|Oh, you with unwashed face! |
What are you doing?
Whom are you fighting and envying?
You are playing with a lion's tail;
you are charging like a Turcoman,
but at the angels!
Why do you call utter goodness "evil"?
Consider not your lowliness exaltation!
What is evil? The needy, despicable copper.
Who is the shaykh? The infinite elixir.
Even if the copper is not receptive to the elixir,
it will never be able
to make the elixir into copper like itself.
What is evil? A rebel that acts like fire.
Who is the shaykh?
The very Sea of Eternity-without-beginning.
Fire always dreads water,
but how should water fear flames?
You find fault in the face of the moon,
you pluck thorns in paradise.
If you enter paradise looking for thorns,
you will find none there but yourself.
("What are you doing?")
Mathnawi II, 3340-48
Translation by William C. Chittick
The Sufi Path of Love - The Spiritual Teachings of Rumi
State University of New York Press, Albany, 1983