Rumi Quote

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Apr 28, 2024, 9:24:37 PMApr 28
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Dear Ibrahim Efendi, dear friends,

By any chance, do you have an idea which original poem these verses from a Rumi version of Coleman Barks are based on?

Be empty of worrying. Think of who created thought! Why do you stay in prison when the door is so wide open? Move outside the tangle of fear-thinking. Live in silence. Flow down and down in always widening rings of being.

Thank you in advance,


Kelley Williams

Apr 29, 2024, 2:30:32 AMApr 29
Salaam alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa baraktu,


I hope Shaykh Ibrahim Effendi doesn’t mind but I once again took it upon myself to look into this for you and I think I found the original poem.

This particular poem is O-521/E-213/F-2577/Arb, No. 330/Nich, No. 42 as provided in the The Golpinarli/Ergin/Osborne/Sobhani-Foruzanfar Concordance (completed April 2020) which can be found at the following link:

The complete Barks version of the ghazal (which can be found in The Essential Rumi: New Expanded Edition, 2004, pg. 3) is as follows:

There is a community of the spirit.

Join it, and feel the delight

of walking in the noisy street

and being the noise.

Drink all your passion,

and be a disgrace.

Close both eyes

to see with the other eye.

Open your hands,

if you want to be held.

Sit down in the circle.

Quit acting like a wolf, and feel

the shepherd’s love filling you.

At night, your beloved wanders.

Don’t accept consolations.

Close your mouth against food.

Taste the lover’s mouth in yours.

You moan, “She left me.” “He left me.”

Twenty more will come.

Be empty of worrying.

Think of who created thought!

Why do you stay in prison

when the door is so wide open?

Move outside the tangle of fear-thinking.

Live in silence.

Flow down and down in always

widening rings of being.

Jeffrey R. Osborne has more accurately translated it in volume 5 of his complete translation of Mawlana’s Diwan, may Allah sanctify his secret, as follows:

Be just like the rest of the group so that you can savor of the soul. Come to the tavern's neighborhood, and see those who drink even the dregs.

Down the famed cup of passion so that you become infamous. Close the two eyes of the head so that you can perceive the hidden eyes.

Open your two hands if you want a hug. Destroy the earthen idol so that you can see the faces of the true idols.

How much longer will you bother scraping together a dowry for an old hag? Why would you engage in battles filled with swords and lances for the sake of three loaves of bread?

Behold a cupbearer without oppression - the cup is being passed around at his gathering. Come into the circle and sit.

How much longer will you suffer the vicissitudes of time?

Here, usury is good - give a soul and take a hundred. Stop acting like a wolf so that you might experience the love of the shepherd.

The friend is out and about at night, so do not take any Sleeping pills tonight. Stop eating so that you can taste what You already have in the mouth.

You say, "My enemy has alienated so-and-so from me." Go and take leave of so-and-so so that you might see twenty other people.

Do not contemplate any except the Creator of thought.

Contemplation of the beloved is better than contemplating thoughts of bread.

Given the spaciousness of God's earth, why are you clinging to the prison? Stop tying knots of worry so that you might experience the expansion of the heart.

Be silent from all of this speaking so that you might pick up what is being said for once. Pass beyond the soul and world so that you might experience them both for real.

If you’d like Arberry’s or Nicholson’s translations as well just let me know!

I hope this helps!

JazakAllah khair,

Kelley Shamsaldiin Williams

On Apr 28, 2024, at 8:24 PM, <> wrote:

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Apr 29, 2024, 2:31:06 AMApr 29
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Dear Marian,

Here's how I found the source of Barks' version:

1) Search for Barks' The Essential Rumi online:
2) Search for "Be empty" and find it on page 3. Identify that it is in Chapter 1 under the heading, "Community of the Spirits" and find it in the References section at the end of the book on page 297, followed by #2577, the poem number in Foruzanfar's Persian edition of Rumi's Divan poems.
3) Search for Arberry's Mystical Poems of Rumi online: Search for the Persian edition poem number, F-2577 and find it on page 428, followed by Arberry's poem number, Poem 330. Search for 330 and find Arberry's accurate translation from Persian that Barks (who does not know Persian) used to make his interpretive version. See that the origin of Barks' version ("Be empty of worrying. Think of who created thought") is: "Think of naught but the creator of thought. Thought for the Beloved is better than thinking about bread." [In the original Persian text used by Arberry, "andīsha" (thought) may also be translated as "worry.". Barks' wording of, "who created thought" is is an example of how he avoids what he calls "God words," when it is more accurately translated, "the Creator of thought" [khāliq-e andīsha]. 

Barks depended on his friend Javād Mo'īn/John Moyne's translations (never made public) for his quatrain versions, Arberry's translations for his ghazal versions, and Nicholson's translations for his. Masnavi versions.


May 3, 2024, 2:36:05 PMMay 3
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Dear Kelley Shamsaldiin Williams,
dear Ibrahim Efendi,

I am very grateful you have taken the time to not only point me to the original verses, but also for showing me the process of how you did it. This is very useful for future research.

May you be blessed in all your endeavors.
Kind regards, 


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