Thursday, September 30, 2010

I Heard God Laughing ~ Hāfez-e Šhīrāzī

 (Tomb of Hafez in Shiraz, Iran)



Why carry a whole load of books

Upon your back

Climbing this mountain,

When tonight,

Just a few thoughts of God

Will light the holy fire.




Is where the Real Fun starts.

There's too much counting

Everywhere else!

Go for a walk, if it is not too dark.

Get some fresh air, try to smile.

Say something kind

To a safe-looking stranger, if one happens by.

Always exercise your heart's knowing.

You might as well attempt something real

Along this path:

Take your spouse or lover into your arms

The way you did when you first met.

Let tenderness pour from your eyes

The way the Sun gazes warmly on the earth.

Play a game with some children.

Extend yourself to a friend.

Sing a few ribald songs to your pets and plants –

Why not let them get drunk and wild!

Let's toast

Every rung we've climbed on Evolution's ladder.

Whisper, "I love you! I love you!"

To the whole mad world.

Let's stop reading about God -

We will never understand Him.

Jump to your feet, wave your fists,

Threaten and warn the whole Universe

That your heart can no longer live

Without real love!

I know the way you can get

When you have not had a drink of Love:

Your face hardens,

Your sweet muscles cramp.

Children become concerned

About a strange look that appears in your eyes

Which even begins to worry your own mirror

And nose.

Squirrels and birds sense your sadness

And call an important conference in a tall tree.

They decide which secret code to chant

To help your mind and soul.

Even angels fear that brand of madness

That arrays itself against the world

And throws sharp stones and spears into

The innocent

And into one's self

Oh, I know the way you can get

If you have not been out drinking Love:

You might rip apart

Every sentence your friends and teachers say,

Looking for hidden clauses.

You might weigh every word on a scale

Like a dead fish.

You might pull out a ruler to measure

From every angle in your darkness

The beautiful dimensions of a heart you once


I know the way you can get

If you have not had a drink from Love's


That is why all the Great Ones speak of

The vital need

To keep Remembering God,

So you will come to know and see Him

As being so Playful

And Wanting,

Just Wanting to help.

That is why Hafez says:

Bring your cup near me,

For I am a Sweet Old Vagabond

With an Infinite Leaking Barrel

Of Light and Laughter and Truth

That the Beloved has tied to my back.

Dear one,

Indeed, please bring your heart near me.

For all I care about

Is quenching your thirst for freedom!

All a Sane man can ever care about

Is giving Love!


Just ask the donkey in me

To speak to the donkey in you,

When I have so many other beautiful animals

And brilliant colored birds inside

That are all longing to say something wonderful

And exciting to your heart?

Let's open all the locked doors upon our eyes

That keep us from knowing the Intelligence

That begets love

And a more lively and satisfying conversation

With the Friend.

Let's turn loose our golden falcons

So that they can meet in the sky

Where our spirits belong -

Necking like two

Hot kids.

Let's hold hands and get drunk near the sun

And sing sweet songs to God

Until He joins us with a few notes

From His own sublime lute and drum.

If you have a better idea

Of how to pass a lonely night

After your glands may have performed

All their little magic

Then speak up sweethearts, speak up,

For Hafez and all the world will listen.

Why just bring your donkey to me

Asking for stale hay

And a boring conference with the idiot

In regards to this precious matter –

Such a precious matter as love,

When I have so many other divine animals

And brilliant colored birds inside

That are all longing

To so sweetly


You carry all the ingredients

To turn your existence into joy,

Mix them, mix



Do sad people have in


It seems

They have all built a shrine

To the past

And often go there

And do a strange wail and


What is the beginning of


It is to stop being

So religious





Has known God,

Not the God of names,

Not the God of don'ts,

Not the God who ever does

Anything weird,

But the God who only knows four words

And keeps repeating them, saying:

"Come dance with Me."





Is not easy

To stop thinking ill

Of others.

Usually one must enter into a friendship

With a person

Who has accomplished that great feat himself



Might start to rub off on you

Of that


Last night,

from the cypress branch,

the nightingale sang,

In Old Persian tones,

the lesson of spiritual stations.


~ Hāfez-e Šhīrāzī (14th Century)

(Translated By Daniel Ladinsky) 



  1. The Spiritual Silent Place.

    Zero - Why Carry – Stop being So Religious – The God who only knows Four Words – “Come Dance with Me..”

    Simple Words lead to the Greater Truth.

    Posted at the needed hour.

    Really I heard God laughing on hear this verdict.

  2. I HEARD GOD LAUGHING - how subtly apt it sounds on the day of this funny verdict on Ayodhya with absurd issues being contended by careerist politicians of varied hues. Jesus was crucified long ago and now the Hindu zealots have crucified Ram as well.

    I am reading the poems of Hafez for the first time now in your Blog. It is intoxicating and liberating. Tears rolled out while reading some of the most beautiful lines.

    The salvation from these salvaging times might lie in rediscovering our syncretic religious traditions - with Islamic Sufi and Hindu Bhakthi elements blended together in an eternal embrace - making true religiosity as an experiential reality.

  3. Thanks for posting these interesting poems.

    Though have never been able to feel the soul, after reading the poems it felt as if the poems were trying to cleanse the soul and rejuvenate them.

    "All a Sane man can ever care about
    Is giving Love!" is simply profound!

  4. It gives a pleasant feel to the soul when reading it first time
    about wonderful poems of Hafez..

    Life will be peaceful,beautiful and spirtual when we start loving
    the whole world and feel the love with beautiful birds,animals,
    people and nature. Especially loving god..

    Itz not a matter for one to read a poem and feel.
    but one who make others happy and to feel which they felt.
    U have simply done that through u'r posting.
    This is the inspiring thing here..
    I just wonder!
    keep enriching us..

  5. red earth and pouring rainOctober 16, 2010 at 11:57 AM

    Great. Art and spirituality are the point where innocence and love meets together at the right intersection. All saintly people echo same thing.

    As Osho says, 'Become more and more innocent, less knowledgeable and more childlike. Take life as fun - because precisely that is what it is!'

    'All creativity is a by-product of playfulness. Seriousness is barren. Nothing is ever born out of seriousness, except destruction'.

  6. I have heard about Hafez through Dalrymple's book on Delhi. In the past even people of the lower rung were quoting the Persian lyrics including the ones of Hafez. Such was the culture of Delhi many years ago. The book traces the decadence of the culturally stalwart-city of Delhi.

  7. What happens when your soul begins to awaken
    Your eyes
    And your heart
    And the cells of your body
    To the great Journey of Love?

    First there is wonderful laughter and probably precious tears
    And a hundred sweet promises
    And those heroic vows
    No one can ever keep.

    But still God is delighted and amused
    You once tried to be a saint.
    What happens when your soul
    Begins to awake in this world

    To our deep need to love
    And serve the Friend?

    O the Beloved
    Will send you
    One of His wonderful, wild companions ~
    Like Hafez.