Search For Him

Ghazal 1221

If the love-sick one1 becomes lost, inquire about him from the beloved. (And) if the lover flees, search for him in the lane of the (spiritual) friend.

And if the nightingale of my soul suddenly flies from (my) body, don't ask about it from every thorn, (but) search for it in the rose garden.

If the one (who is) sick from love of Him becomes missing from the gathering, search for him in the presence of the narcissus2 (that is) sick from (love of) that roving knight.3

And if one day the (one who is) heart-drunk hurls a glass against a rock, go immediately to the (wine) tavern (and) inquire about him from the wine-maker.4

Any (time) when the lover becomes lost, I am saying, "Take care!" and, "Alas!" Search for him (in) the embrace of the lightning-throwing Sun, without (need for a pledge of) protection.

And if a thief digs a hole and steals the lover's (personal) belongings, search for him among the perfumed tresses of that pickpocket.5

(In regard to) the wakeful idol6 full of craftiness, whose wakefulness is from his (good) fortune, don't come to him (with) such drowsiness, but search for him (when fully) awake.7

In the lane of the heart I asked a (wise mystic) elder about that beloved; the elder indicated to me: "Search for him among the (mystical) secrets."8

I said to the elder, "By God, you are the (mystical) secrets!" He said, "Yes, I am the ocean full of pearls. Search for him at the ocean-holding (place)."9

What a pearl, (in regard to which) the ocean has fullness with his light!10 (O) Muslims, (O) Muslims, search for him in those lights!

Shams of Tabriz came to the market-place of purity, like Joseph.11 Tell the (dervish) brothers of purity:12 "Search for him in that market-place!"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, 10/29/17

© Ibrahim Gamard (translation, footnotes, & transliteration)


Notes on the text:

1 love-sick one [bê-del: lit., "devoid of heart"]: a word play with "beloved" [del-dâr: lit., possessed of heart].

2narcissus [narges]: a symbol for drunken eyes.

3roving knight [`ayyâr]: one who follows the ideals of chivalry; also an affectionate term for a dervish, and sometimes one who conceals being a dervish via cultivating a blameworthy reputation.

4wine-maker [khammâr]: means a spiritual master who induces spiritual ecstasy in his disciples.

5pickpocket [Tarâr]: a word-play with "tresses" [Târa].

6idol [bot]: a frequent metaphor in sufi poetry that refers to the beautiful spiritual beloved.

7wakefulness [bêdârî]: spiritual wakefulness is needed on the mystical path [Tarîqa] so that the onset of spiritual states [hâl] and spiritual grace are not missed. See the advice about not missing the "divine breathings" (Masnavi 1:1951]. It also means being wakened from the "sleep" of ego-centered and worldly preoccupations and becoming aware of the overwhelming Reality of God. Muslim saints and mystics are called the "awakened ones" [bêdâr-ân] because they have become awake [yaqzân, in Arabic] to God's Presence and Lordship, and because they are able to "see" Divine realities that are hidden to those who are "asleep" to God. See the verses: "Whoever is awake (to the material world) is more asleep (to the spiritual world): his "wakefulness" is worse than his sleep.When our souls are not awake to God, wakefulness is like our prison bars." [Masnavi 1:409]

8(mystical) secrets [asrâr]: refers to mystical insights, intuitive knowings, and revelatory inspirations [ilhâm] that must be kept secret among advanced sufis (such as Mawlânâ and Shams-é Tabrîzî, especially after they first met and spent much time with each other) so that they are not misunderstood by non-mystics. These inner knowings are also secret in the sense that they involve spiritual states of consciousness that are beyond words and concepts.

9ocean-holding (place) [daryâ-bâr]: a place where the ocean surges high but is contained by cliffs or slopes. .

10What a pearl: See the verse (that refers to the Caliph `Alî): "I am the slave of the the billow of that Sea of Light which brings a pearl like this into view." (Masnavi 1:3985)

11like Joseph: refers to a passage in the Qur'ân (12:19-20) which tells how Joseph's brothers sold him to a caravan of travelers for a small price of a few coins, since they had a low estimate of his value. The merchants concealed him as an article of merchandise to be sold as a slave.

12the (dervish) brothers of purity [ikhwân-é Safâ]: This refers to Muslim mystics, or Sufis, who seek spiritual purity. Some scholars are of the opinion that it may refer to a group of learned mystics known as the "Bretheren of Purity" of Basra (who wrote an encyclopedia around the ninth century CE, and whom scholars have called "proto-Ismailis"). However, this can be rejected because Mawlânâ refers to Sufis using many terms and metaphors, and his teachings do not contain traces of heretical and secret [bâTinî] Ismâ'îlî-like doctrines.

13Market-place [bâzâr]: This may also be a reference to the place where Mawlânâ met Shams-é Tabrîzî, in the district of the cotton-sellers in Konya and where, according to one story, Shams greeted him and said, "O learned banker of the ready cash of (spiritual) meanings, and knower of the (Divine) Names!" [Aflâkî, p. 84] According to another story, when Shams became ecstatically drunk [mast] and overwhelmed by divine manifestations [tajalliyât], he went secretly among the people and did hard labor until nightfall, evaded payment for his work, and would then disappear. [Aflâkî, p. 690]

In this ghazal, the "missing," "lost," "fleeing" lover are references to Shams-é Tabrîzî, who disappeared from Konya twice: once to Syria, and again never to be seen again. He is also referred to as hiding his saintliness and spiritual light by disguising himself as a blameworthy tavern dweller, roving knight, pickpocket, crafty idol, and glass-breaking drunk. In contrast, the places to search for the missing beloved are places of divine-like beauty: the beloved, the lane of the spiritual friend, the rose garden, the presence of beautiful narcissus-like eyes, the tavern of the ecstatics, the warm embrace of the sun, perfumed tresses, spiritual wakefulness, mystical secrets, and spiritual lights. In other words, the ghazal describes a mystic master who has divine-like qualities, but disguises himself via a blameworthy appearance. In sum, the mystic master may be found disguised in humble and blameworthy circumstances, such as the market-place. In this way, he also hides the lane of love, mystical secrets, and lights of spiritual realization within the illumined pearl of his heart. In other words, he is "an ocean in a drop of water, a sun contained in a mote of dust." [M.3:1982] However, the mystic master is not the source; rather, he tells the seeker to seek the "ocean-holding place" or "pearl" of his own heart that contains the ocean full of pearls, mystical ecrets and divine lights. And this was Mawlânâ's own experience, as his son, Sultân Valad wrote: "He did not find Shams-é Tabrîz in Syria; (instead), he found him within himself, like the clear moon." [Valad-Nāma] All of this relates to the Divine saying [Hadîth] attributed to the Prophet Muhammad, in which God said: "I am not contained by heaven or earth, but the heart of My faithful servant contains Me."


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agar gom gard-ad în bê-del, az ân del-dâr jôy-îd-ash
wa gar andar ram-ad `âshiq, ba-koy-é yâr jôy-îd-ash

wa gar în bolbol-é jân-am bo-parr-ad nâgahân az tan
ze-har khârê ma-porsîd-ash, dar ân golzâr jôy-îd-ash

agar bêmâr-é `ishq-é ô shaw-ad yâwa az-în majlis
ba-pêsh-é narges-é bêmâr-é ân `ayyâr jôy-îd-ash

wa gar sarmast-é del rôzê zan-ad bar sang ân shîsha
ba-may-khâna raw-îd ân dam, az ân khammâr jôy-îd-ash

har ân `âshiq ke gom gard-ad, halâ, zenhâr mê-goy-am bar-é
khworshêd-é barq-andâz bê-zenhâr jôy-îd-ash

wa gar dozdê zan-ad naqbê be-dozd-ad rakht-é `âshiq-râ
meyân-é Tara-yé moshkîn-é ân Tarâr jôy-îd-ash

bot-é bêdâr-é por-fan-râ ke bêdârî ze bakht-é ô-st
chon-în khofta na-y-â-yîd-ash, magar bêdâr jôy-îd-ash

be-porsîd-am ba-kôy-é del ze-pîrê man az ân del-bâr
ishârat kard ân pîr-am ke dar asrâr jôy-îd-ash

be-goft-am pîr râ: b-allâh, tôy-î asrâr? goft: ârî
man-am daryâ-yé por gawhar, ba-daryâ-bâr jôy-îd-ash

zehî gawhar ke daryâ-râ ba-nûr-é khwêsh por dâr-ad
musalmân-ân, musalmân-ân, dar ân anwâr jôy-îd-ash

chô yûsuf shams-é tabrîzî ba-bâzâr-é Safâ âm-ad
mar ikhwân-é Safâ-râ gû: dar ân bâzâr jôy-îd-ash

Meter 14: oXXX oXXX oXXX oXXX
(hazaj sālim [muthamman])