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Rumi Quotes

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Jalalud’din Rumi is one of the world’s most revered mystical poets. During his lifetime he produced a prolific range of inspiring and devotional poetry which encapsulates the Sufi’s experience of union with the divine.

These timeless classics have enjoyed a renaissance in recent years, as Rumi has become one of our most popular poets. Although Rumi was a Sufi and a great scholar of the Qu’ran his appeal reaches across religious and social divisions. Even during his lifetime he was noted for his cosmopolitan outlook. His funeral, which lasted 40 days, was attended by Muslims, Jews, Persians, Christians and Greeks.

Rumi was born in 1207, in what is now know as Afghanistan. It was a period of remarkable social and political turbulence. The 13th Century was the era of the crusades; also the area where Rumi lived was under constant threat of Mongol invasion. The great upheavals Rumi faced during his life is said to have influenced much of his poetry.

Rumi met many of the great Sufi poets. For example, as a young boy he met the Sufi Master, Attar. Attar is said to have commented about Rumi.

“There goes a river dragging an ocean behind it.”

However the most important turning point in Rumi’s life was when he met the wandering dervish Sham al- Din. Sham was eccentric and unorthodox, but was filled with heart - felt devotion, that sometimes he couldn’t contain. Sham appeared to be quite different to the respectable and prestigious scholar, (as Rumi was at that point.) However Rumi saw in Sham a divine presence. This meeting and their close mystical relationship was instrumental in awakening Rumi’s latent spirituality and intense devotion. It was at this point Rumi abandoned his academic career and began to write his mystical poetry.

Rumi’s poetry is wide ranging and encompasses many different ideas but behind all the poetry the essential theme was the longing and searching for the union with the divine. Rumi was himself a great mystic. His outpourings of poetry were a reflection of his own inner consciousness. Ironically Rumi said that no words could adequately explain the experience of mystical union. Yet his words are inspiring signposts which point towards the divine.

In his poetry Rumi frequently uses imagery which may be unexpected. For example although Islam forbids alcohol, he often describes the sensation of being “drunk and intoxicated with ecstasy for his beloved.” Here drunk implies the bliss of the divine consciousness. Love is a frequent subject of Rumi’s poems, descriptions of seeming romantic love is an illusion to the all encompassing pure, divine love. Metaphors such as this are common to other Sufi poets such as Omar Khayyam, Hafiz, and Attar.

Rumi’s poetry is so widely appreciated because it has the capacity to uplift our own consciouness. Reading the words of Rumi can awaken in ourselves, our own spiritual self.

The minute I heard my first love story I started looking for you, not knowing how blind that was. Lovers don’t finally meet somewhere. They’re in each other all along.

— Rumi

This is a gathering of lovers. In this gathering there is no high, no low, no smart, no ignorant, no special assembly, no grand discourse, no proper schooling required. There is no master, no disciple.

This gathering is more like a drunken party, full of tricksters, fools, mad men and mad women. This is a gathering of lovers.

— Rumi

Who looks out with my eyes? What is the soul? I cannot stop asking. If I could taste one sip of an answer, I could break out of this prison for drunks. I didn’t come here of my own accord, and I can’t leave that way. Whoever brought me here, will have to take me home.

— Rumi

All day I think about it, then at night I say it. Where did I come from, and what am I supposed to be doing? I have no idea. My soul is from elsewhere, I’m sure of that, and I intend to end up there.

— Rumi

Let the lover be disgraceful, crazy, absent-minded. Someone sober will worry about events going badly. Let the lover be.

— Rumi

Every tree and plant in the meadow seemed to be dancing, those which average eyes would see as fixed and still.

— Rumi

A true lover doesn’t follow any one religion, be sure of that. Since in the religion of love, there is no irreverence or faith.

When in love, body, mind, heart and soul don’t even exist. Become this, fall in love, and you will not be separated again.

— Rumi

Give me ecstasy, give me naked wonder, O my Creator! Give birth to the Beloved in me, and let this lover die. Let a thousand wrangling desires become one Love.

— Rumi

He does not see the Master at this moment because in truth the desire that filled him, namely to see the Master, was a veil hiding the Master.

So it is with all desires and affections, all loves and fondnesses that people have for every variety of thing – father, mother, heaven, earth, gardens, palaces, knowledge, things to eat and drink.

The lover of God realizes all these desires are truly the desire for God, and they are all veils covering humanity’s eyes.

— Rumi

Don’t worry about saving these songs! And if one of our instruments breaks, it doesn’t matter. We have fallen into the place where everything is music. The strumming and the flute notes rise into the atmosphere, and even if the whole world’s harps should burn up, there will still be hidden instruments playing.

So the candle flickers and goes out. We have a piece of flint, and a spark. This singing art is sea foam. The graceful movements come from a pearl somewhere on the ocean floor.

Poems reach up like spin drift and the edge of driftwood along the beach, wanting! They derive from a slow and powerful root that we can’t see. Stop the words now. Open the window in the center of your chest, and let the spirits fly in and out.

— Rumi

My heart is burning with love, all can see this flame. My heart is pulsing with passion like waves on an ocean. My friends have become strangers and I’m surrounded by enemies, but I’m free as the wind no longer hurt by those who reproach me.

I’m at home wherever I am and in the room of lovers I can see with closed eyes the beauty that dances. Behind the veils intoxicated with love I too dance the rhythm of this moving world. I have lost my senses in my world of lovers.

— Rumi

This being human is a guest house. Every morning a new arrival. A joy, a depression, a meanness, some momentary awareness comes as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all! Even if they're a crowd of sorrows, who violently sweep your house empty of its furniture, still, treat each guest honourably. He may be clearing you out for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice, meet them at the door laughing, and invite them in. Be grateful for whoever comes, because each has been sent as a guide from beyond.

— Rumi

Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I will meet you there.

— Rumi

What is the body? That shadow of a shadow of your love, that somehow contains the entire universe.

— Rumi

When I am with you, we stay up all night. When you’re not here, I can’t go to sleep. Praise God for those two insomnias! And the difference between them.

— Rumi

I want to sing like the birds sing, not worrying about who hears or what they think.

— Rumi

Good and bad are mixed. If you don’t have both, you don’t belong with us.

— Rumi

Forget safety. Live where you fear to live. Destroy your reputation. Be notorious.

— Rumi

Sell your cleverness and buy bewilderment. Cleverness is mere opinion, bewilderment is intuition.

— Rumi

Silence is an ocean. Speech is a river. When the ocean is searching for you, don’t walk into the language-river. Listen to the ocean, and bring your talky business to an end.

— Rumi

This is love: to fly toward a secret sky, to cause a hundred veils to fall each moment. First to let go of life. Finally, to take a step without feet.

— Rumi

You are quaffing drink from a hundred fountains: whenever any of these hundred yields less, your pleasure is diminished. But when the sublime fountain gushes from within you, no longer need you steal from the other fountains.

— Rumi

The way you make love is the way God will be with you.

— Rumi

I saw grief drinking a cup of sorrow and called out, “It tastes sweet, does it not?” “You’ve caught me,” grief answered, “and you’ve ruined my business. How can I sell sorrow, when you know it’s a blessing?”

— Rumi

God turns you from one feeling to another and teaches by means of opposites, so that you will have two wings to fly, not one.

— Rumi

Thinking gives off smoke to prove the existence of fire. A mystic sits inside the burning. There are wonderful shapes in rising smoke that imagination loves to watch. But it’s a mistake to leave the fire for that filmy sight. Stay here at the flame’s core.

— Rumi

I always thought that I was me - but no, I was you and never knew it.

— Rumi

Observe the wonders as they occur around you. Don’t claim them. Feel the artistry moving through, and be silent.

— Rumi

Let the beauty of what you love be what you do. There are a thousand ways to kneel and kiss the earth.

— Rumi

In your light I learn how to love. In your beauty, how to make poems. You dance inside my chest, where no one sees you, but sometimes I do, and that sight becomes this art.

— Rumi

I can’t stop pointing to the beauty. Every moment and place says, “Put this design in your carpet!”

— Rumi

Do you want to enter paradise? To walk the path of Truth you need the grace of God. We all face death in the end. But on the way, be careful never to hurt a human heart!

— Rumi

Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.

— Rumi

Do you know what the music is saying? “Come follow me and you will find the way. Your mistakes can also lead you to the Truth. When you ask, the answer will be given.”

— Rumi

You know what love is? It is all kindness, generosity. Disharmony prevails when you confuse lust with love, while the distance between the two is endless.

— Rumi

Those who don’t feel this Love pulling them like a river, those who don’t drink dawn like a cup of spring water or take in sunset like supper, those who don’t want to change, let them sleep.

This Love is beyond the study of theology, that old trickery and hypocrisy. If you want to improve your mind that way, sleep on. I’ve given up on my brain. I’ve torn the cloth to shreds and thrown it away.

If you’re not completely naked, wrap your beautiful robe of words around you, and sleep.

— Rumi

If your guidance is your ego, don’t rely on luck for help. You sleep during the day and the nights are short. By the time you wake up your life may be over.

— Rumi

Travelers, it is late. Life’s sun is going to set. During these brief days that you have strength, be quick and spare no effort of your wings.

— Rumi

You suppose you are the trouble but you are the cure. You suppose that you are the lock on the door but you are the key that opens it. It’s too bad that you want to be someone else. You don’t see your own face, your own beauty, yet no face is more beautiful than yours.

— Rumi

I was dead, then alive. Weeping, then laughing. The power of love came into me, and I became fierce like a lion, then tender like the evening star. He said, “You’re not mad enough. You don’t belong in this house.”

I went wild and had to be tied up. He said, “Still not wild enough to stay with us!” I broke through another layer into joyfulness. He said, “It’s not enough.” I died. He said, “You are a clever little man, full of fantasy and doubting.”

I plucked out my feathers and became a fool. He said, “Now you are the candle for this assembly.” But I’m no candle. Look! I’m scattered smoke. He said, “You are the Sheikh, the guide.” But I’m not a teacher. I have no power. He said, “You already have wings. I cannot give you wings.” But I wanted his wings. I felt like some flightless chicken.

Then new events said to me, “Don’t move. A sublime generosity is coming towards you.” And old love said, “Stay with me.” I said, “I will.” You are the fountain of the sun’s light. I am a willow shadow on the ground. You make my raggedness silky.

The soul at dawn is like darkened water that slowly begins to say thank you, thank you. Then at sunset, again, Venus gradually changes into the moon and then the whole nightsky. This comes of smiling back at your smile.

The chess master says nothing, other than moving the silent chess piece. That I am part of the ploys of this game makes me amazingly happy.

— Rumi

A certain person came to the Friend’s door and knocked. “Who’s there?” “It’s me.” The Friend answered, “Go away. There’s no place for raw meat at this table.” The individual went wandering for a year. Nothing but the fire of separation can change hypocrisy and ego.

The person returned completely cooked, walked up and down in front of the Friend’s house, gently knocked. “Who is it?” “You.” “Please come in, my self, there’s no place in this house for two.

The doubled end of the thread is not what goes through the eye of the needle. It’s a single-pointed, fined-down, thread end, not a big ego-beast with baggage.”

— Rumi

Embryo in the Womb

What if someone said to an embryo in the womb,
“Outside of your world of black nothing
is a miraculously ordered universe;
a vast Earth covered with tasty food;
mountains, oceans and plains,
fragrant orchards and fields full of crops;
a luminous sky beyond your reach,
with a sun, moonbeams, and uncountable stars;
and there are winds from south, north and west,
and gardens replete with sweet flowers
like a banquet at a wedding feast.

The wonders of this world are beyond description.
What are you doing living in a dark prison,
Drinking blood through that narrow tube?”
But the womb-world is all an embryo knows
And it would not be particularly impressed
By such amazing tales, saying dismissively:
“You’re crazy. That is all a deluded fantasy.”

One day you will look back and laugh at yourself.
You’ll say, “I can’t believe I was so asleep!
How did I ever forget the truth?
How ridiculous to believe that sadness and sickness
Are anything other than bad dreams.”

— Rumi

All these things shall love do unto you that you may know the secrets of your heart.

— Rumi

I know that my spirit belongs to the Spirit of all Spirit. I know that I belong to the city of those who have no place. But to find my way there I need to let go of my knowing.

— Rumi

Do you think that I know what I’m doing? That for one breath or half-breath I belong to myself? As much as a pen knows what it’s writing, or the ball can guess where it’s going next.

— Rumi

“Lord,” said David, “since you do not need us, why did you create these two worlds?”

Reality replied: “Oh prisoner of time, I was a secret treasure of kindness and generosity, and I wished this treasure to be known, so I created a mirror: its shining face, the heart; its darkened back, the world; The back would please you if you’ve never seen the face.”

— Rumi

I searched for God and found only myself. I searched for myself and found only God.

— Rumi

Come, come, whoever you are, wanderer, worshiper, lover of leaving, it doesn’t matter, ours is not a caravan of despair. Even if you have broken your vows a thousand times it doesn’t matter, come, yet again, come.

— Rumi

Start a huge, foolish project, like Noah. It makes absolutely no difference, what people think of you.

— Rumi

I am all orders of being, the circling galaxy, the evolutionary intelligence, the lift, and the falling away. What is, and what isn’t. You who know Jelaluddin, You the one in all, say who I am. Say I am You.

— Rumi

Rumi said: Whoever is loved is beautiful, but this doesn’t mean that whoever is beautiful is loved. “There are girls more beautiful than Laila,” they used to tell Majnun. “Let us bring some to you.” “I do not love Laila for her form,” Majnun would reply.

“Laila is like a cup in my hand. I drink wine from that cup. I am in love with that wine. You only have eyes for the goblet and do not know the wine. A golden goblet studded with precious stones, but containing only vinegar, what use is that to me? An old broken gourd with wine is better in my eyes than a hundred goblets of gold.”

— Rumi

If the picture you draw on a piece of paper if of a smiling person, do you suppose the paper is smiling? Or if there is a picture of a weeping person on it, do you expect sobs to rise up from the paper? Know that both the sorrow and joy you seek is in your spirit. The paper is aware of neither.

— Rumi

You are in love with me, I shall make you perplexed.
Do not build much, for I intend to have you in ruins.
If you build two hundred houses in a manner that the bees do;
I shall make you as homeless as a fly.
If you are the mount Qaf in stability.
I shall make you whirl like a millstone.

— Rumi

 

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