Rumi on the Nafs

Selected by Kabir Helminski

Let’s ask God to help us to self-control:
for one who lacks it, lacks His Grace.

The undisciplined person doesn’t wrong himself alone—
but sets fire to the whole world.
Discipline enabled Heaven to be filled with light;
discipline enabled the angels to be immaculate and holy.

The peacock’s plumage is his enemy.
The world is the mountain,
and each action, the shout that echoes back.

This discipline and rough treatment are a furnace
to extract the silver from the dross

The spiritual path wrecks the body
and afterwards restores it to health.

Anger and lust make a man squint;
When self-interest appears, virtue hides:

Fortunate is he who does not carry envy as a companion.

If ten lamps are present in one place,
each differs in form from another;
yet you can’t distinguish whose radiance is whose
when you focus on the light.

In the field of spirit there is no division;
no individuals exist.

The idol of your self is the mother of all idols.
To regard the self as easy to subdue is a mistake.

If you wish mercy, show mercy to the weak.

The stoppered jar, though in rough water,
floated because of its empty heart.
When the wind of poverty is in anyone,
she floats in peace on the waters of this world.
As long as desires are fresh, faith is not;
for it is these desires that lock that gate.

The tongue of mutual understanding is quite special:
to be one of heart is better than to have a common tongue.

If you dig a pit for others to fall into,
you will fall into it yourself.

Many of the faults you see in others, dear reader,
are your own nature reflected in them.

With will, fire becomes sweet water.

The lion who breaks the enemy’s ranks
is a minor hero
compared to the lion who overcomes himself.

O son, only those whose spiritual eye has been opened
know how compulsive we are.

Whoever gives reverence receives reverence.
The intellectual quest,
though fine as pearl or coral,
is not the spiritual search.

The intelligent desire self-control;
children want candy.

Since in order to speak, one must first listen,
learn to speak by listening.

When, with just a taste, envy and deceit arise,
and ignorance and forgetfulness are born,
know you have tasted the unlawful.

Know that a word suddenly shot from the tongue
is like an arrow shot from the bow.
O tongue, you are an endless treasure.
O tongue, you are also an endless disease.

I am burning.
If any one lacks tinder,
let him set his rubbish ablaze with my fire.
Although your desire tastes sweet,
doesn’t the Beloved desire you
to be desireless?

The world’s flattery and hypocrisy is a sweet morsel:
eat less of it, for it is full of fire.

Forgetfulness of God, beloved,
is the support of this world;
spiritual intelligence its ruin.
For Intelligence belongs to that other world,
and when it prevails, this material world is overthrown.

Were there no men of vision,
all who are blind would be dead.

All these griefs within our hearts
arise from the smoke and dust
of our existence and vain desires.

Whoever lives sweetly dies painfully:
whoever serves his body doesn’t nourish his soul.

Your thinking is like a camel driver,
and you are the camel:
it drives you in every direction under its bitter control.

If you are wholly perplexed and in straits,
have patience, for patience is the key to joy.

Fast from thoughts, fast:
thoughts are like the lion and the wild ass;
men’s hearts are the thickets they haunt.

If you are irritated by every rub,
how will your mirror be polished?
Anyone in whom the troublemaking self has died,
sun and cloud obey.
If you wish to shine like day,
burn up the night of self-existence.
Dissolve in the Being who is everything.

There is no worse sickness for the soul,
O you who are proud, than this pretense of perfection.
The heart and eyes must bleed a lot
before self-complacency falls away.
Can the water of a polluted stream
clear out the dung?
Can human knowledge sweep away
the ignorance of the sensual self?
How does a sword fashion its own hilt?
Go, entrust the cure of this wound to a surgeon,

Many are the unbelievers who long for submission,
but their stumbling block
is reputation and pride and continual desires.
I’m the devoted slave
of anyone who doesn’t claim
to have attained dining with God
at every way station.

 

Everyone is a child

except the one who’s intoxicated with God.
God has said, Knowledge that isn’t from Him is a burden.
like a woman’s makeup, it doesn’t last.

Be cleansed of the (false) self’s features, and see your pure Self:
Know the mirror of the heart is infinite.
Either the understanding falls silent, or it leads you astray,
because the heart is God,
or indeed the heart is He.

Everything, except love of the Most Beautiful,
is really agony. It’s agony
to move towards death and not drink the water of life.
Fiery lust is not diminished by indulging it,
but inevitably by leaving it ungratified.

Anger is a king over kings,
but anger once bridled may serve.

2017-01-29T15:56:38+00:00