Although you may consume sweet desserts, roast meat, and pure
Know that (if) you consume water in a dream,2
When you get up from the dream you will [still] be thirsty.
For the water you consume in a dream causes you no benefit.3
--From "The Rubâ`iyât" of Jalâluddîn Rûmî (in the Dîwân-é Kabîr,
also known as "Kulliyat-é Shams" and "Dîwân-é Shams-é Tabrîz")
Adapted from "The Quatrains of Rumi," by Ibrahim Gamard and Ravan
Farhadi, an unpublished manuscript of over 800 pages.
© Ibrahim Gamard and Ravan Farhadi (translation, footnotes, &
Notes on the text:
This quatrain appears in Rumi's "Discourses" (Fî-hi Mâ Fî-hi),
Discourse no. 49. It was translated by A. J. Arberry ("Discourses
of Rumi," 1961, p. 185) and by W. M. Thackston, Jr. ("Signs of
The Unseen: the Discourses of Jalaluddin Rumi," 1994, p. 194).
Arberry was not able to trace it as one of Rumi's quatrains (and
Thackston seems to have accepted Arberry's conclusion without
looking any further).
1. line one means, "Even if you have every benefit of the material
world. . . "
2. dream [khwâb]: also means "sleep."
3. line four: The meaning of this quatrain is that we are desiring and
acquiring in a dream-like state, asleep to the Presence of God and
deprived of real sustenance -- Divine Grace, which Rumi
symbolizes in many of his quatrains by the "Water of Everlasting
Life." Therefore, a condition for receiving spiritual sustenance is
spiritual awareness and wakefulness [yaqZat]. This quatrain occurs
in Rumi's "Discourses" soon after he had said, "It is love by which
one finds [true] food and savor." Afterwards, he quoted a saying
[Hadîth] of the Prophet Muhammad: "The world resembles the
dream of a sleeper" [al-dunyâ ka-Hulm-un al-nâ'im]. Rumi then
said, "The world and its enjoyment resemble a man who ate
something in a dream. Thus, for him to desire worldly wants is like
someone who desired something in a dream and was given it.
Finally, when he is awake, there will be no benefit from what he
ate in the dream. Therefore, he would have desired something in a
dream and would have been given it. 'The gift accords with the
value of the speech.'"
gar nuql-o kabâb-o gar may-é nâb khwor-î
mê-dân-ke ba-khwâb dar, hamê âb khwor-î
chûn bar khêz-î ze-khwâb, bâsh-î tashna
sawd-at na-kon-ad âb, ke dar khwâb khwor-î
(rubâ`î meter: XXo oXoX oXXX X)