Happy are those who find fault with themselves instead of finding fault with others. – Muhammad
This edition features Rumi’s work put to music by Graeme Revell. We have had the album in our collection for 15 years. Some how, I nearly play it weekly. The album is called Vision II: Spirit of Rumi , which I would suggest to anyone who asked about it.
We are also featuring the parables and poetry of the Andalusian Sufi Mystic, Mohiuddin ibn El-Arabi, who we have featured before. His works are like smooth, deep water, to submerge ones self in fully, and without restraint. His works will crop up here more frequently I think.
We are also featuring the art of Jean Leon Gerome, perhaps one of the great Orientalist painters. I love his use of light, and subject. He seems to capture a moment, just so and with perfection.
Weather has turned here, and the old cat seeks out a warm spot. Sophie sleeps by the door, and life moves towards the Equinox.
A Blessing On You All,
On The Menu:
Rumi– Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan – Sar-e-gama
Parables: Mohiuddin ibn El-Arabi
Poetry: Mohiuddin ibn El-Arabi
Rumi– Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan – Shad Bashay
Art: Jean Leon Gerome
“Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it.” – Mahatma Gandhi
“Of all noises, I think music is the least disagreeable.” – Samuel Johnson
“Saying what we think gives us a wider conversational range than saying what we know.” – Cullen Hightower
“People everywhere confuse what they read in newspapers with news.” – A. J. Liebling
“Cynics regarded everybody as equally corrupt… Idealists regarded everybody as equally corrupt, except themselves.” – Robert Anton Wilson
“Not only is there no God, but try getting a plumber on weekends.” – Woody Allen
Rumi – Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan – Sar-e-gama
Parables: Mohiuddin ibn El-Arabi
My heart can take on any appearance. The heart varies in accordance whit variations of the innermost consciousness. It may appear in form as a gazelle meadow, a monkish cloister, an idol-temple, a pilgrim Kaaba, the tablets of the Torah for certain science, the bequest of the leaves of the Koran.
My duty is the debt of Love. I accept freely and willingly whatever burden is placed upon me. Love is as the love of lovers, except that instead of loving the phenomenon, I love the Essential. That religion, that duty, is mine, and is my faith. A purpose of human love is to demonstrate ultimate, real love. This is the love which is conscious. The other is that which makes man unconscious of himself.
Study by Analogy
It is related that Ibn El-Arabi refused to talk in philosophical language with anyone, however ignorant or however learned. And yet people seemed to benefit from keeping compay with him. He took people on expeditions, gave them meals, entertained them with talk on hundred topics.
Someone aked him: ‘How can you teach when you never seem to speak of teaching?’
Ibn El-Arabi said: ‘It is by analogy:’ And he told this parable.
A man once buried some money for security under a certain tree. When he came back for it, it was gone. Someone had laid bare the roots and borne away the gold.
He went to a sage and told him his trouble, saying: ‘I am sure that there is no hope of finding my treasure.’ The sage told him to come back after a few days.
In the mean time the sage called upon all the physicians of town, and asked them whether they had prescribed the root of a certain tree as a medicine for anyone. One of them had, for one of his patients.
The sage called this man, and soon found out that it was he who had the money. He took possession of it and returned it to its rightful owner.
‘In a similar manner,’ said Ibn El-Arabi, ‘I find out what is the real intent of the disciple, and how he can learn. And I teach him.’
The Man who Knows
The Sufi who knows the Ultimate Truth acts and speaks in a manner which takes into consideration the understanding, limitations and dominant concealed prejudices of his audience.
To the Sufi, worship means knowledge. Through knowledge he attains sight.
The Sufi abandons the tree ‘I’s. He does not say ‘for me’, ‘with me’, or ‘my property’. He must not attribute anything to himself.
Something is hidden in an unworthy shell. We seek lesser objects, needless of the prize of unlimited value.
The capacity of interpretation means that one can easily read something said by a wise man in two totally opposite manners.
When Came the Title?
Jafar the son of Yahya of Lisbon determined to find the Sufi ‘Teacher of the Age’, and he travelled to Mecca as a young man to seek him. There he met a mysterious stranger, a man in a green robe, who said to him before any word had been spoken:
‘You seek the Greatest Sheikh, Teacher of the Age. But you seek him in the East, when he is in the West. And there is another thing which is incorrect in your seeking.’
He sent Jafar back to Andalusia, to find the man he named-Mohiudin, son on El-Arabi, of the tribe of Hatim-Tai. ‘He is the Greatest Sheikh.’
Telling nobody why he sought him, Jafar found the Tai family in Murcia and inquired for their son. He found that he had actually been in Lisbon when Jafar set off on his travels. Finally he traced him to Seville.
‘There,’ said a cleric, ‘is Mohiudin.’ He pointed to a mere schoolboy, carrying a book on the Traditions, who was at that moment hurrying from a lecture-hall.
Jafar was confused, but stopped the boy and said:
‘Who is the Greatest Teacher?’
‘I need time to answer that question’, said the other.
‘Art thou the only Mohiudin, son of El-Arabi, of the Tribe of Tai? asked Jafar.
‘I am he.’
‘Then I have no need of thee.’
Thirty years later in Aleppo, he found himself entering the lecture-hall of the Greatest Sheikh, Mohiudin ibn El-Arabi, of the tribe of Tai. Mohiudin saw him as he entered, and spoke:
‘Now that I am ready to answer the question you put to me, there is no need to put it at all. Thirty years ago, Jafar, thou hadst no need of me. Hat thou still no need of me? The Green One spoke of something wrong in thy seeking. It was time and place.’
Jafar son of Yahya became one of the foremost disciples of El-Arabi.
The Vision at Mosul
A Seeker well versed in inducing significant inner experiences still suffered from the difficulty of interpreting them constructively. He applied to the great sheikh Ibn El-Arabi for guidance about a dream which had deeply disturbed him when he was at Mosul, in Iraq.
He had seen the sublime Master Maaruf of Karkh as if seated in the middle of the fire of hell. How could the exalted Maaruf be in hell?
What he lacked was the perception of his own state. Ibn El-Arabi, from his understanding of the Seeker’s inner self and its rawness, realized that the essentials were seeing Maaruf surrounded by fire. The fire was explained by the undeveloped part of the mind as something within which the great Maaruf was trapped. Its real meaning was a barrier between the state of Maaruf and the state of the Seeker.
If the Seeker wanted to reach a state of being equivalent to that of Maaruf, the realm of attainment signified by the figure of Maaruf, he would have to pass through a realm symbolized in the vision by an encircling fire.
Through this interpretation the Seeker was able to understand his situation and to address himself to what he had still to experience.
This mistake had been in supposing that a picture of Maaruf was Maaruf, that a fire was hell-fire. It is not only the impression (Naqsh) but the correct picturing of the impression, the art which is called Tasvir (the giving of meaning to a picture), which is the function of the Rightly Guided Ones.
Poetry: Mohiuddin ibn El-Arabi
The Special Love
As the full moon appears from the night, so appears
her face amid the tresses.
From sorrow comes the perception of her: the eyes
crying on the cheek; life the black narcissus
Shedding tears upon a rose.
More beauties are silenced: her fair quality is
Even to think of her harms her subtlety (thought is
Too coarse a thing to perceive her). If this be
So, how can she correctly be seen by such a clumsy
organ as the eye?
Her fleeting wonder eludes thought.
She is beyond the spectrum of sight.
When description tried to explain her, she overcame it.
Whenever such an attempt is made, description is
put to flight.
Because it is trying to circumscribe.
If someone seeking her lowers his aspirations (to
Feel in terms of ordinary love),
-there are always others who will not do so.
O Marvel! a garden amidst the flames.
My heart has become capable of every form:
it is a pasture for gazelles and a convent for Christian monks,
and a temple for idols and the pilgrim’s Kaa’ba,
and the tables of the Torah and the book of the Quran.
I follow the religion of Love: whatever way Love’s camels take,
that is my religion and my faith.
All that is left
to us by tradition
is mere words.
It is up to us
to find out what they mean.
Were it not for
the excess of your talking
and the turmoil in your hearts,
you would see what I see
and hear what I hear!
When my Beloved appears, With what eye do I see Him? With His eye, not with mine, For none sees Him except Himself.
The Deathless Self speaks to the sad decaying ‘me ‘
“Poor suffering one’, you’ve turned, and are coming home
Back to ‘I’,The Primal Source of your own Being.
I tell you just love this ‘I” ! Love’I’alone.
For no one is placed more inward than’I’seeing
How far away you’ve strayed away to flee
In thought,self-will and sensual attraction
Believing pleasure gave you lasting satisfaction.
But lust and gold gave only stupefaction .
Others may love you for their own sakes,
I love you for your self and all your mistakes .
If you made effort to approach me in the end
It is because I approached you first my dearest friend.
I AM is nearer to you than you to yourself.,
Even than your soul,that phantom hobgoblin elf.
Whom among persons would treat you as I do
Jealous of your Self more than petty little you ?
I want you to belong to no one else ,you see
Not even to yourself that imagined entity.
Be mine,be for ‘I’, as you are, is ever there in me.
‘Though you are unaware. of “I”. Wake up! Be free!”
Rumi – Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan – Shad Bashay