Discourses of Rumi (Fihi Ma Fihi)

Introduction By Doug Marman

Introduction By Doug Marman

Introduction By Doug Marman Recognized as perhaps the greatest mystical poet of Islam, Jalal al-Din Mohammad Balkhi Rumi (1207-1273) communicated something through his writing that has attracted spiritual seekers from almost every religion in the world, for hundreds of years. Even in his day, Rumi was sought out by merchants and kings, devout worshippers and rebellious seekers, famous scholars and common peasants, men and women. At his funeral, Muslims, Christians, Jews, Arabs, Persians, Turks and Romans honored him. Listen to his call for seekers of truth: Come, come, whoever you are. Wandere... »

Discource 01

Discource 01

Discource 01 Rumi stated: Mohammed, the great Prophet, once said, “The worst of scholars are those who visit princes, and the best of princes are those who visit scholars. Wise is the prince who stands at the door of the poor, and wretched are the poor who stand at the door of the prince.” Now, taking the outward sense of these words, people think that scholars should never visit princes or they will become the worst of scholars. That is not the true meaning. Rather, the worst of scholars are those who depend upon princes, and who revolve their life and purpose around the attention and favor o... »

Discourse 02

Discourse 02

Discourse 02 Someone said: “Our Master does not utter a word.” Rumi answered: Well, it was the thought of me that brought you to my presence. This thought of me did not speak with you saying, “How are things with you?” The thought without words drew you here. If the reality of me draws you without words and transports you to another place, what is so wonderful with words? Words are the shadow of reality, a mere branch of reality. Since the shadow draws, how much more the reality! Words are a pretext. It is the inner bond that draws one person to another, not words. If someone shoul... »

Discourse 03

Discourse 03

Discourse 03 The Amir said: “Night and day my heart and Soul are intent upon serving God, but because of my responsibilities with Mongol affairs I have no time for such service.” Rumi answered: Those works too are work done for God, since they are the means of providing peace and security for your country. You sacrifice yourself, your possessions, your time, so the hearts of a few will be lifted to peacefully obeying God’s will. So this too is a good work. God has inclined you towards such good work, and your great love for what you do is proof of God’s blessing. However, if your love of work ... »

Discourse 04

Discourse 04

Discourse 04 Someone said: “There is something I have forgotten.” Rumi replied: There is one thing in this world that must never be forgotten. If you were to forget all else, but did not forget that, then you would have no reason to worry. But if you performed and remembered everything else, yet forgot that one thing, then you would have done nothing whatsoever. It is just as if a king sent you to the country to carry out a specific task. If you go and accomplish a hundred other tasks, but do not perform that particular task, then it is as though you performed nothing at all. So, everyone come... »

Discourse 05

Discourse 05

Discourse 05 The Amir, surprised by an unexpected visit from Rumi, said: “Master, how gracious of you to honor me in this way. I never expected this. It never even entered my mind that I could be worthy of such an honor. By rights I should be standing night and day in the ranks and company of your servants and attendants. I’m not even worthy of that. How gracious this is!” Rumi said: It is all because of your lofty spiritual aspirations. The higher and greater your rank and the more you become occupied with important, exalted worldly affairs, the more you consider yourself to have fallen short... »

Discourse 06

Discourse 06

Discourse 06 Rumi said: These words are for the sake of those who need words to understand. But as for those who understand without words, what use have they for speech? The heavens and earth are words to them, sent forth themselves from the Word of God. Whoever hears a whisper, what need have they for shouting and screaming? An Arabic speaking poet once came into the presence of a king. Now the king was a Turk, and did not even know Persian. The poet had composed in his honor some brilliant verses in Arabic, and had brought these with him. When the king had taken his seat on the throne and th... »

Discourse 07

Discourse 07

Discourse 07 The son of the Amir entered. Rumi said: Your father is always occupied with God. His faith is overwhelming, and reveals itself in his words. One day your father said, “The people of Rum have urged me to give my daughter in marriage to the Tartars, so that our religion may become one, and this new religion of Muslimdom can disappear.” I said, “When has religion ever been one? There have always been two or three, and they have always had war and fighting between them. How do you expect to make religion one? It will be one only in the next world, at the resurrection. As for this pres... »

Discourse 08

Discourse 08

Discourse 08 Someone asked: “What is greater than prayer?” Rumi said: One answer is that the soul of prayer is greater than prayer, as I have already explained. A second answer is that faith is greater. Prayer is a series of daily actions, while faith is continuous. Prayer can be dropped for a valid reason, or can be postponed, but it is impossible to drop or postpone faith for any excuse. And where prayer without faith gains nothing, as in the case of hypocrites, faith without prayer is valuable. Another point: while the prayer of every religion is each quite different, still, faith does not ... »

Discourse 09

Discourse 09

Discourse 09 Someone said: “A man came who wanted to see you. He kept saying, ‘I wish I could have seen the Master.” Rumi said: He does not see the Master at this moment because in truth the desire that filled him, namely to see the Master, was a veil hiding the Master. So it is with all desires and affections, all loves and fondnesses that people have for every variety of thing – father, mother, heaven, earth, gardens, palaces, knowledge, things to eat and drink. The lover of God realizes all these desires are truly the desire for God, and they are all veils covering humanity’s ey... »

Discourse 10

Discourse 10

Discourse 10 The Amir said to Rumi: “Before you arrived just now, your eldest son, Baha al-Din, excused himself to me, saying, ‘My father said that he doesn’t want to put you to any trouble when you come to visit him. He says, “I am subject to various states of consciousness. In one state I speak, and in another I do not. In one state I attend to the affairs of others, and in another state I withdraw and go into retreat, while in yet another state I am utterly absorbed and beyond this world. I do not wish the Amir to come when I’m in a state of being that is disagreeable, when I am unable to c... »

Discourse 11

Discourse 11

Discourse 11 Rumi said: The saying, “Hearts bear witness to one another,” refers to a hidden reality. If all reality were openly revealed, what need would there be for words? Similarly, when the heart bears witness, what need is there for the testimony of the tongue? The Amir said: “Certainly the heart bears witness. But the heart plays one part by itself, the ear another, the eye another, the tongue another. There is need for each one, so that the whole can be realized.” Rumi said: If the heart is totally absorbed, then all the other senses are obliterated in it, and there is no need for the ... »

Discourse 12

Discourse 12

Discourse 12 After the Amir arrived, Rumi said: I’ve been longing to call on you. But, knowing you were busy with the interests of the people, I spared you the trouble. The Amir answered: “This duty has been pressing upon me. Now that the emergency has ended, from now on I will wait upon you.” Rumi said: There is no difference. It is all the same thing. You are so gracious that all things are the same to you. Since today it is you who are occupied with good deeds and charities, naturally I am able to call on you. Just now some of us were discussing this question: If a saint, who carries God’s ... »

Discourse 13

Discourse 13

Discourse 13 Mohammed said, “The night is long, do not shorten it with your sleep. The day is bright, do not darken it with your sins.” The night is long for you to voice your inmost secrets and ask for your needs without the distraction of others, without the disturbance of friends and foes. You are granted peace and privacy as God draws down the veil before the eyes of others, so your acts may be honest, truthful and done wholly for God. At night the hypocrite is exposed. The world may be hidden by the dark and shown clearly by the light of day, but at night the hypocrite stands revealed fro... »

Discourse 14

Discourse 14

Discourse 14 Sheikh Ibrahim said: “Whenever Saif-al-Din Farrukh ordered someone to be given a beating, he would immediately occupy himself until the beating was over, so that no one could intercede.” Rumi said: Whatever you see in this world corresponds exactly with what is in the world beyond. All these realities are samples of the other Reality. Whatever exists in this world has come from there. The bald man of Baalbek carried on his head trays and samples of various herbs – a pinch of pepper, a pinch of mastic, a pinch from every heap. The heaps were infinite, but there was no room on... »

Discourse 15

Discourse 15

Discourse 15 Within people there is a longing and a desire such that, even if a hundred thousand worlds were theirs to own, still they would find no rest or comfort. They try every trade and craft, studying astronomy, medicine and every other subject, but they reach no completion, for they have not found their true desire. Poets call the Beloved “heart’s ease,” because there the heart finds ease. How can we find peace and rest in anything but the Beloved? All these pleasures and pursuits are like a ladder. The rungs of a ladder are not a place to make one’s home; they are for passing by. Fortu... »

Discourse 16

Discourse 16

Discourse 16 Rumi said: Whoever is loved is beautiful, but this doesn’t mean that whoever is beautiful is loved. “There are girls more beautiful than Laila,” they used to tell Majnun. “Let us bring some to you.” “I do not love Laila for her form,” Majnun would reply. “Laila is like a cup in my hand. I drink wine from that cup. I am in love with that wine. You only have eyes for the goblet and do not know the wine. A golden goblet studded with precious stones, but containing only vinegar, what use is that to me? An old broken gourd with wine is better in my eyes than a hundred goblets of gold.”... »

Discourse 17

Discourse 17

Discourse 17 The Amir of Rum said: “The unbelievers used to worship and bow down to idols. Now we are doing the selfsame thing. We go and bow down and wait upon the Mongols, and yet we consider ourselves Muslims. We have many other idols in our heart too, such as greed, passion, temper, envy, and we are obedient to all of them. So we act in the very same way as the unbelievers, both outwardly and inwardly, and we consider ourselves Muslims!” Rumi answered: But here is something different; it enters your thoughts that this conduct is evil and utterly detestable. The eye of your heart has seen s... »

Discourse 18

Discourse 18

Discourse 18 Someone said: “Ibn Muqri recites the Koran correctly.” Rumi said: Yes, he recites the form of the Koran correctly, but he has no knowledge of its meaning. This is proven by the fact that when he is questioned for its meaning, he cannot answer. He recites blindly. He is like a man who holds an old, tattered sable in his hand; he is offered a newer, finer sable, but he refuses it. So we can see that he doesn’t know what sable really is. Someone told him that this is sable, and he blindly accepted it. It is like children playing with walnuts. Offer them the nut itself, or the oil of ... »

Discourse 19

Discourse 19

Discourse 19 Rumi said: Someone said to Taj al-Din Quba’i, “These doctors of divinity live amongst us and deprive the people of their religious beliefs.” Taj al-Din Quba’i answered, “They do not live amongst us and take away our beliefs. God forbid they could ever be one of us. If you put a golden collar on a dog, do you call it a hunting dog because of that collar? The quality of being a hunting dog is something specific in the animal, whether it wears a collar of gold or wool.” No one becomes a scholar by virtue of robe and turban. Scholarship is a virtue in its very essence, and wheth... »

Discourse 20

Discourse 20

Discourse 20 Rumi said: Night and day you are at war, attempting to reform the character of the opposite sex, to cleanse their impurity and to correct their faults. It is better to cleanse yourself through them than trying to cleanse them through yourself. Reform yourself by means of them. Go to them and accept whatever they may say, even if from your viewpoint their words sound absurd or unfair. It was on account of this truth that Mohammed said, “There is no monkhood in Islam.” The way of monks is solitude, dwelling in mountains, men not living with women, and giving up the world. God showed... »

Discourse 21

Discourse 21

Discourse 21 Rumi said: Sharif Paysukhta has written: God dispenses Its grace, Indifferent to time and space, Itself, the Spirit of the Whole Is independent of our soul. No matter what our ranging thought Within its compass may be brought, We find adoration for the Lord, For It who need not be adored. These words are shameful; they neither honor God, nor do they honor mankind. Oh poet, what joy does it give you that God should be supremely independent of you? This is not the language of friends; this is the language of enemies. The enemy indeed says, “I am indifferent to you and do not care.” ... »

Discourse 22

Discourse 22

Discourse 22 Rumi said to Ibn Chavish: The root of the matter is that you should guard against this backbiting when talking about Sheikh Salah al-Din. Perhaps this will remove these dark shadows and clouds that surround you. How can you defend yourself? People have left their own country, their fathers and mothers, their households, kinsfolk and families, and have journeyed from Hind to Sind until their boots were cut to shreds, in search of someone having the fragrance of the other world. How many men and women have died of sorrow, never succeeding nor encountering such a person! As for you, ... »

Discourse 23

Discourse 23

Discourse 23 Rumi said: I would like to go to Tuqat, for that region is warm. Although Antalya is warm, only a few people there understand our language. However, I was speaking there one day when a party of unbelievers was present. In the middle of my talk they began to weep with emotion and show signs of ecstasy. Someone asked: “What can they understand? What do they know? Only one Muslim in a thousand understands this kind of talk. What could an unbeliever understand that would cause them to weep?” Rumi answered: It isn’t necessary for them to understand the inner meaning of what we say. The... »

Discourse 24

Discourse 24

Discourse 24 People build these sacred monuments for a particular reason: either to display their generosity for the sake of fame, or to gain a reward in heaven. God should be the true object in honoring the saints, their tombs and graves. The saints do not need to be honored; they are an honor to themselves. If a lamp desires to be placed up high, it wants this for the sake of others, not for its own sake. What does a lamp care whether it is high or low? It is still a lamp shedding light. But a lamp wants its light to reach others. The sun, if it were not in the height of the heavens would st... »

Discourse 25

Discourse 25

Discourse 25 Someone entered, and Rumi said: He is beloved and humble, like a branch loaded with fruit – the fruit weighs it down. A branch with no fruit raises its head up high, like the white poplar, but when that fruit exceeds all bounds, they put props under the branch so it will not come down altogether. Mohammed was extremely humble. All the fruits of this world and the next were gathered upon his branch, so of course he was humbler than others. He said, “No one ever preceded the Messenger of God in making a greeting.” No one was able to precede the Prophet in offering greetings be... »

Discourse 26

Discourse 26

Discourse 26 Rumi said: If I appear lacking in gratitude and appreciation for the kindness and support you show me, both directly and indirectly, it is not out of arrogance or indifference, nor is it because I don’t know the importance of returning your favor and love. But I am aware from the purity of your efforts that you do these things sincerely for the sake of God, so I leave it to God to thank you. If I concerned myself with thanking you, granting you verbal honor and praising you, it would be as if some part of the treasure that God has set aside for you was already given, some part of ... »

Discourse 27

Discourse 27

Discourse 27 It is better not to question what Sufis say, since this obliges them to invent a lie. For if a materialist questions a Sufi, the Sufi must give some answer. But how can they be completely truthful with someone incapable of understanding? The materialist’s mouth and lips are not able to receive such a delicate morsel. So the Sufi must answer people according to their capacity and experience, namely by inventing an answer that sends them away. Although everything the Sufi gives out is true and cannot be a lie, yet the first thing a Sufi says is far greater. If this is questioned, th... »

Discourse 28

Discourse 28

Discourse 28 The long entreating prayer-song of seekers and travelers tells a story of lives occupied in labor and devotion with each effort assigned to its special time. It is as though an overseer of habit draws them to their specific task. For example, when first rising in the morning, they give themselves to contemplation and worship while the mind is quiet and clear. Thus, each performs the service that is suitable to them and comes within the scope of their noble Soul. There are a hundred thousand ranks. The purer someone becomes, the higher up they are raised. This story of spiritual gr... »

Discourse 29

Discourse 29

Discourse 29 A Christian by the name of al-Jarrah said: “A number of Sheik Sadr al-Din’s companions drank with me, and they said, “Jesus is God, as you claim. We confess that to be truth, but we conceal and deny it to preserve the honor of our community.” Rumi said: God forbid! These are the words of those drunken with the wine of Satan, the misguider. How could it be that Jesus, with such a frail body, who was forced to flee from the plotting Jews, place after place, who stood less than two cubits tall, should be the preserver of the seven heavens – each with a thickness of five hundred... »

Discourse 30

Discourse 30

Discourse 30 There are heads that are adorned by crowns of gold, and there are heads whose beautiful curls are merely hidden by jewels and gold. The curls of our heart’s beloved arouse love, and love is the throne-room of the heart. But a crown is nothing but metal and stones. We sought everywhere for Solomon’s ring. We found his wisdom far from riches. Abandoning wealth we found that beautiful treasure. In poverty we took our repose, and our Beloved was pleased with nothing so much as this. Well, I am a whoremonger. Since I was young, I have been a seller of love. I know this destroys barrier... »

Discourse 31

Discourse 31

Discourse 31 The police are always in search of thieves to capture, and thieves are always running away. It is rare indeed to find a thief that searches for the police to be captured and thrown in jail. That’s not a natural desire for thieves. God said to Abu Yazid, “What do you desire, Abu Yazid?” He answered, “I desire not to desire.” To be wholly without desire – that is not a natural desire, since a person must empty themself and cease to be. But God wanted to perfect Abu Yazid and to make him a complete Sheikh, so that within him there would be no room for duality or separation, and... »

Discourse 32

Discourse 32

Discourse 32 Knowingness is the perfect Sheik. Inspired and true thoughts are His disciples ranked according to God’s closeness to them. As each thought expands it comes nearer to knowingness and farther from doubt. All thoughts suck milk at the breast of certainty, and grow. Theory and practice nourish each thought until it approaches certainty. Then thought passes away into certainty, for, in knowingness, thought no longer remains. The sheikhs and their disciples in the world today are reflections of that Sheikh of Knowingness. The disciples are proof that although the form of teaching chang... »

Discourse 33

Discourse 33

Discourse 33 Everyone is in the midst of their own need. No living creature can be separated from its need. “Their need cleaves to them closer Than their father and mother.” That need is their leash, drawing them this way and that, just like a nose-ring and chain. Now, who would make a leash for themself? That is absurd – so someone else must have made it for them. If we are in the midst of our own need, we are also in the midst of the One who gives us that need. If we are constantly attached to our own leash, we are always connected to the One who draws that leash. But if ou... »

Discourse 34

Discourse 34

Discourse 34 Rumi said: I saw our friend in a dream in the form of a wild animal with the skin of a fox upon him. He was on a small balcony, looking down the stairs. I moved as if to grab him and he raised his hands, leaping about like this and that. Then I saw Jalal al-Tibrizi with him in the form of a weasel. Our friend shied away, but I caught him when he tried to bite me. I put his head under my foot and squeezed it hard until all its contents came out. I looked at the fineness of his skin and said, “This deserves to be filled with gold and precious stones, pearls and rubies, and things ev... »

Discourse 35

Discourse 35

Discourse 35 I am amazed by those who know the Koran by heart yet understand nothing of the spiritual states of the Sufis. As the Koran states, “And do not obey every paltry asserter.” Look at the slanderers when they read this, they are exactly the ones who will say, “Do not listen to So-and-so, no matter what they say, for they will act the same way against you.” “Backbiter, going about with slander, Hinderer of good.” The Koran is a marvelous magician. It speaks clearly to the ears of the hinderers so that they understand but are not one whit wiser. They don’t even c... »

Discourse 36

Discourse 36

Discourse 36 All forms spring from Love, as branches spring forth from their root. No branch can exist without its root. Therefore, God is not called a form, since form is the branch. How can God be called a branch? Someone said: “Love too cannot be expressed or experienced without form. Hence it is the branch of form.” Why cannot Love be a form without form? On the contrary, Love is the sculptor of form. A hundred thousand forms are raised up on Love’s pottery wheel. Although a painter cannot exist without paintings, still painting is the branch and the painter is the root. As the finger move... »

Discourse 37

Discourse 37

Discourse 37 Rumi said: The stories that have been spread against this girl are lies and should go no further. But I can see that even though we may put aside these rumors as false, something has settled in the imagination. Our imagination and heart are like a vestibule – thoughts first enter the vestibule, then they move into the house. This whole world is like one house, and every image that lodges in our deepest thoughts must appear and become visible in the house. For instance, this house in which we are seated – the form of it first became visible in the heart of the architect... »

Discourse 38

Discourse 38

Discourse 38 The Prophet was seated with his Companions. Some unbelievers began to denounce and lecture him. He said, “Well, you all agree there is one person in the world who receives revelation. Revelation descends upon him – it does not descend on everyone. That person has certain marks and signs in his actions and words, and in his mien and in every part of him the token and mark can be seen. Since you have seen those tokens, turn your faces towards him and hold to him firmly, so he can be your protector.” They were all confounded by his argument and were left with nothing more to sa... »

Discourse 39

Discourse 39

Discourse 39 Husam al-Din Arzanjani, before entering the service and society of dervishes, was a great debater. Wherever he went, he engaged vigorously in argument and controversy. He used to debate well and spoke excellently, but once he took up the company of dervishes his heart turned completely against debate. “Whoever desires to sit next to God, let them sit with lovers of God.” These intellectual sciences are a game and a waste of life, compared to the spiritual experiences of the dervishes. This way of desirelessness is the way to attain your desires. Whatever you have longed for will c... »

Discourse 40

Discourse 40

Discourse 40 Jauhar, the Sultan’s servant, said, “We have been told that we must repeat the Muslim credo five times during our lifetime. What if we don’t understand the words, or do not memorize them correctly? After death, what questions will we be asked, seeing that we have forgotten even the questions we were taught?” Rumi replied: If you forget what you have learned, then of course you become a clean slate suitable for questions that you have not learned. Now, this minute, you are listening to me. You accept some part of what I say because you have heard similar things before, but some you... »

Discourse 41

Discourse 41

Discourse 41 We are like bowls on the surface of the water. The direction a bowl moves is controlled not by the bowl, but by the water. Someone said: “That is a general statement. But some people know they are on the surface of the water, while some do not know.” Rumi said: If that is a general statement, then the specific statement, “The heart of the believer is between two fingers of the All-Merciful” would mean nothing. It was also said, “The All-Merciful has taught the Koran.” This cannot be a general statement. God taught all the sciences, so what is this particular reference to the Koran... »

Discourse 42

Discourse 42

Discourse 42 People who are interested in their scholarly studies think that if they faithfully attend our meetings they will forget and lose all they have learned. On the contrary, when they come here their sciences acquire soul. For all sciences, when they acquire soul, are like an empty body that springs to life. The heart of knowledge originates beyond this world of letters and language. It comes to us from that world where speech is without sound or sign. “And to Moses, God spoke directly.” Well, God did not speak with letters and sounds, with throat and tongue. Letters requir... »

Discourse 43

Discourse 43

Discourse 43 Our friend, Saif al-Bukhari has gone to Egypt. Everyone likes a mirror, and is in love with reflections of their own attributes and attainments, but our friend misses the true nature of his face. He thinks this bodily veil is a face, and the mirror of this veil is the mirror of his face. Uncover your face, so you can know for sure that I am a mirror of your true self. Someone said: “I know for a fact that the prophets and saints are all victims of a false presumption. There is nothing to it but mere pretense.” Rumi said: Do you say this at random, or have you looked into this befo... »

Discourse 44

Discourse 44

Discourse 44 Everyone who sets out on a journey has a particular idea in mind: “Once I arrive I will be able to gain advantages and improve my affairs. My business will be set in order, my friends will be delighted, and I shall defeat my enemies.” Such are the ideas we have in mind, but God’s objective is something else. We make so many plans and think through so many ideas, and not one turns out according to our desire. Yet even with all of that, we continue to rely upon our own plans and choices. Ignoring Fate, people plot their little plans. God’s Will does not consult with the plans of man... »

Discourse 45

Discourse 45

Discourse 45 Rumi asked: What is the name of that youth? Someone said: “Saif al-Din (“Sword of the Faith”). Rumi said: No one can judge a sword while it is still in its scabbard. Truly, the Sword of the Faith is one who defends the way, dedicates their efforts wholly to God, who reveals rightness from error and distinguishes truth from falsehood. But first they correct themselves and improve their own character: “Begin with yourself,” said the Prophet. So they direct all discipline first to themselves, saying, “After all, I too am human. I have hands and feet, ears and understanding, eyes and ... »

Discourse 46

Discourse 46

Discourse 46 Sheikh Ibrahim is a noble dervish. When we see him, we are reminded of our beloved friends. Our Master Shams used to refer to him as “our Sheikh Ibrahim,” showing his affection. Divine favor is one thing, but personal effort is another. The prophets did not attain prophethood through personal effort – they gained that fortune through Divine grace. Yet God still required the prophets to live a life of personal effort and virtue. This was for the sake of the common people, so they could put reliance on the prophets and their words. The gaze of ordinary people cannot penetrate ... »

Discourse 47

Discourse 47

Discourse 47 God wills both good and evil, but only blesses the good. His Law both commands and prohibits, but commandment is only valid when it is opposed to natural desires. If someone says, “Hungry one, eat sweetness and sugar,” that is not commandment, but a benefaction. Prohibition works in the same way. No one says, “Don’t eat stones, don’t eat thorns,” because there is no need to prohibit when there is no desire. Therefore, for commandments and prohibition against evil to do any good, people must desire evil. And to will the existence of people who desire evil, is to will evil. But God ... »

Discourse 48

Discourse 48

Discourse 48 When God loves people He afflicts them. If they endure with fortitude, He chooses them. If they are grateful, He elects them. Some men and women are grateful to God for His wrathfulness and some for His graciousness. Both are good, for gratitude is the antidote for all occasions, changing wrath into grace. The wise and complete servant is grateful for harsh treatment, both publicly and in private, for with the voice of gratitude comes the inspiration to give more. Even if God sends them to the lowest reaches of Hell, through gratitude God’s purpose is advanced. Outward complaining... »

Discourse 49

Discourse 49

Discourse 49 Rumi said: A man was leading the prayers, and chanted from the Koran: “The Bedouins are stubborn in unbelief and hypocrisy.” By chance a Bedouin chieftain was present. He gave the chanter a good box on the ears. During the second genuflection, the leader of the prayers chanted a different quote from the Koran: “Some of the Bedouins believe in God and the Last Day.” The Bedouin exclaimed, “Ha! That slap has taught you better manners!” Every moment we receive a slap from the unseen world. Whatever our plans – one slap and we take another course. As the ... »

Discourse 50

Discourse 50

Discourse 50 Someone said: “We have studied all aspects of the human condition one by one, and not so much as a single hair-tip of human temperament, or people’s hot and cold nature, has escaped our notice. Yet, we still have not discovered what aspect of the human being survives death.” Rumi said: If such knowledge were attainable merely by asking others, there would be no need for the effort and the work, and no one would put themselves through such pain and sacrifice to know. For example, people come to the sea, and see nothing but salt water, sharks and fishes. They say, “Where is this pea... »

Discourse 51

Discourse 51

Discourse 51 Rumi said: Until you see, how can you find? This is true for all but Lovers: For how can they seek the Beloved, Being blind, Until they have discovered? The human quest consists of seeking for what has not yet been found. Night and day people are searching for that. But the quest that begins after our desire has been found and attained, that is a strange quest indeed, beyond our imagination and comprehension. The worldly quest is searching for something new, something not yet experienced, but this other quest begins with what we have already found and then desire. This is God’s qu... »

Discourse 52

Discourse 52

Discourse 52 Rumi was asked the meaning of the following lines: When love attains its ultimate goal Desire turns to dislike. Rumi explained: Dislike is a narrow world compared to friendship. That is why people run from hatred to find friendship. But the world of friendship is itself narrow next to the Source of both friendship and dislike. Friendship and enmity, unbelief and faith – these are all opposites that lead to duality. Yet a world exists where there is no duality but only pure unity, and when we reach that world we are beyond friendship and dislike. There is no room for two in t... »

Discourse 53

Discourse 53

Discourse 53 Rumi was asked the meaning of the following lines from his Masnavi: You are that very thought, my brother: Those bones and nerves are something other. Rumi said: You should think about this. “That very thought” in reality is not “thought” at all, and if it is, it does not belong to the kind of thought that people usually mean by the term. In using the word “thought” my intention was the “idea” or “essential element.” If you need to put this “idea” into a more humdrum way so that common people can understand, then say: “The human being is a speaking animal.” Speech is thought, whet... »

Discourse 54

Discourse 54

Discourse 54 Rumi said: When I first began composing poetry, a great urge compelled me. At that time the urge was strong. Now the desire has grown weaker and is declining, but still it has its effect. Such is the way of God. He gives life to things in the time of their rising, producing great results and wisdom, yet in declining His influence still has its force. “The Lord of the East and the West,” means, “He fosters both the rising and declining.” The Mutazilites believe that people create their own acts; that every deed springs out of our own creation. But this cannot be true, for everythin... »

Discourse 55

Discourse 55

Discourse 55 omeone said: “Qadi Izz al-Din sends his greetings, and always speaks of you in the most approving terms.” Rumi answered: Whoever remembers us, and speaks us well, Long may the world of their high merit tell. When people speak well of others, those good words reflect back on themselves, and in the end they are praising and applauding their own essence. Those who cultivate the habit of speaking well of others are like gardeners who plant flowers and aromatic herbs around their houses – wherever they look out they see a beautiful display and are always in Paradise. Whenever we ... »

Discourse 56

Discourse 56

Discourse 56 umi said: You are now experiencing happiness. Why? Because the mind is a delicate thing, and like a snare it was properly set to catch its prey. If you are unhappy, then that snare is torn and useless. Therefore, it is best not to be excessive in love or hatred towards others, since both of these leave the snare broken and torn. Moderation is best. By excessive love, I mean love for other than God. How can love for God ever be excessive? It is inconceivable – the greater our love for God, the better. Yet, when our love for someone else becomes excessive, we strive for them t... »

Discourse 57

Discourse 57

Discourse 57 Akmal al-Din said: “I love our Master and desire to see him. Even heaven is blotted out of my mind. I find comfort in his image without the need for any discourses or lofty ideas. I rest in his beauty. Pleasure comes to me from his very mien – even from a mental picture of him.” Rumi answered: Although heaven and God do not enter your thoughts, still they are implicit in love. A beautiful dancing-girl was once playing the castanets in the presence of the Caliph. The Caliph said, “Your art is in your hands.” She replied, “No, in my feet, great Ca... »

Discourse 58

Discourse 58

Discourse 58 Rumi related: A certain Gnostic once said, “I went to the baths to expand my heart, since the baths had become the place of retreat for certain saints. I saw that the master of the bath stove had an apprentice. The master was telling the apprentice, ‘Do this and do that.’ The apprentice was working briskly, and the stove gave off good heat because of how nimbly the orders were obeyed. “‘Fine,’ said the master. ‘Be nimble like this. If you are always energetic and mind your manners, I will give you my own position, and appoint you to my own place.’ “I was overcome with laughter,” s... »

Discourse 59

Discourse 59

Discourse 59 Someone said, “The astronomers say: You claim there is something beyond the heavens and this terrestrial ball. We believe, apart from what we see, nothing exists. If something exists, then show us where it is!” Rumi answered: Your demand is invalid from the very start. You say, “Show me where it is,” but that Thing has no place. Come then, tell me, where is your objection? Is it on your tongue, in your mouth, or within your breast? Search through all of these – divide them piece by piece, atom by atom, and you will still not find your objection, nor any thought. From t... »

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