Saturday, June 17, 2006

Mar 2006 - Part I

Wed Mar 1 , 2006

Whoever leaves our circle for another place
might as well relinquish sense of sight and sound.
A lover licks his liver's blood, lion-like;
what lion-heart would shrink from love and guts?
Hearts suck up cruelty from heart-throbs like cubes of sugar;
did you ever see a parrot turn from sugar?
It's a small gnat that turns at every headwind;
only stealthy thieves scatter in moonlight.

Any head that the Lord strikes dumb or scrambles
drops its place in heaven and heads for hellfire.
And he who fathoms death leaps to welcome death
rushes for the robe, crown and realm eternal.
Fate decrees that so-and-so will die abroad
and fear of the reaper spurs him from his home.
Enough of stalking such unbecoming prey!
for the night and its phantoms flee from the dawn.


The beloved is frequently compared to moonlight, so it is only
thieves who would run from the presence of the beloved.
"Fear of the reaper spurs him" alludes to a famous hadith: When God
wants to seize one of His servants from a certain place on earth, He
makes it necessary for that servant to go there. Rumi tells a tale
about this in the Masnavi.

-- Ghazal (Ode) 794
Translation and notes by Professor Franklin D. Lewis
"Rumi -- Past and Present, East and West"
Oneworld Publications, Oxford, 2006


Thu Mar 2 , 2006

Opinions are sometimes wrong,
but what kind of opinion is this
that's blind to the right road?
O eye, you cry for others:
sit down awhile and weep for yourself!
The bough is made green and fresh
by the weeping cloud for the same reason
that the candle is made brighter
by its weeping.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Sahv bâshad zann-hâ-râ gâh gâh
in cheh zannast in keh kur âmad ze râh
Dideh â bar digarân nawheh geri
moddati be-neshin va bar khvod mi geri
Ze abr-e geryân shâkh sabz o tar shavad
zânke shama` az geryeh rawshan-tar shavad

-- Mathnawi II: 478-480
Version by Camille and Kabir Helminski
"Rumi: Daylight"
Threshold Books, 1994
Persian transliteration courtesy of Yahyل Monastra

the image:

and the recitation:


Fri Mar 3 , 2006

At the time of evening prayer
everyone spreads cloth and candles,
But I dream of my beloved,
see, lamenting, grieved, his phantom.
My ablution is with weeping,
thus my prayer will be fiery,
and I burn the mosque's doorway
when my call to prayer strikes it. . . .
Is the prayer of the drunken,
tell, is this prayer valid?
For he does not know the timing
and is not aware of places.
Did I pray for two full cycles?
Or is this perhaps the eighth one?
And which Sura did I utter?
For I have no tongue to speak it.
At God's door - how could I knock now,
For I have no hand or heart now?
You have carried heart and hand, God!
Grant me safety, God, forgive me. . . .

-- Ghazal (Ode) 2821
Translated by Annemarie Schimmel
"I Am Wind, You are Fire"
Shambhala, 1992

the image:

the recitation:


Mon Mar 6 , 2006

Mathnawi verses IV: 2537-39, in a version by Coleman
and in translation by R.A. Nicholson

"The Worm's Waking"

This is how a human being can change:

There's a worm addicted to eating
grape leaves.
Suddenly, he wakes up,
call it Grace, whatever, something
wakes him, and he's no longer
a worm.
He's the entire vineyard,
and the orchard too, the fruit, the trunks,
a growing wisdom and joy
that doesn't need
to devour.

-- Version by Coleman Barks
"Delicious Laughter"
Maypop, 1990

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

"O thou who because of (addiction to) a single leaf has been
left without (enjoyment of) a (whole) orchard, thou art like the
worm which (desire for) a leaf has driven away from (deprived
of) the vineyard.
When Grace awakened this worm, this worm devoured the
dragon of ignorance.
The worm became a vineyard full of fruit trees: even so
is the blessed man transformed."

-- 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 image:

and the recitation:


Tue Mar 7 , 2006

The foot knows its own shoe in the dark;
how should the soul not know its own body?
Dawn is a little resurrection: seeker of refuge,
judge from it what the greater resurrection will be like.
Even as the soul flies toward the clay of its body,
the scroll of one's good and harmful actions
will fly into the left or right hand.

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

Pây kafsh-e khvod shenâsad dar zolam
chon na-dânad jân tan-e khvod ay sanam
Sobh hashr-e kuchekast ay mostajir
hashr-e akbar-râ qiyâs az vay be-gir
ânchonânkeh jân be-parad su-ye tin
nâmeh parad tâ yasâr o tâ yamin

-- Mathnawi V: 1779-1781
Version by Camille and Kabir Helminski
"Rumi: Jewels of Remembrance"
Threshold Books, 1996
(Persian transliteration courtesy of Yahyل Monastra)

The image:

the recitation:


Wed Mar 8 , 2006

The Oxus, which had begun to flow because of the love for
for the Sea, has become the Sea - the Oxus has been obliterated.
When it reached Love, it saw an ocean of blood - intellect
sat in the blood's midst.
The waves of blood crashed down upon its head and took
it away from all six directions toward the Directionless,
Until it lost itself completely and became nimble and well
proportioned in Love.
While lost, it reached a place where the earth and the
heavens did not exist.
When it wanted to go forward, it had no feet - but it if
had sat, it would have suffered great loss.
Suddenly it saw, from the other side of both obliteration
and the universe, an Ineffable Light.
One banner and a hundred thousand spears. It became
enthralled by the Gentle Light:
Its feet had been stuck but began to move; forward it
went in the incredible plain,
Hoping to pass Yonder and be delivered from self and
everything below.
Two valleys appeared upon its path, one full of fire and
the other roses.
A call came, "Go into the fire and find yourself in the
rosegarden of ease!
But if you enter the rosary, you will find yourself in fire
and furnace.
Either fly to the heavens like Jesus, or fall to the depths
like Korah!*"
Flee and seek the sanctuary of the spirit's king so that
you may escape every snare,
That Sun of Religion and Pride of Tabriz, who is greater
than any attribute you give him!

*Korah, one of Moses' people, is said to have been the richest
man alive. According to the Koran he was swallowed up by the
earth for his sins and arrogance (XXVIII 81 and other passages).

-- Ghazal (Ode) 1931
Translation by William C. Chittick
"The Sufi Path of Love"
SUNY Press, Albany, 1983


Fri Mar 10, 2006

Know that this troublesome body is like a coat of armor:
comfortable neither in winter nor in summer.
Yet still this bad associate is good for you
because of the patience you must show in overcoming its desires,
for the exercise of patience expands the heart with spiritual peace.
The patience shown by the moon to the dark night keeps it illumined;
the patience shown by the rose to the thorn keeps it fragrant.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Chon zereh dân in tan por hayf-râ
ni shetâ-râ shâyad o nah sayf-râ
Yâr-e bad nikust bahr-e sabr-râ
keh goshâyad sabr kardan sadr-râ
Sabr-e mah bâ shab monavvar dâradesh
sabr-e gol bâ khâr azfar dâradesh

-- Mathnawi VI: 1406-1408
Version by Camille and Kabir Helminski
"Rumi: Jewels of Remembrance"
Threshold Books, 1996
(Persian transliteration courtesy of Yahyل Monastra)

The image:


Fri Mar 10 , 2006

Ghazal 2131, in two presentations - a
translation by Nader Khalili, and a version by Jonathan Star:

come inside the fire
leave your trickery behind
go insane
go mad
burn like a candle-moth

first make yourself a stranger
to yourself and
tear down your house
then move with us
dwell in the abode of love

wash your chest
seven times over
cleansing from hatred
then mold yourself into the chalice
holding the pure wine of love

to understand the intoxicated
you must become intoxicated
to join the eternal soul
you must become a soul

you heard my story and
your spirit grew wings
now you must be annihilated in love
to become a fable of your own

your imagination my friend flies away
then pulls you as a follower
surpass the imagination and
like fate
arrive ahead of yourself

passion and desire
has locked your heart
you must become the key
the teeth of the key
to open all locks

King Solomon gives you a message
listen to the birds
they are talking to you
calling you a trap
frightening them away

to capture us they say
you must make a nest
you must make a nest

your sweetheart's face
is appearing now
change yourself to a mirror
and fill yourself to the brim

so many gifts
you purchased for your love
quit buying gifts
give yourself over

you were a part of the
mineral kingdom in the beginning
then you change to animal life for awhile
then you found the soul of a human for awhile
now the time has arrived
to become
the soul of souls

-- Translation by Nader Khalili
"Rumi, Fountain of Fire"
Burning Gate Press, Los Angeles, 1994



Let go of your fancy illusions;
O lovers, become mad, become mad.
Rise up from life's raging fire,
become a bird, become a bird.

Lose yourself completely,
Turn your house into ruins,
Then join the lovers of God -
become a Sufi, become a Sufi.

Cleanse your heart of its old regrets,
Wash it seven times;
Then let the wine of love be poured -
become a cup, become a cup.

Fill your soul with so much love
that it becomes the Supreme Soul.
Run toward the saints,
become drunk, become drunk.

That King who hears everything
is conversing with a pious man.
To hear those sacred words
become pure, become pure.

Your spirit was lifted to the heavens
when you heard my sweet song.
Now your limits are gone.
Like a fearless lover,
become a legend, become a legend.

Turn a night of sleep
into a night of divine revelation!
Hold the grace of God -
become His home, become His home.

Your thoughts will take you
wherever they please -
don't follow them!
Follow your destiny
and become the Self, become the Self.

Passion and desire bind your heart.
Remove the locks -
become a key, become a key . . .

Solomon speaks with the language of the birds -
Listen! Don't be the trap
that falcons flee -
become a nest, become a nest.

If the Sweetheart reveals Her beauty,
become a mirror.
If She lets down her hair,
become a comb, become a comb.

How long will you be two-faced?
How long will you lack self-will
and flap in the wind like a flag?
How long will you be like a chess bishop
moving only diagonally -
became a Sage, become a Sage.

Out of gratitude you gave away
some possessions and some vanity.
Now give away everything -
become gratitude itself, become gratitude itself.

For a time you were the elements,
For a time you were an animal.
For a time you will be a soul -
Now is your change -
Become the Supreme Soul, become the Supreme Soul.

O preacher,
How long will you yell from the rooftops
and knock on the doors of others? -
Look inside your own home.
You've talked about love long enough -
now become the Beloved, become the Beloved!

-- Version by Jonathan Star
"A Garden Beyond Paradise: The Mystical Poetry of
Bantam Books, 1992

The image:

the recitation:

and the music:


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