people of
clay the dust in the air; the former are the rose, the
latter the thorn.
Grieve not, oh prince, because of these fools -
the People of the Heart are heart-bestowers and heart-

-- Ghazal 817
Translation by William C. Chittick
"The Sufi Path of Love - The Spiritual Teachings of Rumi"
State University of New York Press, Albany, 1983

Fri Jan 6, 2006

Tidings for Thee -- Ghazal 142

Sunlight presents Ghazal 1317, in a poetic version from Jonathan Star, and in
literal translation by A.J. Arberry:

Prince of Eternity

O Prince,
with your tiny horse and saddle,
You're a charlatan! A knave!
Though your head is bound in gold cloth
Your eyes see only what they want to see.

You say, "Where is death? I don't see death!"
Death will greet you from all six directions
and say, "Here I am."
Death will say,
"O donkey, your running about is over."
Where is your moustache, your pride,
your turned-up nose? - Gone.
Where is your beautiful maiden? - Gone.
Where is your glimmer of happiness? - Gone.
Who will come to make your bed
now that your pillow is a brick
and your blanket is the earth? . . .

Say good-bye to your eating and sleeping.
Go and seek the truth within.
Throw away your petty rituals
and become a prince of eternity.

Don't take the soul from your soul.
Don't turn this bread into poison.
Can't you see? -
Someone has tossed a pearl
into the bottom of a dung heap.
It is only for the sake of that pearl
that we cover our hands with dung.

O soul,
Don't be so hard - break!
Find a lustrous pearl
among the broken shells
of your pride.

When you see a man of God
offer him your service.
When you are troubled and in pain
just keep going. . . .

O body, what a joke! -
The Prince I'm looking for is me
yet I spend all my time
thinking I am you!

O Shams, Lord of Tabriz,
You are the water of life -
Who shall drink of your water,
save one with a tearful eye?

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


Look at that false prince with his little horse and little saddle,
knavish and scoundrelly, his head bound in cloth of gold;
Since he disbelieves in death, he says, "Where, where is
doom?" Death comes to him from all six directions and says,
"Here am I! "
Doom says to him, "Donkey, where now is all that galloping
about? Those moustaches, that arrogant nose, that pride, that
Where is the beautiful idol, where happiness? To whom have
you given your coverlet? A brick is now your pillow, your
mattress the earth."
Bid farewell to eating and sleeping; go seek the true religion,
that you may be a prince of eternity without your little laws and
Do not unsoul this soul; do not convert this bread to dung, O
you who have flung the pearl into the bottom of the dung.
Know that we are attached to dung for the pearl's sake, O
soul; be broken, and seek the pearl, proud and conceited one.
When you see a man of God, act like a man and offer him
service; when you experience anguish and affliction, do not fur-
row your brow.
Ibis is my lampoon, O body, and that prince of mine is also I;
how long will you go on speaking of little "sins" and "shins"?*
Shams al-Haqq-i Tabriz!, you are yourself the water of life;
what shall discover that water, save the tearful eye?

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

* "siyns" and "shiyns": two letters of the Arabo-Persian alphabet,
"s" and "sh," which differ only slightly in appearance, making this is
a rhyming word-play as well as a metaphor for one who is consumed
with unimportant details.
(Sunlight thanks Ibrahim Gamard for this footnote.)


Mon Jan 9, 2006

Here, Sunlight offers verses from Rumi's Mathnawi, Book IV, in a
version by Coleman Barks, and a literal translation by Professor R.A.
Nicholson, from which Professor Barks derived his version:

The Dream That Must Be Interpreted

This place is a dream.
Only a sleeper considers it real.

Then death comes like dawn,
and you wake up laughing
at what you thought was your grief.

But there's a difference with this dream.
Everything cruel and unconscious
done in the illusion of the present world,
all that does not fade away
at the death-waking.

It stays,
and it must be interpreted.

All the mean laughing,
all the quick, sexual wanting,
those torn coats of Joseph,
they change into powerful wolves
that you must face.

The retaliation that sometimes come now,
the swift, payback hit,
is just a boy's game
to what the other will be.

You know about circumcision here.
It's full castration there!

And this groggy time we live,
this is what it's like:
A man goes to sleep in the town
where he has always lived,
and he dreams he's living in another town.

In the dream, he doesn't remember
the town he's sleeping in his bed in.
He believes the reality of the dream town.

The world is that kind of sleep.

The dust of many crumbled cities
settles over us like a forgetful dose,
but we are older than those cities.

We began as a mineral.
We emerged into plant life,
and into the animal state,
and then into being human,
and always we have forgotten our former states,
except in early spring
when we slightly recall
being green again.

That's how a young person
turns toward a teacher.
That's how a baby leans toward the breast,
without knowing the secret of its desire,
yet turning instinctively.

Humankind is being led along
an evolving course, through
this migration of intelligences,
and though we seem to be sleeping,
there is an inner wakefulness
that directs the dream,

and that will eventually startle us
back to the truth of who we are.

-- Mathnawi IV, 3628-3652, 3654-3667
Version by Coleman Barks
"The Essential Rumi"
HarperSanFrancisco, 1995


Even so this world, which is the sleeper's dream: the sleeper
fancies that it is really enduring,
Till on a sudden there shall rise the dawn of Death and he
shall be delivered from the darkness of opinion and falsehood.
(Then) laugher at those sorrows of his will take possession of
him when he sees his permanent abode and dwelling-place.
Everything good or evil that thou seest in thy sleep will be
made manifest, one by one, on the Day of the (Last) Congregation.
That which thou didst in this sleep in the (present) world will
become evident to thee at the time of awaking.
Take care not to imagine that this (which thou hast done) is
(only) an evil action committed in this (state of) sleep and that
there is no interpretation (thereof) for thee.
Nay, this laughter (of thine) will be tears and moans on the
Day of interpretation, O oppressor of the captive!
Know that in the hour of thy awakening thy tears and grief
and sorrow and lamentation will turn to joy.
O thou that hast torn the coat of (many) Josephs, thou wilt
arise from this heavy slumber (in the form of ) a wolf.
Thy (evil) dispositions, one by one, having become wolves
will tear thy limbs in wrath.
According to (the law of) retaliation, the blood (shed by thee)
will not sleep (remain unavenged) after thy death: do not say,
"I shall die and obtain release."
This immediate retaliation (which is exacted in the present
world) is (only) a makeshift: in comparison with the blow of
that (future) retaliation that is a (mere) play.
God hath called the present world a play because this penalty
is a play in comparison with that penalty.
This penalty is a means of allaying war and civil strife: that one
is like a castration, while this one resembles a circumcision.

(IV, 3654-3667)

The man who lives in a city (many) years, as soon as his eye
goes asleep,
Beholds another city full of good and evil, and his own city
comes not into this memory at all.
So that (he should say), "I have lived there (so many years);
this new city is not mine: here I am (only) in pawn*."
Nay, he thinks that in sooth he has always lived in this very
city and has been born and bred in it*.
What wonder (then) if the spirit does not remember its
(ancient) abodes, which have been its dwelling-place and birth-
place aforetime,
Since this world, like sleep, is covering it over as clouds cover
the stars? -
Especially as it has trodden so many cities, and the dust has
not (yet) been swept from it perceptive faculty,
Nor has it made ardent efforts that its heart should become
pure and behold the past;
That its heart should put forth its head (peep forth) from the
aperture of the mystery and should see the beginning and the
end with open eye.
First he came into the clime (world) of inorganic things, and
from the state of inorganic things he passed into the vegetable
(Many) years he lived in the vegetable state and did not re-
member the inorganic state because of the opposition (between
And when he passed from the vegetable into the animal state,
the vegetable state was not remembered by him at all,
Save only for the inclination which he has towards that (state),
especially in the season of spring and sweet herbs -
Like the inclination of babes towards their mothers: it (the
babe) does not know the secret of its desire for being suckled;
(Or) like the excessive inclination of every novice towards the
noble spiritual Elder, whose fortune is young (and flourishing).
The particular intelligence of this (disciple) is derived from
that Universal Intelligence*: the motion of this shadow is derived
from that Rose-bough.
His (the disciple's) shadow disappears at least in him (the
Master); then he knows the secret of his inclination and search
and seeking.
How should the shadow of the other's (the disciple's) bough
move, O fortunate one, if this Tree move not?
Again, the Creator, whom thou knowest, was leading him
(Man) from the animal (state) towards humanity.
Thus did he advance from clime to clime (from one world of
being to another), till he has now become intelligent and wise
and mighty.
He hath no remembrance of his former intelligences (souls);
from this (human) intelligence also there is a migration to be
made of him.
That he may escape from this intelligence full of greed and
self-seeking and may behold a hundred thousand intelligences
most marvellous.
Though he fell asleep and become oblivious of the past, how
should they leave him in that self-forgetfulness?
From that sleep they will bring him back again to wakefulness,
that he may mock at his (present) state,
Saying, "What was that sorrow I was suffering in my sleep?
How did I forget the states of truth (the real experience)?
How did not I know that sorrow and disease is the effect
of sleep and is illusion and phantasy?"

-- Mathnawi IV, 3628-3653
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"

Nicholson's commentary:

* I.e. not a permanent resident.
* Literally, "that his origin and habit has always been in this very
*I.e. the Logos with whom the Master (the Perfect Man) is identified.


Tue Jan 10, 2006

Fills you with the boiling of love

The companion of the Prophet said,
"Whenever the Prophet recited verses of the Qur'ân to us,
at the moment of abundance that chosen Messenger
would ask attentiveness and reverence."
It's as when a bird perches on your head,
and your soul trembles for fear of its flitting,
so you don't dare to stir lest that beautiful bird take to the air.
You dare not breathe, you suppress a cough,
lest that humâ* should fly away;
and should anyone speak sweet or sour words to you,
you lay a finger to your lips, meaning "Hush!"
Bewilderment is like that bird: it makes you silent;
it puts the lid on the kettle and fills you with the boiling of love.


Hamchonânkeh goft ân yâr-e Rasul
chon Nabi bar khvândi bar mâ fosul
n Rasul-e mojtabâ vaqt-e neesâ
khvâsti az mâ hozur o sad vaqâr
nchonânkeh bar saret morghi bovad
kaz favâtesh jân-e to larzân shavad
Pas niyâri hich jonbidan ze jâ
tâ na-girad morgh-e khub tu havâ
Dam niyâri zad be-bandi sorfeh-râ
tâ na-bâyad keh be-parrad ân homâ*
Var kaset shirin be-guyad yâ torosh
bar lab angoshti nehi ya`ni "khamosh"
Hayrat ân morghast khâmushet konad
bar nehad sar-e dig o por-e jushet konad

-- Mathnawi V:3244-3250
Version by Camille and Kabir Helminski
"Rumi: Jewels of Remembrance"
Threshold Books, 1996
Persian transliteration courtesy of Yahyل Monastra

*A mythical bird whose shadow brings blessings.


Wed Jan 11, 2006

Ask us about the lion of God

This caravan is not bringing our baggage -- it has
none of the fire of our Friend.
Though the trees have all turned green, they
have caught no scent of our spring.
Your spirit may be a rosegarden, but its heart
has not been wounded by our thorn.
Your heart may be an ocean of realities, but its
boiling does not compare with that of our shore.
Although the mountains are very steady -- by
God, they do not have our steadiness.
The spirit drunk with the morning wine has not
even caught a scent of our winesickness.
Venus herself, the minstrel of heaven, has not
the capacity for our work.
Ask us about the lion of God -- every lion has
not our backbone.
Show not Shams-I Tabrizi's coin to him who
has not our fineness!

-- Ghazal (Ode) 695
Translation by William C. Chittick
"The Sufi Path of Love"
SUNY Press, Albany, 1983


Thu Jan 12, 2006

How will you know your real friends?

How will you know your real friends?
Pain is as dear to them as life.
A friend is like gold. Trouble is like fire.
Pure gold delights in the fire.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Dustân bin ku neshân-e dustân
dustân-râ ranj bâshad hamcho jân
Dust hamcho zar balâ chon âtesh ast
zar-e khâles dar del-e âtash khvosh ast

-- Mathnawi II:1458; 1461
Version by Camille and Kabir Helminski
"Rumi: Daylight"
Threshold Books, 1994
Persian transliteration courtesy of Yahyل Monastra


Fri Jan 13, 2006

I have returned, like the new year

Here, Sunlight offers Ghazal (Ode) 1375, from Rumi's "Diwan-e
Shamsi" ("The Collection of Shams"), in a poetic translation from
Nader Khalili, and in a literal translation from Prof. William

I've come again
like a new year
to crash the gate
of this old prison

I've come again
to break the teeth and claws
of this man-eating
monster we call life

I've come again
to puncture the
glory of the cosmos
who mercilessly
destroys humans

I am the falcon
hunting down the birds
of black omen
before their flights

I gave my word
at the outset to
give my life
with no qualms
I pray to the Lord
to break my back
before i break my word

how do you dare to
let someone like me
intoxicated with love
enter your house

you must know better
if I enter
I'll break all this and
destroy all that

if the sheriff arrives
I'll throw the wine
in his face
if your gatekeeper
pulls my hand
I'll break his arm

if the heavens don't go round
to my heart's desire
I'll crush its wheels and
pull out its roots

you have set up
a colorful table
calling it life and
asked me to your feast
but punish me if
I enjoy myself

what tyranny is this

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


I have returned, like the new year, to break the
locks of the prison and smash the claws and teeth of these
man-eating spheres.
The seven waterless planets are devouring the
creatures of earth -- I will throw water upon their fire and still
their winds.
I have flown from the beginningless King like a
falcon in order to kill the parrot-eating owls* of this ruined
From the beginning I made a covenant to
sacrifice my spirit to the King. May my spirit's back be broken
should I break my pledge and covenant!
Today I am Asaf, Solomon's vizier, sword and
firman in hand -- I will break the necks of any who are
arrogant before the King.
If you see the garden of the rebellious
flourishing for a day or two, grieve not! For I will cut their
roots from a hidden direction.
I will break nothing but injustice or the evil-
intentioned tyrant -- should anything have a mote of savor, then
I am an unbeliever should I break it
Wherever there is a polo ball, it is taken away
by the mallet of Oneness -- if a ball does not roll down the
field. I will smash it with the blow of my mallet.
I now reside in His banquet, for I saw that His
intention is Gentleness. I became the least servant of His way
in order to break Satan's legs.
I was a single nugget, but when the Sultan's
hand grasped hold of me, I became the mine -- if you place me
in the balance, I will break the scales.
When you allow a ruined and drunken man like
myself into your house, do you not know at least this much: I
will break this and break that?
If the watchman shouts, "Hey!" I will pour a
cup of wine on his head; and if the doorman seizes hold of
me, I will break his arm.
If the spheres do not rotate round my heart, I
will pull them up by the roots; if the heavens act with
villainy, I will smash the turning heavens.
Thou hast spread the tablecloth of Generosity
and invited me to lunch -- why doest Thou rebuke me when I
break the bread?
No, no -- I sit at the head of Thy table, I am the
chief of Thy guests. I will pour a cup or two of wine upon the
guests and break their shame.
Oh Thou who inspirest my spirit with poetry
from within! Should I refuse and remain silent, I fear I would
break Thy command.
If Shams-i Tabrizi should send me wine and
make me drunk, I would be free of cares and break down the
pillars of the universe.

-- Translation by William Chittick
"The Sufi Path of Love"
SUNY Press, Albany, 1984

Sunlight footnote:

*In Mowlana's world view, there are two spheres: the seen and the
unseen,perceived also as light and the dark, or God (King) and
arrogant humans who mock and impersonate their Creator. He sharply
divides the world of matter from the world of spirit (or soul as the
embodied spirit). The birds of the light, such as parrots, eagles and
and falcons, are from the spirit world and are messengers of the
Beloved. They fly during the day and thrive in the light of sun. The
owl, on the other hand, is from the world of darkness, cannot
tolerate light, and becomes blind from the light of the divine. So it
is the enemy of the falcon, the nightingale and the parrot.

Compare this verse from the Mathnawi:

The spirit is the falcon, but bodily dispositions are crows. The
falcon has received many wounds from crows and owls (M V: 842-843).

Ghazal 1375:

portions of this ghazal, sung in
Persian by Ali Tehrani, at


Mon Jan 16, 2006

Coming again to the Beloved

Sunlight presents Ode 3079 - in a version by Coleman Barks and
in a translation by A.J. Arberry:


We've come again to that knee of seacoast
no ocean can reach.

Tie together all human intellects.
They won't stretch to here.

The sky bares its neck so beautifully,
but gets no kiss. Only a taste.

This is the food that everyone wants,
wandering the wilderness, "Please give us
your manna and quail."

We're here again with the beloved.
This air, a shout. These meadowsounds,
an astonishing myth.

We've come into the presence of the one
who was never apart from us.

When the waterbag is filling, you know
the water carrier's here!

The bag leans lovingly against your shoulder.
"Without you I have no knowledge,
no way to reach anyone."

When someone chews sugarcane,
he's wanting this sweetness.

Inside this globe the soul roars like thunder.
And now silence, my strict tutor.

I won't try to talk about Shams.
Language cannot touch that presence.

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


We have come once again to a lord to whose knee no sea
Tie together a thousand minds, they will not reach Him; how
shall a hand or foot reach the moon in heaven?
The sky stretched out its throat eagerly to Him; it found no
kiss, but it swallowed a sweetmeat.
A thousand throats and gullets stretched towards His lip.
"Scatter too on our heads manna and quails."
We have come again to a Beloved, from whose air a shout has
reached our ears.
We have come again to that sanctuary to bow the brow which
is to surpass the skies.
We have come again to that meadow to whose bolbol `anqa is
a slave.*
We have come to Him who was never apart from us; for the
waterbag is never filled without the existence of a water-carrier.
The bag always clings to the body of the water-carrier, saying,
"Without you, I have no hand or knowledge or opinion."
We have come again to that feast with the sweet dessert of
which the sugarcane chewer attained his desire.
We have come again to that sphere, in whose bent the soul
roars like thunder.
We have come again to that love at whose contact the div has
become peri-like.
Silence! Seal the rest under your tongue, for a jealous tutor
has been put in charge of you.
Speak not of the talk of the Pride of Tabriz, Shams-e Din, for
the rational mind is not suitable for that speech.

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

* Anqa or Simorg is the legendary bird by which the Sufis sometimes
represent the unknown God. Simorg is sometimes considered to symbolize
the perfect man.


Tue Jan 17, 2006

The effect of His illusion; the effect of His awakening

The Fâtihah* is unique in attracting good and averting evil.
If anything other than God appears to you,
it's the effect of His illusion;
and if all other than God vanished from sight,
it's the effect of His awakening you to what is real.


Zânkeh u-râ Fâteheh khvod mi keshid
Fâteheh dar jarr o daf` âmad vahid
Gar namâyad ghayr ham tamvih-e Ust
var ravad ghayr az nazar tanbih-e Ust

-- Mathnawi VI:3355-3356
Version by Camille and Kabir Helminski
"Rumi: Jewels of Remembrance"
Threshold Books, 1996
Persian transliteration courtesy of Yahyل Monastra

From Dr. Ibrahim Gamard:

*Fatihah: the first chapter of the Quran, consisting of seven verses
which are repeated numerous times each day by Muslims. It is a prayer
asking to be rightly guided, rather than led astray. A contemporary
(non-literal) interpretive translation for Americans (based on
extensive study of the Arabic root meanings of every word) is by the
Muslim sufi teacher Imam Bilal Hyde:
(1) "We begin in the Name of God, Everlasting Mercy, Infinite
(2) Praise be to God, Loving Lord of all the worlds.
(3) Everlasting Mercy, Infinite Compassion.
(4) Eternal Strength of every living being, Whose Majestic Power
embrances us on the day of the great return.
(5) Only You do we adore, and to You alone do we cry for help.
(6) Guide us, O God, on the path of Perfect harmony,
(7) The path of those whom You have blessed with the gifts of Peace,
Joy, Serenity, and Delight, the path of those who are not brought down
by anger, the path of those who are not lost along the way.

Amin. So be it."


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