Mullah Nasruddin was sitting in a tea shop when a friend came excitedly to speak with him. “I’m about to get married, Mullah,” his friend stated, “and I’m very excited. Mullah, have you ever thought of marriage yourself?”
Nasruddin replied, “I did think of getting married. In my youth in fact I very much wanted to do so. I waited to find for myself the perfect wife. I traveled looking for her, first to Damascus. There I met a beautiful woman who was gracious, kind, and deeply spiritual, but she had no worldly knowledge. I traveled further and went to Isphahan. There I met a woman who was both spiritual and worldly, beautiful in many ways, but we did not communicate well. Finally I went to Cairo and there, after much searching, I found her. She was spiritually deep, graceful, and beautiful in every respect, at home in the world and at home in the realms beyond it. I felt I had found the perfect wife.”
His friend questioned further, “Then did you not marry her, Mullah?”
“Alas,” said Nasruddin as he shook his head. “She was, unfortunately, waiting for the perfect husband.”
~Stories of the Spirit, Stories of the Heart
Coleman Barks talks about Rumi’s poems that describe gambling everything for love:
To a frog that’s never left his pond the ocean seems like a gamble. Look what he’s giving up: security, mastery of his world, recognition! The ocean frog just shakes his head. “I can’t really explain what it’s like where I live, but someday I’ll take you there.”
~The Essential Rumi
I love the sun when it appears,
since it reminds me of the appearance of matchless love
And no star is seen when she comes forth,
either from above or from below
And so, O Maya,
you have appeared in the eye of my heart,
and everything other than you has disappeared
So I see you in whatever is not you,
and I don’t see other than you whenever I see you.
—Shaykh Manna Abba “Shaykhānī” wuld Muḥammad al-Ṭulbā, (modified from the translation by Muṣṭafā Okon-Briggs)
All this time
The Sun never says to the Earth,
"You owe me."
With a love like that,
It lights the whole sky.
The Sufis often begin something new by breathing the Arabic word bismillah, which can be translated poetically:
We begin by remembering
the sound and feeling of the One Being,
the wellspring of love.
We affirm that the next thing we experience
shimmers with the light of the whole universe.
the clouds of love have gathered,
raining over me,
my soul soaked within,
green woods around.
do not be proud,
seeing your mansion.
tomorrow you will lie beneath the earth,
tufts of grass over you.
those who do not love God
know no joy –
like a guest in an empty house,
they come and depart.
Your God dwells within you
like fragrance in the flower,
musk lies within the deer,
yet seeks it afar.
Worlds pass away reading scriptures,
none the wiser.
he who understands the word `Love’
is the wise one.
The Hindu says Ram is supreme
the Muslim, Rahim.
both die fighting each other,
neither knowing the Truth.
Remembering You ever
egoless, I have merged with You.
no more the cycle of births and deaths,
wherever the eye goes I see You.
Brimming with devotion to God I am.
this world tires me no more.
a pitcher once baked, says Kabir,
needs no potter’s wheel again.