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the Message Continues ... 12/91



       Newsletter for March 2009


          Article 1 - Article 2 - Article 3 - Article 4 - Article 5 - Article 6 - Article 7 - Article 8 - Article 9 - Article 10 - Article 11 - Article 12





Bonfire at Midnight

A shout comes out of my room
where I've been cooped up.
After all my lust and dead living
I can still live with you.
You want me to.
You fix and bring me food.
You forget the way I've been.

The ocean moves and surges in the heat
of the middle of the day, in the heat
of this thought I'm having.
Why aren't all human resistances burning up
with this thought?

It's a drum and arms waving.
It's a bonfire at midnight
on the top edge of a hill,
this meeting again with you.

Version by Colemna Barks
"Open Secret"
Threshold Books, 1984
Ghazal (Ode) 2110, from Rumi's "Diwan-e
Shams Tabrizi"

A cry went up from my tavern,
the heavens were split by my litany:
Finally victory has arrived,
the Beloved has entered to tend me.
Lord, lord, how He is aching, my
unequaled Beloved, to recompense me!
That philosophers' stone makes obedience
and faith from my neglect and unbelief and sins.
After my shortcomings He bestows a palace,
after my slips He bestows victuals.
He causes the heart of sea and mountain to
surge from the heat of the day of my encounter.
If the thoughts of man were not a veil,
they would be burnt to ashes by my thoughts.
My drum and flag, my cry and shouting
would strike agitation in the army of the spirit.
The fire of my tryst at midnight would strike
flames into the horizon of the sky.

Translation by A.J. Arberry
"Mystical Poems of Rumi 2"
The University of Chicago Press, 1991

The Sunrise Ruby
by Rumi
In the early morning hour,
just before dawn, lover and beloved wake
and take a drink of water.

She ask, "Do you love me or yourself more?
Really, tell the absolute truth."

He says, "There's nothing left of me.
I'm like a ruby held up to the sunrise.
Is it still a stone, or a world
made of redness? It has no resistance
to sunlight."

This is how Hallaj said, I am God,
and told the truth!

The ruby and the sunrise are one.
Be courageous and discipline yourself.

Completely become hearing and ear,
and wear this sun-ruby as an earring.

Work. Keep digging your well.
Don't think about getting off from work.
Water is there somewhere.

Submit to a daily practice.
Your loyalty to that
is a ring on the door.

Keep knocking, and the joy inside
will eventually open a window
and look out to see who's there.

Version by Coleman Barks
"The Essential Rumi"
Castle Books, 1997

One morning a beloved said to her lover to test him,
"Oh so-and-so,
I wonder, do you love me more, or yourself?
Tell the truth, oh man of sorrows!"
He replied, "I have been so annihilated within
thee that I am full of thee from head to foot.
Nothing is left of my own existence but the
name. In my existence, oh sweet one, there is naught
but thee.
I have been annihilated like vinegar in an ocean
of honey."
In the same way, a stone transformed into a
flawless ruby has become full of the attributes of the
The description of that stone does not remain
within it full of the sun's description, front and back.
Should it love itself, then that will be love for
the sun, oh youth!
Should it love the sun to the bottom of its soul,
without doubt it will be in love with itself.

Translation by William C. Chittick
"The Sufi Path of Love- The Spiritual Teachings of Rumi"
State University of New York Press, Albany, 1983

At the hour of the morning-drink a beloved said to her lover
by way of trial, "O such-and-such son of such-and-such,
I wonder, do you love me or yourself more? Tell the truth,
O man of sorrows."
He replied, "I have become so naughted in thee that I am
full of thee from head to foot.
Of my existence there is nothing (left) in me but the name:
in my being there is naught but thee, O thou whose wishes are
By that means I have become thus naughted, like vinegar, in
thee (who are) an ocean of honey."
As the stone that is entirely turned into pure ruby: it is filled
with the qualities of the sun.
That stony nature does not remain in it: back and front, it is
filled with sunniness.
Afterwards, if it love itself, that (self-love) is love of the sun,
O youth;
And if it love the sun with (all) its soul, `tis undoubtedly love
of itself.
Whether the pure ruby loves itself or whether it loves the sun,
There is really no difference in these two loves: both sides
(aspects) are naught but the radiance of the sunrise.
Until it (the stone) has become a ruby, it is an enemy to itself,
because it is not a single "I": two "I's" are there;
For the stone is dark and blind to the day (-light): the dark is
essentially opposed to light.
(If) it love itself, it is an infidel, because it offers intense
resistance to the supreme Sun.
Therefore `tis not fitting that the stone should say "I," (for)
it is wholly darkness and in (the state of) death.
A Pharaoh said, "I am God" and was laid low; a Mansur
(Hallaj) said, "I am God" and was saved.
The former "I" is followed by God's curse and the latter
"I" by God's mercy, O loving man;
For that one (Pharaoh) was a black stone, this one (Hallaj) a
cornelian; that one was an enemy to the Light, and this one
passionately enamoured (of it).
This "I," O presumptuous meddler, was "He" (God) in the inmost
consciousness, through oneness with the Light, not
through (belief in) the doctrine of incarnation.
Strive that thy stony nature may be diminished, so that thy
stone may become resplendent with the qualities of the ruby.
Show fortitude in (enduring) self-mortification and affliction;
continually behold everlasting life in dying to self.
(Then) thy stoniness will become less at every moment, the
nature of the ruby will be strengthened in thee.
The qualities of (self-) existence will depart from thy body,
the qualities of intoxication (ecstasy) will increase in thy head
(thy spiritual centre).
Become entirely hearing, like an ear, in order that thou mayst
gain an ear-ring of ruby.*

Translation by Reynold A. Nicholson
"The Mathnawi of Jalalu'ddin Rumi"
Published and Distributed by
The Trustees of The "E.J.W. Gibb Memorial

* Literally, "an ear-ring (consisting) of a ruby ring."

Soul of the Seeker


A baby pigeon on the edge of the nest
hears the call and begins his flight.
How can the soul of the seeker not fly when a message arrives saying,
"You have been trapped in life like a bird with no wings,
in a cage with no doors or windows
come, come back to me!"
How can the soul not rip open its coverings,
and soar to the sky.

What is the rope that pulls the soul from above?
What is the secret that opens the door?
The key is the flutter of the heart's wings
and its endless longing.
When the door opens, walk on the path
where abundance awaits you,
where everything old becomes new
and never look back.
Drink from the hands of the wine bearer
and you will be blessed
even in this life.

Translation by Azima Melita Kolin
and Maryam Mafi
Rumi: Hidden Music
HarperCollins Publishers Ltd, 2001

A baby pigeon stands on the edge of a nest all day.
Then he hears a whistle, Come to me.
How could he not fly toward that?
Wings tear through the body's robe when
a letter arrives that says,
"You've flapped and fluttered against limits
long enough.

You've been a bird without wings
in a house without doors or windows.

Compassion builds a door.
Restlessness cuts a key.

Ask. Step off into air like a baby pigeon.
Strut proudly into sunlight,
not looking back.

Take sips of this pure wine being poured.
Don't mind that you've been given a dirty cup."

Version by Coleman Barks
"These Branching Moments,"
Copper Beech Press, 1988

This fledgling pigeon essayed the air and flew off when he
heard a whistle and a call from the unseen.
When that Desire of all the world send a messenger saying,
"Come to Me," how should not the disciple's soul take flight?
How should it not fly upwards on discovering such pinions,
how should it not rend the body's robe on the arrival of such a
What a moon it is that draws all these souls! What a way is
that secret way by which it drew!
Divine compassion sent a letter saying, "Come back hither, for
in this narrow cage your soul has fluttered much.
But in the house without doors you are like a bird without
wings; so the fowl of the air does when it has fallen low*.
Restlessness opens to it the door of compassion at last; beat
your wings against door and roof this is the key.
Until you call on Me, you do not know the way of returning
for by Our calling the way becomes manifest to the reason."
Whatever mounts up, if it be old it becomes new; whatever
new descends here, through time it becomes threadbare.
Ho, strut proudly into the unseen, do not look back, in God's
protection, for there all is profit and increase.
Ha, silent one, depart to the Saki of Being, who gave you His
pure wine in this sullied cup**.

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

* CB pasti (low ) seems better than chusti.
This sullied cup: the physical body.

Note:  Rumi's Ghazal (Ode) 791, from the "Diwan-e
Shams" ("The Collection of Shams"), in the translation by Azima Melita
Kolin and Maryam Mafi, in an interpretive version by Coleman Barks,
and in the translation by A.J. Arberry, upon which Barks relied in developing his version:







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