We are as the Flute
We are as the flute, and the music in us is from thee;
we are as the mountain and the echo in us is from thee.
We are as pieces of chess engaged in victory and defeat:
our victory and defeat is from thee, O thou whose qualities are comely!
Who are we, O Thou soul of our souls,
that we should remain in being beside thee?
We and our existences are really non-existence;
thou art the absolute Being which manifests the perishable.
We all are lions, but lions on a banner:
because of the wind they are rushing onward from moment to moment.
Their onward rush is visible, and the wind is unseen:
may that which is unseen not fail from us!
Our wind whereby we are moved and our being are of thy gift;
our whole existence is from thy bringing into being.
(Mesnavi Book I, 599-607)
Love is the Water of Life
Everything other than love for the most beautiful
God is agony of the spirit,
though it be sugar- eating.
What is agony of the spirit?
To advance toward death without seizing hold of the Water of Life.
(Mesnevi I 3686-87)
On the Death Bed
Go, rest your head on a pillow, leave me alone;
leave me ruined, exhausted from the journey of this night,
writhing in a wave of passion till the dawn.
Either stay and be forgiving,
or, if you like, be cruel and leave.
Flee from me, away from trouble;
take the path of safety, far from this danger.
We have crept into this corner of grief,
turning the water wheel with a flow of tears.
While a tyrant with a heart of flint slays,
and no one says, "Prepare to pay the blood money."
Faith in the king comes easily in lovely times,
but be faithful now and endure, pale lover.
No cure exists for this pain but to die,
So why should I say, "Cure this pain"?
In a dream last night I saw
an ancient one in the garden of love,
beckoning with his hand, saying, "Come here."
On this path, Love is the emerald,
the beautiful green that wards off dragonsnough, I am losing myself.
If you are a man of learning,
read something classic,
a history of the human struggle
and don't settle for mediocre verse.
May these vows and this marriage be blessed.
May it be sweet milk,
this marriage, like wine and halvah.
May this marriage offer fruit and shade
like the date palm.
May this marriage be full of laughter,
our every day a day in paradise.
May this marriage be a sign of compassion,
a seal of happiness here and hereafter.
May this marriage have a fair face and a good name,
an omen as welcomes the moon in a clear blue sky.
I am out of words to describe
how spirit mingles in this marriage.
O lovers, lovers it is time
to set out from the world.
I hear a drum in my soul's ear
coming from the depths of the stars.
Our camel driver is at work;
the caravan is being readied.
He asks that we forgive him
for the disturbance he has caused us,
He asks why we travellers are asleep.
Everywhere the murmur of departure;
the stars, like candles
thrust at us from behind blue veils,
and as if to make the invisible plain,
a wondrous people have come forth.
This World Which is Made
Our Love for Emptiness
Praise to the emptiness that blanks out existence. Existence:
This place made from our love for that emptiness!
Yet somehow comes emptiness,
this existence goes.
Praise to that happening, over and over!
For years I pulled my own existence out of emptiness.
Then one swoop, one swing of the arm,
that work is over.
Free of who I was, free of presence, free of dangerous fear, hope,
free of mountainous wanting.
The here-and-now mountain is a tiny piece of a piece of straw
blown off into emptiness.
These words I'm saying so much begin to lose meaning:
Existence, emptiness, mountain, straw:
Words and what they try to say swept
out the window, down the slant of the roof.
From Fihi ma Fihi
"It is said that after Muhammad and the prophets revelation does not descend
upon anyone else.
Why not? In fact it does, but then it is not called 'revelation.'
It is what the Prophet referred to when he said,
'The believer sees with the Light of God.
When the believer looks with 'The believer sees with the Light of God.'
When the believer looks with God's Light, he sees all things:
the first and the last, the present and the absent.
For how can anything be hidden from God's Light?
And if something is hidden,
then it is not the Light of God.
Therefore the meaning of revelation exists,
even if it is not called revelation."
Fihi ma fihi [Discourses of Rumi]
quoted from William C. Chittick, _The Sufi Path of Love:
The Spiritual Teachings of Rumi(Albany: SUNY, 1983)
The Drum of the Realization
The drum of the realization of the promise is beating,
we are sweeping the road to the sky.
Your joy is here today, what remains for tomorrow?
The armies of the day have chased the army of the night,
Heaven and earth are filled with purity and light.
Oh! joy for he who has escaped from this world of perfumes and color!
For beyond these colors and these perfumes,
these are other colors in the heart and the soul.
Oh! joy for this soul and this heart who have escaped
the earth of water and clay,
Although this water and this clay contain the hearth of the
(Mystic Odes 473)
Call of Love
At every instant and from every side, resounds the call of Love:
We are going to sky, who wants to come with us?
We have gone to heaven, we have been the friends of the angels,
And now we will go back there, for there is our country.
We are higher than heaven, more noble than the angels:
Why not go beyond them? Our goal is the Supreme Majesty.
What has the fine pearl to do with the world of dust?
Why have you come down here? Take your baggage back. What is this place?
Luck is with us, to us is the sacrifice!...
Like the birds of the sea, men come from the ocean -- the ocean of the soul.
Like the birds of the sea, men come from the ocean -- the ocean of the soul.
How could this bird, born from that sea, make his dwelling here?
No, we are the pearls from the bosom of the sea, it is there that we dwell:
Otherwise how could the wave succeed to the wave that comes from the soul?
The wave named 'Am I not your Lord' has come, it has broken the vessel of
And when the vessel is broken, the vision comes back, and the union with
Eva de Vitray-Meyerovitch, 'Rumi and Sufism'
trans. Simone Fattal
Sausalito, CA: Post-Apollo Press, 1977, 1987.
Our Death is Our Wedding with Eternity
Our death is our wedding with eternity.
What is the secret? "God is One."
The sunlight splits when entering the windows of the house.
This multiplicity exists in the cluster of grapes;
It is not in the juice made from the grapes.
For he who is living in the Light of God,
The death of the carnal soul is a blessing.
Regarding him, say neither bad nor good,
For he is gone beyond the good and the bad.
Fix your eyes on God and do not talk about what is invisible,
So that he may place another look in your eyes.
It is in the vision of the physical eyes
That no invisible or secret thing exists.
But when the eye is turned toward the Light of God
What thing could remain hidden under such a Light?
Although all lights emanate from the Divine Light
Don't call all these lights "the Light of God";
It is the eternal light which is the Light of God,
The ephemeral light is an attribute of the body and the flesh.
..... Oh, God who gives the grace of vision!
The bird of vision is flying towards You with the wings of desire.
(Mystic Odes 833)
I've Said Before that Every Craftman
I've said before that every craftsman
searches for what's not there
to practice his craft.
A builder looks for the rotten hole
where the roof caved in. A water-carrier
picks the empty pot. A carpenter
stops at the house with no door.
Workers rush toward some hint
of emptiness, which they then
start to fill. Their hope, though,
is for emptiness, so don't think
you must avoid it. It contains
what you need!
Dear soul, if you were not friends
with the vast nothing inside,
why would you always be casting you net
into it, and waiting so patiently?
This invisible ocean has given you such abundance,
but still you call it "death",
that which provides you sustenance and work.
God has allowed some magical reversal to occur,
so that you see the scorpion pit
as an object of desire,
and all the beautiful expanse around it,
as dangerous and swarming with snakes.
This is how strange your fear of death
and emptiness is, and how perverse
the attachment to what you want.
Now that you've heard me
on your misapprehensions, dear friend,
listen to Attar's story on the same subject.
He strung the pearls of this
about King Mahmud, how among the spoils
of his Indian campaign there was a Hindu boy,
whom he adopted as a son. He educated
and provided royally for the boy
and later made him vice-regent, seated
on a gold throne beside himself.
One day he found the young man weeping .....
"Why are you crying? You're the companion
of an emperor! The entire nation is ranged out
before you like stars that you can command!"
The young man replied, "I am remembering
my mother and father, and how they
scared me as a child with threats of you!
'Uh-oh, he's headed for King Mahmud's court!
Nothing could be more hellish!' Where are they now
when they should see me sitting here?"
This incident is about your fear of changing.
You are the Hindu boy. Mahmud, which means
Praise to the End, is the spirit's
poverty or emptiness.
The mother and father are your attachment
to beliefs and blood ties
and desires and comforting habits.
Don't listen to them!
They seem to protect
but they imprison.
They are your worst enemies.
They make you afraid
of living in emptiness.
Some day you'll weep tears of delight in that court,
remembering your mistaken parents!
Know that your body nurtures the spirit,
helps it grow, and gives it wrong advise.
The body becomes, eventually, like a vest
of chain mail in peaceful years,
too hot in summer and too cold in winter.
But the body's desires, in another way, are like
an unpredictable associate, whom you must be
patient with. And that companion is helpful,
because patience expands your capacity
to love and feel peace.
The patience of a rose close to a thorn
keeps it fragrant. It's patience that gives milk
to the male camel still nursing in its third year,
and patience is what the prophets show to us.
The beauty of careful sewing on a shirt
is the patience it contains.
Friendship and loyalty have patience
as the strength of their connection.
Feeling lonely and ignoble indicates
that you haven't been patient.
Be with those who mix with God
as honey blends with milk, and say,
"Anything that comes and goes,
rises and sets, is not
what I love." else you'll be like a caravan fire left
to flare itself out alone beside the road.
(Rumi VI (1369-1420) from 'One-Handed Basket Weaving'
No One Says it Better
What is the *mi'raj* of the heavens?
The religion and creed of the lovers is non- existence.
(Mesnevi VI 233)
These Spiritual Window-shoppers
These spiritual window-shoppers,
who idly ask, 'How much is that?' Oh, I'm just looking.
They handle a hundred items and put them down,
shadows with no capital.
What is spent is love and two eyes wet with weeping.
But these walk into a shop,
and their whole lives pass suddenly in that moment,
in that shop.
Where did you go? "Nowhere."
What did you have to eat? "Nothing much."
Even if you don't know what you want,
buy _something,_ to be part of the exchanging flow.
Start a hugh, foolish project,
Rumi, 'We Are Three', Mathnawi VI, 831-845