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A R T I C L E - 13


Your friends are really your enemies
by Rumi

Your friends are really your enemies
as much as they keep you occupied with them
and take you away from the Presence.
There is an animal called a porcupine
which is made strong and big by the blows of the stick.
The more you beat it, the more it thrives.
Surely the true believer's soul is a porcupine,
for the blows of tribulation strengthen it.
For this reason, the trials and humiliation
laid upon the prophets is greater
than that laid upon all other creatures,
so that their souls become steadier than other souls;
for no other people have suffered such affliction.
The hide is burned by the treatment,
but it becomes supple like the leather of Ta'if;
and if the tanner didn't rub acid solution into it,
it would only become fetid and repulsive.


Dar haqiqat dustânet doshmanand
keh ze Hazrat dur o mashghulet konand
Hast hayavâni keh nâmesh oshghorast
u be-zakhm-e chub zaft o lamtorast
Tâ keh chubesh mi zani beh mi shavad
u ze zakhm-e chub farbeh mi shavad
Nafs-e mo'men oshghori âmad yaqin
ku be-zakhm-e ranj zaftast o samin
Zin sabab bar anbiyâ ranj o shekast
az hameh khalq-e jahân afzuntarast
Tâ ze jân-hâ jâneshân shod zafttar
keh na-didand ân balâ qawm-e degar
Pust az dâru balâ-kash mi shavad
chon adim-e Tâyefi khvosh mi shavad
Var nah talkh o tiz mâlidi daru
gandeh gashti nâ-khvosh o nâ-pâk bu

Mathnawi IV: 96-103
Version by Camille and Kabir Helminski
 "Rumi: Jewels of Remembrance"
Threshold Books, 1996
Persian transliteration courtesy of Yahyá Monastra




Tyranny of the false Self
by Rumi

Save us from what our own hands might do;
lift the veil, but not tear it.
save us from the ego; its knife has reached our bones.
Who but You will break these chains ?
let us turn from ourselves to You,
who are nearer to us than ourselves.
even this prayer is Your gift to us.
how else has a rose garden grown from these ashes

Rumi , Mathnavi Book 2 (2443-49)
translated by Kabir Helminski




The Dome of the Inner Sky
by Rumi

The Great King is within me.
He is my dearest friend.

Don't look at my sallow face,
Look at how I stand with legs of iron!
Always turning toward that One
    who gave me life.

I am the glorious Sun,
    the ocean laden with pearls.
Within my heart is the grandeur of heaven,
Outside, the lowly earth.

I travel in this world like a bee in a jar.
But don't listen to my woeful buzzing -
My house is filled with honey!

O heart, if you want to join us,
    raise yourself
    to the dome of the inner sky.
Enter the fortress that no one can break.

The vast and mighty waters
    move the grinding stones of heaven.
I am that great wheel,
    crying so sweetly,
    turning with the flow of rushing water.

Men, demons, and spirits all follow my command.
Can't you see that I am Solomon,
    with a shimmering seal on my ring?

Why should I be weary
    when every cell of my body is bursting with life?
Why should I be a donkey's slave
    when I ride upon a magical horse?
Why should I be less than the Moon
    when there are no scorpions at my feet?
Why should I stay at the bottom of a well
    when a strong rope is in my hand?

I've built a place for the falcons of my soul -
Fly this way, O birds of spirit,
    for I am surrounded by a hundred mighty towers!

I am the rays of the Sun
    dancing through the windows of every house.
I am carnelian, gold, and rubies,
    even though this body is made of water and clay.

Whatever pearl you seek,
    look for the pearl within the pearl!

The surface of the earth says,
    "The treasure is within."
The glowing jewel says,
    "Don't be fooled by my beauty -
    the light of my face
    comes from the candle of my spirit."

What else can I say?
You will only hear
    what you are ready to hear.
Don't nod your head,
Don't try to fool me -
    the truth of what you see
    is written all over your face!

Version by Jonathan Star
"Rumi - In the Arms of the Beloved "
Jeremy P. Tarcher/Putnam, New York 1997


    How should you know what kind of King is my inward
companion?  Look not at my yellow face, for I have legs
of iron!

    I have turned my face totally to that King who brought
me here: I have a thousand praises for Him who created me.

    One moment I am the sun, the next an ocean of pearls.
Inwardly I have the majesty of the spheres, outwardly
the lowliness of the earth.

    Within this jar of the world I wander like a bee - look
not only at my wailful buzzing, for I have a house full of

    Oh heart, if you are seeking us, come up to the blue
dome - my palace is a fortress that gives me the security
of the secure.

    How awesome is the water than turns the millstone
of the heavens!  I am the water's wheel - that is why my
cries are so sweet!

    Since you see that devils, mankind, and jinn all follow
my command, can you not understand that I am Solomon
and that on my ring is a seal?

    Why should I be withered?  Every one of my particles
has blossomed!  Why should I be an ass's slave?  I am
mounted upon Buraq!*

    Why should I be less than the moon?  No scorpion has
bit my foot!  Why should I not come out of this well?  I
have grasped a strong rope!

    I have built a house for the spirit's pigeons - fly in
this direction, oh bird of the spirit, for I possess a
hundred inaccessible towers!

    I am a ray of the Sun, though I wander about all these
houses.  I am carnelian and gold and rubies, though I was
born or water and clay!

    Whatever pearl you see, seek another within it!  Every
dustmote says, "Inwardly I am a treasure!"

    Every jewel says to you, "Be not satisfied with my beauty,
for the light in my face derives from the candle of my

    I will be silent, for you have not the intelligence to
understand - do not nod your head, try not to deceive me,
for I have an eye that discerns intelligence.

Translation by William C. Chittick
 "The Sufi Path of Love"
SUNY Press, Albany, 1983

* Buraq: the name of the miraculous steed which carried the
Prophet Muhammad on his famous Night Journey [Mi`raaj]
from Mecca to the Temple site in Jerusalem, and straight up
into the Heavens. It was described as smaller than a mule,
but bigger than a donkey, and it had wings. It travelled as fast
as lightning [barq] to wherever its glance looked next. 
(Footnote courtesy of Dr. Ibrahim Gamard.)




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