Thursday, April 29, 2010

32. The King of Afghanistan

This is Chapter 31 from the revised online version of The Republic of Rumi: a Novel of Reality. Since the New Adam is likely to be perceived in Asia long before being understood in the West, the enclave is dedicated to the King of Afghanistan.
“I have dedicated these few pages to His Majesty the King of Afghanistan,” the Poet tells you. Beautiful images appear in each stanza of the dedicatory poem and the Poet goes elaborating the meaning of each image.
Stanza 1

The thirty-one year old Amanullah Khan, the ruler of Afghanistan since 1919, has given stalemate to the British in the Third Anglo-Afghan War and won the independence of his nation by revoking the condition imposed by the British in 1879 that Afghanistan will have “no windows looking on the outside world” except towards the British India. Just as the royal liberator is receiving tributes from rulers of the world, the Poet appears to offer a gift of verses that match the lofty ambition of the youthful king.
“O king, son of a king,” says the Poet. “Accept from me this humble offering.”
Stanza 2

The Poet comes into contact with the infinitude of Goethe’s imagination, discovers the narrow breadth of his own and then his soul discovers itself with the help of Rumi. He mentions Goethe to the Afghan king with due respect while complaining that unlike the Germans who made good use of their thinker’s gift, the East has not recognized the worth of the message of the Poet to whom God has revealed the truths of statecraft and religion both.
“So mean is fortune that it favours fools,” says the Poet to the king “Woe to the gifted, who defy its rules!”
Stanza 3
Arabs have lost their way in the desert, the Egyptians are being drowned in the whirlpool of the Nile and the Middle East is being painted red with Turkish blood. Iran has nothing of its old fire except ashes and the Indian Muslim is indifferent to everything except earning bread by serving foreign rulers.
“Muslims have lost the ways that charmed the world,” says the Poet to the king. “There are no more Khalid bin Walid, Umar the Great and Saladin.”
Stanza 4
Afghans are the proud sons of the mountains whose instinct makes him more fitted for democracy than any other people in Asia but they are yet to receive their share of the modern world. The young King Amanullah appears on the scene with an enlightened soul and a love of religion.
“Become a source of power for the religion,” says the Poet to him. “So that your name may be written among those rendered the highest service to the Muslim nation.”
Stanza 5
“Knowledge is the virtue that abounds,” says God. Europe acquires a new life by grasping the knowledge of things and enslaves the East where souls are without awareness of the wealth buried in their lands.
“There are pure rubies buried in your Badakhshan,” says the Poet. “The lightning of Sinai is dormant inside your mountains.”
Stanza 6

Devils roam around disguised as human beings. They are earning respect through noble pretenses.
Rumi, who was born in Afghanistan, now appears on the scene and addresses the modern king. “The nemesis of every nation that perished in the past was that it mistook stone for incense.”
Stanza 7
A traveler enters the Persian city of Ctesiphon and finds a porter to carry the luggage. When he tries to pay, the porter refuses and says, “It is my duty to serve. I am the governor of this city.” He is none other than Salman, the Persian companion of the Prophet and as governor of the ancient capital of the Persian Empire he is acting on the command of the Prophet: “The ruler of a people is their servant.” At night, Salman uses a stone instead of pillow and sleeps more peacefully than most other rulers ever could.
“Rise and serve the same wine of Love again,” says the Poet to the king. “Deliver once again the message of Love in the mountains.”
Through seven stanzas, the Poet has brought the King of Afghanistan to reconciliation between matter and spirit – or power and love. Ideals begin to move closer to reality as you move on into the enclave.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

31. Goethe

This is Chapter 31 from the revised online version of The Republic of Rumi: a Novel of Reality. With reference to the German “Thinker of Life” Goethe, the reader is informed here about the impending rise of the “New Adam” which is the reader themselves.

The second enclave is A Message from the East. It appeared in 1923 and much was added to it a year later.

The atmosphere changes as soon as you enter this part. In the previous part, you have seen that the Garden has been woven with the meanings of the Quran and it represents the secret life of the Muslim nation. Despite this, in the very introduction of A Message from the East, the Poet introduces you to a Western poet and thinker – Johanne Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832).

A Message from the East

It is Europe at the beginning of the nineteenth century. The French conqueror Napoleon is ravaging Europe, Africa and India but living in the duchy of Weimer in his native Germany, Goethe is remained remarkably untouched despite his admiration for the genius of Napoleon.

Goethe’s many influences have included Persian literature – an elder poet has advised him to pay attention to Saadi of Shiraz who said, “Children of Adam are limbs to each other, since they are of the same pure essence” while a contemporary has dramatized the fourth story from the Seven Beauties of Nezami Ganjavi. Ferdowsi and Attar have also influenced Goethe but his love of Iran reaches a new height when he gets to read the Divan of Hafiz in German in 1812. Germany is in bad shape, Goethe is sixty-five but the music of Hafiz arouses in his imagination a mighty storm. In the songs of the nightingale of Shiraz, he perceives his own image and begins to hallucinate that he was Hafiz in an earlier existence, and that the knowledge of mysteries has somehow survived in him.

Still, he is not an imitator of any Persian poet and his glance rests only on those Oriental truths which his Western temperament can assimilate. He calls a book of his poems the West-Eastern Divan, and at the beginning of the next century, the book falls in to the hand of an Indian who has felt similar associations with Hafiz and knows the German language. He is Iqbal, the Poet, who is a knower of secrets like Hafiz and Goethe. He writes back to Goethe after one hundred years and calls his book A Message from the East. That is where you are now.

“The internal unrest of the world’s nations, which we cannot assess properly because of being ourselves affected by it, is the fore-runner of a great spiritual and cultural revolution,” the Poet tells you.

This observation is also true about the present stage in your journey through the Garden: just like “the internal unrest of the world’s nations” in the Poet’s times, there now seems to be an internal unrest in the Garden since chapters on the Muslim nation and Quran have been followed immediately by the glorification of a Western thinker, Goethe.
You cannot assess this internal unrest properly since you are yourself being “affected by it” just as the Poet’s generation was being affected by the internal unrest of nations. If that unrest was “the fore-runner of a great spiritual and cultural revolution” then the unrest of the Garden could be “the fore-runner of a great spiritual and cultural revolution” in your “self.” You may remember that such a revolution was the promise held out in ‘A Parable Never Told’ that started you in search of Joseph in the first place.

You had five clues about Joseph, whose meanings became evident in the chapter on Love. Now the ‘Introduction’ to A Message from the East seems to be modernizing them if you could read between the lines:
“Europe’s Great War was a catastrophe which destroyed the old world order in almost every respect, and now out of the ashes of civilization and culture Nature is building up in the depths of life a new Adam and a new world for him to live in, of which we get a faint sketch in the writings of Einstein and Bergson. Europe has seen with its own eyes the horrible consequences of its intellectual, moral and economic objectives and has also heard from Signor Nitti (a former prime minister of Italy) the heart-rending story of the West’s decline. It is, however, a pity that Europe’s perspicacious, but conservative, statesmen have failed to make a proper assessment of that wonderful revolution which is now taking place in the human mind.
“Regarded from a purely literary standpoint, the debilitation of the forces of life in Europe after the ordeal of the war is unfavorable to the development of a correct and mature literary ideal. Indeed, the fear is that the minds of the nations may be gripped by that slow-pulsed ‘Ajamiyat which runs away from life’s difficulties, and which fails to distinguish between the emotions of the heart and the thoughts of the brain. However, America seems to be a healthy element in Western civilization, the reason for which perhaps is that it is free from the trammels of old traditions and that its collective intuition is receptive to new ideas and influences.
“The East, and especially the Muslim East, has opened its eyes after a centuries-long slumber. But the nations of the East should realize that life can bring about no revolution in its surroundings until a revolution takes place in its inner depths and that no new world can take shape externally until it is formed in the minds of men. This ineluctable law, which has been stated by the Quran in the simple but eloquent words, ‘Verily, God does not change a nation until it changes itself’ governs both the individual and the collective spheres of life; and it is the truth of this law that I have tried to keep in view in my Persian works.
“In the present-day world, and especially in Eastern countries, every effort which aims at extending the outlook of individuals and nations beyond geographical boundaries and at reviving or generating in them a healthy and strong human character is worthy of respect.”
The Introduction has shown you that Joseph is connected with the New Adam and therefore belongs to the new world. No wonder that he wasn’t supposed to come out in the lifetime of the Poet and a “great cultural and spiritual revolution” is required for bringing him out:

(a)     Rumi and Iqbal: This first clue pointed to both great poets being followers of Prophet Muhammad but now surprisingly a non-Muslim poet Goethe has joined the club – Rumi, Goethe and Iqbal is the new order of things but can a non-Muslim join the club? Perhaps the “great cultural and spiritual revolution” that is coming up ahead will provide the answer.
(b)    Kings: They had been identified to stand for state, laws and government but the Great European War (World War I) has uprooted the states, laws and governments of the old world. Will the “great cultural and spiritual revolution” help construct a new model of state, laws and government?  
(c)     Joseph: Although still unknown, Joseph had become connected with overcoming the physical dimensions of one’s existence (as reflected in the secrets of the title of Ali, “the master of clay”). If the “great cultural and spiritual revolution” of the near future requires such unification of matter and spirit then Joseph is the key to such a revolution.
(d)    Sufism: You understood it as the opening of the door of the world with the key of religion and the “great cultural and spiritual revolution” seems to be just that – an age is coming when state, laws and governments shall be founded on the principles of Sufism if only Joseph could be found, since he is the key.
(e)     Time: You understood that eternity was less than a moment of Prophet Muhammad’s time, who also said, “Do not vilify Time, for God says: I am Time.” Blaming the modern times as evil can easily turn you blind to the “great cultural and spiritual revolution” and Joseph will tell you how to deal with the seemingly undesirable trends of modern times.

The Poet has said, “Europe’s Great War was a catastrophe which destroyed the old world order in almost every respect, and now out of the ashes of civilization and culture Nature is building up in the depths of life a new Adam and a new world for him to live in…” The selfhood that you acquired through interacting with that old world through the Garden has also been lost and now out of the ashes of civilization Nature is building you up in the depths of life.

The meaning of the five clues has changed because now you know who you are. You are the New Adam.

The Beginning

The first five chapters introduce the purpose of the book, the connection of Iqbal with Rumi, the mysterious character “Joseph” and five clues for finding him in “the Garden of Poetry” – a virtual reality based on the works of Iqbal.
  1. A Parable Never Told: This fictitious account about Rumi is an allegory about our times, giving an idea about what our world can be if the message presented here gets to be implemented.
  2. The Second Coming: This chapter introduces Dr. Sir Muhammad Iqbal as a modern day disciple of Mawlana Rumi.
  3. ‘Who Is Rumi’? In the works of Iqbal, Mawlana Rumi appears as a character with symbolic relevance to our times.
  4. Joseph: Joseph is an intriguing figure in the works of Iqbal and seems to be a mystery that could be solved by the discerning reader.
  5. Enter the Garden: The reader is given five clues for finding Joseph in the works of Iqbal (presented here as a virtual reality called the Garden of Poetry).

Part 1: Dilemma

In Part 1, comprising of Chapters 6 to 17, the reader finds that their "self" rather than mind interacts with the Garden of Poetry. The first stage, with the Poet himself as the reader's guide (Chapter 6), culminates on a vision of Rumi's mentor Shams Tabriz (Chapter 17).
  1. The Poet: The reader learns that all previous knowledge and learning must be held in abeyance while in the Garden.
  2. The System of the Universe: It is the reader’s self more than the mind that is engaging with the Garden.
  3. Love: The reader finds an interpretation of the five clues that were given for finding Joseph.
  4. Qalandar: This chapter defines the aim and scope of the learning that is being offered here.
  5. Plato: A parable describing some other forms of “spiritual teachings” that could be confused with the present message are followed by the Poet’s warning against the Greek philosopher Plato.
  6. Poetics of the Garden: The reader is offered a new kind of poetics that divides literature on the basis of desirable and undesirable effect on humanity.
  7. Divine Vicegerency: This is an interpretation of the basic tenets of Islam from the perspective of three stages in the training of the self.
  8. Ali: This is a unique interpretation of Bu Turab (“the Master of the Clay”), the title given by the Prophet to his cousin Ali.
  9. Hajveri: This parable about the eleventh century saint Ali Hajveri explains that threats can be turned into opportunities.
  10. Brahmin: A chapter about the role of collective life in the development of an individual’s personality also shows that speculation without action weakens the bond between the individual and the society.
  11. Jihad: A parable about the Sufi saint Mian Mir, showing that territorial conquest was no part of the original program of Islam.
  12. Shams of Tabriz: Here the reader discovers that although the Garden is a virtual reality, it has connected the reader with the real mentor of Rumi, the historic Shams of Tabriz.

Part 2: Reaction

In the second part of The Republic of Rumi, comprising of Chapters 18 to 30, the reader discovers that the  Garden of Poetry is capable of "remembering." It is interacting with the reader, who has now become "part" of the Garden. The Poet assumes the fictitious identity of "the Old Man of the Desert" (Chapter 18) and guides the reader to the link between the Garden and the Quran (Chapter 30).
  1. The Old Man of the Desert: A possible explanation is offered for the Poet’s assumption of a fictitious identity at this point.
  2. ‘Time is a Cutting Sword’: This is a unique interpretation of Time, one of the five clues for finding Joseph.
  3. Silent Tunes: The Poet’s prayer to God in which he is asking for a companion and it turns out that you are that companion.
  4. Selflessness: Here the reader discovers that the self attains perfection through selflessness.
  5. Prophets: This chapter offers an explanation of the role of prophets in the task of civilization and shows why only prophets could found nations.
  6. The Pillars of Nationhood: The two “pillars” of Muslim nationhood are (1) Unity; and (2) Prophet-hood. The purpose of Prophet Muhammad’s mission was to establish (a) equality; (b) brotherhood; and (c) freedom. This is explained here in the light of the reader’s journey.
  7. Kerbala: The Islamic concept of freedom is explained here with reference to the Prophet's grandson Imam Husain (and how it is different from other notions of rights and liberties). The clues that you have about Joseph are now reinterpreted through the five elements of the Islamic conception of nation (Unity, Prophet-hood, brotherhood, equality and freedom) presented in the previous chapter.
  8. Machiavelli: The concept of territorial identities, which can be traced back to the Florentine thinker Machiavelli in our times, practically reduces nations to tribes.
  9. Remembrance: Due to nine basic concepts, Muslim nationalism is different from other worldviews.
  10. The Collective Ego: The collective ego is formed when a people learns to remember its past. The Garden of Poetry is doing the same and hence it is acting like a collective ego of which the reader has become a part.
  11. Fatima: The daughter of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) is a role model for Muslim women.
  12. Abu Bakr: A summary of the philosophy of Muslim nationalism is offered here in the light of Surah Ikhlas (Chapter 112 of the Quran).
  13. Quran: This chapter explains the connection between the Garden of Poetry and the Quran.

Part 3: The Reversal

Part 3 of The Republic of Rumi, offered in the next fifteen posts, comprises of Chapters 31 to 45. Here, the reader will become aware of their own role as the protagonist. The German poet-thinker Goethe (Chapter 31) will become a guide to a biography of the Poet's mind that ends on recognizing the English playwright William Shakespeare as Western counterpart of Mawlana Rumi (Chapter 45).
  1. Goethe: In the second enclave, A Message from the East (1923), with reference to the German “Thinker of Life” Goethe, the reader is informed about the impending rise of the “New Adam” which is the reader themselves.
  2. The King of Afghanistan: Since the New Adam is likely to be perceived in Asia long before being understood in the West, the enclave is dedicated to the King of Afghanistan.
  3. The Flowers of Sinai: 163 quatrains on the subject of love are spread out like tulips from the Mount Sinai where Moses saw the Divine illumination.
  4. Creation Stories: Here the reader is offered a few insights about the New Adam.
  5. The Song of Muhammad: Free translation of Goethe’s poem in praise of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) offering the German poet’s perception of the ideal of Islam.
  6. Hafiz of Shiraz: The reader visits a tavern where wine extracted from the verses of Hafiz is served with a rather unusual reference to Joseph.
  7. The Mind of Europe: This is the Poet’s message to the intellectuals of the West.
  8. Joseph of the West: Here are a few reflections on brave new world that might come into being for the New Adam: Goethe meets Rumi and visionaries from the East and the West discuss issues of common interest.
  9. ‘Glory’: The reader enters the third enclave, The Call of the Marching Bell (1924), which is a biography of the Poet’s mind.
  10. The Inner Child: The reader learns that Joseph is the calling of the inner child of everyone regardless of race, country or religion.
  11. Sir Syed Ahmad Khan: The reader gets to see that Joseph was an ideal that was being created in the collective ego of the Poet’s society.
  12. Brotherhood of the Tavern: By March 1907, the Poet was ready to say everything but the secret he wanted to share had no name in any language of the world.
  13. The Prophecies of Nezami: The twelfth century Persian poet Nezami Ganjavi had a vision about the future of humanity, which now becomes incorporated into the work of the Poet.
  14. Mother: The tomb of the Poet’s mother marks the point where the extended track of his personal discoveries leads back into the Garden of Poetry.
  15. Shakespeare: The English playwright is recognized as the equivalent of Mawlana Rumi in the Garden of Poetry.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

30. Quran

This is the 30th chapter in the revised online version of The Republic of Rumi: a Novel of Reality.It concludes Part 2 (out of 7) of the narrative.

You have come to the end of the enclave. At the end of the first part, the Poet prayed to God and here he is addressing the Prophet.

Petition to the Mercy for All Worlds

“You gave me this lute,” the Poet is saying to the Prophet, who is Mercy for All Worlds. “You see all that is in the hearts. If my words are informed by anything but Quran, and if my heart is without luster, then expose me and guard your people against the mischief of my wickedness. Choke the breath of my life and disgrace me on the Day of Resurrection by stopping me to kiss your feet. However, if I have threaded the pearls of Quran’s sweet mysteries on my thread and spoken the truth to the Muslims, then pray to God that my love be reconciled with action.”

If the Prophet sees “all that is in the hearts” then the Poet has no need to inform him about anything, but this was his best way of informing you that the Garden has been based on Quran.

This means that the Garden is a literary representation of the Muslim, since it is based on the Quran too. As a literary representation of the Muslim nation, its structure is supported on the Pillars of the Muslim Nation: Unity, Prophet-hood, brotherhood, equality and freedom. It is not restricted to any time or space, and your entry is not subject to your domicile, showing that the Muslim nation is not bounded by space, country is not the foundation of nation and the Muslim nation is timeless too. The Garden, representing the Muslim nation, has been interacting with you and its structure has been based on the Quran, showing that a nation is organized only through a constitution, and the constitution of the Muslim nation is the Quran.

As a literary representation of the Muslim nation, the Garden has acquired power from the Divine Law, beauty from the manners of the Prophet and the ideal it is perpetuating is Unity. Just as you are controlling the “inward” and “outward” forces of the Garden, so the Garden is controlling you, showing that the expansion of national life depends upon controlling the forces of the universe.

These were “secrets of the self” and “mysteries of selflessness” that could not have been explained unless they were first experienced by you. In this first enclave, Secrets and Mysteries, you were not far removed from the prior experience of the outside world, including many which might be contrary to these truths, and hence you were asked to banish all previous knowledge and follow no thoughts except the clues which lead to what you are looking for, and the principle of non-contradiction – showing that in times of decadence, conformity is better than speculation. Those times are now behind you, since you have discovered the source of the Garden (“Strive and find yourself in selflessness,” Rumi had said. “This is the easy path, may God know better.”). What lies ahead may be a different world altogether.

Monday, April 19, 2010

29. Abu Bakr

This is the 29th chapter in the revised online version of The Republic of Rumi: a Novel of Reality. It offers a summary of the philosophy of Muslim nationhood in the light of Surah Ikhlas (Chapter 112 of the Quran)

Abu Bakr Siddique appears in the Poet’s dream.

Abu Bakr was one of the closest companions of the Prophet, and the Prophet is reported to have said about him, “I am indebted to Abu Bakr more than to anybody else regarding both his companionship and his wealth.” He was also the first of the four rightly guided caliphs who succeeded the Prophet.

Now he offers four practical tips for Muslims through commentary on ‘Unity,’ Chapter 112 of the Quran, which consists of four verses.
Say: He is Allah, the One
“You call yourself Turk, Afghan and so on,” says Abu Bakr. “Become one, and let the Unity be seen.”
Allah is Self-subsistent
Harun Rasheed, the famous Abbasid Caliph has just defeated the Byzantine Emperor. Now he wants to study the sayings of the Prophet and summons Imam Malik, the renowned expert in the field, to Baghdad. Malik lives in Madinah, the City of the Prophet. He replies, “Love says to me, ‘Obey me and do not sign the article of service even to kings.’ I cannot wait on your door to teach you, but you are most welcome to come here and sit with the rest if you wish to learn.”
“You are Joseph,” says Abu Bakr. “Do not lower your value by accepting bounties. An individual attains individuality by becoming self-aware and a nation attains nationhood by spurning the whim of others.”
He has no offspring, nor was He begotten by anyone
Salman is a devoted Persian whom about whom the Prophet has declared, “He is a member of my family.” Arabs are extremely conscious about pedigrees, and fanciful stories are circulating about Salman’s background, some tracing it back to the nobility of Persia. People ask him his lineage. He replies, “I am Salman, the son of Islam.”
“Racial identity is related to the body and love to the soul,” says Abu Bakr. “Therefore, love is more permanent. If you love the Prophet, then do not take pride in race, color, tribe and territory.”
And there is none like Him
A solitary tulip has sprung on the top of a mountain. Its color has gathered fire from the morning breeze, so that the sky regards it as a star left behind, and offers itself as a backdrop. The first ray of the Sun kisses it and the dewdrop wakes it up by washing its face.
“This is an analogy of the Muslim nation,” says Abu Bakr. “Be unique in the world, for you have got the Quran.”

Saturday, April 17, 2010

28. Fatima

This is the 28th chapter in the revised online version ofThe Republic of Rumi: a Novel of Reality.

The next three chapters are rooted in the awareness that the solidarity of the Muslim nation rests on its hold on an ideal, unlike territorial societies that rest on a concrete thing, i.e. their country.

Showing that the continuance of the species derives from motherhood, and that preserving and honoring motherhood is the foundation of Islam

The word for motherhood is umoomat, which comes from the same root as ummat, which means a nation or a community of the followers of a prophet.

“Stars without number whispering No god but God, hidden in Time and not yet raised from nonexistence, wait outside the boundaries of quality and quantity,” says the Poet. “This garden of possibilities, these unseen tulips, blossom from the bower of motherhood. A people’s wealth rests not in gold and silver but its riches are its children, clean-limbed and strong of body, supple-brained, hard-laboring, healthy and nimble to high enterprise.”

The perfect role model for Muslim women is Fatima, the Prophet’s daughter

Fatima was the daughter of the Prophet and was married to Ali. She was the mother of Hasan, who forewent his claim to caliphate in order to reconcile the warring faction of the nation. The other son of Fatima was Husain, the mystery of whose sacrifice was revealed a while ago. She led a simple life, taking pride in poverty just like her father.

“The Divine Law prevents me,” says the Poet. “Or else I had surely gone about her tomb and fallen prostrate, worshipping her dust.”

Address to Muslim women

“High, high the cravings are that wrestle within your soul,” the Poet addresses Muslim women. “Be conscious still and keep your eye on Fatima as a role model, so that your branch may bear a new Husain and our orchid blossom with the Golden Age.”

Thursday, April 15, 2010

27. The Collective Ego

This is the 27th chapter in the revised online version of The Republic of Rumi: a Novel of Reality. The collective ego is formed when a people learns to remember its past. The Garden of Poetry is doing the same and hence it is acting like a collective ego of which the reader has become a part.
The Muslim nation is a real personality, just like an individual. How does a nation become a real collective ego? In the same manner in which an individual acquires a personality, the Poet tells you.

Initially a child recognizes only its mother but then begins to recognize others too. With memory, it achieves a sense of self. Now the child learns to remember and hence yesterday becomes linked with today, which in turn is linked with tomorrow. Without the faculty of remembering, there would be no sense of self and no learning about the world would be possible: if you are sitting in a room with a friend but after leaving the room you cannot remember whether you were the person who remained seated or the one who got up and walked towards the door, how will it be possible for you to know whether gets out of the room automatically by remaining seated or by walking towards the door?

The same is the case with a nation. It becomes a collective ego by preserving its history. An individual may get up and leave the room in just a few moments but in the case of a nation, a process started by one generation can easily require several generations to finish it. If each successive generation keeps forgetting what ideals were adopted by the previous generation, such forgetfulness could mean for the nation the same thing as if a person fails to remember himself or herself from the previous moment. A nation without history is like an individual suffering from amnesia and asking every stranger melodramatically, “Who am I?”

By preserving its collective memory, which is history, a nation achieves a collective ego. The same is true of the Garden: at each step it seems to know the stages you have passed through, since its interaction with you is building up on your previous experiences here. This is one the mysteries of the Garden. It remembers.

The Muslim nation is not just the group of individuals who call themselves Muslim. Those individuals are members of the Muslim nation but the nation itself is an entity, just like the Garden, which remembers what stages have been traversed by each generation. Hence it interacts with each successive generation, offering them what is required at that very step – just as the Garden is doing with you. It is an entity just as mysterious as the Garden. It remembers.

Another way of understanding this entity is to call it “the Human Spirit.” Its existence is based on that incident long ago when all souls were gathered and the Creator asked them, “Am I not Your Lord?”

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

26. Remembrance

This is the 26th chapter in the revised online version of The Republic of Rumi: a Novel of Reality.
It was to change such a world that you first wanted to find Joseph. The nine segments of ‘A Parable Never Told’ held out a promise, just as the next nine chapters in the Garden present a brand of nationalism somewhat different from the legacy of Machiavelli.

Showing that the Muslim nation is timeless, since its survival has been divinely promised
It’s an unknown time at the beginning of the world. Souls have been gathered and now the Creator asks them, “Am I not Your Lord?” They all answer, “Indeed, You are.”
Flames rise to burn Abraham, who has been cast in the fire by Nimrod, the king of Mesopotamia, for preaching the Unity of God and refusing to respect idols. God commands the fire to turn cold, and Abraham survives to visit Makkah and pray with his son Ismail, “Our Lord! Make us both Muslims, bowing to You, and of our descendents a Muslim nation, and show us our place of worship, and turn to us, for surely You are Oft-Returning, the Merciful.”
Mongols ravage the Muslim world. After five hundred years of holding sway over, Baghdad is sacked by the barbarians and its libraries drowned in the waters of the River Tigris in 1258 (eleven years after the meeting of Rumi and Shams of Tabriz). Like phoenix rising from its ashes, or like Abraham coming out the fire of Nimrod, the Muslim nation rises again to new grandeur and glory. “Love lives on through the glow of our hearts, though they are congested like a bud,” says the Poet. “If we die, the Garden will die too.”
In the Garden, you hear the songs of the nightingale, the blossoming of flowers and the meadow bathed in the soft tear of dawn. Flowers wither and shed their petals, spring is followed by autumn, but the Garden stays on to welcome another spring. Individuals, born of dust, die. Nations, born of a brave heart, live on and welcome new individuals. Sixty years are a lifetime for the individual, but a century is a short span of time in the life of a nation: its life perpetuates through history, which is to a nation what memory is to an individual.
“Surely, We have sent down this Remembrance, and surely We shall be its guardian,” says God about the Quran in Verse 9 of its Chapter 15. In that line is a promise that civilizations may come and go, but the Muslim nation is there to stay.
Showing that a nation is organized only through a constitution, and the constitution of the Muslim nation is the Quran
You hear the Quran being recited: the text coming out through a melody that remains untouched by shallow interpretation, conceited translations and inadequate commentaries.

Showing that in times of decadence, conformity is better than speculation
Jerusalem is destroyed forty years after the departure of Jesus Christ. After another sixty-two years, the Roman Emperor starts building an idol house over the ruins of the ancient temple of David and Solomon. Jews, descending from the other lines of Abraham (including the heirs of the prophet Joseph), have to move out and become scattered over diverse regions. The memory of Moses and Aaron lives with them, and the songs of David resonate in their hearts, and this preserves their existence as a nation against all odds. They survive.
Showing that the national character acquires power by following the Divine Law
If by some mistake an enemy presumes a truce when there is none, the Shariah, or the Divine Law, requires that Muslims must wait until the enemy has reinforced its defenses which it had dismantled due to the misunderstanding: life is not living except we live dangerously.
Sheikh Ahmad Sirhindi, one of the greatest Sufis of all times, is speaking to a disciple in the seventeenth century India. “Be careful about Persian fantasies,” says Sirhindi. “Their imagination is unmatched but they transgress the boundaries established by the Shariah.”
“Seek no other meaning in the Divine Law except the evident,” the Poet says to you. “There is nothing except light inside the gem.”

Showing that the national character acquires beauty by following the manners of the Prophet
A beggar is being too persistent at the door of a certain house. It is Sialkot, in British India, at the end of the nineteenth century, and the Poet as a young man lives inside that house. He breaks his staff on the head of the beggar but his old father, with tearful eyes, says to him, “On that Day when the followers of the Prophet are gathered before him – martyrs, heroes, saints – this beggar’s cries will also be heard there, and what am I to say when the Prophet asks me, ‘God committed to you a young Muslim, and was it too hard for you to teach him some of my manners?’” The Poet feels shame and remorse, and his father recites from Rumi: “Do not sever your life from the last Prophet. Do not trust your abilities too much!”
Showing that a nation requires a physical center, and the center of the Muslim nation is the Holy Kabah
Abraham and his son Ismail are raising the foundations of Kabah in Makkah and praying, “Our Lord! Accept from us, surely You are the All-Hearing, All-Knowing. Our Lord! Make us both Muslims, bowing to You, and of our descendents a Muslim nation, and show us our place of worship, and turn to us, for surely You are Oft-Returning, the Merciful.”
Showing that true solidarity comes from adopting a common ideal, and that the ideal of the Muslim nation is preservation and propagation of Unity
The Prophet was leading prayers when God commanded him to change the direction of the qiblah from Jerusalem to Makkah, you are told. The hypocrites found this difficult to comply with.
“Thus We have made you a Middle Nation, that you may be witnesses over nations, and the Messenger a witness over your,” says God in Verse 143 of Chapter 2 of the Quran. “And We appointed the Qiblah to which you were used, only to test those who followed the Messenger from those who would turn on their heels. Indeed it was momentous, except to those guided by Allah. And never would Allah Make your faith of no effect. For Allah is to all people most surely full of kindness, the Merciful.”
Showing that the expansion of national life depends upon controlling the forces of the universe
Adam has been created just now. Many things are placed before angels for them to name. They cannot, but Adam does. God commands the angels to bow down to Adam.
Showing that the perfection of national life is when a nation becomes aware of its selfhood just like an individual, and that the propagation and perfecting of this awareness is only possible through preservation of national history
An infant recognizes its mother but as it grows up, it begins to recognize others too. Memory records the data and helps the child to become a personality: without memory, an individual would be someone different each moment and there would be no awareness of “I.” The same is the case with a nation.
In the Dedication, you saw a graceful figure lying asleep. That was not a metaphor. The Muslim nation is a personality, and it is real.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

25. Machiavelli

This is the 25th chapter in the revised online version of The Republic of Rumi: a Novel of Reality. Here, the reader confronts the territorial concept of collective life, which practically reduces a nation to the level of tribe. The implications of this worldview on the reader's quest are also discussed.
The earth spreads out in front of you like a sheet. Countries of the world appear as if you had a bird’s eye view of both hemispheres of the glob at once:

Showing that since the Muslim nation is founded upon Unity and prophet-hood, it is not bounded by space

It is the chapter after Kerbala. You are told that the Prophet was not of this world, and therefore when a poet praised him as “one of the swords from India,” he asked the line to be changed to “one of the swords of God”. He migrated from Makkah to found a state in the other city, Yasrab, which then became known as Medina, or the City of the Prophet. However, hijra, or the migration was not for the sake of fleeing from the hostility of his enemies at Makkah.

“Migration is the law that rules the life of a Muslim and gives him stability,” says the Poet. “One who has been freed from the dimensions ranges through all directions, like the sky. You, who have claimed a corner of the Garden as your own, are content with singing to a single rose like a poor nightingale. Be like the breeze, and gather the Garden! Beware of the snares of the present age!” The meaning of these last lines becomes clearer as you move to the next chapter:

Showing that country is not the foundation of nation
In a picturesque village near Florence in Italy, the diplomat Niccolò Machiavelli lives in exile, spending several hours every day in the company of phantoms from the bygone age of the Great Roman Empire. Inspired by them, and with a pen capable of shattering the whole truth into irreconcilable fragments, he writes Il Principe, or The Prince, and lays down the foundations of a new political science.
Copies of the manuscript start circulating three years later, in 1516. The philosopher dies in 1527 and the book is published in 1532.
It is a time of great changes. Since the fall of Constantinople last century, Europe is has become much interested in reliving the ancient Greece and Rome in its present. Fed up with the manipulation of religion by the Church, people are questioning the authority of the Pope while rulers are using the opportunity for increasing their own power.The Princecatches the fancy of many, including those who denounce it in public. Having an ideal becomes unfashionable, and each people begin to define their collective identity by their country. Since the life of the self comes from forming ideals and bringing them to birth, nations are now left without souls and degenerate into tribes, each worshipping a country, just as tribes used to worship idols in ancient times.
The view has changed. The earth, which spread out in front of you like a sheet, has become fragmented so that you cannot hold two countries together in your view. Your five clues, having almost come together to solve the mystery, are now disjointed and the possibility of finding Joseph might be gone forever:

  • “Rumi and Iqbal” become separated by thousands of miles and different milieus of very different ages, and the organic unity between them is gone.
  • “Kings” are not temporary arrangement moderated by “inward forces” beyond their control, and the secret power held over them by Bu Ali Qalandar and Mian Mir is gone too.
  • “Joseph”, whom you had understood to be connected with gaining control over the physical existence, is inconceivable where the society itself is identified only by a piece of earth, and the possibility of attaining collective unity without losing individuality also diminishes.
  • “Sufism” cannot use the “key of religion” for opening the “door” on such a world, and hence genuine Sufism is pushed aside while the Sheep’s Doctrine passes as the whole of mysticism.
  • “Time” has become linear, because someone acting for the sake of just one country or tribe cannot take the unforeseen possibilities of the future into account.
  • The Poet was born in such an age, and he was aware of this: “My own age does not know the secrets; my Joseph is not for this market.”

Sunday, April 11, 2010

24. Kerbala

This is the 24th chapter in the revised online version of The Republic of Rumi: a Novel of Reality. Islamic concept of freedom is explained here with reference to the mysteries of the sacrifice offered by the Prophet's grandson Imam Husain. Also, the five clues that you were given about Joseph are reinterpreted here in the light of the five elements of the Islamic conception of nation (Unity, Prophet-hood, brotherhood, equality and freedom) presented in the last few chapters.

Husain appeared at a time when monarchy was being introduced in Islam for the first time. He was the reason why some of the things you observed from the latter history became possible in the first place: a king trembled upon receiving a message from Bu Ali Qalandar, Mian Mir rebuked a land-hungry emperor, Sultan Murad humbled himself before the writ of the Quran and so on. Monarchy stayed in the history of Islam for centuries after Kerbala but Husain had taken away its legitimacy in the secret life of civilization. The meaning of jihad also gets explained now.

The Poet’s conception of freedom, equality and brotherhood seems to be rooted in those deeper layers of history which have been touched upon here. It require fulfillment of duties before claiming rights, a strength to rise above vengeance before dreaming a revolution and a vision of destiny that enables the individual to act as if the mind had before it the whole of the future with innumerable possibilities enshrined in it, including those possibilities that may never materialize. Kerbala is the epitome of this kind of action. With a different strategy, Husain may have won the battle or overthrown the usurper but the option he chose was reminiscent of sacrifices, offered not just by saints but prophets. He “reprogrammed” history for all times.

Previously, your five clues had revealed meanings with reference to the self: (a) “Rumi and Iqbal” became established as followers of Prophet Muhammad; (b) “Kings” became pointers for state, law and government; (c) “Joseph” remained unknown but became closely associated with transcending the limitations of physical existence; (d) “Sufism” turned out to be those who open the doors of the world with the key of religion; and (e) “Time” happened to be a non-linear entity pointing at endless options. New meanings appear now, and they are related to the act of voluntarily giving up freedom of choice in order to become rich in love, or what is called selflessness in the Garden.

Each of your five clues has now become connected with one of the basic principles of the Muslim nation:
· Rumi and Iqbal – Unity of God: Unity of God puts an end to despair, grief and fear, and therefore these have not been permitted by the Poetics of the Garden, since the Garden is founded on the principle of Unity.

· Kings – Prophet-hood: the Muslim nation was founded by the Prophet and although kings became its custodians for a certain time in history, wielding the state, laws and government, their “inward” power was moderated by the aims of the Prophet’s mission (freedom, equality and brotherhood), whether a king liked it or not.

· Joseph – “Brotherhood”: Although still unknown, Joseph has become obviously connected with the phenomenon described by Bu Ubaydah, where each individual voice becomes the voice of the entire community but nobody loses their originality (such a thing may not be conceivable without some kind of freedom from restrictions imposed by the physical existence, and you already noticed in the other part that Joseph is connected with gaining control over one’s body).

· Sufism – “Equality”: You had already understood Sufism as opening the door of the world with the key of religion, and just now, you witnessed a Qazi establishing equality between the ruler and the ruled through the power of the Quran, but on the flipside it shows that a door opened on “the world” with the “key of religion” may not give a world envisioned by the Quran

· Time – “Freedom”: Time had already been explained in the Garden to be non-linear and containing endless possibilities but freedom, as emerging from the mystery of Kerbala, points at the probability of acting in such a manner that even the unforeseen possibilities of the future are taken care of.

Friday, April 9, 2010

23. The Pillars of Nationhood

This is the 23rd chapter in the revised online version of The Republic of Rumi: a Novel of Reality. This chapter defines the two basic "pillars" of Muslim nation, which also explain quite a few things about the Garden of Poetry which the reader is visiting.

The next chapter is ‘The Pillars of the Muslim Nation.’ There is no god except God, and Muhammad is His Messenger.This is the basic statement of Muslim faith, and the Poet derives two pillars of Muslim nationhood from this:
  1. Unity of God (There is no god except God)
  2. Prophet-hood (and Muhammad is His Messenger)
The First Pillar: Unity

“Despair, grief and fear are the mother of abominations and they destroy life,” the inscription on a small section near the first pillar tells you. “Belief in the Unity of God puts an end to these foul diseases.”

Quite a few things about the Garden come together in this heading. The Garden is based on the law of non-contradiction, which is an aspect of Unity. Despair, grief and fear are incompatible with Unity, and literature which promotes these values has been denounced in the Poetics of the Garden. The point is further elaborated through a couple of parables.

Emperor Alamgir and the tiger
The Mughal Emperor Alamgir is offering prayer in his camp. A tiger appears and attacks him. Rather than disrupting the prayer, Alamgir takes out his dagger and smites the beast.
“Fear of God is the only caption to faith whereas in every other fear there is the seed of contradiction and unbelief,” says the Poet. “Whatever evil lurks within your heart can be traced back to fear. Since it is weakened when zeal is high, it is most happy in disunion.”
Kings were usually held in contempt in ‘The Secrets of the Self’ but now Alamgir, a king, has been presented as a hero. This can provide a kind of symmetry between the two parts: if a king trembles before a mystic, or a saint dares call a king a beggar, then those are “the secrets of the self”. If a king humbles himself before the fear of God, then this is part of “the mysteries of selflessness”.

The Second Pillar: Prophet-hood

You move to the second pillar, which is prophet-hood. “The purpose of Muhammad’s mission was to found Freedom, Equality and Brotherhood among all human beings,” you are informed by an inscription nearby. “His sword answered Amen and extirpated the race of kings,” you may recall that about the Prophet from the other part of the enclave. “In his sight, high and low were equal.” That seems to fit with what the Poet is telling you now. “By his might he shattered every ancient privilege, and built new walls to fortify humankind. He breathed fresh life in Adam’s weary bones, redeemed the slave from bondage and set him free. His birth was mortal to the ancient world and freedom was born out of his holy heart. The world’s new age, its hundred lamps ablaze, opened its eyes upon his living breast. He drew on Being’s page the new design, brought into life a nation of conquerors, a people deaf to every voice but God’s, a moth devoted to Muhammad‘s flame.”

The inscription listed freedom, equality and brotherhood as aims of the Prophet’s mission, but the parables explaining them are appearing in the reverse order: brotherhood, equality and freedom. The inscription was the formation of ideals whereas the parables are bringing them to birth (“the life of the self comes from forming ideals and bringing them to birth,” you may remember). When ideals come genuinely from the self, the processes of their formation and birth may happen in opposite orders, as is the case with living things: a fetus in the mother’s womb develops a symbiotic relationship with the mother at initial stages and starts receiving nourishment from her body much before developing consciousness, but consciousness starts developing soon after birth while a symbiotic relationship with society, humanity, Nature or God may only be acquired at an advanced stage, and not without some effort.

Freedom, equality and brotherhood now appear in the reverse order, each embodied in a parable.

Bu Ubaydah and Jaban: the Islamic concept of brotherhood
The Arab army has overthrown the Persian Empire soon after the death of the Prophet. Jaban, Supreme Commander of the Persian armies, hides his true identity from his captor, a foot soldier, and seeks pardon for his life, which is granted until others find out who he is. The matter is brought before Bu Ubaydah, the Arab commander, and the generals are now asking for the blood of Jaban.
“Friends, we are Muslims,” says Bu Ubaidah. “We are strings upon one lute, and have a common melody. It is still the voice of the masters, even if it comes out of the throats of slaves. Each one of us is trustee to the whole community and is one with it in malice or in truce. Since the community becomes the substance of an individual’s soul, the promise given by an individual is as good as treaty signed by the entire nation. Though Jaban was an enemy to Islam, a Muslim has granted him immunity. O followers of the Holy Prophet, the blood of Jaban may not be spilled by any Muslim sword.”
Sultan Murad and the architect: the Islamic concept of equality
Sultan Murad, the Ottoman emperor has found fault in the work of a mason who was assigned to build a mosque. In a fit of rage, the emperor cuts the poor man’s hand.
The mason files suite, and the king is summoned. The judge recites from the Quran: “There is life for you in retribution.” Then he adds, “The emperor’s blood is not of a richer hue than the mason’s.”
Trembling before the grandeur of the Quran, the emperor folds back his sleeve, offering his hand. The plaintiff is overcome with commotion and recites another verse from the Holy Book: “God bids you to act with generosity as well as justice.” Then he adds, “I forgive in the name of God and the Prophet.”
The Islamic concept of freedom: the secret of the incident of Kerbala
Early Muslims chose their rulers through consensus, but now a caliph has died nominating his son to succeed him. Yazid, the successor, demands allegiance.
Husain, also known as Shabbir, is a grandson of the Prophet and the son of Ali. With only seventy-two companions including women and children, he sets out to take on the usurper but is ambushed in Kerbala, a place on the bank of the Euphrates in the Syrian Desert.
The hordes have been sent by Yazid, an incarnation of Pharaoh, the epitome of cold reasoning that cannot see beyond the chain of cause and effect, and therefore cannot build without intending to destroy.
Husain rises like Moses, an epitome of Love, which acts through the unknown potential of the soul and destroys only in order to reconstruct. Husain is slain along with all male descendents of the Prophet’s family except one, but he has managed to draw out the sword of No-god and write with its blade, on the sands of Time: “Except God.”

Thursday, April 8, 2010

22. Prophets

This is the 22nd chapter in the revised online version of The Republic of Rumi: a Novel of Reality.

So, the self which you have discovered will strengthen itself through selflessness, which comes into being when an individual connects with the community out of love rather than compulsion. “The self strengthens through love”, you had seen. Then it follows that it strengthens more, and reaches a potential otherwise unimaginable, when it connects not with a single person but an entire society through that same love. The way you may be able to perceive this relationship from this point in the Garden, having passed through the passage that you passed, is quite different from how it may have appeared from anywhere else – especially outside the Garden.

Showing that a nation is formed by the mingling of individuals and owes the perfecting of its education to prophets

Just like the self, the connection that binds many selves to each other and forms a society is also a mystery. Nobody can claim to know even all the “outward” forces of group dynamics, let alone the “inward” ones that might be working in the entire humanity. Prophets acquired such insights from their vision of the Ultimate Reality and therefore only they could mould tribes, clans and other forms of communities into nations and civilizations that could be in line with the overall composition of humanity and participate harmoniously in the onward march of history. Prophets acquired their insight from their vision of the Ultimate Reality.

“The story of the link that binds a human being to another is a thread whose end is lost beyond unraveling,” says the Poet. “We can descry individuals within the mass and we may pluck them as a flower is plucked out of the garden but the whole of their nature, centered on their individuality, finds security and preservation only in society.”

Caravans appear before you. Some pitch their tents on mountains, some on hills, broad meadows, fringe of desert and sandy mounds. Yet their concourse remains disordered, so that imaginary demons and fairy sprites leap in their thoughts. Struggle for survival remains the only business of their constituent elements. Their spirit is little disposed to pluck at Nature’s harp and is content to gather up whatever appears on its own.

“This is how life used to be until God would discover a person of pure heart in His good time,” the Poet tells you. “Such a person could present a volume in a single word and be a minstrel whose piercing music would give new life to dust.”

Presently you see a thread whose end is knotted to the skies. It weaves life’s dissevered parts together, so that unsubstantial atoms begin to glow with radiance. Shackles are stricken from the fettered slaves as they hear the cry, “You are nobody’s slave and you are not less than those mute idols.” People gather around a common goal and a common law. Being re-schooled in God’s wondrous Unity, they learn the uses of self-surrender to the Divine Will.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

21. Selflessness

This is the 21st chapter in the revised online version of The Republic of Rumi: a Novel of Reality.

Mawlana Rumi greets you again as you enter the second part, which is called ‘The Mysteries of Selflessness.’

"Strive,” says the Mawlana. “And find yourself in selflessness. This is the easy path, may God know better.”

His terse one-liner tells you that he has been watching over your progress, or is at least familiar with it since your initiation where he greeted you the last time. Still, his welcoming note to this part sounds ironic since you were just beginning to feel at home in the Garden through realizing the fact that you discovered your “self” here, and Rumi has shifted the emphasis from “self” to “selflessness” already.
In this part of the enclave, the prelude is preceded by a Dedication:

Dedication to the Muslim Nation

Instead of Naziri of Nishapur, who greeted you after Rumi in the other half, you see Urfi of Shiraz standing at the entrance. He was also a Persian poet but he died young and has an unusual youthfulness about him. “Question me not when I speak of love,” he says. “If I may not have tasted this wine, someone else must have.” Apparently he is referring to the relationship between an individual and the collective life.

Unlike the previous part, where the Poet seemed to have been waiting just for you, he seems to have forgotten you now. He is addressing the Muslim Nation the way Majnun would have addressed Layla (but then, that love tale was also an allegory about an individual and the collective ego). “You, who were made by God to be the Seal of all the peoples, so that all beginnings may end in you,” he is saying. “Your saints were like prophets, whose wounded hearts wove souls into unity. Why are you now fallen so far astray from the Holy Kabah, all bemused by the strange beauty of the Christian’s way? My fellow-minstrel sang the epiphany of alien loveliness, but I am enamored by your charm and beauty, for you are the beloved of our Prophet. Since love first dwelled upon my chest, by its flame my heart was molten to a mirror, which I now hang in your sight that you may gaze on your own beauty therein. See and you shall become a captive fettered in your tress’ chain!”

In the other stanza, the Poet speaks mainly about himself. “When God created me at Time’s first dawn,” he says. “A lamentation quivered on the strings of my melodious lute and Love’s secrets stood revealed in that note. Love, like the tulip, has one brand at heart and on its bosom wears a single rose.” He takes this rose, the only one that was ever his own, and pins it upon the turban of the Nation. He hopes that the Nation shall wake up from slumber and tulips shall blossom again from its earth, breathing the fragrance of the breeze of spring.

The next is the Prelude. Here, the Poet starts addressing you again. “The link that binds the individual to the society is Mercy,” he says. “The true self of an individual cannot achieve fulfillment without society. The individual holds a mirror to the community, and they to the individual, who is a drop that becomes an ocean through them. The community is strong and rich in ancient ways, a mirror to the past and the future. Like Eternity, it is the link between what is to come, and what has gone before.” This is clearly a reference to Time, the fifth clue about Joseph. In fact, the Poet’s concept of nation comes very close to what Joseph can possibly be: something connected to Rumi, Iqbal, power, love and a link between past and the future – Prophet, kings, Sufism and Time. Still, Joseph cannot be a metaphor for the Muslim nation, since it was present before everyone’s sight even when the Poet said, “My Joseph is not for this market.”

“You, who have not known self from selflessness, have lost yourself in illusions,” he says to you in the second stanza. “Within your dust there is an element of light, whose single shaft illuminates your whole perception, all your joy derives from its enjoyment, all your sorrow springs from its distress.” He is obviously referring to your “self”, of which you are becoming increasingly aware in the Garden, but there is a catch, as he points out now. “The constant change and turn of this inner light keeps you alive but it is one, and as such it brooks no duality. Due to its radiance, I am I, and you are you: nourishing pride in meek humility, this flame sets a fire alight. Its nature is to be both free and bonded. It is a part, but has the potential to seize the whole. I have studied it carefully and have named it selfhood and Life. Whenever it comes out of seclusion, its heart is impressed with the other. Then ‘I’ is dissolved and converts into “you”. It loses its freedom of choice to become rich in love. As long as the pride of self pulls its own way, humility is non-existent. Hold back pride, and humility will come into being. The self negates itself in the community, so that it may be a petal no more and become a rosary.”

Then he quotes from Rumi, “These subtleties are like a sword of steel. If they defeat your wit, be gone already!”

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

20. Silent Tunes

This is the 20th chapter in the revised online version of The Republic of Rumi: a Novel of Reality.

You have reached the end of the first part of Secrets and Mysteries. The last chapter, ‘Invocation,’ is the opposite of the prelude. There, the Poet spoke to you but now he is addressing God.

Some of his claims, which appeared strange at that time, sound less outlandish now, and the prayer which he is making has more meaning to you than someone who hasn’t gone through the Garden like you.

“O Lord, whose face lends light to the moon and the stars,” the Poet is addressing God. “Withdraw Your fire from the soul, take back what You have put in my breast, remove the stabbing radiance from my mirror, or give me one good companion to be the mirror of mine all‑burning love! In the sea, wave tosses side by side with wave: each has a partner in their emotion. I beg of Your Grace a sympathizing friend, one who is adept in the mysteries of my nature, a friend endowed with madness and wisdom so that I may confide my secret to that soul and see again my face in another heart.” Obviously, he means you.