In what literature does Rumi say, "You are the Soul of the Soul of the Universe. And your name is Love?"

Any slight modification of the verse, e.g. "The soul of the soul of the universe is love" can also be equivalently considered for this question.

That is, what is the name of the poem/story/essay/etc. that Rumi wrote that the verse first appears in? If there is no definite answer, where does the verse above appear first (i.e. where is it first mentioned or referenced)? Any other relevant information would be appreciated.

2 Answers 2


This is a translation of the tenth couplet of this poem from the Diwan-e Shams-e Tabrizi:

تو جان جان جهانی و نام تو عشق است     هر آنک از تو پری یافت بر علو گردد

And it translates something like this:

You are the Soul of the Soul of the Universe. And your name is Love

Whoever found a feather of you has come to a high position

Note that this couplet hints to the tale of Simurgh and Zāl and therefore is really hard (if not impossible) to translate.

  • 1
    In Diwan-e Shams-e Tabrizi which this poem belongs to, poems do not have any names and they usually known by their Rhymes and rows. I think the translator gives any name that he/she wants to it. In the Persian table of contents it's usually mentioned by the first verse of it's first line that in this case loosely translated to: When your tooth aches, your tooth becomes an enemy
    – ksadjad
    Aug 17, 2019 at 12:43
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    Could you add something about how close the translation is to the original? Is it very literal or is it very free?
    – Tsundoku
    Aug 17, 2019 at 18:10
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    @IkWeetHetOokNiet I just asked a native Farsi speaker who said the exact meaning is correctly translated (even if we may be missing some subtle reference or nuance in the original). I'd guess the answerer here also speaks Farsi themselves, based on their username and profile location. I've upvoted this answer and hope it will go above mine.
    – Rand al'Thor
    Jan 12, 2020 at 18:51
  • @Randal'Thor Thanks for the additional research. I have upvoted the answer.
    – Tsundoku
    Jan 12, 2020 at 20:08

First off, please be aware that Rumi's poetry is very often very poorly translated from the original Persian; the original meaning is often totally changed or lost in the English version. I found a couple of detailed articles about this online; it's very much worth the time to at least skim through these, check out their examples of Rumi poems with literal translations and published English 'translations'. To quote from the second link:

Yet this popularization has had a price, and the price is a frequent distortion of Rumi's words and teachings which permeate such well-selling books. The English "creative versions" rarely sound like Rumi to someone who can read the poems in the original Persian, and they are often shockingly altered-- but few know this, and the vast majority of readers cannot but believe that such versions are faithful renderings into English of Rumi's thoughts and teachings when they are not.

I don't know where, or in what language, you read the quote that you're looking for. But I'm pretty sure you didn't read it in Persian, since in the original version of your question you seemed unaware that Rumi's poems were even written in Persian! However, I did find that this quote has been attributed to Rumi on the English-speaking internet, see for example here. If indeed you found it in English, then it's quite possible that in fact Rumi never said anything like this. Or at least that the quote has been heavily distorted, so we should be looking for near misses as well as these exact words.

All of that being said ... I found a couple of websites which may be more reliable when it comes to Rumi poems. One of them is the site I quoted above - they at least take pride in publishing proper translations of Rumi poems, rather than popular mistranslations/retellings. Another site I'm less sure about (would have to get a Persian speaker to verify the accuracy of the translations), but at least they seem to take Rumi and his works pretty seriously. Searching those sites specifically for "soul of the universe" turned up nothing, but searching for "soul of the soul" was at least a little more fruitful:

  • Oh soul,
    you worry too much.

    You are in truth
    the soul, of the soul, of the soul.
    You are the security,
    the shelter of the spirit of Lovers.

    From "You Worry Too Much". Not an exact match, but it's about "the soul of the soul" and mentions love. (Translated by Shahram Shiva, whom Dar-Al-Masnavi cites as a semi-reliable translator.)

  • The drunkenness of love makes me unaware whether I have profit [or] loss therefrom.
    Thanks be to Him who gives soul to the body; if the soul should depart, yet I have the soul of the soul.
    Seek from me that which Shams-e Tabrizi has bestowed, for I have the same.

    From "I Have Fire For You". Again not an exact match, but it's about "the soul of the soul" and seems to imply that this equates to love. (Translated by A. J. Arberry, whom Dar-Al-Masnavi says is reliable.)

  • The mystical concert is tranquillity for the souls of the (spiritually) alive ones; a person knows (this) who is the Soul of the soul.
    Especially (if) they continue to make a circle in the mystical concert and the Ka`ba is in the center.

    From Jalâluddîn Rûmî, Dîwân-é Kabîr, Ghazal 339. Accurate/literal translation mentioning the "soul of the soul".

  • Some other hits for "soul of the soul" love in Rumi poems. It looks like there's no exact match for your quote, but maybe one of the above was mistranslated/retold in that way?

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