Wednesday, June 29, 2016

stanzas from Rumi (translated by Helminski)

Since to learn to speak one must first listen,
learn to speak by listening.
-Rumi:  Mathnawi, i, 1629

I shall not get justice from anyone
  except Him who is nearer to me than myself,
for this I-ness comes moment by moment from Him.
-ibid, i, 2197-8

Look at yourself, trembling, 
afraid of nonexistence.
Know that nonexistence is also afraid
that God might bring it into Existence.
If you grasp at worldly dignities
it’s from fear too.
Everything except love of the Most Beautiful
is really agony.  It’s agony
to move towards death and not drink the water of Life.
-ibid., i, 3084-7

The sufi’s body is not of ink and letters;
it is nothing but a heart white as snow.
-ibid., ii, 159

If your thought is a rose/ you are a rose garden; 
if it is a thorn you are fuel for the bath stove.
-ibid., ii, 278

Sunlight fell upon the wall;
the wall received a borrowed splendor.
Why set your heart on a piece of earth, simple one?
Seek out the source that shines forever.
-ibid., ii, 708-9

O, happy the soul that sees its own faults,
and if anyone mentioned a fault
wished eagerly to take responsibility—
  for half of each person
has always belonged to the realm of fault,
but the other half belongs
to the realm of the Unseen.
-ibid., ii, 3934-5

God has made nonexistence appear solid and respectable;
and He has made Existence appear in the guise of nonexistence.
He has hidden the Sea and made the foam visible,
He has concealed the Wind and shown you the dust.
-ibid., v, 1026-7

The root of every thorn 
draws the water of your attention toward itself.
How will the water of your attention reach the fruit?
  Cut through the evil roots, cut them away,
divert the Bounty of God to spirit and to insight,
not to the knotted and broken world outside.
-ibid, v, 1084-6

Don’t go, come near!
Don’t be faithless, be faithful!
Find the antidote in the venom.
Come to the root of the root of the Self….

Once you get hold of selflessness
you’ll be dragged from your ego
  and freed from many traps—
come, return to the root of the root of your Self….

You were born from a ray of God’s majesty
  and have the blessings of a good star.
Why suffer at the hands of things that don’t exist?
Come, return to the root of the root of the Self….

Our master and host, Shams-i Tabriz,
  has put the eternal cup before you,
Glory be to God, what a rare wine!
So come, return to the root of the root of your Self.
-Rumi:  Divani Shams-i Tabriz, #120

-translated by Kabir Helminski, 1992

Rumi statue in southern Tajikistan--photo courtesy of Brad Gooch,

How much the Beloved made me suffer
before this work sealed into the eye's water
and the liver's blood.
A thousand fires and smoke, and its name is Love.
-Rumi:  Divan, 12063

If you wish to find a way out of this ruined prison
don't turn your head away from the Beloved
buut bow in worship and draw near.
-Rumi:  Mathnawi, i, 3605-7

The unsuspecting child first wipes the tablet
and then writes letters on it.
God turns the heart into blood and desperate tears,
then writes spiritual mysteries on it.
-ibid., ii, 1826-7

The porter runs to the heavy load and takes it from others,
knowing burdens are the foundation of ease
and bitter things the forerunners of delight.
-ibid, ii, 1834-5

Lovingkindness is drawn to the saint
as medicine goes to the pain it must cure.
Where there is pain the remedy follows--
wherever the lowlands are the water goes.
If you want the water of mercy make yourself low,
then drink the wine of mercy and be drunk.
Mercy upon mercy rises to your head like a flood.
-ibid, ii, 1938-40

The five spiritual senses are all connected;
they've grown from one root.
As one grows strong the others strengthen too,
each one becomes a cupbearer to the rest.
Seeing with the eye increases speech,
speech increases discernment in the eye.
As sight deepens it awakens every sense
so that perception of the spiritual
becomes familiar to them all.
-ibid, ii, 3236-9

Each moment contains
a hundred messages from God;
to every cry of "O Lord"
He answers a hundred times "I am here."
-ibid, vi, 1578

Yet in the midst of suffering
Love proceeds like a millstone,
hard-surfaced and straightforward.

Having died to self-interest
She risks everything and asks for nothing.
Love gambles away every gift God bestows.
-ibid, vi, 1968-70

The mystery of "Die before you die" is this:
that the gifts come after your dying and not before.
Except for dying, you artful schemer,
no other skill impresses God.
-ibid, vi, 3837-8
                           -translated by Kabir Helminski, 1992, see Living Presence by him;
Mathnawi means couplets in Persian

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