|O Friend of Heart !|
What a pity, you left us with sorrows and longing, and went away.
I know you didn't want to leave us.
You complained and lamented. But this was not good.
You obeyed the unchangeable judgment and walked away and left.
You ran in all directions.
You sought remedies (to change the situation and) to stay with us, you made up excuses.
But you couldn't find a remedy
and you went without having a remedy.
What happened to your lap full of roses,
to the luminous face like the moon?
How did it happen that you went under the soil lowly and in shame?
How did you leave the assemblies of friends
and the ranks of friends that were with you all the time
and go under the ground among ants and snakes?
What happened to those meaningful words and beautiful speeches? What happened to the. mind that was familiar with divine secrets?
What happened to those hands that were holding our hands?
What happened to those feet that walked
to the gardens of Meram, to the rose gardens?
You were graceful and gracious;
you knew how to win people's hearts and how to love people.
Now you went to the soil
which doesn't like people and swallows them.
What kind of an idea came to your mind
so that you would take a curved and difficult road?
When you set off on that road crying,
the heavens, too, started shedding tears
and the moon scratched its face,
My heart has been filled with pain. What do I know?
What should I ask? You tell me, did you go awake?
Now that you left us,
did you choose the company of lovers of God and saints?
Or have you been deprived of love? Or did you go in denial?
What happened to those sweet answers
you gave to the questions you were asked?
Now you stopped talking and gave up on speaking.
What kind of a fire is this? What kind of a longing is this?
Like a guest, you never let anybody know and went away
Where did you go?
Even the dust of your way cannot be found.
The road that you took this time is indeed a road full of blood.
|You've seen a herd of goats|
going down to the water.
The lame and dreamy goat
brings up the rear.
There are worried faces about that one,
but now they're laughing.
because look, as they return,
that goat is leading!
There are many different kinds of knowing.
The lame goat's kind is a branch
that traces back to the roots of presence.
Learn from the lame goat,
and lead the herd home.
~ Molana Jalaluddin Rumi
(THE LAME GOAT )
The Essential Rumi by Coleman Barks
|Go for a walk, if it is not too dark.|
Get some fresh air, try to smile.
Say something kind
To a safe-looking stranger, if one happens by.
Always exercise your heart's knowing.
You might as well attempt something real
Along this path:
Take your spouse or lover into your arms
The way you did when you first met.
Let tenderness pour from your eyes
The way the Sun gazes warmly on the earth.
Play a game with some children.
Extend yourself to a friend.
Sing a few ribald songs to your pets and plants -
Why not let them get drunk and wild!
Every rung we've climbed on Evolution's ladder.
Whisper, "I love you! I love you!"
To the whole mad world.
Let's stop reading about God -
We will never understand Him.
Jump to your feet, wave your fists,
Threaten and warn the whole Universe
That your heart can no longer live
Without real love!
From I Heard God Laughing -
Renderings of Hafiz by Daniel Ladinsky
|DEVOID of self I traveled to a place|
There in the absence of I , joy filled my Heart .
Without I , His obscured face ,like the Moon
came forth and kissed my cheek.
In longing for my love , I perished
and from that longing , birth was given to me.
I am eternally drunk , without wine
My joy is endless , without I.
Do not remember me, ever
for I am memory itself , without I.
I am ecstatic without myself , so I say
" O me , may you always be without I."
All the doors were shut to me , and
all opened when He let me in , without I.
Me , I am the one ,free of good and evil
free from obedience and corruption ,without I.
~ JALAL AD - DIN RUMI
(DEVOID OF SELF )
DIVAN -I SHAMS - I TABRIZ
|O You |
who have transmuted one clod of earth into gold,
and another into the Father of mankind,
Your generous work is
the transmutation of essences;
my work is
mostly forgetfulness and mistakes.
Transmute my mistakes and forgetfulness
With my imperfect nature,
turn me into patience and forbearance.
Mathnawi V: 780-782
Version by Camille and Kabir Helminski
"Rumi: Jewels of Remembrance"
Threshold Books, 1996
Art by Robert Suits Jr
|The time will come|
when, with elation,
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror,
and each will smile at the other’s welcome,
and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you
all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,
the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.
~ Derek Walcott
(Love After Love )
Love is love and does not ever leave or die.
Rent a house for me in Your neighborhood
I can't stay away from you.
No wonder I can't scratch my head
I am mixed with Your rose-like sugar.
You are the axis of my world
I turn my face towards You
I can not help but to keep turning around you.
My Friend my kin is the one who was born from love.
I don't have any friend or family better than this.
What is better and above these two worlds ?
The secret of lovers.
I don't have a better city or country than this.
IF I don't say any words from now on
Forgive me. That is the reason.
Art by Stefan Georgeive
|When you dance|
the whole universe dances.
The world dances around the Sun.
The morning light breaks,
Spinning up with delight.
How could anyone
Touched by your love
Not dance like a weeping willow?
Today I spin wildly
throughout the city;
I am the cup-bearer,
My head is the cup.
Perhaps a scholar will see me
and drop his books.
Perhaps the world will see me
and forget all its sorrows.
Art by by Gülcan Karadağ
|HE is dear to me indeed |
who can call back the wanderer to his home.
In the home is the true union,
in the home is enjoyment of life:
why should I forsake my home and wander in the forest?
If Creator helps me to realize truth, verily
I will find both bondage and deliverance in home.
He is dear to me indeed who has power to dive deep into Him; whose mind loses itself with ease in His contemplation.
He is dear to me who knows Him,
and can dwell on His supreme truth in meditation;
and who can play the melody of the Infinite
by uniting love and renunciation in life.
"The home is the abiding place; in the home is reality;
the home helps to attain Him Who is real.
So stay where you are, and all things shall come to you in time."
The Songs of Kabir,
Trans by Rabindranath Tagore
Art by Yuliya Glavnaya
|What is laughter?|
It is God waking up!
It is the sun poking its sweet head out
From behind a cloud
You have been carrying too long,
Veiling your eyes and heart.
It is Light breaking ground for a great Structure
That is your Real body - called Truth.
It is happiness applauding itself and then taking flight
To embrace everyone and everything in this world.
Laughter is the polestar
Held in the sky by our Beloved,
Who eternally says,
"Yes, dear ones, come this way,
Come this way towards Me and Love!
Come with your tender mouths moving
And your beautiful tongues conducting songs
And with your movements - your magic movements
Of hands and feet and glands and cells - Dancing!
Know that to God's Eye,
All movement is a Wondrous Language,
And Music - such exquisite, wild Music!"
O what is laughter, Hafiz?
What is this precious love and laughter
Budding in our hearts?
It is the glorious sound
Of a soul waking up.....!
|You are not really a hunter, seeking Me,|
instead you are My slave and lie at My feet.
You devise means to attain to My presence
but you are helpless either to leave or to seek Me.
The search for Me causes you anguish;
last night I heard your heavy sighs.
It is within My power to end your waiting,
to show you the Way and grant access.
So that you may be released from this whirlpool of time,
and may at last set foot on the treasure of union with Me,
but the sweetness and delights of the resting-place
are in proportion to the pain endured on the journey.
Only when you suffer the pangs and tribulations of exile
will you truly enjoy the homecoming.
( Exil and Homecoming )
|The intellectual quest is exquisite like pearls and coral,|
But it is not the same as the spiritual quest.
The spiritual quest is on another level altogether,
Spiritual wine has a subtler taste.
The intellect and the senses investigate cause and effect.
The spiritual seeker surrenders to the wonder.
|Oh enemy of my intellect! Oh remedy of my ignorance! |
I am a vat, and Thou art the wine fermenting within.
Thou art the First and the Last,
Thou art the Outward and within the head ,
Thou art sultan and shah, chamberlain and guard.
Thou art sweet natured and ill natured, heart-burning
and heart-soothing, moon-faced Joseph and an obstacle, a veil.
Thou art exceedingly fresh and verdant,
very comely and fine
Thou art in my mind like the intellect
and upon my ear like a ring.
Thou art far away and self, before and more,
ill-thinking friend, venom and elixir.
Oh Ambusher of the selfless, oh Treasurer of the dervishes!
Oh Lord, how joyful are the fakirs when Thou are in their embrace!
On the day I am sober, I am full of drunken brawling
but when I am drunk, what patience and silence !
Ghazal (Ode) 2602
Translation by William C. Chittick
"The Sufi Path of Love"
SUNY Press, Albany, 1983
|O My restless Heart ! Tell the truth !|
What substance are you ?
Are you fire or water ?
Are you Human or pure spirit ?
From what direction have you come ?
What food have you eaten ?
What have you witnessed in annihilation ?
And why are you flying toward annihilation ?
Why are you uprooting me ?
Why are you planning to erase me ?
Why are you ambushing my intellect ?
And why are you defaming yourself ?
All animals and creatures
are afraid of nonexistence,
except you who are setting off
Wayfaring with such energy
intoxicated , completely drunk
when do you heed any warning ?
Or buy anyone's sweet talk ?
O , My Heart Listen
If gold yells two thousand times " I AM GOLD !"
it won't find a buyer
as long as does not get out of the mine.
|Be helpless, dumbfounded,|
Unable to say yes or no.
Then a stretcher will come from grace
to gather us up.
We are too dull-eyed to see that beauty.
If we say we can, we’re lying.
If we say No, we don’t see it,
That No will behead us
And shut tight our window onto spirit.
So let us rather not be sure of anything,
Beside ourselves, and only that, so
Miraculous beings come running to help.
Crazed, lying in a zero circle, mute,
We shall be saying finally,
With tremendous eloquence, Lead us.
When we have totally surrendered to that beauty,
We shall be a mighty kindness.
|A spirit that lives in this world|
and does not wear the shirt of love,
such an existence is a deep disgrace.
Be foolishly in love,
because love is all there is.
There is no way into presence
except through a love exchange.
If someone asks, But what is love?
answer, Dissolving the will.
True freedom comes to those
who have escaped the questions
of freewill and fate.
Love is an emperor.
The two worlds play across him.
He barely notices their tumbling game.
Love and lover live in eternity.
Other desires are substitutes
for that way of being.
How long do you lay embracing a corpse?
Love rather the soul, which cannot be held.
Anything born in spring dies in the fall,
but love is not seasonal.
With wine pressed from grapes,
expect a hangover.
But this love path has no expectations.
You are uneasy riding the body?
Dismount. Travel lighter.
Wings will be given.
Be clear like a mirror
Be clean of pictures and the worry
that comes with images.
Gaze into what is not ashamed
or afraid of any truth.
Contain all human faces in your own
without any judgment of them.
Be pure emptiness.
What is inside that? you ask.
Silence is all I can say.
Lovers have some secrets
That they keep
Learn the alchemy True Human Beings know:
the moment you accept what troubles
you’ve been given, the door opens.
Welcome difficulty as a familiar comrade.
Joke with torment brought by the Friend.
Sorrows are the rags of old clothes
and jackets that serve to cover,
and then are taken off.
and the beautiful naked body underneath,
is the sweetness that comes after grief.
(The Alchemy True Human Beings Know)
|You often say, |
"I would give, but only to the deserving."
The trees in your orchard say not so, nor the flocks in your pasture.
They give that they may live, for to withhold is to perish.
Surely he who is worthy to receive his days and his nights,
is worthy of all else from you.
And he who has deserved to drink from the ocean of life
deserves to fill his cup from your little stream.
And what desert greater shall there be,
than that which lies in the courage and the confidence,
nay the charity, of receiving?
And who are you that men should rend their bosom
and unveil their pride,
that you may see their wealth naked and their pride unabashed?
See first that you yourself deserve to be a giver,
and and instrument of giving.
For in truth it is life that gives unto life
while you, who deem yourself a giver, are but a witness.
~ Kahlil Gibran
From The Prophet, by Kahlil Gibran
If someone tells you there is no speech possible
Without words or sounds,
Don't listen to him. It's not true.
Without the bread of God
And the wine of annihilation, that word and that
Alphabet are like two or three empty cups at best.
Speak the meaning without the alphabet.
If you can,
Say it without words, so the heart
Can take over the conversation."
"All our lives we've looked
Into each other's faces.
That was the case today too.
How do we keep our love a secret?
We speak from brow to brow
And hear with our eyes."
"Even 'friend' and 'beloved'
Are wrong words for this.
Even 'Ahhhhh' retreats back into my mouth
Like the moon going behind a cloud.
A pure silent look is better."
"In the silence of our longing
We are together as one.
But as soon as we start talking,
We separate into two.
So be silent.
There is honor in silence.
For you and me."
"You have spent your whole life
With elegant speeches.
For some time you should
Walk alone in the gardens of silence."
"What would happen if you
Gave up thought for one moment,
Plunged into our sea like a fish,
And swallowed the waves there?
Give them up...
And turn into a holy light,
Silent, exempt from thought.
Why don't you become like this?"
And two more!
"Thought doesn't come to your mind
Until you become quiet.
Heart doesn't open its mouth
Until you close yours."
"Tell my secret with your eyes,
Without lips or tongues."
(Silence as Language of the Heart )
From The Spiritual Practices of Rumi,by Will Johnson
|The prophets have wondered to themselves, |
"How long should we keep pounding this cold iron?
How long do we have to whisper into an empty cage?"
Every motion of created beings comes from the creator.
The first soul pushes, and your second soul responds,
beginning, so don't stay timid.
Load the ship and set out.
No one knows for certain whether the vessel will sink
or reach the harbor.
Cautious people say,
"I'll do nothing until I can be sure."
Merchants know better.
If you do nothing, you lose.
Don't be one of those merchants who won't risk the ocean!
This is much more important than losing or making money.
This is your connection to God!
You must set fire to have light.
Trust means you're ready to risk what you currently have.
Think of your fear and hope about your livelihood.
They make you go to work diligently every day.
Now consider what the prophets have done.
Abraham wore fire for an anklet.
Moses spoke to the sea.
David molded iron.
Solomon rode the wind.
Work in the invisible world
at least as hard as you do in the visible.
Be companions with the prophets
even though no one here will know that you are,
not even the helpers of the qutb, the abdals.
You can't imagine what profit will come!
When one of those generous ones invites you
into his fire, go quickly!
Don't say, "But will it burn me? Will it hurt!"
Mathnawi III 3077-3109
by Coleman Barks
From Rumi : One Handed Basket Weaving
|When you are not with me, |
I sometimes resemble a fish put live in the skillet,
writhing its little cooking time left,
or the empty eyes of graffiti faces, or
a house with no one home.
Other times, my love for your soul
spreads out over the city like music.
Quadrant to quadrant
the jeweled tambourine feet move,
palace to ghetto.
The cultured, the craftsman, the slave,
all begin to hum and sing this.
Ghazal (Ode) 2323
Version by Coleman Barks, with Nevit Ergin
|I see my beauty in you. |
I become a mirror
that cannot close its eyes to your longing.
My eyes wet with yours in the early light.
My mind every moment giving birth,
always conceiving, always in the the ninth month….
And then, an empty sky
and everything is soul and flowering.
Everything is soul and flowering.
Every thing is soul and flowering.
How do I stand this?
We become these words we say….
I never know what I’m
going to say.
I don’t plan it.
When I’m outside the saying of it,
I hardly speak at all.
|If I flinched at every grief, |
I would be an intelligent idiot.
If I were not the sun,
I'd ebb and flow like sadness.
If you were not my guide,
I'd wander lost in Sanai.
If you were no my light,
I'd keep opening and closing the door.
If there were no rose garden,
where would the morning breezes go?
If love did not want music and laughter
and poetry, what would I say ?
If you were not my medicine,
I would look sick and skinny.
If there were no leafy limbs in the air,
there would be no wet roots.
If no gifts were given,
I'd grow arrogant and cruel.
If there were no way into God,
I would not have lain in the grave of this body so long.
If there were no way from left to right,
I could not be swaying with the grasses.
If there were no grace and no kindness,
conversation would be useless, and
nothing we do would matter.
Listen to the new stories
that begin every day.
If light were not beginning again in the east,
I would not now wake
and walk out inside this dawn.
Trans by Coleman Barks
From "The Soul of Rumi"
|If the Friend rose inside you, |
would you bow ?
Would you wonder where that one
came from and how?
If you say,
"I will bow," that's important.
If you answer,
"But can I be sure?"
it will keep the meeting from happening,
As busy people rush there and back here murmuring,
Now I know; no, I don't know now.
Have you seen a camel with its eyes covered turn
and walk one way, then turn another?
Be silent and revolve with no will.
Don't raise your hand to ask anything.
Holy one, sitting in the body's well
like Joseph, a rope is there in front of you.
Lift your hand to that!
A blind man has bought you
for eighteen counterfeit coins.
Empty metal cups bang together,
and the full moon slides out of hiding.
Make one sound, please!
You are the precious hyacinth
that the sickle will spare,
not the wheat plant Adam ate.
I remind you with these poems
to dress in the flower of Beloved's qualities,
not your torn robe of self-accusation.
Ghazal (Ode) 2938
Version by Coleman Barks, with Nevit Ergin
Art by Jamie Hartley