Wednesday, January 20, 2010


(Mevlana Celaleddin/Jalāl ad-Dīn) Rumi had lived in Konya. He was a poet, a sufi, a mystic, and a philosopher. His followers established 'the Whirling Dervishes'.

My mother is from Konya and I was born in that beautiful city. I am now reading the English translations of Rumi's works (The Essential Rumi, trans. by Coleman Barks and John Moyne, 1997, Castle Books)- which is a bit strange to me. By the way, we normally call Rumi as Mevlana. Interested readers may find more info here and here.

I would like to share some passages from the book as I read through. They, of course, have multiple interpretations and reflections.


Do you think I know what I'm doing?
That for one breath or half-breath I belong to myself?
As much as a pen knows what it's writing,
or the ball can guess where it's going next.



You are every image, and yet
I'm homesick for you.



When I am with you, we stay up all night.
When you're not here, I can't go to sleep.

Praise God for these two insomnias!
And the difference between them.


                                               A sudden revelation
came then to Moses. God's voice:
                                               You have separated me
from one of my own. Did you come as a Prophet to unite,
or to sever?
                     I have given each being a separate and unique way
of seeing and knowing and saying that knowledge.

What seems wrong to you is right for him.
What is poison to one is honey to someone else.

Purity and impurity, sloth and diligence in worship,
these mean nothing to me.
                                I am apart from all that.
Ways of worshiping are not to be ranked as better
or worse than one another.
                                Hindus do Hindu things.
The Dravidian Muslims in India do what they do.
It's all praise, and it's all right.

It's not me that's glorified in acts of worship.
It's the worshipers! I don't hear the words
they say, I look inside at the humility.

That broken-open lowliness is the reality,
not the language! Forget phraseology.
I want burning, burning.
                           Be friends
with your burning. Burn up your thinking
and your forms of expression!
those who pay attention to ways of behaving
and speaking are one sort.
                             Lovers who burn
are another.

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