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Newsletter for May 2011


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"One Lasting Truth"
by Rumi


Here, Sunlight presents Ghazal (Ode) 861, in a poetic version by
Jonathan Star and a literal translation by A.J. Arberry:

"One Lasting Truth"
by Rumi

That awesome Beauty gives us everything.
Whose fault is it
if we go away empty-handed?

Don't be disheartened
if that Charmer is ruthless -
Who ever saw Him acting otherwise?

His love is sugar enough
even when it gives no sugar.
His beauty is promise enough
even when it causes you
to break your promise.

Show me a house where His light
does not shine.
Show me a garden where His grace
does not bloom.

God was jealous of His own Face
and so He created the splendor of morning.
When the spirit awoke in that light, it said,
"To grasp God's beauty, you must become God."

The eye and the lamp are different lights
but when they come together
no one can tell them apart.

What is true?
What is false?

The only truth I know in this world
is my master, Shams-e Tabriz:
The light of his Sun
has never shone upon anything passing
without making it eternal.

Ode 61 of Divan-i Shams-i Tabrizi
Version by Jonathan Star
"Rumi - In the Arms of the Beloved "
Jeremy P. Tarcher/Putnam, New York 1997

There was no grace left which that fair idol did not perform;
what fault is it of ours, if he acted not generously towards you?
You are upbraiding because that beauty was cruel; whoever
saw a lovely one in both worlds who acted not cruelly?
His love is sugar enough, even if he gave not sugar; his beauty
is all fidelity, even if he was not faithful.
Show me a house that is not filled with lamps of him; show
me a portico which his cheek has not filled with brightness.
This eye and that lamp are two lights, each one on its own;
when the two met, none made parting between them.
When the spirit became lost in contemplation, it said this:
"None has contemplated the beauty of God but God."
Each one of these similitudes is at once an exposition and an
error; only out of jealousy God named His Face, "By the Forenoon."*
The sun of the face of Shams al-Din, Pride of Tabriz, never
shone on aught transient but it made it eternal.

Translation by A. J. Arberry
"Mystical Poems of Rumi 1"
The University of Chicago Press, 1968

* Qur'an 93:1.







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