The renowned Persian Sufi mystic Mevlâna Jalâluddin Rumi (1207–1273) is one of the most widely read poets in the world today. His compassionate insight into the nature of human existence, his joyful humor, his deep wisdom, and his ecstatic songs of divine union have endeared him to readers for more than seven hundred years. Selected from his most-loved works, this book contains the very best of Rumi's poetry in superb translation. By turns soaring, inspiring, lyrical, entertaining, and always full of profound guidance, Rumi’s transcendent words penetrate to the very depths of one’s heart, offering eloquent expression for what lies there.
The Shambhala Pocket Library is a collection of short, portable teachings from notable figures across religious traditions and classic texts. The covers in this series are rendered by Colorado artist Robert Spellman. The books in this collection distill the wisdom and heart of the work Shambhala Publications has published over 50 years into a compact format that is collectible, reader-friendly, and applicable to everyday life.
About the Author
JALALUDDIN RUMI (1207–1273) was not only a poet, mystic, and the founder of a Sufi order, he was a man of profound insight into the nature of human existence and possibly the greatest mystical poet of any age.
KABIR HELMINSKI is the author of Living Presence: A Sufi Way to Mindfulness and the Essential Self, as well as the translator of numerous books of Sufi literature and especially Rumi. He is the codirector, with his wife, Camille Helminski, of the Threshold Society, a nonprofit organization dedicated to sharing the knowledge and practice of Sufism. As the publisher of Threshold Books for some twenty years, he was largely responsible for making Rumi the most widely read poet of our time. As a producer and writer of Sufi music, he has gained recognition for numerous recordings, including his own Garden within the Flames. He is a representative of the Mevlevi tradition founded by Jalaluddin Rumi.
Read an Excerpt
Love Is a Stranger
Heart came on solid footing with breath refined
to warn the best of communities.
Heart placed your head
like a pen on the page of love.
We are joyous pennants in your just wind.
Master, to where do you dance?
Toward the land of liberation,
toward the plain of nonexistence.
Master, tell us which nonexistence you mean.
The ear of eternity knows the letter of eternity.
Love is a stranger with a strange language,
like an Arab in Persia. I have brought a story;
it is strange, like the one who tells it.
Listen to your servant.
Joseph’s face enlightened the well in which he hung.
His imprisonment became a palace
with orchards and meadows, a paradise,
a royal hall, and a chamber of sanctity.
Just as you toss a stone into the water,
the water at that very moment parts to receive it.
Just as a cloudy night is dispelled by a clear dawn,
from his humiliation and loss he views high heaven.
Reason, do not envy my mouth.
God witnesses the blessings.
Though the tree drinks from hidden roots,
we see the display of its branches.
Whatever the earth took from heaven,
it yields up honestly in spring.
Whether you have stolen a bead or a jewel,
whether you have raised a flag or a pen,
the night is gone and day has arrived,
and the sleeper shall see what he has
It suits the generous man to give money,
but truly the generosity of the lover
is to surrender his soul.
If you give bread for God’s sake,
you will be given bread in return;
if you give your life for God’s sake,
you will be given Life in return.
Mathnawi I, 2235–36
Iblis asked, “Can you tell a lie from the truth,
you who are filled with illusion?”
“The Prophet has given a clue,
a touchstone to know
the base coin from the true.
He has said,‘That which is false troubles the heart,
but Truth brings joyous tranquility.’”
Mathnawi I, 2732–34