Thursday, November 29, 2012

[Sunlight] The fair and the foul within


Here, Sunlight offers two presentations of the Mathnawi verses from Book II, line 1416, et. seq., as interpreted by the Helminskis (with Persian transliteration), and Coleman Barks.


Within the human being is a jungle.
You, born of the Divine Breath, be aware.
Wolves and pigs by the thousands are within,
the fair and the foul.
What dominates you is what you are.
If your gold outweighs your copper,
you will be known as gold. Whatever you most are
is the form in which you will resurrect.


Bisheh-'i âmad vojud-e âdami
bar hazar shaw zin vojud ar zân dami
Dar vojud-e mâ hazârân gorg o khuk
sâleh o nâ-sâleh va khub o khashuk
Hokm ân khvor ast kân ghâleb-tarast
chonke zar pish az mes âmad ân zarast
Sirati kân dar vojudat ghâlebast
ham bar ân tasvir hashrat vâjebast

-- Mathnawi II: 1416-1419
Version by Camille and Kabir Helminski
"Rumi: Daylight"
Threshold Books, 1994
(Persian transliteration courtesy of Yahyá Monastra)


A Goat Kneels!

The inner being of a human being
is a jungle. Sometimes wolves dominate,
sometimes wild hogs. Be wary when you breathe!

At one moment gentle, generous qualities,
like Joseph's, pass from one nature to another.
The next moment vicious qualities
move in hidden ways.

Wisdom slips for a while into an ox!
A restless, recalcitrant horse suddenly
becomes obedient and smooth-gaited.

A bear begins to dance.
A goat kneels!

Human consciousness goes into a dog,
and that dog becomes a shepherd,
or a hunter.

In the Cave of the Seven Sleepers
even the dogs were seekers.

At every moment a new species rises in the chest -
now a demon, now an angel, now a wild animal.

There are also those in this amazing jungle
who can absorb you into their own surrender.

If you have to stalk and steal something,
steal from them!

-- Mathnawi II: 1416-1429
Version by Coleman Barks
"Delicious Laughter"
Maypop, 1990




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