The beloved is all, the lover just a veil.
The beloved is living, the lover a dead thing.
If Love withholds its strengthening care,
The lover is left like a bird without wings.
How will I be awake and aware
if the light of the Beloved is absent?
Love wills that this Word be brought forth.
If you find the mirror of the heart dull,
the rust has not been cleared from its face.
The undisciplined man doesn't wrong himself alone- he sets fire to the whole world. Discipline enabled Heaven to be filled
with light; discipline enabled the angels to be immaculate and holy.
My friend, the sufi is the son of the present moment: to say "tomorrow" is not our way.
A thorn in the foot is hard to find.
What about a thorn in the heart?
If everyone saw the thorn in his heart,
when would sorrow gain the upper hand?
When your heart becomes the grave of your secret, that desire of yours will be gained more quickly. The Prophet said that
anyone who keeps secret his inmost thought will soon attain the object of his desire. When seeds are buried in the earth,
their inward secrets become the flourishing garden.
There are true promises that make the heart grateful; there are false promises, fraught with disquiet. The promise of the
noble is sterling; the promise of the unworthy breeds anguish of the soul.
Love of the dead does not last, because the dead will not return. But love of the living is in every moment fresher than a
bud, both the inward and the outward eye. Choose the love of that Living One who is everlasting, who offers you the wine that
increases life. Do not say "We have no entrance to that King." Dealings with the generous are not difficult.
This discipline and rough treatment are a furnace to extract the silver from the dross. This testing purifies the gold by
boiling the scum away.
The spiritual path wrecks the body and afterwards restores it to health. It destroys the house to unearth the treasure, and
with that measure builds it better than before.
Hear one of the sayings related from the Prophet: "No prayer is complete without Presence."
The more awake one is to the material world, the more one is asleep to spirit. When our soul is asleep to God, other wakefulness
closes the door of Divine grace.
The soil is faithful to its trust; whatever you have sown in it, you reap the same. But until springtime brings the touch
of God, the soil does not reveal its secrets.
How long will you say, "I will conquer the whole world and fill with myself"? Even if the snow covered the world completely,
the sun could melt it with a glance. A single spark of God's mercy can turn poison into springwater. Where there is doubt,
He establishes certainty.
If ten lamps are in one place, each differs in form from another; yet you can't distinguish whose radiance is whose when you
focus on the light. In the field of spirit there is no division; no individuals exist. Sweet is the oneness of the Friend
with His friends. Catch hold of spirit. Help this headstrong self disintegrate; that beneath it you may discover unity, like
a burried treasure.
Don't take a wooden sword into battle. Go, find one of steel; then march forward with joy. The sword of reality is the saint's
protection: your time with him is worth as much as the cup of life itself. All the wise have said the same: the one who knows
God is God's mercy to His creatures.
Companionship with the holy, makes you one of them. Though you're rock or marble, you'll become a jewel when you reach the
man of heart.
Plant the love of holy ones within your spirit; don't give your heart to anything but the love of those whose hearts are glad.
Don't go to the neighborhood of despair: there is hope. Don't go in the direction of darkness: suns exist.
Feed your heart in conversation with someone harmonious with it; seek spiritual advancement from one who is advanced.
God has scattered His light over all souls; happy are they who have helped up their skirts to receive it. Those lucky ones
don't look to anything but God; without that skirt of love, we miss our share.
Sometimes, in order to help, He makes us miserable; but heartache for His sake brings happiness. Laughter will come after
tears. Whoever foresees this is a servant blessed by God. Wherever water flows, life flourishes: wherever tears fall, Divine
mercy is shown.
Weep like the waterwheel, that green herbs may spring up from the courtyard of your soul. If you wish for tears, have mercy
on one who sheds tears; if you wish mercy, show mercy to the weak.
When you feel pain, ask pardon of God; this pain has its uses. When He pleases, pain becomes joy; bondage itself becomes freedom.
When you take a clear look, you'll see that from God are both the water of mercy and the fire of anger.
Since our vision is so limited, let's go! Let our sight be dissolved in the seeing of the Friend. Our sight for His -what
The world is a prison and we are the prisoners: dig a hole in the prison and let yourself out!
Water in the boat is the ruin of the boat, but water under the boat is its support. Since Solomon cast the desire for wealth
out from his heart, he didn't call himself by any name but "poor". The stoppered jar, though in rough water, floated because
of its empty heart. When the wind of poverty is in anyone, she floats in peace on the waters of this world.
The light which shines in the eye is really the light of the heart. The light which fills the heart is the light of God, which
is pure and separate from the light of intellect and sense.
God created pain and sorrow that happiness might show itself by contrast. For hidden things are made manifest by means of
their opposites: since God has no opposite, He is hidden.
Form came forth from formlessness and returned there, for verily unto Him are we returning. Every instant, we are dying and
returning: the Prophet declared that this world is but a moment. Our thought is an arrow shot from Him into the air. How shall
it stay in the air? It comes back to God.
To speak the same language is kinship and affinity: when you're with those in whom you can't confide, you're like a prisoner
in chains. Many Indians and Turks speak the same tongue; yet many pairs of Turks find they're foreigners. The tongue of mutual
understanding is quite special: to be one of heart is better than to have a common tongue.
With us, the name of everything is its outward appearance; with the Creator, the name of each thing is its inward reality.
In the eye of Moses, the name of his rod was "staff" in the eye of the Creator, its name was "dragon". In brief, that which
we are in the end is our real name with God.
Though Destiny a hundreds times waylays you, in the end it pitches a tent for you in heaven. It is God's kindness to terrify
you in order to lead you to safety.
Many of the faults you see in others, dear reader, are your own nature reflected in them. As the Prophet said, "The faithful
are mirrors to one another."
The inner search is from You. The blind are cured by Your gift. Without our searching, You gave us this search.
Whoever gives reverence receives reverence: whoever brings sugar eats almond cake. Who are the good women for? The good men.
Honor your friend; or see what happens if you don't.
The intellectual quest,
Though fine as pearl or coral, is not the spiritual search.
That spiritual search is on another level.
Spiritual wine is a different substance.
We owe thankfulness to God, not sour faces.
Each moment contains a hundred messages from God: To every cry of "oh Lord," He answers a hundred times, "I am here."
The intelligent desire self-control; children want candy.
Since in order to speak, one must first listen, learn to speak by listening.
That taste is the seed, and thoughts are its fruits: that taste is the sea, and thoughts are its pearls. Eating lawful food
gives birth to the inclination to serve God and the resolve to go to His world.
Know that a word suddenly shot from the tongue is like an arrow shot from the bow. Son, that arrow won't turn back on its
way; you must damn a torrent at the source.
O tongue, you are an endless treasure. O tongue, you are also an endless disease.
Dam the torrent of ectasy when it runs in flood, so that it won't bring shame and ruin. But why should I fear ruin. Under
the ruin waits a royal treasure. He that is drowned in God wishes to be more drowned. While his spirit is tossed up and down
by the waves of the sea, he asks, "Is the bottom of the sea more delightful, or the top? Is the Beloved's arrow more fascinating,
or the shield?" O heart, if you recognize any difference between joy and sorrow, these lies will tear you apart. Although
your desire tastes sweet, doesn't the Beloved desire you to be desireless? The life of lovers is in death: you will not win
the Beloved's heart unless you lose your own.
Do right, You who are the glory of the just. You, Soul, who are liberated from "we" and "I", subtle spirit in man and woman.
When man and woman become one, that one is You, and when that one is obliterated, there You are. Where is this "we" and this
"I"? By the side of the Beloved You made this "we" and "I" in order to play this game of service with Yourself- that You and
I might become one soul and in the end drown in the Beloved.
Can the heart be possessed by laughter or grief? Such a heart has only these borrowed things to live with. The garden of Love
is green without limit and yields many fruits other than sorrow or joy. Love is beyond either condition: without spring, without
autumn, it is always fresh.
Whatever the soul in man and woman strives to do, the ear and the eye of the soul's King are at the window.
The world's flattery and hypocrisy is a sweet morsel: eat less of it, for it is full of fire. Its fire is hidden while its
taste is manifest, but its smoke becomes visible in the end.
As far as you can, be a slave, not a monarch. Let yourself be struck. Be the ball and not the bat.
How should Spring bring forth a garden on hard stone? Become earth, you may grow flowers of many colors. For you have been
a heart-breaking rock. Once, for the sake of experiment, be earth!
Wherever I shine the lamplight of Divine breath, there the difficulties of a whole world are resolved. The darkness which
the earthly sun did not remove, becomes through My breath a bright morning.
Either behold the light of God from the lamps of the saints, or behold His light from the candle of those who have gone before.
Selections from Rumi's Mathnawi
Translated by Camille and Kabir Helminski
Discourses of Rumi
(Fihi ma Fihi)
Gratitude is a hunting and a shackling of benefits. When you hear the voice of gratitude, you get ready to give more.
When God loves a servant He afflicts him; if he endures with fortitude, he chooses him; if he is grateful, He elects him.
Some men are grateful to God for His wrathfulness and some are grateful to Him for His graciousness. Each of the two classes
is good; for gratitude is a sovereign antidote, changing wrath into grace. The intelligent and perfect man is he who is grateful
for harsh treatment, both openly and in secret; for it is he whom God has elected. If God's will be the bottom reach of Hell,
by gratitude His purpose is hastened.
For outward complaining is a diminution of inward complaining. Muhammad said, peace be upon him, 'I laugh as I slay.'
That means, 'My laughing in the face of him who is harsh to me is a slaying of him.' The intention of laughter is gratitude
in the place of complaining.
It is related that a certain Jew lived next door to one of the Companions of God's Messenger. This Jew lived in an upper
room, whence descended into the Muslim's apartment all kinds of dirt and filth, the piddle of his children, the water his
clothes were washed in. Yet the Muslim always thanked the Jew, and bade his family do the same. So things continued for eight
years, until the Muslim died. Then the Jew entered his apartment, to condole with the family, and saw all the filth there,
and how it issued from his upper room. So he realised what had happened during the past years, and was exceedingly sorry,
and said to the Muslim's household, 'Why on earth didn't you tell me? Why did you always thank me? they replied, 'Our father
used to bid us be grateful, and chided us against ceasing to be grateful.' So the Jew became a believer.
The mentioning of virtuous men
Encourages to virtue then,
Just as the minstrel with his song.
Urges the wine to pass along.
For this reason God has mentioned in the Koran His prophets and those of His servants who were righteous, and thanked
them for what they did unto Him who is All-powerful and All-forgiving.
Gratitude for sucking the breast is a blessing. Though the breast be full, until you suck it the milk does not flow.
Someone asked: What is the cause of ingratitude, and what is that prevents gratitude?
The Master answered: The preventer of gratitude is inordinate greed. For whatever a man may get, he was greedy for more
than that. It was inordinate greed that impelled him to that, so that when he got less than what he had set his heart upon
his greed prevented him from being grateful. So he was heedless of his own defect, and heedless also of the defect and adulteration
of the coin he proffered.
Raw and inordinate greed is like eating raw fruit and raw bread and raw meat; inevitably it generates sickness and begets
ingratitude. When a man realises that he has eaten something unwholesome, a purge becomes necessary. God most High in His
wisdom makes him suffer through ingratitude so that he may be purged and rid of that corrupt conceit, lest that one sickness
become a hundred sicknesses.
"And we tried them with good things and evil,
that haply they should return."
That is to say: We made provision for them from whence they had never reckoned, namely the unseen world, so that their
gaze shrinks form beholding the secondary causes, which are as it were partners to God. It was in this sense that Abú Yazid
said, 'Lord, I have never associated any with Thee.' God most High said, 'O Abú Yazid, not even on the night of the milk?
You said one night, "The milk has done me harm." It is I who do harm, and benefit.' Abú Yazid has looked at the
secondary cause, so that God reckoned him a polytheist and said, 'It is I do harm, after the milk and before the milk; but
I made the milk for a sin, and the harm for a correction such as a teacher administers.'
When the teacher says, 'Don't eat the fruit,' and the pupils eats it, and the teacher beats him on the sole of his foot,
it is not right for the pupil to say, 'I ate the fruit and it hurt my foot.' On this basis, whoso preserves his tongue from
ascribing partners to God, God undertakes to cleanse his spirit of the weeds of polytheism. A little with God is much.
The difference between giving praise and giving thanks is that thanks are given for benefits received. One does not say,
'I gave thanks to him for his beauty and his bravery.' Praisegiving is more general.
First of all he came into the inert world.
From minerality he developed, into the realm of vegetation.
For years he lived thus.
Then he passed into an animal state,
yet bereft of any memory of his being vegetable--
except for his attraction to Spring and to blossoms.
This was something like the innate desire of an infant for its mother's breast.
Or like the affinity of disciples for an illustrious guide.
When the shadow is no more,
they know the cause of their attachment to the teacher. . . .
From realm to realm man went, reaching his present reasoning,
knowledgeable, robust state; forgetting earlier forms of intelligence.
So too shall he pass beyond the current form of perception.
There are a thousand other forms of Mind. . . .
But he has fallen asleep.
He will say: "I had forgotten my fulfillment,
ignorant that sleep and fancy were the cause of my sufferings."
He says: "My sleeping experiences do not matter."
Come, leave such asses to their meadow.
Because of necessity, man acquires organs.
So, necessitous one, increase your need.
Originally you were clay.
From being mineral, you became vegetable.
From vegetable, you became animal, and from animal, man.
During these periods man did not know where he was going,
but he was being taken on a long journey nonetheless.
And you have to go through a hundred different worlds yet.
I have again and again grown like grass;
I have experienced seven hundred and seventy molds.
I died from minerality and became vegetable;
And from vegetativeness I died and became animal.
I died from animality and became man.
Then why fear disappearance and death?
Next time I shall die bringing forth wings and feathers like angels:
After that soaring higher than angels--
What you cannot imagine. I shall be that.
Work is not what people think it is.
It is not just something which,
when it is operating, you can see from outside.
How long shall we, in the Earth-world, like children
fill our laps with dust and stones and scraps?
Let us leave earth and fly to the heavens,
Let us leave babyhood and go to the assembly of Man.
You have a duty to perform.
Do anything else, do any number of things, occupy your time fully,
and yet, if you do not do this task, all your time will have been wasted.
The people of Love are hidden within the populace;
Like a good man surrounded by the bad.
The hidden world has its clouds and rain, but of a different kind.
Its sky and sunshine are of a different kind.
This is made apparent only to the refined ones--
those not deceived by the seeming completeness of the ordinary world.
A man may be in an ecstatic state,
and another man may try to rouse him.
It is considered good to do so.
Yet this state may be bad for him,
and the awakening may be good for him.
Rousing a sleeper is good or bad according to who is doing it.
If the rouser is of greater attainment,
this will elevate the state of the other person.
If he is not, it will deteriorate the consciousness of the other man.
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