Rumi

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The world's literature and folklore are full of stories that point out how futile it can be to seek happiness. Rather, happiness is a blessing that comes to you as you go along; a treasure that you incidentally find.
Louis Binstock
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This poetry. I never know what I'm going to say.
I don't plan it.
When I'm outside the saying of it, I get very quiet and rarely speak at all.

Jalal al-Din Muhammad Rumi or مولانا جلال الدين محمد بلخى Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Balkhi (30 September 120717 December 1273) was a Persian philosopher, theologian, poet, teacher, and founder of the Mevlevi (or Mawlawi) order of Sufism; also known as Mevlana (Our Guide), Jalaluddin Rumi, or simply Rumi.

Sourced

Sell your cleverness and buy bewilderment. Cleverness is mere opinion, bewilderment is intuition.
  • Sell your cleverness and buy bewilderment.
    Cleverness is mere opinion, bewilderment is intuition.
    • As quoted in The Perennial Philosophy (1945) by Aldous Huxley
    • Variant translation:
      Love is the ark appointed for the righteous,
      Which annuls the danger and provides a way of escape.
      Sell your cleverness and buy bewilderment.
      Cleverness is mere opinion, bewilderment intuition.
      • The Masnavi, Book IV, Story II, as translated in Masnavi I Ma'navi : The Spiritual Couplets of Maulána Jalálu-'d-Dín Muhammad Rúmí (2000) by Edward Henry Whinfield
  • Reason is the shadow cast by God; God is the sun.
  • Everyone sees the unseen in proportion to the clarity of his heart, and that depends upon how much he has polished it.
    Whoever has polished it more sees more — more unseen forms become manifest to him.
    • As quoted in The Sufi Path of Love : The Spiritual Teachings of Rumi (1983) by William C. Chittick, p. 162
I died as a mineral and became a plant, I died as plant and rose to animal, I died as animal and I was Man. Why should I fear? When was I less by dying?
  • I died as a mineral and became a plant,
    I died as plant and rose to animal,
    I died as animal and I was Man.
    Why should I fear? When was I less by dying?

    Yet once more I shall die as Man, to soar
    With angels blest; but even from angelhood
    I must pass on: all except God doth perish.
    When I have sacrificed my angel-soul,
    I shall become what no mind e'er conceived.
    Oh, let me not exist! for Non-existence
    Proclaims in organ tones, To Him we shall return.
    • "I Died as a Mineral", as translated by A. J. Arberry
    • Variant translation: 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.
      • As quoted in Multimind (1986) by Robert Ornstein
Everyone has been made for some particular work, and the desire for that work has been put in every heart.
  • Everyone has been made for some particular work, and the desire for that work has been put in every heart.
    • As quoted in Marry Your Muse : Making a Lasting Commitment to Your Creativity (1997) by Jan Phillips, p. 75
  • I am so happy, I cannot be contained in the world;
    But like a spirit, I am hidden from the eyes of the world.
    If the foot of the trees were not tied to earth, they would be pursuing me;
    For I have blossomed so much, I am the envy of the gardens.
    • Divan 1740:1-3, as translated by Fatemeh Keshavarz in Reading Mystical Lyric : The Case of Jalal al-Din Rumi (1998)
  • He whose intellect overcomes his desire is higher than the angels; he whose desire overcomes his intellect is less than an animal.
    • As quoted in The Rumi Collection : An Anthology of Translations of Mevlana Jalaluddin Rumi (2000) by Kabir Helminski
  • The fault is in the blamer — Spirit sees nothing to criticize.
    • As quoted in Rumi Wisdom: Daily Teachings from the Great Sufi Master (2000) by Timothy Freke
Come even though you have broken your vows a thousand times, Come, and come yet again. Ours is not a caravan of despair.
  • Let the beauty of what you love be what you do.
    • As quoted in Path for Greatness : Spiritualty at Work (2000) by Linda J. Ferguson, p. 51
I want a heart which is split, part by part, because of the pain of separation from God, so that I might explain my longing and complaint to it.
  • Come, come, whoever you are.
    Wanderer, worshipper, lover of leaving — it doesn't matter,
    Ours is not a caravan of despair.
    Come, even if you have broken your vow a hundred times,
    Come, come again, come.
    • As quoted in Sunbeams : A Book of Quotations (1990) by Sy Safransky, p. 67
    • Variant translations:
      Come, come, whoever you are.
      Wanderer, idolator, worshipper of fire, come even though you have broken your vows a thousand times,
      Come, and come yet again. Ours is not a caravan of despair.
      • As quoted in Muslim Narratives and the Discourse of English (2004) by Amin Malak, p. 151
    • Come, come, whoever you are.
      Wanderer, worshipper, lover of living, it doesn't matter
      Ours is not a caravan of despair.
      Come even if you have broken your vow a thousand times,
      Come, yet again, come, come.
      • As quoted in Rumi and His Sufi Path of Love (2007) by M Fatih Citlak and Huseyin Bingul, p. 81
    • Come, come again, whoever you are, come!
      Heathen, fire worshipper or idolatrous, come!
      Come even if you broke your penitence a hundred times,
      Ours is the portal of hope, come as you are.
      • As quoted in Turkey: A Primary Source Cultural Guide (2004) by Martha Kneib
You were born with wings. Why prefer to crawl through life?
  • I want a heart which is split, part by part, because of the pain of separation from God, so that I might explain my longing and complaint to it.
    • As quoted in "Mevlana Jalal al-Din Rumi" by Fethullah Gülen in The Fountain #24 (July-September 2004)
    • Variant translation: I want a heart which is split, chamber by chamber, by the pain of separation from God, so that I might explain my longings and desires to it.
  • You were born with wings. Why prefer to crawl through life?
    • As quoted in Wisdom for the Soul : Five Millennia of Prescriptions for Spiritual Healing (2006) by Larry Chang, p. 26

Rumi Daylight (1990)

God turns you from one feeling to another and teaches by means of opposites, so that you will have two wings to fly, not one.
Rumi Daylight: A Daybook of Spiritual Guidance (1990) translations by Camille Adams Helminsk and Kabir Helminski
  • God turns you from one feeling to another and teaches by means of opposites, so that you will have two wings to fly, not one.
  • 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.
  • Fortunate is he who does not carry envy as a companion.
The lion who breaks the enemy's ranks is a minor hero compared to the lion who overcomes himself.
  • The idol of your self is the mother of all idols.
    To regard the self as easy to subdue is a mistake.
  • If you wish mercy, show mercy to the weak.
  • If you dig a pit for others to fall into,
    you will fall into it yourself.
  • Many of the faults you see in others, dear reader,
    are your own nature reflected in them.
Whoever gives reverence receives reverence.
  • The lion who breaks the enemy's ranks
    is a minor hero
    compared to the lion who overcomes himself.
  • Whoever gives reverence receives reverence.
  • Were there no men of vision,
    all who are blind would be dead.
If you wish to shine like day, burn up the night of self-existence. Dissolve in the Being who is everything.
  • If you are wholly perplexed and in straits,
    have patience, for patience is the key to joy.
  • If you are irritated by every rub,
    how will your mirror be polished?
  • Anyone in whom the troublemaking self has died,
    sun and cloud obey.
    If you wish to shine like day,
    burn up the night of self-existence.
    Dissolve in the Being who is everything.
  • There is no worse sickness for the soul,
    O you who are proud, than this pretense of perfection.
    The heart and eyes must bleed a lot
    before self-complacency falls away.
  • When the remedy you have offered only increases the disease, then leave him who will not be cured, and tell your story to someone who seeks the truth.

The Essential Rumi (1995)

The Essential Rumi (1995) translated by Coleman Barks with John Moyne, A. J. Arberry and Reynold Nicholson
What is the body? That shadow of a shadow of your love, that somehow contains the entire universe.
  • All day I think about it, then at night I say it. Where did I come from, and what am I supposed to be doing? I have no idea. My soul is from elsewhere, I'm sure of that, and I intend to end up there.
    • Ch. 1 : The Tavern, p. 2
There is a community of the spirit Join it, and feel the delight of walking in the noisy street, and being the noise.
  • Who looks out with my eyes? What is the soul?
    I cannot stop asking.

    If I could taste one sip of an answer,
    I could break out of this prison for drunks.
    I didn't come here of my own accord, and I can't leave that way.
    Whoever brought me here, will have to take me home.
    • Ch. 1 : The Tavern, p. 2
  • This poetry. I never know what I'm going to say.
    I don't plan it.
    When I'm outside the saying of it,
    I get very quiet and rarely speak at all.
    • Ch. 1 : The Tavern, p. 2
  • There is a community of the spirit
    Join it, and feel the delight
    of walking in the noisy street,
    and being the noise.
    • Ch. 1 : The Tavern, p. 2
  • What is the body? That shadow of a shadow
    of your love, that somehow contains
    the entire universe.
    • "Where are we?" in Ch. 2 Bewilderment
There is no reality but God, says the completely surrendered sheik, who is an ocean for all beings.
  • There is no reality but God,
    says the completely surrendered sheik, who is an ocean for all beings.
    • "The Grasses" in Ch. 4 Spring Giddiness, p. 44
  • Disputational knowing wants customers.
    It has no soul.
    • "The Sheikh who played with the Children" in Ch. 4 Spring Giddiness, p. 46
I can't stop pointing to the beauty. Every moment and place says, "Put this design in your carpet!"
  • Let the lover be disgraceful, crazy, absent-minded.
    Someone sober will worry about events going badly.
    Let the lover be.
    • Ch. 4 Spring Giddiness, p. 46
  • I can't stop pointing
    to the beauty.

    Every moment and place says,
    "Put this design in your carpet!"

    • "Put This Design in Your Carpet" Ch. 11 Union
  • From Hallaj, I learned to hunt lions, but I became something hungrier than a lion.
    • "Hallaj" Ch. 11 Union
Gamble everything for love, if you are a true human being.
  • This dance is the joy of existence.

    I am filled with you.
    Skin, blood, bone, brain, and soul.
    There's no room for lack of trust, or trust.
    Nothing in this existence but that existence.

    • "We Three" Ch. 11 Union
  • The place that Solomon made to worship in,
    called the Far Mosque, is not built of earth
    and water and stone, but of intention and wisdom
    and mystical conversation and compassionate action.
    • "The Far Mosque" in Ch. 17 Solomon Poems, p. 191
Every object and being in the universe is a jar overflowing with wisdom and beauty, a drop of the Tigris that cannot be contained by any skin.
  • Solomon goes there every morning and gives guidance
    with words, with musical harmonies, and in actions,
    which are the deepest teaching. A prince is just
    a conceit until he does something with generosity.
    • "The Far Mosque" in Ch. 17 Solomon Poems, p. 191
  • Gamble everything for love,
    if you are a true human being.
    • "On Gambling" Ch. 18 The Three Fish, p. 193
  • Do not believe in an absurdity
    no matter who says it.
    • "The Three Fish" Ch. 18 The Three Fish, p. 196
  • Silence
    is an ocean. Speech is a river.

    When the ocean is searching for you, don't walk
    into the language-river. Listen to the ocean,
    and bring your talky business to an end

    Traditional words are just babbling
    in that presence, and babbling is a substitute
    for sight.

    • "The Three Fish" Ch. 18 The Three Fish, p. 196
  • Every object and being in the universe is
    a jar overflowing with wisdom and beauty,
    a drop of the Tigris that cannot be contained
    by any skin.
    Every jarful spills and makes the earth
    more shining, as though covered in satin.
    • "The Gift of Water" Ch. 18 The Three Fish, p. 200
  • You knock at the door of Reality. You shake your thought wings, loosen your shoulders, and open.
    • "The Gift of Water" Ch. 18 The Three Fish, p. 200
The miracle of Jesus is himself, not what he said or did about the future.
  • Christ is the population of the world,
    and every object as well.
    There is no room
    for hypocrisy. Why use bitter soup for healing
    when sweet water is everywhere?
    • Ch. 19 Jesus Poems, p. 204
  • Lovers think they are looking for each other,
    but there is only one search: wandering
    This world is wandering that, both inside one
    transparent sky. In here
    there is no dogma and no heresy.
    • Ch. 19 Jesus Poems, p. 205
Good and bad are mixed. If you don't have both,you don't belong with us.
  • The miracle of Jesus is himself, not what he said or did
    about the future.
    Forget the future.
    I'd worship someone who could do that.
    • Ch. 19 Jesus Poems, p. 205
Learn from Ali how to fight without your ego participating.
  • The cure for pain is in the pain.
    Good and bad are mixed. If you don't have both,
    you don't belong with us.
    • Ch. 19 Jesus Poems
God's lion did nothing that didn't originate from his deep center.
  • Learn from Ali how to fight
    without your ego participating.
    God's lion did nothing
    that didn't originate
    from his deep center.
    • "Ali in Battle" an account of Ali ibn Abi Talib's explanation as to why he declined to kill someone who had spit in his face as Ali was defeating him in battle, in Ch. 20 In Baghdad dreaming of Cairo
The human body and the universe grew from this, not this from the universe and the human body.
  • I am God's Lion, not the lion of passion....
    I have no longing
    except for the One.
    When a wind of personal reaction comes,
    I do not go along with it.

    There are many winds full of anger,
    and lust and greed. They move the rubbish around,
    but the solid mountain of our true nature stays where it's always been.
    • "Ali in Battle" in Ch. 20 In Baghdad dreaming of Cairo
  • This
    that we are now
    created the body, cell by cell,
    like bees building a honeycomb.

    The human body and the universe
    grew from this, not this
    from the universe and the human body.

    • "This We Have Now" in Ch. 25 Majesty. p. 262

Not yet sourced by chapter:

Do not grieve. Anything you lose comes round in another form.
Observe the wonders as they occur around you. Don't claim them. Feel the artistry moving through, and be silent.
  • Do not grieve. Anything you lose comes round in another form.
  • Every tree and plant in the meadow seemed to be dancing, those which average eyes would see as fixed and still.
  • God's joy moved from unmarked box to unmarked box,
    from cell to cell.
Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I will meet you there.
  • Observe the wonders as they occur around you.
    Don't claim them. Feel the artistry
    moving through, and be silent.
  • Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing,
    there is a field. I will meet you there.

    When the soul lies down in that grass,
    the world is too full to talk about
    language, ideas, even the phrase each other
    doesn't make any sense.
    • Variant translations:
      Between wrongness and rightness there is a field. I will meet you there.
      • As quoted in Counselling Psychology : Integration of Theory, Research and Supervised Practice (1998) by Petruska Clarkson
    • Out beyond the world of ideas of wrong doing and right doing, there is a field. I will meet you there.
      • As quoted in Lightning in a Bottle : Proven Lessons for Leading Change (2000) by David H. Baum
    • Out beyond ideas of right and wrong doing, there is a field. I will meet you there.
      • As quoted in Architects of Peace : Visions of Hope in Words and Images (2002) by Michael Collopy, p. 109
    • Out beyond ideas of rightdoing
      and wrongdoing
      There is a field.
      I will meet you there.
      • Strategic Learning in a Knowledge Economy : Individual, Collective and Organizational Learning Processes (2000) by Robert L. Cross and Sam B. Israelit

Jewels of Remembrance (1996)

Come, seek, for search is the foundation of fortune: every success depends upon focusing the heart.
Jewels of Remembrance : A Daybook of Spiritual Guidance : Containing 365 Selections from the Wisdom of Rumi (1996) Translated by Camille and Kabir Helminski
  • Are you fleeing from Love because of a single humiliation?
    What do you know of Love except the name?

    Love has a hundred forms of pride and disdain,
    and is gained by a hundred means of persuasion.
    Since Love is loyal, it purchases one who is loyal:
    it has no interest in a disloyal companion.
    The human being resembles a tree; its root is a covenant with God:
    that root must be cherished with all one's might.
  • Come, seek, for search is the foundation of fortune:
    every success depends upon focusing the heart.
    • III, 2302-5
  • Even though you're not equipped,
    keep searching:
    equipment isn't necessary on the way to the Lord.
    • III, 1445-49
  • If an ant seeks the rank of Solomon,
    don't smile contemptuously upon its quest.
    Everything you possess of skill, and wealth and handicraft,
    wasn't it first merely a thought and a quest?
    • III, 1445-49
That which God said to the rose, and caused it to laugh in full-blown beauty, He said to my heart, and made it a hundred times more beautiful.
  • When you see anyone complaining
    of such and such a person's ill-nature and bad temper,
    know that the complainant is bad-tempered,
    forasmuch as he speaks ill of that bad-tempered person,
    because he alone is good-tempered who is quietly forbearing
    towards the bad-tempered and ill-natured.
    • IV, 771-4
  • That which God said to the rose,
    and caused it to laugh in full-blown beauty,
    He said to my heart,
    and made it a hundred times more beautiful.
    • III, 4129
  • Many have been led astray by the Qur'an:
    by clinging to that rope many have fallen into the well.
    There is no fault in the rope, O perverse man,
    for it was you who had no desire to reach the top.
    • III, 4210-11

Essential Sufism (1997)

Essential Sufism (1997) by James Fadiman and Robert Frager
  • If in thirst you drink water from a cup, you see God in it. Those who are not in love with God will see only their own faces in it.
  • The lower self does not want anyone to receive anything from anybody else, and if it is aware of something receiving a special boon, it seeks to destroy it.
  • Whatever posessions and objects of its desires the lower self may obtain, it hangs on to them, refusing to let them go out of greed for more, or out of fear of poverty and need.

Hush Don't Say Anything to God (1999)

Hush Don't Say Anything to God : Passionate Poems of Rumi (1999) as translated by Shahram Shiva
  • To Love is to reach God.
    Never will a Lover's chest
    feel any sorrow.
    Never will a Lover's robe
    be touched by mortals.
    Never will a Lover's body
    be found buried in the earth.
    To Love is to reach God.
Love rests on no foundation. It is an endless ocean, with no beginning or end.
  • When in Love,
    body, mind, heart and soul don't even exist.
My head is bursting with the joy of the unknown.
  • Love rests on no foundation.
    It is an endless ocean,
    with no beginning or end.
  • They will ask you
    what you have produced.
    Say to them,
    except for Love,
    what else can a Lover produce?
  • My head is bursting
    with the joy of the unknown.

    My heart is expanding a thousand fold.
    Every cell,
    taking wings,
    flies about the world.
    All seek separately
    the many faces of my Beloved.
  • There is a certain cloud,
    impregnated with a
    thousand lightnings.
    There is my body,
    in it an ocean formed of his glory,
    all the creation,
    all the universes,
    all the galaxies,
    are lost in it.
This is a gathering of Lovers. In this gathering there is no high, no low, no smart, no ignorant ,no special assembly, no grand discourse, no proper schooling required...
  • I always thought that
    I was me — but no,
    I was you
    and never knew it.
Love said to me, there is nothing that is not me. Be silent.
  • This is a gathering of Lovers.
    In this gathering
    there is no high, no low,
    no smart, no ignorant,
    no special assembly,
    no grand discourse,
    no proper schooling required.
    There is no master,
    no disciple.

    This gathering is more like a drunken party,
    full of tricksters, fools,
    mad men and mad women.
    This is a gathering of Lovers.
  • Love said to me,
    there is nothing that is not me.
    Be silent.
  • I don't know where I am.
    At times I plunge
    to the bottom of the sea,
    at times, rise up
    like the Sun.

    At times, the universe is pregnant by me,
    at times I give birth to it.

Even if you lose yourself in wrath for a hundred thousand years, at the end you will discover, it is me, who is the culmination of your dreams.
  • A hundred souls cried out, but
    we are yours, we are yours, we are yours.
    You are the light
    that spoke to Moses and said
    I am God, I am God, I am God.
    I said Shams-e Tabrizi, who are you?
    He said, I am you, I am you, I am you.
  • Even if you lose yourself in wrath
    for a hundred thousand years,
    at the end you will discover,
    it is me, who is the culmination of your dreams.
They will accuse you of all the wrongdoings, they will call you ugly names, they will make you forget it is me, who is the source of your happiness.
  • Didn't I tell you
    not to be satisfied with the veil of this world?

    I am the master illusionist,
    it is me, who is the welcoming banner at the gate of your contentment.
  • Didn't I tell you?
    I am an ocean, you are a fish;
    do not go to the dry land,
    it is me, who is your comforting body of water.
  • Didn't I tell you?
    They will accuse you of all the wrongdoings,
    they will call you ugly names,
    they will make you forget
    it is me, who is the source of your happiness.

Unsourced

  • Bitter is made sweet through love;
    copper becomes gold through love.
    Through love dregs become clear;
    love heals all pain.
    Through love the king becomes slave;
    love brings the dead to life.
    • Translation by Aneela Khalid Arshed
  • Do you think I know what I’m doing?
    That for one breath or half a breath I belong to myself?
    As much as a pen knows what it is writing
    It may be the satisfaction I need depends on my going away
    So that when I’ve gone and come back, I’ll find it at home.
  • He is like a man using a candle to look for the sun.
  • Like a thief reason sneaked in and sat amongst the lovers eager to give them advice. They were unwilling to listen, so reason kissed their feet and went on its way.
  • Only from the heart can you touch the sky.
  • Pilgrimage to the place of the wise is to find escape from the flame of separateness.
  • Reason is like an officer when the king appears. The officer then loses his power and hides himself. Reason is the shadow cast by God; God is the sun.
  • Reason is powerless in the expression of Love.
  • Return from existence to nonexistence. You are seeking the Lord and you belong to him. Nonexistence is a place of income; flee it not. This existence of more and less is a place of expenditure.
  • Something opens our wings. Something makes boredom and hurt disappear. Someone fills the cup in front of us: We taste only sacredness.
  • The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you; Don't go back to sleep. You must ask for what you really want; Don't go back to sleep. People are going back and forth across the doorsill where the two worlds touch. The door is round and open. Don't go back to sleep.
  • The Eternal looked upon me for a moment with His eye of power, and annihilated me in His being, and become manifest to me in His essence. I saw I existed through Him.
  • The lion is most handsome when looking for food.
  • The way you make love is the way God will be with you.
  • This is love: to fly toward a secret sky, to cause a hundred veils to fall each moment. First to let go of life. Finally, to take a step without feet.
  • We can’t help being thirsty, moving toward the voice of water.
  • We come spinning out of nothingness, scattering stars like dust.
  • When I am with you, we stay up all night. When you're not here, I can't go to sleep. Praise God for those two insomnias! And the difference between them.
  • Why do you stay in prison when the door is so wide open? Move outside the tangle of fear-thinking. Live in silence.
  • You are quaffing drink from a hundred fountains: whenever any of these hundred yields less, your pleasure is diminished. But when the sublime fountain gushes from within you, no longer need you steal from the other fountains.
  • You are the deep innerness of all things, the last word that can be spoken. To each of us you reveal yourselves differently: to the ship as coastline, to the shore as ship.

Misattributed

  • Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.

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