Tuesday, January 30, 2007

“A window for spiritual ideas”


^ ^ ^ ^ ^

Let the skeptic know:
all that is absent in the world
is present to one who receives ideas from God.
To Mary, John the Baptist's mother would appear,
though she was far away from her.
You can see a friend even with your eyes shut,
when you've made the skin a window for spiritual ideas.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

In be-dân k-ânkeh ahl-e khâterast
ghâyeb-e âfâq u-râ hâzerast
Pish-e Maryam hâzer âyad dar nazar
mâdar-e Yahyâ keh durast az basar
Did-hâ basteh be-binad dust-râ
chon moshabbak kardeh bâshad pust-râ

-- Mathnawi II:3612-3614
Version by Camille and Kabir Helminski
"Rumi: Daylight"
Threshold Books, 1994
Persian transliteration courtesy of Yahyل Monastra

The media link:

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Unending thirst


Today Sunlight offers Ghazal (Ode) 1823, in a version by Coleman
Barks,and in the translation by A.J. Arberry, upon which Barks based
his version:

^ ^ ^ ^ ^

I don't get tired of You. Don't grow weary
of being compassionate toward me!

All this thirst-equipment
must surely be tired of me,
the waterjar, the water-carrier.

I have a thirsty fish in me
that can never find enough
of what it's thirsty for!

Show me the way to the Ocean!
Break these half measures,
these small containers.

All this fantasy
and grief.

Let my house be drowned in the wave
that rose last night out of the courtyard
hidden in the center of my chest.

Joseph fell like the moon into my well.
The harvest I expected was washed away
But no matter.

A fire has risen above my tombstone hat.
I don't want learning, or dignity,
or respectability.

I want this music and this dawn
and the warmth of your cheek against mine.

The grief-armies assemble,
but I'm not going with them.

This is how it always is
when I finish a poem.

A Great Silence overcomes me,
and I wonder why I ever thought
to use language.

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

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

I become not satiated with you-- this is my only sin; be not
satiated with compassion for me, O my refuge in both worlds!
Satiated and weary of me have become his jar, and water-
carrier and waterskin; every moment my water-seeking fish
becomes thirstier.
Break the pitcher, tear up the waterskin, I am going towards
the sea; make clear my road.
How long will the earth become mire from my teardrops?
How long will the sky be darkened by the grief and smoke of
my sighs?
How long will my heart lament, "Alas, my heart, my ruined
heart?" How long will my lips wail before the phantom of my
Go towards the sea from which the wave of delight is coming;
behold how my house and hospice are drowned in its wave.
Last night the water of life surged from the courtyard of my
house; my Joseph yesterday fell like the moon into my well.*
Suddenly the torrent came and swept all my harvest away;
smoke mounted from my heart, my grain and chaff were con-
Though my harvest is gone, I will not grieve; why should I
grieve? The halo of the light of my moon is more than enough
for a hundred like me.
He entered my heart; his image was a fire. the fire rose over
my head; my cap was consumed.
He said, "Concerts impair and respect." You can have
dignity, for this love is my luck and dignity.**
I desire not intellect and wisdom; his learning is enough for
me. The light of his cheek at midnight is the blaze of my dawn.
The army of sorrow is mustering; I will not grieve at his army
because my horses, squadron on squadron, have seized even
After every ode my heart repents of discoursing; the sum-
mons of my God waylays my heart.

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

* The water of life (Ab-e hayvan or hayat) is the Fountain of Life in
the Land of
Darkness. Nizami in his Sikandar-nama describes how Alexander was
guided by
the prophet Khidr to the Fountain but could not reach it.
The reflection of the moon in the well is likened to Joseph cast by
his brothers
into a dark well. Cf. Qur'an 12.
**Sama', which here has been translated as "concert," is the mystic
dance of the
Mevlevi darvishes accompanied by the flute and the recital of ghazals.
The musi-
cal quality of most of the poems in the Divan-e Shams makes them ideal
for such
performances, and apparently Rumi had this particular point in mind
when he
wrote them) cf.p. 3 in the introduction to the First Selection). Here
Rumi op-
posed those Sufis and orthodox Muslims who were against the sama' as a
There have been numerous pro and con discussions on the subject in Islamic
literature, and for instance one can refer to al-Gazali) Kimiya-ye
Tehran, 1954, chap.15) who considers the charms of music of great help in
drawing the sensitive heart toward God.

^ ^ ^ ^ ^

The media:


Monday, January 29, 2007

"Since you wish it so, God wishes it so"


^ ^ ^ ^ ^

Since you wish it so, God wishes it so;
God grants the desires of the devoted.
In the past it was as if he belonged to God,
but now "God belongs to him"* has come in recompense.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Chon chonin khâvhi Khodâ khvâhad chonin
mi dehad Haqq ârzu-ye mottaqin
"Kâna lillâh" budeh-'i dar mâ-mazâ
tâ keh "Kâna Allâh"* pish âmad jazâ

*From a hadith of the Prophet: Whoever is for God,
God is for him (man kâna lillâh, kâna Allah lahu)

-- Mathnawi IV:6-7
Version by Camille and Kabir Helminski
"Rumi: Jewels of Remembrance"
Threshold Books, 1996
(Persian transliteration courtesy of Yahyá Monastra)

The media:

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Thursday, January 25, 2007

"A glimpse of that beauty"


^ ^ ^ ^ ^

My body pulled my soul from the higher planes
and I lost the company of saints and prophets.
Now wrapped in my prison I've met a Moon
that fills my heart with dreams and visions.
Most people want to escape from prison
but why should I run away when my love is inside,
where else could I be alone with love?
I look at myself and see such painful longing
I look at love and see how pleased she is watching me.
Once you are in that house of Beauty
abundant grace awaits you.

I overhead the stars whispering
that if ever one of them
caught a glimpse of that Beauty,
to tell the others at once.
But the lovers guard their secrets jealously
for they know that when the Moon rises
everything will set.

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

The media:

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"Spare no effort"


^ ^ ^ ^ ^

The worm is in the root of the body's tree;
it must be dug out and burned.
Travelers, it is late.
Life's sun is going to set.
During these brief days that you have strength,
be quick and spare no effort of your wings.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Kerm dar bikh-e derakht-e tan fotâd
bâyadesh bar konad va dar âtesh nehâd
Hin o hin ay râh-raw bigâh shod
âftâb-e `omr su-ye châh shod
in do ruzak-râ keh zuret hast zud
par afshâni be-kon az râh-e jud

-- Mathnawi II: 1264-1266
Version by Camille and Kabir Helminski
"Rumi: Daylight"
Threshold Books, 1994
Persian transliteration courtesy of Yahyá Monastra

The media:

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"The Gift of Water"


^ ^ ^ ^ ^

"The Gift of Water"

Someone who doesn't know the Tigris River exists
brings the caliph who lives near the river
a jar of fresh water. The caliph accepts, thanks him,
and gives in return a jar filled with gold coins.

"Since this man has come through desert,
he should return by water." Taken out by another door,
the man steps into a waiting boat
and sees the wide freshwater of the Tigris.
He bows his head, "What wonderful kindness
that he took my gift."

Every object and being in the universe is
a jar overfilled with wisdom and beauty,
a drop of the Tigris that cannot be contained
by any skin. Every jarful spills and makes the earth
more shining, as though covered in satin.
If the man had seen even a tributary
of the great river, he wouldn't have brought
the innocence of his gift.

Those that stay and live by the Tigris
grow so ecstatic that they throw rocks at jugs,
and the jugs become perfect!

They shatter.
The pieces dance, and water...

Do you see?
Neither jar, nor water, nor stone,

You knock at the door of reality,
shake your thought-wings, loosen
your shoulders,
and open.

-- Mathnavi 1: 2850-70
Version by Coleman Barks
"The Essential Rumi"
HarperSanFrancisco, 1995

The media:

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Saturday, January 20, 2007

"The wolf into Joseph, and poison into sugar"

Here, Sunlight offers three presentations of Ghazal 1374,
accompanied by a link to mixed media:

^ ^ ^ ^ ^

O lovers
Love will lay a carpet of treasures under your feet.
Love will fill your drums with gold.
Thirsty ones
Love will turn your scorched desert
into a meadow of paradise.
Forsaken ones
Love will open the doors to the King's palace.
Love's alchemy will reshape gallows into altars.
Love will change your apathy to faith.
Kings of the world
in love's hands you will melt like a candle.

To the parched lips of those who are
willing to surrender
Love will bring the wine that changes darkness
into vision, cruelty into compassion
and dust into precious incense.

Those who think the heart is only in the chest
take two or three steps and are content.
The rosary, the prayer rug and repentance
are paths that they mistake for the destination.

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

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


O lovers! O lovers! -
I can turn dust into diamonds!
O minstrels! O minstrels!
I can fill your tambourines with gold!

O thirsty souls! O thirsty souls!
I can give you water to drink,
I can turn this dustbin
into the flowing waters of paradise!

O beggar! O beggar!
Your desperate call is over.
I can turn your aching heart
into the King's crown!

O love! O love!
Pour down on this world.
I can turn every ruin into a mosque,
every gallows into a pulpit.

O skeptics! O skeptics!
I can open your heart!
I can pull the strings
that turn people toward doubt or faith.

O braggers! O braggers!
You are a ball of wax in my hand!
Become a sword
and I will turn you into a cup.
Become a cup
and I will turn you into a sword.

You began as a drop of semen,
then you became blood.
Now you have attained this wonderful form.
Come to me, O son of Adam,
I will make you even more beautiful.

I can turn sorrow into joy,
I can turn a wild beast into Joseph,
I can turn poison into nectar,
I can find all those who have gone astray.

O Saaqi! O Saaqi!
My mouth is open wide.
Let every dry mouth
be joined to the lip of your cup.

O garden! O garden!
Let me use your roses for my rosary
and I will let your flowers bloom in my heart.

O Heaven! O Heaven!
You'll be more confused than the narcissus
when I change dust into ambergris,
thorns into jasmine.

O Wisdom! O Wisdom!
You are the King of Truth
who offers a treasure to all those who ask.
Why should I say another word? -
What could I add to your endless giving?

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

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Oh lovers! Oh lovers! I turn dust into gems! Oh
minstrels! Oh minstrels! I fill your tambourines with gold!
Oh thirsty souls! Oh thirsty souls! Today I am
giving water to drink! I will transform this dustbin into
paradise, a celestial pool.
Oh helpless men! Oh helpless men! Relief has
come! Relief has come! I turn everyone with a wounded and
aching heart into a sultan, a Sanjar.
Oh elixir! Oh elixir! Look at me, for I transmute
a hundred monasteries into mosques, a hundred gallows into
Oh unbelievers! Oh unbelievers! I unfasten your
locks! For I am the absolute ruler: I make some people
believers, others unbelievers!
Oh sir! Oh sir! You are wax in my hands! If
you become a sword, I will make you a cup; if you become a
cup, I will make you into a sword.
You were a sperm-drop and became blood, then
you gained this harmonious form--come to me, oh son of
Adam! I will make you even more beautiful.
I turn grief into joy and guide the lost, I make
the wolf into Joseph and poison into sugar!
Oh sakis! Oh sakis! I have opened my mouth in
order to marry every dry lip to the lip of the cup!
Oh rosegarden! Oh rosegarden! Borrow roses
from my rosery! Then I will place your sweet herbs next to
the lotus.
Oh heaven! Oh heaven! You will become even
more bewildered than the narcissus when I make dust into
ambergris, thorns into jasmine.
Oh Universal Intellect! Oh Universal Intellect!
Whatever you say is true. You are the ruler, you are
munificent-- let me stop my speaking.

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

The image:

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Friday, January 19, 2007


The undisciplined man doesn't wrong himself alone—
he sets fire to the whole world.
Discipline enabled Heaven to be filled with light;
discipline enabled the angels to be immaculate and holy.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Bi adab tanhâ nah khvod-râ dâsht bad
balke âtash dar hameh âfâq zad
Az adab por-e nur gashtast in falak
vaz adab ma`sum o pâk âmad malak

-- Mathnawi I:79;91
Version by Camille and Kabir Helminski
"Rumi: Daylight"
Threshold Books, 1994
Persian transliteration courtesy of Yahyل Monastra

The image:
http://img.photojerk.com/4EFy3. jpg

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Heart and mind

Here, Sunlight offers Ghazal 609, from the Diwan-e Shams, in a
poetic translation by Nader Khalili:

^ ^ ^

if you dwell very long
in a heart depressed and dark
be aware you've fallen low
in will and quest

a heart filled with grief
whirling and spinning endlessly
can never feel at peace

what makes you
tremble in fear
that's your true worth now

whatever seems to be
your healing source
is the cause of your pain

whatever you think
is sure secure and forever
is what has hunted you down

whenever your mind flies
it can only land
in the house of madness

whenever love arrives
there is no more space
for your self claim

a heart filled with love
is like a phoenix
that no cage can imprison

such a bird can only fly
above and beyond
any known universe

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

The image:

^ ^ ^

Sunlight note: The "Divan-e Shams" is the "Collection of Shams", the
collection of Rumi's lyrical "Ghazals" (Odes), named for his great
friend, teacher, and inspiration, Shams of Tabriz. -- Sunlight Ed.


"Hope is the deaf man"

Here, Sunlight offers a selection from Mathnawi, Book III, in a
version from the Helminskis (assumed to be derived from Nicholson, an
assumption which is based on translation peculiarities and errors
which Helminski has apparently carried over from Nicholson, in
various poems), and in a translation from Professor Nicholson,
accompanied by a transliteration from Dr. Gamard:

^ ^ ^ ^ ^

Hope is the deaf man who has often heard of our dying,
but hasn't heard of his own death or contemplated his own end.
The blind man is Greed: he sees the faults of others,
hair by hair, and broadcasts them from street to street,
but of his own faults his blind eyes perceive nothing.
The naked man fears his cloak will be pulled off,
but how could anyone take the cloak of one who is naked?
The worldly man is destitute and terrified:
he possesses nothing, yet he dreads thieves.
When death comes, everyone around him is lamenting,
while his own spirit begins to laugh at his fear.
At that moment the rich man knows he has no gold,
and the keen-witted man sees that talent does not belong to him.

-- Mathnawi III:2628-2635
Version by Camille and Kabir Helminski
"Rumi: Jewels of Remembrance"
Threshold Books, 1996

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

Know that hope is the deaf man who has (often) heard of our dying,
(but) has not heard of his own death or regarded his own decease.
The blind man is Greed: he sees other people's faults, hair by hair,
and tells them from street to street,
(But) his blind eyes do not perceive one mote of his own faults,
albeit he is a fault-finder.
The naked man is afraid that his skirt will be cut off: how should
they (anyone) cut off the skirt of a naked man?
The worldly man is destitute and terrified: he possesses nothing,
(yet) he has dread of thieves.
Bare he came and naked he goes, and (all the while) his heart is
bleeding with anxiety on account of the thief.
At the hour of death when a hundred lamentations are (being made)
beside him, his spirit begins to laugh at its own fear.
At that moment, the rich man knows that he has no gold; the
keen-witted man, too, knows that he is devoid of talent.
('Tis) like (as when) a child's lap (is) filled with potsherds, for he
(the child) is trembling for them, like the owner of riches.
If you take a piece away, he begins to weep; and if you give the piece
back to him, he begins to laugh.
This, this, is the soul of all the sciences -- that thou shouldst know
who thou shalt be on the Day of Judgment.

-- Mathnawi III, 2628-2637, 2654
Translation and Commentary by Reynold A. Nicholson
Published and Distributed by The Trustees of
The "E.J.W. Gibb Memorial"

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

kar amal-râ dân ke marg-é mâ shenîd
marg-é khwad na-sh'nîd-o naql -é khwad na-dîd

hirs nâ-bînâ-st bîn-ad mô ba mô
`ayb-ê khalq-ân-o be-gôy-ad kô ba kô

`ayb-é khwad yak zarra chashm-é kûr-é ô
mê-na-bîn-ad gar-cha hast ô `ayb-jô

`ûr mê-tars-ad ke dâmân-ash bor-and
dâman-é mard-é barahna chûn dar-and?

mard-é dunyâ muflis-ast-o tars-nâk
hêch ô-râ nêst az dozdân-ash bâk

ô barahna âm-ad-o `uryân raw-ad
w-az gham-é dozd-ash jegar khûn mê-shaw-ad

waqt-é marg-ash ke bow-ad sad nawha bêsh
khanda ây-ad jân'sh-râ z-în tars-é khwêsh

ân zamân dân-ad ghanî ke-sh nêst zar
ham zakî dân-ad ke ô bod bê-honar

chûn kenâr-é kôdakê por az sufâl
k-ô bar ân larzân bow-ad chûn rabb-é mâl

gar setân-î pârayê geryân shaw-ad
pâra gar bâz-ash deh-î khandân shaw-ad
jân jomla `ilm-hâ în-ast în
ke be-dân-î man ke-y-am dar Yawm-é Dîn

-- Mathnawi III: 2628-2637, 2654
(Persian transliteration courtesy of Dr. Ibrâhîm Gamard)

The media:

^ ^ ^ ^ ^

"How Attraction Happens"

Moses is talking to someone drunk with worshiping the golden
calf. "What happened to your

doubt? You used to be so skeptical of me. The Red Sea parted.
Food came every day in the

wilderness for forty years. A fountain sprang out of a rock.
You saw these things

and still reject the idea of prophethood. Then the magician
Samiri does a trick to make

the metal cow low, and immediately you kneel! What did that
hollow statue say? Have you

heard a dullness like your own?" This is how attraction
happens: people with nothing

they value delight in worthlessness. Someone who thinks
there's no meaning or purpose

feels drawn to images of futility. Each moves to be with
its own. The ox does not turn

toward a lion. Wolves have no interest in Joseph, unless
to devour him. But if a wolf

is cured of wolfishness, it will sleep close by Joseph,
like a dog in the presence of

meditators. Soul companionship gives safety and light
to a cave full of friends.

-- Mathnawi II: 2036-58
Version by Coleman Barks
"The Soul of Rumi"
HarperSanFrancisco, 2001

The image:

^ ^ ^ ^ ^

Friday, January 12, 2007

"Do not seize my heart alone"

Here, Sunlight offers Rumi's Ghazal (Ode) 84, in an
interpretative translation by Azima Melita Kolin and Maryam
Mafi, and in translation by A.J. Arberry:

^ ^ ^ ^ ^

I smile like a flower not only with my lips
but with my whole being
for I am alone with the King and
have lost myself in him.

At dawn your flame seized my heart
but left behind my body.
I will shout and raise havoc until
you come back for me tonight.

My Beloved, do not let anger estrange my heart
be generous, invite me to your feast.
Let no one be deprived of the joy
of your company.

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

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

Like the rose I am laughing with all my body, not
only with my mouth, because I am without myself, alone
with the king of the world.
You who came with torch and at dawn ravished
my heart, dispatch my soul after my heart, do not seize
my heart alone.
Do not in rage and envy make my soul a stranger
to my heart; do not leave the former here, and do not
summon the latter alone.
Send a royal message, issue a general invitation;
how long, O sultan, shall the one be with you and the
other alone?
If you do not come tonight as yesterday and close
my lips, I will make a hundred uproars, my soul, I will
not lament alone.

-- Translation by A.J. Arberry
Mystical Poems of Rumi 1
The University of Chicago Press 1968/1991

^ ^ ^ ^ ^

"If you don't know the way"

^ ^ ^ ^ ^

If you have a touchstone, go ahead, choose;
otherwise, go and devote yourself
to one who knows the differences.
Either you must have a touchstone
within your own soul,
or if you don't know the way,
find someone who does.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Gar mehakk dâri gozin kon var nah raw
nazd-e dânâ khvishtan-râ kon geraw
Yâ mehakk bâyad miyân-e jân-e khvish
var na-dâni rah ma-raw tanhâ to pish

-- Mathnawi II:746-747
Version by Camille and Kabir Helminski
Rumi: Daylight
Threshold Books, 1994
(Persian transliteration courtesy of Yahyá Monastra)

^ ^ ^ ^ ^

"Comes the time to carry loads"

^ ^ ^ ^ ^

Ho, master, what a bird are you?*
Your name? What are you good for?
You do not fly, you do not graze,
you little sugar birdie!
You're like an ostrich. When one says,
"Now fly!" then you will say,
"I am a camel, Arab! – When
did camels ever fly?"
And comes the time to carry loads,
you say, "No, I'm a bird!
When did one burden birds? Oh please,
leave this annoying talk!"

-- Ghazal (Ode) 2622
Translation by Annemarie Schimmel
"I Am Wind, You are Fire"
Shambhala, 1992

* "What a bird are you " -- this could variously be translated
as "What sort of bird are you?" or "What kind of bird are you, that
you don't fly?" Sunlight thanks Panevis, in Tehran, for the
discussion and clarification. -- Sunlight Ed.

^ ^ ^ ^ ^

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

"Don't travel alone"

^ ^ ^ ^ ^

The one who cheerfully goes alone on a journey—
if he travels with companions
his progress is increased a hundredfold.
Notwithstanding the insensitivity of a donkey,
even the donkey is exhilarated, O dervish,
by comrades of its own kind
and so becomes capable of exerting strength.

To a donkey who goes alone and away from the caravan,
the road is made longer a hundredfold by fatigue.
How much more it suffers the crop and the whip
that it might cross the desert by itself!
That ass is implicitly telling you, "Pay attention!
Don't travel alone like this, unless you are an ass!"
Beyond a doubt the one who cheerfully goes alone into the toll house
proceeds more cheerfully with companions.
Every prophet on this straight path
produced the testimony of miracles and sought fellow travelers.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Ânkeh tanhâ dar rahi u khvosh ravad
bâ rafiqân sayr-e u sadtu shavad
Bâ ghalizi khar ze yârân ay faqir
dar nashât âyad shavad qut pazir

Har khari kaz kârvân tanhâ ravad
bar vay ân rah az ta`ab sadtu shavad
Chand sikh o chand chub afzun khvord
tâ keh tanhâ ân be-biyâbân-râ bord
Mar torâ mi guyad ân khar khvosh "Shenaw
gar nayi khar hamchonin tanhâ ma-raw"
Ânkeh tanhâ khvosh ravad andar rasad
bâ rafiqân bi gomân khvoshtar ravad
Har nabiyi andarin râh-e dorost
mo`jezeh be-namud o hamrâhân be-jost

-- Mathnawi VI: 512-518
Version by Camille and Kabir Helminski
"Rumi: Jewels of Remembrance"
Threshold Books, 1996
(Persian transliteration courtesy of Yahyá Monastra)

^ ^ ^ ^ ^

Monday, January 08, 2007


Sunlight offers Ghazal (Ode) 735, in a version by Coleman
Barks, and in translation by A.J. Arberry:

^ ^ ^ ^ ^


As elephants remember India
perfectly, as mind dissolves,

as song begins, as the glass

fills, wind rising, a roomful

of conversation, a sanctuary
of prostration, a bird lights

on my hand in this day born of
friends, this ocean covering

everything, all roads opening,
a person changing to kindness,

no one reasonable, religious
jargon forgotten, and Saladin

there raising his hand to bid
on the bedraggled boy Joseph.

-- Version by Coleman Barks
(based on a Nevit Ergin translation)
"The Soul of Rumi"
HarperSanFrancisco, 2001

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Last night our elephant remembered India again, in frenzy
he was rending the veil of night till dawn.
Last night the flagons of the sakis were all overbrimming
- O may our life be like last night till the day of resurrection!
The wines were bubbling and the reasons were senseless on
account of him; may part and whole, thorn and rose by happy
because of his lovely face!
The cup-on-cup clamour of the drunkards mounted to
heaven; in our hands was the wine, and in our heads the wind.
Thousands of uproars fell upon the skies because of
these, there hundreds of thousands of Kai-Qubads were fallen pros-
The day of triumph and good fortune was contained in our
night; of the brethren of purity night suddenly gave birth to
such a day.
The sea broke into waves; heaven received a token of this
night, and in pride set that token on its head and face.
Whatever ways humanity had closed in darkness, the light
of divinity in compassion was opening up.
How should the sensible forms on account of that passion
remain in place? How should he remain in place who attains
this desire?
Begin life anew, Moslems! For the Beloved has converted
non-entity into being, and dispensed justice to the lovers.
Our Beloved henceforward holds the fallen to be pardon-
able, because wherever He is the saki no one remains on the
right course.
The surging of the sea of grace, Moslems, has wrecked the
pomp of personal effort and the programme of belief.
That grace is King Salah al-Din, for he is a Joseph whom the
Lord of Egypt himself must purchase at a great price.

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

^ ^ ^ ^ ^

Friday, January 05, 2007

Inside this new love, die

Sunlight offers Ghazal (Ode) 636, in versions by Coleman Barks
and Jonathan Star, and in translation by A.J. Arberry:

^ ^ ^ ^ ^

Inside this new love, die.
Your way begins on the other side.
Become the sky.
Take an axe to the prison wall.
Walk out like someone
suddenly born into color.
Do it now.
You're covered with thick cloud.
Slide out the side. Die,
and be quiet. Quietness is the surest sign
that you have died.
Your old life was a frantic running
from silence.

The speechless full moon
comes out now.

-- Version by Coleman Barks
"These Branching Moments"
Copper Beech Press, 1988

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

"The Black Cloud"

Lose yourself,
Lose yourself in this love.
When you lose yourself in this love,
you will find everything.

Lose yourself,
Lose yourself.
Do not fear this loss,
For you will rise from the earth
and embrace the endless heavens.

Lose yourself,
Lose yourself.
Escape from this earthly form,
For this body is a chain
and you are its prisoner.
Smash through the prison wall
and walk outside with the kings and princes.

Lose yourself,
Lose yourself at the foot of the glorious King.
When you lose yourself
before the King
you will become the King.

Lose yourself,
Lose yourself.
Escape from the black cloud
that surrounds you.
Then you will see your own light
as radiant as the full moon.

Now enter that silence.
This is the surest way
to lose yourself....

What is your life about, anyway? -
Nothing but a struggle to be someone,
Nothing but a running from your own silence.

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

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

Die now, die now, in this Love die; when you have died in
this Love, you will all receive new life.
Die now, die now, and do not fear this death, for you will
come forth from this earth and seize the heavens.
Die now, die now, and break away from this carnal soul, for
this carnal soul is as a chain and you are as prisoners.
Take an axe to dig through the prison; when you have
broken the prison you will all be kings and princes.
Die now, die now before the beauteous King; when you
have died before the King, you will all be kings and renowned.
Die now, die now, and come forth from this cloud; when
you come forth from this cloud, you will all be radiant full moons.
Be silent, be silent; silence is the sign of death; it is because
of life that you are fleeing from the silent one.

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

The media:


Thursday, January 04, 2007

"All colors become one"

The baptism of God is the dyeing vat of Hu,
God's absoluteness, in which all colors become one.
When the contemplative falls into that vat—
and you say, "Come out,"
He says, "I am the vat. Don't blame me."
That "I am the vat"
means the same as "I am God."
The red-hot iron has taken on the color of fire.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Sebghat Allâh hast khom-e rang-e Hu
pis-hâ yek rang gardad andaru
Chon dar ân khom oftad va guyish qom
az tarab guyad manam khom lâ talomm
n manam khom khvod anâ al-Haqq goftanast
rang-e âtesh dârad ellâ âhanast

-- Mathnawi II : 1345-1347
Version by Camille and Kabir Helminski
"Rumi: Daylight"
Threshold Books, 1994
Persian transliteration courtesy of Yahyá Monastra

The media:


Wednesday, January 03, 2007

The next is born from the last

look at love
how it tangles
with the one fallen in love

look at spirit
how it fuses with earth
giving it new life

why are you so busy
with this or that or good or bad
pay attention to how things blend

why talk about all
the known and the unknown
see how the unknown merges into the known

why think seperately
of this life and the next
when one is born from the last

look at your heart and tongue
one feels but deaf and dumb
the other speaks in words and signs

look at water and fire
earth and wind
enemies and friends all at once

the wolf and the lamb
the lion and the deer
far away yet together

look at the unity of this
spring and winter
manifested in the equinox

you too must mingle my friends
since the earth and the sky
are mingled just for you and me

be like sugarcane
sweet yet silent
don't get mixed up with bitter words

my beloved grows
right out of my own heart
how much more union can there be

-- Ghazal 2381, from Rumi's "Diwan-e Shams"
Translation by Nader Khalili
"Rumi, Fountain of Fire"
Cal-Earth Press, 1995

The media:


Tuesday, January 02, 2007

"Is there a window from heart to heart?"

^ ^ ^

Is there a window from heart to heart?
After all, the shaykh sees your thoughts
as if through a window.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Guyi panhân mi zanam âtesh zaneh
nah be-qalb az qalb bâshad rawzaneh
kher az rawzan be-binad fekr-e to
del govâhi dehad az zekr-e to

--Mathnawi, II:1587-1588
Rumi: Daylight
Version by Camille and Kabir Helminski
Threshold Books, 1994
Persian transliteration courtesy of Yahyá Monastra

The media: