Wednesday, February 08, 2012

[Sunlight] "Look! This is love" -- Ghazel 1919


Today, Sunlight offers Ghazal (Ode) 1919, from Rumi's "Diwan-e
Shams" ("The Collection of Shams"), in a version by Jonathan Star (based on a translation by Shiva), a translation by Professor Annemarie Schimmel, a translation by Professor Reynold Nicholson, and a translation by Professor Arberry:



This is love –-- to fly upward
toward the endless heavens.
To rend a hundred veils at every moment.
At the first breath, to give up for life;
At the final step, to go without feet.
To see the world as a dream
and not as it appears.

I said, O heart
What a blessing it is
To join the circle of lovers,
To see beyond sight,
To know the secrets within every breast.

I said, O soul
From where comes your life
And the power of your spirit?
Tell me, speak in the language of birds,
And I will understand.

My soul said to me:
They brought me to God's workshop
Where all things take form – and I flew.
Before this form of mine
was even shaped – I flew and flew.

And when I could fly no longer
They dragged me into this form,
and locked me into this house
of water and clay.

-- Version by Jonathan Star
"A Garden Beyond Paradise:
The Mystical Poetry of Rumi,"
Jonathan Star and Shahram Shiva
Bantam Books, 1992


Look! This is love ---– to fly toward the heavens,
To tear a hundred veils in ev'ry wink,
To tear a hundred veils at the beginning,
To travel in the end without a foot,
And to regard this world as something hidden
And not to see with one's own seeing eye!
I said: "O heart, may it for you be blessed
To enter in the circle of the lovers,
To look from far beyond the range of eyesight,
To wander in the corners of the bosom!
O soul, from where has come to you this new breath?
O heart, from where has come this heavy throbbing?
O bird, speak now the language of the birds
Because I know to understand your secret!"
The soul replied: "Know, I was in God's workshop
While He still baked the 'house of clay and water.'
I fled from yonder workshop at a moment
Before the workshop was made and created.
I could resist no more. They dragged me hither
And they began to shape me like a ball!"

-- Translation by Annemarie Schimmel
"Look! This is Love - Poems of Rumi"
Shambhala, 1991



This is Love: to fly heavenward,
To rend, every instant, a hundred veils*.
The first moment, to renounce life*;
The last step, to fare without feet.
To regard this world as invisible*,
Not to see what appears to one's self*.
"O heart," I said, "may it bless thee
To have entered the circle of lovers,
To look beyond the range of the eye,
To penetrate the windings of the bosom*!
Whence did this breath come to thee, O my soul,
Whence this throbbing, O my heart?
O bird*, speak the language of birds*:
I can understand thy hidden meaning."
The soul answered: "I was in the (divine) Factory*
While the house of water and clay* was a-baking*.
I was flying away from the (material) workshop
While the workshop* was being created*.
When I could resist no more, they dragged me
To mould me into shape like a ball*."

-- T.267.8 ("Tabriz Edition of the Divani Shamsi Tabriz)
"Selected Poems from the Divani Shamsi Tabriz"
Edited and translated by Reynold A. Nicholson
Cambridge, At the University Press, 1898, 1952

Nicholson's notes:

* "a hundred veils" "a veil' is whatever prevents
union with the Deity. "Some one said to Junaid (ob.
297 A.H.): 'I find that the shaikhs of Khorasan recognise
three species of veils, the first is the human nature,
the second is the world, and the third is concupiscence.'
'These,' answered Junaid, 'are veils on the hearts of the
vulgar; the elect are veiled otherwise, namely by regarding
works, by seeking future recompense for them, and by
considering the favour of God'" (Jami, "Nafahatu'l
Uns," p. 92).
* "to renounce life" -- to renounce self (fana') and
to travel abidingly in God (bagha'), which are the
beginning and end of the mystical journey; cf.
i.e. transported me out of self. The first stage is fana',
return from phenomenal to Absolute Being.
In the second stage of his journey (bagha') the pilgrim
abides in God and experiences with Him the differentiation
of Unity into plurality.
"Gulshani Raz," 307 seq.). In the "Baharistan" (p. 10, 1. 16 seq.)
faith is defined as "severing and uniting", i.e., to sever the heart
from created things and unite it with God.'
* "To regard this world as invisible" -- cf.

Look not on the world from outside, for the world
is within the eye;
When you shut your eyes to the world, the
world remains not.
(T. 164. 3a)

* "Not to see what appears to one's self" -- this misra' allows of
another interpretation, viz, 'not to see your own eye,' whence all
objects derive their unreal existence.
* "To penetrate the windings of the bosom" -- introrsum ascendere,

Returning to its ancient nest
My restless fluttering soul had rest.
(T. 340. 3a)

* "O bird" -- we shall often meet with this comparison
of the soul to a bird.
* "speak the language of birds" -- use the language of mystics,
speak in parables. The hoopoe "hod hod" which Solomon sent
with a letter to Bilqis, queen of Sheba (Koran XXVII. 16:
"and Solomon was David's heir, and he said, O people, we
have been taught the language of birds.'"
* "I was in the (divine) Factory" "in the presence of, and not
yet separated from, the divine artificer. cf.
"Then he (Gabriel) approached (the Prophet), and drew nigh, until
he was at the distance of two bow-lengths, or nearer' (Koran LIII.
809). But the Sufi's interpret the passage as signifying the
approach of Mohammed himself to the divine presence."
* "While the house of water and clay" -- the body. While the house
of water and clay was a-baking" -- According to an hadis, "He kneeded
the clay of Adam forty days."
* "workshop" -- the phenomenal world.
* "was being created" -- because the soul was reluctant to enter the
world, and hated the body in which it was doomed to captivity.
* "like a ball" -- this simile may have been suggested by the words
'chon pai namanad': 'the epithet footless', frequently applied to a


This is love: to fly to heaven, every moment to rend a hundred
At first instance, to break away from breath -- first step, to
renounce feet;
To disregard this world, to see only that which you yourself
have seen*.
I said, "Heart, congratulations on entering the circle of lovers,
"On gazing beyond the range of the eye, on running into the
alley of the breasts."
Whence came this breath, O heart? Whence came this
throbbing, O heart?
Bird, speak the tongue of birds: I can heed your cipher!
The heart said, "I was in the factory whilst the home of water
and clay was abaking.
"I was flying from the workshop whilst the workshop was
being created.
"When I could no more resist, they dragged me; how shall I
tell the manner of that dragging?"

-- Translation by A.J. Arberry
"Mystical Poems of Rumi 1"
(Arberry's Poem #237)
Univ. of Chicago Press, 1991

Arberry's note:
* "to see only that which you yourself have seen" -- Nicholson's
version is "(not to see your own eye) whence all objects derive
their unreal existence."




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