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the Message Continues ... 12/101




Newsletter for January 2010


Article 1 - Article 2 - Article 3 - Article 4 - Article 5 - Article 6 - Article 7 - Article 8 - Article 9 - Article 10 - Article 11 - Article 12



Rumi on Death and Union (Vesal)

Rumi departed earthly life on 5 Jumadi II, 672 A.H (according to
the Islamic lunar calendar; Dec 17, 1273 A.D., according to the
Christian calendar). His death is referred to by Persians
as "vesal", meaning "union (with the Beloved)", while in the Mevlevi
Sufi tradition, the expression "shab-i aroos" (variously
spelled "sheb-i arus", etc., in transliteration) is used, a phrase
meaning "the wedding night" -- the night of Rumi's marriage to the
Beloved. (The Sufi tradition of referring to the death of a Sufi
saint as "urs" -- a wedding -- predates Rumi, and is still used in
Sufi circles.)


I died from the mineral kingdom and became a
plant; I died to vegetative nature and attained to animality.
I died to animality and became a man. So why
should I fear? When did I ever become less through dying?

-- Mathnawi III: 3901-03
Translation by William P. Chittick
"A Sufi Path of Love"
SUNY Press, Albany, 1983


O my noble friends, slaughter this cow,
if you wish to raise up the spirit of insight.
I died to being mineral and growth began.
I died to vegetable growth and attained to the state of animals.
I died from animality and became Adam:
why then should I fear?
When have I become less by dying?
Next I shall die to being a human being,
so that I may soar and lift up my head among the angels.
Yet I must escape even from that angelic state:
everything is perishing except His Face.*
Once again I shall be sacrificed, dying to the angelic;
I shall become that which could never be imagined
I shall become nonexistent.
Nonexistence sings its clear melody,
Truly, unto Him shall we return!**


Y kirmi idhbahu hdh al-baqar
in uridtum hashr arwh al-nazar
Az jamdi mordam va nmi shodam
vaz nam mordam be-hayavn bar-zadam
Mordam az hayavni va dam shodam
pas cheh tarsam kay ze mordan kam shodam
Hamleh-ye digar be-miram az bashar
t bar dam az malyek par o sar
Vaz malak ham byadam jastan ze ju
kullu shay'in hlikun ill Wajhuhu*
Br-e digar az malak qorbn shodam
nche andar vahm na-yad n shavam
Pas `adam gardam `adam chon orghanun
guyadam keh inn ilayhi rji`un**

-- Mathnawi III:3900-3906
Version by Camille and Kabir Helminski
"Rumi: Daylight"
Threshold Books, 1994
Persian transliteration courtesy of Yahy Monastra

*al-Qasas, 88
**al-Baqarah, 156


The Ascension of the Spirit

Mathnawi III: 3901-3906

I died to the mineral state and became a plant;* I died to the vegetable state and reached animality;* (3901)
I died to the animal state and became a man;* then what should I fear? -- I have never become less from dying.
At the next charge (forward) I will die to human nature, so that I may lift up (my) head and wings (and soar) among the angels.
And I must (also) jump from the river* of (the state of) the angel: "Everything perishes except His Face."*
Once again I will become sacrificed from (the state of) the angel; I will become that which cannot come into the imagination.* (3905)
Then I will become non-existent;* non-existence says to me (in tones) like an organ: "Truly, to Him is our return."* (3906)

From "The Mathnaw-y Ma`naw"
[Rhymed Couplets of Deep Spiritual Meaning] of Jalaluddin Rumi.
(With gratitude for R.A. Nicholson's translation) (c) Ibrahim Gamard (translation, footnotes, & transliteration) (3901)

I died to the mineral state and became a plant: the line which precedes this famous passage shows that the context has
to do with transcendence of the human body and ego (as translated by Nicholson: "O my noble (friends), slaughter this cow (the fleshly
soul), if ye desire to raise to life the spirits (possessed) of insight."
(3901) and reached animality: "It means an animal which ate plants." (Translated from a Persian translation of the famous
Turkish 17th century commentary by Anqaravi) (3902) and became a man: "It means a man who ate animals." (Anqaravi, Commentary)
(3904) jump from the river: "i.e. 'to escape'." (Nicholson,Commentary)
(3094) "Everything perishes except His Face": Qur'an 28:88.
(3095) that which cannot come into the imagination: refers to a saying of the Prophet Muhammad: "What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what has never passed into the heart of any mortal."
(3906) Then I will become non-existent: "i.e. 'I shall become fn f 'llh." [= ecstatically annihilated (of self) in God] (Nicholson, Commentary)
(3096) "Truly, to Him is our return": Qur'n 2:156.
These verses describe re-ascent of the spirit back to God, following its descent into matter. This is not transmigration, reincarnation, or an early view of biological evolution (see Chittick, "The Sufi Path of Love," pp. 72-82; see also related verses in III: 4178-89; 3165-69).
"The soul, as a mode of Divine Being,... in order that its inherent potentialities may be developed and exhibited, it descends into the world of matter, where from the lowest phases of soul-life it gradually rises to the highest and, having traversed the whole circle of existence and thus attained to the utmost perfection of which it is capable, gives itself up to God and realizes its essential unity with Him." (Nicholson, Commentary) "Then, if he can abandon human cravings with his own free will and die a chosen death, he will arrive at the stage of spirit.
If he also dies to the stage of spirit and erases his existence in the Presence of God he will be abiding and will live eternally and will find everlasting bliss. Mawlana (Jalaluddin Rumi) indicated this meaning in [these] verses..." (Anqaravi, Commentary)

az jumd mord-am-o nm shod-am 3901
w-az nam mord-am ba-Haywn bar zad-am

mord-am az Hawn-wo dam shod-am
pas che tars-am, kay ze mordan kam shod-am?

Hamla-y degar be-mr-am az bashar
t bar r-am az mal'ik parr-o sar

w-az malak ham byd-am jastan ze j
kullu shay-in hlik ill wajha-hu

br- dgar az malak qurbn shaw-am 3905
n-che andar wahm n-y-ad n shaw-am

pas `adam gard-am `adam chn arghann 3906
gy-ad-am ke inn ilay-hi rji`n

 Translation by Dr. Ibrahim Gamard
(accompanied by Dr. Gamard's Persian transliteration)

courtesy: Sunlight







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