Saturday, December 25, 2010

Rumi's Worldview: The First 16 Verses of Rumi's Couplets

The first 16 Verses of the book, the spiritual couplets initially written and then recited by Rumi represent a distillation of his worldview.

Here we will look at the key concepts he propounds in these first 16 verses and we also analyze the content of those first 16 verses in light of the concepts that he is expounding.

The first concept is that of a flute or a Reedflute signifying the fact that the region has been torn from its read in order to make the flute. This signifies man's separation or perception of separation from his source, the divine. The defining still resides in him and he retains the ability to connect back to his source. The desire to connect back to the source causes a pain of longing. This pain of longing his desire to return to the source return to the design comprises the spiritual quest of humankind according to me. This quest is one of self-exploration that is often misinterpreted as an external explanation in the material world.

“Listen to the reed flute; do you hear how it complains? It is telling us a story about the parting of ways of separation .

Since they cut me from the reed bed, men and women have moaned from my cry .

I want someone who has felt the pains of separation so they will understand when I tell them about the pain of longing.”

The meantime here is “Feragh” or separation, being far from the beloved, being alone and being lonely. The chest or the heart that has been torn apart as a result of loneliness and separation can only understand what I have to say. So give me someone who is experienced this and then I will tell them at length about the pain of wanting. The “ pain of wanting" or the pain of desire or the pain of longing, all point to the fact that there is a desire for union and in the absence of union there is a pain that drives one to achieve union.

And then he recounts one of the universal principles of his worldview: he says whosoever has been left far from their source will seek to reunite with their source and achieve the same state of union that the originally enjoyed.

“Har kasi koo door mand az asl e khish, baz jooyad roozegare vasl e khish”.

The two key words here are “asl” and “vasl”. “asl” signifies the original primordial state or status, ones original substance. Whereas “vasl” signifies a state of connectedness, to be connected; to be united. “Roozegare vasl” if they are state in which union was enjoyed.

This is the first segment of his exposition of his worldview. We feel the longing inside ourselves this longing is desire is indeed for union with the divine we should seek out the divine and we should gain unity with the divine. Until we do so we are going to experience the pain of longing and until we do so we are not going to be fulfilled.

Man is like the reedflute. He was cut from his source or at least there is a perception of being disconnected from one source. This perception has to be corrected and the state of disconnectedness needs to be replaced by the state of union with one's Source.

Thus when you listen to the reed flute, you can experience the musical expression of the state of separation and you can hear within your own emotions that arise within you as you hear the moaning of the flute at the fangs of separation and the stories that the flute is telling you and strumming your very soul, to hear these songs and stories of separation.

Okay now we've established the state of disconnectedness we would wish to reestablish the state of union with the divine. Where does Rumi want to take us from here? How does he hope to achieve the state of union in view of the separation?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

سودای تو در جوی جان چون آب حیوان می‌رود

1.    سودای تو در جوی جان چون آب حیوان می‌رود
2.    آب حیات از عشق تو در جوی جویان می‌رود

3.    عالم پر از حمد و ثنا از طوطیان آشنا
4.    مرغ دلم بر می‌پرد چون ذکر مرغان می‌رود

5.    بر ذکر ایشان جان دهم جان را خوش و خندان دهم
6.    جان چون نخندد چون ز تن در لطف جانان می‌رود

7.    هر مرغ جان چون فاخته در عشق طوقی ساخته
8.    چون من قفص پرداخته سوی سلیمان می‌رود

9.    از جان هر سبحانیی هر دم یکی روحانیی
10.                       مست و خراب و فانیی تا عرش سبحان می‌رود

11.                       جان چیست خم خسروان در وی شراب آسمان
12.                       زین رو سخن چون بیخودان هر دم پریشان می‌رود

13.                       در خوردنم ذوقی دگر در رفتنم ذوقی دگر
14.                       در گفتنم ذوقی دگر باقی بر این سان می‌رود

15.                       میدان خوش است ای ماه رو با گیر و دار ما و تو
16.                       ای هر که لنگست اسب او لنگان ز میدان می‌رود

17.                       مه از پی چوگان تو خود را چو گویی ساخته
18.                       خورشید هم جان باخته چون گوی غلطان می‌رود

19.                       این دو بسی بشتافته پیش تو ره نایافته
20.                       در نور تو دربافته بیرون ایوان می‌رود

21.                       چون نور بیرون این بود پس او که دولت بین بود
22.                       یا رب چه باتمکین بود یا رب چه رخشان می‌رود

The translation can be found here:

Thanks for the Elixir of Life

Thanks for the Elixir of Life – Molana Rumi

Translated by Ali and Parastoo Arsanjani

  1. Thoughts of you, deep within, as elixir flows, deep within my lifestream, 
  2. This elixir of life, in the Stream of streams, it flows from your love, 
  3. Overflowing with gratitude and thanks, all existence, even common parrots flying around
  4. My longing heart, flutters away, as soon as it hears this mention of birds
  5. Mere mention of Him suffices, willingly I relinquish my life
  6. How can we not laugh in joy, when going to join the life of Life (soul of Souls).
  7. Every soulbird, like the turtledove, from love creates, a garland
  8. just like my heart that flew, he has left the cage and set out towards Solomon
  9. From the life of every pure being, every moment another spiritual one
  10. love drunk and wasted; ready to be annihilated, travels all the way to the purest realm
  11. What is the soul? the wine vat of Kings; containing the heaven wine
  12. with this (having tasted),  we lose our self, so every utterance, seems in vain
  13. an indescribable bliss while eating; an indescribable bliss when moving
  14. an indescribable bliss while speaking; everything else I do goes the same way
  15. This realm of ours is a joyous one, O moonlike beauty, when you and I are thus connected
  16. Those whose horse is lame will leave this realm limping
  17. The moon, who knows you play polo, made itself into a glowing sphere
  18. And the sun has also given up its life and rolled away like a fire sphere
  19. Both these have hurried to you, but haven’t gained your presence
  20. Have woven themselves into your Light; await outside your porch
  21. If the light external is such, then he who is a seer of destiny
  22. My Lord, how strong and steadfast is he! My Lord how powerful he rides!

Sunday, November 21, 2010


The full moon on 11-21-2010 .

میدان خوش است ای ماه رو با گیر و دار ما و تو
ای هر که لنگست اسب او لنگان ز میدان می‌رود
مه از پی چوگان تو خود را چو گویی ساخته
خورشید هم جان باخته چون گوی غلطان می‌رود
این دو بسی بشتافته پیش تو ره نایافته
در نور تو دربافته بیرون ایوان می‌رود
چون نور بیرون این بود پس او که دولت بین بود
یا رب چه باتمکین بود یا رب چه رخشان می‌رود

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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Rumi Thanksgiving

Rumi is a seeker of the divine and the longing he feels in his quest for the divine and reaching back inside himself into the source of creation 
causes him to verbalize his feelings spontaneously in the form of the most enchanting poetry where his words come alive with the fresh scent 
of love and resonate with us regardless of time and space.
As a special tribute to Thanksgiving, Ali Arsanjani explores the poems of Rumi that are relevant to giving thanks have stories that relate to this time of year
he translates the poems into modern poetry and yet seeks to preserve some of the essence of the original intent.

Don't turn away ; come this way, my smiling flower
             You – the Intellect within the Intellect within the Intellect of mine,
You – the essence within the essence within the essence of mine

Cast a glance in this direction, come, pass by our street,
            You -- the teeming essence of life,
boil in the sweetness of the sugarcane

he will further provide a commentary on the backgrounds of the terminology and metaphors used within Rumi's poetry
in related to modern day applications in our daily lives.

This is part of a series called "What would Rumi do?" that Ali started in New York earlier this year.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

If you are feeling low come towards my Friend

گر تو ملولی ای پدر جانب یار من بیا
If you are feeling melancholy come towards my Companion
تا که بهار جانها تازه کند دل تو را
the Spring of All Life will refresh Your heart and mind
بوی سلام یار من لخلخه بهار من
my Companion's greetings has the fresh fragrance of spring

باغ و گل و ثمار من آرد سوی جان صبا
The spring garden and flowers will bestow you soul with the life giving breeze
مستی و طرفه مستیی هستی و طرفه
Freshly drunken but not drunk, Being always with a fresh sense of Being

ملک و درازدستیی نعره زنان که الصلا

Come forth as a king who extends his hands calling for all to rise in prayer
پای بکوب و دست زن دست در آن دو
شست زن
Dance, clap, rejoice ( and express your joy)

پیش دو نرگس خوشش کشته نگر دل مرا
In the presence of His two vibrant beautiful flowers my heart is enraptured
زنده به عشق سرکشم بینی جان چرا
I live only for love rebellious; now you see why I take such pains

پهلوی یار خود خوشم یاوه چرا روم چرا
I am joyful At my companion's side; tell me why would I go astray?
جان چو سوی وطن رود آب به جوی من
تا سوی گولخن رود طبع خسیس ژاژخا
دیدن خسرو زمن شعشعه عقار من
سخت خوش است این وطن مینروم از این سرا
جان طرب پرست ما عقل خراب مست ما
ساغر جان به دست ما سخت خوش است ای خدا
هوش برفت گو برو جایزه گو بشو گرو
روز شدشت گو بشو بیشب و روز تو بیا
مست رود نگار من در بر و در کنار من
هیچ مگو که یار من باکرمست و باوفا
آمد جان جان من کوری دشمنان من
رونق گلستان من زینت روضه رضا

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Layers of Light

The layers of Light Spread; then unite
The darkness silently bare, a lingering stare
The music of the sky we hear from on high
As our gaze strays towards the sky
the sequence of light, of dark and bright
captures our wonder, other thoughts asunder
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Tuesday, September 7, 2010

There is no quest outside the Self

عاشقان را جست و جو از خویش نیست
For true lovers there is no searching beyond the Self
در جهان جوینده جز او بیش نیست
There is no seeker beyond him in this world

این جهان و آن جهان یک گوهر است
This world and the one beyond are one intrinsic gem
در حقیقت کفر و دین و کیش نیست
In the presence of Truth faith and blasphemy and kinship disappear
ای دمت عیسی دم از دوری مزن
You with Jesus-like life giving breath; do not even breath of leaving me
من غلام آن که دوراندیش نیست
I am the servant of Him who is not plotting for the future
گر بگویی پس روم نی پس مرو
If you say i will follow the trail back; beware, there is no trail behind you
ور بگویی پیش نی ره پیش نیست
And if you say you will proceed forth, know that there is no road ahead
دست بگشا دامن خود را بگیر
Open your arms and rely on your self (take ownership of your actions and rely on your self)
مرهم این ریش جز این ریش نیست
The remedy of this ailment is none other (and hidden within) than this ailment

جزو درویشند جمله نیک و بد
They are all from us dervish, both the good and the bad
هر کی نبود او چنین درویش نیست
The one who doesn't believe this is not a dervish like us
هر که از جا رفت جای او دلست
Anyone who goes beyond space and place the heart is their home and place
همچو دل اندر جهان جاییش نیست
in this world, no place compares with being in the Heart ( wherein lies the Self)

Monday, June 28, 2010

The Light of the Heavens and of Earth

The pearly light shines in modest seclusion amidst the sheltering night sky
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Saturday, June 12, 2010

Whirling sparks of love unite

Whirling sparks of love unite
Dancing flames of light combine
Those who fell apart : unite
Fallen from their source a day
They won't rest till they find a way
To reunite; they remember the day
So they choose to wind right back on course
To Be united with their source!

So they dance in sparks of love
Whirling round us from above
Waiting till the time is ripe
Clouds unite in a spark of light

Patient be, till you hear
The sound of thunder very near
Forgetting what may seem dear
You might, mistaken, gasp of fear

The calm breeze will soothe you down
As the storm is rolling past your town

Whirling sparks of love unite
Dancing flames of light combine
Those who fell apart : unite

Those fallen from their Source
See their plight; have no remorse

Just stand up tall and shine with light
Or sit deep in bliss a spark of light
Or take the pen let the soul gush
Feelings flow no need to rush

Then Let it go don't push with might
It'll come to you if it's your right

Hear the flute the tale it tells
Hear the tale that it laments

From the reedbed since torn was I
People have heard this forlorn cry

We've fallen back from our source
Since that day, we've felt remorse

Whirling sparks of love unite
Dancing flames of light combine
Those who fell apart : unite

It deeply yearns to get back on course
to find it's way back to it's Source

Winding back it seeks recourse
Seeking union with every resource

Going back in time to seek
Union with it's source to keep

The Flute tells this tale to make you weep
To make you long and make you seek

Choose to light up, whirl and dance
Look deep inside your secret trance

Light up and twirl; sing and dance
Rise again you have a chance

Be friend to all but your secrets keep
Secure inside that mirror deep

Theyll sit with you; laugh and weep
But still inside your secrets keep

Not far from my moan
Do My secrets roam
Not far from this cry
Do My secrets lie

Yet they haven't that light
the ear and eye

Whirling sparks of love unite
Dancing flames of light combine
Those who fell apart : unite

You know quite well
What you sow, you reap

Don't give up the light; this is not your fight
Don't venture outwards; keep your might

Just let go; if it's your right
Stand up bright, shine inside, it's your right
Keep inside, just let go, it's alright

Stand up; shine bright;
Don't give up your right
Show all your might

Whirling sparks of love divide
Dancing flames of light unfold
Those who fell apart : untold.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

The Flute and The Fire of Love

Listen to the flute; how it is complaining,
It has a tale to tell of separations

“I was torn from the reedbed, and ever since,
You have heard people sigh when they hear my cry”

Give me one who is hurt with separation
And I will recount the pain of my longing

[Know this principle: ]
Whosoever has strayed far from their source,
Will seek to regain their day of union

With every community, I empathized much
I befriended with the happy and with the sad

Each befriended me, thinking I shared their view
Yet I did not reveal those secrets deep

My secret is not too far from my cry
Yet they haven’t that light, the ear and eye

The body from the soul is not hidden
Yet noone commands that inner vision

The sound of this flute; is not wind but pure fire
Those who haven’t this fire, should go expire!

It is the fire of love that fell in the flute
The boiling of love that fell into wine

A friend to you when cut from a friend, the flute
Its veils do rend these veils of ours asunder

Both poison and remedy: behold the flute!
Haven’t seen a more eager friend than the flute!

The tale of a bloody path, the flute recounts
Telling us stories of those madly in love

The confidant of this awareness is no-
-awareness; the tongue’s customer is the ear

Wallowing in our sorrow; the days go by
With burning and smoldering longing they go

If the days go by, tell them “Go, no fear!”
“The One Pure, to whom none compares, you stay here!”

Monday, May 31, 2010

The Resolute Free Bird

Again perched atop the high wall, the bird
Saw, they had laid a trap for what it coveted -- the seed  
With one glance, he longed to fly free, across the vast expanse of the desert
And with another , his greed was dragging him down towards the seed
In tense challenge, locked the two glances,
Emptying from all wisdom the mind  
Until he let go his indecision, once again, the bird 
And tore his gaze from the seed and cast it on the vast desert
Joyously he flew with carefree wings, and became
A leader of all free-spirited beings
And if you follow his ways, you, shall be set free, too
Stationed in a blessed state; settled in freedom and safety
For the King of the Steadfast and resolute came to his heart
And so his abode  became the green garden of flowers
The Resolute satisfied with him; and satisfied with resoluteness, was he
So should you, if you have the will to discover a remedy for your ills, do thus
Into the trap of greed, countless times, have you fallen,
And thus, given up to the cutting, your throat.

Friday, April 23, 2010

I have returned

I have returned ! I have returned !
Tidings I bring of our Beloved.
Look within me! Gaze deep within!
I come to you-- with compassion full!

With joy I come, I come with joy!
I come to you -- free from all !
It has taken thousands of years for me to speak!

I'll travel there! There, I will go !
I was soaring --  up I will go!
Release me ! Free me once again!
I was brought here reluctantly!

For I was a heavenly bird; forced to became earthly!
I overlooked the trap and found myself caught!

My friend, know this: I am pure light
Not merely this handful of earth!
Alas I am not an oyster; I had come as a king!

Don't gaze at us with the eye of your face
Gaze unto us with your mystery-piercing eye
Come to the place and see us
For in that place I have come, travelling light.

بازآمدم بازآمدم از پیش آن یار آمدم
در من نگر در من نگر بهر تو غمخوار آمدم
شاد آمدم شاد آمدم از جمله آزاد آمدم
چندین هزاران سال شد تا من به گفتار آمدم
آن جا روم آن جا روم بالا بدم بالا روم
بازم رهان بازم رهان کاین جا به زنهار آمدم
من مرغ لاهوتی بدم دیدی که ناسوتی شدم
دامش ندیدم ناگهان در وی گرفتار آمدم
من نور پاکم ای پسر نه مشت خاکم مختصر
آخر صدف من نیستم من در شهوار آمدم

ما را به چشم سر مبین ما را به چشم سر ببین
آن جا بیا ما را ببین کان جا سبکبار آمدم
از چار مادر برترم وز هفت آبا نیز هم
من گوهر کانی بدم کاین جا به دیدار آمدم
یارم به بازار آمدهست چالاک و هشیار آمدهست
ور نه به بازارم چه کار وی را طلبکار آمدم
ای شمس تبریزی نظر در کل عالم کی کنی
کاندر بیابان فنا جان و دل افگار آمدم

Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Path within

Journey within journeys not one but all; seeking seeking searching further and further; when alas the Truth stands before the Self in silence ; awaiting in patient Divine Grace; with that elixir of Life the quest of Love; the joy of returning to the Source; after feeling the pangs of separation.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

The passage of time

I feel for perhaps the very first time or at least as I am aware of it, the passage of time
Always waiting for the golden calm where do i turn?

The flute’s a companion to those parted with a friend
Whose veils have cut asunder our own veils

Who has seen poison and antidote in one, like the flute?
Who has seen a companion and eager friend like the flute?

The flute tells a tale of a much bloodied way
Tells us stories of insane love 

The confidant of this awareness is no-awareness
the tongue’s best customer is the ear

In our sorrow; the days go by
The days are coupled with painful longing

Tell the passing days, “Go, I have no fear!”

stay with me– besides whom there is none pure

From Masnavi, Book 1,  Lines 1-16

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Sequence in Rumi's stories

Rumi tends to describe a general principle and then start a story to elaborate on the main point of the principle he is expounding. As he proceeds with the story he runs into situations in which he feels he needs to explain even more.

During these interludes or asides, he again expounds general principles and then stops and returns to his narrative of the original story.

Thus each story has a main principle and a set of sub themes or sub principles.

We'll explore a sample of the story of the king and the handmaiden .

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Friday, January 1, 2010

the Way of our Beloved has no room for the fearful

There is no room for the fearful in our Beloved’s Path
All are kings; minions have no merit there
If you are playing the underdog, implying you are truly worthy
[Know, that] In our value system trying to be worthy will only bring disgrace
If you are coyly trying to feign poverty take your tatters and be gone
Our king will only recognize you as an outsider *
Have you become the Light of Truth? Then shine from east to west
For, with these attributes, I do not fear those rays
If you do know Divine secrets, then keep them to yourself
For our [true] secrets do not resemble those [false] secrets
[Therefore] Leave your craftiness behind; and keep straight onto our Way
The cunning are not welcome to flaunt [their powers] in this field of ours **
Our life is only focused on the spiritual path of Shams (Sun)
Our horse will only ride towards [his home in] Tabriz ***
When I was drunk, I knew not that I was divulging secrets to so-called friends;
For being sober will not offend my religion
If you place a compass to measure our limits
Brother, Our limits are beyond  the worth of [being measured by] the compass
Good man, you are stirring things up as you walk our Path
For us, there is no merit in stirring things up in either of two worlds
The Sufis of Love have a different temple ****
There, our body and soul live a different kind of existence
Sitting [even] in the depths of hell, I [would have] abandoned [my]longing for [a more favorable] destiny
For we no longer have appetite for heaven and its glories *****

* In those days, people tried to feign poverty and display fake humility in an effort to look more worthy from a religious and social perspective. Rumi is saying that false humility or feigning poverty will not ingratiate you more in the eyes of the Beloved and in fact will be looked upon with indifference or even disdain. If you are doing these to get on the Path then you will not succeed in getting on the Path with these false gestures. be true and be you, and take the Path to the Beloved.
** The field of the Divine, or the Path of Light, the Way of Truth these are not the place for the cunning to be flaunting or strutting their pomposity. Egotism and ostentatious displays be they of a so-called spiritual flavor should are not valued in the Way of Truth.
*** Rumi's master, Shams was of Tabriz, and thus, Rumi's only concern was to follow his master and his practical teachings.
**** Temple was used for the word "Khaneghah" the place where sufis would gather and conduct spiritual practices, including zekr, [remembrance of the divine] and the dance of samaa to music or drums [daf, the frame drum]
***** Rumi is pointing out that he does not seek God for the sole personal benefit of attaining heaven, but is in love of God and wants to attain that state of divine union merely for the deep and overwhelming, intoxicating supremely blissful state of union, and not for any personal gain.