RUMI & HAFIZ: The Mountains Hint at Our Beauty

by Lama Foundation

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Things are such, that someone lifting a cup, or watching the rain, or petting a dog, or singing, just singing—could be doing as much for this universe as anyone.
Like the way the valleys of the earth cup their hands for light and drink, like the way the desert opens up its sweet mouth and laughs when someone melts pearls in the sky, and rain, rain returns like a divine lover with a hundred wonderful gifts. O, the words from the true Teacher bring my mind and cells such sacred nourishment and life.
Don't surrender your loneliness so quickly. Let it cut more deep. Let it ferment and season you as few human or even divine ingredients can. Something missing in my heart tonight has made my eyes so soft, my voice so tender, my need of God absolutely clear.
I saw you dancing last night on the roof of your house all alone. I felt your heart calling for the friend. I saw you whirling beneath the soft bright rose that hung from an invisible stem in the sky. So I began to change into my best clothes in hopes of joining you, even though I live a thousand miles away. And if you had spun like an immaculate sphere just two more times, then bowed again so sweetly to the east, You would have found God and me standing so near, and lifting you into our arms. I saw you dancing last night near the roof of this world. Hafiz feels your soul in mine, calling for our Beloved.
The sandalwood tree shares its lovely scent with any who come near. God is like that. Does the tree ever think to itself, I am not going to offer my fragrance to that man over there because of what he did last night, or to that woman who neglected her child, or because of what we, we might have ever done? It is not the way of God to hoard. He is simply just there, emanating freely what He is, if we wish to grab a handful, or fill the basket in the eye. Don't hold back, have no reservations, take full advantage of His attributes, exploit His nature and that tender part of His soul.
Troubled? 01:02
Troubled? Then stay with me, for I am not. Lonely? A thousand naked amorous ones dwell in ancient caves beneath my eyelids. Riches? Here’s a pick. My whole body is an emerald that begs, “Take me.” Write all that worries you on a piece of parchment; offer it to God. Even from the distance of a millennium, I can lean the flame in my heart into your life and turn all that frightens you into holy incense ash.
Anxious to see you, I died to the world. Hearing your voice at the city’s edge, at the horizon of form and space, how could I then notice anything hands made; how could I adore or suffer time? Anxious to hold you, I forgot myself completely but you did not care about the way I came to look; I mean your shape and mine, what were those?— the seed husk that falls, because it could not contain our mingled feet. Anxious to see you, our souls became your glory, our eyes became your fire. All concepts of God are like a jar we break, because only the infinite can contain our perfect 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. O, 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 trusted. I know the way you can get if you have not had a drink of from Love’s hands. 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 Hafiz 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!
We are like lutes once held by God. Being away from His warm body fully explains our constant yearning.
When the violin can forgive the past, it starts singing. When the violin can stop worrying about the future, you will become such a drunk laughing nuisance that God will then lean down and start combing you into His hair. When the violin can forgive every wound caused by others, your soul, your soul will start singing.
A couple used to come see me once in a while. Among the many I knew who were together, they appeared the most happy. One day I said to them, “What advice could you offer to other sweethearts that might help them achieve the grace you have found?” And the young woman blushed and so did her partner; so I did not press them to answer. But I knew, i knew. Their secret was this: That once every day, for an hour, they treated each other as if they were gods and would with all their heart, do anything, anything their beloved desired. Sometimes that just meant holding hands and walking in the hills or a forest that renewed their souls.
We just naturally turn toward her loveliness. The clouds may gather in the sky in a graceful manner that lifts our gaze to them. Something we see there may touch us for a few moments, in a way we so needed. Words in a poem can be like this: causing formations, images in your mind. that can create chemical synergies, that so elevate vision—the single eye gets ignited, and the light, the beautiful face, the exquisite One, that was hidden, is revealed.
What will our children do in the morning? Will they wake with their hearts wanting to play, the way wings should? Will they have dreamed the needed flights and gathered the strength from the planets that all men and women need to balance the wonderful charms of the earth, so that her power and beauty does not make us forget our own? I know all about the ways of the heart—how it wants to be alive. Love so needs to love, that it will endure almost anything, even abuse, just to flicker for a moment. But the sky’s mouth is kind, its song will never hurt you, for I sing those words. What will our children do in the morning if they do not see us fly?
Listen—listen more carefully to what is around you, right now. In my world there are the bells from the clanks of the morning milk drums, and a wagon wheel outside my window just hit a bump which turned into an ecstatic chorus of the Beloved’s Name. There is the Prayer Call, rising up like the sun out of the mouths of a thousand birds. There is an astonishing vastness of movement and life emanating sound and light from my folded hands, and my even quieter simple being and heart. My dear, is it true that your mind is sometimes like a battering ram, running all through the city shouting so madly inside and out about the ten thousand things that do not matter? Hafiz, too, for many years beat his head in youth and thought himself at a great distance, far from and armistice with God. But that is why this scarred old pilgrim has become such a sweet rare vintage who weeps and sings for you. That is why Hafiz will forever in his verse play his cymbal and call to you. O listen—listen more carefully to what is inside of you right now. In my world all that remains is the wondrous call to dance and prayer rising up like a thousand suns ... out of the mouth of a single bird.
I would give my life for this: for one line of verse so rich, and full of salvation, thousands would remember it as if it were their own name. And if they, or a cherished one, were ever in trouble, on the verge of collapse from loneliness, grief or despair, they could just recite it, with whatever strength they had left. Then God, no matter how shy He was feeling that day, would reveal Himself, for at least a moment, and that would be all that was needed—a second of truly seeing Him, which is the most many in this life might come to know. He might even tickle you then, just to make certain He wasn’t a mirage, and on a spot that would surely alter your mood. Would not that be all that was needed for one to gain some courage and take a stand and move on with some zest? Yes, a line so exquisite it would be passed from eye to eye, hand to hand, flute to drum, generation to generation, language to language, speech to song. Thankfulness . . . falling to your knees. Maybe something I already wrote with Sham’s pen contains light from that Sun that will forever yield His comforting scent, bring about such insight, you too will discover . . . your own holiness. Yes! I would trade my life for that, for one line of verse so beautiful, so beautiful and giving.
Look how a mirror will reflect with perfect equanimity all actions before it. There is no act in this world that will ever cause the mirror to look away. There is no act in this world that will ever make the mirror say, “no.” The mirror, like perfect love, will just keep giving of itself to all before it. How did the mirror ever get like that, so polite, so grand, so compassionate? It watched the Eternal. It studied the Eternal. Yes, the mirror remembers the Beloved looking into itself as the Beloved shaped existence’s heart and the mirror’s soul. My eye has the nature of God. Hafiz looks upon all with perfect equanimity as do my words, dear. My poems will never tell you no, because the mirror is not like that, and if God ever hits you with a don’t, He has His fingers crossed. He is just fibbing for your own good.
I remember how my mother would hold me. I would look up at her sometimes and see her weep. I understand now what was happening. Love so strong a force it broke the cage, and she disappeared from everything for a blessed moment. All actions have evolved from the taste of flight; the hope of freedom moves our cells and limbs. Unable to live on the earth, Mira ventured out alone in the sky. I write of that journey of becoming as free as God. Don’t forget love. How can you? For it will bring about all the divine madness you need to hurl yourself across the universe.
This place where you are right now, God circled on a map for you. Wherever your eyes and arms and heart can move against the earth and sky, the Beloved has bowed there, our Beloved has bowed there, knowing you were coming. I could tell you a priceless secret about your real worth, dear pilgrim, but any unkindness to yourself, any confusion about others, will keep one from accepting the grace, the love, the sublime freedom Divine Knowledge always offers you.
 Never mind, Hafiz, about the great requirements this path demands of the wayfarers, for your soul is too full of wine tonight to withhold the wondrous truth from this world. But because I am so clever and generous, I have already clearly woven a resplendent lock of His tresses as a remarkable gift in this verse for you. This place where you are right now, God circled on a map. And wherever, darling, you can move against this earth and sky, the Beloved has bowed there, knowing, knowing you were coming.
First, the fish needs to say, “Something ain’t right about this camel ride, and I’m feeling so damn t h i r s t y !
I caught the happy virus last night when I was out crooning beneath the stars. it is remarkably contagious, so KISS ME!
It is a holy man, a good poem, and a holy woman; and a temple and a mosque and a shrine. Have you not been looking for a companion like that? For a place of such great refuge, where time asks nothing of you, where you can come and go as you please, where you basically control all the rules because your inherent wisdom knows best. And you don’t have to give up any pleasures that might still be working, adding color to your cheeks. There is nothing you touch that you hope won’t fit into a puzzle you are seriously working on.
 I know how the eye works, what its primary desire and impetus is: to lay its gaze upon the beautiful, and for beauty to wink back. The eye, like every part of you, is governed by your great and continual primal instinctive need to feel whole and able. Able to work and learn and give and play— and love and love. Who would deny that? It is a holy woman, a decent poem, and a holy man; and a temple and a mosque and a shrine. Carry any relics from my words that you can.
Mount Sinai 01:04
Cleanliness and being well mannered would make you suspect in some circles I travel in. Clothes that aren’t soiled and smell too sweet, what do they know about rolling around the ground in ecstasy? Love inspired Mount Sinai to become a pillar capable of holding up the impetus of all desire. You have seen how a carpet is beaten to remove the dirt. Go to someone who has the power to hold you upside-down, or turn you inside-out and club all your hidden arrogance to death. That will help your sadness to die.
Dear pilgrim, I love your shoes, your coat, your pants, your hat, your furry head, your cup, your bowl, your messy closets, and most of all—I cherish your cute ears. Why? Don’t ask! Just speak what you love about me. Come closer if you are feeling a little timid today, or dense, because surely you would find something very endearing about Hafiz. Then we can pass many years talking so silly, like two highly advanced aspirants— like two emancipated holy vagrants who are sharing His Bottle of Truth, and feeling so damn good, and drunk, and free, and freeeeeeeeeeeee!
Great lions can find peace in a cage. But we should only do that as a last resort. So those bars I see that restrain your wings, I guess you won’t mind if I pry them O P E N .
O Hafiz, sing to us tonight, for so many hearts are wounded from passing through this world, and who knows . . . how many times? Let the soul of light caress our bodies—and the river's and field's—and the sky's! Show us their open arms that always want to give. Reveal the mountains dance so we cannot resist to join in. Make the earth's divine gravity draw us also into a sacred whirl. Impart the knowledge to us that God does to the angels, so that we, like them, become radiant, radiant with love. O Hafiz, O dear Rumi . . . heaven has entered your sounds. So sing to us dear ones. O sing, sing to us tonight.


This CD is a gift to Lama Foundation. Proceeds will help support educational and art programs, establish fruit and berry orchards, beekeeping, and aid with sometimes-critical water shortages.

Lama Foundation is a sustainable spiritual community, educational facility, and retreat center in the Sangre de Cristo mountains near Taos, New Mexico. To welcome people of all faiths and spiritual traditions was the mission and vision of its founders— one of whom, Asha Durkee Greer, comments on "The Mountains Hint at Our Beauty:"

"My hope is this CD will attract younger people to Lama who have a nourishing experience of the spiritual, or want to; and who have the essential work ethic to sustain their own precious lives, and impart love to whatever their hands touch."

All the musicians and readers donated their time and talents to this project. A giant thanks to them: Jenny Bird - guitar, tanpura and voice; William Allaudin Mathieu - piano and voice; Habib - sitar, tabla, voice; Joseph McPherson - flutes. Christine Kahane sweetly read a poem with her dog helping. Mirabai Starr and Mona Haydar both read and blessed us, indeed. And no one got paid a penny, and all are glad.
— Daniel Ladinsky


released May 21, 2018

Produced by Jenny Bird:
Recorded, mixed, & mastered by Omar Rane: 
Contributing artists: Daniel Ladinsky, Mirabai Starr, Jenny Bird (guitar, tanpura & vocals), William Allaudin Mathieu (piano), Habib (sitar, vocals), Mona Haydar, Christine Carter Kahane, Joseph McPherson (flute)
Cover design by Dan F. Kuehn: and Duirwaigh Studios:
Booklet design and layout: Tracy Cates

Moved forward with the great heart of Nancy Owen Barton:

All included poetry and writings are the copyrighted works of Daniel Ladinsky and used with his permission. His Penguin Random House publications include:
I Heard God Laughing: Poems of Hope and Joy © 1996 & 2006
The Subject Tonight is Love: 60 Wild and Sweet Poems of Hafiz © 1996 & 2003
The Gift: Poems by Hafiz ©1999
Love Poems from God: Twelve Sacred Voices from the East and West © 2002
A Year With Hafiz: Daily Contemplations © 2011
The Purity of Desire: 100 Poems of Rumi © 2012

"A huge thanks to Melissa LaScaleia and Tracy Cates for doing so much of the behind-the-scenes work for this CD, and helping to bring it to fruition." -- Daniel Ladinsky

No part of this cd may be reproduced in any way without the written permission of Daniel Ladinsky. For poetry permissions please contact Daniel Ladinsky.


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Lama Foundation Taos, New Mexico

Lama Foundation is a spiritual community, educational facility, and retreat center. The birth place of "Be Here Now," by Ram Dass, and final resting place to Murshid Samuel Lewis, creator of the Dances of Universal Peace. Lama lies north of the town of Taos, New Mexico.

Designed to embrace all spiritual traditions, thousands of pilgrims from nearly all religious heritages have called Lama home.
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