What Jesus Runs Away From
The son of Mary, Jesus, hurries up a
as though a wild animal were chasing
Someone following him asks, "Where are
No one is after you." Jesus keeps on,
saying nothing, across two more fields.
the one who says words over a dead
so that he wakes up?" "I am." "Did you
the clay birds fly?" "Yes." "Who then
could possibly cause you to run like
Jesus slows his pace.
"I say the Great Name over the deaf and
they are healed. Over a stony
and it tears its mantle down to the
Over non-existence, it comes into
But when I speak lovingly for hours, for
with those who take human warmth
and mock it, when I say the Name to
happens. They remain rock, or turn to
where no plants can grow. Other diseases
for mercy to enter, but this
breeds violence and coldness toward God.
I am fleeing from that.
"As little by little air steals water,
dries up and evaporates with foolish
who refuse to change Like cold stone you
a cynic steals body heat. He doesn't
the sun." Jesus wasn't running from
He was teaching in a new way.
-- Version by Coleman Barks
"The Essential Rumi"
Flee from the foolish; even Jesus fled
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
for he is safe from the mischief of
his purpose was to teach by example.
-- Version by Camille and Kabir
"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
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
He answered, "I am escaping from a fool.
Go (away)! I'm
rescuing myself, (so) don't restrain
(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
"(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)
Jesus said, "By the Holy Essence of God,
the Originator of the
body, the Creator of the soul in (its)
"(And in) reverence for His Holy Essence
and Attributes, (for)
whom the collar of the heavens is torn
"(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
"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
(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
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
-- From "The Mathnawî-yé Ma`nawî"
[Rhymed Couplets of Deep Spiritual
of Jalaluddin Rumi.
Translated from the Persian by Ibrahim
gratitude for R.A. Nicholson's 1930
(c) Ibrahim Gamard (translation,
gorêkhtan-é `îsà-- `alay-hi 's-salâm--
kûh az aHmaq-ân
`îsà-yé maryam ba-kôhê mê-gorêkht
shêr gôy-î khûn-é ô mê-khwâst rêkht
ân yakê dar pay dawîd-o goft khayr
dar pay-at kas nêst che gorêz-î chô Tayr?
bâ shetâb ô ân-chon-ân mê-tâkht joft
k-az shetâb-é khwad jawâb-é ô na-goft
yak dô maydân dar pay-é `îsà be-rând
pas ba-jidd-é jidd `îsà-râ be-khwând
k-az pay-é marZât-é Haq yak laHZa b-êst
ke ma-ra andar gorêz-at mushkilê-st
az ke în sô mê-gorêz-î ay karîm
na pay-at shêr-o na khaSm-o khawf-o bîm
goft az aHmaq gorêzân-am, be-raw
mê-rahân-am khwêsh-râ band-am ma-shaw
goft âkhir ân masîHâ na tow-î
ke shaw-ad kûr-o kar az tô mustawî?
goft ârî, goft ân shah nêst-î
ke fusûn-é ghayb-râ ma'wîst-î?
chûn be-khwân-î ân fusûn bar morda'yê
bar jah-ad chûn shêr-é Sayd-âwarda'yê
goft ârî, ân man-am, goft-â ke tô
na ze-gel morgh-ân kon-î ay khwob-rô
goft ârî, goft pas ay rûH-é pâk
har-che khwâh-î mê-kon-î, az kî-st bâk?
bâ chon-în burhân ke bâsh-ad dar jahân
ke na-bâsh-ad mar to-râ az bandag-ân?
goft `îsà ke ba-Zât-é pâk-é Haq
mubdi`-é tan, khâliq-é jân dar sabaq
Hurmat-é Zât-o Sifât-é pâk-é ô
ke bow-ad gardûn garîbân châk-é ô
k-ân fusûn-o ism-é a`Zam-râ ke man
bar kar-o bar kûr khwând-am shod Hasan
bar koh-é sangîn be-khwând-am shod
khirqa-râ be-drîd bar khwad tâ ba-nâf
bar tan-é morda be-khwând-am gasht Hay
bar sar-é lâ-shay be-khwând-am gasht
khwând-am ân-râ bar del-é aHmaq ba-wud
Sad hazâr-ân bâr-o darmânê na-shod
sang-é khârâ gasht-o z-ân khô bar
rêg shod k-az way na-rôy-ad hêch kasht
goft Hikmat chî-st, k-ân-jâ ism-é Haq,
sûd kard, în-jâ na-bûd ân-râ sabaq?
ân ham-ân ranj-ast-o în ranjê, che-râ
ô na-shod în-râ-wo ân-râ shod dawâ
goft ranj-é aHmaqî qahr-é khodâ-st
ranj-o kûrî nêst qahr, ân ibtilâ-st
ibtilâ ranjê-st k-ân raHm âwar-ad
aHmaqî ranjê-st k-ân zakhm âwar-ad
ân-che dâgh-é ô-st mohr-é ô karda-ast
châra'yê bar way na-y-ar-ad bord-dast
z-aHmaq-ân be-g'rêz chûn `îsà gorêkht
SuHbat-é aHmaq basê khûn-hâ ke rêkht
andak andak âb-râ dozd-ad hawâ
dîn chon-în dozd-ad ham aHmaq az shomâ
garmiy-at-râ dozd-ad-o sardî deh-ad
ham-chô ân k-ô zêr-é kûn sangê neh-ad
ân gorêz-é `îsà na az bîm bow-ad
âmin-ast ô, ân pay-é ta`lîm bow-ad
zamharîr ar por kon-ad âfâq-râ
che gham ân khworshêd-é bâ-ishrâq-râ?