Jelaluddin Rumi, the great Sufi mystic and teacher, was born in Balkh, Afghanistan in 1207 A.D. and died in 1273 at Konia, Turkey. Rumi is currently one of the most widely read poets in the Western world. His volume the Mathnavi was 43 years in the writing and is considered one of the world's masterpieces of spiritual literature, containing level upon level of inner meaning.
For many centuries, Sufis have employed selections of Rumi's writings as aphorisms and words of sage advice. One of Rumi's aphorisms serves as his epitaph:
When we are dead, seek not our tomb in the earth,
but find it in the hearts of men.
To learn more about Rumi and Sufi teaching, see The Essential Rumi by Coleman Barks and The Way of the Sufi by Idries Shah.
Do not look at my outward shape, but take what is in my hand.
Counterfeit gold exists because there is such a thing as real gold.
First you were mineral and then vegetable, then animal, then human.
You will be an angel, and you will pass beyond that too.
Even though you tie a thousand knots -- the string remains one.
Every thought has a parallel action.
To boil water you need an intermediary -- the vessel.
Wool only becomes a carpet because knowledge is available.
Two reeds drink from one stream.
One is hollow, the other is sugar-cane.
To the ignorant, a pearl seems a mere stone.
The moment you entered this world of form,
an escape ladder was put out for you.
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