The Disciple At the Door: A Version of the Story By Rumi's Son, Sultan Walad

In explanation of the uttering of advice and mystical insight of
(Sultan) Walad1 in regard to [his spiritual master] Shaykh
Salâhuddîn--2 may God magnify his memory-- and his telling
(Walad), "I want 'you' to no longer remain, so that by means of you
I may utter advice and mystical insight. For in the world of Unity,
two-ness cannot be contained." And the bringing forth of a

"So that I may know truly that you are mine. You are the lover and
you are beyond 'us' and 'me.'

"You are not in the midst: only I am. There are never two in this

Haven't you heard of the story of the (spiritual) master? (About)
the skill, knowledge, and ability of that master?--

Who, when the (spiritual) disciple came to his door, (and) knocked
on the door, he said, "Who is it? Speak!"

(The disciple) said to him, "It is me, (your) slave, O king. (The
master) said, "Go from my door!" He did not offer him the
(entrance) way.

After a period of time (that) helpless one, who left and wandered
(in separation) for a year, returned.

When, (after) he had exerted himself in travel for a year, the
following year he arrived (back) and knocked on the door.

Again (the master) asked him, "Who is it?" (And) he said, "It is
me." (The master) replied, "I am not opening the door for you."

For years he was deprived of (the company of) his shaykh. He
became "cooked" (and then) his final (action) became known (to

He came back when he had become bent over from (the suffering
of) separation. He knocked on the door. (The master) said, "Who is
it?" (The disciple) said to him, "You!"

(The master) said in reply, "Since it is me, why am I knocking the
door-ring from the outside?!"

He opened the door to him and said, "Come in, since (your)
you-ness has gone from you, O (clear) seeing one!

"Since 'you' are not you, only I am-- (so) my home is your
possession, O knowing one.

"The world of Unity is our dwelling (place) -- 'two' cannot be
contained within our heart.

"Therefore, come (in), O you who have become me for me. Since
you are a rose, come into this flower garden.

"Among the numbers of flowers, where is two-ness? Since you
have become a rose, the thorn of you-ness no longer remains."

--From "Ibtidâ-nâma" of Sultân Walad, Mâhdokht Bânûhomâ'îy
edition ("Walad-nâme"), p. 88, lines 16-29; p. 89, lines 1-2.
--Translated from the Persian by Ibrahim Gamard
© Ibrahim Gamard (translation, footnotes, & transliteration)


1Sultan Walad: Rumi's son, and eventual successor, died 1312.

2Shaykh Salahuddin: see above note. He died in 1258.

3a parable: see Rumi's version: Someone came (and) knocked on
the door of a friend. His friend said, "Who are you, O trustworthy
one?" He answered, "Me." (The friend) said, "Go (away), it's not
the (right) time. At such a table as this there is no place for the
raw." What can cook the raw one, except the fire of separation.
What (else) can free him from hypocrisy? That poor miserable man
left and traveled for a year. He burned from sparks [of painful
longing] in separation from (his) friend. That burned one became
"cooked," (and) then returned. He went back to the house of (his
former) companion. (Using) the door-ring, he knocked at the door
with a hundred worries and courtesies [in mind], so that no rude
words might spring forth from (his) lips. His friend called out,
"Who is that at the door?" He answered, "Only you are at the door,
O seizer of hearts!" (The friend) said, "Now, since you are me, O
me, come in, (since) there's no room for two 'me's' in the house.
"The two ends of the thread are not (suitable) for the needle. (So),
if you are a single strand, come into the needle." --Mathnawi I:
3056-64, translated from the Persian, ©Ibrahim Gamard,

Sultan Walad's version of the story gives new details, which
suggest that this was a sufi story already told for some time, and
not a story newly created by Rumi. It clarifies that this is the story
of a spiritual disciple [murîd] and his mystical sufi master


dar bayân-é maw`iza wa ma`rifat-goftan-é walad dar khidmat-é
shaykh SalâHu 'd-dîn-- `aZZama 'llâhu Zikra-hu-- wa farmûdan-é
ô ke khwâh-am ke tô na-mân-î, tâ az tô maw`iza wa ma`rifat-é man
gôy-am ke dar `âlam-é waHdat dô'i na-mê-gonj-ad wa miSl-

tâ be-dân-am yaqîn k-az ân-é man-î
`âshiq-î wo berûn ze-mâ-wo man-î

tô na-î dar meyân man-am tan-hâ
nêst hargez dô-râ dar în gonjâ

na-shenîd-î Hikâyat-é ân shaykh
fan-o `ilm-o kafâyat-é ân shaykh

ke chô âmad murîd bar dar-é ô
dar be-zad goft kî-st-î tô be-gô

goft ô-râ man-am ghulâm ay shâh
goft raw az dar-am, na-dâd-ash râh

dar zamân bâz-gasht bê-châra
raft-o yak sâl bûd âwâra

chûn ke yak sâl dar safar sar-zad
sâl-é dêgar be-âmad-o dar zad

bâz goft ô ke kî-st goft man-am
goft dar bar tô bâz mê-na-kon-am

sâl-hâ bod ze-shaykh-é ô maHrûm
pokhta shod gasht âkhir-ash ma`lûm

bâz âmad chô shod ze-hijr dô-tô
dar be-zad goft kî-st goft-ash tô

goft ô dar jawâb chûn ke man-am
az berûn Halqa-yé dar az che zan-am

dar bar ô bâz kard-o goft dar â
chûn tô'î raft az tô ay bînâ

chûn ke tô nêst-î man-am tan-hâ
khâna-am mulk-é tô-st ay dânâ

`âlam-é waHdat-ast manzil-é mâ
dô na-gonj-ad darûna-yé del-é mâ

pas be-yâ ay ke man shod-î bar man
chûn gol-î andar â dar în gol-shan

dar `adad-hâyé gol ko-jâ-st dô'î
chûn shod-î gol na-mân-ad khâr-é tô'î

(mathnawi meter: XoXX oXoX ooX/XX)