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Divan Laughter

A small selection of the ocean that is the Divan-i Shams-i Tabrizi

Translations are by Shahriar Shahriari, though a more scholastic approach by R. A. Nicholson can be found here. While Nicholson appeals more to me, Shahriari's simplicity is better suited to this particular page. As Nicholson himself says:

Sufism has few ideas, but an inexhaustible wealth and variety of illustration. Among a thousand fluttering masks the interpreter is required to identify each old familiar face.

However, Nicholson is wrong in his charge of pantheism because, like most of us, he overcomplicates things. It is very simple: Lā ilāha illa'Llāh Muḥammadun rasūlu -llāhi. He is closer to the mark when he says:

All religions and revelations are only the rays of a single eternal Sun; all Prophets have only delivered and proclaimed in different tongues the same principles of eternal goodness and eternal truth which flow from the divine Soul of the world.

It is time, then, to turn that lone Voice:

Silence I choose, best Thou givest the news
Thou art the reason for which I speak and sing.

I went on a journey without me
There I found joy without me.

For Beloved, the you in you is disguise
To focus on the you in you is unwise.
To you, phoenix, demise is mere lies
Phoenix running from fire is unwise.

Headless, footless, indeed, without retinue I lead
In my own sweet land, sweetness to myself feed.
We know of nothing other than burning up, candle-like.

I am in desperate awe, why was I ever created?

Lost in the desert, you are seeking and you fall;
If that lovely faceless face you once see
Pilgrim and shrine and house you know are all thee.

I am in love, to the depths of love descend.
Run away to what avail, deathward bound
Why hide, a thousand times sought me and found.

If graced with Beloved’s affection
Like a mirror become reflection.

With His love I am raw
I am confused and in awe
The ocean of loving grace
Traces the lover’s face.

The pearl that outgrows both worlds
Within the sea of my heart shall drown.

Every place I looked, looked great
Saw my beloved, my soul mate.

Instead of the heavens and the world
In the pastures of Divine Union we blend.

Those who land in the state of singular intelligence
No longer place the other on a separate page.

It is hidden and obscure, it is an obvious sign.
Each breath is a song of love.

O sweet singer of love
Tell us the secrets of love
Ecstatic music from above
Is our quest tonight.

When the moon was shining its light
Both worlds were gardens of delight
All souls for home then took flight
And so we say, may it be so.

I am of Thee O famed moon,
Gazing at me do not swoon
Contagious joy in me bloom
Laughs my every petal.

The fragrant morning breeze brings news of union
With joy and with song I’ll leave this cage, this earthly throne.

This day, own senses, hour and time cannot fit
This day, afire, passionately we are lit
This day, this joyous feast, joy shall never quit.

In the divine light, a speck of dust
Joyously dances, without need or lust.

I eliminated duality with joyous laughter
Saw the unity of here and the hereafter
Unity is what I sing, unity is what I speak
Unity is what I know, unity is what I seek.

Praise divine revelation
Praise soul’s coronation.

The House of God is the abode of the heart
Blessed are those whom to the heart made their pledge;
Whoever found a glimpse of that House in this
Not even in the heavens would seek tutelage.
The tribe that found God only in a friend,
They are the keys to that House, upon the ledge.
Hope and compassion reside in the Real House
Those who turned to love, found their wage.

Thy light is Light Divine
Distinct, yet connecting all.
O heart let go of your soul
Until you see the soul maker.

Heart trickster, soul veil and mind bind
To find the path you must put all three behind.
When you transcend heart and soul as well as mind
It is like giving sight to the blind.

Anything but Love upon this path is idolatry.
Whoever sees but the Beloved, sees astray,
Drink of the spirit of Love, the sole elixir in history.

For love put your life on the line
Align yourself with the Divine.

Lovers their wine draw
From cup of skull with bone straw
In such a feast obey the law
Yourself efface, yourself efface.

You who seek God apart, apart,
The thing you seek, thou art, thou art;
Thou art the letters, names and the book
Prophets and angels your word undertook;
Just sit still, this futile search let go
You are the house, master and foe.
Essence and form, celestial and from earth
Always eternal, in death and at birth.

I was dead, became alive
Was tearful, laughingly thrive
With love survive, my only drive
I have become eternal.
"Thou art not yet slain
Joy runs not in thy vein."
Before life now I remain
Slain, sacrificed and small.

I am the prayer and the angel in flight
I am the fire, I am the light
I am the Promised Land, so dear, so dear.
I am here, I am to be
Alpha and Omega are in me
I am aware of the others, keep near, keep near.
I am the acquaintance and the friend
The lover and beloved in the end
I am the flower and the thorn, don’t fear, don’t fear.
I am the season and temporal train
I am the minor, I am the main
I am the mind and the story, be here, be here.

My place is the no-place
My image is without face
Neither of body nor the soul
I am of the Divine Whole.

The Aleph