Sufi Poetry of Rumi
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September 12, 2010
The Sufi Poetry of Rumi
Light a candle
"Wise Old Bird"
“A wise old owl sat on an oak;
The more he saw the less he spoke;
The less he spoke the more he heard;
I'd like to be a wise old bird.”
FROM THE BIBLE
Matthew 25:34-45 (New International Version)
34"Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'
37"Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'
40"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'
41"Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.'
44"They also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?'
45"He will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.'
New Jerusalem and Heavenly Doctrine (Chadwick) n. 90
sRef Matt@25 @38 S0' sRef Matt@25 @36 S0' sRef Matt@25 @35 S0' sRef Matt@25 @39 S0' sRef Matt@25 @40 S0' sRef Matt@25 @34 S0' sRef Matt@25 @37 S0' 90. This too the Lord teaches in Matthew; for He said to those in a state of good that they had given Him food, they had given Him drink, given Him hospitality, clothed Him, visited Him and come to Him in prison; and then that so far as they had done these things to the least of His brothers, they had done it to Him (Matt. 25:34-40). Those six good deeds understood in the spiritual sense comprise all the different kinds of neighbour. It is also plain from this that when good is loved, the Lord is loved; for it is the Lord who is the source of good, who is in a state of good and who is goodness itself.
The Sufi Poetry of Rumi
This week-end we honor the 9th anniversary of the 9-11 tragedy. We have had a week filled with fears and misunderstandings of Islam. Let's open our hearts to the most mystical dimension of this religion: the Sufi's, and to one of the best-known of the Sufi poets: Rumi.
Sufism or tasawwuf, as it is called in Arabic, is generally understood by scholars and Sufis to be the inner, mystical, or psycho-spiritual dimension of Islam. Today, however, many Muslims and non-Muslims believe that Sufism is outside the sphere of Islam. Nevertheless, Seyyed Hossein Nasr, one of the foremost scholars of Islam, in his article The Interior Life in Islam contends that Sufism is simply the name for the inner or esoteric dimension of Islam.
Sufism and the encounters that Sufism facilitates --encounters with God, love, and the deepest aspects of human consciousness-- have evoked feelings in Sufis that have poured out through their ravaged hearts onto their lucid tongues, providing us with some of the most beautiful and profound poetry ever written.
Rumi's poetry is filled with deep love of and longing for God. Here are a few of his poems:
Our death is our wedding with eternity.
What is the secret? "God is One."
The sunlight splits when entering the windows of the house.
This multiplicity exists in the cluster of grapes;
It is not in the juice made from the grapes.
For he who is living in the Light of God,
The death of the carnal soul is a blessing.
Regarding him, say neither bad nor good,
For he is gone beyond the good and the bad.
Fix your eyes on God and do not talk about what is invisible,
So that he may place another look in your eyes.
It is in the vision of the physical eyes
That no invisible or secret thing exists.
But when the eye is turned toward the Light of God
What thing could remain hidden under such a Light?
Although all lights emanate from the Divine Light
Don't call all these lights "the Light of God";
It is the eternal light which is the Light of God,
The ephemeral light is an attribute of the body and the flesh.
...Oh God who gives the grace of vision!
The bird of vision is flying towards You with the wings of desire.
(Mystic Odes 833)
"Say I am You" Coleman Barks Maypop, 1994
God has given us a dark wine so potent that,
drinking it, we leave the two worlds.
God has put into the form of hashish a power
to deliver the taster from self-consciousness.
God has made sleep so
that it erases every thought.
God made Majnun love Layla so much that
just her dog would cause confusion in him.
There are thousands of wines
that can take over our minds.
Don't think all ecstacies
are the same!
Jesus was lost in his love for God.
His donkey was drunk with barley.
Drink from the presence of saints,
not from those other jars.
Every object, every being,
is a jar full of delight.
Be a conoisseur,
and taste with caution.
Any wine will get you high.
Judge like a king, and choose the purest,
the ones unadulterated with fear,
or some urgency about "what's needed."
Drink the wine that moves you
as a camel moves when it's been untied,
and is just ambling about.
Mathnawi IV, 2683-96
The Essential Rumi, Coleman Barks
Below, are two videos of Rumi poetry being read by Coleman Barks -- a man who has translated and read many of Rumi's works.
Allow this poetry and music to sit in your soul today, bringing you closer to the Divine.
I've Got Peace Like a River
Extinguish your candle.
Close the Bible
Go forth, honoring the Divine in every soul.