Those who became complete

by Yunus Emre

English version by Kabir Helminski & Refik Algan
Original Language Turkish

Those who became complete
didn't live this life in hypocrisy,
didn't learn the meaning of things
by reading commentaries.

Reality is an ocean; the Law is a ship.
Many have never left the ship,
never jumped into the sea.

They might have come to Worship
but they stopped at rituals.
They never knew or entered the Inside.

Those who think the Four Books
were meant to be talked about,
who have only read explanations
and never entered meaning,
are really in sin.

Yunus means "true friend"
for one whose journey has begun.
Until we transform our Names,
we haven't found the Way.

-- from The Drop That Became the Sea: Lyric Poems of Yunus Emre, Translated by Kabir Helminski / Translated by Refik Algan

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Commentary by Ivan M. Granger

Reality is an ocean; the Law is a ship.
Many have never left the ship,
never jumped into the sea.


I love these feisty mystic poets. They come in all shades of religious sentiment, but they do tend to congregate outside the halls of orthodoxy. Most are profoundly devout and fiercely focused in their spirituality. But for the mystic to truly open to the Divine, one must clearly see the nature of reality and the nature of one's very self -- without blinders or pretense. That's why mystics don't write poems in praise of rules, hierarchies, or second hand knowledge. They want the wide ocean, not the creaking ship.



Recommended Books: Yunus Emre

Poetry for the Spirit: Poems of Universal Wisdom and Beauty Music of a Distant Drum: Classical Arabic, Persian, Turkish & Hebrew Poems Quarreling with God: Mystic Rebel Poems of the Dervishes of Turkey The Drop That Became the Sea: Lyric Poems of Yunus Emre The Poetry of Yunus Emre: A Turkish Sufi Poet





Those who became