Wednesday, March 17, 2010

[Sunlight] "Look now, here is a bargain" -- Ghazal 2577


Here, Sunlight offers Ghazal (Ode) 2577, in six presentations --
versions by Barks, Star, and Helminski, a second generation
translation, from the Turkish, by Nevit Ergin, and translations
by both Arberry and Nicholson.


There is a community of the spirit.
Join it, and feel the delight
of walking in the noisy street
and being the noise.

Drink all your passion
and be a disgrace.

Close both eyes
to see with the other eye.

Open your hands,
if you want to be held.

Sit down in this circle.

Quit acting like a wolf, and feel
the shepherd's love filling you.

At night, your beloved wanders.
Don't accept consolations.

Close your mouth against food.
Taste the lover's mouth in yours.

You moan, "She left me." "He left me."
Twenty more will come.

Be empty of worrying.
Think who created thought!

Why do you stay in prison
when the door is so wide open?

Move outside the tangle of fear-thinking.
Live in silence.

Flow down and down in always
widening rings of being.

-- Coleman Barks
"The Essential Rumi "
Castle Books, 1997


"The Shepherd's Care"

Join the community of saints
and know the delight
of your own soul.
Enter the ruins of your heart
and learn the meaning of humility.

Drain the cup of passion
and walk steadfast
on the path of Truth.
Close both eyes
and see the mysteries
with your inner eye.

Open your arms if you want the Beloved's embrace.
Break your bonds with this body
is you want to see
His pure and radiant Face.

Would you marry an old woman
to gain a dowry of a few pennies?
Would you face the threat of swords and spears
for three loaves of bread?

The Saqi is not a tyrant.
So come and sit within her circle.
How long will you stay outside
and watch her dance
the way you watch the circling night sky?

God's creation is vast
Why do you sit all day in a tiny prison?

Look! He's giving you a real bargain
Give up one and get a hundred.
Stop running around like a wolf or a dog
stay and receive the Shepherd's care.

You say, He stole away my sweetheart!
Forget it: twenty more sweethearts will come.

Thoughts of the Beloved will feed your soul.
How can your hunger be satisfied
by thought of bread alone?

Speak little,
Learn the words of eternity.

Go beyond your tangled thoughts
and find the splendor of Paradise.
Go beyond your little world
and find the grandeur of God's world.

-- Version by Jonathan Star
"In the Arms of the Beloved"
Putnam, 1997


"Empty the Glass of Your Desire"

Join yourself to friends
and know the joy of the soul.
Enter the neighborhood of ruin
with those who drink to the dregs.

Empty the glass of your desire
so that you won't be disgraced.
Stop looking for something out here
and begin seeing within.

Open your arms if you want an embrace.
Break the earthen idols and release the radiance.
Why get involved with a hag like this world?
You know what it will cost.

And three pitiful meals a day
is all that weapons and violence can earn.
At night when the Beloved comes
will you be nodding on opium?

If you close your mouth to food,
you can know a sweeter taste.
Our Host is no tyrant. We gather in a circle.
Sit down with us beyond the wheel of time.

Here is the deal: give one life
and receive a hundred.
Stop growling like dogs,
and know the shepherd's care.

You keep complaining about others
and all they owe you?
Well, forget about them;
just be in His presence.

When the earth is this wide,
why are you asleep in prison?
Think of nothing but the source of thought.
Feed the soul; let the body fast.

Avoid knotted ideas;
untie yourself in a higher world.
Limit your talk
for the sake of timeless communion.

Abandon life and the world,
and find the life of the world.

-- Version by Kabir Helminski
"Love is a Stranger"
Threshhold Books, 1993


You color yourself with
The color of the community;
Taste the pleasure of Soul.
Come to the neighborhood of the tavern,
And watch the ones who drink heavy wine.

Drink a glass from Love.
Leave shame and modesty; become disgraceful.
Close the eye of your head
So the eye of your soul will be open.

If you want to reach the shore,
Let your arms drop to the side.
Break this idol which is made of soil;
See the faces of beauty,
And enjoy that beauty.

How long will you be worrying
About the price of betrothal for an old woman?
How long will you be a target
For all kinds of swords
just for a few mouthfuls of bread?

Here is the cupbearer who doesn't
Know torment or oppression.
Glasses turn around in his assembly.
Enter among the ones who are sitting.
How long will you be whirling by the universe?

There is a good deal here:
Give one soul, and take a hundred.
Act less like a dog or a wolf,
So you can gain the love of the shepherd.

Night has been your friend all along-
Don't swallow opium tonight.
Quit eating and drinking;
That taste of your mouth will come back to you.

You say the enemy separated so and so from me.
Go, give up this so and so,
And you will get twenty of this and that.

Don't get involved with any thought
Other than the one who created thought.
Is the worry of bread and meals
Better than the Beloved's worry and concerns?

When God's place is so big,
Why do you cage yourself in this jail?
Don't bind this knot
Of thought too closely, because then
You can't see the openness of the heart.
Watch the endless heart.

Quit talking. Abandon soul
And the universe, so you
Can see the Soul and the world.

-- Translation by Nevit Ergin
(From the Turkish translation by Mevlevi scholar
Abdulbaki Golpinarli)
"Mevlana Jelaleddin Rumi: Divan-i Kebir,"
Meter 3, #213, pg 366 (1995)


Become of one hue with the community, that you may feel
spiritual delight; enter the street of the tavern, that you may
behold the dregs-drinkers*.
Drain the cup of passion, let it be that you become a disgrace;
close up the eyes of your head, that you may see the secret eye.
Open your two hands if you desire an embrace; break the idol
of clay, that you may see the face of the idols**.
How long for the sake of an old woman will you endure such a
How long for the sake of three loaves will you face sword and
Lo, the saaqi who is no tyrant, in this assembly there is a
circle -- enter and sit in that circle; how long will you gaze on the
circling of fate?
Here is a good bargain -- give a life and receive a hundred;
cease to act the wolf and dog, that you may behold the shepherd's
By night, the Beloved goes about; do not take opium tonight,
close your mouth against food, that you may feel the taste of the
You say, "the enemy took so-and-so away from me"; go,
abandon so-and-so, that you may see twenty so-and-so's.
Think of naught but the creator of thought; thought for the
Beloved is better than thinking about bread.
With the breadth of God's earth, why have you clung to prison?
Knot care less, that you may see the expanse of Paradise****.
Silence this speech, that you may gain speech one day; pass
down from the soul and the world, that you may behold the Soul of the

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

Arberry's footnotes:
* Nicholson comments: "Jama-a means the community or
brotherhood of saints and spiritual men".
** "The idol of clay" is the "self" which veils man from God.
*** In Persian literature the world is often likened to an
old woman who survives many bridegrooms.
**** "Was not God's land wide enough that you might
take refuge in it?" Qur'an 4:99. The prison refers to earthly
involvements separating man from God. "Knot care less" --
Nicholson translates this phrase as "Avoid entangled
thoughts" or "Do not bewilder yourself by useless thinking."


Make yourself like to the community,* that you may feel
spiritual joy;
Enter the street of the tavern,* that you may behold the
Drain the cup of passion, that you may not be shamed;
Shut the eyes in your head, that you may see
the hidden eye.*
Open your arms,* if you desire and embrace;
Break the idol of clay,* that you may behold the face of
the Fair.
Why, for an old woman's sake,* do you endure so large
a dowry,*
And how long, for the sake of three loaves,* will you
look on the sword and the spear?
Always at night returns the Beloved: do not eat opium*
Close your mouth against food, that you may taste the
sweetness of the mouth.*
Lo, the cup-bearer* is no tyrant, and in his assembly there
is circle:*
Come into the circle, be seated; how long will you regard
the revolution (of time)?
Look now, here is a bargain: give one life and receive
a hundred.
Cease to behave as wolves and dogs, that you may
experience the Shepherd's love.
You said: "my foe took such an one away from me':
Go, renounce that person* in order to contemplate the
being of Him.
Think of nothing except the creator of thought;
Care for the soul is better than feeling care for one's
Why, when God's earth is so wide,* have you fallen
asleep in a prison?*
Avoid entangled thoughts,* that you may see the
explanation in Paradise.
Refrain from speaking,* that you may win speech
Abandon life and the world, that you may behold the
Life of the world.

-- T.319.6 ("Tabriz Edition of the Divani Shamsi Tabriz)
Edited and translated by Reynold A. Nicholson
"Selected Poems from the Divani Shamsi Tabriz"
Cambridge, At the University Press, 1898, 1952

Nicholson's notes:

* "Make yourself like to the community" the interpretation of
these words is doubtful. (1) the community means the community
Cf. Nafahatu'l Unus, p. 206. 1.5: "Associate with God, or if ye
cannot, with those who are the associates of God, in order that the
blessing of their society may lead you to him.' Jalal'uddin gives
the same advice in the Masnavi (22.4; Redhouse, p. 53, 1.412).
(2) the community is used mystically= divine unity, the All. Cf.
Attar, Mantiqu'ttair, 1315:

Whoever is not of one essence with his Beloved,
His love is no better than colour and perfume.

For the community of Mohammedan Theology= consensus of
opinion in the Church,' see Dozy "Supplement aux Dictionnaires
Arabes." Naturally Jalalu'ddin, in his condemnation of schism,
is not speaking as one of the orthodox.
"the street of the tavern":-- the tavern signifies God. Cf.
"Gulshani Raz," 839 seq.
"wine bibbers" those who drain to the lees the cup of celestial love.
* "the hidden eye": Cf. The oculus cordis described by Hugo of St.
Victor: an eye within . . . one that beholds at once the past, the
present, and the future; which diffuses through all things the
keen brightness of its vision; which penetrates what is hidden,
investigates what is impalpable; which needs no foreign light
wherewith to see, but gazes by a light of its own, peculiar to
itself' (Vaughan, "Hours with the Mystics," Vol. I. p. 305).
* "Open your arms": this may also mean: "be open-handed,
sacrifice all that you have. Cf. Masnavi, 370.13

Tis my business to yield up life unselfishly,
To bestow life is the business of our King of kings.

* "Break the idol of clay" destroy self,' which veils you
from God.
* "for an old woman's sake" meaning for the sake of the world.
* " *do you endure so large a dowry why do you consent to pay
so heavy a price? By Mohammedan law the dowry is paid to the wife
(see Lane's "Arabian Nights," Vol. I. p. 321; "Modern Egyptians,"
Vol. I. p. 212). Cf. Hafez, I. 438. 5:

The world is a fair bride as to outward looks,
But he who weds with her gives his life's joy in exchange.

Cf. Omar Khayyam, Quatrain 59:

To Destiny, my bride, I said: "What is thy dowry?"
"My dowry," she answered, "is thy heart's happiness."

* "three loaves" the petty doles of Fortune, contrasted with
divine beneficence.
* "opium" Virgil's soporiferum papaver.
* "sweetness of the mouth" the fragrant lips of the Beloved.
Food and sleep produce spiritual lethargy.
* "cupbearer" the cupbearer is God, who intoxicates all creation
with the rapture of love (see "Gulshani Raz, 805 seq.).
* "in his assembly there is a circle" like circulus in Latin, denotes
any company for social and convivial intercourse. Here it may refer
to the mystic dance (Sama). Cf. Brown's "Dervishes," p. 225:
"They (the Mevlevees) commence by forming a circle, seated on
sheep-skins spread on the floor at equal distances from each other;
they remain nearly a half-hour in this position, the arms folded, the
eyes closed, the head inclined, and absorbed in profound meditation."
* "renounce that person" that person is here an abstract noun.
The misra should be rendered:

Go, renounce personality, that you may regard the being
of the Person.

When "that person" is used of God, it means "the love of God".
* "Why, when God's earth is so wide" Koran IV. 99: "Was
not God's earth wide enough that ye might take refuge therein?
Notwithstanding, nevertheless.
* " have you fallen asleep in a prison?" why are you fast asleep
in the chains of sense and worldly illusion? Our birth is but
a sleep and a forgetting.'
* "Avoid entangled thoughts" do not bewilder yourself by
useless thinking. . . Translate:

Pass away from thought of the knot (problem), that you
may see the solution in Paradise.

This rendering brings out more clearly the double contrast of
"entangled" with "explanation" and of "thought" (opinion)
with "that you may see" (actual vision).




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