Friday, October 16, 2009

[Sunlight] Listen, O drop, give yourself up without regret


From Rumi's Mathnawi, come versions by Helminski (with a
Persian transliteration), and Barks, and a literal translation by R.
A. Nicholson:


Listen, O drop, give yourself up without regret,
and in exchange gain the Ocean.
Listen, O drop, bestow upon yourself this honor,
and in the arms of the Sea be secure.
Who indeed should be so fortunate?
An Ocean wooing a drop!
In God's name, in God's name, sell and buy at once!
Give a drop, and take this Sea full of pearls.


Hin be-deh ay qatreh khvod-râ bi nadam
tâ biyâbi dar bahâ-ye qatreh-'i Yamm
Hin be-deh ay qatreh khvod-râ in sharaf
dar kaff-e Daryâ shaw ayman az talaf
Khvod kerâ âyad chonin dawlat be-dast
qatreh-râ Bahri taqâzâgar shodast
Allâh Allâh zud be-forush o be-khar
qatreh-'i dar Bahr por-e gawhar be-bar

-- Mathnawi IV:2619-2622
"Rumi: Jewels of Remembrance"
Version by Camille and Kabir Helminski
Threshold Books, 1996
Persian transliteration courtesy of Yahyá Monastra


"Don't Postpone Your Yes!"

Muhammed is said to have said,
"Whoever belongs to God, God belongs to."

Our weak, uneven breathings,
these dissolving personalities,
were breathed out by the eternal
Huuuuuuuu, that never changes!
A drop of water constantly fears
that it may evaporate into the air,
or be absorbed by the ground.

It doesn't want to be used up
in those ways, but when it lets go
and falls into the ocean it came from,
it finds protection from the other deaths.

Its droplet form is gone,
but its watery essence has become
vast and inviolable.

Listen to me, friends, because you
are a drop, and you can honor yourselves
in this way. What could be luckier

than to have the ocean come
to court the drop?

For God's sake, don't postpone your yes!
Give up and become the giver.

-- Mathnawi IV:2613-2622
Version by Coleman Barks
"One-Handed Basket Weaving"
Maypop, 1991


Kana lillah is the giving of thy groat, in order that kana 'llah
lahu may come into (thy) hand;
For this weak unstable hu (personality) was brought into being by
the steadfast (permanent) hu of the Lord.
When the hu that passes away has surrendered itself to Him, it
becomes everlasting and never dies.
('Tis) like a drop of water (which is) afraid of wind (air) and
earth; for by means of these twain it is made to pass away and perish.
When it has leaped (thrown itself) into the sea, which was its
source, it is delivered from the heat of the sun and from wind and
Its outward form has disappeared into the sea, but its essence is
inviolate and permanent and goodly.
Hark, O (thou who art like a) drop, give thyself up without
repenting, that in recompense for the drop thou mayst gain the Ocean.
Hark, O drop, bestow on thyself this honour, and in the hand of
the Sea become safe from destruction.
Whom indeed should fortune like this befall? A Sea has become the
suitor for a drop.
In God's name, in God's name, sell and buy at once! Give a drop,
and take (in return) the Sea which is full of pearls.
In God's name, in God's name, do not make any postponement, for
these words (of Moses) come from the Sea of Grace.

-- Mathnawi IV:2613-2623
"The Mathnawi of Jalalu'ddin Rumi"
Translation by Reynold A. Nicholson
Published and Distributed by The Trustees of
The "E.J.W. Gibb Memorial"




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