Be a Lover

Ghazal 26741

O Water of (Everlasting) Life,2pay heed! Turn me like a mill-stone from plenitude!

Do it in such a way that my distracted heart3 may be somewhere and I somewhere (else), forever like this.

(For) a branch and leaf do not move without a breeze, (and) a (piece of) straw does not fly without (the magnetism of) amber.4

Since a (blade of) grass doesn't move except with a breeze, how can a world (like ours) move without any passion?

All of the parts of the universe are lovers and every part of the world is drunk5 with an encounter (with the Beloved)6.

But they don't tell their secrets to you. (For) talk about secrets is not suitable except with a worthy person.

Grazing animals graze together (in) the pasture from the "cup and table" of a sweet owner.7

The ants told (their) secret to Solomon, did they not?8(And) an echo (from the mountains) was sounding to David, was it not?9

If the sky had not been a lover, it would not have been clear and serene.10

And if the sun hadn't also been a lover, there wouldn't have been any radiance in his beauty.11

If the earth and mountain hadn't been lovers, there wouldn't have grown any grass from their hearts.

(And) if the ocean hadn't been aware of love, it would have eventually taken rest somewhere.12

Be a lover, so that you may recognize (another) lover; act faithfully, so that you may see a faithful one.13

(For the sky of) heaven didn't accept the burden of the Trust,14 since it was a lover and was fearful of (making) a mistake.

--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, 11/11/17 (with gratitude for
A. J. Arberry's 1978 British translation)

© Ibrahim Gamard (translation, footnotes, & transliteration)

Notes on the text:

1. Ghazal 2674: Compare to: the translation from Persian by A. J. Arberry, "Mystical Poems of Rumi," 2008, no. 342, pp. 330-331;

2Water of (Everlasting) Life [âb-é haywân]: a legendary stream which bestows immortality upon those who drink from it. A frequent image in Rumi's poetry, symbolizing eternal spiritual joy.

3distracted heart [parêshân-del]: lit., "scattered heart".

4amber [kah-robâ'yê]: lit.,"straw-stealing." Refers to the magnetic attraction of (the gemstone) amber to move a piece of straw.

5drunk [mast]: not intoxication from alcohol, but a metaphor for a spiritual state of ecstatic joy.

6an encounter (with the Beloved) [liqâ'yê]: means an encounter with God, the Creator and divine Friend. This is a Qur'ânic term, for example: " that you may believe with certainty in the meeting with your Lord [liqâ'i rabbi-kum]."

7the "cup and table" of a sweet owner: means that dervishes share secrets (mystical insights, intuitive knowings, and revelatory inspirations) together, secrets "fed" to them by their generous master (and guide)

8Solomon: Solomon understood the speech of the ants (Qur'ân 27:18).

9David: a reference to Qur'ân 34:10-- "And We sent down grace to David from Us, (saying): 'O mountains, sing back the praises of God with him.'" See also Qur'ân 21:79.

10clear and serene [sîna-yé ô-râ Safâ'yê]: lit., "it would not have had a clear chest." A clear sky is a metaphor for serenity.

11the sun [shams]: Probably also a reference to Shams-é Tabrîzî.

12it would have taken rest somewhere: means it would have stopped surging.

13a faithful one [bâ-wafâ'yê]: also means God, the Most Faithful.

14the Trust [amânat]: a reference to Qur'ân 33:72 in which God declared: "We offered the Trust to the heavens and the mountains and the earth, but they refused to bear it, being fearful; but mankind bore it..." One of the meanings of the Trust, according to scholars, is the responsibility of having free will to choose between good and evil and to bear the consequences.


halâ ay âb-é haywân, az nawâ'yê
hamê-gardân ma-râ chôn âseyâ'yê

chon-în mê-kon, ke tâ bâdâ chon-în bâd
parêshân-del ba-jâ'yê, man ba-jâ'yê

na-jomb-ad shâkh-o bargê joz ba-bâdê
na-parr­ad barg ke bê-kah-robâ'yê

chô kâhê joz ba-bâdê mê-na-jomb-ad
kojâ jomb-ad jahânê bê hawâ'yê?

hama ajzây-é `âlam `âshiqân-and
wa har juzw-é jahân mast-é liqâ'yê

wa lêk asrâr-é khwod bâ tô na-gôy-and
na-shây-ad goft-é sirr joz bâ sazâ'ê

cherâ-khwâr-ân cherâshân ham cherâ-khwâr
ze kâsa-wo khwân-é shîrîn-kad-khodâ`yê

na mûr-ân bâ sulaymân râz goft-and?
na bâ dâwûd mê-zad ke Sadâ'yê?

agar în âsmân `âshiq na-bûdy
na-bûdy sîna-yé ô-râ Safâ'yê

wa gar khworshêd ham `âshiq na-bûdy
na-bûdy dar jamâl-é ô Ziyâ'yê

zamîn-o kôh agar na `âshiq-andy
na-rôsty az del-é har dô geyâ'yê

agar daryâ ze-`ishq âgah na-bûdy
qarârê dâshty âkhir ba-jâ'yê

tô `âshiq bâsh tâ `âshiq shenâs-î
wafâ kon tâ be-bîn-î bâ-wafâ'yê

na-paZraft âsmân bâr-é amânat
ke `âshiq bûd-o tarsîd az khaTâ'yê

Meter 15: oXXX oXXX oXX
(hazaj) musaddas maHdhûf