Rumi's Reed Flute Epistle (Ney Namah)


ني نامه' مولانا جلال الدين بلخي رومي'



Here is my translation of Rumi's famous "Song of the Reed" which is also known as "Tale of the Reed", or the "First Eighteen Verses of Masnavi", better known in Farsi as 'Ney Namah - ني نامه', literally Reed Flute Epistle. I've also embedded Rumi's original Farsi verses underneath each couplet, in case you're a Farsi speaker and wish to compare them to the original ones. Rumi scholars unanimously concur that the prologue of 'Reed Flute Epistle' or 'Song of the Reed'- as it's known in the West - is indeed Rumi's majestic synopsis or summary of his entire masterpiece, Masnavi Manavi or Rhymed Couplets of Profound Spiritual Meanings, in eighteen verses. The 'Reed Flute' or 'Ney - ني ' in these highly spiritual and mystical verses is none other than Rumi himself complaining of separation from his Source; and his lifelong longing for the ultimate mystical reunion with his Beloved, the Ultimate Truth or God. 







In her outstanding book, The Triumphal Sun: A Study of the Works of Jalaloddin Rumi, the great German-born Rumi scholar, late Professor Annemarie Schimmel magnificently explains Rumi's metaphorical usage of Ney or Reed Flute: "The reed flute provided Rumi with an ideal symbol of the soul which can utter words only when touched by the lips of the Beloved, and moved by the breath of the spiritual master, an idea expressed before him by Sana'i. Man, cut off from the eternal ground of his existence, like the flute from the reed-bed, becomes resonant in separation and tells the secrets of love and longing. Jalaloddin often saw himself, in the pangs of separation, passionately complaining like the reed, and felt the inspiration through Shams enter into his empty heart like the breath of a flute player. Does not the flute open nine or ten eyes in order to behold the Friend? In repetitious verses Rumi has alluded to the enrapturing power of the ney which, hands and feet cut off, deprives people of hands and feet, i.e., carries away their reason.The reed flute has suffered; its head has been cut, exactly like that of the reed pen hence both instruments are media to convey information about the Beloved, one by singing, the other by writing. Likewise the ney is connected with the sugar cane, both are filled with the Friend's sweetness; both are dancing already in the reed-bed or in the field in the hope of the lip of the Beloved..."

Rumi is simply at his best in using Ney-Flute as a metaphor to poetically demonstrating Man's predicament in his or her spiritual journey upon the enlightenment path of Sufism, or any other mystical path for that matter, in search of God. I hope my translation can capture Rumi's truly heart-wrenching and melancholic outpourings.


ني نامه حضرت مولانا جلال الدين بلخي رومي 


Listen to reed-flute as it tells a story 
complaining of separations:


بشنو از نی چون حکایت می ‌کند
از جداییها حکایت می ‌کند


Ever since I was cut from the reed-field
man and woman have moaned over of my wailing.


کز نیستان تا مرا ببریده‌اند
در نفیرم مرد و زن نالیده‌اند


I want a chest sliced open, sliced open by separation
to explain in detail the pain of longing.


سینه خواهم شرحه شرحه از فراق
تا بگویم شرح درد اشتیاق


Anyone who's left far away from his or her roots
keeps on longing for the day of reunion.


هر کسی کو دور ماند از اصل خویش
باز جوید روزگار وصل خویش


I've voiced my complaints in any gathering
becoming the companion of good and bad natured people.


من به هر جمعیتی نالان شدم
جفت بد حالان و خوش‌ حالان شدم


Everyone becomes my friend out of own suspicion
no one seeks out my secrets from the inside of me.

هرکسی از ظن خود شد یار من
از درون من نجست اسرار من


My secrets are not that far away from my wailing
but their eyes and ears don't yet have that light.


سر من از نالهٔ من دور نیست
لیک چشم و گوش را آن نور نیست


Neither flesh is veiled from the soul nor soul from the flesh
yet no one is allowed to see the soul.

تن ز جان و جان ز تن مستور نیست
لیک کس را دید جان دستور نیست


The wailing of this flute blows raging fire, not just some hot air
may anyone who's not already on fire, be annihilated!


آتشست این بانگ نای و نیست باد
هر که این آتش ندارد نیست باد


It is the fire of love which has filled this flute
it is the fervor of love which has filled this wine.


آتش عشقست کاندر نی فتاد
جوشش عشقست کاندر می فتاد


Flute is the companion of anyone who breaks up with a partner
the sad notes of this flute tear apart our veils.


نی حریف هرکه از یاری برید
پرده‌هااش پرده‌های ما درید


Has anyone ever seen anything like this flute:
Being the poison and the antidote for that poison?
Being overly confident and also anxiously impatient?


همچو نی زهری و تریاقی کی دید
همچو نی دمساز و مشتاقی کی دید


Flute narrates the tales of blood-soaked paths
and love stories of the mad-lover, Majnoon.


نی حدیث راه پر خون می‌کند
قصه‌های عشق مجنون می‌کند


The conscience trust of this logic is none but the unconscious one
since a tongue only has an ear as its client!


محرم این هوش جز بیهوش نیست
مر زبان را مشتری جز گوش نیست


My days turn into nights because of my sorrows
my days are accompanied with my burning pains.


در غم ما روزها بیگاه شد
روزها با سوزها همراه شد


If the days keep going by too fast, just say: Go ahead, I don't fear!
You stay here with me, since no one as pure and clean as you are.


 روزها گر رفت گو رو باک نیست
تو بمان ای آنک چون تو پاک نیست


Everyone gets fed up with the water except the fish
anyone without the daily bread feels the day is dragging on too long!


هر که جز ماهی ز آبش سیر شد
هرکه بی روزیست روزش دیر شد


The one who is still raw never knows how the burned one feels
but I need to make this long story short, so wasalam (goodbye)!


در نیابد حال پخته هیچ خام
پس سخن کوتاه باید والسلام



ني نامه حضرت مولانا جلال الدين بلخي رومي 

بشنو از نی چون حکایت می ‌کند
از جداییها حکایت می ‌کند
کز نیستان تا مرا ببریده‌اند
در نفیرم مرد و زن نالیده‌اند
سینه خواهم شرحه شرحه از فراق
تا بگویم شرح درد اشتیاق
هر کسی کو دور ماند از اصل خویش
باز جوید روزگار وصل خویش
من به هر جمعیتی نالان شدم
جفت بدحالان و خوش‌حالان شدم
هرکسی از ظن خود شد یار من
از درون من نجست اسرار من
سر من از نالهٔ من دور نیست
لیک چشم و گوش را آن نور نیست
تن ز جان و جان ز تن مستور نیست
لیک کس را دید جان دستور نیست
آتشست این بانگ نای و نیست باد
هر که این آتش ندارد نیست باد
آتش عشقست کاندر نی فتاد
جوشش عشقست کاندر می فتاد
نی حریف هرکه از یاری برید
پرده‌هااش پرده‌های ما درید
همچو نی زهری و تریاقی کی دید
همچو نی دمساز و مشتاقی کی دید
نی حدیث راه پر خون می‌کند
قصه‌های عشق مجنون می‌کند
محرم این هوش جز بیهوش نیست
مر زبان را مشتری جز گوش نیست
در غم ما روزها بیگاه شد
روزها با سوزها همراه شد
روزها گر رفت گو رو باک نیست
تو بمان ای آنک چون تو پاک نیست
هر که جز ماهی ز آبش سیر شد
هرکه بی روزیست روزش دیر شد
در نیابد حال پخته هیچ خام
پس سخن کوتاه باید والسلام



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Thank you for visiting Maulana Rumi Online, a blog dedicated entirely to the life, works and teachings of Maulana Jalaluddin Muhammad Balkhi better known simply as Rumi here in our beloved America. Just as a memory refresher, all articles, e-books, images, links and reading materials listed in this Blog are solely for Educational purposes. This Blog is designed and maintained by yours truly, your comments, critiques or suggestions are quite welcome and greatly appreciated. As for my own Rumi Translations, you are welcome to copy and use them as long as it's not for commercial purposes. For best viewing, please try this Blog on Google Chrome Browser. This is a very long Blog though, so please make sure to use the Scroll To Top or Bottom Buttons at the left side, or Back To Top Button at the bottom right corner of your screen for smooth navigation. If you have any question, comment, critique or suggestion, please contact me by clicking the Contact Box embedded at the right middle corner. As Rumi would say, "Come, come, whoever you are, come back again.."!








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