Wednesday, March 27, 2013

[Sunlight] "If you rend the veil" -- Ghazal 2820


Today, Sunlight offers Ghazal (Ode) 2820, in a poetic version
from Jonathan Star, and in translations by Professor Arberry and
Professor Nicholson, both with notes:


He Also Made the Key

When I entered the city
you moved away.
When I left the city
you didn't even look up to say good-bye.

I'll accept your kindness,
I'll accept your insult.
I'll accept whatever you have to give.

Your radiance shines
in every atom of creation
yet our petty desires keep it hidden.

Like the beautiful wife of a prince
You dwell in a lonely place.
If you came out of hiding
the veil on every face would fall.

You confound the doubting heart,
Your intoxicate the faithful head.
You have robbed every soul of its senses,
You have brought every heart to your breast.

All roses fall prey to December.
All intellect falls prey to love's glory.

Since the rose is not eternal
Why be captured by its scent?
Let me know your secrets -
Only the ones that last forever.

How many men have found tragic ends
running after beauty?
Why don't they look for you? -
the heart and spirit of all beauty.

You formed man from a handful of dust.
You gave him the power to know the highest truth.
You freed him from the snares of this world
with one breath of your spirit.

O love,
O heart,
Find the way to heaven.
Find the way to God's pasture.
You have spent enough time
in this pasture made for cattle.

Set your sights on a place
Higher than your eyes can see.
For it was the higher aim
that brought you here
in the first place.

Now be silent.
Let the One who creates the words speak.
He made the door.
He made the lock.
He also made the key.

-- Version by Jonathan Star
"Rumi - In the Arms of the Beloved"
Jeremy P. Tarcher/Putnam, New York 1997


When I reached your city you withdrew into a corner from me;
when I left your city you did not give me a goodbye glance.
Whether you choose kindness or incline to rancor, you are all
the soul's ease, you are all the feast's decoration.
The cause of your jealousy is that you are hidden, otherwise
you are evident as the sun; for you are manifest through every
If you choose to be in a corner, you are the darling of the
heart and
a prince; and if you rend the veil, you have rent the veils of all.
The heart of unbelief by you is confounded, the heart of faith
by your wine is happy; you have robbed all of their sense, you
have pulled the ears of all.
All roses are a prey to December, all heads in pawn to wine;
you have redeemed both these and those from the hand of death.
Since there is no constancy in the rose, since there is no way
to the rose, on you only is trust to be put; you are the stay and
If a few have cut their heads on account of Joseph's face, you
have deprived two hundred Josephs of the spirit of the heart and
You fashion the form of a person from filth and blood, that he
may flee two parsangs from the odor of foulness.
You make him a morsel of dust to become pure herbage --
he escapes from foulness when you have breathed spirit into
Come, heart, go to heaven, go to God's pasture, since you have
grazed awhile in the pasture of cattle.
Set all your desire on that of which you have no hope, for out
of original hopelessness you have reached thus far.*
Be silent, that the lord who bestows words may speak, for He
made the door and the lock, and He also made a key.

-- Translation by A.J. Arberry
"Mystical Poems of Rumi 2"
University of Chicago Press, 1979

Arberry's notes:
* In this verse Rumi refers to the well known tradition which the Sufi
poets often have made use of. God declares: "I was a hidden treasure
and I desired to be known, so I created the creation in order that I
might be known."
* Quran 15: 29 "[God said to the angels:] 'When I have completed
him [Adam] and breathed of my spirit into him, you will fall and
worship him.' " According to Nicholson, "ruh" -- spirit -- is
used here as the reasonable soul (ruh-e nateqa).
* "When man contemplates his own evolution -- from inanimate to
plant and then animal life, and eventually the state of man -- he will
realize that he might go further and even surpass angels in his
nearness to God." -- see Nicholson's notes, 47: 12 and 12: 6-10.



When I came to thy city, thou chosest a corner apart
from me;
When I went from thy city, thou didst not look upon
me to say Farewell'.
Whether thou choosest to be kind or inclinest to rancour,*
Thou art all the comfort of the soul, thou art all the
adornment of the feast.
The cause of thy jealousy is that thou art hidden* or,
While thou art revealed by every atom, thou art hidden
like the sun.
If thou dwell'st in seclusion*, art not thou the darling
of the Prince?
And if thou rendest the veil, thou hast rent the veils
of all.
By thee the heart of infidelity is confounded, by thy
wine the head of faith is intoxicated;
Thou dost rob all of sense, thou dost draw all towards
All roses are a prey to December, all heads a prey to
Both these and those thou redeemest from the hand of
Since in the rose there is no constancy, why do you
approach every rose?*
On thee alone is reliance: thou art the stay and support.
If a few cut their hands on account of Joseph's face,*
Thou hast bereft of soul and reason two hundred spiritual
Thou mouldest of foul and fair* the form of a man,
That he may flee two leagues from the odour of foulness.
Thou mak'st him a morsel of dust that he may become
pure herbage;
He is free from filth when thou hast breathed into him
a soul.*
Come, O heart, far heavenward, fare to the divine pasture,
Since thou hast grazed awhile in the pasture of cattle.
Set thy whole desire on that whereof thou hast no hope,
for thou hast come thus far from original hopelessness.*
Be silent that the lord who gave thee language may
For as he fashioned a door and lock, he has also made
a key.*

-- Translation by Professor Reynold Nicholson
Ghazal 2820/T.326.1a ("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:

* "Whether thou choosest to be kind or inclinest to rancour"
to incline toward a thing. Cf. Sururi's commentary:
Attend to (be mindful of) your rank and dignity.
("Gulistan," p. 27).
* "The cause of thy jealousy is that thou art hidden"
Cf. "I was a hidden treasure": this famous tradition,
which innumerable Sufi poets and commentators
have illustrated and embellished (cf. especially a
beautiful passage in Jami's Yusuf u Zulaikha, p. 16),
runs . . .

I was a hidden treasure and I desired to be known,
so I created the creation in order that I might be known.

Also Cf. "I am harsh in a good cause, or affair." For the poet's
view of the probationary and corrective purpose of suffering ,
cf. Whinfields' "Masnavi," p. 90 seq, 114, 295.

* "If thou dwell'st in seclusion" cf. "Masnavi," 8. 2;
Whinfield's "Masnavi," p. 7:
When he enters the chambers of the brain,
Reason falls headlong from the roof.
When he pulls the ear of Intelligence toward him,
It cries in pain, "My ear, my ear!"
(T. 74. 12).
* " Since in the rose there is no constancy, why do you
approach every rose?" Cf. Shakespeare, Sonnet LXVII.:
Why should poor beauty indirectly seek
Roses of shadow, since his rose is true?
If "you" is addressed to the reader, the change of person,
though harsh, is not unexampled. It may, however, denote
the Beloved, whom the poet upbraids for having forsaken
* "If a few cut their hands on account of Joseph's face"
Cf. Koran XII. 31: and she (Zulaikha) said (to Joseph),
"Come forth to them." And when they beheld him thy
marveled at him and cut their hands and said, "God forbid!
This is not a man, but an exalted angel." By cutting their
hands the women showed that they had lost their senses and
were absorbed in the Beloved.
* "Thou mouldest of foul and fair" of flesh and spirit,
Not-being and Real Being.
* "He is free from filth when thou hast breathed into him a soul"
Koran XV. 29:(God said to the angels:) When therefore I shall
have completed him (Adam) and breathed of my spirit into him,
do ye fall and worship him. "Ruh" is probably used here of the
reasonable soul (Nafsi-Nategheh). See "Gulshani Razz," 318
and note, 493.
* "for thou hast come thus far from original hopelessness"
When man reflects of what he was created, and what, by gradual
evolution, he has become, can he doubt the ultimate reality of
his deepest aspirations, wild and impracticable as they seem at
present? Cf.
From the moment you came into the world of being,
A ladder was placed before you that you might escape.
First you were mineral, later you turned to plant,
Then you became animal: how should this be a secret
to you?
Afterwards you were made man, with knowledge, reason
Behold the body, which is a portion of the dust-pit, how
perfect it has grown!
When you have travelled on from man, you will doubtless
become an angel;
After that you are done with this earth: your station is
in heaven.
Pass again even from angelhood: enter that ocean,
That your drop may become a sea which is a hundred
seas of Oman.
(Ode 12-Nicholson translation of Rumi)
Cf. Note, XVIII, note, Whinfield's "Masnavi," pp. 216, 231,
"Gulshani Raz," 317-338.
Here the poet would seem to have anticipated Walpole's maxim
that every man has his price: he means to say that the worth of a
man is higher in proportion to the excellence of his ideal.
Cf. Echart ("Deutch Mystiker, Vol. II. P. 199): "The words of
Augustine, "Man is what he loves," are to be understood in this
way. If he loves a stone, he is a stone; if he loves a man, he is a
man; if he loves God I dare not say more, for if I said that he
would then be God, ye might stone me." Freytag (Vol. III. P. 644)
gives a proverb to the same effect: the dignity of a man depends
upon the height of his aspiration. The view of Jalalu'ddin himself
is plainly expressed in the following verses:
Know that your value is equal to the object for which
you are quivering with desire;
On this account the lover's heart is higher than the
(Cf. The hadis quoted by Whinfield on "Gulshani Raz," 214).
The motion of every atom is toward its origin;
A man comes to be the thing on which he is bent.
By the attraction of fondness and yearning the soul
and the heart
Assume the qualities of the Beloved and the soul of
(T. 184.10)
* "key" The key' is Love.




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