Rumi (1207-1273) was a 13th-century Persian poet, Islamic scholar, theologian, and Sufi mystic. Over the past seven centuries, his influence has transcended international borders and ethnic divisions, and his poems have been widely translated into many of the world’s languages and transposed into various formats. Often described as the “most popular poet” and the “best selling poet” in the United States.
His poems and quotes are some of the most favored amongst spiritual communities, but the lesser-known inspiration and spiritual influence of Rumi’s work comes from his mentor – a man named Shams-i-Tabrīzī (1185-1248).
Tabrīzī was a Persian Sunni Muslim, who is credited as Rumi’s spiritual instructor, and is referenced in great reverence in the work entitled Diwan-i Shams-i Tabrīzī (The Works of Shams of Tabriz). Tradition holds that Shams taught Rumi in seclusion in Konya for a period of forty days, before fleeing for Damascus. The tomb of Shams-i Tabrīzī was recently nominated to be a UNESCOWorld Heritage Site.
Below is a list of 20 quotes from Tabrīzī, that reflect his direct influence on Rumi – and articulate the spiritual journey of life in a simultaneously cerebral and cathartic fashion.
20 Quotes From Rumi’s Spiritual Instructor, Shams Tabrizi
- “Instead of resisting to changes, surrender. Let life be with you, not against you. If you think ‘My life will be upside down’ don’t worry. How do you know down is not better than upside?” – Shams Tabrizi
- “The universe is a complete unique entity. Everything and everyone is bound together with some invisible strings. Do not break anyone’s heart; do not look down on weaker than you. One’s sorrow at the other side of the world can make the entire world suffer; one’s happiness can make the entire world smile.” – Shams Tabrizi
- “A life without love is of no account. Don’t ask yourself what kind of love you should seek, spiritual or material, divine or mundane, eastern or western…divisions only lead to more divisions. Love has no labels, no definitions. It is what it is, pure and simple. Love is the water of life. And a lover is a soul of fire! The universe turns differently when fire loves water.” – Shams Tabrizi
- “Most of conflicts and tensions are due to language. Don’t pay so much attention to the words. In love’s country, language doesn’t have its place. Love’s mute.” – Shams Tabrizi
- “This world is like a mountain.
Your echo depends on you.
If you scream good things,
the world will give it back.
If you scream bad things,
the world will give it back.
Even if someone says badly about you,
speak well about him.
Change your heart to change the world.” – Shams Tabrizi
- “There are more fake guides, teachers in the world than stars. The real guide is the one who makes you see your inner beauty, not the one who wants to be admired and followed.” – Shams Tabrizi
- “Don’t search for heaven and hell in the future. Both are now present. Whenever we manage to love without expectations, calculations, negotiations, we are indeed in heaven. Whenever we fight, hate, we are in hell.” – Shams Tabrizi
- “The whole universe is sum up in the Human Being.
Devil is not a monster waiting to trap us,
He is a voice inside.
Look for Your Devil in Yourself,
not in the Others.
Don’t forget that the one who knows his Devil,
knows his God.” – Shams Tabrizi
- “The real dirt is not outside,
but inside, in our hearts.
We can wash all stains with water.
The only one we can’t remove is the grudge and the bad intentions sticking to our hearts.” – Shams Tabrizi
- “The summary of the advice of all prophets is this; Find yourself a mirror.” – Shams Tabrizi
- “No matter what people call you, you are just who you are. Keep to this truth. You must ask yourself how is it you want to live your life. We live and we die, this is the truth that we can only face alone. No one can help us. So consider carefully, what prevents you from living the way you want to live your life?” – Shams Tabrizi
- “Patience is not sitting and waiting, it is foreseeing. It is looking at the thorn and seeing rose, looking at the night and seeing the day. Lovers are patient and know that the moon needs time to become full.” – Shams Tabrizi