The Five Inward Senses

Mathnawi II: 3229-3249

3229 This [miracle which was seen]1 is (merely) an outward
indication; this isn't anything. Wait until you go into the inward
[reality] (and) see [the miracles there]!

3230 (Although) a (flowering) branch may be brought to town
from a garden (as a present),2 the (entire) garden and orchard can
never be taken there.

Especially a Garden (in comparison to) which the (starry) heaven
is a (mere) leaf. No, rather that (Garden) is (like the delicious) pulp
and this (material) world is (merely) the skin.3

(Since) you lack (the ability to take) steps toward that Garden,4
seek greater scent and drive away your head-cold,5

So that the scent may become the attracter of your soul, (and) so
that the scent may become the light of your eyes.6

(It was) for the sake of (such a) scent (that) Joseph, the son of the
Prophet Jacob, said, "[Take my shirt and] cast (it) over the face of
my father."7

3235 (And) for the sake of this scent Muhammad always said
during (his) preachings, "The brightness of my eyes is in the ritual
prayer."8

The five (spiritual) senses are connected with each other, (since)
each of these five have grown from an exalted source.9

The strength of one becomes the strength of the rest;10 each one
becomes the cupbearer for the remainder.

(Thus) the eye's seeing increases love (and) love in the eye
increases truthful (vision).11

Truthful (perception) becomes wakefulness for every sense, (so
that) the discernment (of truth from falsehood) becomes the
companion of (all) the senses.12


The beginning of the mystic knower's becoming illumined by the
light which sees the Unseen (world).


3240 If a single sense has loosened [its physical] bonds while
proceeding [to perceive truly], all the rest of the senses become
altered.

(For) if a single sense has sensed (things) not (physically)
perceivable, (then) the Unseen (World) becomes evident to all of
the senses.

If a single sheep of the flock has leaped across a stream, then all
leap across the (same) side in succession.

(So) drive the sheep of your senses to pasture: cause them to graze
on (what is referred to in the verse), "(The One who) brings forth
(green) herbage"13--

So that they may graze upon hyacinth and sweet basil there, so that
they may take the road to the flower-garden of (Divine) Realities;14

3245 (So that) each of your senses may become a messenger15 to
the senses [of other people], so that they may (all) go toward that
Paradise one by one;16

(And so that those) senses will tell (their) secrets to your senses--
without (need) of (verbally stated) facts, (using) language, or
(giving) metaphors.17

For these (verbally stated) facts are capable of (different)
explanations, and these suppositions are the basis for deceptions.

(But in regard to) the actuality which is (directly) observed,18 there
isn't any room for explanation therein.

3249 When every sense has become19 the servant of your sense, the
(sight of all the) heavens will not be (far) away from you.20
--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 1926 British translation)
Ibrahim Gamard (translation, footnotes, & transliteration)
First published on "Sunlight" (yahoogroups.com), 1/3/02

Notes on the text, with line number:

1. (3229) This [miracle which was seen]: this refers to the (just
completed) story about a king (Ibrahim, son of Adham) who
became a dervish. An aristocrat happened to encounter him while
he was sewing his dervish cloak, sitting by the edge of the sea. He
quickly discerned the man's thoughts (about what a sorry sight it
was to see someone who had possessed a great kingdom sewing a
tattered cloak like a beggar) and threw his needle into the sea.
Numerous fish then appeared, offering him golden needles in their
mouths, saying (as translated by Nicholson), '"Take, O Shaykh,
God's needles.' He turned his face towards him (the Amír) and said
to him, 'O Amír, is the kingdom of the heart (spirit) better, or such
a despicable kingdom (as I once possessed)?'"

2. (3230) (Although) a (flowering) branch may be brought to town
from a garden (as a present): "It was customary to bring presents of
flowers from gardens in the vicinity of a town." (Nicholson,
Commentary)

3. (3231) and this (material) world is (merely) the skin: Nicholson
later changed his translation, on the basis of the earliest manuscript
of the Mathnawi, to "And this world is as the husk" (from, "and
this (other) world is as the husk"). And he explained, in regard to
the word "garden": "i.e. the world of the Divine Essence and
Attributes (`álam-i Láhút, `álam-i Amr)." (Commentary)

4. (3232) (Since) you lack (the ability to take) steps toward that
Garden: Nicholson translated, "(If) you are not stepping on
(briskly) towards that Garden." "It means, 'you lack the power to
find that place.'" (Anqaravi, Commentary)

5. (3232) seek greater scent and drive away your head-cold: Persian
and Turkish poets play with the idea, founded on popular belief,
that the scent of a species of dark-red rose produces a cold in the
head.... Alluding to this Jalálu 'ddín [= Rumi] says that the perfume
of the Divine Rose-garden, i.e. spiritual influences and mystical
intimations, has no such chilling effect: on the contrary, it clears
away the 'rheum' of worldliness and sensuality by which the soul is
benumbed and made torpid. Cf. I 1897 sqq." (Nicholson,
Commentary)

6. (3233) so that the scent may become the light of your eyes: "It
means, '(So that) the scent of that Garden of Reality may attract
your soul to that direction. May it be that the scent of Divine Glory
and the Breath of Lordship becomes the light of the eyes* of your
mind and heart.'" (Anqaravi, Commentary) [*light of the eyes:
refers to the ancient psychophysiological belief that the eyes are
able to see because of a power of light within the eyes.]

7. (3234) "[Take my shirt and] cast (it) over the face of my father":
Qur'an 12: 93, slightly modified for the meter. This refers to the
story of Joseph, how he revealed himself (as alive and a powerful
person in Egypt) to his brothers, and instructed them to cast his
shirt over their father's face. When the brothers returned from
Egypt, Jacob said that he smelled the scent of Joseph (12:94). Then
Joseph's shirt was cast over his face and Jacob regained his sight.

8. (3235) "The brightness of my eyes is in the ritual prayer": This is a
saying [Hadîth] of the Prophet Muhammad. It is literally, "the
coolness of my eyes," which is an idiom meaning what causes
luster and brightness in the eyes due to joy, delight, and pleasure.
"The Hadíth is related in more than one form. Fa [= Anqaravi]
gives: hubbiba ilayya min dunyákumu 'l-nisá'u wa-tíbu 'l-rá'ihati
wa-qurratu `ayné fí 'l-salát,' In this world of yours women and
sweet perfume have been made dear to me; and my delight is in the
ritual prayer.'" (Nicholson, Commentary)

Nicholson also quoted from his own translation of Hujwiri's
"Kashf Al-MaHjûb," (p. 302): "The Prophet said, 'I delight in
prayer', because prayer is a source of joy to the steadfast. When he
was brought nigh unto God on the night of the Ascension... he said,
not of his own will, but inspired by longing: 'O God, do not
transport me to yonder world of affliction! Do not throw me under
the sway of carnal nature and passion!' God answered: 'It is My
decree that thou shalt return to the world to establish the religious
law, in order that I may give thee there what I have given thee
here.' When the Prophet returned to this world, he used to say as
often as he felt a longing for that exalted station: 'O Bilál [= his
favorite caller-to-prayer], comfort us by the call to prayer!' Thus to
him every time of prayer was an Ascension and a new nearness to
God." "Cf. also III 2401 sqq. and note on I 57." [= translated by
Nicholson: "'The naughting of the attributes of the conscious self'
(faná'u 'l-sifát), which results from intense concentration of every
faculty on God in the performance of the ritual prayer, is often
described by Súfís."] (Commentary)

9. (3236) each of these five have grown from an exalted source:
Nicholson later corrected his translation, in accord with the earliest
manuscript of the Mathnawi, to "all these five have grown (are
derived) from a sublime root (source)" (from, "because all these
five have grown from one root"). And he explained: "i.e. the
faculties of the soul, corresponding to the five bodily senses with
which they are associated. In reality all these faculties are derived
from the Universal Spirit and serve to manifest Divine attributes:
they are not separate and distinct, like the bodily senses, but
involved in one another." (Commentary)

10. (3237) The strength of one becomes the strength of the rest: "It
means, 'If only one sense among these five senses receives
strength, the rest of the senses gain strength from that one sense,
and it becomes a water-server to every one of the rest.'" (Anqaravi,
Commentary)

11. (3238) the eye's seeing increases love (and) love in the eye
increases truthful (vision): Nicholson later changed his translation,
in accord with the earliest manuscript of the Mathnawi, to "Seeing
with the eye increases love; love increases penetration in the eye"
(from, "... increases speech; speech increases penetration in the
eye"). "The eye's vision gives an increase to love in the heart,
(and) the occurrence of love in the heart increases truthfulness in
the eye. In other words: When you see the beloved with the eye of
the heart, love for the beloved increases.... Observation and (close)
inspection [of the beloved's beauty] increase love." (Anqaravi,
Commentary)

12. (3239) becomes the companion of (all) the senses: Nicholson
translated, "Penetration (of sight) becomes the (means of)
awakening (stimulating) every sense, (so that) perception (of the
spiritual) becomes familiar to (all) the senses."

13. (3243) "(The One who) brings forth (green) herbage": Qur'an 87:4.

14. (3244) the flower-garden of (Divine) Realities: Nicholson later
changed his translation, in accord with the earliest manuscript of
the Mathnawi, to "the garden of the Realities" (from, "the verdant
meadows..."). In regard to the word, "Realities," Nicholson
explained: "i.e. Divine attributes which take the place of spiritual
faculties in the Perfect Man." [= a "completed" saint who reflects
all the Names of God, according to the sufi philosophy of Ibnu
'l-`Arabi, died 1240]

15. (3245) each of your senses may become a messenger
[payghambar]: Nicholson translated, "an apostle." And he
explained: "The illumined saint is the Universal Spirit who comes
as an apostle to shed light on all and guide them to the Truth. He
reads their hearts by pure intuition; his knowledge is infallible
since it is not communicated to him verbally. Words are
ambiguous..." (Commentary)

16. (3245) so that they may (all) go toward that Paradise one by one:
Nicholson later changed his translation in accord with the earliest
manuscript of the Mathnawi to "so that severally they may go
towards that Paradise" (from, "and lead all senses into that
Paradise").

17. (3246) without (need) of (verbally stated) facts, (using) language,
or (giving) metaphors: Nicholson later changed his translation, in
accord with the earliest manuscript of the Mathnawi, to "without
the proper meaning, without tongue, and without metaphor" (from,
"without tongue and without (conveying either) the proper or the
metaphorical meaning").

18. (3248) (But in regard to) the actuality which is (directly) observed:
Nicholson later changed his translation, in accord with the oldest
manuscript of the Mathnawi, to "(But in the case of) that truth
which is (perceived) from intuition" (from, "... that truth which is
immediate and intuitive"). In regard to the word "Haqîqat,"
translated just prior as "(verbally stated) facts" (and by Nicholson
as "the proper meaning"), Nicholson explained: "Here the term
haqíqat is applied, not to the literal meaning of words, but to the
real nature of things." (Commentary)

19. (3249) When every sense has become the servant: Nicholson later
changed his translation, in accord with the oldest manuscript of the
Mathnawi, to "When every sense has become subject to" (from,
"When (all) senses have become subject to..."

20. (3249) the (sight of all the) heavens will not be (far) away from
you: Nicholson translated, "the heavenly spheres cannot avoid
(obedience to) thee." "Certainly the nine heavenly spheres, and
what is between them, will also be among what is perceived-- but
will not be apart from obeying your command and will. You will
be in the (higher) rank of spirit, and the heavens on the (lower)
level of body, and your intelligence and perception will be (in a
position of) regulating and managing." (Anqaravi, Commentary)
After this explanation, Anqaravi quoted the famous Egyptian sufi
poet, Ibnu 'l-Fârid (died 1235), translated by Nicholson in his
Commentary on this verse: "There is no celestial sphere but
therein, from the light of my inward nature, is an angel who gives
guidance by my will."


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

3229 în neshân-é Zâhir-ast, în hêch nêst
tâ ba-bâTin dar-raw-î, bîn-î tô b-êst

3230 sôy-é shahr az bâgh shâkhê âwar-and
bâgh-o bostân-râ ko-jâ ân-jâ bar-and?

khâSa bâghê k-în falak yak barg-é ô-st
bal-ke ân maghz-ast-o în `âlam chô pôst

bar na-mê-dâr-î sôy-é ân bâgh gâm
bôy afzûn jôy-wo kon daf`-é zukâm

tâ ke ân bô jâZib-é jân-at shaw-ad
tâ ke ân bô nûr-é chashm-ân-at shaw-ad

goft yûsuf ibn-é ya`qûb-é nabî
bahr-é bû 'alqû `alà wajhi 'ab-î

3235 bahr-é în bô goft aHmad dar `iZât
dâyimâ qurratu `ayn-î fî 'S-Salât

panj His bâ ham-degar paywasta-and
rosta în har panj az aSlê boland

quwwat-é yak quwwat-é bâqî shaw-ad
mâ-baqî-râ har yakê sâqî shaw-ad

dîdan-é dîda fazây-ad `ishq-râ
`ishq dar dîda fezây-ad Sidq-râ

Sidq bêdârîy-é har His mê-shaw-ad
His-hâ-râ Zawq mû'nis mê-shaw-ad


âghâz-é munawwar-shodan-é `ârif ba-nûr-é ghayb-bîn


3240 chûn yakê His dar rawesh be-g'shâd band
bâ-baqî His-hâ hama mubdal shaw-and

chûn yakê His ghayr-é maHsûsât dîd
gasht ghaybî bar hama His-hâ padîd

chûn ze jô jast az gala yak gôsfand
pas pay-a-pay jumla z-ân sô bar jah-and

gôsfand-ân-é Hawâss-at-râ be-rân
dar charâ az 'akhraja 'l-mar`à charân

tâ dar ân-jâ sunbul-o rayHân char-and
tâ ba-golzâr-é Haqâyiq-é rah bar-and

3245 har His-at payghâmbar-é His-hâ shaw-ad
tâ yak-â-yak sôy-é ân jannat raw-ad

Hiss-hâ bâ Hiss-é tô gôy-and râz
bê-Haqîqat, bê-zabân-o bê-majâz

k-în Haqîqat qâbil-é ta'wîl-hâ-st
w-în tawahhum mâya-yé takhyîl-hâ-st

ân Haqîqat-râ ke bâsh-ad az `ayân
hêch ta'wîlê na-gonj-ad dar meyân

3249 chûn-ke har His banda-yé Hiss-é tô shod
mar falak-hâ-râ na-bâsh-ad az tô bod

(mathnawi meter: XoXX XoXX XoX)