Night

“The Night” by Henry Vaughan

 There is in God, some say,
A deep but dazzling darkness, as men here
Say it is late and dusky, because they
             See not all clear.
    O for that night! where I in Him
    Might live invisible and dim!

 

Rumi

Translation:

Truth is the Night of Power,
hidden amid the other nights
so the soul may try each one.
Not all nights are the Night of Power,
yet all nights aren’t empty of it either.

 

Original:

Haqq Shab-e Qadrast dar shab-hâ nehân
tâ konad jân har shabi-râ emtehân
Nah hameh shab-hâ bovad Qadr ay javân
nah hameh shab-hâ bovad khâli az ân

حق شب قدراست در شبها نهان
تا كند جان هر شب را امتهان
نه همه شبها بود قدر اط جوان
نه همه شبها بود خال از ان

 

— Mathnawi II: 2935-2936
Version by Camille and Kabir Helminski
“Rumi: Daylight”
Threshold Books, 1994

Shabistari

The Rose Garden of Mystery (verses 122-130)

Reason’s light applied to the Essence of Lights
is like the eye of the head looking at the brilliance of the Sun
when the object seen is very close to the eye
The eye is darkened so that it cannot see it
This blackness, if you know it, is the very light of Being
in the land of darkness is the fountain of life
Since the darkness destroys the light of vision
Give up loooking, for this is no place for looking
What connection has dust with the pure world?
Its perception is the inability to perceive perception
What shall I say? since this saying is fine,
“A bright night in the midst of a dark day”
In this place of witnessing, which is the light of manifestation
 I have much to say, but silence is best.

 

Original:

بود نور خرد در ذات انور              به سان چشم سر در چشمه خور
چو مبصر با بصر نزدیک گردد              بصر ز ادراک آن تاریک گردد
سیاهی گر بدانی نور ذات است              به تاریکی درون آب حیات است
سیه جز قابض نور بصر نیست               نظر بگذار کین جای نظر نیست
چه نسبت خاک را با عالم پاک        که ادراک است عجز از درک ادراک
سیه رویی ز ممکن در دو عالم                       جدا هرگز نشد والله اعلم
سواد الوجه فی الدارین درویش                 سواد اعظم آمد بی کم و بیش
چه می‌گویم که هست این نکته باریک              شب روشن میان روز تاریک
در این مشهد که انوار تجلی است           سخن دارم ولی نا گفتن اولی است

 

When I die—Rumi and al-Ghazali

Two of the most beautiful death-bed poems from two great Sufis. I pray to live in such a way that someone will recite these at my burial.

Rumi

Translation:

When my bier moveth on the day of death
Think not my heart is in this world.
Do not weep for me and cry “woe, woe!”
Thou wilt fall in the devil’s snare: that is woe
When thou seest my hearse, cry not, “gone, gone!”
Union and meeting are mine in that hour
If thou commit me to the grave, say not “Farewell, farewell”
For the grave is a curtain hiding the communion of paradise
After beholding descent, consider resurrection
Why should setting be injurious to the sun and moon?
To thee it seems a setting, but ’tis a rising’
Tho’ the vault seems a prison, ’tis the release of a soul
What seed went down into the earth but it grew?
Why this doubt of thine as regards the seed of man?
What bucket was lowered but it came out brimful?
Why should the Joseph of the Spirit complain of the well?
Shut thy mouth on this side, and open it beyond
For in placeless air will by thy triumphal song.

(From R.A. Nicholson, Selected Poems form the Divani Shamsi Tabriz, p. 94-96)

Original:

به روز مرگ چو تابوت من روان باشد
گمان مبر که مرا درد این جهان باشد
برای من مگری و مگو دریغ دریغ
به دوغ دیو درافتی دریغ آن باشد
جنازه‌ام چو ببینی مگو فراق فراق
مرا وصال و ملاقات آن زمان باشد
مرا به گور سپاری مگو وداع وداع
که گور پرده جمعیت جنان باشد
فروشدن چو بدیدی برآمدن بنگر
غروب شمس و قمر را چرا زبان باشد
تو را غروب نماید ولی شروق بود
لحد چو حبس نماید خلاص جان باشد
کدام دانه فرورفت در زمین که نرست
چرا به دانه انسانت این گمان باشد
کدام دلو فرورفت و پر برون نامد
ز چاه یوسف جان را چرا فغان باشد
دهان چو بستی از این سوی آن طرف بگشا
که های هوی تو در جو لامکان باشد

 

al-Ghazali

Translation:

Say unto brethren when they see me dead,
And weep for me, lamenting me in sadness:
“Think ye I am this corpse ye are to bury?
I swear by God, this dead one is not I.
 I in the Spirit am, and this my body
My dwelling was, my garment for a time.
I am a treasure: hidden I was beneath
This talisman of dust, wherein I suffered.
I am a pearl; a shell imprisoned me,
 But leaving it, all trials I have left.
I am a bird, and this was once my cage;
But I have flown, leaving it as a token.
I praise God who hath set me free,
and made For me a dwelling in the heavenly heights.
 Ere now I was a dead man in your midst,
But I have come to life, and doffed my shroud.”

(Translation by Martin Lings)

Original:

 قل لإخوان رأوني ميتا                فبكوني ورثوني حزنا
أتظنون بأني ميتكم                   ليس هذا الميت والله أنا
أنا في الصور وهذا جسدي        كان لباسي وقميصي زمنا
أنا در قد حواني صدف               طرت عنه وبقى مرتهنا
أنا عصفور وهذا قفصي           كان سجني فتركت السجنا
أشكر الله الذي خلصني              وبنا لي في المعالي وطنا
كنت قبل اليوم ميتا بينكم                 فحييت وخلعت الكفنا

 

Rumi—Awake! Enter the Cave!

Translation:

Awake, awake, the time has come, awake!
Without union with him, forsake yourself, forsake!
The heavenly decree has arrived, the healer of lovers has arrived,
If you want him to visit you, become sick, become sick!
Without a trace, without a doubt, he’ll make you rosy-faced
He’ll pluck out the thorn from you hand, become a rosebed, become a rosebed!
Know this breast as a cave, the spiritual retreat of that Friend;
If you’re really the ‘companion of the cave’, then enter the cave, enter the cave!
Once this time has ruined you, laments will be of no avail,
If you want him to restore you, become a restorer, become a restorer!
See the world filled with tumult, see the dominion of the victorious (Manṣūr [al-Ḥallāj])
If you want to become victorious (Manṣūr[al-Ḥallāj), hang on the gallows, hang on the gallows!
As the dawn wind tangles her hair each morning
If you want to savor its scent, become a perfumer ([Farīd al-dīn] ‘Attar), become a perfumer

 

 

Original:

Alternate Version

Translation:

Awake! awake! The night has gone, awake!
Forsake, forsake, your own self, forsake!
In our Egypt a stupid fool is selling a Joseph
Don’t believe me, go to the market and see for yourself!
Without a trace, without a doubt, he’ll make you rosy-faced
He’ll pluck out the thorn from you hand, become a rosebed, become a rosebed!
Know this breast as a cave, the spiritual retreat of that Friend;
If you’re really the ‘companion of the cave’, then enter the cave, enter the cave!
Don’t listen to every scheme and spell, don’t wash blood with blood
Like a glass cup, fall over and shatter, be lowly and debased
In the swing of the polo mallet, be the ball! be the ball!
Because of the arrows in its quiver, drop dead! drop dead!
The heavenly decree has arrived, the healer of lovers has arrived,
If you want him to visit you, become sick, become sick!
Know this breast as a cave, the spiritual retreat of that Friend;
If you’re really the ‘companion of the cave’, then enter the cave, enter the cave!
You’re a fine man, but naive, offering gold to thieves
If you want to recognize the thieves, be an outlaw, be an outlaw!
Hush! Silence the description of the sea and float within its depths
If you want to learn to dive, grow fins! grow fins!

Original:

 بیدار شو بیدار شو هین رفت شب بیدار شو
 بيزارشو بيزارشو وز خويش هم بيزار شو
در مصر ما يك احمقي نك مي فروشد يوسفي
باور نمي داري مرا اينك سوي بازار شو
بي چون ترا بي چون كند روي ترا گلگون كند
 خار از كفت بيرون كند وانگه سوي گلزار شو
مشنو تو هر مكر و فسون خون را چرا شويي به خون
 همچون قدح شو سرنگون وانگاه دردي خوارشو
در گردش چوگان او چون گوي شو چون گوي شو
وز بهر نقل كركسش مردارشو مردارشو
آمد نداي آسمان آمد طبيب عاشقان
 خواهي كه آيد پيش تو بيمارشو بيمارشو
اين سينه را چون غار دان خلوتگه آن يار دان
گر يار غاري هين بيا در غار شو در غار شو
تو مرد نيك ساده اي زر را به دزدان داده اي
خواهي بداني دزد را طرار شو طرار شو
خاموش وصف بحر و در كم گوي در درياي او
 خواهي كه غواصي كني دم دارشو دم دارشو

 

She walks in beauty like the night…

One of my favorite English poems of all time is reminiscent of Sufi poetry about Layla, whose name means “night,” and who symbolizes the beloved Divine Essence/Essence of the Self.

Lord Byron

She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that’s best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes;
Thus mellowed to that tender light
Which heaven to gaudy day denies.
One shade the more, one ray the less,
Had half impaired the nameless grace
Which waves in every raven tress,
Or softly lightens o’er her face;
Where thoughts serenely sweet express,
How pure, how dear their dwelling-place.
And on that cheek, and o’er that brow,
So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,
The smiles that win, the tints that glow,
But tell of days in goodness spent,
A mind at peace with all below,
A heart whose love is innocent!

 

 

Rumi
Translation:
 You look through my two eyes, you are closer to me than myself
Your light shines brighter than the moon
Come into the garden so that the glory of the rose garden is humbled
that it may be more beautiful and blooming than a hundred gardens and rosebeds
so that the cedar will hide its height in shame
that the tongue of the lily will declare you more lily than itself
When you are kind, you are the candle of the soul, soft and pliable as wax
When you are aloof, you are more iron than iron
Do no be wild because you will meet her face to face
her charm will make you as cool and pliant as the earth
Throw away your armor and bare your chest at the moment of battle
there is no better protection nor armor than her.
That’s why in every Sufi retreat, all the openings are are sealed shut
so that from your light the house becomes more illumined

 

 

Orignal:
در دو چشم من نشین ای آن که از من منتری
تا قمر را وانمایم کز قمر روشنتری
اندرآ در باغ تا ناموس گلشن بشکند
ز آنک از صد باغ و گلشن خوشتر و گلشنتری
تا که سرو از شرم قدت قد خود پنهان کند
تا زبان اندرکشد سوسن که تو سوسنتری
وقت لطف ای شمع جان مانند مومی نرم و رام
وقت ناز از آهن پولاد تو آهنتری
چون فلک سرکش مباش ای نازنین کز ناز او
نرم گردی چون زمین گر از فلک توسنتری
زان برون انداخت جوشن حمزه وقت کارزار
کز هزاران حصن و جوشن روح را جوشنتری
زان سبب هر خلوتی سوراخ روزن را ببست
کز برای روشنی تو خانه را روشنتری

 

Ibn al-Farid

 

Translation:
Every part of me kissed her veil
With every mouth whose touch held every kiss
If she dissolved my body, she would see in every atom
each and every heart filled with each and every love

 

Original:

ويلثم مني كلّ جزء لثامها
بكلّ فم فى لثمه كلّ قبلة
فلو بسطت جسمي رأت كلّ جوهر
به كلّ قلب فيه كلّ محبة

 

Translation:

If I sought consolation, who would be there to be my guide
when in love, every leader follows my lead?
In my every limb is every yearning for her
and every longing tugs at my reins
As she bends, I imagine every hip she moves
to be a branch in a sand dune topped by the full moon
Mine is every limb filled with every inner core
wherein, when she glances, is embedded every arrow
And if she dissolved my body she would find every atom
every heart inhabited by every human love
In union with her, a year to me is but an instant,
an hour’s separation like a year.
When we met at nightfall, as the twin straight paths
between her dwelling and my tents brought us together,
We moved away a little from the tribe,
avoiding spies and slanderers with their deceitful talk
I spread my cheek upon the ground for her to walk upon
and she said, “Good news, now you may kiss my veil.”
But this my soul did not permit me, jealously
shielding her from me, for higher is my purpose
We passed the night in hope as my wish decreed
and I saw the world my kingdom and time itself my slave.

 

Translation modified from Stefan Sperl’s in Stefan Sperl, C. Shackle, Qasida Poetry in Islamic Asia and Africa

 

Original:

بمنْ أهتَدي في الحبِّ لو رُمْتُ سَلوَةً
وبي يقتَدي ، في الحبِّ ، كلُّ إمامِ

وفي كلِّ عُضوٍ فيَّ كلُّ صبابَةٍ
إليها ، وشَوْقٍ جَاذِبٍ بِزِمَامي

تَثَنَّتْ ، فَخِلْنا كلَّ عِطْفٍ تهُزُّهُ
قَضيبَ نقاً ، يَعْلُوهُ بَدْرُ تَمامِ

ولي كلُّ عُضوٍ ، فيهِ كلُّ حشىً بها
إذا ما رَنَتْ ، وَقْعٌ لكلِّ سِهامِ

ولوْ بسطتْ جسْمي رأتْ كلَّ جوهرٍ
بهِ كلُّ قلبٍ ، فيهِ كلُّ غَرامِ

وفي وَصْلِها ، عامٌ لدَيَّ كَلَحْظَةٍ
وساعَةُ هِجْرَانٍ عَلَيَّ كَعَامِ

ولمَّا تَلاقَينا عِشاءً ، وضَمَّنا
سواءُ سبيلَيْ دَارِها وخِيامي

ومِلْنا كذا شيئاً عنِ الحيِّ ، حيثُ لا
رَقيبٌ ، ولا وَاشٍ بِزَوْرِ كَلامِ

فرَشْتُ لها خَدِّي ، وِطاءً ، على الثَّرَى
فقالتْ : لكَ البُشرَى بِلَثمِ لِثامي

فما سَمَحَتْ نَفسي بذلِكَ ، غَيْرَةً
على صَوْنِها مِنِّي لِعزِّ مرامي

وبِتْنا ، كما شاءَ اقتراحي ، على المُنى
أرَى المُلكَ مُلكي والزَّمانَ غُلامي

 

Shushtari

Translation:

You seek Layla, but she reveals herself within you
You think she’s other, but she’s not other than you
And that’s a madness that is apparent to the cult of lovers
So be careful, for otherness is the essence of being cut off
Don’t you see how her beauty envelops you?
She disappears only when you reject part of yourself
“Come close to me,” you say to she who is your All
And when she loves you, she leads you to yourself
Meeting her is bliss beyond description
and none reach her, save those who see meaning without forms
I was so in love with her that I would have vanished in her love
had she not sworn that I only obey her
I concealed her from people with fantasy
After having revealed her, truly, inside my cloak.
I hid her from myself, with the robe of my worlds,
And from my envy, out of the severity of my jealousy
O Dazzling beauty! Should the light of your face
Touch the eyes of a blind man, he would see every atom
She is adorned with each and every charm and grace of beauty
And wherever she appears, she is desired by those who love.

 

Original:

أَتَطلُبُ لَيلى وَهيَ فيكَ تَجَلَّت                  وَتَحسَبُها غَيراً وَغَيرُكَ لَيسَتِ

فَذابلُهُ في مِلَّةِ الحُبِّ ظاهِرٌ                   فَكُن فَطِناً فَالغيرُ عَينُ القَطيعَةِ

أَلَم تَرَها أَلقَت عَلَيكَ جَمالَها               وَلَو لَم تَقُم بِالذاتِ مِنكَ اِضمَحَلَّتِ

تَقولُ لَها اُدنُ وَهيَ كُلَّك ثُمَّ إِن                    حَبَتكَ بِوَصلٍ أَوهَمَتكَ تَدَلَّتِ

عَزيزٌ لِقاها لا يَنالُ وِصالَها                 سِوى مَن يَرى مَعنىً بِغَيرِ هَوِيَّةِ

كَلِفت بِها حَتّى فَنِيتُ بِحُبِّها                       فَلَو أَقسَمَت أَنّيَ إِيّاها لَبَرَّتِ

وَغالَطتُ فيها الناسَ بِالوَهمِ بَعدَما                      تَبَيَّنتها حَقّاً بِداخِلِ بُردَتي

وَغَطَّيتُها عَنّي بِثَوبِ عَوالِمي                 وَعَن حاسِدي فيها لِشِدَّةِ غيرَتي

بَديعَة حُسنٍ أَو بَدا نورُ وَجهِها                 إِلى أَكمَهٍ أَضحى يَرى كُلَّ ذَرَّةِ

تحلّت بأنواع الجمال بأسرها                  فهام بها أهل الهوى حيثُ حلّت

This Love is not a River…

Two of my favorite Fado songs, by two of my favorite singers, Cristina Branco and Carminho:

Translation:
This love is not a river
It has the vastness of the sea
The green dance of the waves
Sobbing in my eyes.
I tried to forget the words
Unspoken between us
But hanging over the silence
On the shores of our voice
I tried to forget your eyes
That do not know how to read mine
But in them is born the daybreak
That dawns on the earth and the heavens
I tried to forget your name
Pluck it from my thoughts
But it returns at every instant
Entwined in the wind.
I tried to see my image
But it was yours that I saw
In my mirror, for I bear
Your flat eyes.
This love is not a river
It has abysses like the sea
And the black mantle of the waves
Shrouds me in blackness
This love is not a river
It has the vastness of the sea
 
Original:
Este amor não é um rio
Tem a vastidão do mar
A dança verde das ondas
Soluça no meu olhar
Tentei esquecer as palavras
Nunca ditas entre nós
Mas pairam sobre o silencio
Nas margens da nossa voz
Tentei esquecer os teus olhos
Que não sabem ler nos meus
Mas neles nasce a alvorada
Que amanhece a terra e os céus
Tentei esquecer o teu nome
Arrancá-lo ao pensamento
Mas regressa a todo o instante
Entrelaçado no vento
Tentei ver a minha imagem
Mas foi a tua que vi
No meu espelho, porque trago
Os olhos rasos de ti
Este amor não é um rio
Tem abismos como o mar
E o manto negro das ondas
Cobre-me de negro o olhar
Este amor não é um rio
Tem a vastidão do mar
https://lyricstranslate.com/en/fado-perdi%C3%A7%C3%A3o-perdition-fado.html

Translation:
I wrote your name on the wind
convinced that I was writing it
on the page of forgetfulness
that in the wind
it would get lost
On the page of forgetfulness
that in the wind it would get lost
And on seeing it go
covered in dust
I considered my heart free
of the bonds of your love
I considered my heart free
of the bonds of your love
Poor me!
I never even thought
that just like me
the wind would fall in love
with that name that is yours
The wind would fall in love
with that name that is yours
As the wind stirs up, so does my pain get stirred up
I want to forget you, believe me
But there is always more wind
I want to forget you
but there is always more wind
Rumi
Translation:
Love is the One who masters all things;
I am mastered totally by Love.
By my passion of love for Love
I have ground sweet as sugar.
O furious Wind, I am only a straw before you;
How could I know where I will be blown next?
Whoever claims to have made a pact with Destiny
Reveals himself a liar and a fool;
What is any of us but a straw in a storm?
How could anyone make a pact with a hurricane?
God is working everywhere his massive Resurrection;
How can we pretend to act on our own?
In the hand of Love I am like a cat in a sack;
Sometimes Love hoists me into the air,
Sometimes Love flings me into the air,
Love swings me round and round His head;
I have no peace, in this world or any other.
The lovers of God have fallen in a furious river;
They have surrendered themselves to Love’s commands.
Like mill wheels they turn, day and night, day and night,
Constantly turning and turning, and crying out.
Original:
If I could see you I would die
and if I died, then I’d see you
I can’t stop, even though I’ve tried
from staring, drowning, in your eyes
Without you all I see are lies
and so my beautiful, that’s why
approaching you, I’m terrified
and yet, still more scared am I
of losing sight of you, my life
In death, I see you with your eyes
awake, you peer out within mine
your love swallowed the whole world up
and burned down my soul and my mind
even my love burned up in yours
it ate up all space and all time
so there’s no inside nor outside
there’s just your side, nothing to find
nothing to say, free, pay no mind
hearing no ears, seeing no eyes
all knots and thoughts simply unwind
as your sword falls, gentler than kind
there’s no one left to realize
Just your dark beauty, shining bright
in each and every lover’s sight
in every tale, in every plight
in all that’s wrong and all that’s right
beneath the depths, above the heights
through all the days, over the nights
you hold my soul closer than tight
and unseen, you perceive the sights
Love’s river floods mine out of sight
Love’s flames burn bodies into light
Love’s kiss turns death back into life
Love conquers all by its sweet might
And so whence my despair or fright?
when all my pains and all delights
are but you, your love and love bites
that bear aloft my soul’s fair kite
and put to shame all that I write

Khaqani on Love

Khaqani

Translation:

The bird that sings the song of pain is love
The courier who knows the tongue of the Unseen is love
The existence that calls you to nonexistence is love
And that which redeems you from you is love

 

Original:

مرغی که نوای درد راند عشق است
پيکی که زبان غيب داند عشق است
هستی که به نيستيت خواند عشق است
وآنچ از تو ترا باز رهاند عشق است

Translation by Reza Saberi

 

Rumi

What then is love? The Ocean of Nonexistence.

It is there that the foot of the intellect is broken

Rumi, Mathnawi, ed. Nicholson, III: 4724.

 

Ibn ‘Arabi

Many mistakes may occur in love. The first of them is that people imagine that the object of love is an existent thing… In fact, love’s object remains forever nonexistent, but most lovers are not aware of this, unless they should be knowers of the realities. (II 337.17)

 

Camaron de la Isla

Translation:

I am like the sad bird
that flits from branch to branch
singing his suffering
because he doesn’t know how to cry

Original:

Soy cómo el pájaro triste,
ay que de rama en rama va,
cantando su sufrimiento, cantando su sufrimiento,
porque no sabe llorar.

 

Wherever you put your foot, we are the ground

Rumi:

 

Translation:

Oh beloved we only see you through your love
Wherever you put your foot we are the ground for you
So how can it be that in this way of love
We see the world through you and yet we don’t see you?

Original:

ای دوست به دوستی قرینیم ترا
هرجا که قدم نهی زمینیم ترا
در مذهب عاشقی روا کی باشد
عالم تو ببینیم و نه بینیم ترا

One Love

 

 

Ibn al-Fāriḍ

Translation:

As for my way in love, I have no way
If I neglect my love for a day, then I have left my sect
And if the thought of other than you occurs to me
Inadvertantly, I would consider it as my apostasy
You govern my life as you will,
so do what you will with me, for I have ever only desired you….

 

Original:

عن مذهبي في الحب مالي مذهب                وان ملت يوما عنه فارقت ملتي
وان خطرت لي في سواك ارادة             علي خاطري سهوا , قضيت بردتي
لك الحكم في أمري فما شئت            فأصنعي فلم تك الا فيك لا عنك رغبتي

Unknown Authors

Various positions have those who love from (mere) passion
But I have a unique place, in which I dwell alone.

 

Original:

مذاهب شتى للمحبّين في الهوى            و لي مدهب فرد أعيش به وحدي

 

Our expressions our many,
and your beauty is one
And it is to your beauty
that all of them allude

 

Original:

عباراتنا  شتّى و حسنك واحد      و كلّ إلى ذاك الجمال يشير

Rumi

The sect of Love is different from all other religions
 For lovers, their sect and religion is simply God

 

Original:

ملت عشق از همه دین‌ها جداست
 عاشقان را ملت و مذهب خداست

 

Wisdom is bewildered by the religion of love
Although it knows all other religions

 

Original:

خرد نداند و حیران شود ز مذهب عشق
اگر چه واقف باشد ز جمله مذهب‌ها

 

Bob Marley

Lyrics:

One Love! One Heart!
Let’s get together and feel all right.
Hear the children cryin’ (One Love!);
Hear the children cryin’ (One Heart!),
Sayin’: give thanks and praise to the Lord and I will feel all right;
Sayin’: let’s get together and feel all right. Wo wo-wo wo-wo!Let them all pass all their dirty remarks (One Love!);
There is one question I’d really love to ask (One Heart!):
Is there a place for the hopeless sinner,
Who has hurt all mankind just to save his own beliefs?

One Love! What about the one heart? One Heart!
What about – ? Let’s get together and feel all right
As it was in the beginning (One Love!);
So shall it be in the end (One Heart!),
All right!
Give thanks and praise to the Lord and I will feel all right;
Let’s get together and feel all right.
One more thing!

Let’s get together to fight this Holy Armagiddyon (One Love!),
So when the Man comes there will be no, no doom (One Song!).
Have pity on those whose chances grows t’inner;
There ain’t no hiding place from the Father of Creation.

Sayin’: One Love! What about the One Heart? (One Heart!)
What about the – ? Let’s get together and feel all right.
I’m pleadin’ to mankind! (One Love!);
Oh, Lord! (One Heart) Wo-ooh!

Give thanks and praise to the Lord and I will feel all right;
Let’s get together and feel all right.
Give thanks and praise to the Lord and I will feel all right;
Let’s get together and feel all right.

Rumi: Dead yet I was, then came to life…

One of my favorite poems of Rumi’s, its rhythm is intoxicating:

 

Translation (some liberties taken to approximate the rhythm of the original):

Dead yet I was, then came to life, weeping I was, then came to laugh
Love’s kingdom came, I came to be, the kingdom of eternity
My eye is full, my soul is bold, a lion’s heart is what I have, the morning star, bright I became
Said: “You’re not mad, don’t belong here,” then I went mad, bound up in chains
Said: “You are drunk, get out of here,” then I got drunk, bubbling with joy
Said: “You’re not dead, not in joy drowned,” before his face, I died and bowed
Said: “You’re so smart, drunk on your doubt,” a fool I became, straight lifted out
Said: “You’re the candle of this folk,” I said, “I’m not, I’m wisps of smoke”
Said: “You’re a shaykh, you’re the leader.” “I’m but a slave to your command.”
He said: “You have feathers and wings. I will not give you feathered wings.” Seeking these wings, I lost my wings.
New fortune said: “Don’t come my way, I’ll come to you.”
Old love then said: “Don’t leave my heart.” I said, “I won’t, I’ll stay, I’m still.”
You are the fountain of the sun, I am the shade of the willow, You strike my head, I drop and melt
Heart felt the new glow of my soul, my heart opened, wove a new stole, I turned against that tattered one
Form of the soul swaggered with pride, slave though I was, Lord I became
Thanks your paper gives for your sweets, limitless it came to me and I dwelt in it
Thanks my dark earth gives for my curved sky and its sphere, for through its gaze, and its turning, I too became light-receiving
Thanks heaven’s sphere gives for the king and the kingdom and the angel, for through his grace I have become bright and graceful
Thanks the Knower of Truth gives for the fact that we’ve outstripped the rest; high up above the seven lay-ers I became a shining star
I was Venus, became the moon, and I became two-hundred skies; I was Joseph, now I became the Joseph seed
O famous moon, I am all yours, look upon me, and on yourself, for from the trace of your smile, I have become a garden of roses smiling
Move silently, like a chessman, yourself all tongue, for through the king of the world’s face, I have become happy and blessed.

 

 

 

Original:

مرده بدم زنده شدم گریه بدم خنده شدم
دولت عشق آمد و من دولت پاینده شدم
دیده سیر است مرا جان دلیر است مرا
زهره شیر است مرا زهره تابنده شدم
گفت که دیوانه نه‌ای لایق این خانه نه‌ای
رفتم دیوانه شدم سلسله بندنده شدم
گفت که سرمست نه‌ای رو که از این دست نه‌ای
رفتم و سرمست شدم وز طرب آکنده شدم
گفت که تو کشته نه‌ای در طرب آغشته نه‌ای
پیش رخ زنده کنش کشته و افکنده شدم
گفت که تو زیرککی مست خیالی و شکی
گول شدم هول شدم وز همه برکنده شدم
گفت که تو شمع شدی قبله این جمع شدی
جمع نیم شمع نیم دود پراکنده شدم
گفت که شیخی و سری پیش رو و راهبری
شیخ نیم پیش نیم امر تو را بنده شدم
گفت که با بال و پری من پر و بالت ندهم
در هوس بال و پرش بی‌پر و پرکنده شدم
گفت مرا دولت نو راه مرو رنجه مشو
زانک من از لطف و کرم سوی تو آینده شدم
گفت مرا عشق کهن از بر ما نقل مکن
گفتم آری نکنم ساکن و باشنده شدم
چشمه خورشید تویی سایه گه بید منم
چونک زدی بر سر من پست و گدازنده شدم
تابش جان یافت دلم وا شد و بشکافت دلم
اطلس نو بافت دلم دشمن این ژنده شدم
صورت جان وقت سحر لاف همی‌زد ز بطر
بنده و خربنده بدم شاه و خداونده شدم
شکر کند کاغذ تو از شکر بی‌حد تو
کآمد او در بر من با وی ماننده شدم
شکر کند خاک دژم از فلک و چرخ به خم
کز نظر وگردش او نورپذیرنده شدم
شکر کند چرخ فلک از ملک و ملک و ملک
کز کرم و بخشش او روشن بخشنده شدم
شکر کند عارف حق کز همه بردیم سبق
بر زبر هفت طبق اختر رخشنده شدم
زهره بدم ماه شدم چرخ دو صد تاه شدم
یوسف بودم ز کنون یوسف زاینده شدم
از توام ای شهره قمر در من و در خود بنگر
کز اثر خنده تو گلشن خندنده شدم
باش چو شطرنج روان خامش و خود جمله زبان
کز رخ آن شاه جهان فرخ و فرخنده شدم

Rumi and Hakuin: Water and Ice

Hakuin

All beings by nature are Buddha,
As ice by nature is water.
Apart from water there is no ice;
Apart from beings, no Buddha.
How sad that people ignore the near
And search for truth afar:
Like someone in the midst of water
Crying out in thirst,
Like a child of a wealthy home
Wandering among the poor.
Lost on dark paths of ignorance,
We wander through the Six Worlds,
From dark path to dark path–
When shall we be freed from birth and death?
Oh, the zazen of the Mahayana!
To this the highest praise!
Devotion, repentance, training,
The many paramitas–
All have their source in zazen.
Those who try zazen even once
Wipe away beginning-less crimes.
Where are all the dark paths then?
The Pure Land itself is near.
Those who hear this truth even once
And listen with a grateful heart,
Treasuring it, revering it,
Gain blessings without end.
Much more, those who turn about
And bear witness to self-nature,
Self-nature that is no-nature,
Go far beyond mere doctrine.
Here effect and cause are the same,
The Way is neither two nor three.
With form that is no-form,
Going and coming, we are never astray,
With thought that is no-thought,
Singing and dancing are the voice of the Law.
Boundless and free is the sky of Samádhi!
Bright the full moon of wisdom!
Truly, is anything missing now?
Nirvana is right here, before our eyes,
This very place is the Lotus Land,
This very body, the Buddha.

-Zen Master Hakuin

 

Rumi

Totally conscious, and apropos of nothing, you come to see me.
Is someone here? I ask.
The moon. The full moon is inside your house.

My friends and I go running out into the street.
I’m in here, comes a voice from the house, but we aren’t listening.
We’re looking up at the sky.
My pet nightingale sobs like a drunk in the garden.
Ringdoves scatter with small cries, Where, Where.
It’s midnight. The whole neighbourhood is up and out
in the street thinking, The cat burglar has come back.
The actual thief is there too, saying out loud,
Yes, the cat burglar is somewhere in this crowd.
No one pays attention.

Lo, I am with you always means when you look for God,
God is in the look of your eyes,
in the thought of looking, nearer to you than your self,
or things that have happened to you
There’s no need to go outside.

Be melting snow.
Wash yourself of yourself.

A white flower grows in quietness.
Let your tongue become that flower.

If you want to learn theory,
talk with theoreticians. That way is oral.
When you learn a craft, practice it.
That learning comes through the hands.
If you want dervishhood, spiritual poverty
and emptiness, you must be friends with a teacher.
Talking about it, reading books,
and doing practices don’t help.
Soul receives from soul that knowing.
The mystery of absence
may be living in your pilgrim heart,
and yet the knowing of it may not yet be yours.
Wait for the illuminated openness,
as though your chest were filling with light,
as when God said, Did we not expand you?
Don’t look for it outside yourself.
You are the source of milk. Don’t milk others!
There is a fountain inside you.
Don’t walk around with an empty bucket.
You have a channel into the ocean,
yet you ask for water from a little pool.
Beg for the love expansion.
Meditate only on That.
The Qur’an says, And He is with you.
There is a basket of fresh bread on your head,
yet you go door to door asking for crusts.
Knock on the inner door, no other.
Sloshing knee-deep in fresh river-water,
yet you keep asking for other people’s water-bags.
Water is everywhere around you, but you see
only barriers that keep you from water.
The horse is beneath the rider’s thighs,
and still you ask, “Where’s my horse?”
Under you! Can’t you see?
“Yes I can see, but whoever saw such a horse?”
Mad with thirst, you can’t drink from the stream
running close by your face.
You are like a pearl on the deep bottom
wondering inside the shell,
Where’s the ocean?
Those mental questionings form the barrier.
Stay bewildered inside God, and only that.
Mathnawī Book V 1063-1084

1940 This arrogance is a product of the skin; hence power and riches are friends to that pride. What is this arrogance?

being oblivious to the essential principle and frozen (insensible)— like the oblivion of ice to the sun.

When it (the ice) becomes conscious of the sun, the ice does not endure: it becomes soft and warm and moves on rapidly.

From seeing the kernel  the whole body becomes desire: it becomes miserable and passionately in love, for “Wretched is he who desires.” When it does not see the kernel, it is content with the skin:  the bondage of “Glorious is he who is content” is its prison.

1945. Here glory is infidelity, and wretchedness is (true) religion: until the stone became naughted, when did it become the gem set in a ring? (To remain) in the state of stoniness and then (to say) “I” (is absurd): ’tis time for thee to become lowly and naughted.
3430. If the ear had heard, how should the ear have remained (in action) or how should it have apprehended words any more?
If the snow and ice were to behold the sun, they would despair of (retaining their) iciness; They would become water (formless and) devoid of roots and knobs:
the air, David-like, would make of the water a mail-coat (of ripples),
And then it (the water) would become a life-giving medicine for every tree: every tree (would be made) fortunate by its advent.
(But) the frozen ice that remains (locked) within itself cries to the trees, Touch me not!
Mathnawi Book V

1110. In this sweet ocean our forms are moving fast, like cups on the surface of water: Until they become full, (they float) like bowls on the top of the sea,

(but) when the bowl is filled it sinks therein. Reason is hidden, and (only) a world (of phenomena) is visible: our forms are the waves or a spray of it (of that hidden ocean).

Whatsoever (thing) the form makes (uses as) a means of approach to It (to Reason), by that (same) means the ocean (of Reason) casts it (the form) far away.

So long as the heart does not see the Giver of (its) conscience, so long as the arrow does not see the far-shooting Archer,

1115. He (who is thus blind) thinks his horse is lost, though (all the while) he is obstinately speeding his horse on the road.

That fine fellow thinks his horse is lost, while his horse is sweeping him onward like the wind. In lamentation and inquiry that scatterbrain (runs) from door to door in every direction, asking and searching:

“Where and who is he that stole my horse?” What is this (animal) under thy thigh, O master? “Yes, this is the horse, but where is the horse?”

O dexterous rider in search of thy horse, come to thyself!

1120. The Spirit is lost (to view) because of its being so manifest and near:

how, having thy belly full of water, art thou drylipped like a jar?

How wilt thou see red and green and russet, unless before (seeing) these three (colours) thou see the light?

But since thy mind was lost (absorbed) in (perception of) the colour, those colours became to thee a veil for the light.

Inasmuch as at night those colours were hidden, thou sawest that thy vision of the colour was (derived) from the light.

There is no vision of colour without the external light: even so it is with the colour of inward phantasy.

Mathnawī Book I 1110-1125

Lovers share a sacred decree:
to seek God, the Beloved.
They roll head over heels,
rushing toward the Beautiful One
like a torrent of water.
In truth, everyone is a shadow of God –
Our seeking is His seeking,
Our words are His words.
At times we flow toward God
like a dancing stream.
At times we are still water held in His pitcher.
At times we boil in a pot turning to vapor –
that is the job of the Beloved.

God breathes into my ear
until my soul takes on His fragrance.
God is the Soul of my soul –
How can I escape?
But why would any soul in this world
want to escape from the Beloved?

God will melt your pride
making you thin as a strand of hair,
Yet do not trade, even for both worlds,
One strand of His hair.

We search for God here and there
while looking right at Him.
Sitting by His side we ask,
“O Beloved, where is the Beloved?”

Enough with such questions! –
Let silence take you to the core of life.
All your talk is worthless
When compared to one whisper
of the Beloved.

 

You are my soul, my universe:
what do I have to do with
For me you are ever-flowing treasure:
the soul and the universe?
One minute, I am the friend of the wine,
what do I have to do with profit and loss?
I have come to this age of ruins,
another the friend of him who burns me.
so what do I have to do
I am sprung free of the whole world,
with time’s melodrama?
I am terrified by the whole world,
I am drunk on union with you,
I am neither “hidden” no “apparent.”
What do I have to do with existence or space?
what do I care about fate’s bow and its arrows?
I need and want and care about no one else.
Since I am your prey,
I live at the bottom of the stream,
why go on staggering under
why would I go looking for water?
What could or would I say about this stream
that flows and flows?
I have given up existence,
why put up with the pretensions of the shepherd?
The burden of this mountain?
Since the wolf is my shepherd,
What abandon! What drunkenness!
You hold the cup in you hand
and glorious to the eye of the heart.

Blessed is the place you are,
Each atom, by your grace,
No one who has ever had a sign from you
is a universe, each drop of water a soul.
need worry again about “name” or “sign.”
You have to dive, dive head first:

To find the place of splendor,
at the bottom of the Sea of truths
what do I have to do with feet that scurry?
What will I give to the toll-man?
With the sword of the One God
you have hacked a Path for us:
You have stolen all my clothes:
From your beauty ablaze like the sun,
contemplate love, contemplate friendship:
from the curls of your hair,
My heart has become ecstatic:
O my soul, hand me this brimming cup,
Do not weigh pain and misery,
And ask from joy all happiness, all security, all peace.

Do not mull over tyranny and neglect:
think of all those who have their eyes fixed on you.
Surname all grief ‘grace’:
transmute pain and anguish into joy
listen, and don’t say a word.

Demand that security, that peace, demand them,
Choose the company of those withdrawn in love
Listen to those who open a path to you.

 

Keep walking,
though there’s no place to get to.
Don’t try to see through the distances.
That’s not for human beings.
Move within,
But don’t move the way fear makes you move.
We are the mirror as well as the face of it.
We are tasting the taste this minute of eternity.
We are pain and what cures pain, both.
We are the sweet cold water and the jar that pours.
I want to hold you close like a lute,
so that we can cry out with loving.
Would you rather throw stones at a mirror?
I am your mirror and here are the stones.

In the waters of purity, I melted like salt
Neither blasphemy, nor faith, nor conviction, nor doubt remained.
In the center of my heart a star has appeared
And all the seven heavens have become lost in it.

goldwawflowers

The Book of Sufi is not black ink and words,
It is none other than a pure heart white like snow.

Mathnawi 2:160