The HU Page

The HU in Rumi's Poetry

In sufi circles they say, "There's prayer, and a step up from that
is meditation, and a step up from that is sohbet, or conversation."
Who is talking to HU! (The pronoun for divine presence.) Lover
to beloved, teacher to disciple. The Friendship of Rumi and Shams
became a continuous conversation, in silence and words, presence
talking to absence, existence to non-existence, periphery to center.
Rumi's poetry may be heard as eavesdropping on that exchange."

Coleman Barks, May 2, 1994
Say I am You - RUMI

Mathnawi, Book VI, 4038-4044

[Open Secret - Versions of Rumi
by John Moyne and Coleman Barks]

This is what the Friend can do
when one is in such love. Sensual people use the holy names
often, but they don't work for them.
The miracle Jesus did by being the name of God,
Zuleika felt in the name of Joseph.

When one is united to the core of another, to speak of that
is to breathe the name HU, empty of self and filled
with love. As the saying goes, The pot drips what is in it.
The saffron spice of connecting, laughter.
The onion-smell of separation, crying.
Others have many things and people they love.
This is not the way of Friend and friend.


[The Mathnawi of Jalalu'ddin Rumi
by Reynold A. Nicholson]

This, this (is what) the Beloved's name can do (when one is) in love.

The vulgar are always pronouncing the Holy Name, (but) it does not do this work (for them) since they are not endowed with (true) love.

That (miracle) which Jesus had wrought by (pronouncing) the Name of HU (God) was manifested to her through the name of him (Joseph).

When the soul has been united with God, to speak of that (God) is (to speak of) this (soul), and to speak of this (soul) is (to speak of) that (god).

She was empty of self and filled with love for her friend (Joseph), and (as the proverb says), "A pot drips what is in it."

The scent of the saffron of union produces (happy) laughter; the smell of the onion of absence (produces) tears.

Every (other) one has in his heart a hundred objects of desire, (but) this is not the way of love and fondness.

Mathnawi, Book I, 3445-3454

[RUMI - We Are Three
by Coleman Barks]

Recognize that you imagination and your thinking
and your sense-perception are reed canes
that children cut and pretend are horsies.

The Knowing of mystic Lovers is different.
The empirical, sensory, sciences
are like a donkey loaded with books,
or like the makeup woman's makeup.
It washes off.

But if you lift the baggage rightly, it will give you joy.
Don't carry your knowledge-load for some selfish reason.
Deny your desires and willfulness,
and a real mount may appear under you.

Don't be satisfied with the name of HU,
with just words about it.

Experience That Drunkenness.
From books and words come fantasy,
and sometimes, from fantasy
comes UNION.


[The Mathnawi of Jalalu'ddin Rumi
by Reynold A. Nicholson]

Come, recognise that your imagination and reflection and sense-perception and apprehension are like the reed-cane on which children ride.

The sciences of the mystics bear them (aloft); the sciences of the sensual men are burdens to them.

When knowledge strikes on the heart (is acquired through mystical experience), it becomes a helper; when knowledge strikes upon the body (is acquired through the sense), it becomes a burden.

God hath said, "(Like an ass) laden with his books": burdensome is the knowledge that is not from Himself.

The knowledge that is not immediately from Himself does not endure, (it is) like the tirewoman's paint.

But when you carry this burden well, the burden will be removed and you will be given (spiritual) joy.

Beware! Do not carry this burden of knowledge for the sake of selfish desire (but mortify yourself), so that you may ride on the smooth-paced steed of knowledge,

So that you may mount the smooth-paced steed of knowledge, (and that) afterwards the burden may fall from your shoulder.

How wilt thou be freed from selfish desires without the cup of HU (Him), O thou who hast become content with no more of HU than the name of HU?

From attribute and name what comes of birth? Phantasy; and that phantasy shows the way to union with Him.

Mathnawi, Book IV, 2613-2622

[One-Handed Basket Weaving - RUMI
by Coleman Barks]

Muhammed is said to have said,
"Whoever belongs to God, God belongs to."

Our weak, uneven breathings,
these dissolving personalities,
were breathed out by the eternal
Huuuuuuuu, that never changes!
A drop of water constantly fears
that it may evaporate into the air,
or be absorbed by the ground.

It doesn't want to be used up
in those ways, but when it lets go
and falls into the ocean it came from,
it finds protection from the other deaths.

Its droplet form is gone,
but its watery essence has become
vast and inviolable.

Listen to me, friends, because you
are a drop, and you can honor yourselves
in this way. What could be luckier

than to have the ocean come
to court the drop?

For God's sake, don't postpone your yes!
Give up and become the giver.


[The Mathnawi of Jalalu'ddin Rumi
by Reynold A. Nicholson]

Kana lillah is the giving of thy groat, in order that kana 'llah lahu may come into (thy) hand;

For this weak unstable Hu (personality) was brought into being by the steadfast (permanent) HU of the Lord.

When the Hu that passes away has surrendered itself to Him, it becomes everlasting and never dies.

('Tis) like a drop of water (which is) afraid of wind (air) and earth; for by means of these twain it is made to pass away and perish.

When it has leaped (thrown itself) into the sea, which was its source, it is delivered from the heat of the sun and from wind and earth.

Its outward form has disappeared into the sea, but its essence is inviolate and permanent and goodly.

Hark, O (thou who art like a) drop, give thyself up without repenting, that in recompense for the drop thou mayst gain the Ocean.

Hark, O drop, bestow on thyself this honour, and in the hand of the Sea become safe from destruction.

Whom indeed should fortune like this befall? A Sea has become the suitor for a drop.

In God's name, in God's name, sell and buy at once! Give a drop, and take (in return) the Sea which is full of pearls.

Mathnawi V, 2887-2911

[Say I Am You RUMI
by Coleman Barks]

A man was wandering the marketplace at noon
with a candle in his hand, totally ecstatic.

"Hey," called a shopkeeper. "Is this a joke?
Who are you looking for?" "Someone breathing Huuuuuu,
the divine breath." "Well, there are plenty
to choose from." "But I want one who can be
in anger and desire and still a true human being
in the same moment." "A rare thing! But maybe
you're searching among the branches for what appears
only in the roots."

There's a river that turns these millstones.
Human will is an illusion. Those
that are proud of deciding things and carrying out
decisions are the rawest of the raw! Watch the thought-
kettles boiling and then look down at the fire.

God said to Job, "You value your patience well.
Consider now that I gave you that patience."

Don't be absorbed with the waterwheel's motion.
Turn your head and gaze at the river. You say,

"But I'm looking there already." There are several signs
in eyes that see all the way to the ocean. Bewilderment
is one. Those who study foam and flotsam near the edge
have purposes, and they'll explain them at length!

Those who look out to sea become the sea,
and they can't speak about that. On the beach
there's desire-singing and rage-ranting,
the elaborate language-dance of personality,

but in the waves and underneath there's no volition,
no hypocrisy, just love forming and unfolding.

Divan-i Kebir Poem 147 (verse 1938)

[Divan-i Kebir Meter 1
by Nevit O. Ergin]

If you go to the garden of the Heart,
You'll have beautiful perfume like a rose.
If you fly to the sky,
Your face will turn into a moon like the angels.

You'll turn into light
Even if He burns you like oil.
You'll become like hair because of grief,
But they'll put you at the head of the table.
Like a candle, you'll illuminate the assemblies.

You'll become a Sultan.
You'll become a supreme sovereignty,
Heaven, and an angel at the door of heaven.
You'll become sky and faith.
You'll turn into a lion
And, at the same time, a gazelle.

You'll leave place.
You'll go to the land of Absence.
You'll separate from yourself.
You'll go alone, walking without riding,
Without feet, like water in the river.

You'll become One like Heart and Soul,
You'll keep appearing even if you are invisible.
You'll become bitter-sweet, like wine.

You'll be free from the qualities
Of wetness and dryness, like Jesus.
You'll pierce the turbulence
And make a road of it.
You'll be free of dimensions;
Every side will become one for you.

You'll be free from desires
And the fancy of your insides.
You'll become empty.
You'll stay alive without breath.
You'll be plunged into the sea of Ya Hu,
And then you'll quit saying, "Ya Hu."

You'll turn sweet into bitter
And hear all, from a distance.
When you reach the ninth level of the sky,
You won't be a curtain to the light.

Be a Sultan with a kingdom.
Reach the height. Become a moon.
How long will you keep searching
By saying, "Coo-coo," like the dove?

You'll become a window for every house.
You'll be a rose garden in every field.
If you leave your self, drop your existence,
You'll become Me without me.

Don't take the lead. Don't brag.
Be joyful, bend your head,
Like a branch of the peach tree.
Smile. Be beautiful.

You won't ask for light.
You won't need your self.
You'll look after
The feeding and care of the poor,
Like the Sultan.
You'll look for darkness, like the moon.

You won't look for Soul;
You'll give Soul.
You'll find a remedy for every ill.
Don't look for salve for your wounds.
You'll be salve for all wounds.


[Like This ­ RUMI
By Coleman Barks]

If anyone asks you
how the perfect satisfaction
of all our sexual wanting
will look, lift your face
and say,
Like this.

When someone mentions the gracefulness
of the nightsky, climb up on the roof
and dance and say,
Like this?

If anyone wants to know what "spirit" is,
or what "God's fragrance" means,
lean your head toward him or her.
Keep your face there close.
Like this.

When someone quotes the old poetic image
about clouds gradually uncovering the moon,
slowly loosen knot by knot the strings
of your robe.
Like this?

If anyone wonders how Jesus raised the dead,
don't try to explain the miracle.
Kiss me on the lips.
Like this. Like this.

When someone asks what it means
to "die for love," point

If someone asks how tall I am, frown
and measure with your fingers the space
between the creases on your forehead.
This tall.

The soul sometimes leaves the body, then returns.
When someone doesn't believe that,
walk back into my house.
Like this.

When lovers moan,
they're telling our story.
Like this.

I am a sky where spirits live.
Stare into this deepening blue,
while the breeze says a secret.
Like this.

When someone asks what there is to do,
light the candle in his hand.
Like this.

How did Joseph's scent come to Jacob?

How did Jacob's sight return?

A little wind cleans the eyes.
Like this.

When Shams comes back from Tabriz,
he'll put just his head around the edge
of the door to surprise us.
Like this.

[Love is a Stranger ­ RUMI
by Kabir Helminski]

What shall I do, O Muslims?
I do not recognize myself.
I am neither Christian nor Jew,
nor Magian, nor Muslim.
I am not of the East, nor the West,
not of the land, nor the sea.
I am not from nature's mine,
nor from the circling stars.
I am neither of earth nor water,
neither of wind nor fire.
I am not of the empyrean,
nor of the dust on this carpet.
I am not of the deep, nor from behind.
I am not of India or China,
not of Bulgaria, nor Saqsin;
I am not of the kingdom of Iraqain,
nor of the land of Khorasan.
I am not of this world nor the next,
not of heaven, nor of purgatory.
My place is the placeless,
my trace is the traceless.
It is not the body nor is it the soul,
for I belong to the soul of my love.
I have put duality away
and seen the two worlds as one.
One I seek, One I know.
One I see, One I call.
He is the First, He is the Last.
He is the outward, He is the Inward.
I know of nothing but Hu, none but him.
Intoxicated with the cup of love,
two worlds slip from my hands.
I am occupied with nothing
but fun and carousing.
If once in my life I pass a moment without You,
I repent my life from that moment on.
If once in this world
I should win a moment with You,
I will put both worlds under my feet
and dance forever in joy.
O Shams of Tabriz, I am so drunk in the world
that except for revelry and intoxication
I have no tale to tell.

"Jelaluddin Rumi has revealed in his Masnavi
the mystery of profound revelation."

Hazrat Inayat Khan

Ibrahim Garmard's Excellent Masnavi Site

Other Rumi Links

Other books by Coleman Barks

Mevlavi Music

Other Rumi web sites that mention HU
Life of Rumi

The HU Page