Masnavi

I have lived on the lip of insanity,
wanting to know reasons,
knocking on a door, it opens.
I’ve been knocking from the inside!


Theologians mumble,
rumble-dumple,
necessity and free will,
while lover and beloved
pull themselves into each other.


His mental questionings form the barrier.
His physical eyesight bandages his knowing.
Self-consciousness plugs his ears.


That intellectual warp and woof
keeps you wrapped in blindness.


There’s a strange frenzy
in my head, of birds flying,
each particle circulating on its own.
Is the one I love everywhere?


Lo, I am with you always means
when you look for God,
God is in the look of your eyes,
in the thought of looking,
nearer to you than your self,
or things that have happened to you.
There’s no need to go outside.
Be melting snow.
Wash yourself of yourself.


When you are with everyone but me,
you’re with no one.
When you are with no one but me,
you’re with everyone.
Instead of being so bound up
with everyone, be everyone.
When you become that many,
you’re nothing. Empty.


I am scrap wood thrown in your fire,
and quickly reduced to smoke.
I saw you and became empty.
This emptiness,
more beautiful than existence,
it obliterates existence, and
yet when it comes, existence
thrives and creates more existence!


The sky is blue.
The world is a blind man
squatting on the road.
But whoever sees
your emptiness
sees beyond blue
and beyond the blind man.


Notice how the stars vanish
as the sun comes up,
and how all streams
stream toward the ocean.


You’ve been fearful of being absorbed
in the ground, or drawn up by the air.
Now, your waterbead lets go
and drops into the ocean,
where it came from.
It no longer has
the form it had,
but it’s still water.
The essence is the same.


Praise to the emptiness
that blanks out existence.
Existence: this place made
from our love for that emptiness!
Yet somehow comes emptiness,
this existence goes.
Praise to that happening,
over and over!


Move outside the tangle
of fear-thinking.
Live in silence.
Flow down and down
in always widening rings of being.


Try to dissolve out of selfishness
into a voice beyond those limits.


For years I pulled my own existence
out of emptiness.
Then one swoop,
one swing of the arm,
that work is over.
Free of who I was,
free of presence,
free of dangerous fear, hope,
free of mountainous wanting.


This giving up is not a repenting.
It’s a deep honoring of yourself.
Love is for vanishing into the sky.


When you eventually see
through the veils
to how things really are,
you will keep saying
again and again,
This is certainly not like
we thought it was!


Whoever brought me here
will have to take me home.


When you see the splendor of union,
the attractions of duality seem poignant
and lovely, but much less interesting.


There are guides
who can show you the way.
Use them. but they will not
satisfy your longing.
Keep wanting that connection
with all your pulsing energy.


No better love than love
with no object,
no more satisfying work
than work with no purpose.
If you could give up
tricks and cleverness,
that would be the cleverest trick!


Every thirst gets satisfied
except that of these fish,
the mystics, who swim
a vast ocean of grace
still somehow longing for it!


You are so weak.
Give up to grace.
The ocean
takes care of each wave
till it gets to shore.
You need more help
than you know.


Your loving doesn’t know its majesty,
until it knows its helplessness.


Humble living
does not diminish.
It fills.
Going back to a simpler self
gives wisdom.


There is a secret medicine
given only to those
who hurt so hard
they can’t hope.


I said Oh no!
Help me!
And that Oh no!
became a rope
let down in my well.
I’ve climbed out to stand
here in the sun.
One moment I was
at the bottom of a dank,
fearful narrowness, and the next,
I am not contained by the universe.
If every tip of every hair
on me could speak,
I still couldn’t say
my gratitude.
In the middle of
these streets and gardens,
I stand and say and say again,
and it’s all I say,
I wish everyone could know
what I know.


… desire for the world has deprived
man of the Object of his desire.


God created suffering and heartache
so that joyful-heartedness might appear
through its opposite.
Hence hidden things
become manifest
through opposites.
But since God has no opposite,
He remains hidden…
God’s light has no opposite
within existence,
that through its opposite
it might be made manifest.


The Heart-keeper will leave you
neither in faithfulness nor cruelty,
neither in denial nor acknowledgment.
Whenever you turn your heart
toward something
His Severity will
detach you from it —
oh heart, fix not your heart
on any place,
do not persist!


Whatever God gives you,
be content.
At the very moment
you become content in affliction,
the door of paradise will open.
If the messenger of heartache
comes to you, embrace him
like a friend!
A cruelty that comes
from the Beloved —
bestow upon it
a warm welcome!
Then that heartache
can throw off its chador,
rain down sugar,
and be gentle
and heart-ravishing…
They all put on ugly chadors
so that you will think they are dragons.
But I am fed up with my spirit —
I worship dragons!
If you are fed up with your spirit,
then hear their calls of welcome!
Heartache can never find me
without laughter —
I call the pain the “cure”.
Nothing is more blessed
than heartache,
for its reward has no end.


The window determines
how much light enters the house,
even if the moon’s radiance fills
the east and the west.


… the reality of day is
the inmost consciousness
of the saints:
Beside their noon,
day is but a shadow.


The house of the heart
that remains without illumination
from the rays of the Magnificent Sun,
is narrow and dark like a miser’s soul,
empty of the Loving King’s sweet taste.
The Sun’s light does not shine
in that heart,
space does not expand,
doors do not open:
The grave would be
more pleasant for you —
so come, arise from
the tomb of your heart!


We are all lions,
but lions on a banner;
We keep on leaping
because of the wind.


Concern yourself not with
the thief-like ego and its business.
Whatever is not God’s work is
nothing, nothing!


That Oneness is on the other side
of descriptions and states.
Nothing but duality enters
speech’s playing field.


You seek knowledge
from books.
What a shame! …
You are an ocean of knowledge
hidden in a dew drop…


The intellect is luminous and seeks the good.
How then can the dark ego vanquish it?
The ego is in its own bodily home,
and your intellect is a stranger;
At its doorstep, a dog is an awesome lion.


This ego is hell, and hell is a dragon
not diminished by oceans of water.
It drinks down the seven seas,
yet the heat of that manburner
does not become less.
It makes a morsel
out of a world
and gulps it down.
Its belly keeps shouting:
Is there any more?


The great scholars of the age
split hairs in all the sciences.
They have gained total knowledge
and complete mastery of things
that have nothing to do with them.
But that which is important and
closer to him than anything else,
namely his own self,
this your great scholar
does not know.
Since cleverness is your pride
and fills you with wind,
become a simpleton so that
your heart may remain healthy.
Not a simpleton warped by buffoonery,
but one distraught and bewildered in God.


Intellect is good and
desirable to the extent
it brings you to the King’s door.
Once you have reached His door,
then divorce the intellect!
From this time on,
the intellect will be
to your loss and a brigand.
When you reach Him,
entrust yourself to Him!
You have no business with
the how and the wherefore.
Know that the intellect’s cleverness
all belongs to the vestibule.
Even if it possesses the knowledge of
Plato, it is still outside of the palace.


Everyone has turned his face
toward some direction,
but the saints have turned
in the direction
without directions.


Spend less time seeking water
and acquire thirst!
Then water will gush
from above and below.


What is Love? Perfect thirst.
So let me explain
the Water of Life.
In weeping {the lover}
is like the clouds,
in perseverance
like the mountains,
in prostration like water,
in lowliness like dirt in the road.
But all these afflictions
surround his garden
like thorns —
within it are roses,
the Beloved,
and a flowing fountain.
When you pass by
the garden’s wall
and enter into its greenery,
you will give thanks and prostrate
yourself in gratitude..


Pride always seeks position and property…
For these two nurses increase skin.
They stuff it with fat and flesh
and pride and arrogance.


He has afflicted you
from every direction
in order to pull you back
to the Directionless.


Man is like a bow held
in the hand of God’s Power.
God employs him in various tasks.
In reality, the agent is God, not the bow.
The bow is an instrument and a means.
But for the sake of the maintenance
of the world it is unaware
and heedless of God.
Tremendous indeed
is the bow that becomes
aware of the Bowman’s hand!


The earth has the external shape of dust,
but inside are the luminous
Attributes of God.
It’s outward
has fallen into war
with its inward;
its inward is like a pearl
and its outward a stone.
Its outward says,
“I am this and no more.”
Its inward says,
“Look well, before and behind!”
Its outward denies, saying,
“The inward is nothing.”
The inward says,
“We will show you. Wait!”


All of these are symbols —
I mean that the other world
keeps coming into this world.
Like cream hidden in the soul of milk,
No-place keeps coming into place.
Like intellect concealed
in blood and skin,
the Traceless keeps
entering into traces.
And from beyond the intellect,
beautiful Love comes
dragging its skirts,
a cup of wine in its hand.
And from beyond Love,
that indescribable One
who can only be called
“That” keeps coming.


The beauty of the Unseen Form
is beyond description —
borrow a thousand
illuminated eyes,
borrow!


All pictured forms are reflections
in the water of the stream;
when you rub your eyes,
indeed, all are He.


Although those drunk with God
are thousands, they are one;
those drunk with self-will are
all twos and threes.