Monday, November 23, 2009

[Sunlight] Those who live in union


Two presentations from the Mathnawi on the state of living in union - a poetic version by Barks and a literal translations by Nicholson.


"The Naked Sun"

Those who live in Union become pregnant
with the feelings and words of invisible forms!
Their amazed mouths open.
Their eyes withdraw.

Children are born of the illumination.
We say "born," but that's not right.
It only points to a new understanding.

Be quiet and let the Master of Speech talk.
Don't try to dress up your own nightingale-song
to sell to this Rose!
Be all ear.

This pregnancy!
So subtle and delicious,
the way ice in July reminds us of winter,
the way fruit in January tells of summer generosity.
That's how the naked Sun
embraces all the orchard-brides at once.

-- Mathnawi VI, 1810-1822
Version by Coleman Barks from a
translation by John Moyne
"This Longing"
Threshold, 1988


In like manner (all) the parts of those intoxicated with union
are pregnant with the (ideal) forms of (ecstatic) feelings and
Their mouths remain gaping (in amazement) at the beauty of
(that) ecstasy, (While) their eyes are absent (withdrawn) from the
forms of this world.
Those (spiritual) progenies are not (produced) by means of
these four (elements); consequently they are not seen by these
Those progenies are born of (Divine) illumination; consequently
they are covered (from sight) by a pure veil.
We said "born," but in reality they are not born, and this
expression is only (used) in order to guide (the understanding).
Hark, be silent that the King of Say* may speak: do not play
the nightingale* with a Rose of this kind.
This eloquent Rose is full of song* and cry: O nightingale, let
thy tongue cease, be (all) ear!
Both (these) kinds* of pure ideal forms are valid (trustworthy)
witnesses to the mystery of union.
Both (these) kinds of subtle and delectable beauty are witnesses
to (spiritual) pregnancies and growing big (with child)* in the past,
Like ice that in the brilliant* (month of) Tamuz is ever telling
the story of winter.
And recalling the cold winds and intense frost in those hard
days and times;
(Or) like fruit that in winter-time tells the story of God's
And the tale of the season when the sun was smiling and
embracing* the brides of the orchard.
The ecstasy is gone but thy (every) part remains as a souvenir:
either inquire of it, or thyself recall (the ecstasy) to mind.

-- Mathnawi,VI, 1810-1823
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"

* I.e. God who speaks through the prophets and saints.
* Literally, "do not sell (offer for sale and display) the quality
(song) of the nightingale."
* Literally, "(sound of) boiling."
* I.e. feeling and words.
* Literally, "(the process of) raising to life."
* Literally, "made new," "renovated."




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