Need or Purpose – Rumi


From the Mesnavi of Jellâl-al-dyn Rûmi.

Had need not been for worlds, for earth,
Nothing the Lord of worlds would have produced.
This earth chaotic stood in need of hills;
Had this not been, He had not raised majestic ones.
Had there no need been of the spheres also,
Seven whirling ones from nought He had not made.
The Sun, the Moon, and all these stars
Could not shine forth if not for need.
Thus need the cause of all existences became.
The power also of man in need consists,
Then, needy man, be quick, proclaim your need,
That bounty’s ocean may with mercy boil!
All mendicants distressed in the world
Their needs to all men do proclaim—
Their blindness, poverty, disease, and pain—
Mankind’s pity with their needs to move.
No one will say:—”Give bread to me, O men!
Property and barns and stores I do possess.”
God has witheld eyesight from moles
Because no eyes they need for their support;
They live and move deprived of vision,
At ease, though blind, in soil all moist;
By stealth alone they leave their domicile
Until their Maker frees them from that stealth,
With wings endows them,* makes them birds
Winging to heaven their angel-flights,
Alway to dwell in the rose-grove of thanks to God,
Like philomels to sing a hundred melodies:—
“O saviour from all wickedness,
Transforming hell to paradise,
A greasy ball with light thou hast endowed
And bones with hearing; O most bountiful!”
Does intuition with the human frame unite?
How do all things with names combine?
Words are but nests, the meanings are the birds,
Body the bed through which the spirit-river flows.
The surface of this mental watercourse
Is not without its chaff of good and bad repute:
It flows, but you would say it stagnates;
It moves but you would say it stays;
From place to place were there no motion
Whence these renewed supplies of floating chaff?
That chaff is but an image of the mind,
Assuming every moment a new shape;
Like chaff its likes and dislikes float away;
The husks upon the surface of this watercourse
Come from transmundane garden’s fruits,—
The kernels of those husks in yonder garden seek.
The water from that garden to the river flows;
If you your life’s departure cannot see,
Behold in the waters this floating of the plants.



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