Sufi Poetry

As Shams was to Me

A sheep who had just lost her lamb was in grief, and
the fullness of milk throbbed heavy within. And she
prayed the best she could, in her sheep soul, for help.

Soon after that, she came across a lion cub, all alone
and near dying. Although the scent of him triggered
every warning in her,

her grief was so great to have a beloved near, and one
who could bring release of the building pressure in
her glands, that she lay down beside him.

And after a while, he began to suckle her, and they
and God smiled in unison.

Strong, the young cub became, and he was accepted
into the flock by most, always reflecting their traits.
He even developed a passable ‘baa’.

About a year went by, when then a real lion came upon
the herd, and saw one of his own eating grass and
thinking it was a timid creature.

So the lion said to his kin, “Brother, what has
happened to you, acting like that? You have completely
identified with something you are not.

Come down to the lake with me, we will look into
it together. It will be our mirror. You will see you
are just like me, a great and powerful king”.

Yes, that is the role of the Teacher, as Shams was to
me – showing one ‘who they are’, so they can stop
bleating, crying at night, and never again be afraid.

~ Mevlana Jalaluddin Rumi
Translated by Daniel Ladinsky, in his book, ‘The Purity of Desire – 100 Rumi Poems”.

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Mevlana Jalaluddin Rumi was a Sufi Shaykh who lived in Turkey 800 years ago, being one of the greatest Saints that the world has ever seen. He has been the most popular poet in the USA for the past ten years, with people still finding inspiration in his wisdom and beautiful language. He was the founder of the Mevlevi Sufi Order, who are famous for their Sufi Whirling Ceremony.

Shams (Shams-i Tabrizi) was the Sufi Master that taught Mevlana.