II The Way of Love


        True speech is the fruit of not speaking.
        Too much talking clouds the heart.

        If you want to clear the heart
        say this much, the essence of all talking:

        Speak truly.
        God speaks through words truly spoken.
        Falsity ends in pain.

        Unless you witness
        all of creation in a single glance
        you're in sin even with all your religion.

        The explanation of the Law is this:
        The Law is a ship.
        Truth is her ocean.

        No matter how strong the wood
        the sea can smash the ship.

        The secret is this:
        A "saint" of religion
        may in reality be an unbeliever.

        We will master this science
        and read this book of love.
        God instructs.
        Love is his school.

        Since the glance of the saints
        fell on poor Yunus
        nothing has been a misfortune.


        Leave appearances. Come to essence and meaning.
        Don't dwell in images or you'll never mature.

        The Way is amazing but don't be deceived.
        Let it be a wonder to see the Friend's face.

        Dress yourself in love.
        Set out on the Way to the Friend.
        Persevere and you'll have so much to see.

        From here to the city of Love
        three hundred oceans you'll travel
        and after crossing them seven hells.

        Let yourself burn up
        burn to ashes in each one
        until nothing's left of your body
        except a very different one.

        The city of Reality has seven doors
        and over a gate the words
        Come in and know the power of your Lord.

        At the first door sits
        someone with a moon-like glow
        secure, without blemish
        who knows what it is to be poor.

        At the second door are two lions
        who've scared many away.
        At the third door are three dragons
        —-but don't turn back.

        At the fourth door are four great saints.
        You carry this word as a sign
        and evidence for admission.

        At the fifth door are five monks
        with much to sell, but you are to buy nothing.

        At the sixth door sits a virgin
        radiant as the moon, but don't go to her
        because if you do, take her and satisfy yourself
        you'll fall short of your goal.

        At the seventh door, seven great men of God
        will say to you:
        You're safe come inside and meet the Friend.

        These words I've spoken
        are not outside the body.
        If you meditate you'll find them too.

        Yunus speaks every word from the One Word.
        If it is this ore you seek
        you'll find it in humbleness.


        That by which our hearts are held
        whole worlds love it too.
        I can't deny the truth-—
        many ways lead to the One.

        Those whom the Beloved loves
        we must also love.
        If someone is a friend to the Friend
        how can we afford not to be friends?

        If you would be a lover,
        befriend him who loves your Friend
        and if you cannot
        don't call yourself a friend of mine.

        Whomever you tend to despise
        hold dear instead.
        Don't belittle others, respect them.
        This is where the path leads.

        If your heart is filled with love
        your way is sacrifice.
        Through sacrifice you will find your place
        in the ranks of Love.

        Hearts which truly love the Truth
        Truth will open a door wide.
        Dismantle the house of selfishness.
        Put away your self-regard.

        High and low, enemy, neighbor
        the Friend serves them all.
        Whoever wants to spread this word
        must first go out of his home.

        This counsel that Yunus gives
        is like buried gold.
        Those who love the Friend
        find peace in both worlds.


        Oh Friend, when I began to love You
        my intellect went and left me.
        I gazed at the rivers.
        I dove into the seas.

        But a spark of Love's fire
        can make the seas boil.
        I fell in, caught fire, and burned.

        A soul in love is free of worries.
        With love all problems left me.
        With love I became happy.

        When the nightingale saw the face
        of the red rose, it fell in love.
        I saw the faces of those who matured
        and became a nightingale.

        I was a dead tree fallen onto the path.
        When a master threw me a glance
        and brought me to life.

        Yunus, if you are a true lover
        humble yourself.
        Humility was chosen by them all.


        How strange I feel under the hand of this love.
        I can't see my Way, under the hand of this love.

        Once I was the crown of the universe.
        Now I'm dirt to walk on
        under the hand of this love.

        Like a lonely nightingale I call.
        Blood streams from my eyes
        under the hand of this love.

        My face, like an-autumn leaf,
        will glow, darken and die
        under the hand of this love.

        On the Final Day
        with my collar torn let me weep
        under the hand of this love.

        What can I do when I'm so far from Union?
        My back is bent
        under the hand of this love.

        Yunus, you pray for Taptuk so much.
        Don't ask “What shall I do?”
        under the hand of this love.


        What sweet news of love shall I deliver?
        Let me speak to those who will listen
        one by one.

        At first, before earth or sky existed
        without beginning, there was the ground of love
        an infinite beginning
        able to bring anything into existence.

        Those who gathered at this beginning
        saw the face of the Friend
        and became the souls of lovers.
        Ask them for news of love.

        Don't compare anything to love
        it's not possible.
        Nothing substitutes for love
        in this world or the next.

        Be careful, the news of love is a trust.
        Be careful not to speak to just anyone.

        Among jewellers there's an unspoken rule:
        don't show a pearl
        to someone who won't know its worth.

        Yunus's mind was so filled with love
        he couldn't hide his pain.
        Love spoke through him.
        He didn't choose to.


        Beloved, Your love pierces stone.
        I lost head and soul in this love.

        I fill Your night and day with my sorrow.
        You've become a friend of my love.

        Someone who worries only about You
        is saved from many fears.

        The heart that falls into Your love
        burns and burns.
        The one who gives himself to You
        gives up everything else.

        Worldliness looks like a poison.
        Someone who lives with a vision of the End
        passes up poisons.

        Someone who is sane doesn't do the Work for wages
        He doesn't become charmed by houries,
        he passes up their looks.

        A real lover gives his soul to Your house.
        Thousands sacrificed their souls
        just to talk with You.

        For the wise this world is a dream.
        Someone who gives himself to You
        goes beyond dreams.

        Yunus's heart and eyes
        are filled with a love of Truth.
        In good conversation distinctions blur
        between stranger and friend.


        My soul,
        the way of the masters
        is thinner than the thinnest.
        What blocked Solomon's way was an ant.

        Night and day
        the lover's tears never end
        tears of blood,
        remembering the Beloved.

        "The lover is outcast and idle"
        they used to tell me.
        It is true.
        It happened to me.

        I tried to make sense of the -Four Books*
        until love arrived
        and it all became a single syllable.

        You who claim to be dervishes
        and to never do what God forbids-—
        the only time you're free of sin
        is when you're in His hands.

        Two people were talking.
        One said, "I wish I could see this Yunus."
        "I've seen him," the other says
        "He's just another old lover."

* Torah, Psalms, Gospel, Quran, considered by Islamic tradition to be four Divinely revealed books.


        Hey friends, whoever swore off love?
        What falling star ever set fire to the ocean?

        Beloved, the fire of Your love
        set the ocean of my heart aflame.
        Folks think it's strange how it boils
        and miracles come to the surface.

        A hundred thousand like Jesus and Moses
        wander aimlessly in Your love.
        Folks think it strange that the crocodile of love
        swallowed me too!

        Let the slave learn to swim
        before entering the ocean.
        The sea of love is bottomless
        don't be surprised when you go down.

        An untrained eye mistakes a pearl for a bead
        and sells it for almost nothing.
        Whoever doesn't see His Face here openly
        tomorrow, wanders around
        aimless and unaware.

        Yunus says, "I serve a Master
        Our Taptuk has the Face of the Friend."
        If this is hard to believe
        do whatever else you can.


        Do you know, my friends, where the real saints are?
        Wherever I look, wherever I want them, they're there.

        My words bounce off the loveless
        like an echo from stone.
        Do you know, whoever hasn't got
        at least an atom of love
        lives in a wilderness?

        Don't be a liar, don't lie to love.
        Whoever lies here
        earns a sentence in the other world.

        Oh, you unaware of Yourself
        you don't understand the meaning of words
        if you desire the realness of Truth
        here it is in knowledge and in the Quran:

        If Allah says, "He is Mine"
        Allah keeps giving the realness of Love.
        Whoever has an atom of Love
        has the realness of God within.

        Many people tell Yunus,
        "You're too old to be a lover"
        but this love is so new and fresh.


        I wasn't sober until I drank
        the wine of Love.
        I didn't know myself
        until I met a master.

        Is your own knowledge enough
        to bring you where you have to go?
        You won't reach Allah, you'll be stuck
        unless you take a hand.

        If religion and faith are what you want
        work hard and be righteous in this life.
        But unless you finish it today
        you'll have the same task in the next world.

        A nightingale falls in love with the Rose.
        The whole love affair begins
        with just one look from God.
        A true word ripens within.

        It was easy to speak
        when my heart was in submission.
        Is a lover ever valued for his words
        unless he also delivers the goods?

        To understand poor Yunus's words
        you have to love very much.
        It's like the language of birds—
        what can you do but sing?


        The moment this sweetheart caught my eye
        she washed away my thoughts
        and became my heart's companion.

        My heart is Her slave. My soul, Her slave.
        They struggle over who will be with Her.

        But I know that I hold the power over them.
        No one ever told me
        but She became my happiness.

        Wherever I look, it's Her that I see.
        Even in Winter, Her Spring surrounds me.

        I'm no Khidr or Elias
        and sometimes I've made a mess of things
        yet however little I ate and drank
        I was well fed.

        The whole universe has this Affection inside.
        Without this deep Love, faith hardens.

        If the fire of Your Love
        touches anyone, well...
        it touched Yunus
        and opened him to the universe.

In this poem I have chosen to translate the pronouns as feminine. The Turkish does not specify gender.