Authenticity of quote

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En Ja Su Ri

Oct 13, 2023, 2:34:15 PM10/13/23
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Slam, dear Ibrahim ; 

I have as always a question on a possible misquote. 

It is about the famous "quit being a drop, become the ocean."

Do you have an insight for me? 

Thankful as always,



Oct 13, 2023, 6:41:22 PM10/13/23
to Dar-al-Masnavi

The verse you quoted is from a popularized version of an authentic quatrain of Rumi's, no. 1465, which I have translated (with an Afghan scholar) as follows:

ما زیباییم ، خویش را زیبا كُن                   خو با ما كن ، زِ دیگران خو وا كن

یك قطره مباش ، خویش را دریا كن           دریا خواهی ، تو قطره ای را لا كن

[The Beloved said,] ‘I am Beautiful, so make yourself beautiful.

Accustom yourself to Me and be unaccustomed to others.

Don’t be a drop, but make yourself an ocean.

If you want to become an ocean, then annihilate the drop.’*1

No. 1214: F-1465.

*1. annihilate the drop [qatra-yē-rā lā kon]: lit., ‘make a drop nothing’. This refers to annihilation [fanā] of 

self. See Note 158. It also means, ‘Make the drop NOT [],’ referring to the Islamic testament of faith, ‘There is not [] any divinity except (the One) God.’

—Translated by Ibrahim Gamard and Rawan Farhadi, The Quatrains of Rumi, 2008, revised edition, 2023

Translations and versions of this quatrain that have been  previously published are by Muriel Maufroy (Breathing Truth, based on a French trans. by de Vitray-Meyerovitch, 1997, p. 263), , Nevit Ergin (The Rubais of Rumi, based on a Turkish trans. by Golpinarli, 2016p. 372; and Zara Houshmand (Moon and Sun, 2020, p. 83).

David Perrault

Oct 14, 2023, 3:42:10 PM10/14/23
Does this mean that the design is for drops to become more Oceans that the One Ocean in manifestation is ever increasing as the drops reach maturity and shed identification with temporal existence becoming the locus to a continuous Divine Self Birth?
M. Perrault

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Farzad Mobin

Oct 15, 2023, 3:43:36 PM10/15/23
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This reminds me of 

ای خدا ای خالق بی چون و چند
کز تو بر پا گشته این چرخ بلند
قطره دانش که بخشیدی ز پیش
متصل گردان به دریاهای خویش

For those who don't read Persian:  (Quick Translation)

Oh creator, the creator like none other
of whom this spinning wheel has arisen
the droplet of knowledge that you bestowed long ago
Make it connect to your vast seas

Here the droplet is a pointer to Rumi himself 


Oct 15, 2023, 4:23:35 PM10/15/23
to Dar-al-Masnavi
Salām Phillip,

Thanks for the comparison quote, the second verse of which was translated by Nicholson as:

Cause the drop of knowledge which Thou gavest (us) heretofore to become united with Thy seas.

[Being as the title of this topic is "Authenticity of Quote," I will add that the first verse you quoted ("O God, O Creator like none other..." is not in the earliest manuscripts of the Masnavi but is one of many hundreds of couplets added to the Masnavi over the centuries. So, it is included in the "pre-Nicholson" editions of Ramazānī and of Ja'farī, but not in the "Konya Manuscript".



Oct 15, 2023, 5:05:49 PM10/15/23
to Dar-al-Masnavi
The idea of "Ocean" as a metaphor for Divine Oneness is common in mysticism in general. But the idea of the "One Ocean" becoming increased by "continuous Divine Self-Births" is unusual, since the "Ocean of Divine Oneness"  is usually conceived as infinite, so that nothing can be added to It. I love the mystical quote: "The Cosmos is (like) a circle whose center is everywhere and whose circumference is everywhere." I have only come across the unusual idea that you present in certain forms of Dualism in which there was a catastrophe before the creation of the universe in which Divine Light became mixed with Darkness (= matter) so that the goal of the Gnostic Savior is to free the particles of light (= souls of illumined initiates) from darkness (= material bodies) so that they may reunite with the World of Light.


On Saturday, October 14, 2023 at 12:42:10 PM UTC-7 dust12 wrote:

En Ja Su Ri

Oct 18, 2023, 1:16:34 PM10/18/23
Dearest Ibrahim Efendi; 

As always, I am very grateful for your response. Your contributions are invaluable. 

Peace and blessings to you. 

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