Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Rumi: The Eternal Wisdom

What do you think will happen?
Say, 'I am You'

The word, or the name Rumi in Arabic, literally translates into 'Roman' as Jalāl ad-Dīn Muḥammad Balkhī lived at his time in what used to be Anatolia, subject to and part of the great Byzantine Empire. The word Mevlâna often attached as part to his name means "having to do with the master". He was a poet, a philosopher, and a Sufi mystic.

There is no question of a doubt that Rumi belonged, and still belongs, to the whole of humanity, and not to any religion, faith or nationality, as he himself wrote. It is indeed the greatest of all feelings, a much elated and divine one, to take the privilege to announce in words that one does not belong to any known boundaries marked by humanity itself. It is also the very heightened knowledge of one's understanding, one that touches to the very core of humanity's existence, the very essence of one's being, as part of humanity itself, in the first place.

Here is an example, from the book Rumi, Fountain of Fire, by Nader Khalili.

Ghazal: 838 
What Do You Think Will Happen?

If you can't go to sleep,
my dear soul,
for tonight,
what do you think will happen?

If you pass your night
and merge it with dawn
for the sake of heart,
what do you think will happen?

If the entire world
is covered with the blossoms
you have labored to plant,
what do you think will happen?

If the elixir of life
that has been hidden in the dark
fills the deserts and towns,
what do you think will happen?

If because of
your generosity and love
a few humans find their lives,
what do you think will happen?

If you pour an entire jar
filled with joyous wine
on the heads of those already drunk,
what do you think will happen?

Go my friend
bestow your love
even on your enemies...
If you touch their hearts
what do you think will happen?

Obviously, there are two different levels from where the answers might come to these questions. On the lower level, if all of those things were to happen, nothing special or noteworthy will come out as a result. Nothing will happen. Time will move on; Life will continue. But on a higher level, everything will happen all at once; the transformations will be immense and extraordinary, beautiful and divine. I become humble, I flood my surroundings with all the love until I empty my heart, until I weep, both body and soul, until I melt, until I become the ocean... There will be both longing and belonging, both earthly and divine, both humane and godly... AND THERE WILL NOT ONLY BE ME WHO WILL MOULT AND CHANGE; SOMEONE ELSE OR MANY OTHERS WILL ALSO UNDERGO SIMILAR TRANSFORMATIONS.

[As an explanation, if i were to be sleepless for one night, then i might be playing ten thousand ideas inside my head; i might be writing a beautiful poem; a humane story; or sharing the night with someone under the stars... the possibilities are endless... And there is not only one question in this poem, there are many... of immense meaning and importance. There is an IMMENSITY in its implications.]

Truly, these questions are for the seeker at heart: the address made to the soul is a divine address made to the seeker, to the whole of humanity itself. These are the questions one must ask, to oneself, and then also be the wanderer in search of the answers, and find them.

[I want to know how God created this world. I am not interested in this or that phenomenon, in the spectrum of this or that element. I want to know His thoughts; the rest are details. -Albert Einstein]

To compose and to write what can be no other than the greatest of all truths, I believe one needs to have gone through an enormous metamorphosis in life itself; one that has foreseen the greatest of upheavals. One has to rise above reason, above belief, above logic, and cross all physical barriers to see and sense things that are eternal. 

I love one of Rumi's poems beyond all others, not because I love poetry and compose one or two at times but because of the enormity of the truth it carries across humanity's ages. Perhaps it possesses the ability to touch my heart also because of its eternal wisdom, or because I have had some great upheavals in my own life, I do not know. Whatever the reason I find myself in this poem, I am perhaps attempting to be a fool by looking at it from a perspective I should not have ever dared to envision... It would be a folly to look at something eternal that way, but so be it with this Rumi's poem titled "Say, 'I am you'."

I am dust particles in sunlight,
I am the round sun.

(What are each of us essentially? Chemicals, compounds, molecules, atoms, elements? Dust... just as the sun is made of... from the smallest, the particle of dust, to the largest, the star as the sun...)

To the bits of dust I say, 'Stay'.
To the sun, 'Keep moving'.

(I, even though dust in essence, wish to live longer, hence stay longer; wish to have more, wish to possess the best, the most... but what do I wish for the sun, the only source of energy to all life-forces on earth? To keep moving, to go away... Yet, what else can I do for it? It has to move on, it is treading along a cosmic path I can only wonder at...)

I am the morning mist,
and the breath of evening.

I am the wind at the top of a grove,
and the surf on the cliff.

(I am human imagination... I am the air laden with freedom... I love to wander... I love to explore, to play, to be aloft of things at times... but I am also life itself...)

Mast, rudder, helmsman, and keel,
I am also the coral reef they founder on. 
I am a tree with a trained parrot in its branches.

Silence, thought, and voice.

The musical air coming through a flute,
a spark of stone, a flickering in metal.

Both candle and the moths crazy around it.
Rose, and the nightingale lost in the fragrance.

I am all orders of being, the circling galaxy,
the evolutionary intelligence, 
the lift,
and the falling away.

What is, and what isn't...

Rumi: Page on Wikipedia

Rumi's poems belong to humanity and are not copyright protected to a great extent except, perhaps, some translations.

One can find many books on Rumi at http://www.allbooksfind.net/book-shelf-r/rumi-books-free-download/ 

Books on Sufism and books by Rumi can be found here as well:

Rumi's poems in translation can also be read here:

My Favourite "Rumi" on YouTube

1. Poem of the Atoms

2. Say I am You

Do a "google" search on Rumi, for more.

(All text except the poem by the author; with partial opinions and analysis in brackets. 'What Do You Think Will Happen' translated from Persian by Nader Khalili. 'Say I Am You' translated--or rather, transliterated--by Coleman Barks. The end of the poem has been omitted here where Rumi asks the reader to tell him he is Rumi, or to see Rumi within himself while introducing [while giving an introduction]. Image copyright of their respective owners, if any. Videos of Rumi's poems on this blog are linked and are not mine.)