Saturday, June 21, 2014

A Call from the Unseen

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 missive?
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.

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

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

My heart is so small

My heart is so small
it's almost invisible.
How can You place
such big sorrows in it?
"Look," He answered,
"your eyes are even smaller,
yet they behold the world."
~ Rumi ~
(Whispers of the Beloved  by Maryam & Azima Melita Kolin)

Sunday, June 01, 2014

Behind the veils..

Can the intellect perceive thee, or love, or the pure spirit? 
Does the Guarded Tablet know thee, do the angels in heaven?*
Do Gabriel or Jesus or Moses even see thee in their dreams? 
Is the celestial sphere worthy to be thy abode, or the Lote Tree of the Far Boundary?
Moses' Mount Sinai has become blood many times in love's madness, 
because an echo of Lord Shams al- Din's fame fell upon it.
The jealousy of the One has woven radiance upon radiance over his face. 
Muhammad's spirit shouts,
 "Oh, how I desire to meet him!"*
God's Jealousy would burn the two worlds to a cinder 
if a single hair of his beauty were to appear to us without veil.
His beauty has shone forth from behind a hundred thousand veils. 
The spirit has fallen to shouting,
"Welcome, oh king, welcome!"
The elegant cypress has bent itself double in prostrating itself before Tabriz; 
tiny Suha* shines forth over Tabriz like a sun.

  Ghazal 144
Translation by William C. Chittick
"The Sufi Path of Love"
SUNY Press, Albany, 1983

* The Guarded Tablet (lawh-i mahfuz), mentioned in the Koran as the locus wherein the Koran is inscribed (LXXXV 22), is usually interpreted in a cosmological sense to mean the Universal Soul, the passive pole of spiritual existence. Within it the Pen--the Universal Intellect--inscribes the knowledge of all things which are to come into existence. As a result, the created universe is born.

* The Prophet said, "Oh how I desire to meet my brothers," a saying that is taken to refer to the saints who would be born in coming generations.

* "Suha" -- the name of a small star
Related Posts with Thumbnails