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Masnavi of Rumi

"the Koran in Persian"


Prologue and First Story

Tales from Masnavi by A.J. Arberry

Umar and the Harpist-- by Ibrahim Gamard

Mathnawi VI: 255-260  

At the hour of the morning-drink

Mathnawi VI: 2955-2962

Major works on a CD in English and Persian

Dar al Masnavi

 



Mathnawi VI: 255-260

Wealth has no permanence: it comes in the morning,
and at night it is scattered to the winds.
Physical beauty too has no importance,
for a rosy face is made pale by the scratch of a single thorn.
Noble birth also is of small account,
for many become fools of money and horses.
Many a nobleman's son has disgraced his father by his wicked deeds.
Don't court a person full of talent either,
even if he seems exquisite in that respect:
take warning from the example of Iblis1 .
Iblis had knowledge, but since his love was not pure,
he saw in Adam nothing but a figure of clay.

Version by Camille and Kabir Helminski
"Rumi: Jewels of Remembrance"
Threshold Books, 1996

 



 

At the hour of the morning-drink


At the hour of the morning-drink a beloved said to her lover
by way of trial, "O such-and-such son of such-and-such,
I wonder, do you love me or yourself more? Tell the truth,
O man of sorrows."
He replied, "I have become so naughted in thee that I am
full of thee from head to foot.
Of my existence there is nothing (left) in me but the name:
in my being there is naught but thee, O thou whose wishes are gratified.
By that means I have become thus naughted, like vinegar, in
thee (who are) an ocean of honey."
As the stone that is entirely turned into pure ruby: it is filled with the qualities of the sun.
That stony nature does not remain in it: back and front, it is
filled with sunniness.
Afterwards, if it love itself, that (self-love) is love of the sun,O youth;
And if it love the sun with (all) its soul, ‘tis undoubtedly love of itself.
Whether the pure ruby loves itself or whether it loves the sun,
There is really no difference in these two loves: both sides
(aspects) are naught but the radiance of the sunrise.
Until it (the stone) has become a ruby, it is an enemy to itself,
because it is not a single "I": two "I’s" are there;
For the stone is dark and blind to the day (-light): the dark is
essentially opposed to light.
(If) it love itself, it is an infidel, because it offers intense
resistance to the supreme Sun.
Therefore ‘tis not fitting that the stone should say "I," (for)
it is wholly darkness and in (the state of) death.
A Pharaoh said, "I am God" and was laid low; a Mansur
(Hallaj) said, "I am God" and was saved.
The former "I" is followed by God’s curse and the latter
"I" by God’s mercy, O loving man;
For that one (Pharaoh) was a black stone, this one (Hallaj) a
cornelian; that one was an enemy to the Light, and this one
passionately enamoured (of it).
This "I," O presumptuous meddler, was "He" (God) in the inmost
consciousness, through oneness with the Light, not
through (belief in) the doctrine of incarnation.
Strive that thy stony nature may be diminished, so that thy
stone may become resplendent with the qualities of the ruby.
Show fortitude in (enduring) self-mortification and affliction;
continually behold everlasting life in dying to self.
(Then) thy stoniness will become less at every moment, the
nature of the ruby will be strengthened in thee.
The qualities of (self-) existence will depart from thy body,
the qualities of intoxication (ecstasy) will increase in thy head (thy spiritual centre).
Become entirely hearing, like an ear, in order that thou mayst
gain an ear-ring of ruby.2

-- Translation by Reynold A. Nicholson
"The Mathnawi of Jalalu’ddin Rumi"

 




Mathnawi VI: 2955-2962


The spirit is like an ant, and the body like a grain of wheat
which the ant carries to and fro continually.
The ant knows that the grains of which it has taken charge
will change and become assimilated.
One ant picks up a grain of barley on the road;
another ant picks up a grain of wheat and runs away.
The barley doesn't hurry to the wheat,
but the ant comes to the ant, yes it does.
The going of the barley to the wheat is merely consequential:
it's the ant that returns to its own kind.
Don't say, "Why did the wheat go to the barley?"
Fix your eye on the holder, not on that which is held.
As when a black ant moves along on a black felt cloth:
the ant is hidden from view; only the grain is visible on its way.
But Reason says: "Look well to your eye:
when does a grain ever move along without a carrier?"

 

"Rumi: Jewels of Remembrance"
Camille and Kabir Helminski
Threshold Books, 1996




WHISPERS OF LOVE

Lover whispers to my ear,
"Better to be a prey than a hunter.
Make yourself My fool.
Stop trying to be the sun and become a speck!
Dwell at My door and be homeless.
Don't pretend to be a candle, be a moth,
so you may taste the savor of Life
and know the power hidden in serving."

Mathnawi V. 411-414 (translated by Kabir Helminski)
'The Rumi Collection', Edited by Kabir Helminski



 
Last updated: September 24, 2004
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