Remove the cork once more. Then the addict will be breed of craving. This Love is beyond the study of theology, that old trickery and hypocrisy. I you want to improve your mind that way,. For the sake of love I gave up wealth and position. Now it is time for silence. If I told you about His true essence You would fly from your self and be gone, and neither door nor roof could hold you back! Let nothing happen in the sky apart from me, or on the ground, in this world or that world, without my being in its happening. Language, say nothing. The way the night knows itself with the moon, be that with me.
Be the rose nearest to the thorn that I am. I want to feel myself in you when you taste food, in the arc of your mallet when you work, when you visit friends, when you go up on the roof by yourself at night. Chittick Translator Published Cowan Translator Published Love Poems of Rumi. If anyone asks you how the perfect satisfaction of all our sexual wanting will look, lift your face and say, Like this. When someone mentions the gracefulness of the nightsky, climb up on the roof and dance and say, Like this. Like this. This tall. When someone asks what there is to do, light the candle in his hand.
A little wind cleans the eyes. Love is the Water of Life Everything other than love for the most beautiful God though it be sugar- eating. What is agony of the spirit? To advance toward death without seizing hold of the Water of Life.
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Masnawi I A moment of happiness, you and I sitting on the verandah, apparently two, but one in soul, you and I. The stars will be watching us, and we will show them what it is to be a thin crescent moon. You and I unselfed, will be together, indifferent to idle speculation, you and I. The parrots of heaven will be cracking sugar as we laugh together, you and I. In one form upon this earth, and in another form in a timeless sweet land. Kulliyat-e Shams, Lovers O lovers, lovers it is time to set out from the world. All through eternity Beauty unveils His exquisite form in the solitude of nothingness; He holds a mirror to His Face and beholds His own beauty.
His every quality finds an expression: Eternity becomes the verdant field of Time and Space; Love, the life-giving garden of this world. Every branch and leaf and fruit Reveals an aspect of His perfection- They cypress give hint of His majesty, The rose gives tidings of His beauty. Whenever Beauty looks, Love is also there; Whenever beauty shows a rosy cheek Love lights Her fire from that flame. When beauty dwells in the dark folds of night Love comes and finds a heart entangled in tresses. Beauty and Love are as body and soul. Beauty is the mine, Love is the diamond.
They have together since the beginning of time- Side by side, step by step. I swear, since seeing Your face, the whole world is fraud and fantasy The garden is bewildered as to what is leaf or blossom. A house of love with no limits, a presence more beautiful than venus or the moon, a beauty whose image fills the mirror of the heart. Let go of your worries and be completely clear-hearted, like the face of a mirror that contains no images. If you want a clear mirror, behold yourself and see the shameless truth, which the mirror reflects. If metal can be polished to a mirror-like finish, what polishing might the mirror of the heart require?
Between the mirror and the heart is this single difference: the heart conceals secrets, while the mirror does not. This is love: to fly toward a secret sky, to cause a hundred veils to fall each moment. First, to let go of live. In the end, to take a step without feet; to regard this world as invisible, and to disregard what appears to be the self. Heart, I said, what a gift it has been to enter this circle of lovers, to see beyond seeing itself, to reach and feel within the breast.
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Love is reckless; not reason. Reason seeks a profit. Love comes on strong, consuming herself, unabashed. Yet, in the midst of suffering, Love proceeds like a millstone, hard surfaced and straightforward. Having died of self-interest, she risks everything and asks for nothing.
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Love gambles away every gift God bestows. Without cause God gave us Being; without cause, give it back again. Mathnawi VI, I am a sculptor, a molder of form.
In every moment I shape an idol. They could then ascend to the presence of God after death; and what is more, they could have glimpses of their ascent even while living. Both of the cities with which Rumi is associated were large urban areas with ethnically and religiously diverse populations. In Islamic times, the city had attained a commercial and economic prosperity that put it on par with the largest of the urban areas in Asia.
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That Buddhists, Hindus, and others lived alongside the rising Muslim population in Balkh, and that their temples, though in ruins, were still visible when Rumi was growing up, provided contemporary and historical reminders of coexistence. These reminders were no doubt absorbed by him as he roamed the city. After the Greek civilization was overtaken by the Roman, Konya became part of the Roman province of Galatia, and later formed the headquarters of the Eastern Roman or Byzantine Empire.
As both the Persian Empire and the Byzantine Empire in turn fell to the Muslim Arabs in the seventh and eighth centuries, Konya lost much of its significance as a cultural center. However, in the late eleventh century, after the Seljuks of Anatolia—an ethnically Turkic people who had converted to Islam— conquered it and made it the capital of their sultanate of Rum, Konya thrived once again.
Near this important site are both a mosque that contains the Tomb of Ala al-Din, the Muslim ruler who rebuilt this Seljuk city on the model of Islamic urban architecture, and the monastery that houses the Sufi order Rumi founded. Clearly the diversity of the population played a part in the spirit of tolerance and the acceptance of different ways of worship. Clearly, the whole journey is a metaphor for the ascent and transformation that becomes possible when a novice commits himself to the care of a Sufi master.
The poem is also an example of the Persian ghazal , an important genre in Persian poetry. In the Middle Ages , in the Islamic world as in Christendom, people were identified with cities rather than countries. Just as Dante is forever linked with Florence, many Muslim saints, scientists, and poets are known by the name of the city where they were born or where they made their careers.
This is why Persian writers such as Fir-dawsi and Attar are associated with the cities of Tus and Nishapur—both in modern Iran—and Nizami is identified as Nizami of Ganja—today in the Republic of Azerbaijan. In the case of Rumi, the Persians link him to Balkh while the Turks connect him to the region of Rum, or Anatolia, where the city of Konya is located. Although Spiritual Couplets is a compendium of 25, rhyming couplets with no overall plot, the work opens with a flute reed that laments its separation from the reed-bed. The image reflects the sense of exile from the presence of God that frames and permeates the whole work.
The work takes an episodic, digressionary approach. It is, in effect, a rambling philosophical discourse, with parables and anecdotes that unfold according to the free association of ideas and are anchored by diverse moral observations. Instead of aiming for overall coherence, Rumi clarifies his philosophical or moral argument through parables and anecdotes. At times, a new purpose emerges from a tangential aspect of a story, creating the impression that, momentarily at least, the central theme has been lost.
The 25, couplets are divided into six parts, of almost equal length. After the nay-namah song of the reed-flute come the various tales, each usually followed by a commentary, aimed at expounding the inner meaning of things from a Sufi perspective. The opening poem alludes to a story told by the reed flute; lamenting that it has been separated from the reed bed, the flute relates its past experiences and its longing for home. If the book of couplets can be said to have a governing structure, it is hidden in this initial tale, whose first half follows:.
This is the theme in a great many stories that follow, whether of a lover king suffering for the sake of his beloved slave girl, or an Indian parrot in captivity recalling the freedom of the forests Rumi, Masnawi bk. The poem moves on to the difficulty of communicating this condition. The people who hear my song, says the reed flute, cannot grasp the secret hidden in the notes. Sufis in general found language both inescapable and an impediment, a subject of many stories in The Spiritual Couplets. One of these describes an Arab, a Turk, and an Indian, each of whom craves a particular fruit Rumi, Masnawi , bk.
Sufi masters and teachers were also intent on pointing out the flaws and shortcomings in the way we perceive the world. That the human mind, being finite, is incapable of grasping the infinite is a basic belief in Sufism. Scores of stories in The Spiritual Couplets illustrate the foregoing cluster of points. Finally, Sufis are encouraged to empty themselves of habitual ways of seeing the world and of being in it; they can and should become as empty i.
Because it has the fire of love in its notes, the reed flute can be a true friend to all those who wish to tear asunder the veil that prevents them from seeing the human body, the world, and life as they are in truth: a thing, a place, and a state of existence where opposites have temporarily come together.
As a true seeker on the path of union with God, the Sufi must cherish and nurture the desire for that ultimate union to such an extent that its force would propel the Sufi forever and with increasing speed on this path. And what if someone does not wish to tread on the path at all? As a metaphor for the great changes such a journey could lead to, winemaking was fascinating to the Sufi poets, particularly because of the imperfectly understood transformation it involved.
What turns grape juice into wine was thought to be analogous to the imperceptible transformation that turned certain human beings into prophets, mystics, or poets. Thus, the theme of love dominates the work. Another passage extols love through a series of seemingly disparate binary opposites, which are finally reconciled through love. Love, says this poetic passage, is the substance that can turn bitter things into sweet ones, copper into gold, lees and dregs into pure ruby wine, pain into remedy, and the dead corpse into a living and breathing creature Rumi, Masnawi, bk.
And what of those, motivated by love, who do set out to know the self and God, the ones who listen to the reed flute? Rumi suggests that they find themselves more and more fired by desire, more eager for greater and greater degrees of self-knowledge, which is key to knowing God. The idea is then concretized in the image of the Sufis as resembling the thirsty fish who, even in the midst of water, move their lips as if they are forever thirsty.
This image is important to the Sufi poets because it establishes a relationship between the quest and the object, the path and the destination. Since Sufis believed that the path to a higher and truer understanding of God passes through self-knowledge, they posited the quest as internal, the effort to polish the mirror of the human soul. One crucial story in the collection pits two teams of painters against each other Rumi, Masnawi , bk. While one group paints the most colorful mural on one wall, the other simply polishes the opposite wall for the most perfect reflection.
Between the two teams is a divider. When the divider is removed and the patron king stands in the middle to declare a winner, not the wall with the mural but the polished wall that reflects it is judged more artistically accomplished because it invites a deeper glance. In the passage above, the fish move their mouths as if to drink the water all around them, and, though nourished by it every day, are not wholly satisfied.
Theirs, like that of the mystics, is an internal thirst. In contrast, the Sufis advocated an individual approach to salvation. A shepherd speaks words that sound blasphemous to Moses and, reproached severely, the shepherd flees the scene, as if to escape his former self. The exchange between the two might be paraphrased as follows:. Show your face to me, and I will do anything you command me to. I will sacrifice my sheep and goats, nay, my whole house and household, to you.
I long to crawl to your bedchamber at night and make your bed, O God, carrying the best of my fresh milk for your nourishment. And I will serve you most sincerely, O God, in every way you command. Enraged, Moses questions the shepherd and chides him. Cease your nonsense this instant, before a huge calamity engulfs us all. Do you imagine God as like your uncle or something? Do you suppose him in need of milk or other nourishment?
And what is this nonsense about his bed and his moccasins? Quick, man, supplicate yourself in abject repentance or else! I now live an existence that cannot be reduced to words. When a rich merchant is about to embark on a commercial journey to India, he asks every member of his household what souvenir they covet: fine silk fabrics? Each member names something he or she would like to have. When it is time for the pet parrot to speak, he says he wants only a message to be delivered to the parrots of India.
Although baffled by the unusual request, the merchant promises to deliver the message. As his trip concludes, he finds himself passing by a lush forest, where flocks of parrots freely sing and play. Upon hearing the words of his caged kin, one parrot faints and falls from the tree branch, dead. Back home, having distributed all the material souvenirs, the merchant is questioned by his parrot about his message. The merchant reluctantly relates what transpired at the edge of that lush forest back in India, falling silent in sadness as he recounts the death that his message caused.
And he ponders the meaning of the two deaths long and hard. Yet what has been done cannot be undone.
In utter sorrow, he opens the cage door and removes the lifeless bird, laying it down to prepare it for proper burial. It is at this point that the pet parrot flies toward the uppermost branch in the tallest tree nearby. What the free parrot conveyed through his message was the fact that the caged parrot would not be liberated until he was perceived as dead, as no longer able to entertain and charm his master with his pleasing acrobatics and sweet speech. The narrative makes its moral fairly clear. The Sufis conceptualized the human body, as a contradiction in terms, a temporary gathering of the discordant elements of mortal flesh and eternal soul.
When death comes and the various elements fall apart, the soul is left free to return to its place of origin, for which it longs and labors through life. For the Sufi, death brings deliverance from the earthly cage of the body, a chance for the soul to soar upward all the way to the presence of its creator, there to be united with its essence once again.