Category Archives: Sufi Quotes

If your heart is a volcano, how shall you expect flowers to bloom?

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When you see the face of anger
look behind it
and you will see the face of pride.

Bring anger and pride
under your feet, turn them into a ladder
and climb higher.

There is no peace until you become
their master.
Let go of anger, it may taste sweet
but it kills.

Don’t become its victim
you need humility to climb to freedom.

— Jalāl ad-Dīn Muḥammad Balkhī (Rumi)

(Title by Khalil Gibran)

As the new year renews all the happiness and good tidings, hope the joyful spirit keeps glowing in the your heart forever! Happy New Year!

LET THERE BE PEACE IN THE WORLD

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A man on his deathbed left instructions
for dividing up his goods among his three sons.
He has devoted his entire spirit to those sons.
They stood like cypress trees around him,
quiet and strong.

He told the town judge,
“Whichever of my sons is laziest,
give him all the inheritance.”

Then he died, and the judge turned to the three,
“Each of you must give some account of your laziness,
so I can understand just how you are lazy.”

Mystics are experts in laziness. They rely on it,
because they continuously see God working all around them.
The harvest keeps coming in, yet they
never even did the plowing!

“Come on. Say something about the ways you are lazy.”

Every spoken word is a covering for the inner self.
A little curtain-flick no wider than a slice
of roast meat can reveal hundreds of exploding suns.
Even if what is being said is trivial and wrong,
the listener hears the source. One breeze comes
from across a garden. Another from across the ash-heap.
Think how different the voices of the fox
and the lion, and what they tell you!
Hearing someone is lifting the lid off the cooking pot.
You learn what’s for supper. Though some people
can know just by the smell, a sweet stew
from a sour soup cooked with vinegar.

A man taps a clay pot before he buys it
to know by the sound if it has a crack.

The eldest of the three brothers told the judge,
“I can know a man by his voice,
and if he won’t speak,
I wait three days, and then I know him intuitively.”

The second brother, “I know him when he speaks,
and if he won’t talk, I strike up a conversation.”

“But what if he knows that trick?” asked the judge.

Which reminds me of the mother who tells her child,
“When you’re walking through the graveyard at night
and you see a bogeyman, run at it,
and it will go away.”

“But what,” replies the child, “if the bogeyman’s
mother has told it to do the same thing?
Bogeymen have mothers too.”

The second brother had no answer.

The judge then asked the youngest brother,
“What if a man cannot be made to say anything?
How do you learn his hidden nature?”

“I sit in front of him in silence,
and set up a ladder made of patience,
and if in his presence a language from beyond joy
and beyond grief begins to pour from my chest,
I know that his soul is as deep and bright
as the star Canopus rising over Yemen.
And so when I start speaking a powerful right arm
of words sweeping down, I know him from what I say,
and how I say it, because there’s a window open
between us, mixing the night air of our beings.”

The youngest was, obviously,
the laziest. He won.

— Jalalud’din Rumi – Mathnawi, VI, 4876-4916 (transl. Coleman Barks)

The Last Will

Change the world by changing me

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The Sufi Bayazid says this about himself:

I was a revolutionary when I
was young and all my prayer to God was
‘Lord give me the energy to change
the world.’

As I approached middle age and realized
that half my life was gone without my
changing a single soul, I changed my
prayer to ‘Lord, give me the grace to
change all those who come in contact
with me. Just my family and friends,
and I shall be satisfied.’

Now that I am an old man and my days
are numbered, my only prayer
is, ‘Lord, give me the grace to change
myself.’ If I had prayed for this right
from the start I would not have wasted
my life.

— Bayazid Bistami