A Friend, A Cave, And A Heart-Afflicting Love

Ghazal 371

477 For me, (there is) a friend,2 a cave,3 (and) a heart-afflicting4
love. (And) you are (that) friend and cave, (O) master! Protect me!

You are Noah (and) you are the spirit.5 You are the opener and the
opened.6 (And) for me, you are the refreshed heart at the door of

You are the light (and) the feast, and the triumph of Mansoor.7
You are the bird of the mountain of Sinai8 (and) I (am) wounded
by (your) beak.

480 You are the drop and the ocean, kindness and severity, (and)
you are sugar (and) poison. Don't torment me9 (any) more!

You are the cell of (seclusion) for the sun (and) the (overnight)
house for Venus. You are (also) the (green) meadow of hope: show
me the way, O beloved!

You are the day and the fast10 (of Ramadan), (and) the gain from
begging. You are the water (and) the pitcher: give me water this

You are the seed and the trap, (and) you are the wine and the cup.11
You are (both) ripe and raw:12 don't leave me (in the state of being)

If this body (of mine) was not (so) hot-spirited, it would rob my
heart less (often). (But) you went on the road so that all these
words of mine would not be (any use)13

--From The Dîwân-é Kabîr (also known as "Kulliyat-é Shams" and
"Dîwân-é Shams-é Tabrîz") of Jalaluddin Rumi.
Translated from the Persian by Ibrahim Gamard, 1/99
Ibrahim Gamard (translation, footnotes, & transliteration)
First published on "Sunlight" (yahoogroups.com), 2/1/00 (revised,

Notes on the text, with line number:

1.Ghazal 37: Compare to: the translation by Franklin Lewis, "Rumi:
Past and Present, East and West," 2003, pp. 340-41, the translation
from French by Simone Fattal (from a translation from Persian by
Eva de Vitray-Meyerovitch), "Rumi and Sufism," 1987, p. 27; the
version by Jonathan Star (based on a literal translation from
Persian by Shahram Shiva), "A Garden Beyond Paradise," pp.

2. (477) a friend (yâr): may also be translated "a beloved."

3. (477) a cave (ghâr): a word play referring to Abu Bakr, called in
Persian "Friend of the Cave" (yâr-é ghâr) because he shared a
small cave with the Prophet Muhammad (in order to escape from
pursuing enemies) during the famous flight (Hijra) from Mecca to
Medina in 622. The traditional account is that they were protected
by a miracle of God: when the enemy checked the cave, they found
it covered by a spider web and concluded that no one could be

4. (477) heart-afflicting: literally, "liver-devouring." An idiom for
grievous suffering.

5. (478) the spirit (rûH): usually understood to me an the angel
Gabriel (see "the Spirit (of Revelation)," Qur'an 17:85; "the angels
and the spirit," 70:4, 78:38, 97:4; "the holy spirit," which
strengthened the Prophet Jesus, 2:87, 253; and passages where God
strengthened the believers with a spirit from Him, such as 58:22. In
sum, the reference here is to protection sent by God.

6. (478) the opener and the opened: although the primary meaning of
these words has to do with opening, the usual meaning is "the
conqueror and the conquered," in the sense of "opening" a fortified
town. However, the primary meaning seems more suitable here--
per the effects of the spirit, and the mention of "door of secrets" in
the second half of the verse.

7. (479) the triumph of Mansoor: may also be translated as "the
good-fortune of Mansoor." Refers to the radical sufi Mansûr
Hallâj, who was executed for heresy in 922. May refer to the
legend that after his execution, his scattered blood formed the
words of his (alleged) words of blasphemy ("I am the Truth/God")
on the ground. Rumi (as well as other later sufi masters) taught that
God spoke the words, and Hallaj was mystically annihilated and
therefore incapable of speaking from his own ego-consciousness.

8. (479) You are the bird of the mountain of Sinai: refers to the
hoopoe bird (mentioned in a story about Solomon in Qur'an

9. (480) Don't torment me: in Classical Persian culture, the expected
role of the beloved was to act harshly and tyrannically toward the
lover (as well as to impose periods of separation), an the lover's
role was both to take delight in such treatment and to yearn for an
end of harshness and separation.

10. (482) You are the day and the fast: a word play on "rôz" and
"rôza." The latter word (literally, "daily") is the Persian word for
fasting, and refers to the fast of the month of Ramadan, during
which Muslims do not eat or drink during the daylight hours.

11. (483) the wine and the cup: symbols, in Persian sufi poetry, of
spiritual blessing and drunkenness, and the dispenser (the sufi
master) of such.

12. (483) ripe and raw (pokhta, khâm): technical words in sufism,
which also mean (spiritually) mature, experienced, prepared,
refined; (spiritually) immature, inexperienced, etc., uncooked,
bearing no fruit.

13. (484) so that all these words of mine would not be (any use):
means, outwardly, that Rumi's words are ineffective because
Shams-i Tabriz has gone and cannot hear them. On a deeper level,
it may mean that Shams left so that Rumi's fire of longing would
burn up all his fine thoughts and enable him to transcend the mind
and intellect altogether.


yâr ma-râ ghâr ma-râ, `ishq-é jegar-khwâr ma-râ
yâr tow-î, ghâr tow-î, khwâja! negahdâr ma-râ

nûH tow-î, rûH tow-î, fâtiH-o maftûH tow-î
sîna-yé mashrûH tow-î, bar dar-é asrâr ma-râ

nûr tow-î, sûr tow-î, dawlat-é manSûr tow-î
morgh-é koh-é Tûr tow-î, khasta ba-minqâr ma-râ

480 qaTra tow-î, baHr tow-î, tuTf tow-î, qahr tow-î
qand tow-î, zahr tow-î, bêsh ma-y-âzâr ma-râ

Hujra-yé khworshêd tow-î, khâna-yé nâhêd tow-î
rawZa-yé ômêd tow-î, râh deh ay yâr ma-râ

rôz tow-î, rôza tow-î, HâSil-é daryôza tow-î
âb tow-î, kôza tow-î, âb deh în bâr ma-râ

dâna tow-î, dâm tow-î, bâda tow-î, jâm tow-î
pokhta tow-î, khâm tow-î, khâm be-ma-goZâr ma-râ

în tan agar kam tan-ady, râh-é del-am kam zan-ady
râh shod-î tâ na-body, în hama goftâr ma-râ


Meter: XooX XooX XooX XooX

(Rajaz matvî)