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Article 10

Occupy yourself with your inward self!

by Rumi

    Oh heart, place no honey in the mouth of the ill! Speak not of entrancing eyes in the assembly of the blind!

    Although God is nearer to His servant than his jugular vein (Koran L 16), He is far from those who are far from Him.

    Occupy yourself with your own inward self!

Then like moons the concealed maidens will come out in theophany from behind their veils!

    Although in this work you will be lost to yourself and the world, outside of yourself and the world you will be famous.

    If you are the moon of union, give a sign of your union! Tell of the arms, the silver breasts, and the faces of the houris!

    And if you are yellow gold from separation's heartache, where is separation's burning brand? Only the coins of the wretched are so dull and tarnished.

    Since you have no love, at least perform the duties of servant hood, for God will never neglect the wages of the wage earners.

    Know that love for god is Solomon's seal-how should Solomon's income be related to the wages of ants?

    Throw away the garments of thought and cogitation, for the sun only shines upon the naked!

    Seek refuge in the locks of Shams-i Tabrizi, for they rain down musk and will protect you from tyrants. 

Ghazal (Ode 2073)

Translation by William C. Chittick

"The Sufi Path of Love"

SUNY Press, Albany, 1983 

Note: Though Jalal ud din Rumi (1207-1273 A.D.) composed tens of thousands  of ghazals (odes and quatrains) in Persian, his poetry is as fresh and immediate today as the sound of one's own breath. That timeless quality has intrigued scholars, romantics, and rebels ever since.

 We in the West view modern life with an uneasy amalgam of scorn and acquiescence, embracing conveniences provided by technology, yet mourning the loss of values, meaning and connection with the earth and other people. We have reached our destination, yet we are lost. Rumi offers solutions that apply today more than ever. As Andrew Harvey wrote, "Rumi is the slave and hero of love, who can help us find in our battered hearts passion and faith."

 

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