Thursday, 22 August 2013

Swing Low, Sweet Chariot ~ The "Negro Spiritual"

Swing low, sweet chariot,
Coming for to carry me home
Swing low, sweet chariot,
Coming for to carry me home

I looked over Jordan, and I what did I see
Coming for to carry me home?
A band of angels coming after me
Coming for to carry me home

If you get there before I do
Coming for to carry me home
Tell all my friends I coming too
Coming for to carry me home

I'm sometimes up, I'm sometimes down
Coming for to carry me home
But still my soul feels heavenly bound
Coming for to carry me home

~ Swing Low, Sweet Chariot
The "Negro Spiritual"

Love is longing and longing, the pain of being Rumi

Love is longing and longing, the pain of being parted;
No illness is rich enough for the distress of the heart,
A lover's lament surpasses all other cries of pain.

Love is the royal threshold to God's mystery.
The carnival of small affections and polite attachments
Which litter and consume our passing time
Is no match to Love which pulses behind this play.

It's easy to talk endlessly about Love,
To live Love is to be seized by joy and bewilderment;

Love is not clear-minded, busy with images and argument.
Language is too precocious, too impudent, too sane
To stop the molten lava of Love which churns the blood,

This practicing energy burns the tongue to silence;
The knowing pen is disabled, servile paper

Shrivels in the fire of Love. Bald reason too is an ass
Explaining Love, deceived by spoilt lucidity.
Love is dangerous offering no consolation,

Only those who are ravaged by Love know Love,
The sun alone unveils the sun to those who have
The sense to receive the senseless and not turn away.

Cavernous shadows need the light to play but light
And light alone can lead you to the light alone.

Material shadows weigh down your vision with dross,
But the rising sun splits the ashen moon in empty half.

The outer sun is our daily miracle in timely
Birth and death, the inner sun
Dazzles the inner eye in a timeless space.

Our daily sun is but a working star in a galaxy of stars,
Our inner sun is One, the dancing nuance of eternal light.

You must be set alight by the inner sun,
You have to live your Love or else
You'll only end in words.

~ Rumi
Art by Diana Yanson 

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Sweetness in proportion to Rumi

Your anguish is seeking a way to attain to Me: 
yesterday evening I heard your deep sighs. 

And I am able, without any delay, 
to give you access, to show you a way of passage, 

to deliver you from this whirlpool of time,
that you might set your foot upon the treasure of union with Me;

but the sweetness and delights of the resting place
are in proportion to the pain of the journey.

Only then will you enjoy your native town and your kinsfolk,
when you have suffered the anguish of exile.

~ Rumi
Mathnawi III:4154-4158
Version by Camille and Kabir Helminski
"Rumi: Daylight"
Threshold Books, 1994

I am drunk and you are insane tell me, who will lead us home Rumi

I am drunk and you are insane 
tell me, who will lead us home? 

How many times have I asked you not to drink so much 
for I see no sober soul in town. 

Come to the tavern my dearest and taste the wine of love
for the soul is joyous only in the company of lovers.

The tavern of love is your livelihood
your income and expenses, the wine.

Be careful, not to trust a sober soul
with even one drop of this wine.

Go on playing your lute, my drunken gypsy but tell me,
between the two of us, who is more drunk?

As I left my house a Sufi approached me,
in his glance I saw a hundred gardens.

He swayed from side to side like a ship without an anchor,
while a hundred reasonable men watched on enviously.

Where are you from? I asked him.
He replied, "Half from Turkistan and half from Farghaneh,
half from water and clay and half from soul and heart,
half from the edge of the sea
and half from the depths of the coean."

~ Rumi
Ghazal (Ode) 2398
Translated by Azima Melita Kolin
and Maryam Mafi
Rumi: Hidden Music
HarperCollins Publishers Ltd, 2001

Love is all Rumi

In Love 's eyes, whoever has no tint of Love 
is naught but wood and stone. 

Love wrings water from rocks, 
Love cleans rust from mirrors. 

Unbelief has come in war, faith in peace
Love strikes a fire to both peace and war.

In the ocean of the heart Love opens its mouth
and like a whale swallows down the two worlds.

Love is a lion, without deception and trickery,
not a fox one moment and a leopard the next.

When Love provides replenishment upon replenishment,
the spirit gains deliverance from this dark and narrow body.

From the beginning Love is all bewilderment
it stuns the intellect and dazzles the spirit.

Oh east wind, my heart is in Beloved -
take me there without delay!

~ Rumi
Ghazal (Ode) 1331
Translation by William C. Chittick
"The Sufi Path of Love"
SUNY Press Albany, 1984
Art by Penny Neimiller

Friday, 9 August 2013

I long for the bliss of divine Kabir

When will that day dawn, 
When the One I took birth for
Holds me to His heart with deathless Love ?

I long for the bliss of divine union.
I long to lose my body, mind, and soul
And become one with my Beloved .
When will that day dawn ?

Beloved , fulfill now the longing I have had
Since before the universe was made.

Enter me completely and release me.
In terrible lonely years without You
I yearn and yearn for You.

I spend sleepless nights hunting for You,
Gazing into darkness after You,
With unblinking hopeless eyes.
When will that day dawn ?

When will my Beloved hold me to His heart ?
My empty bed, like a hungry tigress,
Devours me whenever I try to sleep.

Listen to your slave's prayer
Come and put out this blaze of agony
That consumes my soul and body.
When will He hold me to His heart?
When will that day dawn ?

Kabir sings,
"If I ever meet You, my Beloved,
I'll cling to you so fiercely You melt into me;
I'll sing from inside You songs of union,
World-dissolving songs of Eternal Bliss."

~ Kabir

Lips' language to lips' Rabindranath Tagore

Lips' language to lips' ears.
Two drinking each other's heart, it seems.

Two roving loves who have left home,
pilgrims to the confluence of lips.

Two waves rise by the law of love
to break and die on two sets of lips.

Two wild desires craving each other
meet at last at the body's limits.

Love's writing a song in dainty letters,
layers of kiss-calligraphy on lips.

Plucking flowers from two sets of lips
perhaps to thread them into a chain later.

This sweet union of lips
is the red marriage-bed of a pair of smiles.

~ Rabindranath Tagore