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Est. 1998

Quotations By, Inspired By, and About Rumi






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Welcome to my page of quotations compiled from the various translated whirling words of Jalāl al-Dīn Rūmī, as well as some quotes at the bottom of the page about Rumi and his translators. My discovery of Rumi came in 1998 when I stumbled upon The Illuminated Rumi by Coleman Barks and Michael Green. Over the years my collection has encompassed a wider variety of translators — a few of which unfortunately I must admit are as of yet unknown to me. Although Barks and other interpreters are criticized for their modification of earlier English translations and accused that their “translations” are not true to the form and intent of the original Persian, it cannot be denied that their modernized works stir the soul and have brought much of the English-speaking world’s attention to this centuries-old poet. So whether the words are Rumi or Rumi-inspired with a fair bit of poetic license, I hope you enjoy nonetheless as I beg forgiveness from this long-lost soul on behalf of the modern authors who have clothed his words with the embellished fashion of our contemporary language. And to you, dear reader, may your soul flower into mystical blossoms of poetic ecstasy! —tεᖇᖇ¡·g

Love’s secret is always lifting its head out from under the covers, “Here I am!” ~Rumi, as interpreted by Coleman Barks

Be empty of worrying.... Why do you stay in prison when the door is so wide open? Move outside the tangle of fear-thinking. ~Rumi, as interpreted by Coleman Barks

Wear gratitude like a cloak and it will feed every corner of your life. ~Rumi

Hear blessings dropping their blossoms around you. ~Rumi, as interpreted by Coleman Barks

Lovers don’t finally meet somewhere. They’re in each other all along. ~Rumi, as interpreted by Coleman Barks

In your light I learn how to love. In your beauty, how to make poems. You dance inside my chest, where no one sees you, but sometimes I do, and that light becomes this art. ~Rumi, as interpreted by Coleman Barks

Be melting snow. Wash yourself of yourself. ~Rumi, as interpreted by Coleman Barks

God turns you from one feeling to another and teaches by means of opposites, so that you will have two wings to fly, not one. ~Rumi, as interpreted by Camille and Kabir Helminski

Do not grieve. Anything you lose comes round in another form. ~Rumi

Daylight, full of small dancing particles and the one great turning, our souls are dancing with you, without feet, they dance. Can you see them when I whisper in your ear? ~Rumi, as interpreted by Coleman Barks

Sell your cleverness and buy bewilderment... ~Rumi, translated by Edward Henry Whinfield

Why are you so enchanted by this world, when a mine of gold lies within you? ~Rumi

Today, like every other day, we wake up empty and frightened.... Let the beauty we love be what we do. ~Rumi, as interpreted by Coleman Barks

There are a thousand ways to kneel and kiss the earth. ~Rumi

Poems reach up like spindrift and the edge of driftwood along the beach, wanting! They derive from a slow and powerful root that we can’t see. Stop the words now. Open the window in the center of your chest, and let the spirits fly in and out. ~Rumi, as interpreted by Coleman Barks

Why should I stay at the bottom of a well when a strong rope is in my hand? ~Rumi, as interpreted by Jonathan Star

A secret freedom opens through a crevice you can barely see. ~Rumi, as interpreted by Coleman Barks

My head is bursting with the joy of the unknown. My heart is expanding a thousand fold. ~Rumi, translated by Shahram Shiva

As you start to walk out on the way, the way appears. ~Rumi

You were born with wings, why prefer to crawl through life? ~Rumi

Become the sky. Take an axe to the prison wall. Escape. ~Rumi

Lightning, your presence from ground to sky, no one knows what becomes of me, when you take me so quickly. ~Rumi

How can I know anything about the past or the future, when the light of the Beloved shines only Now. ~Rumi

What I most want is to spring out of this personality, then to sit apart from that leaping. I’ve lived too long where I can be reached. ~Rumi

Very little grows on jagged rock. Be ground. Be crumbled, so wildflowers will come up where you are. ~Rumi

Ignorance is God’s prison. Knowing is God’s palace. ~Rumi

This world’s existence is one night long. There’s a great lively gathering that night, but some people sleep through it. ~Rumi

If you are irritated by every rub, how will you be polished? ~Rumi

There is a morning inside you waiting to burst open into Light. ~Rumi

Whosoever knoweth the power of the dance, dwelleth in God. ~Rumi

Out beyond the ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there. ~Rumi, as interpreted by Coleman Barks

Can you find another market like this? Where, with your one rose, you can buy hundreds of rose gardens? ~Rumi

At night, I open the window and ask the moon to come and press its face against mine. Breathe into me. Close the language-door and open the love-window. The moon won’t use the door, only the window. ~Rumi

The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you. Don’t go back to sleep. ~Rumi

This is how we are with wine and beautiful food... we want and we get drunk with wanting, then the headache and bitterness afterward. ~Rumi

And don’t think the garden loses its ecstasy in winter. It’s quiet, but the roots are down there riotous. ~Rumi

The core of the seen and unseen universe smiles, but remember smiles come best from those who weep. Lightning, then the rain-laughter. ~Rumi

I have lived on the lip of insanity, wanting to know reasons, knocking on a door. It opens. I’ve been knocking from the inside! ~Rumi

The way the night knows itself with the moon, be that way with me. Or, alternately translated, Union is a raging river running toward the sea. Tonight the moon kisses the stars. O beloved, be like that to me. ~Rumi

In each moment the fire rages, it will burn away a hundred veils. And carry you a thousand steps toward your goal. ~Rumi

Before death takes away what you are given, give away what there is to give. ~Rumi

Now is the time to unite the soul and the world. Now is the time to see the sunlight dancing as one with the shadows. ~Rumi

Birdsong brings relief to my longing. I am just as ecstatic as they are, but with nothing to say. ~Rumi

Come, whoever you are! Wanderer, worshipper, lover of leaving. This is not a caravan of despair. It doesn’t matter if you’ve broken your vow a thousand times, still and yet again come! ~Rumi

Isn’t it time to turn your heart into a temple of fire? ~Rumi

Who gets up early to discover the moment light begins? ~Rumi

Your legs will get heavy and tired. Then comes a moment of feeling the wings you’ve grown, lifting. ~Rumi

All day I think about it, then at night I say it. Where did I come from, and what am I supposed to be doing? I have no idea. My soul is from elsewhere, I’m sure of that, and I intend to end up there. ~Rumi

This drunkenness began in some other tavern. When I get back around to that place, I’ll be completely sober. ~Rumi

I cannot stop asking. If I could taste one sip of an answer, I could break out of this prison for drunks. ~Rumi

I am iron resisting the most enormous magnet there is. ~Rumi

You sit here for days saying, This is strange business. You’re the strange business. You have the energy of the sun in you, but you keep knotting it up at the base of your spine. You’re some weird kind of gold that wants to stay melted in the furnace, so you won’t have to become coins. ~Rumi

You’ve gotten drunk on so many kinds of wine. Taste this. It won’t make you wild. It’s fire. Give up, if you don’t understand by this time that your living is firewood. ~Rumi

Let yourself be silently drawn by the stronger pull of what you really love. ~Rumi

Work in the invisible world at least as hard as you do in the visible. ~Rumi

Rise up nimbly and go on your strange journey to the ocean of meanings.... Leave and don’t look away from the sun as you go, in whose light you’re sometimes crescent, sometimes full. ~Rumi

Keep walking, though there’s no place to get to. Don’t try to see through the distances. That’s not for human beings. Move within, but don’t move the way fear makes you move. ~Rumi

Take sips of this pure wine being poured. Don’t mind that you’ve been given a dirty cup. ~Rumi

Stop acting so small. You are the universe in ecstatic motion. ~Rumi

There is a way of breathing that’s a shame and a suffocation and there’s another way of expiring, a love breath, that lets you open infinitely. ~Rumi

Keep knocking, and the joy inside will eventually open a window and look out to see who’s there. ~Rumi

There’s a hidden sweetness in the stomach’s emptiness. We are lutes, no more, no less. If the soundbox is stuffed full of anything, no music.... When you’re full of food and drink, Satan sits where your spirit should.... ~Rumi

The mind, this globe of awareness, is a starry universe that when you push off with your foot, a thousand new roads become clear, as you yourself do at dawn, sailing through the light. ~Rumi

Gamble everything for love, if you’re a true human being. If not, leave this gathering. ~Rumi

Half-heartedness doesn’t reach into majesty. You set out to find God, but then you keep stopping for long periods at mean-spirited roadhouses. ~Rumi

No one knows what makes the soul wake up so happy! Maybe a dawn breeze has blown the veil from the face of God. ~Rumi

...a great God-wrestling does on inside these wanderers... ~Rumi

...the cypress tree is turning green, drunk with the forest. ~Rumi

Let the waters settle and you will see the moon and the stars mirrored in your own being. ~Rumi

...rush out in the rain to be soaked with the sky. ~Rumi

He is a letter to everyone. You open it. It says, Live. ~Rumi

Don’t turn away. Keep your gaze on the bandaged place. That’s where the light enters you. ~Rumi

Into my heart’s night
Along a narrow way
I groped; and lo! the light,
An infinite land of day.

Love comes with a knife, not some shy question, and not with fears for its reputation! ~Rumi

Love is a madman, working his wild schemes, tearing off his clothes, running through the mountains.... ~Rumi

Come out here where the roses have opened. Let soul and world meet. ~Rumi

You’ve been walking the ocean’s edge, holding up your robes to keep them dry. You must dive naked under, and deeper under, a thousand times deeper! ~Rumi

Don’t put blankets over the drum! Open completely. Let your spirit ear listen to the green dome’s passionate murmur. ~Rumi

What does this patch-sewing mean you ask? Eating and drinking. The heavy cloak of the body is always getting torn. You patch it with food and other ego-satisfactions. ~Rumi

This is how I would die into the love I have for you: as pieces of cloud dissolve in sunlight. ~Rumi

That hurt we embrace becomes joy. Call it to your arms where it can change. ~Rumi

Follow Terri Guillemets' board Rumi on Pinterest.

I don’t regret how much I love, and I avoid those who repent their passion. ~Rumi

There is one way of breathing that is shameful and constricted. Then, there’s another way: a breath of love that takes you all the way to infinity. ~Rumi

You must lance an ulcer to heal it. You must tear down parts of an old building to restore it, and so it is with a sensual life that has no spirit in it. ~Rumi

To change, a person must face the dragon of his appetites with another dragon, the life-energy of the soul. ~Rumi

When your love contracts in anger, the atmosphere itself feels threatening. But when you’re expansive, no matter what the weather, you’re in an open, windy field with friends. ~Rumi

Water the fruit trees and don’t water the thorns. ~Rumi

Purify your eyes, and see the pure world. Your life will fill with radiant forms. ~Rumi

How will you know the difficulties of being human, if you’re always flying off to blue perfection? ~Rumi

Where will you plant your grief-seeds? We need ground to scrape and hoe, not the sky of unspecified desire. ~Rumi

If you yearn for holy felicity, shed your arrogance and become a seeker of hearts. ~Rumi

If all you can do is crawl, start crawling. ~Rumi

This being human is a guest house. Every morning a new arrival. A joy, a depression, a meanness, some momentary awareness comes as an unexpected visitor. Welcome and attend them all! Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows, who violently sweep your house empty of its furniture, still treat each guest honorably. He may be clearing you out for some new delight. The dark thought, the shame, the malice, meet them at the door laughing, and invite them in. ~Rumi

Sorrows are the rags of old clothes and jackets that serve to cover, and then are taken off. That undressing, and the beautiful naked body underneath, is the sweetness that comes after grief. ~Rumi

Let yourself become living poetry. ~Rumi

Don’t knock on any random door like a beggar. Reach your long hand out to another door, beyond where you go on the street, the street where everyone says, "How are you?" and no one says How aren’t you? ~Rumi

There is a fountain inside you. Don’t walk around with an empty bucket. ~Rumi

Is what I say true? Say yes quickly, if you know, if you’ve known it from before the beginning of the universe. ~Rumi

You are a fountain of the sun’s light. I am a willow shadow on the ground. You make my raggedness silky. ~Rumi

You fill yourself with the sharp pain of love, rather than its fulfillment. ~Rumi

I do not know who lives here in my chest, or why the smile comes. I am not myself, more the bare green knob of a rose that lost every leaf and petal to the morning wind. ~Rumi

Something opens our wings, something makes boredom and hurt disappear. ~Rumi

Inside of us, there’s a continual autumn. Our leaves fall and are blown out over the water. ~Rumi

If these poems repeat themselves, then so does Spring. ~Rumi

In this mob of I’s inside, which one is me? Hear me out. I know I’m wandering, but don’t start putting a lid on this racket. No telling what I’ll do then. Every moment I’m thrown by your story. One moment it’s happy, and I’m singing. One moment it’s sad, and I’m weeping. It turns bitter, and I pull away. But then you spill a little grace, and just like that, I’m all light. It’s not so bad, this arrangement, actually. ~Rumi

This love is the rose that blooms forever. ~Rumi

Put your thoughts to sleep, do not let them cast a shadow over the moon of your heart. Let go of thinking. ~Rumi

All religions, all this singing, one song. The differences are just illusion and vanity. The sun’s light looks a little different on this wall than it does on that wall, and a lot different on this other one, but it’s still one light. ~Rumi

If you knew yourself for even one moment, if you could just glimpse your most beautiful face, maybe you wouldn’t slumber so deeply in that house of clay. Why not move into your house of joy and shine into every crevice! For you are the secret Treasure-bearer, and always have been. Didn’t you know? ~Rumi

...my heart sinks like a comb into wave after wave of your silky hair. ~Rumi

If you want to be more alive, love is the truest health. ~Rumi, as interpreted by Coleman Barks

And if you are a rose, I am rose-shadow. ~Rumi

I turn all thorn then, but you come back again and make my thorniness fragrant and pink and petaled. ~Rumi

Try another way of looking. Try you looking and the whole universe seeing. ~Rumi

Tonight the moon kisses the stars. ~Rumi

And even if this world burns up hidden harps will still play here. ~Rumi

Even when tied in a thousand knots, the string is still but one. ~Rumi

The garden of love is green without limit and yields many fruit other than sorrow and joy. ~Rumi

Be a lamp, or a lifeboat, or a ladder. Help someone’s soul heal. Walk out of your house like a shepherd. ~Rumi

Dance in the middle of fighting. Dance in your blood. Dance when you’re perfectly free. ~Rumi

Let the lover be disgraceful, crazy, absentminded. Someone sober will worry about events going badly. Let the lover be. ~Rumi, as interpreted by Coleman Barks

Let lovers be crazy, disgraceful and wild
Those who fret about such things
Aren’t in love.
~Rumi, as interpreted by Deepak Chopra

Only from the heart can you touch the sky. ~Rumi

’Tis the fire of love that inspires the flute,
’Tis the ferment of love that possesses the wine.
~Rumi, translated by E.H. Whinfield  [Per Whinfield, Love signifies the strong attraction that draws all creatures back to reunion with their Creator. —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]

When you do things from your soul you feel a river moving in you, a joy. When action come from another section, the feeling disappears. ~Rumi

If you could untie your wings and free your soul of jealousy, you and everyone around you would fly up like doves. ~Rumi

I am a drunkard from another kind of tavern. I dance to a silent tune. I am the symphony of stars. ~Rumi

The wound is the place where the Light enters you. ~Rumi

Be occupied, then, with what you really value and let the thief take something else. ~Rumi

I want your sun to reach my raindrops, so your heat can raise my soul upward like a cloud. ~Rumi

Come sit with me! Let us drink the holy wine of happiness. ~Rumi

You go from village to village on your horse asking everyone, “Has anyone seen my horse?” ~Rumi

The ocean of the body crashes against the ocean of the heart. Between them is a barrier they cannot cross. ~Rumi

Burdens are the foundations of ease and bitter things the forerunners of pleasure. ~Rumi

Quotations about Rumi and His Translators

Across time, place, and culture, Rumi’s poems articulate what it feels like to be alive, and they help us understand our own search for love and the ecstatic in the coil of daily life. ~Lee Briccetti

Rumi will transform you, in ways you didn’t know you needed transforming. ~Jerry Stahl

[The] combination of mystical richness and bold adaptations of poetic forms is the key to [Rumi’s] popularity... ~Jawid Mojaddedi

Rumi is astounding, fertile, abundant, almost more an excitable library of poetry than a person. ~Robert Bly

[Rumi] is trying to get us to feel the vastness of our true identity... like the sense you might get walking into a cathedral... ~Coleman Barks

Ramana Maharshi and Rumi would agree: the joy of being human is in uncovering the core we already are, the treasure buried in the ruin. ~Coleman Barks

[Rumi’s words are an] expression of praise and grief and gratitude and play. ~Coleman Barks

What I deeply want... is for Rumi to become vitally present for readers, part of what John Keats called our soul-making, that process that is both collective and uniquely individual, that happens outside time and space and inside, that is the ocean we all inhabit and each singular droplet-self. ~Coleman Barks

If Rumi is the most-read poet in America today, Coleman Barks is in good part responsible. His ear for the truly divine madness in Rumi’s poetry is really remarkable. ~Huston Smith

Good poetry, like music or a sweet touch, can doctor us up, be an antidote for an hour or longer, help us to get dressed for another day—combat the blues enough to mount the horse again; and maybe even aid one in laying down the insidious weight of some old grudge or deep-rooted anxiety. Herein enters Rumi.... draws us near to his—and our own—inner light.... From head to toe this guy is blazing. He is like a cyclone one wants to be drawn into... ~Daniel Ladinsky


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Last modified 2015 Aug 10 Mon 21:23 PDT

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