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Newsletter for May 2010
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Reunion (Vesal) by Rumi
Don't weep. The joy that has gone will come 'round again in another form - Have no doubt about this!
A child's first joy comes from its mother's milk; After the child is weaned his joy comes from drinking sweet wine.
This supreme joy has no resting place - It enters one form then another, from box to box - an eternal movement between heaven and earth.
Here it comes, pouring down from the sky, seeping into the earth, and rising up again as a bed of roses.
Now it is water, now a plate of rice, Now the swaying trees, now a horse and rider. It lies within these forms for awhile then bursts forth to become something new.
Isn't this like our dreams? - The body sleeps while the soul moves onto take other forms. You say, I dreamt I was a cypress, a bed of tulips, the blossoms of roses and jasmines. Then the soul returns, and you wake up - the cypress is gone, the roses are gone.
I tell you truly, everything you now see will vanish like a dream. I do not mean to trouble you, O friend, with words so bold as these. Perhaps you will only listen to God. He speaks more gently than I.
But how will you ever hear Him with All that blathering going on? - Everyone is speaking about golden bread yet no one has ever tasted it!
O my soul, where can I find rest but in the shimmering love of his heart? Where can I see the pure light of the Sun but in the eyes of my own Shams-e Tabriz?
Version by Jonathan Star "A Garden Beyond Paradise: The Mystical Poetry of Rumi" Bantam Books, 1992
Don't grieve. Anything you lose comes round in another form.
The child weaned from mother's milk now drinks wine and honey mixed.
God's joy moves from unmarked box to unmarked box, from cell to cell.
As rainwater, down into flowerbed. As rose, up from the ground. Now it looks like a plate of rice and fish, now a cliff covered with vines, now a horse being saddled. It hides within these, till one day it cracks them open. Part of the self leaves the body when we sleep and changes shape.
You might say, "Last night I was a cypress tree, a small bed of tulips,
a field of grapevines." Then the phantasm goes away. You're back in the room. I don't want to make any one fearful. Hear what's behind what I say.
Tatatumtum tatum tatadum. There's the light gold of wheat in the sun and the gold of bread made from that wheat. I have neither. I'm only talking about them, as a town in the desert looks up at stars on a clear night.
Version by Coleman Barks "Open Secret" Threshold Books, 1984
Do not grieve over any joy that has gone forever, for it will return to you in another form, know that for sure. Did not the child find joy in its nursing and in milk? When the child was weaned from milk, the joy came from wine and honey. This joy is an unqualified thing which enters various forms, moves from box to box between water and clay; It suddenly displays its grace in the water of the rain, again enters into the rose bed, and lifts its head from the earth. Now it comes by water, now by way of bread and meat, now by way of beauty, now by way of horse and saddle. From behind these veils suddenly one day it peeps and shatters
all the idols, that which is neither that nor this.* The soul in sleep leaves the body and appears in a phantasm; the body is deposed and idle -- in another form it is manifest.*
You might say, "In a dream I saw myself like a cypress, my face as a bed of tulips, my body as roses and jasmine.* That phantasm of the cypress vanished, the soul returned to its house; verily in this and that is a warning to all beings. I fear stirring up trouble, though I would have spoken what may be spoken, God speaks fairer than I - do not let go of the saddle straps of the faith. Fa'ilatun fa'ilatun fa'ilatun fa'iltat, if you have not gold- wheat bread, yet speak the golden words. At last, Tabriz of the soul, look upon the stars of the heart, that you may see this mundane sun to be a reflection of Shams-e Din.
Translation and footnotes by A.J. Arberry "Mystical Poems of Rumi 2" The University of Chicago Press, 1991
Any object which keeps one from being absorbed in divine love is an idol. See Nicholson's commentary of I: 400-1.
"Kiyal (fantasy or phantasm) is the same as the World of Similitude ('alam-e mesal), of which everything in the sensible world ('alam-e sahada)is a reflection. The World of Similitude is a purgatory stage between the worlds of souls and things." Sajjadi Farhang-e 'erfani, 204.
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