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Work in the Invisible
The Prophets have wondered to themselves,
"How long should we keep pounding this cold iron?
How long do we have to whisper into an empty cage?"
Every motion of created beings comes from the creator.
The first soul pushes, and your second soul responds.
So donıt be timid.
Load the ship and set out.
No one knows for certain
whether the vessel will sink
or reach the harbor
Just donıt be one of those merchants
who wonıt risk the ocean!
This is much more important
than losing or making money!
This is your connection to God.
Think of the fear and the hope
that you have about your livelihood.
They make you go to work diligently every day.
Now consider what the prophets have done.
Abraham wore fire for an anklet.
Moses spoke to the sea.
David moulded iron.
Solomon rode the wind.
Work in the invisible world
at least as hard as you do in the visible.
Be companions with the prophets
even though no one here
will know that you are,
not even the helpers of the Qutb, the abdals.
You canıt imagine what profit will come!
When one of those generous ones
invites you into the fire, go quickly!
Donıt say, "But will it burn me? Will it hurt?"
-- Mathnawi Rumi Vol. III, 3077-3109
Version by Coleman Barks
"Rumi: One-Handed Basket Weaving"
discovery of treasure
The discovery of treasure is by luck, and even more, it is rare:
one must earn a living so long as the body is able.
Does earning a livelihood prevent the discovery of treasure?
Donıt retire from work:
that treasure, indeed, follows after the work.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Kâr bakhtast ân va ân ham nâderast
kasb bâyad kard tâ tan qâderast
Kasb kardan ganj-râ mâne` kayst
pâ ma-kash az kâr ân khvod dar payst
-- Mathnawi II: 734-735
Version by Camille and Kabir Helminski
Threshold Books, 1994
Persian transliteration courtesy of Yahyá Monastra
O friend, canıt you see?
Your face is flowing with light.
The whole world could get drunk on the love found in your heart.
Donıt run here and there looking all around
He is right inside you.
Is there any place where the Sun doesnıt shine?
Is there anyone who canıt see the full Moon?
Veil upon veil, thought upon thought
Let go of them all,
For they only hide the truth.
Once you see the glory
Of his moon-like face,
what excuse could you have
for pain and sorrow?
Any heart without his love
even the kingıs heart
is a coffin for the dead.
Everyone can see God
within his own heart
everyone who is not a corpse.
Everyone can drink
from the waters of life
and conquer death forever.
The veil of ignorance
covers the Sun and Moon;
It even causes Love to think, "I am not divine."
O Shams, Blazing Light of Tabriz,
There are still some secrets of yours
that even I cannot tell.
-- Ghazal 505 (divan-i Shams Tabriz)
Version by Jonathan Star, with Shahram Shiva
"A Garden Beyond Paradise: The Mystical Poetry of Rumi"
Bantam Books, 1992
by Salman Khalid, Member KSS Rumi Cluster Team,
Pumjab University, Lahore, Pakistan
A lover's food is the love of bread,
Not the bread.
No one who really loves,
The man who has inspired hundreds of millions through nine centuries and is considered the greatest of Muslim philosophers and poet-philosophers was born in Balkh, Afghanistan on the fateful day of September 29, 1207 A.D. Rumi's family fled the Mongol invasion and finally settled in Konya, Turkey where he spent most of his life. From an early age Rumi was drawn towards religion and philosophy. Following in his father's ancestral line, he became a scholar until his meeting with the wandering dervish, Shams of Tabriz at the age of 37. That was perhaps the turning point in his life, for Rumi had found the spiritual teacher he was looking for. After Shams, Rumi's other strong influences were Saladin Zarkub, the goldsmith, and later his scribe, Husam.
Rumi is credited with being the father of Sufism along with Ibn Al Arabi. He founded the Mevlevi Order of dervishes, better known as the Whirling Dervishes.Through a turning movement, body posturing, mental focus, and sound, the dervish achieves ecstasy through union with God.
Over his lifetime, Maulana Rumi created three poetic and philosophical masterpieces:
Divan-e-Shams: A compendium of poetry in praise of Shams in over 45,000 verses in Farsi (Persian)
Mathnavi: Rumi's most famous work in 7 books, and 24,660 couplets, in Farsi and some Arabic.
Fihi ma Fihi: An introductory discourses on metaphysics
While many other poets have a mystical vision and then try to express it in a graspable language, Rumi has never attempted to bring his visions to the level of the mundane. He has always expected, rather, demanded the reader to reach higher and higher in his or her own spiritual understanding, and then perhaps be able to appreciate what Rumi was saying.
Perhaps this is why there are many layers to his poetryĤ not so much because of his writing, but because of our understanding. As we transcend in our understanding, we grasp more and more of what he conveyed to us. No wonder Allama Iqbal considered him as his greatest teacher.
Mathnavi is perhaps the best-known works of Rumi. He himself defined his work as a work of destruction, destruction of the worldly for the sake of embracing the Divine. He warns the reader in advance to be prepared to let go of everything:
Every venture one's life may replete
Mathnavi's purpose is the Great Defeat.
Set afire, burning with cleansing heat,
on the anvil, egos ply and beat.
This book, if you open, read, entreat
your life, a mendicant's, in the street.
His other great masterpiece is the Divan-e-shams. In Divan-e-shams, he has used many images from the mundane world. Images such as the wine and the wine bearer, the pearl and the ocean, the sun and the moon, the night and day, the caravan, pilgrimage and many more. The mastery of rhyme and rhythm is such that he often creates a new vocabulary, using the same old words, yet creating new feelings that are associated with them. One cannot help but marvel at the linguistic mastery he displays.
In any case, the end result is the same âĤ the experience of artistic beauty, musical genius, rhythm and ecstatic energy, all in conjunction with the mental understanding of the wisdom conveyed. In other words, His presence pervades his poetry, and one cannot help but be touched by such powerful and loving presence.
The morning wind spreads its fresh smell
We must get up and take that in,
That wind that let's us live.
Breathe before it's gone.
The sad thing is that this philosopher cum mystic giant who was also a religious scholar par excellence was branded as a heretic in his own lifetime and religious orthodoxy till date considers him such. Perhaps the reason being that Rumi attacked the reduction of religion down to a mere ritual and not trying to absorb the love of God in mind as well as in spirit.
Rumi died at sunset of December 16, 1273 A.D at the age of 66 yet his message lives on nine centuries after he died. In the intolerant world of today, the message of Rumi becomes all the more relevant. His message of love, peace and his depth of understanding shall always be a guiding force for millions.
Dance, when you're broken open.
Dance, if you've torn the bandage off.
Dance in the middle of the fighting.
Dance in your blood.
Dance, when you're perfectly free.
courtesy: The Khwarzimic Science Society Centre of Excellence in Solid State Physics , Punjab University, Quaid-e-Azam Campus, Lahore 54590, Pakistan
I WAS A HIDDEN TREASURE
David said: 'O Lord, since thou hast no need of us,
Say then, what wisdom was there in creating the two worlds?'
God said to him: 'O temporal man, I was a hidden treasure*;
I sought that that treasure of loving kindness and bounty should be revealed.
I displayed a mirror* -- its face the heart, its back the world*
Its back is better than its face -- if the face is unknown to thee.'
When straw is mixed with clay*, how should the mirror be successful?
When you part the straw from the clay, the mirror becomes clear.
Grape-juice does not turn to wine,* unless it ferment awhile in the jar;
Would you have your heart grow bright, you must take a little trouble.
The soul which issued forth from the body--my king saith to it:
Thou art come even as thou wentest: where are the traces of my benefactions?'*
Tis notorious that copper by alchemy becomes gold:*
Our copper* has been transmuted by this rare alchemy.
From God's grace* this sun* wants no crown or robe:
He is cap to a hundred bald men and cloak to ten naked.
Child, Jesus sate on an ass* for humility's sake:
How else should the zephyr* ride on the back of an ass?
O spirit, make thy head in search and seeking like the water of a stream,*
And O reason,* to gain eternal life* tread everlastingly the way of death.
Keep God in remembrance till self is forgotten,*
That you may be lost in the Called, without distraction of caller and call.*
-- T.126.9 ("Tabriz Edition of the Divani Shamsi Tabriz)
"Selected Poems from the Divani Shamsi Tabriz"
Edited and translated by Reynold A. Nicholson
Cambridge, At the University Press, 1898, 1952
* "I was a hidden treasure" -- this famous tradition, which innumerable Sufi poets and commentators have illustrated and embellished (cf. especially a beautiful passage in Jami's Yusuf u Zulaikha, p. 16), runs . . .
"I was a hidden treasure and I desired to be known, so I created the creation in order that I might be known."
* "I displayed a mirror" -- "Every object reflects one or more of the divine attributes, but Man, as the microcosm, reflects them all.
'Man," says Lahiji (Gulshani Raz, 141), "tis the eye of the world, Whereby God sees.His own works."
* "its face the heart, its back the world -- The earthly part of man
Is compared to the back, his eternal attributes to the face of a mirror?
He is 'blackened on one side with the darkness of Not-being in order to reflect Real Being' (Lahiji on Gulshani Raz, 265).
* "When straw is mixed with clay" -- Straw is mixed with clay to form a kind of stucco or mortar. Unless you are pure clay, i.e., entirely purged of self, the divine image reflected in your heart will be blurred and incomplete.
* "Grape-juice does not turn to wine" -- cf. Tabriz Edition of the Divani Shamsi Tabriz, p. 353, verses 8-9, and
Ye are imprisoned like grape-juice in the jar of the world;
Ye come forth from this jar, when ye are well fermented.
* "Thou art come even as thou wentest" -- i.e. you return to me no better than when you entered the world."
* "my benefactions"-- Suggested perhaps by the verse which runs as a refrain through Kor. LV.
* "Tis notorious that copper by alchemy becomes gold"--
The transforming influence of divine grace.
* "Our copper": Whatever in Man's nature is false and unessential.
* "this sun"-- Refers to Shamsi Tabriz.
* "Child, Jesus sate on an ass" --St. Matthew, ch. xxi. Jesus mounted on the ass represents the soul degraded by contact with the body. Cf. (T. 268. 8a):
Jesus, son of Mary, went to heaven and his ass remained below;
I remain on the earth but my spirit has flown to the sky.
See Whinfield's Masnavi, p. 85, and 'Attar, Mantiqu' ttair, 621.
* "the zephyr" -- An allusion to the quickening breath of Jesus, whom Muslims call 'ruhullah' (cf. Kor. Iv. 169). Hafiz has 'Isaye saba' (I. 228. 3), and 'masiha nafasi,' and of the Spring (I. 540.1).
* " make thy head in search and seeking like the water of a stream" -- Humility exalts a man.
Running on face and head, like a torrent, to join the river of the Friend. (T. 137. 2).
And I become water, bending low in prayer, that I may reach the rose garden.
Cf. Nafahatu 'l Uns, p. 422, 1. 4: Shaikh Ahmad Ghazzali relates that his shaikh, i.e., Abu Bakr Nassaj, exclaimed in his prayers,'O God, with what design was I created?' The answer came:
'The design was that I might behold myself in the mirror of thy soul, and plant my love in thy heart.'"
* "O reason" -- The intellectual faculty, involving the separation of the thinker from the object of his thought, and therefore dualistic, is constantly opposed to 'Eshgh' (Love) the spiritual faculty (intuition, illumination, inner light) which attains the truth by transcending thought.
* "eternal life"-- "bagha" -- Eternal life in God, only to be gained through annihilation of the self . (Sunlight note: "fana")
* "forgotten" -- Here used as a noun, cf. "Parishan": distressed.
* "That you may be lost in the Called, without distraction of caller and call" See the passage from Ghazzali quoted by Tholuck (Ssufismus, p. 3) and translated by Winfield on Gulshani Raz, Number 411, Cf.
'Tis blasphemy to praise Him: I proclaim My 'self' extant, and 'self' is mortal shame.
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