Monday, July 10, 2006


Sunlight offers the verses from Rumi's Mathnawi, Volume IV,
lines 3748-3754, in an interpretive version by Coleman Barks,
and in the literal translation by Nicholson, on which Barks
based his version:

^ ^ ^ ^ ^

A Zero-Circle

Be helpless and dumbfounded,
unable to say yes or no.

Then a stretcher will come
from grace to gather us up.

We are too dulleyed to see the beauty.
If we say "Yes we can," we'll be lying.

If we say "No, we don't see it,"
that "No" will behead us
and shut tight our window into spirit.

So let us not be sure of anything,
beside ourselves, and only that, so
miraculous beings come running to help.

Crazed, lying in a zero-circle, mute,
we will be saying finally,
with tremendous eloquence, "Lead us."

When we've totally surrendered to that beauty,
we'll become a mighty kindness.

-- Mathnawi IV, 3748-3754
Coleman Barks
Say I am You
Maypop, 1994


Therefore be dumbfounded without nay or yea, in order
that a litter may come from (the Divine) Mercy to carry you.
Forasmuch as you are too dull to apprehend these
wonders (of God), if you say "yea" you will be prevaricating;
And if you say "nay," the "nay" will behead (undo) you:
on account of that "nay" (the Divine) Wrath will shut your
spiritual window.
Be, then, only dumbfounded and distraught, nothing else,
that God's aid may come in from before and behind.
When you have become dumbfounded and crazed and
naughted, you have said with mute eloquence, "Lead us."
It (the wrath of God) is mighty, mighty; but when you begin
to tremble, that mighty shape is for (terrifying) the unbeliever;
when you have become helpless, it is mercy and kindness.

-- Mathnawi IV, 3748-3754
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 image:

The Persian recitation:

A Persian interpretation:


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