What May I Learn?

Ghazal 17581

18420 What may I learn in (the state of) union (with) you?
(And) what may I learn (in the state) of separation (from) you?

Either you will be mixed together with my misery2 or I will learn
the remedy from you.

(Either) you will flee from me, saying, "I don't know," or you will
associate with me, or I will learn.

Before this, I was acting with disdain and anger, so that I might
learn (while) separated from you.

Since God is with you night and day, after this I will learn from

18425 During separation from you, I found (what is) suitable for
me; since I found (what is) suitable, I will learn.

I will get (some of) the dust of your feet with (my) hand, so that I
may learn alchemy,3 (the science of transmutation), from you.

I will become a mote (of dust) for your sunlight--meaning (so that)
I may learn [the secret of the verse], "By the brightness of the

I will become a straw for any of your amber, (so that) I may learn
(about) the attraction of "amber."5

I will fasten both (my) eyes shut from (seeing) this world and the
next; this I will learn from Muhammad,

18430 (For), except from him, how may I learn the secret of "He
did not swerve or turn away"?6

I will make circumambulations in his atmosphere, so that I may
learn (yearning) passion like the (whirling) heavens.7

I will break down the bonds of (bodily) existence, so that I may
learn (to be) like the Moon, without (need of) a robe.

I will make (a coat of) scales8 from myself, so that I may learn to
swim in the Ocean like a "fish."9

I will drink blood, like the heart, so that I may learn to travel like
the heart10 without (need of) hands and feet.

18435 (Since) there is no one (who is) a complete master in regard
to faithfulness, then I will learn faithfulness from faithfulness

18436 The conclusion became this: that you are my delightful
encounter. I will learn (to have) a very delightful face11 from you.

--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, 1/4/04
Ibrahim Gamard (translation, footnotes, & transliteration)

Notes on the text, with line number:

1Ghazal 1758: Compare to the translation by Nevit Ergin, "Dîvân-i
Kebîr, Meter 12," 2000, pp. 112-13.

2(18421) you will be mixed together with my misery: means that
the human beloved (Shams-i Tabrîzî) is together with the lover
who is in a state of suffering.

3(18426) alchemy [kîmiyâ]: means here the transformation of the
heart from "base metal" (bondage to worldly desires) to "gold"
(seeking God only).

4(18427) "By the brightness of the morning": Qur'an 93:1.

5(18428) the attraction of "amber": means feeling the pull of Divine

6(18430 This line refers to the Night Journey [Mi`râj]:
"(Muhammad) did not swerve or turn away, for he certainly saw
the greatest among the signs of his Lord" (Qur'an 53:17). This
means that the Prophet never ceased being aware of the Presence
of God during all his actions.

7(18431) so that I may learn (yearning) passion like the (whirling)
heavens: means to have yearning love for the Creator on the
Divine Throne, the "unmoved Mover" which all the heavens circle
round in adoration and worship.

8(18433) scales [zere]: lit., "a coat of mail, or armor." Refers to the
mail-like scales on the body of a fish.

9(18433) like a "fish": means like a mystic.

10(18434) so that I may learn to travel like the heart: means like the
heart of a mystic who experiences an "Ascension" [mi`râj] into the
Heavens during prayer.

11(18436) face [liqâ]: means "meeting, encounter" in Arabic, but
often has the meaning of "face" and "countenance" in Persian.


18420 dar wiSâl-at che-râ be-y-âmûz-am?
dar firâq-at che-râ be-y-âmûz-am?

yâ tô bâ dard-é man be-y-âmîz-î
yâ man az tô dawâ be-y-âmûz-am

mê-gorêz-î ze-man ke "nâ-dân-am,"
yâ be-y-âmîz-î yâ be-y-âmûz-am

pêsh az-în nâz-o khashm mê-kard-am
tâ man az tô jodâ be-y-âmûz-am

chûn khodâ bâ tô-st dar shab-o rôz
ba`d az-în az khodâ be-y-âmûz-am

18425 dar firâq-at sazây-é khwod dîd-am
chûn be-dîd-am sazâ be-y-âmûz-am

khâk-é pây to-râ ba-dast âr-am
tâ az-ô kîmiyâ be-y-âmûz-am

âftâb to-râ shaw-am Zarra
ma`nà-yé "wa 'Z-ZuHà" be-y-âmûz-am

kah-robây to-râ shaw-am kâhê
jaZba-yé kah-robâ be-y-âmûz-am

az dô `âlam dô dîda bar-dûz-am
în man az muSTafà be-y-âmûz-am

18430 sirr-é mâ zâg-o mâ Taghà-râ man
joz az-ô ko-jâ be-y-âmûz-am

dar hawây-ash Tawâf sâz-am tâ
chûn falak dar hawâ be-y-âmûz-am

band-é hastî forô-goshâd-am tâ
ham-chô mah bê-qabâ be-y-âmûz-am

ham-chô mâhî zere ze-khwod sâz-am,
tâ ba-baHr âshnâ be-y-âmûz-am

ham-chô del khûn khwar-am ke tâ chûn del
sayr-é bê-dast-o pâ be-y-âmûz-am

18435 dar wafâ nêst kas tamâm ostâd
pas wafâ az wafâ be-y-âmûz-am

18436 khatm-ash în shod ke khwosh liqây-é man-î
az tô khwosh-khwosh liqâ be-y-âmûz-am

Meter: XoXX oXoX ooX

(Khafîf sâlim makhbûn)