August 11th, 2011

Why i Love Rumi

Maulana Jalalu-'d-din Muhammad Rumi
Masnavi I Ma'navi

Book II.
STORY VII. Moses and the Shepherd.*

 Moses once heard a shepherd praying as follows: "O God, show me where thou art, that I may become. Thy servant. I will clean Thy shoes and comb Thy hair, and sew Thy clothes, and fetch Thee milk." When Moses heard him praying in this senseless manner, he rebuked him, saying, "O foolish one, though your father was a Mosalman, you have become an infidel. God is a Spirit, and needs not such gross ministrations as, in your ignorance, you suppose." The shepherd was abashed at his rebuke, and tore his clothes and fled away into the desert. Then a voice from heaven was heard, saying, "O Moses, wherefore have you driven away my servant? Your office is to reconcile my people with me, not to drive them away from me. I have given to each race different usages and forms of praising and adoring me. I have no need of their praises, being exalted above all such needs. I regard not the words that are spoken, but the heart that offers them. I do not require fine words, but a burning heart. Men's ways of showing devotion to me are various, but so long as the devotions are genuine, they are accepted."
Religious forms indifferent.
A voice came from God to Moses,
"Why hast thou sent my servant away?
Thou hast come to draw men to union with me,
Not to drive them far away from me.
So far as possible, engage not in dissevering;
'The thing most repugnant to me is divorce.' 2
To each person have I allotted peculiar forms,
To each have I given particular usages.
What is praiseworthy in thee is blameable in him,
What is poison for thee is honey for him.
What is good in him is bad in thee,
What is fair in him is repulsive in thee.
I am exempt from all purity and impurity,
I need not the laziness or alacrity of my people.
I created not men to gain a profit from them,
But to shower my beneficence upon them.
In the men of Hind the usages of Hind are praiseworthy,
In the men of Sind those of Sind.
I am not purified by their praises,
'Tis they who become pure and shining thereby.
I regard not the outside and the words,
I regard the inside and the state of heart.
I look at the heart if it be humble,
Though the words may be the reverse of humble.
Because the heart is substance, and words accidents,
Accidents are only a means, substance is the final cause.
How long wilt thou dwell on words and superficialities?
A burning heart is what I want; consort with burning!
Kindle in thy heart the flame of love,
And burn up utterly thoughts and fine expressions.
O Moses! the lovers of fair rites are one class,
They whose hearts and souls burn with love are another.
Lovers must burn every moment,
As tax and tithe are levied on a ruined village.
If they speak amiss, call them not sinners;
If a martyr be stained with blood, wash it not away.
Blood is better than water for martyrs,
This fault is better than a thousand correct forms.
No need to turn to the Ka'ba when one is in it,
And divers have no need of shoes.
One does not take a drunken man as a guide on the way,
Nor speak of darns to torn garments.
The sect of lovers is distinct from all others,

Masnavi I Ma'navi: text - IntraText CT

*I prefer the, perhaps, less accurate but more lovely version by Coleman Barks in The Essential Rumi,  Here is a link to another version (possibly by the Helminskis) which is similar to Barks version:
(edir: Correction, this is the Coleman Barks version.)

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Writer's Block: Love to hate

Who are your favorite television or movie villains? What makes them so deliciously evil?

Jack Palance!

There have been actors who could make my blood freeze, my hair stand on end.
There are actors who could be a convincing good guy in one movie
and a convincing villian  in the  next.
Best are those who seem right, right up to the end,
then turn out to be totally wrong.

But the villian who stays in my mind, year after year
is the gunman dressed in black
hired by the ranchers to drive out the farmers
in "Shane."
He has very few lines.
Yes, he does call Alan Ladd out.
but the words seem wasted
and uncharacteristic.
His presence alone is what strikes fear in the heart.