Whoever finds love

by Mevlana Jelaluddin Rumi

English version by Coleman Barks
Original Language Persian/Farsi

Whoever finds love
beneath hurt and grief
disappears into emptiness
with a thousand new disguises

-- from The Essential Rumi, Translated by Coleman Barks

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Commentary by Ivan M. Granger

I first came across this Rumi poem excerpt several years ago on a wonderful CD called Secret Language: Rumi, A Celebration in Song, by a Ramananda. Even now when I hear these words sung in my inner ear, repeated over and over, a hypnotic man's voice, a soaring woman's voice--

Whoever finds love...
Whoever finds looove...
Beneath hurt and grief...


Most of us live our entire lives with a thick veil or filter draped across existence -- the ego-mind. Everything we perceive or imagine is colored by that filter. When the ego falls away we "disappear" -- the normal sense of self as a separate, isolated entity amazingly fades out. The mind grows quiet. Any movement in the mind is perceived as a minor ripple that does not affect the clarity. As a result, the endless projections of identity, form, and enforced relationships between aspects of reality disappear. Instead, there is only a unified Whole, which includes us. We, like that Wholeness, are now understood to be formless, fluid. In this sense, we are spaciousness in an even vaster spaciousness. This is how we "disappear into emptiness."

So, the disguises... Being formless, we still participate in the realm of form, because that is all the realm of form understands. Rather than a trap or a fixed identity, it becomes a game. You pretend to be someone, so other someones can relate to you. You wear masks that suit the situation, and then change them as the situation changes. Yet none of them is "you," and you know this. Being formless, you can assume any form. You have "a thousand new disguises."



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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Whoever finds love