Remember God's Blessings

Mathnawi VI: 1794-1829

1794 In short, right now you should ask from each part of you--
(for) these speechless parts have a hundred tongues--1

1795 (About its) memory of the blessings and favors of the
Provider2 of the world which have been hidden in the pages of
time.

You are actively seeking stories day and night, (yet) every part of
you is telling you stories.3

Since every part of you has grown up out of non-existence, how
many joys and sorrows they have experienced!

For no part will grow without enjoyment. Rather, (such) a part
becomes thin and weak from every (painful) contortion.4

The part remains, but the enjoyment has gone from (its) memory.
Rather, it didn't go (but) became hidden from the five (senses) and
the seven (heavens).5

1800 (It is like) summer, during which cotton is born. (Afterwards)
the cotton remains (but) the summer has gone from memory.

Or (it is) the likeness of ice, which is born from winter. The ice
(remains) in front of us,6 (but) the (memory of) winter is hidden.

The ice is a memorial of those difficulties (during winter).
(Likewise), these fruits during (the first month of) winter (are) a
memorial of summer.

Likewise, young man, every part of you in your body is telling the
story of a particular (Divine) favor.

Just as a woman who has twenty children, each one is the narrator
of a state of happiness.7

1805 Being pregnant isn't (possible) without (originating) from
amorous playfulness and ecstasy. The orchard can never bring
forth (fruit) without a spring-season:

The "pregnant" ones and their "children"8 on (their) "laps" are
the proof of the (orchard's) love-play with the spring-season.

Every tree among suckling infants (is) pregnant from a hidden
king, like Mary.9

Even though the fiery heat is hidden in the (boiling) water, a
hundred thousand (bubbles of) foam are surging upon it.

Although the fire weaves (heat) very secretly, the foam is pointing
(to its presence) with "ten fingers."

1810 Similarly, the parts of those (ecstatically) drunk with union
(are) pregnant from the analogies (produced by spiritual) states
and speech.10

In the presence of the beauty of the ecstatic state, (their) mouths
remain open (from bewilderment), (and their) eyes have become
absent from worldly forms.

Those "sons"11 are not from being born out of the four
(elements). Therefore, (they) are not visible to these (physical) eyes.

Those "sons" are born from (mystical) illumination.12
Therefore, they are concealed by a pure veil.

We said "born," but in reality it is not (something) born-- and this
word isn't (used here) except for the sake of guidance.

1815 Hurry up (and) be silent, so that the King of "Say!"13 may
speak. Don't (try to) sell (such) a nightingale14 to this kind of
rose.15

This talkative rose (is) full of boiling and shouting. O
nightingale, abandon (your own) tongue (and) be (all) ears!

Both kinds of analogies16 of pure (mental) images are fair and
just witnesses to the mystery of union.17

(And) both kinds of subtle and pleasing beauty (are) witnesses to
the (spiritual) conception and gathering together18 of that which s
past.

Just as ice, in the renewed July summer,19 is telling the story of
winter every moment,

1820 (And is recalling) the memory of those frigid winds and
intense cold during those difficult times and days.

(Or) just as fruit in the winter season is telling the story of the
kindness of God (during summer)

(And) the story of the time of the smiles of the sun and the
touching and deflowering20 of those brides of the orchard.

The ecstatic state has gone, but your part remained as a memorial;
either ask it (for the memory)21 or bring back the memory yourself.

When sorrow holds you down, if you are quick, you should seek
(to question) that moment which caused hopelessness.

1825 (And) you should say to it, "O sorrow which denies the
(daily) condition of the allotment of generous favors22 from the
[realm of] Perfection:

"Although the spring-season and (its) cheerful freshness are not
(present) in every moment for you, (still) your body (is) like a heap
of roses. What is it (to you), a corn stack?

(Your) body is a heap of roses, (and) your thoughts are like rose
water. (Yet) the rose water has become the denier of the rose--
(and) this (should be) amazing to you."

Hay (is) withheld from those who have the disposition of
ungrateful apes. (But there are festive) scatterings of sunshine and
(rain-bearing) clouds upon those who have the disposition of
prophets.

1829 That quarrelling of the ungrateful denier is the custom of an
ape. (But) that thankfulness and gratitude is the roadway of a
prophet.

--From "The Mathnawî-yé Ma`nawî" [Rhymed Couplets of
Deep Spiritual Meaning] of Jalaluddin Rumi.
Translated from the Persian by Ibrahim Gamard (with
gratitude for R. A. Nicholson's 1934 British translation)
ę Ibrahim Gamard (translation, footnotes, & transliteration)
First published on "Sunlight" (yahoogroups.com), 8/10/00

Notes on the text, with line number:

1. (1794) these speechless parts have a hundred tongues: The Qur'an
states that the members of the body will "testify" on the Day of
Resurrection about the good and bad deeds they were made to
perform: "On the Day (when) their own tongues, hands, and feet
will witness against them about what they did." (Qur'an 24: 24)

2. (1795) the blessings and favors of the Provider: "The seven
heavens and the earth and (all) that is therein glorify Him, and
there is not a thing but celebrates His praise, but you do not
understand their praise." (Qur'an 27:43) The "Provider" [razzâq] is
one of the "Ninety-Nine Names of God" in the Islamic tradition:
"Truly God is the Provider [ar-razzâq] of Sustenance, the Lord of
Power, the Strong." Qur'an 51: 58)

3. (1796) telling you stories: Nicholson translated, "is telling thee the
story (of His bounties)."

4. (1798) every (painful) contortion: Nicholson translated, "at every
spasm (of pain) the part (affected) becomes thin (dwindles)."

5. (1799) the five (senses) and the seven (heavens): Nicholson
translated, "and the seven (members of the body)." However, he
translated III: 2121 as, "I sing thy praise outside of the five
(senses) and the seven (heavens."

6. (1801) The ice (remains) in front of us: perhaps refers to the snow
and ice which lingers for a number of months on the (visible) tops
of mountains after winter has passed. However, Nicholson refers to
the use of ice as a refrigerant in hot weather (Commentary).

7. (1804) a state of happiness: Nicholson translated, "... each (child)
is telling of a (past) delight."

8. (1806) The "pregnant" ones and their "children": Nicholson
translated, "The pregnant (trees) and the children..." and he
explained: "I. e. the leaves and fruit." (Footnote)

9. (1807) like Mary: refers to the miraculous pregnancy of Mary, the
mother of the Prophet Jesus, who became pregnant while a virgin
when the angel Gabriel (called the Spirit or the Holy Spirit in the
Qur'an) came to her. "And mention Mary in the Book (of the
Qur'an) when she withdrew from her family to a place (facing)
east. She placed a screen (to seclude herself) from them. Then We
sent Our Spirit to her, and it appeared to her in the likeness of a
well-proportioned man." (Qur'an 19:16-17)

10. (1810) pregnant from the analogies (produced by spiritual) states
and speech: Nicholson translated, "pregnant with the (ideal) forms
of (ecstatic) feelings and words." This refers to the ecstasy
produced from listening to mystical poetry, which expresses
symbolic mental images to describe mystical states such as union.
These analogies and symbols are, in turn, created during spiritual
ecstatic states [Hâl] and by the efforts to describe such experiences
in words.
11. (1812) these "sons": Nicholson translated, "Those (spiritual)
progenies..." He explained them as meaning "mystical 'states' and
ecstatic expressions (shathiyyát), contrasted with the mawálid-i
thalathah [= the three offspring of nature: mineral, vegetable, and
animal] of the sensible world." (Commentary)

12. (1813 (mystical) illumination: Nicholson translated," These
progenies are born of (Divine) illumination..."

13. (1815) the King of "Say!": "I.e. God who speaks through the prophets
and saints." (Nicholson, footnote). In the Qur'an, God often
commands the Prophet (and therefore all Muslims) to speak
particular­words of revelation. The most famous example is the
Chapter of Unity: "Say [qul]: 'He is God, the Only One, the
Eternal. He does not beget, nor is He begotten. And there is no one
comparable to Him.'" (Qur'an 112:1-4)

14. (1815) Don't (try to) sell a nightingale: Nicholson translated, "... do
not play the nightingale" and explained: "Literally, 'do not sell
(offer for sale and display) the quality (song) of the nightingale."

15. (1815) this kind of rose: means don't speak and display yourself in
the presence of the inspired saint, who is speaking the words of
God from an ecstatic state.

16. (1817) both kinds of analogies: refers to line 1810, "the analogies
(produced by spiritual) states and speech."

17. (1817) the mystery of union: something beyond the ability of
words and
thoughts to understand. Therefore, it is beyond doctrines created
by the mind, such as unification [ittiHâd] with God, nor the union
of a chosen soul with the Creator ("shirk," for God has no partner),
nor the union of the Creator with the soul of a individual ("Hulûl,"
meaning an indwelling or incarnation of God in human form).
Although sufi poets often speak of "union,' it is best conceived of
as a spiritual state of nearness to God, likened to union.

18. (1818) (spiritual) conception and gathering together: means
spiritual birth and development. Nicholson translated, "(spiritual)
pregnancies and growing big (with child)..." and he explained
"growing big (with child)" as meaning, "Literally, '(the process of)
raising to life" (footnote). Since the word "Hashr" usually means
the gathering of souls resurrected on the Day of Judgment,
Nicholson later offered a different explanation in his Commentary:
"i.e. past impregnations (by Divine grace) and (spiritual)
resurrections (revelations of Reality). This may refer to the
experience of the souls of the blest in pre-existence (rúz-i Alast)"
[= the Day of "Am I not" (your Lord?)"-- when God made a
covenant, prior to the creation, with the souls of all of future
mankind, mentioned in Qur'an 7:172]

19. (1819) the renewed July summer: Nicholson translated, "... in the
brilliant (month of Tamúz..." and added, "Literally, 'made new,'
'renovated.'" (footnote) And he explained further: "an epithet
applicable to a new garment, depicts the change from winter frost
and gloom to fine bright summer weather. (Commentary)

20. (1822) the touching and deflowering [lams-o Tams]: Although the
word "Tams" means "obliteration" and "effacement" and could
refer to orgasm (the next line begins, "The ecstatic state has
gone..."), Nicholson read it as "lams-o TamS," meaning "the
(sensual) touching and (first) sexual intercourse (with a virgin)."
Thus he translated, "when the sun was smiling and embracing the
brides of the orchard," and he explained in Latin, "Literally,
'contactu et coitu fruebatur.'" (Footnote) So he understood the
phrase as meaning "lams-o TamS" but spelled it "lams-o Tams" for
the rhyme (with "shams," the sun).

21. (1823) ask it (for the memory): apparently, this refers to lines
1794-99, where Rumi asks the listener to ask the parts or sections
of the body, mind, and heart about the memories they keep hidden.

22. (1825) generous favors: "I.e. 'when overtaken by affliction, do not
lose faith and hope but call yourself to account: how can you,
whose whole being bears witness to the bounties God has heaped
on you, have any thought of ingratitude towards Him?'"
(Nicholson, Commentary)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

1794 bârî aknûn tô ze-har juzw-at be-pors
Sad zabân dâr-and în ajzây-é khurs

1795 Zikr-é ni`mat-hây-é razzâq-é jahân
ke nehân shod ân dar âwrâq-é zamân

rôz-o shab afsâna-jôyân-î tô chost
juzw juzw-é tô fasâna-gôy-é to-st

juzw juzw-at tâ be-rost-ast az `adam
chand shâdî dîda-and-o chand gham

z-ân-ke bê-laZZat na-rôy-ad hêch juzw
bal-ke lâghar gard-ad az har pêch juzw

juzw mând-o ân khwashî az yâd raft
bal na-raft ân, khufya shod az panj-o haft

1800 ham-chô tâbestân ke az way panbe zâd
mând panba, raft tâbestân ze-yâd

yâ miSâl-é yakh ke zây-ad az shitâ
shod shitâ penhân-o ân yakh pêsh-é mâ

hast ân yakh z-ân Su`ûbat yâdgâr
yâdgâr-é Sayf dar day în Simâr

ham-chon-ân har juzw-é juzw-at ay fatî
dar tan-at afsâna-gôy-é ni`matê

chûn zanê ke bîst farzand-ash bow-ad
har yakê Hâkîy-é Hâl-é khwash bow-ad

1805 Haml na-b'w-ad bê z-mastiyy-o ze-lâgh
bê-bahârê kay shaw-ad zâyanda bâgh?

Hâmil-ân-o bachcha-gân-shân bar kenâr
shod dalîl-é `ishq-bâzî bâ bahâr

har derakhtê dar raZâ`-é kôdak-ân
ham-chô maryam Hâmil az shâhê nehân

gar-che dar âb âteshî pôshîda shod
Sad hazâr-ân kaf bar-ô jôshîda shod

gar-che âtesh sakht penhân mê-tan-ad
kaf ba-dah angosht ishârat mê-kon-ad

1810 ham-chon-în ajzây-é mast-ân-é wiSâl
Hâmil az tamSâl-hây-é Hâl-o qâl

dar jamâl-é Hâl wâ mânda dah-ân
chashm ghâyib gashta az naqsh-é jahân

ân mawâlîd az zeh-é în châr nêst
lâ-jaram manZûr-é în abSâr nêst

ân mawâlîd az tajallî zâda-and
lâ-jaram mastûr-é parda-yé sâda-and

zâda goft-êm-o Haqîqat zâd nêst
w-în `ibârat joz pay-é irshâd nêst

1815 hîn khamosh kon tâ be-gôy-ad shâh-é qul
bolbolê ma-f'rôsh bâ în jins-é gol

în gol-é gôyâ-st por jôsh-o khorôsh
bolbolâ tark-é zabân kon, bâsh gôsh

har dô gûn tamSâl-é pâkîza-miSâl
shâhid-é `adl-and bar sirr-é wiSâl

har dô gûn Husn-é laTîf-é murtaZà
shâhid-é aHbâl-o Hashr-é mâ maZà

ham-chô yakh k-andar tamûz-é mustajad
har dam afsâna-yé zamestân mê-kon-ad

1820 Zikr-é ân aryâH-é sard-o zamharîr
andar ân azmân-o ayyâm-é `asîr

ham-chô ân mêwa ke dar waqt-é shitâ
mê-kon-ad afsâna-yé luTf-é kodâ

qiSSa-yé dawr-é tabassum-hây-é shams
w-ân `arûs-ân-é chaman-râ lams-o Tams

Hâl raft-o mând juzw-at yâdgâr
yâ az-ô wâ pors, yâ khwad yâd âr

chûn ferô gîr-ad gham-at gar chostiy-î
z-ân dam-é nawmêd-kon wâ jostiy-î

1825 goft-î-ash ay ghaSSa-yé munkir ba-Hâl
râtiba-yé in`âm-hâ-râ z-ân kamâl

gar ba-har dam ne-t bahâr-o khurramî-st
ham-chô châsh-é gol tan-at anbâr chî-st

châsh-é gol tan, fikr-é tô ham-chûn gol-âb
munkar-é gol shod gol-âb, în-at `ujâb

az kapî-khôy-ân-é kufr-ân kah darêgh
bar nabî-khôy-ân niSâr-é mehr-o mêgh

1829 ân lajâj-é kufr qânûn-é kapî-st
w-ân sepâs-o shukr minhâj-é nabî-st

(mathnawi meter: XoXX XoXX XoX)