Thursday, August 09, 2012

[Sunlight] "Tell me who" -- Chazal 528


Here, Sunlight offers Ghazal (Ode) number 528, from Rumi's Diwan-e Shams, in a poetic translation by Nader Khalili, and a literal translation by A.J. Arberry:


who is this existence
who puts sadness
in your heart

who is this soul
who sweetens your grief
as soon as you crawl

the one who first frightens you
with deadly snakes
before opening the treasure vault

who changes a monster
to an angel
a sorrow to happiness

who gives the blind
wisdom and
inner sight

who changes darkness
to light
thistles to flowers

who sheds the sins
of the sinful like
autumn leaves

and puts guilt
in the heart of
its own enemies

who makes them
repent and in silence
says amen and
whose amen brings
inner happiness
and soulful delight

who changes bitter thoughts
to lightness and
joyous zeal

bestows fire
and makes you leap
with unknown joy

the fire that can
make a hero
from a desperate heart

who is this existence
who is this
tell me who

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


Who is that, who is that who makes the breast sorrowful,
then when you make complaint before Him, He turns your
bitter sweet?
First He appears as a deaf adder, lastly He is a treasure of
pearls. Sweet King, who in a moment transforms that bitter-
ness to goodness!
Let it be a demon, He makes it into a houri, let it be a
funeral, He makes it into a marriage-feast; and He makes
knowing and world-beholding one blind from his mother's
He makes the dark bright, He makes the thorn into a
rosebud; He draws the thorn out of your palm, and fashions
you a pillow of roses.
For the sake of Abraham His friend He causes the fire to
flame, and converts Nimrod's furnace into blossom and eg-
He who gives light to the stars and succour to the helpless,
He benefits His servant, and too applauds His servant.
He causes all the sins of the sinners to scatter like Decem-
ber leaves; into the ears of those who speak Him ill He recites
forgiveness of sin.
He says, "Say, O Faithful One, pardon the sin of one who
slipped"; when a servant enters upon prayer, He secretly says
It is His amen which gives a man joy in his prayer; like a
fig, He is inwardly and outwardly alike sweet and pleasant.
It is rapture which in good and evil gives strength to hand
and foot, for this rapture mates the strength of a Rustam to the
body of a poor wretch.
With rapture the poor wretch is a Rustam, without rapture
Rustam is one full of grief; but for rapture, how would the Friend
of the Soul stablish the soul?
I sent forth my heart timely (for it knows swiftly to travel
the way), to carry the description of Shams-I Din to the Tabriz
of fidelity.

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




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