I am looking all over the world for students of action so that I can teach action. I am looking all over the world for anyone who knows action, but I find no student of action—only of words, and so I occupy myself with words. What do you know of action? Action is only known through action.
There is not one traveler upon this road—it is empty—so how will anyone see if we are on the true path of action?
After all, prayer and fasting are not action; these are forms of action. Action is an inward reality. From the time of Adam to the time of Mohammed, prayer and fasting have changed their form, but action is still the same.
Action is not what people think it is. People believe action is this outward show. But if a hypocrite performs only the form of action, such as prayer or fasting, it gains them nothing, since the sincere desire for true action was not present.
The secret principle of all things is speech and words. You do not yet know the true knowledge of speech and words, therefore you consider them unimportant. However, speech is fruit from the tree of action, for words are born of action. God created the world by a word.
You may have faith in your heart, but unless you share it through words, it is worth nothing.
When you say, “In this present age words are of no account,” you say this with words, do you not? If words are of no account, then why do wehear you say this with words?
Someone asked: “When we do a good deed, if we have hopes and expectations of a good reward from God, does that harm us?”
Rumi answered: By God, we must always have hope. Faith, itself, consists of fear and hope.
Someone once asked me, “Hope itself is good, but what is this fear?” I said, “Show me a fear without hope, or a hope without fear. The two are inseparable.” For example, a farmer plants wheat. Naturally he hopes that wheat will grow.
At the same time he is afraid some blight or drought may destroy it. So, there is no hope without fear, or fear without hope.
Now, when we hope expectantly for a reward, we will surely work with greater effort.
Expectation becomes our wings, and the stronger our wings the farther the flight. If, on the other hand we lose hope, we become lazy and of no value to anyone. A sick person will take bitter medicine and give up ten sweet pleasures, but if they have no hope for health, why would they endure this?
We are a mixture of animal and speech. If we do not speak outwardly, we still speak inwardly—we are constantly speaking. We are like a river in which clay is mixed; the pure water is our speech, while the clay is our animality. But the clay in us is an accident. Do you not see how those pieces of clay have crumbled and rotted away, while mankind’s speech, poetry and sciences, both bad and good have remained?
The ‘man or woman of heart’ is a universe. When you have seen them, you have seen all. “All game is in the belly of the wild ass.” All creatures in this world are contained in the man and woman of heart.
Good and evil, the dervishes may be,
Whoever is not so, no dervishes are they.
Once you have seen one who is the whole, surely you have seen the whole world. Whoever you see after is a mere repetition. That person’s speech is contained in the words of the whole.
Once you have heard their words, every word you hear thereafter is an echo.
Whoever beholds such a one, in any place, Has seen all men and women, all time and space.
As the poet says:
You are the true transcription
Of the Archetype Divine.
A glass through which the Sun’s
Own loveliness does shine.
Within, or without,
Wherever it may lie,
Accept every desire,
And declare, “‘Tis I!”
By Rumi BASED ON THE ORIGINAL TRANSLATION BY
A. J. ARBERRY