Foundation, NJ U. S. A
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Article 11 - Article 12 - Article 13 - Article 14 - Article 15
When have I become less by dying ?
O my noble friends, slaughter this cow,
if you wish to raise up the spirit of insight.
I died to being mineral and growth began.
I died to vegetable growth and attained to the state
I died from animality and became Adam:
why then should I fear?
When have I become less by dying?
next I shall die to being a human being,
so that I may soar and lift up my head among the
Yet I must escape even from that angelic state:
everything is perishing except His Face.*
Once again I shall be sacrificed, dying to the
I shall become that which could never be imagined
shall become nonexistent.
Nonexistence sings its clear melody,
Truly, unto Him shall we return!**
-- Mathnawi III:3900-3906
Version by Camille and Kabir Helminski
Threshold Books, 1994
Az jumâdî mord-am-o nâmę shod-am
w-az namâ mord-am ba-Haywân bar zad-am
mord-am az Hawânî-wo âdam shod-am
pas che tars-am, kay ze mordan kam shod-am?
Hamla-yé degar be-mîr-am az bashar
tâ bar âr-am az malâ'ik parr-o sar
w-az malak ham bâyâd-am jastan ze jű
kullu shay-in hâlik illâ wajha-hu
bâr-é dęgar az malak qurbân shaw-am
ânche andar wahm n-ây-ad ân shaw-am
pas `adam gard-am `adam chűn arghanűn
gôy-ad-am ke innâ ilay-hi râji`űn
(c) Ibrahim Gamard (transliteration)
"The Sweetest of All Things"
Since you are the one who takes life
It is the sweetest of all things to die.
Life is sweet
But merging with you is far sweeter.
Come into the garden!
Join the Friend of the Truth!
In his garden you’ll drink the Water of Life,
though it seems like fire to die.
In one moment someone dies,
In the next moment someone is born.
There is a lot of coming and going
no one really dies
nor will I ever die.
Forget the body, become pure spirit.
Dance from here to the other world.
Don’t stop. Don’t try to escape,
even if you are afraid to die.
I swear were it not for His pure nature
The wheel of heaven would turn to dust.
Merge with Him now,
And you’ll be sweeter than halva
when it comes time to die.
Why hold on to this life?
True living comes by giving up this life.
Why cling to one piece of gold?
it is a mine of gold to die.
Escape from this cage
and breathe the scented air of His garden.
Break this hard shell
It’s like a shining pearl to die.
When God calls and pulls you close,
Going is like paradise
It’s like a heavenly river to die.
Death is only a mirror
And your true nature is reflected there.
See what the mirror is saying
it’s quite a sight to die!
If you are kind and faithful
Your death will also be that way.
If you are cruel and faithless,
that is the way you will die.
If you are like Joseph,
full of goodness,
That’s how your mirror will be.
If not, you will see
only fear and torment
when it comes time to die.
These words are sweet,
but they always fade.
Sh . . . The eternal Khizr
and the Water of Life
have no idea what it means to die.
-- Ode 2037
Version by Jonathan Star
"A Garden Beyond Paradise: The Mystical
Poetry of Rumi"
Bantam Books, 1992
Salaams from the Tomb
Look on me, for I shall be your companion in the grave on
that night when you pass across from shop and house.
You will hear my greeting in the tomb, and you will be aware
that not for a moment you have been veiled from my eyes.
I am like reason and mind within your veil, alike in time of
pleasure and happiness and in the hour of pain and weariness.
On the strange night, when you hear the voice familiar, you
will escape from the bite of snake and leap away from the horror of ant;
Love's intoxication will bring to your grave, as a gift, wine and
mistress and candle and meats and sweets and incense.
On the hour when we light the lamp of the intellect, what a
tumult of joy shall go up from the dead in the tombs!
The dust of the graveyard will be confounded by those cries,
by the din of the drum of resurrection, the pomp and panoply of the uprising
Shrouds rent asunder, two ears stopped up in terror; what shall
avail brain and ear before the blast of the trumpet?
On whatever side you gaze, you will behold my form, whether
you gaze on yourself or towards that uproar and confusion.
Flee from squinteyedness, and make good both your
eyes, for the evil eye on that day will be far from my beauty.
Beware of mistaking me in a human shape, for the spirit is
very subtle, and Love is exceedingly jealous.
What room is there for form, if the felt be a hundredfold?
It is the rays of the soul's mirror that pitch the flag visibly.
Beat the drum, and wind towards the minstrels of the city;
it is the day of purification to the grown lads of the road of Love.
Had they sought God, instead of morsel and pence,
you would not have seen one blind man seated on the edge of the moat.
What sort of ogling-house have you opened in our city!
Mouth shut, shoot out glances, like light.
Translation by A. J. Arberry
"Mystical Poems of Rumi 1"
The University of Chicago Press, 1968
Mirrors had covers of felt.
You who fly up from this narrow cage
veering off beyond the heavens
you'll see a new life after this;
how long will you bear this life's drear? . . .
This body wore a butler's garb
now sports a more fashionable form.
Death means life and this life is death
though heathen eyes see negative
All souls departed from this body
live on, but hidden now, like angels . . .
When body's bricks crumble, don't wail
Sir, you've only been in a jail
when you emerge from jail or pit,
you stand regal, tall, like Joseph
From the "Diwan-e Shamsi Tabrizi"
Translation by Franklin D. Lewis
"Rumi, Past and Present, East and West"
Oneworld Publications, Oxford, 2000
Tonight, take my spirit totally from my body,
so that I may no longer have shape and name in the world!
At this moment I am drunk in Thee - give me another
cup! Then I may be obliterated from the two worlds in
Thee, and be done with it.
When I have been annihilated through Thee and be-
come what Thou knowest, then I will take the cup of non-
existence and drink it, cup after cup.
When the spirit becomes radiant through Thee,
when the candle lights up - if not consumed by Thee it is raw, raw.
Give me now the wine of nonexistence instant by instant;
when I have entered nonexistence, I will not
the house from its roof.
When your nonexistence increases, the spirit will
prostrate itself to you a hundred times -
oh you to whose nonexistence thousands of existences are slave!
Give me wine, measure by measure!
Deliver me from my own existence!
Wine is Thy special grace,
intellect Thy general grace.
Send up waves from nonexistence to steal me away!
How long will I pace the Oceans shore in fear?
The snare of my king Shams al-Din is catching
prey in Tabriz, but I have no fear of the snare,
for I am
Translation by William C. Chittick
"The Sufi Path of Love"
SUNY Press, Albany, 1983
Ghazal (Ode) 911
On the day of death, when my bier is on the move,
suppose that I have any pain at leaving this world.
Do not weep for me, say not "Alas, alas!" You
will fall into
the devil’s snare – that would indeed be alas!
When you see my hearse, say not "Parting,
time there will be for me union and encounter.
When you commit me to the grave, say not,
well!" For the grave is a veil over the reunion of
Having seen the going-down, look upon the
should setting impair the sun and the moon?
To you it appears as setting, but it is a rising;
the tomb appears
as a prison, but it is release for the soul.
What seed ever went down into the earth which did
Why do you doubt so regarding the human seed?
What bucket ever went down and came not out full?
this complaining of the well by the Joseph of the
When you have closed your mouth on this side, open
that, for your shout of triumph will echo in the
-- Translation by A.J. Arberry
"Mystical Poems of Rumi 1"
The University of Chicago Press, 1968
Rumi on "Grief"
Learn from God's message this alchemy:
Be satisfied with what He gives to you.
And when the envoy "Grief" comes to your house.
Then take him to your breast like an old friend!
Weave not, like spiders, nets from grief's saliva
In which the woof and warp are both decaying.
But give the grief to Him, Who granted it,
And do not talk about it anymore.
When you are silent, His speech is your speech,
When you don't weave, the weaver will be He.
And if he closes before you
The ways and passes all--
He'll show you a hidden pathway
Which nobody has known.
From: "Look! This is Love"
Poems of Rumi
Translated by Annemarie Schimmel, pp. 102-105.
Shambhala Boston & London 1996
THE SEEMING DEATH OF THE BODY
IS THE REAL BIRTH OF THE SOUL.
Hazrat Inayat Khan
Commentary by Hazrat Samuel L. Lewis:
By death of the body is meant dissolution, of course.
For when this physical body is disintegrated, the soul
is no longer a captive to time and space and its life
becomes much more real.
In another sense, body means much more than just the
physical body; any body—earth-body, mind-body or even
heart-body—seems to exact something from soul so that
it does not fully realize its complete union and unity with God.
Again, death of body may mean death of influence of
body. This is a most wonderful process. When one has
completely realized God while in the physical body,
when one has attained to liberation, the form of the
body remains—one still has a chemical body but there
is a marvelous change in it.
The old physical atoms fall away and are displaced by
finer particles. These are more attenuated and are
filled with the life-force which flows forth from the
heart—not with the blood so much as around the blood
like magnetism flows around an electric wire. This
living magnetism produces a living light and sometimes
this light can manifest. Thus Jesus Christ has said,
“Let your light shine before men.”
This light was also seen in Moses when the Glory of
shone upon him and it is called “Kevod” by the
Hebrews. This is the living breath and life of God. It
is also manifested in Mohammed whose inner light was
so great that sometimes he cast no shadow. It was this
attainment that gave him the right to be called
Mohammed. By Sufis this light is called “Nuri
This spiritual physical body is called by the
“Nirmanakaya” or body of transformation. It can be
dissolved instantly at so-called death, which
certainly was true in the historical cases of Moses,
Elijah, Jesus Christ, Kabir and many others. There is
not always instantaneous dissolution because if the
body is kept whole or parts remain, they help to
sanctify the earth. So Mohammed was placed in a tomb
and the remains of Buddha placed in stops.
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