Friday, September 29, 2006

A Bird Without Wings

Here, Sunlight offers a version of Ghazal 721, from Jonathan
Star. A note regarding this version follows the poem.

^ ^ ^ ^ ^

"A Lover Without a Tear"

One who does not have the Beloved
is like a person without a head.
One who flees the cage of love
is like a bird without wings.

What news could one have of the world
That the Keeper of Secrets does not have?

One who is pierced by the arrows of this glance
is like a warrior without a shield.

One who cannot look within himself
is like a man without valor.
One who can't open the door of his own heart
is like a lover without a tear.

He has placed a door
In the middle of this path.
Only He who has placed it
can open it.

They say, "Wake up, the dawn has come!"
But in our sky who sleeps?
Who gets up at dawn?
Our sky
is without a sunrise
and without a sunset.

You've only been here a few days
and you've become so friendly with life.
I can't even talk about death anymore.

You're on the journey home
And your donkey has fallen asleep
in the middle of the road!

-- Ghazal (Ode) 721
Version by Jonathan Star
"Rumi - In the Arms of the Beloved "
Jeremy P. Tarcher/Putnam, New York 1997

Sunlight note: Once again, a conversation has been taking place, in
which the accuracy and validity of versions is being questioned. A
Sunlight contributor and consultant advises that the line which reads

"One who is pierced by the arrows of this glance
is like a warrior without a shield."

should be more accurately translated as

"Only the one who is not afraid of Love (doesn't have a shield
against Love)
can be hunted by the arrows of His/her glance."

It has been suggested that the complexity, depth, and challenge of
the latter, is not apparent in the former. Although he refers
to his offerings as "translations", Mr. Star does not speak or read
Persian. He variously acknowledges Nicholson, Ergin, and Shiva as
the sources of the translations from which he fabricates his

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Thursday, September 28, 2006

"In prayer continually"

The ritual prayer is five times daily,
but the guide for lovers is the verse,
they who are in prayer continually. *
The headache of intoxication in those heads
isn't relieved by five times, nor by five hundred thousand.
"Visit once a week" is not the ration for lovers;
the soul of sincere lovers has an intense craving to drink.
"Visit once a week" is not the ration for those fish,
since they feel no spiritual joy without the Sea.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Panj vaqt âmad namâz o rahnamun
`âsheqân-râ fî salâtin dâ'imûn*
Nah beh-panj ârâm girad ân khomâr
keh dar ân sar-hâst ni pânsad hazâr
Nist "zur ghibban" vazifeh-ye `âsheqân
sakht mostasqist jân-e sâdeqân
Nist "zur ghibban" vazifeh-ye mâhiyân
zânkeh bi Daryâ na-dârand ons-e jân

*al-Ma`ârij, 23

-- Mathnawi VI:2669-2670
Version by Camille and Kabir Helminski
"Rumi: Jewels of Remembrance"
Threshold Books, 1996
Persian transliteration courtesy of Yahyل Monastra

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Wednesday, September 27, 2006

"No one in the world is as precious as you"

i swear my dear son*
no one in the entire world
is as precious as you are

look at that mirror
take a good look at yourself
who else is there above and beyond you

now give yourself a kiss
and with sweet whispers
fill your ears to the brim

watch for all that beauty
reflecting from you
and sing a love song to your existence

you can never overdo
praising your own soul
you can never over-pamper your heart

you are both
the father and the son
the sugar and the sugar cane

who else but you
please tell me who else
can ever take your place

now give yourself a smile
what is the worth of a diamond
if it doesn't smile

how can i ever put a price
on the diamond that you are
you are the entire treasure of the house

you and your shadow
are forever present in this world
you're that glorious bird of paradise*

-- Ghazal 2148, from the Diwan-e Shams
Poetic translation by Nader Khalili
"Rumi, Fountain of Fire"
Cal-Earth Press, 1994

Sunlight notes:

*my dear son: literally, "O son" [ay pesar] in the Persian. Could refer
to anyone, but here it probably refers to one of Rumi's disciples,
rather than his son, Sultan Walad. In general, Rumi uses such phrases
as "O son" and "O youth" to address the reader, as well as to add
syllables to a verse.
*glorious bird of paradise: the "homaa," a miraculous bird whose
shadow, if it should fall upon a man, destines him to become a king.
Therefore, this bird is a symbol good fortune.

-- Footnotes (c) Ibrahim Gamard, 2000

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Tuesday, September 26, 2006

"There are two kinds of intelligence"

Sunlight offers the Mathnawi* verses, from Book IV, lines
1960 - 1968, in a version by Coleman Barks, a version by
Camille and Kabir Helminski, a translation by William Chittick,
and in Persian transcription:

^ ^ ^ ^ ^

There are two kinds of intelligence: one acquired,
as a child in school memorizes facts and concepts
from books and from what the teacher says,
collecting information from the traditional sciences
as well as from the new sciences.

With such intelligence you rise in the world.
You get ranked ahead or behind others
in regard to your competence in retaining
information. You stroll with this intelligence
in and out of fields of knowledge, getting always more
marks on your preserving tablets.

There is another kind of tablet,
one already completed and preserved inside you.
A spring overflowing its springbox. A freshness
in the center of the chest. This other intelligence
does not turn yellow or stagnate. It's fluid,
and it doesn't move from outside to inside
through the conduits of plumbing-learning.

This second knowing is a fountainhead
from within you, moving out.

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

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

There are two kinds of intelligence.
One is that acquired by a child at school
from books and teachers, new ideas and memorization.
Your intelligence may become superior to others,
but retaining all that knowledge is a burden.
You who are so busy searching for knowledge
must be a preserving tablet, but the preserved tablet
is the one who has gone beyond all this.
For the other kind of intelligence is the gift of God:
its fountain is deep within the soul.
When the water of God-given knowledge surges from the breast,
it never stagnates or becomes impure.
And if its way to the outside is blocked, what harm is there?
For it flows continually from the house of the heart.
The acquired intelligence is like the conduits
which run into the house from the streets:
if those pipes become blocked, the house is bereft of water.
Seek the fountain within yourself.

-- Version by Camille and Kabir Helminski
"Rumi: Jewels of Remembrance"
Threshold Books, 1996

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

The intellect is of two kinds: The first is
acquired. You learn it like a boy at school.
From books, teachers, reflection and rote, from
concepts and from excellent and new sciences.
Your intellect becomes greater than that of
others, but you are heavily burdened because of your
acquisition. ..
The other intellect is a gift of God. Its
fountainhead lies in the midst of the spirit.
When the water of knowledge bubbles up from
the breast, it will never become stagnant, old, or discolored.
If the way to the outside source should become
blocked, there is no reason to worry since the water keeps on
bubbling up from within the house.
The acquired intellect is like a stream led into a
house from outside.
If its way should be blocked, it is helpless. Seek
the fountain from within yourself!

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

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

`Aql do `aqlast avval maksabi
keh dar âmuzi cho dar maktab sabi
Az ketâb o ustâd o fekr o zekr
az ma`âni vaz `olum-e khub o bekr
`Aql-e to afzun shavad bar digarân
lik to bâshi ze hefz-e ân gerân
Lawh-e hâfez bâshi andar dur o gasht
lawh-e mahfuz ust ku zin dar gozasht
`Aql-e digar bakhshesh-e Yazdân bovad
cheshmeh-ye ân dar miyân-e jân bovad
Chon ze sineh âb-e dânesh jush kard
nah shavad gandeh nah dirineh nah zard
Var rah-e nab`esh bovad basteh cheh ghamm
ku hami jushad ze khâneh dam be-dam
`Aql-e tahsili mesâl-e jui-hâ
kân ravad dar khâneh az kui-hâ
Râh-e âbesh basteh shod shod bi navâ
az darun-e khvishetan ju cheshmeh-râ

-- Mathnawi IV:1960-1968
transliteration courtesy of Yahyل Monastra

^ ^ ^ ^ ^

* "The Mathnawi" (also spelled "Masnavi") : the six volume
masterpiece written in Rumi's mature years, consisting of over
25,000 lines of stories and teachings. The term "mathnawi" means
rhymed couplets. -- Sunlight Ed.

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Monday, September 25, 2006

"Celebrate! The month of fasting has come"

Celebrate! The month of fasting has come.
Pleasant journey to the one
Who is in the company of the fasting.

I climbed the roof to see the Moon,
Because I really missed fasting
By heart and soul.

I lost my hat while looking at the Moon.
the Sultan of fasting made me drunk.

O Muslims, I have been drunk
since that day I lost my mind.
What a beautiful fortune fasting has.
What a wonderful glory.

There is another secret moon
Besides this one.
He is hiding in the tent of fasting
Like a Turk.

Anyone who comes
To the harvest of fasting in this month
Finds the way to this Moon.

Whoever makes his face
Resemble pale satin
Wears the silk clothes of fasting.

Prayers will be accepted in this month.
Sighs of the one fasting pierce the sky.

The person who sits patiently
At the bottom of fasting's well
Owns the love of Egypt, like Joseph.

O the word which eats the Sahur* meal,
Be silent so that anyone
Who knows fasting will enjoy fasting.

Come, O Shems, the brave one
Of whom Tebriz is proud.
You are the commander of fasting's soldiers.

*Sahur: Meal before dawn during Ramazan fast.

-- Ghazal No. 2344 from the Divan-e Shams-e Tabrizi
Translated by Nevit Ergin
(from the Turkish translation of the original
Persian by Golpinarli)
"Mevlana Jelaleddin Rumi: Divan-i Kebir,"
Volume 18, 2002.

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Friday, September 22, 2006

"Two Hundred Jupiters Are Drunk on My Moon"

Two hundred Jupiters are drunk on my Moon.
One blink of his eyes has enchanted
a hundred Samaritans.
His every word blazes with the call, I am the way,
lighting a fire in the belly of every infidel.

The burning flame of his heart
has reached the heavens
and his life-giving spirit has turned the horizon red. . .

O Lion of God, to where are you rushing?
O Great Solomon, your Seal is the crown
of all angels and demons.

O Nimble Soul,
you are moving so fast
that you don't even care to look
at the ones you have just slaughtered.
You hear the screams of the killing-ground
but do not even break your stride to listen!

He looked at me with his dagger-gaze.
I drowned in the waters of his eyes.
Through the scalding pain of non-existence
I am gone, vanished. I have become
Shamsuddin, the Light of Tabriz.

Now I will let Shams tell my story,
for all my words are his.

-- Ghazal (Ode) 3296
Version by Jonathan Star from a
translation by Shahram Shiva
"A Garden Beyond Paradise:
The Mystical Poetry of Rumi"
Bantam Books, 1992

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Thursday, September 21, 2006

"When contraction comes, behold expansion therein"

To mark the beginning of autumn in the northern hemsiphere,
Sunlight offers here a selection from the Mathnawi, speaking on the
contraction of the spirit and the season, in a poetic version by the
Helminskis, and in literal translation by R.A. Nicholson:

^ ^ ^ ^ ^

When a feeling of spiritual contraction comes over you,
O traveler, it's for your own good.
Don't burn with grief,
for in the state of expansion and delight you are spending.
That enthusiasm requires an income of pain to balance it.
If it were always summer,
the sun's blazing heat would burn the garden
to the roots and depths of the soil.
The withered plants never again would become fresh.
If December is sour-faced, yet it is kind.
Summer is laughing, but yet it destroys.
When spiritual contraction comes,
behold expansion within it;
be cheerful and let your face relax.


Chonke qabzi âyadet ay râh-raw
ân salâh-e tost âtesh-del ma-shaw
Zânke dar kharji dar ân bast o goshâd
kharj-râ dakhli be-bâyad ze e`tedâd
Gar hamâreh fasl tâbestân bodi
suzesh-e khvorshid dar bostân shodi
Manbetesh-râ sukhti az bikh o bon
keh degar tâzeh na-gashti ân kohon
Gar torsh-ruist ân Day moshfeq ast
sayf khandânast ammâ mohreqast
Chonke qabz âyad to dar vay bast bin
tâzeh bâsh va chin mi-fegan dar jabin

-- Mathnawi III, 3734-3739
Version by Camille and Kabir Helminski
"Rumi: Daylight"
Threshold Books, 1994
Persian transliteration courtesy of Yahyá Monastra


When a feeling of (spiritual) contraction comes over you,
O traveller, `tis (for) your own good: do not become afire (with
grief) in your heart,
For in that (contrary state of ) expansion and delight you are
spending: the expenditure (of enthusiasm) requires an income
of (painful) preparation (to balance it).
If it were always the season of summer, the blazing heat of the
sun would penetrate the garden
And burn up from root and bottom the soil whence its plants grow,
so that the old (withered) ones would never again become fresh.
If December is sour-faced, (yet) it is kind; summer is laughing,
but (none the less) it is burning (destroying).
When (spiritual) contraction comes, behold expansion therein: be
fresh (cheerful) and do not let wrinkles fall on your brow.

-- Mathnawi III, 3734-3739
Translation by Reynold A. Nicholson
"The Mathnawi of Jalalu'ddin Rumi"
Published and Distributed by
The Trustees of The "E.J.W. Gibb Memorial"

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Wednesday, September 20, 2006

"Only the one who searches"

Today, Ghazal 617 is offered, in a version by Professor Coleman
Barks, along with a recent translation, with footnotes and
transliteration, by Dr. Ibrahim Gamard. Sunlight gratefully
acknowledges Dr. Gamard's contributions to this community.

^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^


An eye is meant to see things.
The soul is here for its own joy.
A head has one use: for loving a true love.
Legs: to run after.

Love is for vanishing into the sky. The mind,
for learning what men have done and tried to do.
Mysteries are not to be solved. The eye goes blind
when it only wants to see why.

A lover is always accused of something.
But when he finds his love, whatever was lost
in the looking comes back competely changed.
On the way to Mecca, many dangers: thieves,
the blowing sand, only camel's milk to drink.
Still, each pilgrim kisses the black stone there
with pure longing, feeling in the surface
the taste of the lips he wants.

This talk is like stamping new coins. They pile up,
while the real work is done outside
by someone digging in the ground.

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


The eye must search for that one* so that it may see an amazing
thing. (And) the soul must search for that one so it may experience
delight and joy.
The head must search for that one so it may be drunk for an idol.*
Or it must search for that one so it may experience hardship for the
beloved's sake.
Love must search for that one so it may fly toward the sky.
(And) the intellect must search for that one so it may find
(spiritual)knowledge and learning.
The secrets and marvels are beyond causes. Any (physical) eye is
veiled, for it may see (only) all the causes.
The lover [on] this Way who becomes disreputable with a hundred
suspicions (upon him)-- when the turn for union* comes, he will
find a hundred [beautiful] names and nicknames.*
It is worthwhile (to travel) through sands and deserts for the
sake of the Pilgrimage (to Mecca). He adapts to [living on] the milk
of camels (and) he suffers the vandalism of the Arab (Beduins).*
[At last] the pilgrim gives a kiss from (his) heart upon the Black
Stone,* so that he may experience the pleasure of (his) lips from the
lips of a Beloved.*
On account of the present coin of the beloved's speech, take care
(and) don't mint* (any) other. For (only) the one who searches may
find the gold mine.

-- From the Dîwân-é Kabîr (also known as "Kulliyat-é
Shams" and "Dîwân-é Shams-é Tabrîz")
of Jalaluddin Rumi
Translated from the Persian by Ibrahim Gamard, 4/15/00
(c) Ibrahim Gamard (translation, footnotes, &

*that one: means Shams-i Tabriz, Rumi's beloved spiritual master.
*drunk for an idol: means spiritual ecstasy caused by being in the
presence of the beloved spiritual master. This is a common
"provocative" metaphor in Persian sufi poetry, since idolatry and
consumption of alcohol are contrary to Islam.
*hardship for the beloved's sake: the lover must suffer rejection
and separation from the beloved in order to become worthy of union.
*union: Although the belief in "unification with God" is heretical in
Islam, Muslim sufis on the path of mystical love have often spoken of
"union with the beloved" to symbolize a kind of spiritual union with a
sufi master (mystical "annihilation" in the master) and to mean a
spiritual state of nearness to God, which is likened to union.
*names and nicknames: a word-play, since "disreputable" [bad-nâm]
literally means "of bad-name." The meaning is that the lover will be
given disgraceful names by the externalists who don't understand
mystical love, but in the end the beloved (meaning the spiritual
master)will bestow names of praise and affectionate nick-names upon
the true spiritual lover.
*the vandalism of the Arab (Beduins): Arab desert tribesmen often
attacked and robbed caravans of pilgrims on their way to Mecca.
*the Black Stone: a black stone (perhaps a meteorite) which is
attached to an outside corner of the Ka'ba in Mecca, Arabia. The
Ka'ba is a cube-shaped temple which was emptied of all idols when
the Prophet Muhammad returned victoriously to Mecca (in the year
630). The ancient sacred Black Stone (which was not an idol) was
kept on the southeast corner, and is believed by Muslims to represent
the "Hand of God" which is to be kissed reverently. To this day,
while most pilgrims are performing the sacred circling of the Ka'ba
(continuously, day and night, every day of the year), there is a
constant "mash" of pilgrims at the southeast corner striving with
intense yearning to reach and kiss the Black Stone-- which is only
possible one at a time.
*a Beloved: means God.
*don't mint: a word-play. "Present coin," is an idiom meaning,
"current," "present." Minting another coin means here, "adding any
words of your own." Rumi's odes often end with a call to silence
and a reminder that Truth and Love are beyond words. The
meaning of this line is that only the one who sincerely and
persistently searches for Love beyond words and
concepts has any hope of finding the source of "gold."


chashm az pay-é ân bây-ad tâ chêz-é `ajab bîn-ad
jân az pay-é ân bây-ad tâ `aysh-o Tarab bîn-ad

sar az pay-é ân bây-ad tâ mast-é botê bâsh-ad
yâ az pay-é ân bây-ad k-az yâr ta`ab bîn-ad

`ishq az pay-é ân bây-ad tâ sôy-é falak par-ad
`aql az pay-é ân bây-ad tâ `ilm-o adab bîn-ad

bêrûn-é sabab bâsh-ad asrâr-o `ajâyib-hâ
maHjûb bow-ad chashmê k-ô jomla sabab bîn-ad

`âshiq ke ba-Sad tuhmat bad-nâm shaw-ad în sô
chûn nawbat-é aSl ây-ad Sad nâm-o liqab bîn-ad

arzad ke barây-é Haj dar rêg-o beyâbân-hâ
bâ shîr-é shotor sâz-ad yaghmây-é `arab bin-ad

bar sang-é seyah Hâjî z-ân bôsa zan-ad az del
k-az la`l-é lab-é yârê ô laZat-é lab bîn-ad

bar naqd-é sokhon-é jânâ hîn sikka ma-zan dêgar
k-ân-kas ke Talab dâr-ad ô kân-é Zahab bîn-ad

[meter: XXooXoXX XXooXoXX]

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Tuesday, September 19, 2006

"The Beautiful attracts the beautiful"

The Beautiful attracts the beautiful.
Know this for sure.
Recite the text, "The good women for the good men."
In this world everything attracts something.
Those of the Fire attract those of the Fire;
those of the Light attract those of the Light.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Khub khubi-râ konad jazb in be-dân
"Tayyibât lil-tayyibin" bar vay be-khvân
Dar jahân har chiz chizi jazb kard
garm garmi-râ kashid va sard sard

-- Mathnawi II:80-82
Version by Camille and Kabir Helminski
"Rumi: Daylight"
Threshold Books, 1994
Persian transliteration courtesy of Yahyل Monastra

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Monday, September 18, 2006

"Playing and Being Played"

There are no words to explain,
no tongue,
how when that player touches
the strings, it is me playing
and being played,
how existence turns
around this music, how stories
grow from the trunk,
how cup and mouth
swallow each other with the wine,
how a garnet
stone come from nowhere is puzzled
by these miners,
how even if you look for us
hair's breadth by hair's breadth, you'll
not find anything. We're inside
the hair!
How last night a spear struck, how
the lion drips red, how someone pulls
at my robe of tattered patches.
"It's all I have!
Where are your clothes?"
How Shams of Tabriz
lives outside time, how what happens
to me happens there.

-- Ghazal (Ode) 1877
Version by Coleman Barks, with Nevit Ergin
"The Glance"
Viking-Penguin, 1999

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Friday, September 15, 2006

"Open your eyes a little"

Oh sir, you are mistaken in the ways of my
Friend. You and a hundred like you are bewildered by me
and my business.
Every neck is not worthy for Love's sword--
how should my blood-drinking Lion swallow down the blood
of dogs?
How should my Ocean support the planks of
every ship? How should your salt-flat drink from my Clouds
raining down pearls?
Do not nod your head like that, do not shake your
snout-how should an ass like you reach the oats in my
Oh sir, come to yourself for a moment! Open
your eyes a little-even though you are not equal to anything
I say.
The man says, "Why does the lover become
drunk and shameless?" When did wine ever leave shame,
especially when poured by my Saki?
He who is deceived by a wolf learns the same
deception and depravity-my artful Hunter makes him the
snare of his own self.
How should they want to buy the ancient wolf
in His bazaar? In my bazaar a living Joseph is displayed in
every corner.
How should an owl like you be fit for the Garden of
Iram? Not even the spirit's nightingale has found its way to
my Rosery!
Pride of Tabriz! Sun of God and the religion! Tell
me: Are not all these words of mine thy voice?

-- Ghazal (Ode) 2056
Translation by William C. Chittick
"The Sufi Path of Love"
SUNY Press, Albany, 1983

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Thursday, September 14, 2006

Spirit and awareness

What is soul? Soul is conscious of good and evil,
rejoicing over kindness, weeping over injury.
Since consciousness is the inmost nature and essence of the soul,
the more aware you are the more spiritual you are.
Awareness is the effect of the spirit:
anyone who has this in abundance
is a man or woman of God.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Jân cheh bâshad bâ khabar az khayr o sharr
shâd bâsh bâ ehsân o geryân az zarar
Chon serr o mâhiyat-e jân makhbarast
har keh u âgâh-tar bâ jân-tarast
Ruh-râ ta'sir-e âgâhi bud
har keh-râ in pish-e Allâhi bud

-- Mathnawi VI: 148-150
Version by Camille and Kabir Helminski
"Rumi: Jewels of Remembrance"
Threshold Books, 1996
(Persian transliteration courtesy of Yahyل Monastra)

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Wednesday, September 13, 2006

"Lost and found"

your sudden journey
from our city
my beloved
filled you with sweetness
and left me in the dark

you went along
with your own sweetheart
the one for whom
every soul is ready
to leave the body and fly

it was that spectrum
the one who came
first as a light
brightened your path
then took you away in limelight

you were ready
happy to leave this lowly earth
while filled with ecstasy
you flew away with rapture
to the ultimate and beyond

now that you're gone
you've forever found
the ultimate paradise
free from bread
free from bread givers

now you are
like a pure soul
like a dream
every moment
taking a new form

send me some words
of your tender journey
my beloved and
if you don't
i know for sure
you're forever immersed
like a precious pearl
in the endless sea

-- Ghazal 2565, from the Diwan-e Shams
Translation by Nader Khalili.
"Rumi, Fountain of Fire"
Cal-Earth Press, 1995

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Tuesday, September 12, 2006

"True repentance flashes inside and rains tears"

Beware! Don't allow yourself to do
what you know is wrong, relying on the thought,
"Later I will repent and ask God's forgiveness. "
True repentence flashes inside and rains tears.
Such lightning and clouds are needed.
Without the lightning of the heart
and the rain storms of the eyes,
how shall the fire of Divine wrath be calmed?
How shall the greenery grow
and fountains of clear waters pour forth?

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Hin be-posht ân ma-kon jorm o gonâh
keh konam tawbeh dar âyam dar panâh
Mi biyâyad tâb o âbi tawbeh-râ
shart shod barq o sahâbi tawbeh-râ
آtesh o âbi biyâyad miveh-râ
vâjeb âyad abr o barq in shiveh-râ
Tâ na-bâshad barq-e del o abr-e do chashm
kay neshinad âtesh-e tahdid o khashm
Kay be-ruyad sabzeh-ye zawq-e vesâl
kay be-jushad chashm-hâ ze âb-e zolâl

-- Mathnawi II: 1652-1656
Version by Camille and Kabir Helminski
"Rumi: Daylight"
Threshold Books, 1994
Persian transliteration courtesy of Yahyل Monastra

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Monday, September 11, 2006

"Rushing topsy-turvey toward the sea"

Here, Sunlight offers Ghazal 1910, from the Diwan-e Shams,
in a version by Coleman Barks (derived from Arberry's translation) ,
translated by Arberry, and more recently translated by Dr. Ibrahim

^ ^ ^ ^ ^

Notice how each particle moves.
Notice how everyone has just arrived here
from a journey.
Notice how each wants a different food.
Notice how the stars vanish as the sun comes up,
and how all streams stream toward the ocean.

Look at the chefs preparing special plates
for everyone, according to what they need.
Look at this cup that can hold the Ocean.
Look at those who see the Face.
look through Shams' eyes
into the Water that is
entirely jewels.

-- Version by Coleman Barks
"Like This"
Maypop, 1990

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

See how every particle of the world is passing by, see how
everyone has arrived from a journey;
See how everyone desirous of his own sustenance has bowed
his head before his king.
See how, like the stars, for the sake of its glow, are all fallen
helpless at the foot of the sun;
See how, like torrents in a quest of water, all are tumbling head-
long toward their sea.
See how for each from the king's kitchen a table is prepared
according to his needs.
See how the sea of the world is contracted before this sea-
drinking cup.
And as for those whose sustenance is the king's countenance,
see how their mouths are filled with sugar of the king's beauty.
Behold with the eyes of Shams-i Tabrizi; see another ocean
filled with pearls.

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

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

See (how) every part of the world passes on,
(and yet) see (how) everyone has arrived from a journey.
See (how) everyone, in desire for his daily bread,
has bowed his head (in obeisance) to his king.
See (how everyone) has fallen helplessly at the feet of the sun,
like stars, because of (the power of) its glow.
See (how) everyone is rushing topsy-turvey toward their sea,
like flood waters in search of (other) water.
See (how) an honorable table cloth (is spread) for everyone
from the (Divine) Kitchen of the King according to his (fixed)
See (how, for the dervishes,) the ocean of the world (is) shrunk
before their ocean-drinking cups.
See (how), for those whose daily sustenance is the king's face,
their mouths are full of sugar* from the king's beauty.
(And) see one other ocean full of pearls: look with the eyes of
Shams-e Tabrizi!

-- Translation by Ibrahim Gamard
Copyright 10/24/98

*an idiom meaning a wide smile, or a laugh of happiness

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Friday, September 08, 2006

"A World Inside This World"

There is another world inside this one -
no words can describe it.
There is living, but no fear of death;
There is Spring, but never a turn to Autumn.
There are legends and stories
coming from the walls and ceilings.
Even the rocks and trees recite poetry.

Here an owl becomes a peacock,
A wold becomes a beautiful shepherd.
To change the scenery, change your mood;
To move around, just will it.

Stand for a moment
And look at a desert of thorns -
it becomes a flowery garden.
See that boulder on the ground?
It moves, and a mine of rubies appears.
Wash you hands and face
in the waters of this place -
The cooks have prepared a great feast!

Here all beings give birth to angels.
When they see me ascending to the heavens
every corpse springs back to life.

I have seen many kinds of trees
growing from the Earth,
But who has ever seen the birth of paradise?

I have seen water, but who has ever seen
one drop of water
give birth to a hundred warriors?

Who could ever imagine such a place?
Such a heaven? Such a Garden of Eden?

Whoever reads this poem - translate it.
Tell the whole world about this place!

-- Ghazal (Ode) 3401
Version by Jonathan Star from a translation by Shahram Shiva
"A Garden Beyond Paradise: The Mystical Poetry of Rumi"
Bantam Books, 1992

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Thursday, September 07, 2006

"This appearance of identity"

All this dying is not the death of the physical form:
this body is only an instrument for the spirit.
There is many a martyred soul that has died to self in this world,
though it goes about like the living.
The animal self has died, though the body, which is its sword,
the sword is still in the hand of that eager warrior.
The sword is the same sword; the person is not the same person,
but this appearance of identity bewilders you.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

In hameh mordan nah marg-e suratast
in badan mar ruh-râ chon âlatast
Ay basâ nafs-e shahid-e mo`tamad
mordeh dar donyâ cho zendeh mi ravad
Ruh rahzan mord o tan keh tigh-e ust
hast bâqi dar kaff-e ân ghazv-just
Tigh ân tighast mard ân mard nist
lik in surat torâ hayrân konist

-- Mathnawi V: 3281; 3826-3828
Version by Camille and Kabir Helminski
"Rumi: Jewels of Remembrance"
Threshold Books, 1996
(Persian transliteration courtesy of Yahyل Monastra)

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Wednesday, September 06, 2006

"The ruin where it is hidden"

The wonder is that colour came from the colourless:
how is it that colour came to fight the colourless?

Since the rose is born from the thorn, and the thorn
from the rose, why are they quarrelling?
Or is it not really war but divine purpose and artifice,
like the quarrels of merchants?
Or is it neither this nor that? Is it the perplexity? The
treasure must be sought; this perplexity is the ruin
where it is hidden.

-- Mathnawi I: 2470-2472/2474
Breathing Truth - Quotations from Jalaluddin Rumi
Selected and Translated by Muriel Maufroy
Sanyar Press - London, 1997

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Tuesday, September 05, 2006

"Which of them is the fairest?"

A beloved said to her lover,
"O youth, you've visited many cities,
which of them is the fairest?"
He replied, "The city where my sweetheart is."
Wherever the carpet is spread for our King,
there is the spacious plain,
even though it be as narrow as the eye of a needle.
Wherever a Joseph radiant as the moon may be,
Paradise is there, even though it be the bottom of a well.

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

Goft ma`shuqi be-`âsheq k-ay fatâ
to be-ghorbat dideh-'i bas shahr-hâ
Pas kodâmin shahr ze ân-hâ khvoshtarast
goft ân shahri keh dar vay delbarast
Har kojâ bâshad shah-e mâ-râ besât
hast sahrâ gar bovad samm al-khiyât
Mar kojâ keh Yusofi bâshad cho mâh
Jannatast archeh keh bâshad qa`r-e châh

-- Mathnawi III: 3808-3811
Version by Camille and Kabir Helminski
"Rumi: Jewels of Remembrance"
Threshold Books, 1996
Persian transliteration courtesy of Yahyل Monastra

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Friday, September 01, 2006

Pass beyond your nature

Pollute not your lips by kissing every mouth and
eating every food! Then the Beloved's lips will make them drunk and
feed them sugar.
Your lips will be freed from the odor of the lips
of "others" and your love will be made transcendent, pure and one.
The lips that kiss the ass's arse - how should the
Messiah bless them with his sugar kiss?
Know that everything other than the eternal light has
newly come into existence - why do you sit upon a heap of new
dung and ask for contemplation?
When the manure has been annihilated in the heart of
the vegetable patch, then it will be freed from its dungness and add
savor to food.
As long as you are excrement, how will you know the
joy of sanctification? Pass beyond your dung-nature and go to the
Blessed and Transcendent!
When Moses washed his hands and lips of Pharoah's
bounty, the Ocean of Generosity gave him the White Hand.*
If you want to escape the stomach and lips of all the
unripe, be full of pearls but bitter on the surface like the ocean.
Take heed! Turn your eyes away from others, for that
Eye is jealous. Take heed! Keep your stomach empty, for He has set
for you a table.
If a dog has eaten its fill, it will not catch any
game, for the running and racing of aspiration derives from hunger's
Where are a pure heart and pure lips to receive a pure
cup? Where is an agile Sufi to run after the halva?
Display the Realities in these words of mine, oh He
who passes us the wine and cup!

-- Ghazal (Ode) 96
Translation by William C. Chittick
"The Sufi Path of Love"
SUNY Press, Albany, 1983

* (Koran VII 108)

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