Wednesday, October 30, 2013

[Sunlight] Sacred paradoxes


Sunlight offers Ghazal 1869, from the Diwan-e Shams-e
Tabrizi, in a translation by William Chittick, a version from
Jonathan Star, and a translation by A.J Arberry:


Off with you! Know that the lover's religion is
contrary to other ways, for false dealings from the Friend
are better than sincerity and kindliness.
What is unthinkable for Him is the actual state, His
chastisement the reward, all of His tyranny justice, His
slander equity.
His harshness is soft, His synagogue the Kaaba �
the thorn driven home by the Heart-ravisher is sweeter than
roses and basil.
When He is sour, He is more excellent than a house
of sugar; when He comes to you in annoyance, He is all
affection and kisses.
When He says to you, "By God, I am sick of you!",
that is Khidr's elixir from the Fountain of Life.
When He says "No!" a thousand yea's are hidden
within it; in this religion of the selfless, He becomes family
and self by remaining a stranger.
His unbelief is faith, His stones all coral, His miser-
liness generosity, His offenses all forgiveness.
If you taunt me and say, "Your religion is bent out
of shape!" � well, I have bought the religion of His bent
eyebrow for the price of my spirit.
This bent religion has made me drunk! Enough!
I will shut my lips � you continue, oh illuminated heart, and
recite the rest silently!
Oh Lord! Oh Shams of God Tabrizi! What sugar
you pour down! You voice a hundred arguments and
proofs from my mouth!

-- Translation by William C. Chittick
"The Sufi Path of Love - The Spiritual Teachings of Rumi"
State University of New York Press, Albany, 1983


A Sacred Blasphemy

Be off and know
That the way of lovers is opposite all other ways.
Lies from the Friend
Are better than truth and kindness from others.

For Him
The impossible is commonplace,
Punishment is reward,
Tyranny is justice,
Slander is the highest praise.

His harshness is soft,
His blasphemy is sacred.
The blood that drips from the Beloved's thorn
is sweeter than roses and basil.

When He's bitter
it's better than a candy-shop.
When He turns his head away
it's all hugs and kisses.
When He says, "By God, I've had enough of you!"
it's like an eternal spring
flowing from the fountain of life.

A "No" from his lips is a thousand times "Yes."
On this selfless path
He acts like a stranger
yet He's your dearest friend.

His infidelity is faith,
His stones are jewels,
His holding back is giving,
His ruthlessness is mercy.

You may laugh at me and say,
"The path you're on is full of curves!"
Yes � for the curve of His eyebrow
I have traded in my soul!

This curvy path has gotten me drunk,
I cannot say another word!
Carry on, my glorious heart,
finish the poem in silence . . .

O Shams, Lord of Tabriz,
What sweetness you pour upon me �
All I need to is open my mouth
and all your songs flow out.

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


Go, know that the code of lovers is opposite to all other ways,
for from the Beloved lies are better than truth and beneficence.
His impossibility comes to pass, his insalubriousness is a
bonus, his injustice is all rectitude. Calumny from him is justice.
His hard is soft, his synagogue is the Kaaba, the Beloved's
thorn is better than roses and basil.
The moment when he is bitter is better than a sweetshop, and
the moment when he becomes weary, that is kissing and em-
The moment when he says to you, "By Allah, I am indifferent to you" --
that is the water of Khidr from the fountain of life.*
The when he says "No," in his "No" are a thousand "Yeses"; his
strangerhood is kinship according to the code of the unselfed.
His infidelity becomes all faith, his stone all coral, his miser-
liness all benificence, his crime all forgiveness.
If you criticize, you say, "You have a crooked way of going
on"; I have bought the way of his brow and given my life.
I am drunk with this crooked way; I have made enough, and
closed my lips -- rise up, bright heart, and recite the rest of it.
Shams-al-Haqq Tabrizi! Dear Lord, what sugar you sprinkle!
You might say that out of my mouth proceed a hundred proofs
and demonstrations.

-- Translation by A.J. Arberry
"Mystical Poems of Rumi 2"
University of Chicago Press, 1979, 1991

*The Water of Life (Ab-e hayvan, or hayatI) is the Fountain of Life in the
Land of Darkness. Nizami, in his "Sikander-nama" describes how Alexander was
guided by the prophet Khidr to the Fountain but could not reach it.




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