The First Eighteen Verses of Rumi’s Masnevi

“The first eighteen verses of Rumi’s Masnevi are like an entrance to his great villa where he welcomes his guests and gives them the keys of the rooms without which the guests might get lost and falter in the corridors of his grand villa- the Masnevi. If you intend to enter the building, you should surrender humbly to the spiritual entertainment he offers at the entrance. The first eighteen verses are the summary of the six volumes of the Masnevi.”
Prof. Erkan Turkmen

Here are the first eighteen verses

Listen to the reed how it tells a tale, complaining of separations-
Saying,”Ever since I was parted from the reed-bed, my lament has caused man and woman to moan.
I want a bosom torn by severance, that I may unfold (to such a one) the pain of love-desire.
Every one who is left far from his source wishes back the time when he was united with it.
In every company I uttered my mournful notes; I consorted with the unhappy and with them that rejoice.

Every one became my friend from his own opinion; none sought out my secrets from within me.
My secret is not far from my plaint, but ear and eye lack the light (whereby it should be apprehended)
Body is not veiled from soul,nor soul from body, yet none is permitted to see the soul”
This noise of the reed is fire, it is not wind: whoso has not this fire, may he be naught!
It is the fire of Love that is in the reed, it is the fervor of Love that is in the wine.

The reed is the comrade of every one who has been parted from a friend: its strains pierced our hearts
Who ever saw a poison and antidote like the reed?Who ever saw a sympathizer and a longing lover-like the reed?
The reed tells of the Way full of blood and recounts stories of the passion of Majnun.
Only to the senseless is this sense confided;the tongue has no customer save the ear.

In our woe the days (of life) have become untimely: our days travel hand in hand with burning grievance.
If our days are gone, let them go!– it is no matter. Do You remain, for none is holy as You are!
Whoever is not a fish becomes sated with His water;whoever is without daily bread finds the day long.
None that is raw understands the state of the ripe: therefore my words must be brief,Farewell!

Translated by R.A.Nicholson


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