Tao Te Ching

The Power of Goodness, the Wisdom Beyond Words
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Omar Khayyám

1048 – 1131 CE

Persian Astronomer-Poet, prophet of the here and now

In the west most famous for his poems but Omar Khayyam was also a political advisor, “philosopher of the world,” one of the most influential scientists of his era, “one of the greatest mathematicians of medieval times,” and “without equal in astronomy and philosophy.” A prophet of the here and now, mystical Sufi teacher and free-thinker who rejected theology; he reformed the Persian calendar to a form more accurate than our own today, wrote the most important until modern times book on algebra as well as many others on astronomy, geography, and mechanics. His poems—known as the Rubáiyát—not only rejected Islamic belief and Christian morality, but the nature of religion itself.

Eras

Sources

Rubaiyat

Unlisted Sources

Rubaiyat

Quotes by Omar Khayyám (33 quotes)

“The worldly hope men set their hearts upon, like snow on the desert's dusty face, lighting a little hour or two—is gone.”

from Rubaiyat

Themes: Hope

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“How long, how long, in infinite pursuit of this and that endeavor and dispute?”

from Rubaiyat

Themes: Desire

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“The thoughtful soul to solitude retires”

from Rubaiyat

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“The bird of time has but a little way to fly—and lo! the bird is on the wing...
Ah, fill the Cup:—what boots it to repeat
How Time is slipping underneath our Feet:
Unborn Tomorrow and dead Yesterday.

from Rubaiyat

Themes: Carpe diem Time

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“How sultan after sultan with all his pump abode his hour or two and quickly went away.”

from Rubaiyat

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“Some we loved–the loveliest and the best–one by one crept silently to Rest.”

from Rubaiyat

Themes: Death and Dying

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“Make the most of what we yet may spend
Before we too into the dust descend”

from Rubaiyat

Themes: Money

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“Awake! for Morning in the Bowl of Night
Has flung the Stone that puts the Stars to Flight”

from Rubaiyat

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“Indeed, the Idols I have loved so long
Have done my Credit in Men's Eye much wrong;
Have drown'd my Honor in a shallow Cup,
And sold my Reputation for a Song.”

from Rubaiyat

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“Alas, that Spring should vanish with the Rose!
That Youth's sweet-scented Manuscript should close!”

from Rubaiyat

Themes: Old Age

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“Into this Universe, and why not knowing,
Nor whence, like Water willy-nilly flowing”

from Rubaiyat

Themes: Water Wu Wei

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“One thing is certain, and the Rest is Lies;
The Flower that once has blow for ever dies.”

from Rubaiyat

Themes: Impermanence Lies

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“Alike for those who for today prepare,
And those that after a tomorrow stare,
‘Fools! your Reward is neither Here nor There.’”

from Rubaiyat

Themes: Materialism

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“A Book of Verses underneath the Bough,
A Jug of Wine, a Loaf of Bread – and Thou
Beside me singing in the Wilderness –
Oh, Wilderness were Paradise enow!”

from Rubaiyat

Themes: Pleasure Books

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“One moment in annihilation's waste,
One moment of the Well of Life to taste—
Starts for the dawn of Nothing—Oh, make haste!”

from Rubaiyat

Themes: Emptiness

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“For in and out, above, about, below,
’Tis nothing but a Magic Shadow-show,
Round which we Phantom Figures come and go.”

from Rubaiyat

Themes: Illusion Magic

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“With them the Seed of Wisdom did I sow,
And with my own hand labored it to grow”

from Rubaiyat

Themes: Gardening

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“There was a door to which I found no Key:
There was a Veil past which I could not see”

from Rubaiyat

Themes: Curiosity

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“Although all religions promise paradise, take care to create your own paradise here and now on earth.”

from Rubaiyat

Themes: Shambhala

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“I value the lover's sighs of happiness and I despise the hypocrite mumbling his prayers.”

from Rubaiyat

Themes: Sex

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“Be happy for this moment - this moment is your life.”

from Rubaiyat

Themes: Here and Now

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“If thou and I be sitting in the wilderness, —
that would be a joy to which no sultan can set bounds.”

from Rubaiyat

Themes: Love Happiness

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“'Lo, Laughing,' she says, 'into the World I blow:
Tear, and its Treasure on the Garden throw.'”

from Rubaiyat

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“And those who husbanded the Golden Grain,
And those who flung it to the Winds like Rain,
Alike to no such golden Earth are turn'd
As, buried once, Men want dug up again.”

from Rubaiyat

Themes: Agriculture

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“And this delightful Herb whose tender Green
Fledges the River's Lip on which we lean—
Ah, lean upon it lightly! for who knows
From what once lovely Lip it springs unseen!”

from Rubaiyat

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“And strange to tell, among that Earthen Lot
Who is the Potter, pray, and who the Pot?”

from Rubaiyat

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“Ah, make the most of what we yet may spend,
Before we too into the Dust descend”

from Rubaiyat

Themes: Money

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“Ah, with the Grape my fading Life provide,
And bury me by some sweet Gardenside.”

from Rubaiyat

Themes: Equanimity

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“I swore—but was I sober when I swore?
And then and then came Spring, and Rose-in-hand
My thread-bare Penitence a-pieces tore.”

from Rubaiyat

Themes: Inspiration

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“Khayyám, who stitched the tens of science,
His fallen in grief's furnace and been suddenly burned;
The shears of Fate have cut the tent ropes of his life,
And the broker of Hope has sold him for nothing!”

Themes: Fate / Destiny

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“’Tis all a checker board of nights and days
Where Destiny with Men for Pieces plays:
Hither and thither moves, and mates, and slays,
And one by one back in the Closet lays.”

Themes: Fate / Destiny

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“The Wine of Life keeps dripping drop by drop;
The Leaves of Life keep falling one by one.”

from Rubaiyat

Themes: Longevity

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“The Grape that can with Logic absolute
Life’s leaden Metal into Gold transmute.”

Themes: Transmutation

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Quotes about Omar Khayyám (5 quotes)

“Europe knows Persian poetry chiefly through Omar Khayyam, an advanced freethinker, constrained by prudence to bridle his tongue. He rejected theology with patient scorn, boasted of stealing prayer rugs from a mosque, and raised intoxication almost to a world philosophy. Picture him as an old savant quietly content with cubic equations, a few constellations, astronomic charts, and sharing an occasional cup with fellow scholars.”

Will Durant 1885 – 1981 CE via Shan Dao
Philosophy apostle and popularizer of history's lessons
from Age of Faith

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“Khayyám, who stitched the tens of science,
His fallen in grief's furnace and been suddenly burned;
The shears of Fate have cut the tent ropes of his life,
And the broker of Hope has sold him for nothing!”

Omar Khayyám 1048 – 1131 CE via Edward Fitzgerald
Persian Astronomer-Poet, prophet of the here and now

Themes: Fate / Destiny

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“Omar’s Epicurean Audacity of Thought and Speech caused him to be regarded askance in his own Time [and] he has never been popular in his own Country… hopeless Necessity flung his own Genius and Learning with a a bitter or humorous jest into the general Ruin”

Edward Fitzgerald 1809 – 1883 CE
First and most famous Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam poet/translator

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“It is written in the chronicles of the ancients that this King of the Wise, Omar Khayyám… in science he was unrivaled,—the very paragon of his age.”

Anonymous 1 via Hyde
Freedom from the narrow boxes defined by personal history
from Veterum Persarum Religio

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“Omar Kyayyam, the only man known to me who was both a poet and a mathematician, reformed the calendar in 1079. His best friend, oddly endough, was the founder of the sect of the Assassins, the 'Old Man of the Mountain' of legendary fame.”

Bertrand Russell 1872 – 1970 CE
“20th century Voltaire”
from History of Western Philosophy

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