The title of Rumis masterwork Masnavi-I Ma'navi means “Rhyming Couplets of Profound Spiritual Meaning.” Rumi himself referred to the. bestthing.info Permissions and . There is tremendous spiritual depth in the teachings of Rumi and he is also widely accepted. Teachings of Rumi. byE.H. Whinfield. Publication date Topics english, guru . PublisherOmphaloskepsis. Collectionopensource_textbooks.
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Teachings of Rumi. (PDF version of Candle Post No. ). Researched and Compiled by: Noorallah Juma, Ph.D. bestthing.info I have sold too many books. Rumi translations have no business cresting in a wave of over half a million. It's like selling picnic tickets to an unmarked minefield. The Sufi Path of Love - The Spiritual Teachings of Rumi (by W. C. Chittick) - Ebook download as PDF File .pdf), Text File .txt) or read book online.
When you smash the jugs, the water is one. D Rumi never set out to write an organized textbook on Sufism or to give an exhaustive explanation of some or all of its teachings.
Some of his contemporaries even objected to his unsystematic and anecdotal style, asking why there was no mention of "metaphysical discussions and sublime mysteries" M III Many great Sufis of his day wrote erudite and systematic treatises on Sufi lore.
But unlike them, Rumi did not "describe and define each station and stage by which the mystic ascends to God" M III Rumi answers his detractors in a way that expresses clearly his own role as he perceived it: When the Koran was revealed, the unbelievers criticized it in the same way. They said, "It is only legends and contemptible tales. There is no profound investigation or lofty inquiry. Little children understand it. It is nothing but a few commands about what is approved and disapproved.
His purpose in composing poetry and in speaking to his listeners is not to give them a scientific or scholarly exposition of this or that point of the Islamic teachings. Nor is it to explain to them what Sufism, the inward dimension of Islam, is all about. He only wants to make them realize that as human beings, they are bound by their very nature to turn toward God and to devote themselves totally to Him.
But this simple statement cannot begin to tell us why Rumi has attracted so much attention from his own lifetime down to the present day. That must be sought not so much in what he is saying but in how he says it. As soon as one separates Rumi's message from his own mode of expressing it, it becomes somehow dry and uninspiring. To appreciate Rumi in all his dimensions, one must read Rumi himself, not the scholarly commentators. But the Western reader faces a number of obstacles to reading and understanding Rumi's works.
Leaving aside the well-known drawbacks of translations in general, there remain the constant references to Islamic teachings with which the reader may not be familiar. Rumi's universe is shaped by the Koran, the Prophet, and the Moslem saints, just as Dante's is shaped by Christ, the Bible, and the church. But fortunately, Rumi's message is so universal and he is so liberal in his use of imagery drawn from sources common to all human experience that this obstacle is not a fundamental one.
It can be overcome by a careful selection of texts. As a result his essential teachings can be presented with a great richness of symbolism and imagery yet unen-cumbered by long explanations of obscure points, however useful such explanations may be in their proper place.
A second obstacle is more difficult to overcome than the first: A thorough understanding of almost any passage in Rumi's works presupposes an acquaintance with the whole body of his teachings. Rumi makes no attempt to begin simply and then gradually to lead the reader by stages into the profundities of Sufi teachings. His Diwan precludes such a procedure by its very nature.
Teachings of Rumi
But even the Mathnawi, which from the beginning was a didactic work and which preserves its original form, makes no attempt to arrange material in terms of degrees of difficulty or complexity. From the first line Rumi alludes to a whole range of Sufi theory and practice. In addition, Rumi's teachings are interrelated in innumerable ways.
Practically every line of his poetry could act as the starting point for an exposition of the whole body of his teachings. When Rumi's poetry is taught in traditional circles in the Islamic world, it is not uncommon for a master to spend months on a short anecdote from the Mathnawi or a single ghazal from the Diwan.
By the end of a few years' study, the student may find that he has read only a small percentage of Rumi's verses.
But having studied these verses thoroughly, he will be familiar with the whole range of Rumi's spiritual teachings and be able to read the rest of his poetry with sufficient understanding to do without a master. Not, of course, that he will necessarily have become a master of Rumi's verse himself.
As every student of Rumi knows, his verses are an inexhaustible ocean, and ultimately the student's understanding will depend upon his own capacity. If you pour the ocean into a jug, how much will it hold? One day's store. D In short, a thorough understanding of any one of Rumi's teachings entails some degree of understanding of them all. The reader can only benefit from Rumi's poetry to the extent that he is already familiar with the teachings it containsor, one should add, to the extent his spirit recalls and "recollects" them.
So a major purpose of the present book is to outline and explain briefly, to the extent possible in Rumi's own words, the central themes of his works. Three Dimensions of Sufism Sufi teachings can be divided into three broad categories.
For Moslems, it is the knowledge revealed by the Koran. In such a perspective "works" means the application of this knowledge to one's everyday life.
For Moslems it is the practice of Islam. Within the context of this Islamic conception of knowledge and works, the Sufis emphasize a third element that is not set down so explicitly in the Koran and the Hadith: spiritual realization, or the ascending stages of human perfection resulting in proximity to God. Again the Sufis cite a saying of the Prophet: "The Law is my words, the Way is my works, and the Truth is my inward states.
The "Way" or Tariqah is then the method of putting the Law into practice. And the Reality or Haqiqah is the inward states and stations attained by the traveler in his journey to God and in God. The Law is like a lamp: It shows the way.
Without a lamp, you will not be able to go forward. When you enter the path, your going is the Way. And when you reach the goal, that is the Truth. The Way involves avoiding certain foods and consuming certain remedies on the basis of this theory. Then the Truth is to find everlasting health and to have no more need for theory and practice. When man dies to the life of this world, the Law and the Way will be cut off from him, and only the Truth will remain.
The Law is knowledge, the Way is works and the Truth is attainment to God. M V introd. These then are the three dimensions of Sufi teaching: the Law, the Way, and the Truth; or knowledge, works, and attainment to God; or theory, practice, and spiritual realization.
Knowledge of God, man, and the world derives ultimately from God Himself, primarily by means of revelation, i. Knowledge provides the illumination whereby man can see everything in its proper place. Thus "knowledge," or the theoretical dimension of religion, which becomes codified in the form of the Divine Law, situates man in the total universe, defining his nature and responsibilities as a human being.
Knowledge and theory find their complementary dimension in practice, or the Way, which is determined by the "works" or Sunnah of the Prophet, the norm for all God-directed human activity. More specifically the Sufi Way is to follow the model provided by the Prophet's representatives on earth, the saints, who are the shaykhs or the spiritual masters.
Once having entered the Way, the disciple begins to undergo a process of inward transformation. If he is among those destined to reach spiritual perfection, he will climb the ascending rungs of a ladder stretching to heaven and beyond; the alchemy of the Way will transmute the base copper of his substance into pure and noble gold.
The Truth or "attainment to God" is not a simple, one-step process.
It can be said that this third dimension of Sufi teaching deals with all the inner experiences undergone by the traveler on his journey. It concerns all the "virtues" akhlaq the Sufi must acquire, in keeping with the Prophet's saying, "Assume the virtues of God! In the classical textbooks, this third dimension of Sufi teachings is discussed mainly under the heading of the "stations" maqamat and the "spiritual states" ahwal.
From a certain point of view we can call this dimension "Sufi psychology"as long as we understand the term "psyche" in the widest possible sense, as equivalent to "spirit'' in Rumi's terminology. Sufi psychology could then be defined as "the science of the transformations undergone by the spirit in its journey to God. For in Rumi's terminology, modern psychology is based totally upon the ego's study of itself.
But the "ego" nafs is the lowest dimension of man's inward existence, his animal and satanic nature. Only God or the spirit can know the spirit, which is man's higher or angelic nature, Ultimately the ego cannot even know itself without a totally distorted viewpoint, for it gains all of its positive reality from the spirit that lies above and beyond it. Only the spirit that encompasses and embraces the ego can know the ego.
And only the saints have attained to the station whereby their consciousness of reality is centered within their spirits or in God.
In Sufi psychology, the "stations" are said to be the spiritual and moral perfections, or the "virtues," achieved by the traveler on the path to God. For example, once having actualized wakefulness, the traveler moves on to repentence and then to self-examination; or once having achieved humility, he ascends to chivalry and then to expansion.
A work such as Ansari's Manazil al-sa'irin, from which these examples are taken, classifies the ascending stations in ten sections according to one hundred different headings. A number of them have proudly thought that Rumi anticipated Darwinian evolution. In fact, he is explaining the ascent of the individual soul to God, beginning with the inanimate stage of existence, then the vegetal, animal, human, and beyond.
This is a standard discussion in philosophical texts and in contemporary Sufi authors such as Aziz Nasafi, though no one other than Rumi explained it with such captivating language.
When you are not, it takes you to Being! Form designates things as they appear, and meaning designates the invisible, spiritual something that is the source of their appearance. In short, Rumi sees all apparent existence as the Real Being showing itself as signs, forms, shadows, metaphors, manifestations, apparitions, things, creatures. All activity and rest, strife and harmony, war and peace, are forms displaying the Hidden Treasure.
This implies that God is the source of evil as well as good. Given the precedence of mercy over wrath, what appears to us as evil can only be serving a greater good.
Evil cannot be eliminated from the created world because that would be tantamount to destroying the world. If either dominated, the world would disappear Fih, pp. There can be no right path without wrong paths, no pleasure without pain, no mercy without wrath.
Rumi always applies such relatively theoretical discussions to the human situation. In this case, he asks his readers why they should be so ignorant as to complain about the existence of evil. Given that it is impossible to find lasting good in anything, why are people so passionately and shamelessly attached to the world and their own egos?
But why must God make us suffer? When someone beats a rug with a stick, says Rumi, it is not because he hates the rug, but because he wants to get rid of the dust. As part of his explication of the wisdom in evil, Rumi tells a number of tales defending the activity of Satan, though he does not go as far as Sufis like all j d.
Nonetheless, to understand what he is trying to convey, we need to have a thorough grasp of what he means by love—even if, as he reminds us, love cannot be expressed in words and must be tasted to be known Chittick, , p. God as lover. Oh, our words are all the words of the Beloved!
What does it matter if that Form is not contained by the heavens. The Moses-like saint possesses within his breast. These things are all delimited and defined. Though it is not so now. I am Thy slave. D In the lane of Love a shout rose up: Without doubt the pure mirror is the heart acting as a receptacle for infinite pictures. D 11 Gaze into your own window and say. Thy slave! For a new Sun has arisen: D Once the mirror of your heart becomes pure and clear. M II The saints have polished their breasts until cleansed of greed.
But when you look into the mirror. But this does not mean that His Light is truly contained within it. For the heart is with Himindeed.
M I How should the orients of the lights of Almighty God be contained in the heart? Yet when you seek His Light. Oh heart! God will look upon you when.
What determines the worth of a man is the state of his heart. What a wonderful expansion Thou hast given my wounded heart through Thy love! D The heart of the saint "contains" God. Yet I stay like a guest in the believer's heart. God keeps on saying. Man's task in this world is to cleanse his heart. And this is wonderful: That Ineffable One is hidden within the heart! D The seven heavens are too narrow for Him. Hence the Seal of the Prophets related a saying from the eternal and everlasting King: This he can only accomplish with the guidance of the Possessor of the Heart.
Through God's perfect power the bodies of spiritual men have gained the strength to bear the ineffable Light. How does He enter my shirt? D If the two worlds were to enter my heart. So do not say concerning your heart. Though it is water. Which one is he? Which one? I have no need for anyone else. I am in union with God" As if water in the midst of clay were obstinate: Each of these pertains to man's meaning as opposed to his form. Or to fantasies. Perhaps we can say that the spirit is the Page The heart is nothing but that Ocean of Light.
Freed from clay's prison. How should the heart's shadow be the heart's goal? Does a heart fall in love with property and position and submit itself to this black water and clay. So the heart is the substance and the world the accident. Among hundreds of thousands of the elect and the vulgar. You are obstinate and say. Is the heart to be the locus for God's vision. The heart is in one 12 person. It has abandoned clay and come to the Sea. Do you really allow that this object fascinated by milk and honey can be a heart?
The taste of milk and honey reflects the heart. Interrelationships Rumi does not distinguish clearly and absolutely among the heart. But each of these terms is sometimes employed synonymously with one or both of the others. And by "heart" he may mean someone's center of consciousness in a general sense. When he mentions "spirit. See the spirits that have fled from the body!
The spirit has smashed the cage. The whole army returned and entered the world of Everlastingness. M II M III The body is outward. And know too that the intellect is in bondage to the spirit. What is the heart? A single blossom from Thy provisions and plenty.
D Without doubt the intellects and hearts derive from the divine Throne. But you do not know it is filled with the intellect. Then intellect is more hidden than spirit: The senses perceive the spirit more quickly. M V From the passion of man and woman. The spirit of prophetic revelation is beyond the intellect. M V What is the spirit? One-half of a leaf from the garden of Thy Beauty.
Then the army of the human individual came from the world of the spirit: After a time. Sense perception is in bondage to the intellect. You see a movement. Those two drops erected a tent in midair. D The spirit has become disengaged from the body's uproar! It flies upon the wing of the heart without the body's foot. This difference.
The Essence is One. Thus in the Koran God calls Himself by many Names. The Essence. Vengeance and Mercy are identical. That is beyond our grasp. God and the World 1. The distinction between the Essence and the Attributes is purely conceptual. In God's Essence. But in creation. But what is God in Himself. The Names and Attributes are not different from the Essence in their existence. His are the creation and the command.
Generation upon generation has passed. Justice is the same justice.
M VI The pomp and splendor of the creatures is borrowed. The moon is the same. Kings are a locus of manifestation for God's Kingliness. All pictured forms are reflections in the water of the stream. Their knowledge.
Here "creation" refers to the physical creation. M VI 78 The divine Love is the sun of perfection. Generations have passed. M II Page The water in the stream has changed many times.
Hence there are three basic levels of existence: The Koran refers to all three in the verse. Therefore the Commander is even more directionless. Know that the world of command is without directions.
Koran LV 4 is more intellect than intellect. The intellect is without directions. How should the intellect find its way to this connection? For it is in bondage to separation and joining.
For within the spirit is no separation or joining. Every day He is upon some labor LV Imagine not that He is without acts and activity.
The least of His Acts each day is that He sends out three armies: An army from the loins toward the mothers. And an army from this dust to the grave. D The man veiled from the Attributes sees His handiwork. Hence Muhammad counseled us. M I Page An army from the wombs to this dustbin. Since you do not see the Directionless. Every instant you see something different. M II After all. Since those who have attained union with Him are drowned in the Essence.
The child knows not the essence of copulation. No one knows any of the essences of His Attributes of Perfection except through their effects and through analogy. Gentleness and Severity The Names and Attributes can be divided into two categories.
Everything is in the hand of His Power. For He gives existence to the thought and idea and places it before you.
The Love Poems of Rumi
Many of the Names of the Acts in turn can be divided into two further categories. He has a connection to the heavens. The second category includes Names whose opposites are also God's Names. What we mean is that the heavens do not encompass Him. So He is not outside the heavens and the created worlds. Although you see its effects. Since that does not remain hidden from His intimates. Everything is the locus of His Self-manifestation and under His control.
The accompanying table lists a few of the divine Names according to this scheme. But He is so near that you cannot see Him. According to a famous saying of God related by the Prophet. For essences. But you cannot see the intellect.
What is so strange about that? Whatever you do. God is next to it. God says. In the whole of existence. In other words. Whatever thought and idea you conceive. Thus God is the Living. Or rather. Wherever we may see the manifestation of Wrath and Severity. However bleak the form may be. God has two Attributes: Severity and Gentleness. The prophets are the locus of manifestation for both Attributes. In the world these two conflicting messages tell of a single Beloved.
All creation is a manifestation of God's Severe and Gentle Names. Severity is truly awesome. Hence the Prophet reported that God said.
If you want spiritual priority. The very nature of Divinity requires some sort of activity. Severity deprives another of hope: He turns to total despair. For if we say that God is the "Creator.
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He thinks not of Severity and commits a sin. It is an ineffable and inscrutable priority in the realm of meaning: Have you ever seen a prior and a posterior without duality? Although He has such a mighty and overpowering Severity. For the awesome shape is aimed at the denier once you become helpless. The Reason for Creation Creationor the universe and the infinite forms that fill itis another name for God's Acts.
Therefore I created the world that I might be known. God created the world to display His Attributes. Having understood this. D His Mercy is prior to His Wrath. D When you look at His Gentleness. If love for God were only thought and meaning.
The gifts that lovers exchange are naught in relation to love except forms. But effects increased when He brought the creatures into existence: All these earths have stolen Our bounties so that We may bring them to confess through affliction. Therefore all creatures make God manifest. He did not become what He had not been formerly.
M I God says. Do not lose touch with your own substance. We bring forth these concealed things from their hiding places. M IV God says. Whatever the case may be. If all the atoms of the universe were His heralds. Although the thief remains silent in denial. But the increase of an essence would be proof that it is of temporal origin and subject to causes. The increase of effects is His making Himself manifest.
M IV The universe was created for the sake of manifestation. If two things were not different. God's light has no opposite within existence. Their forms are the forms of fish. Each of these correlative terms can only exist and be known because of its opposite. Hence hidden things become manifest through opposites. Opposites are made manifest through opposites. He remains hidden. For the sight falls first upon light. He alone has no opposite. Just as I wanted to display the Purity and Gentleness of this Ocean.
And so it is with all things. For the same reason. Opposites Rumi often refers to or quotes the proverbial expression. Hence they may behold their own fidelity and display their aspirations. Hundreds of thousands of snakes claim to be fish.
Do people think they will be left to say "We believe" and that they will not be tried? Learn this from Moses 14 at Mount Sinai. Know that form springs from meaning as the lion from the thicket.. So you have come to know light through light's opposite: Opposites display opposites within the breast.
But since God has no opposite. Each individual of a pair of opposites makes the existence of the other individual possible.
Therefore our eyes comprehend Him not. M IV Every light has a fire. If you write upon a black page. D His description is not contained within the intellect. Wonderful Composition without composition! Wonderful freely acting Compelled One! D The Creator is the Abaser and the Exalter: Without these two Attributes. No opposite can be known without its opposite: Having suffered a blow.
Look at the abasement of the earth and the exaltation of the heavens: It took its wave back to the sea.
Thy Rosegarden has no thorns! Thy pure Light has no fire! Around Thy Treasure is no serpent. D He who has not seen the constancy of Moses' serpent imagines that the sorcerers' cords are alive. Form comes out from Formlessness: Then it returns. M V You will not know evil until you know the good: You can discern an opposite through its opposite.
The abasement and exaltation of the land is of another kind: Half the year it is desolate. You have given neck with the fillet! The abasement and exaltation of this compounded bodily constitution is that sometimes it is well and sometimes it suffers illness. M VI Divine Wisdom has tied these opposites together. Oh Butcher. The abasement and exaltation of this distressful Time is of another sort: Know that all the states of the world are like this: These four elements.
When you look carefully. Without the spirit.
But in the light of the spiritual eye. Mote fights with mote. Each is the opposite of every other element in respect of one or both of these qualities. God's Gentleness has paired this lion and sheep. The four outward substances which bear their names are only their most direct reflections.
If you strike someone's head with earth. The mixture of the elements brings about the existence of the physical world. Rumi alludes to the opposition within the fundamental structure of the natural world. They are "between His 17 two fingers. Hence the domain of the pure elements is said to be four spheres lying between the heavens.
Certain Sufis speak of the four "pillars" of Divinity.. In the last analysis. But everything which exists in the physical world. If you strike it with water. M V Life is peace among opposites. If you want to break his head. M I In a few of the above verses. The world subsists through this war: Look at the four elements and resolve this difficulty.
The four elements are four sturdy pillars, through which the roof of the heavens is kept in place. But that world is naught but everlasting and flourishing, since it is not compounded of opposites.
Each opposite inflicts reciprocal annihilation upon its opposite; when opposition disappears, subsistence alone remains. Because we are the branch, and the four opposite elements the root. The root has engendered its qualities in the branch. Since the substance of the spirit is beyond separation, it does not partake of these qualities: Its qualities.
The Sufi Path of Love - The Spiritual Teachings of Rumi (by W. C. Chittick)
Opposition within creation is always relative, in the sense that there can be no absolute distinctions. Absolute knowledge, absolute life, absolute powerthese are all God's Attributes.
But when they become manifested within the world, they are weakened and sullied through their distance from their Source. Hence the "knowledge" and "power" found in this world are only a dim reflection of the pure and transcendent Attributes of God Himself. For many people, the most troubling opposition found in the world is that between "good" and "evil. Various degrees of evil derive from the dimming of goodness as it becomes distant from the Source. In the world, things are relatively good and evil, not absolutely so, since there can be no absolute qualities within creation.
From another point of view, things are good and evil only in relation to us, not in relation to God, for in His eyes all things are performing but one task: Moreover, if there were no evil in the world, there would be no means whereby many of God's Attributes could manifest themselves, e.
What sins could He forgive, and for what would He take vengeance? In any case, the perfection of the Painter's infinite creativity demands that He paint both beautiful and ugly pictures. In the whole of Time there is no poison or candy that is not a foot for one and a shackle for another.
Creatures of water see the ocean as a garden, creatures of earth see it as death and torment. The benefit and harm of each depends upon the situation. For this reason knowledge is necessary and useful. Page 54 If all knowledge and no ignorance were in man, he would be consumed and cease to be.
Therefore ignorance is desirable, for through it man remains in existence; and knowledge is desirable, for it leads to the direct knowledge of God. So each of them aids the other. All opposites are similar: Although night is the opposite of day, it is day's helper, and the two perform one task. Hence all opposites appear as opposites to us. But the wise man knows that they perform but one task and are not opposites. Show me an evil in the world without good, and a good without evil!
For example, a man is bent upon murder, but he occupies himself with fornication, so he sheds no blood. In respect of being fornication, his act is bad; but in respect of preventing murder, it is good. So good and evil are a single thing and cannot be separated. This is why we debate with the Zoroastrians. They say that there are two Gods, one the creator of evil and the other the creator of good. All right, you show me good without evil. Then I will admit that there is a God of evil and a God of good.
But this is absurd, for good is not separate from evil. Since they are not two things and there is no separation between them, it is impossible for there to be two Creators.
Everything is good and perfect in relation to God, but not in relation to us. Fornication and purity, abandonment of the daily prayers and praying, unbelief and Islam, idolatry and the profession of God's Unityall are good in relation to God. But in relation to us fornication, theft, unbelief, and idolatry are bad, while the profession of Unity, prayer, and acts of charity are good.
But in relation to God, all are good. For example, in a king's realm there are prisons, gallows, robes of honor, wealth, estates, retinue, banquets, joy, drums, and banners.
In relation to the king, all are good. Just as robes of honor are the perfection of his kingdom, so also gallows and executions and prisons are all perfections of his kingdom. In relation to him, all are perfection. But in relation to his people, how could the gallows be the same as a robe of honor?
Page 55 He painted Joseph and sweet-natured houris; he painted ugly devils and satans. Both kinds of pictures display his mastery. They do not represent his ugliness, they are his munificence. So that the perfection of his knowledge might become manifest and the denier of his mastery disgraced. If he cannot make ugly pictures, he is imperfect: That is why God creates both unbeliever and sincere servant.
In this respect both unbelief and faith bear witness to Him: Both prostrate themselves before His Lordliness. However, the believer prostrates himself willingly, for his intention is to seek God's good-pleasure. The Sufi said to the judge, "He whose aid is sought has the ability to make our trading without loss. He from whom every nonexistent thing has come into existencehow would He be any less if He made that thing everlasting?
He who gives the body a spirit so that it may livehow would He lose if He did not cause it to die? After all, what would happen if that Generous One gave each servant his soul's desire without toil,.
And kept far from His weak creatures the wiles of the ego and the temptations of the devil waiting in ambush? The judge replied, "If there were no bitter commands, beauty and ugliness, stones and pearls,.
How could He say, 'Oh patient man! Oh forbearing man!D You are from place. What we mean is that the heavens do not encompass Him. Each poem is a symbolical image of a mystical state he has experienced on the path to God or after having attained to the Goal.
The spirit of prophetic revelation is beyond the intellect. What sort of thing could the partial intellect possess not possessed by the Universal Intellect? There remains the method employed in selecting passages for translation.