Sufinama

discourse15

Maulana Rumi

discourse15

Maulana Rumi

MORE BY Maulana Rumi

    Within people there is a longing and a desire such that, even if a hundred thousand worlds were theirs to own, still they would find no rest or comfort. They try every trade and craft, studying astronomy, medicine and every other subject, but they reach no completion, for they have not found their true desire. Poets call the Beloved “heart’s ease,” because there the heart finds ease. How can we find peace and rest in anything but the Beloved?

    All these pleasures and pursuits are like a ladder. The rungs of a ladder are not a place to make one’s home; they are for passing by. Fortunate are those who learn this. The long road becomes short for them, and they do not waste their lives upon the steps.

    Someone asked: “The Mongols have seized property by force, and from time to time they give this property back to us. This is a strange situation. Is it lawful to accept this property? What is your ruling?”

    Rumi answered: Whatever the Mongols seize and give up returns into the grasp and treasury of God. For example, when you fill a jug or a barrel from the river and carry it away, that becomes your property. So long as it is in the jug or barrel, nobody has the right to interfere. Whoever takes the jug without permission is guilty of theft. But once they pour the water back into the river, it passes out of ownership and is lawful for anyone to take once again. So our property is unlawful to them, while their property is lawful to us since by their giving it up they have returned it to the treasury of God.

    Someone said: “When the Mongols first came to these parts they were naked and bare. They rode on bullocks and their weapons were made of wood. Now they are sleek and well-fed, they have splendid Arab horses and carry fine arms.”

    Rumi said: When they were desperate and weak and had no strength, God helped them and answered their prayer. Now, when they are so powerful and mighty, God is destroying them with the comforts of the feeblest, so they will realize it was through God’s bounty and support that they captured the world, and not by their own force and power.

    They used to live in a wilderness, far from civilization, without means, poor, naked and needy. By chance, some of them came to trade in the territory of the Khvarizmshah. They began to buy and sell, purchasing muslin to clothe their bodies. The Khvarizmshah stopped them, ordering them to be put to death, and forcing payment from the rest of them. The Mongols went humbly before their king, saying, “They have killed us.” Their king asked for ten days, and then entered a deep cave where he fasted and humbled himself. On the tenth day a proclamation came from God, “I have accepted your supplication. Come forth! Wherever you go, you shall be victorious.”

    So it was. When they came forth, by God’s command they won the victory and captured the world.

    Someone said: “The Mongols also believe in the resurrection and say that there will be a judgement.”

    Rumi said: They lie, desiring to be accepted by Muslims. If they really believe in the resurrection, where is the evidence to prove it? The sins, wrongs and evils they commit are like snow and ice piled together as high as a mountain. When thoughts of the resurrection come to us, like the sun it melts those snows of sinfulness as the sun in the heaven melts anything hard. How can the summer sun come and leave the snow and ice of winter intact? Seeing their snow and ice piled heap upon heap is proof that the sun has not shone upon them.

    Although God has promised that all good and evil will be rewarded justly on the last day, yet a sample of this comes to pass every moment and in every instant. If happiness enters into someone’s heart, that is his or her reward for making another happy. If they become sorrowful, it is because they have brought sorrow to another. These are gifts from the other world and tokens of that day of rewards, so that by these little things we may come to understand those great matters, just as a handful of corn is offered as a token of the whole heap.

    The Prophet, for all his majesty and greatness, one night felt pain in his hand. It was revealed to him that this pain was the effect of a pain in the hands of ‘Abbas. For he had taken ‘Abbas captive and had bound his hands together with all the prisoners. Although the tying of his hands was done at God’s order, still the Prophet had to suffer. These troubles and depressions that come to you are the effect of some injury and wrong you have committed. Even if you cannot remember in detail what you have done, still from the results you can know the deed. You may not remember whether it came from your own negligence or ignorance, or because others swayed you into wrongful action. But look at the results: how much did you fall from grace, or how much has your heart expanded? Certainly a fall from grace is the response of disobedience to God, and expansion of the heart is the reward of obedience. Why, the Prophet himself was rebuked because he turned a ring on his finger. He was told, “We did not create you for idleness and play.” From this decide for yourself whether your day is passed in obedience or disobedience.Moses was occupied with the affairs of his people. Although he was at God’s command and completely served God, yet one side of him was occupied with humanity for the general good. Khadir was occupied with God completely; he hid himself from the sight of others. Mohammed was occupied at first wholly with God, then he was told, “Call the people. Counsel them and reform them.” Mohammed wept and lamented, saying, “Oh, my Lord, what sin have I committed? Why do you

    drive me from Your presence? I have no desire for this world.” God said to him, “Mohammed, do not despair, I will not abandon you. Even in the midst of others you shall be with Me. When you are occupied with people, not one hair of the head of this hour with Me, not one, will be taken from you. In whatever work you are engaged, you will be in very union with Me.”Someone asked: “The eternal decrees that God has predestined, do they ever change?”Rumi answered: How could God say, “Do evil to find good?” If someone sows wheat, can they gather barley? Or if they sow barley, will

    they gather wheat? That is impossible. All the saints and prophets have said that good is the reward of good, evil the reward of evil.”And whoever does an atoms weight of goodshall see it,And whoever does an atoms weight of evilshall see it.”Someone interjected: “But we see wicked people turn virtuous, and virtuous people turn wicked.”Rumi answered: Well, those wicked men and women did some good, or thought good things, which brought them virtue. And those virtuous people did some evil act, or contemplated evil things, turning them wicked.Someone asked: “What is the

    meaning of the saying, ‘Blessings upon the Prophet’?”Rumi answered: It means that our acts of adoration, service and worship do not belong to us, they come from God. Just like the season of spring brings the planting of seeds, and jaunts into the wilderness. They are the gift and bounty of spring.The people of this world see secondary causes and think they are the origin of everything. God’s saints see the actualities as they are created and come into being. Secondary causes are only a veil to occupy the common

    peo-ple.God promised Zachariah, “I will give you a son.” Zachariah cried, “I am an old man, and my wife is old. My instrument of lust has become feeble, and my wife can no longer conceive. Lord, how can a son be born?”The answer came, “Take heed Zachariah! You have lost the clue. I have shown you a hundred thousand times that actualities have no causes. This very moment, I could produce out of you a hundred thousand sons without a wife and without pregnancy. Indeed, if I make the sign, a whole

    people will come forth, completely formed and grown. Did I not bring you into being in the world of spirits without a mother or father? Why do you forget these things?” The rank and substance of the prophets and saints and the many states of humanity can be set forth in a parable: Slaves are brought out of the heathen lands into the realm of Muslimdom, where they are sold. Some are brought at the age of five years, some are ten, and some are fifteen years old. Those who were brought as children, having been nurtured for many years amongst Muslims, completely forget their homeland. No trace

    of it remains in their memory. Those brought a little older remember a little. Those much older remember much more.In the world beyond, all are in the Presence of God. The food and sustenance there is the speech of God, without letters and without sounds. Those who are brought into this world as children, when they hear that Speech, remember nothing of their former state and see themselves as strangers to that Speech. They are veiled from God, being wholly sunk in forgetfulness. Some remember a little bit, and the longing and yearning for the other side is quickened in them. They seek out Truth. They are the believers. Some, when they hear that Speech, the Presence of God becomes manifest before their eyes, even as it was long ago. The veils are entirely removed, and they are joined in that union. These are the prophets and the saints.Now I say this to you earnestly, when the brides of heavenly truth show their faces within you and their secrets are revealed, beware, do not tell this to strangers. Do not describe what you have witnessed to others, and do not tell everyone these words of mine.”Do not impart wisdom to those not worthy,lest you do wisdom wrong.And, do not withhold from the worthy,lest you do them wrong.”If a fair and adorable lover surrenders to you privately in your house, saying, “Show me to no

    one, for I belong to you,” it would never be proper for you to parade her in the bazaars and to call out, “Come and see this beauty!” That would never be agreeable to such an adorable one. She would be enraged against you.God has made these words unlawful to some. Even so, dwellers in Hell cry out to the dwellers in Paradise, saying, “Where is your generosity and your humanity? Out of those gifts and bounties that God has given to you, out of charity and common kindness if you sprinkle just a little upon us, could that be so difficult? We are burning and melting in this fire. Out of those fruits, or out of those clear waters of Paradise, if you sprinkle a drop or two upon our souls, what would that be?”The dwellers in Paradise answer, “God has forbidden that to you. The seed of this bliss came from our earlier deeds. Since you did not sow and cultivate with faith, sincerity and good works, what should you gather here? Even if out of generosity we should share with you, since it is not your reward it would burn your throats and stick in your gul-lets.”A crowd of hypocrites and strangers came into the presence of Mohammed. They began to talk about mysteries and praised the Prophet. Mohammed turned to his companions and said, “Cover up your vessels.” He meant, “Conceal wisdom from strangers, and in their presence stop up your mouths and tongues, for they are mice and not worthy of this wisdom and grace.”

    The Amir who has just left our company—though he did not understand in detail what we were saying, yet he realizes in general that we were calling him to God. I take the wagging of his head, his smile of affection and his flush of passion as a sign of his understanding. If people from the country come into the city and hear the call to prayer, though they do not know in detail the meaning of the call, still they understand its purpose.16Rumi said: Whoever is loved is beautiful, but this does-n’t mean that whoever is beautiful is loved.”There are girls more beautiful than Laila,” they used to tell Majnun. “Let us bring some to you.””I do not love Laila for her form,” Majnun would reply. “Laila is like a cup in my hand. I drink wine from that cup. I am in love with that wine. You only have eyes for the goblet and do not know the wine. A golden goblet studded with precious stones, but containing only vinegar, what use is that to me? An old broken gourd with wine is better in my eyes than a hundred goblets of gold.”A person must be moved with passion and yearning for them to tell the wine from the cup.

    This is the same as someone who is hungry, who hasn’t eaten for ten days, and another who has eaten five times a day. Both see a loaf of bread. The full one sees only more food, but the hungry person sees life, itself. To the hungry, this bread is a goblet, and the life it brings is wine. Such wine cannot be known except through hunger and yearning. Acquire this appetite so you will not only see the appearances of form, but will find the Beloved everywhere.

    The forms of this world are cups. Science, art and knowledge are inscriptions upon the cup. When the cup is broken, those inscriptions disappear. Therefore, those who drink the wine see “the eternal reality, the deeds of holiness...”

    Anyone asking a question must first come to the awareness that their knowledge is incomplete, and secondly that there is wisdom they know nothing about. Hence, the saying, “Asking is half of knowing.”

    But there must always be one in this world who knows. Everyone looks to someone, because ultimately we are looking for God. But there must always be one who can distinguish those who are hitting the mark from those who have been struck by the arrow of someone else’s bow.

    If you hear words coming through a wall, you know that wall isn’t speaking and that voice belongs to someone else. The saints are like this. They have died before death, and have become like doors and walls. Not even a hair’s tip of separate existence remains in them. In the hands of Reality, they are shields—but the shield doesn’t move under its own power. Thus the saints say, “I am the Truth,” meaning, “I am nothing at all, I move by the Hand of God.” Look upon such shields as God. Do not take up violence against God. Striking blows against such shields are just like declaring war against God, Itself.

    Every saint is God’s proof. The rank and station of men and women is determined by how they treat the saint. If they are hostile to the saint, they are acting hostile against God. If they befriend the saint, they have made friendship with God.

    “Whoever has seen them has seen Me. Whoever finds them has found Me.”

    God’s saints are familiar with the secrets of His refuge. They have become intimate with the Divine Mysteries that “none but the purified shall touch.” If they turn their backs on the tomb of a great saint, it is not out of disobedience or neglect. They have turned their faces toward that saint’s essence, for these words spoken here are their essence. There is no harm in turning away from the body to face the soul.

    It is a custom of mine that I want no heart to become distressed through me. During our meetings, sometimes a great multitude thrust themselves upon me and some of my friends try to fend them off. That disturbs me. I have said a hundred times, “Say nothing on my account. I am content with that.” I care to such a degree that when such friends come to me, I dread the thought of boring them, so I speak poetry for their enjoyment. Otherwise, what do I care about poetry? By God, I care nothing for poetry. There is nothing worse in my eyes. To me, it is like the cook who plunges his hand into tripe,

    cleaning it out for the sake of a guest’s appetite.

    A merchant searches to see what products are needed in their city, and what the people want to buy. Then they buy and sell those goods and services, even if they are the lowest of things in their eyes. I have studied many sciences and taken pains to offer fine, rare and precious things to the scholars and researchers, the clever ones and the deep thinkers who come to me. God has willed this. He gathered to me all those sciences, and assembled here all those pains, so I would become occupied with this work. What can I do? In my own country, and amongst my own people, there is nothing more shameful than poetry. If I had remained there, I would have lived in harmony with their temperament. I would have practiced what they love, such as giving lectures, composing books and preaching.

    The Amir said: “The root of the matter is action.”

    Rumi said: Where are such people of action, so that I can teach them action? But now look how you cock your ears, seeking after words instead of action. If I were to stop speaking now, you would become upset. Become a seeker of action, so that I can show you action!

    I am looking all over the world for students of action so that I can teach action. I am looking all over the world for anyone who knows action, but I find no student of action—only of words, and so I occupy myself with words. What do you know of action? Action is only known through action. There is not one traveler upon this road—it is empty—so how will anyone see if we are on the true path of action?

    After all, prayer and fasting are not action; these are forms of action. Action is an inward reality. From the time of Adam to the time of Mohammed, prayer and fasting have changed their form, but action is still the same.

    Action is not what people think it is. People believe action is this outward show. But if a hypocrite performs only the form of action, such as prayer or fasting, it gains them nothing, since the sincere desire for true action was not present.

    The secret principle of all things is speech and words. You do not yet know the true knowledge of speech and words, therefore you consider them unimportant. However, speech is fruit from the tree of action, for words are born of action. God created the world by a word.

    You may have faith in your heart, but unless you share it through words, it is worth nothing.

    When you say, “In this present age words are of no account,” you say this with words, do you not? If words are of no account, then why do we hear you say this with words?

    Someone asked: “When we do a good deed, if we have hopes and expectations of a good reward from God, does that harm us?”

    Rumi answered: By God, we must always have hope. Faith, itself, consists of fear and hope. Someone once asked me, “Hope itself is good, but what is this fear?” I said, “Show me a fear without hope, or a hope without fear. The two are inseparable.” For example, a farmer plants wheat. Naturally he hopes that wheat will grow. At the same time he is afraid some blight or drought may destroy it. So, there is no hope without fear, or fear without hope.

    Now, when we hope expectantly for a reward, we will surely work with greater effort. Expectation becomes our wings, and the stronger our wings the farther the flight. If, on the other hand we lose hope, we become lazy and of no value to anyone. A sick person will take bitter medicine and give up ten sweet pleasures, but if they have no hope for health, why would they endure this?

    We are a mixture of animal and speech. If we do not speak outwardly, we still speak inwardly— we are constantly speaking. We are like a river in which clay is mixed; the pure water is our speech, while the clay is our animality. But the clay in us is an accident. Do you not see how those pieces of clay have crumbled and rotted away, while mankind’s speech, poetry and sciences, both bad and good have remained?

    The ‘man or woman of heart’ is a universe. When you have seen them, you have seen all. “All game is in the belly of the wild ass.” All creatures in this world are contained in the man and woman of heart.

    Good and evil, the dervishes may be, Whoever is not so, no dervishes are they.

    Once you have seen one who is the whole, surely you have seen the whole world. Whoever you see after is a mere repetition. That person’s speech is contained in the words of the whole. Once you have heard their words, every word you hear thereafter is an echo.

    Whoever beholds such a one, in any place, Has seen all men and women, all

    time and space.

    As the poet says:

    You are the true transcription

    Of the Archetype Divine.

    A glass through which the Sun’s

    Own loveliness does shine.

    Within, or without,

    Wherever it may lie,

    Accept every desire,

    And declare, “‘Tis I!”

    TRANSLATION BY A. J. ARBERRY

    Within people there is a longing and a desire such that, even if a hundred thousand worlds were theirs to own, still they would find no rest or comfort. They try every trade and craft, studying astronomy, medicine and every other subject, but they reach no completion, for they have not found their true desire. Poets call the Beloved “heart’s ease,” because there the heart finds ease. How can we find peace and rest in anything but the Beloved?

    All these pleasures and pursuits are like a ladder. The rungs of a ladder are not a place to make one’s home; they are for passing by. Fortunate are those who learn this. The long road becomes short for them, and they do not waste their lives upon the steps.

    Someone asked: “The Mongols have seized property by force, and from time to time they give this property back to us. This is a strange situation. Is it lawful to accept this property? What is your ruling?”

    Rumi answered: Whatever the Mongols seize and give up returns into the grasp and treasury of God. For example, when you fill a jug or a barrel from the river and carry it away, that becomes your property. So long as it is in the jug or barrel, nobody has the right to interfere. Whoever takes the jug without permission is guilty of theft. But once they pour the water back into the river, it passes out of ownership and is lawful for anyone to take once again. So our property is unlawful to them, while their property is lawful to us since by their giving it up they have returned it to the treasury of God.

    Someone said: “When the Mongols first came to these parts they were naked and bare. They rode on bullocks and their weapons were made of wood. Now they are sleek and well-fed, they have splendid Arab horses and carry fine arms.”

    Rumi said: When they were desperate and weak and had no strength, God helped them and answered their prayer. Now, when they are so powerful and mighty, God is destroying them with the comforts of the feeblest, so they will realize it was through God’s bounty and support that they captured the world, and not by their own force and power.

    They used to live in a wilderness, far from civilization, without means, poor, naked and needy. By chance, some of them came to trade in the territory of the Khvarizmshah. They began to buy and sell, purchasing muslin to clothe their bodies. The Khvarizmshah stopped them, ordering them to be put to death, and forcing payment from the rest of them. The Mongols went humbly before their king, saying, “They have killed us.” Their king asked for ten days, and then entered a deep cave where he fasted and humbled himself. On the tenth day a proclamation came from God, “I have accepted your supplication. Come forth! Wherever you go, you shall be victorious.”

    So it was. When they came forth, by God’s command they won the victory and captured the world.

    Someone said: “The Mongols also believe in the resurrection and say that there will be a judgement.”

    Rumi said: They lie, desiring to be accepted by Muslims. If they really believe in the resurrection, where is the evidence to prove it? The sins, wrongs and evils they commit are like snow and ice piled together as high as a mountain. When thoughts of the resurrection come to us, like the sun it melts those snows of sinfulness as the sun in the heaven melts anything hard. How can the summer sun come and leave the snow and ice of winter intact? Seeing their snow and ice piled heap upon heap is proof that the sun has not shone upon them.

    Although God has promised that all good and evil will be rewarded justly on the last day, yet a sample of this comes to pass every moment and in every instant. If happiness enters into someone’s heart, that is his or her reward for making another happy. If they become sorrowful, it is because they have brought sorrow to another. These are gifts from the other world and tokens of that day of rewards, so that by these little things we may come to understand those great matters, just as a handful of corn is offered as a token of the whole heap.

    The Prophet, for all his majesty and greatness, one night felt pain in his hand. It was revealed to him that this pain was the effect of a pain in the hands of ‘Abbas. For he had taken ‘Abbas captive and had bound his hands together with all the prisoners. Although the tying of his hands was done at God’s order, still the Prophet had to suffer. These troubles and depressions that come to you are the effect of some injury and wrong you have committed. Even if you cannot remember in detail what you have done, still from the results you can know the deed. You may not remember whether it came from your own negligence or ignorance, or because others swayed you into wrongful action. But look at the results: how much did you fall from grace, or how much has your heart expanded? Certainly a fall from grace is the response of disobedience to God, and expansion of the heart is the reward of obedience. Why, the Prophet himself was rebuked because he turned a ring on his finger. He was told, “We did not create you for idleness and play.” From this decide for yourself whether your day is passed in obedience or disobedience.Moses was occupied with the affairs of his people. Although he was at God’s command and completely served God, yet one side of him was occupied with humanity for the general good. Khadir was occupied with God completely; he hid himself from the sight of others. Mohammed was occupied at first wholly with God, then he was told, “Call the people. Counsel them and reform them.” Mohammed wept and lamented, saying, “Oh, my Lord, what sin have I committed? Why do you

    drive me from Your presence? I have no desire for this world.” God said to him, “Mohammed, do not despair, I will not abandon you. Even in the midst of others you shall be with Me. When you are occupied with people, not one hair of the head of this hour with Me, not one, will be taken from you. In whatever work you are engaged, you will be in very union with Me.”Someone asked: “The eternal decrees that God has predestined, do they ever change?”Rumi answered: How could God say, “Do evil to find good?” If someone sows wheat, can they gather barley? Or if they sow barley, will

    they gather wheat? That is impossible. All the saints and prophets have said that good is the reward of good, evil the reward of evil.”And whoever does an atoms weight of goodshall see it,And whoever does an atoms weight of evilshall see it.”Someone interjected: “But we see wicked people turn virtuous, and virtuous people turn wicked.”Rumi answered: Well, those wicked men and women did some good, or thought good things, which brought them virtue. And those virtuous people did some evil act, or contemplated evil things, turning them wicked.Someone asked: “What is the

    meaning of the saying, ‘Blessings upon the Prophet’?”Rumi answered: It means that our acts of adoration, service and worship do not belong to us, they come from God. Just like the season of spring brings the planting of seeds, and jaunts into the wilderness. They are the gift and bounty of spring.The people of this world see secondary causes and think they are the origin of everything. God’s saints see the actualities as they are created and come into being. Secondary causes are only a veil to occupy the common

    peo-ple.God promised Zachariah, “I will give you a son.” Zachariah cried, “I am an old man, and my wife is old. My instrument of lust has become feeble, and my wife can no longer conceive. Lord, how can a son be born?”The answer came, “Take heed Zachariah! You have lost the clue. I have shown you a hundred thousand times that actualities have no causes. This very moment, I could produce out of you a hundred thousand sons without a wife and without pregnancy. Indeed, if I make the sign, a whole

    people will come forth, completely formed and grown. Did I not bring you into being in the world of spirits without a mother or father? Why do you forget these things?” The rank and substance of the prophets and saints and the many states of humanity can be set forth in a parable: Slaves are brought out of the heathen lands into the realm of Muslimdom, where they are sold. Some are brought at the age of five years, some are ten, and some are fifteen years old. Those who were brought as children, having been nurtured for many years amongst Muslims, completely forget their homeland. No trace

    of it remains in their memory. Those brought a little older remember a little. Those much older remember much more.In the world beyond, all are in the Presence of God. The food and sustenance there is the speech of God, without letters and without sounds. Those who are brought into this world as children, when they hear that Speech, remember nothing of their former state and see themselves as strangers to that Speech. They are veiled from God, being wholly sunk in forgetfulness. Some remember a little bit, and the longing and yearning for the other side is quickened in them. They seek out Truth. They are the believers. Some, when they hear that Speech, the Presence of God becomes manifest before their eyes, even as it was long ago. The veils are entirely removed, and they are joined in that union. These are the prophets and the saints.Now I say this to you earnestly, when the brides of heavenly truth show their faces within you and their secrets are revealed, beware, do not tell this to strangers. Do not describe what you have witnessed to others, and do not tell everyone these words of mine.”Do not impart wisdom to those not worthy,lest you do wisdom wrong.And, do not withhold from the worthy,lest you do them wrong.”If a fair and adorable lover surrenders to you privately in your house, saying, “Show me to no

    one, for I belong to you,” it would never be proper for you to parade her in the bazaars and to call out, “Come and see this beauty!” That would never be agreeable to such an adorable one. She would be enraged against you.God has made these words unlawful to some. Even so, dwellers in Hell cry out to the dwellers in Paradise, saying, “Where is your generosity and your humanity? Out of those gifts and bounties that God has given to you, out of charity and common kindness if you sprinkle just a little upon us, could that be so difficult? We are burning and melting in this fire. Out of those fruits, or out of those clear waters of Paradise, if you sprinkle a drop or two upon our souls, what would that be?”The dwellers in Paradise answer, “God has forbidden that to you. The seed of this bliss came from our earlier deeds. Since you did not sow and cultivate with faith, sincerity and good works, what should you gather here? Even if out of generosity we should share with you, since it is not your reward it would burn your throats and stick in your gul-lets.”A crowd of hypocrites and strangers came into the presence of Mohammed. They began to talk about mysteries and praised the Prophet. Mohammed turned to his companions and said, “Cover up your vessels.” He meant, “Conceal wisdom from strangers, and in their presence stop up your mouths and tongues, for they are mice and not worthy of this wisdom and grace.”

    The Amir who has just left our company—though he did not understand in detail what we were saying, yet he realizes in general that we were calling him to God. I take the wagging of his head, his smile of affection and his flush of passion as a sign of his understanding. If people from the country come into the city and hear the call to prayer, though they do not know in detail the meaning of the call, still they understand its purpose.16Rumi said: Whoever is loved is beautiful, but this does-n’t mean that whoever is beautiful is loved.”There are girls more beautiful than Laila,” they used to tell Majnun. “Let us bring some to you.””I do not love Laila for her form,” Majnun would reply. “Laila is like a cup in my hand. I drink wine from that cup. I am in love with that wine. You only have eyes for the goblet and do not know the wine. A golden goblet studded with precious stones, but containing only vinegar, what use is that to me? An old broken gourd with wine is better in my eyes than a hundred goblets of gold.”A person must be moved with passion and yearning for them to tell the wine from the cup.

    This is the same as someone who is hungry, who hasn’t eaten for ten days, and another who has eaten five times a day. Both see a loaf of bread. The full one sees only more food, but the hungry person sees life, itself. To the hungry, this bread is a goblet, and the life it brings is wine. Such wine cannot be known except through hunger and yearning. Acquire this appetite so you will not only see the appearances of form, but will find the Beloved everywhere.

    The forms of this world are cups. Science, art and knowledge are inscriptions upon the cup. When the cup is broken, those inscriptions disappear. Therefore, those who drink the wine see “the eternal reality, the deeds of holiness...”

    Anyone asking a question must first come to the awareness that their knowledge is incomplete, and secondly that there is wisdom they know nothing about. Hence, the saying, “Asking is half of knowing.”

    But there must always be one in this world who knows. Everyone looks to someone, because ultimately we are looking for God. But there must always be one who can distinguish those who are hitting the mark from those who have been struck by the arrow of someone else’s bow.

    If you hear words coming through a wall, you know that wall isn’t speaking and that voice belongs to someone else. The saints are like this. They have died before death, and have become like doors and walls. Not even a hair’s tip of separate existence remains in them. In the hands of Reality, they are shields—but the shield doesn’t move under its own power. Thus the saints say, “I am the Truth,” meaning, “I am nothing at all, I move by the Hand of God.” Look upon such shields as God. Do not take up violence against God. Striking blows against such shields are just like declaring war against God, Itself.

    Every saint is God’s proof. The rank and station of men and women is determined by how they treat the saint. If they are hostile to the saint, they are acting hostile against God. If they befriend the saint, they have made friendship with God.

    “Whoever has seen them has seen Me. Whoever finds them has found Me.”

    God’s saints are familiar with the secrets of His refuge. They have become intimate with the Divine Mysteries that “none but the purified shall touch.” If they turn their backs on the tomb of a great saint, it is not out of disobedience or neglect. They have turned their faces toward that saint’s essence, for these words spoken here are their essence. There is no harm in turning away from the body to face the soul.

    It is a custom of mine that I want no heart to become distressed through me. During our meetings, sometimes a great multitude thrust themselves upon me and some of my friends try to fend them off. That disturbs me. I have said a hundred times, “Say nothing on my account. I am content with that.” I care to such a degree that when such friends come to me, I dread the thought of boring them, so I speak poetry for their enjoyment. Otherwise, what do I care about poetry? By God, I care nothing for poetry. There is nothing worse in my eyes. To me, it is like the cook who plunges his hand into tripe,

    cleaning it out for the sake of a guest’s appetite.

    A merchant searches to see what products are needed in their city, and what the people want to buy. Then they buy and sell those goods and services, even if they are the lowest of things in their eyes. I have studied many sciences and taken pains to offer fine, rare and precious things to the scholars and researchers, the clever ones and the deep thinkers who come to me. God has willed this. He gathered to me all those sciences, and assembled here all those pains, so I would become occupied with this work. What can I do? In my own country, and amongst my own people, there is nothing more shameful than poetry. If I had remained there, I would have lived in harmony with their temperament. I would have practiced what they love, such as giving lectures, composing books and preaching.

    The Amir said: “The root of the matter is action.”

    Rumi said: Where are such people of action, so that I can teach them action? But now look how you cock your ears, seeking after words instead of action. If I were to stop speaking now, you would become upset. Become a seeker of action, so that I can show you action!

    I am looking all over the world for students of action so that I can teach action. I am looking all over the world for anyone who knows action, but I find no student of action—only of words, and so I occupy myself with words. What do you know of action? Action is only known through action. There is not one traveler upon this road—it is empty—so how will anyone see if we are on the true path of action?

    After all, prayer and fasting are not action; these are forms of action. Action is an inward reality. From the time of Adam to the time of Mohammed, prayer and fasting have changed their form, but action is still the same.

    Action is not what people think it is. People believe action is this outward show. But if a hypocrite performs only the form of action, such as prayer or fasting, it gains them nothing, since the sincere desire for true action was not present.

    The secret principle of all things is speech and words. You do not yet know the true knowledge of speech and words, therefore you consider them unimportant. However, speech is fruit from the tree of action, for words are born of action. God created the world by a word.

    You may have faith in your heart, but unless you share it through words, it is worth nothing.

    When you say, “In this present age words are of no account,” you say this with words, do you not? If words are of no account, then why do we hear you say this with words?

    Someone asked: “When we do a good deed, if we have hopes and expectations of a good reward from God, does that harm us?”

    Rumi answered: By God, we must always have hope. Faith, itself, consists of fear and hope. Someone once asked me, “Hope itself is good, but what is this fear?” I said, “Show me a fear without hope, or a hope without fear. The two are inseparable.” For example, a farmer plants wheat. Naturally he hopes that wheat will grow. At the same time he is afraid some blight or drought may destroy it. So, there is no hope without fear, or fear without hope.

    Now, when we hope expectantly for a reward, we will surely work with greater effort. Expectation becomes our wings, and the stronger our wings the farther the flight. If, on the other hand we lose hope, we become lazy and of no value to anyone. A sick person will take bitter medicine and give up ten sweet pleasures, but if they have no hope for health, why would they endure this?

    We are a mixture of animal and speech. If we do not speak outwardly, we still speak inwardly— we are constantly speaking. We are like a river in which clay is mixed; the pure water is our speech, while the clay is our animality. But the clay in us is an accident. Do you not see how those pieces of clay have crumbled and rotted away, while mankind’s speech, poetry and sciences, both bad and good have remained?

    The ‘man or woman of heart’ is a universe. When you have seen them, you have seen all. “All game is in the belly of the wild ass.” All creatures in this world are contained in the man and woman of heart.

    Good and evil, the dervishes may be, Whoever is not so, no dervishes are they.

    Once you have seen one who is the whole, surely you have seen the whole world. Whoever you see after is a mere repetition. That person’s speech is contained in the words of the whole. Once you have heard their words, every word you hear thereafter is an echo.

    Whoever beholds such a one, in any place, Has seen all men and women, all

    time and space.

    As the poet says:

    You are the true transcription

    Of the Archetype Divine.

    A glass through which the Sun’s

    Own loveliness does shine.

    Within, or without,

    Wherever it may lie,

    Accept every desire,

    And declare, “‘Tis I!”

    TRANSLATION BY A. J. ARBERRY

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