I'm neither beautiful nor ugly

by Mevlana Jelaluddin Rumi

English version by W. S. Merwin and Talat Halman
Original Language Persian/Farsi

I'm neither beautiful nor ugly
     neither this nor that

I'm neither the peddler in the market
     nor the nightingale
     in the rose garden

Teacher give me a name so that I'll know
     what to call myself

I'm neither slave nor free neither candle
     nor iron

I've not fallen in love with anyone
     nor is anyone in love with me

Whether I'm sinful or good
     sin and goodness come from another
     not from me

Wherever He drags me I go
     with no say in the matter

-- from East Window: Poems from Asia, Translated by W. S. Merwin

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Commentary by Ivan M. Granger

Rumi sings of the mystic's experience of no-self. All traits, all qualities are limited notions that can never encompass or define the fluid spaciousness we finally recognize as our true nature. Even the notions of "good" and "evil" are concepts that divide and separate, when the vision of unity reveals that we are seamlessly one with the splendor of Reality.

What name can name you then, when everything not named is also you?



Recommended Books: Mevlana Jelaluddin Rumi

Poetry for the Spirit: Poems of Universal Wisdom and Beauty Perfume of the Desert: Inspirations from Sufi Wisdom Music of a Distant Drum: Classical Arabic, Persian, Turkish & Hebrew Poems Open Secret: Versions of Rumi The Way of Passion: A Celebration of Rumi
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I'm neither beautiful