Sep 19 2018

Niyazi Misri – Now No Trace Remains

Published by at 7:46 am under Poetry

Now No Trace Remains
by Niyazi Misri

English version by Jennifer Ferraro & Latif Bolat

I thought that in this whole world
      no beloved for me remained.

Then I left myself.
      Now no stranger in the world remains.

I used to see in every object a thorn
      but never a rose–

the universe became a rose garden.
      Not a single thorn remains.

Day and night my heart
      was moaning “Ahhh!”

I don’t know how it happened–
      now no “Ahhh” remains.

Duality went, Unity came.
      I met with the Friend in private;

The multitude left, the One came.
      Only the One remains.

Religion, piety, custom, reputation–
      these used to matter greatly to me.

O Niyazi — what has happened to you?
      No trace of religion now remains.

— from Quarreling with God: Mystic Rebel Poems of the Dervishes of Turkey, Translated by Jennifer Ferraro / Translated by Latif Bolat


/ Image by Broken-Beloved /

I thought that in this whole world
      no beloved for me remained.

There is much that is beautiful and attractive in the world: people, possessions, experiences. But do we love them or only love how they bolster our own self-image? They evolve, change, come and go, and so do we. They may give us a glimpse of the Divine Beloved beneath the surface, but until we learn to really look, that beautiful glimpse is fleeting. And they don’t do a great job in the long run of sustaining our fragile egos. Natural evolution, ours and that of the world around us, can feel like a betrayal. When we cling to surfaces and our own needy egos, it can feel like we have been abandoned by the Beloved.

So long as we cling to the little self, everyone and everything else is separate and vaguely threatening. The ego asserts itself by continuously keeping itself in psychic opposition to everything it has defined as being outside itself. To the ego, everything is either a possession or an enemy.

The ego pretends it is the center of reality while separating itself from the holistic vision of reality. In doing so, the ego makes itself both the prisoner and the prison guard.

In that shattered vision of a reality of separated fragments, we become blind to the true nature of reality — and the beloved is not seen. Even those soul-healing glimpses are hard to come by, rarely acknowledged even when seen.

Then I left myself.
      Now no stranger in the world remains.

But when when we finally step outside the artificial boundaries of the little self, the mesmerizing but ever incomplete world of duality fades, to be replaced by the vision of beauty and unity, in which there is no other and everything reflects the Beloved.

Duality went, Unity came.
      I met with the Friend in private;

The multitude left, the One came.
      Only the One remains.

We finally see how we flow into each other, how we are interwoven into a single, unified fabric of Reality. No one and nothing is outside of ourselves. That is when we can truly proclaim with Niyazi Misri that “Now now stranger in the world remains.”

I used to see in every object a thorn
      but never a rose–

the universe became a rose garden.
      Not a single thorn remains.

The rose unfolds in a gentle circling that invites one to yield inward. The rose is a symbol of lovers and of union. The rose resonates strongly with the gently awakened heart.

The rose, with its wine-like scent and deep red color, is sometimes thought of as a more tangible embodiment of wine — the drink of communion.

Religion, piety, custom, reputation–
      these used to matter greatly to me.

I love this Sufi iconoclasm. When deep realization comes, mystics have the troubling tendency to drop the forms of their religion. When the Eternal is finally recognized as here, now, alive in every way and in every form, the prescribed and proscribed ways of holiness lose their meaning.

O Niyazi — what has happened to you?
      No trace of religion now remains.

This is not to say that one should immediately reject the recommended practices of one’s tradition. It is simply a reminder for us that the path, whichever one we follow, leads us to a Goal. Having reached the destination, the path has then served its purpose. At that point, clinging to the old practices is more about wanting to be seen by others to be devout. Is that important? If one’s role is to act as a beacon to draw others to a similar path, then perhaps it is. For other realized individuals, however, it might suggest a vanity that has been left behind. To the person of attainment, there are no “others” anyway, so who is the pious show for?

Of course, the louder one proclaims this truth, the more friends one loses among the keepers of the faith. Those troublesome mystics…


Recommended Books: Niyazi Misri

Quarreling with God: Mystic Rebel Poems of the Dervishes of Turkey


Niyazi Misri

Turkey (1616 – 1694) Timeline
Muslim / Sufi

Muhammad Niyazi al-Misri was born in Malatya, Turkey, to a devout family. His father was a sheikh of the Naqshbandi Sufis.

In his early twenties, Misri began a spiritual search of his own, traveling quite a bit, and spending three years in Egypt. Following the guidance of his dreams, he returned to his homeland in the Ottoman Empire and became a disciple of the Sufi poet-saint Ummi Sinan of the Helveti Sufi order.

Niyazi Misri supported himself by working as a candle maker.

In the mid-1600s, Niyazi Misri became the spiritual leader of the Istanbul Tekke (or lodge) of the Helveti Sufis, and established another tekke in Bursa.

He was exiled from the region several times, accused of unorthodox practices and for his outspoken criticism of political corruption. With each exile, however, it seems he became even more popular with the general population, who pressured government officials for his return.

His enemies, determined to silence him, had him poisoned.

Niyazi Misri’s poems and songs continue to be recited in Sufi tekkes to this day.

More poetry by Niyazi Misri

7 responses so far

7 Responses to “Niyazi Misri – Now No Trace Remains”

  1. Mystic Meanderingon 19 Sep 2018 at 8:40 am

    Hi Ivan… Lovely poem… Just one question… Why are the “mystics” tendency to drop the *form* of religion) (for a more authentic spirituality) “troubling”? As you say, once a The Eternal (a deeper Truth) is recognized (*within*) one sees there is no need for conformity to the outer formalized religion with its ritual and blind belief. I see that as a good thing 😀

    Namaste _/\_

  2. Ivan M. Grangeron 19 Sep 2018 at 8:52 am

    “Troublesome”… to the rigid social and religious patterns.

  3. Ivan M. Grangeron 19 Sep 2018 at 10:07 am

    🙂

  4. Mystic Meanderingon 19 Sep 2018 at 9:54 am

    Ahhhh – yes… 🙂 I see now…

  5. Patriciaon 19 Sep 2018 at 2:00 pm

    Amen for the mystics! Amen for you too, Ivan!

  6. Olga T.on 19 Sep 2018 at 2:11 pm

    Most of us tend to travel “The Middle Way”. No rose without a thorn is a good motto to have. I sometimes wish I did not have to deal with anything organized or structured, but then I remember how, for most of us, the Goal is the Journey itself, and for that, one needs a map of some sort….

  7. Bob Corbinon 22 Sep 2018 at 9:19 pm

    This is the most nearly perfect poem for me that i have ever read. One does not need to be a mystic to turn a field of thorns into a universe of roses. I just learn to accept the thorns more and acknowledge and appreciate roses more. The same is true for strangers and friends, sadness and joy, duality and unity. Its a matter of acceptance and change in perspective. These require only a small amount of spiritual development, which is as much as i can claim.

    I have never “lost myself” (for more than a few seconds) for when i felt myself “going” i panicked and called myself back. I know better now and if it happens again i will let myself go. Whatever is left will certainly have little interest in the things to which that self was attached

    But i have already experienced the world of sadness and ugliness change into a world of joy and beauty, mostly by reading poems on your website. Thank you,

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