I just got the internet turned back on today: Sufi Poetry Fest!

For some reason my ISP insists that I send them money regularly. Sometimes this conflicts with other priorities (such as eating, paying rent, etc.). I have also updated the music page- some new recordings, some remixed, some just monkeyed with; check it out.

Today mostly I wanted to share some Sufi poetry from various periods (717 CE to the 1300s) and from Persia to Turkey.

Farid ud Din Attar– a mystic poet who lived approximately 1119 -1230 CE. His best known work is Conference of the Birds, an elaborate allegory of the soul’s quest for reunion with God.

Intoxicated by the Wine of Love.
From each a mystic silence Love demands.
What do all seek so earnestly? ‘Tis Love.
What do they whisper to each other? Love.
Love is the subject of their inmost thoughts.
In Love no longer ‘thou’ and ‘I’ exist,
For Self has passed away in the Beloved.
Now will I draw aside the veil from Love,
And in the temple of mine inmost soul,
Behold the Friend; Incomparable Love.
He who would know the secret of both worlds,
Will find the secret of them both, is Love.

translation Margaret Smith -The Jawhar Al-Dhat

In the dead of night, a Sufi began to weep.
He said, “This world is like a closed coffin, in which
We are shut and in which, through our ignorance,
We spend our lives in folly and desolation.
When Death comes to open the lid of the coffin,
Each one who has wings will fly off to Eternity,
But those without will remain locked in the coffin.
So, my friends, before the lid of this coffin is taken off,
Do all you can to become a bird of the Way to God;
Do all you can to develop your wings and your feathers.”

translation by Andrew Harvey and Eryk Hanut – ‘Perfume of the Desert’

So long as we do not die to ourselves,
and so long as we identify with someone or something,
we shall never be free.
The spiritual way is not for those wrapped up in exterior life.

translation also by Margaret Smith

There’s always room for

Rumi:

The Jesus of your spirit is inside you now.
Ask that one for help, but don’t ask for body-things…

Don’t ask Moses for provisions
that you can get from Pharaoh.

Don’t worry so much about livelihood.
Your livelihood will turn out as it should.
Be constantly occupied instead
with listening to God.

Mathnawi II:450-454

Yunus Emre

He lived in what is now Turkey sometime from 1240-1241 to 1320-21 CE.

The drink sent down from Truth,
we drank it, glory be to God.
And we sailed over the Ocean of Power,
glory be to God.

Beyond those hills and oak woods,
beyond those vineyards and gardens,
we passed in health and joy, glory be to God.

We were dry, but we moistened.
We grew wings and became birds,
we married one another and flew,
glory be to God.

To whatever lands we came,
in whatever hearts, in all humanity,
we planted the meanings Taptuk taught us,
glory be to God.

Come here, let’s make peace,
let’s not be strangers to one another.
We have saddled the horse
and trained it, glory be to God.

We became a trickle that grew into a river.
We took flight and drove into the sea,
and then we overflowed, glory be to God.

We became servants at Taptuk’s door.
Poor Yunus, raw and tasteless,
finally got cooked, glory be to God.

translated by Kabir Helminski and Refik Algan – ‘The Drop That Became Sea’

Ask those who know,
what’s this soul within the flesh?
Reality’s own power.
What blood fills these veins?

Thought is an errand boy,
fear a mine of worries.
These sighs are love’s clothing.
Who is the Khan on the throne?

Give thanks for His unity.
He created when nothing existed.
And since we are actually nothing,
what are all of Solomon’s riches?

Ask Yunus and Taptuk
what the world means to them..
The world won’t last.
What are You? What am I?

translated by Kabir Helminski and Refik Algan – ‘The Drop That Became Sea’

We entered the house of realization,
we witnessed the body.

The whirling skies, the many-layered earth,
the seventy-thousand veils,
we found in the body.

The night and the day, the planets,
the words inscribed on the Holy Tablets,
the hill that Moses climbed, the Temple,
and Israfil’s trumpet, we observed in the body.
Torah, Psalms, Gospel, Quran-
what these books have to say,
we found in the body.

Everybody says these words of Yunus
are true. Truth is wherever you want it.
We found it all within the body.

translated by Kabir Helminski and Refik Algan – ‘The Drop That Became Sea’

Your love has wrested me away from me,
You’re the one I need, you’re the one I crave.
Day and night I burn, gripped by agony,
You’re the one I need, you’re the one I crave.

I find no great joy in being alive,
If I cease to exist, I would not grieve,
The only solace I have is your love,
You’re the one I need, you’re the one I crave.

Lovers yearn for you, but your love slays them,
At the bottom of the sea it lays them,
It has God’s images-it displays them;
You’re the one I need, you’re the one I crave.

Let me drink the wine of love sip by sip,
Like Mecnun, live in the hills in hardship,
Day and night, care for you holds me in its grip,
You’re the one I need, you’re the one I crave.

Even if, at the end, they make me die
And scatter my ashes up to the shy,
My pit would break into this outcry:
You’re the one I need, you’re the one I crave.

“Yunus Emre the mystic” is my name,
Each passing day fans and rouses my flame,
What I desire in both worlds in the same:
You’re the one I need, you’re the one I crave.

Rabi´a al-Adawiyya

was born in Basra around 717 CE. As a child, after the death of her parents, Rabi’a was sold into slavery. After years of service to her slavemaster, Rabi’a began to serve only the Beloved with her actions and thoughts. Since she was no longer useful to the slaveowner, Rabi’a was then set free to continue her devotion to the Beloved.

Rabi’a held that the true lover, whose consciousness is unwaveringly centered on the Beloved, is unattached to conditions such as pleasure or pain, not from sensory dullness but from ceaseless rapture in Divine Love.

Rabia was once asked, “How did you attain that which you have attained?”
“By often praying, ‘I take refuge in You, O God, from everything that distracts me from You, and from every obstacle that prevents me from reaching You.'”

I have two ways of loving You:
A selfish one
And another way that is worthy of You.
In my selfish love, I remember You and You alone.
In that other love, You lift the veil
And let me feast my eyes on Your Living Face.

Doorkeeper of the heart:versions of Rabia. Trans. Charles Upton

The source of my suffering and loneliness is deep in my heart.
This is a disease no doctor can cure.
Only Union with the Friend can cure it.

translation by Andrew Harvey and Eryk Hanut – ‘Perfume of the Desert’

I have made You the Companion of my heart.
But my body is available to those who desire its company,
And my body is friendly toward its guest,
But the Beloved of my heart is the guest of my soul.

translation by Andrew Harvey and Eryk Hanut – ‘Perfume of the Desert’

Brothers, my peace is in my aloneness.
My Beloved is alone with me there, always.
I have found nothing in all the worlds
That could match His love,
This love that harrows the sands of my desert.
If I come to die of desire
And my Beloved is still not satisfied,
I would live in eternal despair.

To abandon all that He has fashioned
And hold in the palm of my hand
Certain proof that He loves me—
That is the name and the goal of my search.

Andrew Harvey and Eryk Hanut – ‘Perfume of the Desert’

Sanai (1118-1152) (Abû’l-Majd Majdûd b. Adam Sanâ’î) is revered as one of the first great mystical poets of Persia. He produced many lyrical poems and a religious epic, The Walled Garden of Truth or the Enclosed Garden of Truth (The HADîQATU’ L-HAQîQAT).

Don’t speak of your suffering — He is speaking.
Don’t look for Him everywhere — He’s looking for you.

An ant’s foot touches a leaf, He senses it;
A pebble shifts in a streambed, He knows it.

If there’s a worm hidden deep in a rock,
He’ll know its body, tinier than an atom,

The sound of its praise, its secret ecstasy —
All this He knows by divine knowing.

He has given the tiniest worm its food;
He has opened to you the Way of the Holy Ones.

‘The Puzzle’

Someone who keeps aloof from suffering
is not a lover. I choose your love
above all else. As for wealth
if that comes, or goes, so be it.
Wealth and love inhabit separate worlds.

But as long as you live here inside me,
I cannot say that I am suffering.

translation by Coleman Barks – ‘Persian Poems’


‘The Way of the Holy Ones’

Don’t speak of your suffering — He is speaking.
Don’t look for Him everywhere — He’s looking for you.

An ant’s foot touches a leaf, He senses it;
A pebble shifts in a streambed, He knows it.

If there’s a worm hidden deep in a rock,
He’ll know its body, tinier than an atom,

The sound of its praise, its secret ecstasy —
All this He knows by divine knowing.

He has given the tiniest worm its food;
He has opened to you the Way of the Holy Ones.

translation by Andrew Harvey and Eryk Hanut – ‘Perfume of the Desert’

Those unable to grieve,
or to speak of their love,
or to be grateful, those
who can’t remember God
as the source of everything,

might be described as a vacant wind,
or a cold anvil, or a group
of frightened old people.

Say the Name. Moisten your tongue
with praise, and be the spring ground,
waking. Let your mouth be given
its gold-yellow stamen like the wild rose’s.

As you fill with wisdom,
and your heart with love,
there’s no more thirst.

There’s only unselfed patience
waiting on the doorsill, a silence
which doesn’t listen to advice
from people passing in the street.

translation by Coleman Barks

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1 Comment

Filed under Attar, Free Music, Mystic Poetry, new music, poetry, Rabia, Rumi, Sanai, Spirituality, Sufi Poems, Yunus

One response to “I just got the internet turned back on today: Sufi Poetry Fest!

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