Selections of poems from Rumi's "Divan"
Sudden resurrection! Endless mercy!
Blazing fire in the thickets of thought!
Today you came laughing, unlocking dungeons
came to the meek like God’s grace and bounty.
You are antechamber to the sun
you are hope’s prerequisite
you are sought, seeker, terminus, principia
You pulse in every chest
adorn every idea
excite desires then permit their realization…
delight of action and cognition
(all the rest is pretext, fraud)
Drunk, now on angel eyes, now on plain bread and soup
Taste this intoxication,
drop your ratiocination
savor these delectables,
drop the debatable
a little bread and greens
should not entail so much trouble.
You [Shams] concoct a wondrous work
that no one’s ever seen before!
Boxing spirit’s ear in secret
dodging all others with excuses
Shouting the depths of “Lord release me!”
By God, my monarch, what a joy!
Silence! I am so frenetic,
I embraced knowledge in a rush
put down the paper,
snap the pen,
the Saqi [cupbearer, wine-bringer] enters: Cheers!
(#1; Franklin Lewis, Tr.)
Oh, how colorless and formless I am!
When will I ever see the am that I am?
You said: The secrets that
you know, bring forth, put out, talk up!
Where is up or forth within this middle that I am?
When will my soul be still?
It moves when motionless, the anima I am.
My sea has drowned within itself;
what a strange and shoreless sea I am!
Not in this world not in the next should you seek me out;
both this and that have vanished in the world I am.
Like non-existence nothing profits me and nothing harms;
what a wondrous useless-harmless thing I am!
I said, Friend, you are just like me!
He said, How can you speak of likeness to the obviousness I am?
I said, That’s it, that’s what you are!
Silence! No tongue has ever uttered what I am.
I said, Since no tongue has given voice to you,
Here I am! Your unutterable exposition.
In annihilation I became inconstant like the moon
Now here I am! Your sure-footed footless runner.
A call arose, Why do you run?
Look to see how manifestly hidden that I am
When I saw Shams-i Tabriz, I became.
Now what a wondrous treasure-mine and sea of pearls I am!
(#1759; Lewis, Tr.)
With each new breath the sound of love
surrounds us all from right and left
Now up we go, head heavenward
who wants to come and see the sights?
We’ve been in heaven’s realm,
The angels there our constant friends,
we’ll go again
for we were born
all in that town.
We are ourselves above the skies
a greater host than angels there;
why should we not exceed their rank
since our abode is Majesty?
The purest pearl
does not belong
in earthly dust.
What brought you down? What place is this?
We are all pearls in that sea,
afloat on it,
or else why wave on wave would surge
all through our hearts?
Over our boat just like a wave
broke “Am I not”
Our ship’s ribs staved the boat will sink
our time has come for reunion,
to meet with God.
(#463, Lewis, Tr.)
And now it’s time
for love’s union
for God’s vision
for resurrection, everlasting life
Time for grace, for blessing
for surging pure oceans of purity
the sea foams white, casts its treasures:
Fortunate dawn, morn of the light of God!
Whose face? What image? King or prince?
What ancient sage is this!
All these are only veils
fervid ardor burns these veils away
You are all of two minds
an earthly head of clay and one celestial, pure
All these celestial heads
lay scattered in the dust
to show you that another mind’s afoot
At root, essential mind is hidden
and only branches dangle to our eyes.
Know that beyond this universe
another endless world awaits
Seal up the [wine-]skin, my host,
no vintage can convey us there
The jug of apprehension’s bottlenecked in those straits.
The Sun of Truth shone from Tabriz
and I told him:
Your light touches all
and yet remains apart.
(#464, Lewis, Tr.)
[The Divine says:] Didn’t I tell you:
“Don’t go over there, for I am the one who knows you;
In this mirage of annihilation,
I am your source of life;
and if in anger for a million years
you run from me, in the end you will return to me
for I am your destination.”
Didn’t I tell you: “Don’t be content with the
outer scheme and semblance of the world,
for I am the architect of your pavilion of contentment.”
Didn’t I tell you: “Don’t step into a trap just like a bird.
Come to me, for I am your wings and feathers
and your power of flight.”
Didn’t I tell you: “Don’t say how or from which quarter
your affairs will be arranged;
I create you out of nowhere and of nothing.
And if you have the qualities of a lord,
know that I am your Overlord.
(#1725 Lewis, Tr.)
Pilgrims on the way [to Mecca]! Where are you?
Here is the beloved, here!
Your beloved lives next door
why do you wander
round and round the desert?
If you look into the face of Love
and not just at its superficial form
You yourselves become the house of God
and are its lords.
Ten times you trod the trek unto that house
[Mecca’s Ka’aba, the “house of God”];
For once come into this house
climb onto this roof
That sweet house of sanctity [the Ka’aba]
you have described its features in detail
But now give me some indication
of the features of its Lord
If you have seen the garden,
where is your bouquet of souvenirs?
If you are from God’s sea,
where is your mother pearl of soul?
And yet, may all your troubles
bring you treasure
What pity that your treasures
lie buried in yourselves.
(#648 Lewis, Tr.)
That moment (is) joyous and blessed when we are sitting in the veranda, you and I;
with two forms and faces, (yet) with one soul, you and I.
The stars of the (night) sky will come as our observers,
we will reveal the moon itself to them, you and I.
You and I, devoid of “you” and “I” due to extreme joy and delight,
will be united (in friendship); (we’ll be) happy and without concern
about absurd stories and distracting nonsense, you and I.
This is (even) more astonishing: that you and I (are) in one corner here,
(yet) in this moment we are both in Iraq and Khorasan, you and I.
(We have) one form on this earth and another form on that (world)
in everlasting Paradise and the (Home) Land of Sugar, You and I.
(#2214 Gamard, Tr.)
For lovers, advice (from) anyone is never useful,
(because) this [love of theirs] is not like a flood which someone can block up.
An intellectual can never know the savor (in) the mind of the (mystic) “drunkard”,
(and) a sensible person can never know the “senseless” state of (such a) heart.
If kings were to catch a scent of those “wines”
which lovers drink during the meetings of hearts,
they would become fed-up with kingship.
That life (is) frozen which has passed without that sweet spirit [of warm love].
That brain (is) rotten which is ignorant of these compliments (of love).
If the sky were not bewildered and a lover like us,
it would become weary of revolving, it would say,
“It’s enough for me! How (much) longer?”
If you uproot the heart from God, tell (me) with whom will you place it?
Anyone who is able to tear heart from Him for a moment is without a soul!
I’m stopping. Be nimble, and go up on top of the roof at night.
Make a happy uproar in the city with a loud voice, O soul!
(#532 Gamard, Tr.)
Know that when you have bound yourself to selflessness,
you will escape from (attachment to) selfness.
And (then) you will leap away from the bonds of a thousand traps.
Come, at last, to the Source of the source of your own self!
Since you have been born from the ray of the Majesty (of God) and
you are (born) with a fortunate rising (sign) of good omen,
How much longer will you groan and wail about every non-existent (worldly thing)?
Come, at last, to the Source of the source of your own self!
You are a ruby in the middle of a granite rock. How much longer will you deceive us?
(The truth) is apparent within your eyes, O friend.
Come, at last, to the Source of the source of your own self!
Shams-I Tabriz, the king and cupbearer, has been holding the cup of everlasting (life) before you.
Glory be to God! What excellent pure (“wine”)!
Come, at last, to the Source of the source of your own self!
(#120 Gamard, Tr.)
For the lovers, there is no seeking (done) by themselves,
there is no additional seeker in the world other than Him.
This world and the next are a single substance; in reality,
there is no unbelief, religion or faith.
O you whose breath (is like [the healer]) Jesus!
Don’t breathe from a distance! I am the admirer of the one who is not far-thinking.
If you say, “I’ll go behind”, Don’t go! (There’s) no behind.
If you say, “[I’ll go] ahead”, No! There’s no way ahead.
Whoever has gone beyond “place”, his (only) place is the heart –
such a heart for which there is no place in the world.
(#425 Gamard, Tr.)
If wheat comes up from my grave (and) you bake bread from it, drunkenness will increase.
The dough and the baker will become crazy (and) his oven will sing verses like a drunkard.
If you come to visit my tomb, its shape will appear (to you as) dancing.
Brother, don't come without a tambourine to my tomb,
since (being) full of sorrow is not suitable at the banquet of God.
God has created me from the wine of Love;
even if death grinds me (down to nothing), I am that very same Love.
I am drunkenness, and my origin (is) the wine of Love.
Tell (me), what comes from wine except love?
My spirit won't stand waiting for a moment:
it will fly to the tower of the spirit of Shams-i Tabriz.
(#683 Gamard, Tr.)
On the day of death when my coffin is going (by),
don't imagine that I have pain (over leaving) this world.
Don't weep for me, and don't say, “How terrible! What a pity!”
You will fall into the error of (being deceived by) the Devil, (and) that would (really) be a pity!
When you see my funeral, don't say, “Parting and separation!”
(Since) for me, that is the time for union and meeting (God).
(And when) you entrust me to the grave, don't say, “Good-bye! Farewell!”
For the grave is (only) a curtain for (hiding) the gathering (of souls) in Paradise.
When you see the going down, notice the coming up.
Why should there be loss because of the setting of the sun and moon?
It seems like setting to you, but it is rising.
The tomb seems like a prison — it is the liberation of the soul.
What seed (ever) went down into the earth which didn't grow (back up)?
(So), for you, why is there this doubt about the human “seed”?
When you have closed (your) mouth on this side, open (it) on that side,
for your shouts of joy will be in the Sky beyond place (and time).
(#911 Gamard, Tr.)
It was night, but (only) for strangers.
My night is (kept like) day because of the face of the beloved.
Even if the world is completely taken over by thorns,
we are (kept) drowned in roses from the beloved.
Even if the world becomes ruined and (then) built up,
my heart is (kept) “drunk and ruined” by the beloved.
(#1051 Gamard, Tr.)
Enter among us, we are the lovers of God,
so that we may pull (open) the gate to the Garden of Love for you.
Although we are invisible, like the soul in the world,
(and) although we are signless like the love of lovers –
Yet our indications are always (with) you,
since we are hidden and we are evident, like the soul.
Any particular thing which you are saying (about us), such as,
“You are that” -- look higher, since we are higher than that.
You are a stream, but a whirlpool (going underground) and imprisoned.
Enter among us, (since) we are a flowing flood [going to the Sea].
Since we are gambling everything completely away in absolute poverty,
we don't know (anything) except writings about not-knowing.
(#1536 Gamard, Tr.)
A Moon (with) spiritual qualities became visible in the pathway of the heart.
What a subtle and exquisite journey there is in the pathway of the heart! Don't say anything!
I said, “Is this the face of an angel, or is it human?”
(The heart) said, “This is other than an angel or man. Don’t say anything.”
I said, “Tell (me), what is this? (Otherwise) I will become topsy-turvy.”
(Heart) said, “Be like this, topsy-turvy, (and) don't say anything.
O you seated in this house’ [the world] full of images and imaginary forms:
get up out of this house, take your baggage, and go. Don't say anything.”
(#2219 Gamard, Tr.)
We are riding upon the wind, like a straw,
moving from side to side because (of the magnetism) of a (piece of) amber.
In solitude with (ecstatic) outcries [Allah Hu!],
in the crowd with (coarse) shouts.
In appearance, we are menial slaves;
in secret, the qualities of the One Divinity.
This, the gift of the great king, Shams-i Tabriz:
lacking pride, and yet [full of Divine] magnificence.
(#2765 Gamard, Tr.)
I have put duality away, I have seen that the two worlds are one;
One I seek, One I know, One I see, One I call.
I am intoxicated with Love’s cup, the two worlds have passed out of my ken;
I have no business save carouse and revelry.
(R.A. Nicholson, Tr.)
We are traveling on our way to heaven, who desires to look at anything on the way?
At one time our home was in heaven, there we were in companionship with the angels.
Let us go back to that abode, O Lord, for that is our dwelling place.
We are above the heavens and greater than the angels;
why do we not go beyond these two?
(R.A. Nicholson, Tr.)
[Summing up his own life:]
The result is not more than these three words: I burnt, and burnt, and burnt.
(#1768 Annemarie Schimmel, Tr.)
Quatrains from Rumi’s “Rubaiyat”
translated by Zara Houshmand (www.iranian.com):
I am lost in God, and God is found in me.
Why look in all directions? Look inside.
I am the Lord, and I do you wrong to say
That anyone is Lord or God to me.
(#422 in Foruzanfar’s Persian edition)
It’s love that holds all eastern alchemy,
A cloud that hides a thousand lightning bolts.
Its glory fills an ocean inside me,
A universe where all creation drowns.
We speak another language, not this tongue.
There’s another home that’s not your heaven or hell.
Free spirits draw their life from another source;
That pure gem is mined from a different course.
If you walk with your eyes closed, for sure you’re lost,
But count on sight and you invite damnation.
Don’t look within the monastery or mosque
To find a place that isn’t a location.
I’m content with this way: nonexistence.
Why so much advice about existence?
The day I die by that blade, Not-To-Be,
I will laugh at whoever cries for me.
The face she shows me is a little sour,
Though sugar has never tasted sweeter.
Sugar would be bored by its own sweetness
If it ever came to know that sour flavor.
On truth’s path, wise is mad, insane is wise.
In love’s way, self and other are the same.
Having drunk the wine, my love, of being one with you,
I find the way to Mecca and Bodhgaya are the same.
(#302) (Bodhgaya is the Buddha’s awakening site.)
You [listeners] laugh at my tale? You may be educated
But you haven’t learned to love till you’re insane.
(2nd half of #1901)
A dervish must know pain’s reality
And from the depths of pain must rise, a man.
Yet again they build another monastery:
All earth’s a monastery; it only needs true men.
I’m not me, you’re not you, and you’re not me;
And yet I’m me, you’re you, and you are me.
Beauty of Khotan, I am this because of you:
Confused if I am you, or you are me.
The lovely one whispers under her breath,
And you go mad, witless, no reason left...
O Lord, what is this chant, what magic art
That weaves its spell on even a stone heart?
With a smile biting those two ruby lips,
How beautifully, idol, you’ve come to life!
Stealing my heart that day was not enough;
Today you’re back, intent upon my life.
If my head holds one thought wise and clear, it’s you.
Poor as I am, what I hold dear is you.
No matter how I see myself, I’m nothing.
Anything I am entirely is you.
Reason came forward to lecture the lovers;
Like a bandit in ambush he lay.
But he saw that their heads had no room for reason,
So bowed at their feet and went on his way.
Being alive is a trespass without you.
Without you, what life can this living be?
Light of my life, each lifetime that passes
Without you is death; that’s living for me.
You’re the road of love, and at the end, my home,
One of the crowd, and yet I see you crowned;
I see you in stars, in the sun, in the moon
Here in the green leaves, and high on the throne.
Today I’m going for a drunken stroll.
I’ll search the town for a rational man,
Pour him a drink from the
bowl of my skull, / And turn him into a crazy fool.
I’m so close to you that I’m far apart,
So completely merged that I’m separate,
So vastly exposed that I’m concealed,
So whole and sound that I’ll never be healed.
Forgive: if you never know forgiveness,
You’ll never know the blessings that God gives.
(2nd half of #577)
Where kindness is, who cares for peace or war?
Where goodness acts, who hears prayer or quarrel?
When a man’s accepted, who cares where he’s from?
Surrender, yield; if not, your pride’s a stone.
If love makes you thirst, never fear: you have wine.
If your body’s a ruin, don’t worry: there’s treasure inside.
You’ve run out of water? No, your water is near.
Wake up: this world that you dream holds nothing to fear.
The heart that holds God holds an ocean
Whose joyous waves make the earth turn.
(2nd half of #773)
How could the soul that holds your image
Ever fade or decay? The crescent moon,
Though waning, thin and pale, begins its voyage
And grows to full perfection very soon.
The harvest of my pain was its own peace and remedy.
As low as I had sunk, I rose, faith restored from blasphemy.
Body, heart, and soul obscured the path, until
Body melted into heart, heart in soul, and soul in Love itself.
You’re so coupled to life, which lasts but a day,
That you can’t even hear talk of death.
Life looks for a home and that home is death,
But your donkey fell asleep on the way.
If you want victory, eternity,
Then burn in the fire of love, don’t sleep.
You slept a hundred nights, what did you gain?
For God’s sake, tonight don’t sleep till dawn.
Seek the science that unties for you this knot.
Seek it as long as there’s life in you still to be sought.
Leave that nothing that looks like it’s something;
Seek that something that looks like it’s nothing; it’s
Since when do the laws of love allow
That I may see your world, but not see you?
(2nd half of #25)
Until you made me sing, I was a monk.
You made me a rabble-rouser, a hopeless drunk.
I used to sit in prayer, so dignified;/ Now I’m a toy that children toss aside.
When I hear you sing, I become a joyful song,
Boundless, without limits, like the kindness of God.
If my heart’s not on fire, then why all this smoke?
If there’s no incense burning, then what do I smell?
Why do I love? And why do I doubt?
Why is the moth so eager to burn in the candle’s hell?
They ask me Why are you in so much pain?
Why do you sing and wail? Why is your face so pale?’
I say, Don’t tell me what I do is wrong.
Look at the moon of her face; you’ll understand my song.’
My hard friend, you ask me for my heart and my gold.
The truth is, I have neither one to give.
Gold? What gold does a poor man have?
Since when does a lover have a heart left to give?
Love is the way and the path, our prophet.
Of love we are born, love is our mother.
Our mother, love, is hiding in our veil,
Hiding from our unbelieving nature.
Love is what gives joy to all creation.
Love is what gives joy to giving joy.
I was born of mother love in the beginning.
To that mother, joyous thanks and endless blessing.
Absolute joy has no room for sadness,
Nor has the heart that rests beyond the sky.
He whose mind dwells in the hanging stars
Will not sow seeds of sadness on this earth.
I wrote a poem that made my love angry
At me, or at the measure of my verse.
“Tell me then”, I said, “What should I write?”
“Tell me”, said she, “What poem could contain me?”
Drunk, I asked my teacher, “Please, I need to know
What it means to be, or not to be.”
He answered me, said, “Go!
Relieve the suffering of the world and you’ll be free.”
Remembering your lips, I kiss the ruby on my ring;
One I cannot reach, I kiss the one I can.
My hand can’t touch your distant sky,
And so I bow full low and kiss the land.
A heart that circles round the door of love
Will die, at last, by the dagger of love.
This point is written in the book of love:
He has no head at all whose head holds love.
My love, there’s a path from your heart to mine,
And my heart is aware how to find it;
For my heart now is pool, sweet and clear,
And it serves the moon as her mirror.
My faith in God is this: her eyes, their cheer,
Their drunken joy, her wild, heathen hair.
They say true faith is anything but this.
Then, by this, true faith I do dismiss.
The friend, to whom flower and thorn are one,
In whose faith, Qur’an and Cross are the same –
Why should we worry? To him it’s all one:
The swiftest horse or a donkey that’s lame.
“Don’t think you’re above them”, I told my heart.
Be a balm for their wounds, don’t be a barb.
(first half of #1021)
My face was pale, my heart was overflowing
And traveled the same path that Majnun trod.
[Majnun: the ancient Arabian lover driven “mad” in his love for Layla]
That was how things stood until this moment --
What’s happened now makes all that seem like nothing.
Time will soon silence the clamor of bleating cries,
And the wolf of doom devour the whole wooly herd.
Each of their heads is stuffed with bloated pride,
But death’s slap on the back of the neck will knock it out for good.
My beloved is not as lovers are:
Beyond body, undying, without end.
If some fool wants to mock this,
let him talk. / No lover is more delicate, more kind.
We are drunk on the essence without even tasting the wine,
Filled with light in the morning, and joyful into the night.
They say our path leads nowhere--that’s alright:
There’s joy enough right here to fill all time.
You fall in love, my heart, and then you fret about your health?
You steal and then you think of the police?
You claim to love, but it’s nonsense, mere play,
If you worry what people will say.
She made my night more splendid than the day,
Made body into spirit melt away.
My lips sought hers, but found their honey’s bliss
Was far too sweet to make room for my kiss.
Your homeland was the heavens, but you thought
That you belonged here, in the world of dust.
In the dust you sketched out your own face,
But left out just one thing--that first, true place.
My heart wanted only a kiss from you;
The price you asked for that kiss was my soul.
Heart jumped in the deep and flowed alongside soul,
Advising, Close the deal. The price is cheap.’
Why so happy to laugh with your mouth shut?
You should laugh like a flower, without a care.
Love that leaps from the soul is not the same thing
As love you hang round your neck by a string.
Today’s the day for boldness, wounded heart.
In loving her, there’s no room to be distant.
Whatever logic holds, put that aside.
Now’s the time for madness, right this instant.
By nightfall, dawn’s memory has vanished.
When love’s sincere, disgrace’s fear is banished.
You cry that you’ve been burnt by love - don’t gripe.
You’re not burnt! You’re not yet even ripe.
Hide the faults of others deep in the earth
If shame is what their actions make you feel.
But if you mirror both their good and bad
Then you yourself must be like polished steel.
I’m a grape, I roll under trampling feet.
Wherever love pulls me, that’s where I roll.
You ask me, Why do you roll around me?’
I don’t. It’s all around me that I roll.
The simpler our hands and hearts, the more free
Of the world around, the happier we’ll be.
Penniless pleasure, gone in a blink,
Is better than the pomp of a thousand kings.
There’s another kind of calm in the congress of lovers,
A different oblivion in the wine of love.
The knowledge that the classroom yields is one thing,
And love... love is something else again.
I’ve never seen a greener tree than you.
I’ve never seen a brighter moon than you.
I’ve never seen the dawn rise from the night
Or sweetness filled with more delight than you.
You think that I am at my own command?
Or that I breathe one breath, one half a breath, at will?
I’m merely a pen in my writer’s hand,
A ball at the mercy of my player’s skill.
Even if the whole world were gripped by sadness
He would not be sad who holds love firm in hand.
And if love makes him dance, even a little,
There are worlds and worlds within that little land.
Last night, in private, I asked the wise old man
To reveal to me the secret of the world.
Softly he whispered Hush! in my ear:
It’s something you learn, not words you can hear.
From the outside, you see lifeless faces,
Strangers all, from Rome to Khorasan.
What’s behind those faces? Look again.
To see the human ocean, look within.
So far and high did my heart’s bird fly
That worlds upon worlds opened secrets up.
So many ways she encompassed the sky
That world and beyond are a drop in her cup.
It’s morning. With my cup of wine in hand
I fall and rise and, drunk, again I fall.
Beside her cypress tall, I am low, small,
Soon nothing. There’s nothing but her at all.
This fire of love in which you burn away
Will be your garden paradise one day.
(2nd half of #1399)
It is treasure buried in earth, concealed;
Both from the pious and faithless, concealed.
We saw that it surely was love, concealed:
This hidden thing left us naked, revealed.
Tell the night that it cannot claim our day.
No religion claims love’s holy faith.
Love’s an ocean, vast and without shores.
When lovers drown, they don’t cry out or pray.
No place holds a soul: Where should I go?
You’ve made me homeless; free as soul to flow.
(2nd half of #1812)
The tides will take my poetry and song,
And carry off the clothes I did not own.
Good and bad, devotion, empty piety –
Moonlight brings and moonlight takes away.
In their quest for God they have turned away
from all else but Him. Be dust at His door.
We are what we are because of Him,
Be we kings in His grace, or paupers pure.
Who could be brought down once you’ve raised him high?
The misery you bring he knows as bliss.
Each day the sky will hold its head up high
To bless those feet in your chains with its kiss.
Go away, logic, there’s no thinker here,
Nor room for even your finest split hair.
When the day comes, whatever lamp gives light
Is shamed by the face of the sun’s bright glare.
Inside my heart and outside, all is her;
My body, blood and veins, my life is her.
There’s no room here for blasphemy or faith;
My existence knows neither, only her.
When your love began to fill up my heart,
Whatever else I had was burnt away,
Logic and booklearning tossed on the fire.
Now I study song and poetry all day.
They say love means crying out her name. Lies.
They say love’s hope will never ripen. Lies.
A universe of joy lives within us.
They say it lies beyond the sky. All lies.
1. The crucial books on Rumi:
- Franklin Lewis, "Rumi: Past & Present, East & West", Oneworld, 2000/3, drawing on many sources, including work in Persian by prodigy Prof. Badi al-Zaman Foruzanfar.
- Annemarie Schimmel;
--- “The Triumphal Sun: A Study of the Works of Jalaloddin Rumi”, SUNY, 1993;
--- more general - “I am Wind, You are Fire: The Life & Work of Rumi”, Shambhala, 1992;
- William Chittick, “The Sufi Path of Love: The Spiritual Teachings of Rumi”, SUNY, 1983;
- Sefik Can (present-day Mevlevi shaykh), “Fundamentals of Rumi’s Thought: A Mevlevi Sufi Perspective”, Light, 2004;
- Amin Banani, et al. (Eds.), “Poetry & Mysticism in Islam: The Heritage of Rumi”, Cambridge U., 1994;
- Afzal Iqbal, “The Life & Work of Muhammad Jalal-ud-Din Rumi”, 6th ed., Pakistan National Council, 1991;
- Ibrahim Gamard, “Rumi & Islam: Selections from His Stories, Poems & Discourses”, Skylight Paths, 2004;
- Abdolkarim Soroush’s Fall 2002, "Harvard lectures on Rumi", www.drsoroush.com/Lectures-English.htm.
2. Coleman Barks & John Moyne, Tr., “The Drowned Book: Ecstatic & Earthy Reflections of Bahauddin, the Father of Rumi”, Harper SF, 2005; (A.J. Arberry had decades ago translated some of it)
3. William Chittick, Tr., “Me and Rumi: The Autobiography of Shams-I Tabrizi”, Fons Vitae, 2004. A score of varying manuscripts of this collection of teachings proves that the book was never formally published.
4. Franklin Lewis, Tr., 2000, p. 154, translated from the “Maqalat” (99) of Shams.
5. W.M. Thackston, Tr., Introduction to “Signs of the Unseen: The Discourses of Rumi”, Shambala, 1999, pp. ix-x.
6. Franklin Lewis: on Rumi’s sexuality (pp. 320 - 324); Shams’ “murder” (pp. 185 - 192)
7. This last poem and other material is well translated by Ibrahim Gamard at his must-see website www.dar-almasnavi. org.
8. F. Lewis, 2000, pp. 228, 235. See also Shems Friedlander, “The Whirling Dervishes” (On the Mevlevi Order), SUNY, 1992 / Parabola, 2003.
9. Rumi English translations:
- Respected Rumi translators Ibrahim Gamard & Ravan Fahardy have put much of the 6-book Masnavi into English prose (with extensive notes) at Gamard’s website;
- Jawid Mojaddedi has put Book 1 into rhyming verse, “The Masnavi: Book One”, Oxford U., 2004;
- great British scholar R.A. Nicholson (1868-1945), who worked on a first critical edition, translated it in full along with medieval commentaries, "Masnavi-i Manavi" (8 vols.), Luzac, 1925-40, putting many verses into prose;
- Nicholson’s “A Rumi Anthology”, Oneworld, 2000, combines his “Rumi: Poet & Mystic” (1950) and “Tales of Mystic Meaning” (1931), both mainly based on Masnavi selections.
- E.H. Whinfield (1836 - 1922) made an excellent 1-vol. abridgement in 1887, “Masnavi-i Manavi”, selecting 3,500 of the Masnavi’s nearly 25,500 lines; reprinted as “Teachings of Rumi”, Dutton, 1975 and available at sacred-texts.com; this is still well worth reading.
- American Mevlevi teachers Kabir and Camille Helminsky use Nicholson for their more readable “daybook” versions of Masnavi extracts: “Rumi: Daylight”, 1990, and “Jewels of Remembrance”, 1996 (both publ. by Threshold).
- For the “Fihi ma fih”, see W.M Thackston, Jr. (Tr.), “Signs of the Unseen: The Discourses of Jalaluddin Rumi”, Shambala, 1999; and A.J. Arberry (Tr.), “Discourses of Rumi”, Samuel Weiser, 1972.
- A complete English edition of Rumi’s “Divan” (variously known as “Divan-i Shams-i Tabriz”, “Divan-i Kabir”, etc.) is the massive 23-vol. project sponsored by the Turkish govt., with Nevit Ergin’s translations into English from Abdulbaki Golpinarli’s faithful Turkish transl. of the Persian. See also Nevit Ergin & Will Johnson (Tr.), “The Forbidden Rumi: The Suppressed Poems of Rumi on Love, Heresy, & Intoxication”, Inner Traditions, 2006 (on the “heretical” material banned by the Turkish govt. from publication).
For Iranian-Americans’ translations of Rumi’s poetry from Persian, see:
- female poet Zara Houshmand’s excellent rhyming collection of 360 Rumi quatrains at www.iranian.com/Arts/rumi.html;
- Nader Khalili, “Rumi: Fountain of Fire”, Cal-Earth, 1996 (75 odes);
- Shahram Shiva,
--- “Rending the Veil: Literal & Poetic Translations of Rumi”, Hohm, 1995 (252 quatrains);
--- “Rumi: Thief of Sleep” (180 Quatrains from the Persian), Hohm, 2000;
--- “Hush: Don’t Say Anything to God: Passionate Poems of Rumi”, Jain, 1999 (24 odes, 60 quatrains); --- with Jonathan Star, “A Garden Beyond Paradise: The Mystical Poetry of Rumi”, Bantam, 1992 (their work tends to be error-prone and less faithful in accuracy);
--- hear Shiva’s musical CD of poetry recitals, Rumi: “Lovedrunk”, and
--- see rumi.net on the Web;
- Maryam Mafi (Tr.),
--- “Rumi: Gardens of the Beloved”, Element, 2004;
--- “Rumi: Hidden Music”, Thorsons, 2002;
--- “Rumi: Whispers of the Beloved”, Thorsons, 2000 (100 quatrains).
- Gamard has translated a few dozen Divan odes at dar-al-masnavi.org, where, among other things, he exposes the kind of mistakes made by modern “translators of translators” of Rumi, like Coleman Barks, Jonathan Star, et al., who know no Persian.
Faithful English Translations
Prose translations of 400 Divan poems, more faithful in meaning than the many “renderings” of Rumi by Barks, Star, Andrew Harvey, et al., are available in:
- A.J. Arberry, “Mystical Poems of Rumi” (2 vols.), U. of Chicago, 1968; and
- R.A. Nicholson, “Selected Poems from the Divan-i Shams-i Tabriz”, Cambridge U., 1898 (reprint: Rainbow Bridge, 1973)
--- Note: Barks, the most famous “presenter” of Rumi poems, uses translations by Arberry, Nicholson, and non-scholarly translations by Iran-born John Moyne to create catchy American free-verse versions of Rumi, which surely convey some of Rumi’s qualities, if missing all else.
- Prof. Franklin Lewis provides candid analysis of all Rumi translators (up to the late 1990s), pp. 564 - 615, and provides fine translations himself of 50 Rumi poems, pp. 335-92.
- See a nice book of stories, poetry and pictures, Philip Dunn & Manuela Dunn Mascetti, “The Illustrated Rumi: A Treasury of Wisdom from the Poet of the Soul”, Harper SF, 2000.
10. To this point, all selections are from E.H. Whinfield, "Teachings of Rumi", E.P. Dutton, 1975, pp. 3 - 317, with a few word changes.
11. These "Masnavi" selections are from R.A. Nicholson’s translation.
12. Idries Shah’s translation of a line translated by Nicholson as:
“If in the world no genuine minted coin were current, how would forgers pass the false?”
(Idries Shah, "Mystics of Islam", 1914, p. 100)
13. Tr. by A. Schimmel, in "Mystical Dimensions of Islam", 1975.
14. Selections are from W.M Thackston, Jr. (Tr.), “Signs of the Unseen: The Discourses of Jalaluddin Rumi”, Shambala, 1999.
15. Zara Houshmand’s lovely translations of these and many more Rumi poems are all posted individually at www.iranian.com. This is an amazing free offering for all fans of Rumi’s work.
Part 2. To the Part 1: http://hojja-nusreddin.livejournal.com/2961934.html