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 saying goes, “We have no power of our own, it is all a swallowing up and a vomiting.” The meaning of “swallowing” is descending into this lower world and becoming a part of it. The meaning of “vomiting” is expelling falsehood out of the heart. For instance, if people eat food that turns sour in their stomach, they vomit it. If they did not cast out that poison, it would become a part of them.

The disciple dances and serves to find a place in the heart of the sheik. Anything the disciple does that displeases the sheik is cast forth from the sheik’s heart, like the food we eat and then vomit. Just as bad food would become part of us, unless we rejected it, so that disciple’s poor conduct in time would become a part of the sheik, unless the sheik cast such actions out of their heart.

God’s love was proclaimed to the world

And every heart into confusion was hurled,

Those hearts were burned and into ashes turned

Then to the indifferent wind their ashes spurned.

In that wind of indifference the atoms of those hearts are dancing and singing. If they are not, then how do we hear their song, and who is it every moment that tells their tale anew? And if these hearts do not realize their very life consists in burning up and spurning to the wind, how is it they are so eager to be burned? As for those hearts burned up in the fire of worldly lusts and turned into ashes, do you hear any sound or see any luster from them?

The poet, Urwa ibn Adhina, wrote, “I know well the way God provides our daily bread. What use is there in running about here and there with no purpose? Truly, when I forget about money, food, clothing and the desires of lust, my daily portion comes to me. But when I run after those desires, they only bring me pain and wear me out. If I sit where I belong, with patience, my needs are fulfilled without pain and distress. For truly, my daily supply is also seeking me and tugging at me. When it cannot pull me it comes to me, just as when I cannot attract it I go after it.”

The upshot of these words is this: absorb yourself with the World to come so that World will pursue you. “Sitting” means to sit detached from this world while being absorbed in the affairs of the world to come. Those who run for the sake of the other World, they are truly seated. If they are seated for the sake of the present world, they are running. The Prophet said, “Whoever reduces all their cares to a single care, God fulfills all their other needs.” If someone is plagued by ten cares let them worry only about that care for the other World, and God will untangle those other nine knots without any effort.

The prophets cared nothing about fame and daily bread. Their only care was God’s approval, and yet they received both daily bread and fame. Whoever seeks God’s pleasure will become bedfellows with the prophets, in this world and the next.

“They are with those whom God has blessed,

Prophets, people of the path and heaven’s guests.”

“I sit with those who remember Me.” If God did not sit with them, the yearning for God would never have entered their hearts. The scent of the rose cannot exist without the rose. The scent of musk never exists without the musk.

There is no end to these words. Even if they do end, still they are not like other words.

The night’s departed, still, my friend,

Our story’s not yet at an end.

The night and darkness of this world passes away while the light of these words becomes clearer. Even though the night of the prophets’ lives have set, still the light of their discourse has not left, nor ended, nor ever will.

People said about Majnun, “He loves Laila, what is so strange in that? After all, they were children together and went to the same school.” Majnun said, “They are fools. What pretty woman is not desirable?”

Is there any man whose heart is not stirred by a lovely woman? It is love that feeds our heart, just as the sight of mother, father and brother, the pleasure of children, the pleasure of lust – all forms of delight are rooted in love. Majnun was an example of all lovers, just as in grammar other sentences are quoted.

Feast on sweetmeats or on roast,

Drink the wine that you love most.

What’s that savor on your lips?

Water that a dreamer sips!

When tomorrow you arise,

And great thirst upon you lies,

Little use will be that deep

Draught you’ve taken while asleep.

The delights of this world are the same as people who eat while asleep. They chase after worldly needs just as if they were looking for something in a dream. Even if they find it, once they are awake what good will it do them if they have eaten while asleep? Yet, still, what they ask for in their sleep they are given, for “The present is proportionate to the request.”