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What Jesus Runs Away From
by Rumi
The son of Mary, Jesus, hurries up a slope
as though a wild animal were chasing him.
Someone following him asks, "Where are you going?
No one is after you." Jesus keeps on,
saying nothing, across two more fields. "Are you
the one who says words over a dead person,
so that he wakes up?" "I am." "Did you not make
the clay birds fly?" "Yes." "Who then
could possibly cause you to run like this?"
Jesus slows his pace.

"I say the Great Name over the deaf and the blind,
they are healed. Over a stony mountainside,
and it tears its mantle down to the navel.
Over non-existence, it comes into existence.
But when I speak lovingly for hours, for days,
with those who take human warmth
and mock it, when I say the Name to them, nothing
happens. They remain rock, or turn to sand,
where no plants can grow. Other diseases are ways
for mercy to enter, but this non-responding
breeds violence and coldness toward God.
I am fleeing from that.

"As little by little air steals water, so praise
dries up and evaporates with foolish people
who refuse to change Like cold stone you sit on
a cynic steals body heat. He doesn't actually feel
the sun." Jesus wasn't running from actual people.
He was teaching in a new way.

-- Version by Coleman Barks
"The Essential Rumi"
HarperSanFrancisco, 1995



Flee from the foolish; even Jesus fled from them.
Much blood has been shed by companionship with fools!
Air absorbs water little by little;
even so, the fool drains you of spirit.
He steals your heat and leaves you cold,
like one who puts a stone beneath you.
The flight of Jesus wasn't caused by fear,
for he is safe from the mischief of fools;
his purpose was to teach by example.

-- Version by Camille and Kabir Helminski
"Rumi: Jewels of Remembrance"
Threshold Books, 1996



Mathnawi III: 2570-2599

How Jesus Fled From Fools

The escaping of Jesus, (may the) peace (of God) be upon him,
to the top of a mountain (to flee) from fools.

Jesus, (the son) of Mary, was running away to a mountain. You
might say (that) a lion was wanting to spill his blood.
Someone ran behind (him) and said, "(May you be) well! There
isn't anyone following you, (so) why are you fleeing like a bird?"
(But) he kept running in the same manner, bound to urgency, (so)
that he didn't answer him, because of his own haste.
(The man) pressed forward following Jesus (for) one or two
(more) fields. Then he called (out) to Jesus with great seriousness,
Saying, "For the sake of God's approval, stop for a moment! --
since I have a problem in (understanding this) fleeing of yours.
"O noble and generous one! Who are you running from (in) this
direction? (There's) no lion or enemy following you, and no fear or
dread."
He answered, "I am escaping from a fool. Go (away)! I'm
rescuing myself, (so) don't restrain me!"
(The man) said, "But aren't you the Messiah,(1) by whom blind
and deaf (people) become normal?"
"Yes," he replied. (The man) asked, "Aren't you the (spiritual)
king who (is) the dwelling place for mysterious spells and
incantations?(2) --
"(So that) if you recite a spell upon a (man's) corpse, he leaps
up (joyfully) like a lion (who has) brought back prey."
"Yes," he answered, "I am that one." (The other) said, "O
beautiful faced one! Don't you make (living) birds out of clay?"(3)
"Yes," he replied. (The other) said, "O pure spirit! Then you can
make (happen) whatever you wish-- (so) who are you afraid of?
"With evidence such as this,(4) who is there in the world who
wouldn't be among your (devoted) slaves?"
Jesus said, "By the Holy Essence of God, the Originator of the
body, the Creator of the soul in (its) superiority!(5)
"(And in) reverence for His Holy Essence and Attributes, (for)
whom the collar of the heavens is torn (in ecstasy)(6):
"(I affirm) that those incantations, as well as the greatest Name
(of God),(7) which I spoke over the deaf and over the blind, were
beneficial.
"I recited (the words) over the rocky mountain (and) it became
split, tearing the robe (which was) upon itself (down) to the navel.
"I spoke (the words) over a dead body (and) it became alive. I
said (them) over a point of nothingness (and) it became something.
"(But) I said those (words) a hundred thousand times with
loving-kindness over the heart of a fool and it was not a cure.(8)
"(Instead), it became(9) a hard rock and didn't change from that
habit; it became sand, from which no seed grows."
(The man) said, "(Then) what is the wisdom that the Name of God
was beneficial in those places, (but) here it had no superiority?(10)
"That is also (a case) of disease, and this is an affliction.
(So) why was it(11) a cure for that (but) not for this?"
(Jesus) replied, "The affliction of foolish stupidity is (caused
by)the overwhelming anger of God. (Normal) afflictions and blindness
are not (from God's) anger-- those are tests and trials."
Trials and hardships are an affliction which [eventually] brings
(Divine) Mercy. (But) ignorant foolishness brings blows and
wounds.
That which is his scarring has been produced by His seal,(12)
(and) no supporting hand can bring a remedy to it.
(Therefore), escape from foolish people just as Jesus escaped.
(For) companionship with fools has spilled so much blood!
The air steals water very gradually,(13) (and) the fool steals
religion from you also in the same way.
He steals your warmth and gives you cold (in its place), just like
one who puts a rock under (your) bottom.
The escaping of Jesus is not because of (real) fear, (for) he is
secure (from such). (But) is for the sake of teaching (a lesson).(14)
Even if intense cold filled (all) the horizons of the world, what
grief would there be for the radiant sun?

-- From "The Mathnaw-y Ma`naw"
[Rhymed Couplets of Deep Spiritual Meaning]
of Jalaluddin Rumi.
Translated from the Persian by Ibrahim Gamard (with
gratitude for R.A. Nicholson's 1930 British
translation)
(c) Ibrahim Gamard (translation, footnotes, &
transliteration)



gorkhtan- `s-- `alay-hi 's-salm-- farz-
kh az aHmaq-n

`s-y maryam ba-kh m-gorkht
shr gy- khn- m-khwst rkht

n yak dar pay dawd-o goft khayr
dar pay-at kas nst che gorz- ch Tayr?

b shetb n-chon-n m-tkht joft
k-az shetb- khwad jawb- na-goft

yak d maydn dar pay- `s be-rnd
pas ba-jidd- jidd `s-r be-khwnd

k-az pay- marZt- Haq yak laHZa b-st
ke ma-ra andar gorz-at mushkil-st

az ke n s m-gorz- ay karm
na pay-at shr-o na khaSm-o khawf-o bm

goft az aHmaq gorzn-am, be-raw
m-rahn-am khwsh-r band-am ma-shaw

goft khir n masH na tow-
ke shaw-ad kr-o kar az t mustaw?

goft r, goft n shah nst-
ke fusn- ghayb-r ma'wst-?

chn be-khwn- n fusn bar morda'y
bar jah-ad chn shr- Sayd-warda'y

goft r, n man-am, goft- ke t
na ze-gel morgh-n kon- ay khwob-r

goft r, goft pas ay rH- pk
har-che khwh- m-kon-, az k-st bk?

b chon-n burhn ke bsh-ad dar jahn
ke na-bsh-ad mar to-r az bandag-n?

goft `s ke ba-Zt- pk- Haq
mubdi`- tan, khliq- jn dar sabaq

Hurmat- Zt-o Sift- pk-
ke bow-ad gardn garbn chk-

k-n fusn-o ism- a`Zam-r ke man
bar kar-o bar kr khwnd-am shod Hasan

bar koh- sangn be-khwnd-am shod shekf
khirqa-r be-drd bar khwad t ba-nf

bar tan- morda be-khwnd-am gasht Hay
bar sar- l-shay be-khwnd-am gasht shay

khwnd-am n-r bar del- aHmaq ba-wud
Sad hazr-n br-o darmn na-shod

sang- khr gasht-o z-n kh bar na-gasht
rg shod k-az way na-ry-ad hch kasht

goft Hikmat ch-st, k-n-j ism- Haq,
sd kard, n-j na-bd n-r sabaq?

n ham-n ranj-ast-o n ranj, che-r
na-shod n-r-wo n-r shod daw

goft ranj- aHmaq qahr- khod-st
ranj-o kr nst qahr, n ibtil-st

ibtil ranj-st k-n raHm war-ad
aHmaq ranj-st k-n zakhm war-ad

n-che dgh- -st mohr- karda-ast
chra'y bar way na-y-ar-ad bord-dast

z-aHmaq-n be-g'rz chn `s gorkht
SuHbat- aHmaq bas khn-h ke rkht

andak andak b-r dozd-ad haw
dn chon-n dozd-ad ham aHmaq az shom

garmiy-at-r dozd-ad-o sard deh-ad
ham-ch n k- zr- kn sang neh-ad

n gorz- `s na az bm bow-ad
min-ast , n pay- ta`lm bow-ad

zamharr ar por kon-ad fq-r
che gham n khworshd- b-ishrq-r?

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