Mathnawi, II, 3027-3045

Four Indians enter a mosque and begin the prostrations.

Deep, sincere praying. But a priest walks by,

and one of the Indians, without thinking, says,

“Oh, are you going to give the call to prayers now?

Is it time?”


The second Indian, under his breath,

“You spoke. Now your prayers are invalid.”


The third, “Uncle, don’t scold him! You’ve done the same thing,

Correct yourself!”

The fourth, also out loud, “Praise to God,

I haven’t made the mistakes of these three.”


So all four prayers are interrupted,

with the three fault-finders more at fault

than the original speaker!


Blessed is one who sees his weakness,

and blessed is one who, when he sees a flaw

in someone else, takes responsibility for it.


Because half of any person is wrong and weak and off the path.

Half!   The other half is dancing and swimming and flying in the

Invisible Joy.


You have ten open sores on your head. Put what salve

you have on yourself. Point out to every one

the dis-ease you are.  That’s part of getting well.


When you lance yourself that way, you become

more merciful,

and wiser.

Even if you don’t have some particular fault at the moment,

you may soon become the one who makes that very act notorious.


Don’t feel self-satisified.

Satan lived eons as a noble angel..

Think what that name means now.

Don’t try to become famous until your face

is completely washed of all fear.

If your beard hasn’t grown out,

don’t joke about someone’s smooth chin.

~ Rumi: We Are Three (New Rumi Translations by Coleman Barks)

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