So Much Beauty – The Persian Verses of Rumi

Have we taken Allah out of Rumi’s poems?

New Age “translations of  jalaluddin Rumi’s works have become a type of ‘spiritual colonialism.’ We in the West have been bypassing, erasing, and occupying a spiritual landscape that has been lived and breathed and internalized by Muslims from Bosnia and Istanbul to Konya and Iran to Central and South Asia.” Extracting the spiritual from the religious context has deep reverberations. Islam is regularly diagnosed as a “cancer”  by people today and we are loathed to think that the  greatness of Sufi Poems are based on the Islamic faith.

In the 1800s, colonialist-minded translators found it difficult to reconcile Rumi’s poetry with their preconceptions of Islam as a “desert religion,” whose followers were forsaken with “unusual moral and legal codes.” In the twentieth century, prominent translators, such as R. A. Nicholson, A. J. Arberry, and Annemarie Schimmel, made limited headway into producing versions that stayed more true to the original Persian prose, but these translations have not been the most widely circulated among Western readers.

earlier translations of Rumi’s works – possibly

by R.A. Nicholson

That title is held by Coleman Barks, the American poet and interpreter responsible for re-introducing Rumi’s poetry for English-speaking audiences in recent decades. Barks, who does not speak Persian and is not trained in Islamic literature, has recast earlier translations of Rumi’s works into “fluid, casual American free verse,” according to Christain Science Monitor.

For his part, Coleman Barks sees religion as secondary to the essence of Rumi. “Religion is such a point of contention for the world,” he told me. “I got my truth and you got your truth—this is just absurd. We’re all in this together and I’m trying to open my heart, and Rumi’s poetry helps with that.” One might detect in this philosophy something of Rumi’s own approach to poetry: Rumi often amended texts from the Koran so that they would fit the lyrical rhyme and meter of the Persian verse. But while Rumi’s Persian readers would recognize the tactic, most American readers are unaware of the Islamic blueprint. Some have said, compare reading Rumi without the Koran to reading Milton without the Bible: even if Rumi was heterodox, it’s important to recognize that he was heterodox in a Muslim context—and that Islamic culture, centuries ago, had room for such heterodoxy. Rumi’s works are not just layered with religion; they represent the historical dynamism within Islamic scholarship.

Rumi used the Koran, Hadiths, and religion in an explorative way, often challenging conventional readings. One of Barks’s popular renditions goes like this: “Out beyond ideas of rightdoing and wrongdoing, there is a field. / I will meet you there.” The original version makes no mention of “rightdoing” or “wrongdoing.” The words Rumi wrote were iman (“religion”) and kufr (“infidelity”). Imagine, then, a Muslim scholar saying that the basis of faith lies not in religious code but in an elevated space of compassion and love. What we, and perhaps many Muslim clerics, might consider radical today is an interpretation that Rumi put forward more than seven hundred years ago.

Such readings were not entirely unique back then. Rumi’s works reflected a broader push and pull between religious spirituality and institutionalized faith—though with a wit that was unmatched. “Historically speaking, no text has shaped the imagination of Muslims—other than the Koran—as the poetry of Rumi and Hafez,” it is said. This is why Rumi’s voluminous writings, produced at a time when scribes had to copy works by hand, have survived.

“Language isn’t just a means of communication,” the writer and translator Sinan Antoon has said. “It’s a reservoir of memory, tradition, and heritage.” As conduits between two cultures, translators take on an inherently political project. They must figure out how to make, for instance, a thirteenth-century Persian poet comprehensible to a contemporary American audience. But they have a responsibility to remain true to the original work—an act that, in the case of Rumi, would help readers to recognize that a professor of Sharia could also write some of the world’s mostly widely read love poetry.

Jawid Mojaddedi is now in the midst of a years-long project to translate all six books of the “Masnavi.” Three of them” have been published; the fourth is due out this spring. His translations acknowledge the Islamic and Koranic texts in the original by using italics to denote whenever Rumi switches to Arabic. His books are also riddled with footnotes. Reading them requires some effort, and perhaps a desire to see beyond one’s preconceptions. That, after all, is the point of translation: to understand the foreign. As Keshavarz put it, translation is a reminder that “everything has a form, everything has culture and history. A Muslim can be like that, too.”

earlier translation

Have we hi-jacked Rumi and moulded him to our own understanding – Yes indeed,  is that a bad thing? No! Indeed no. We have not destroyed the original Rumi and who would want to? We have  expanded on his wonderful poetry and by so doing, opened him and his works to an international audience and an entirely new generation. I think we have done good! 

Excerpted from Rozina Ali’s recent article The Erasure of Islam from the Poetry of Rumi

Link to article

http://www.newyorker.com/books/page-turner/the-erasure-of-islam-from-the-poetry-of-rumi

The Enchantment – Rumi Video with Valdi Sabev’s Music

With the constant rain and windy weather this year, I’ve kept my spirits high by creating You Tubes. They are fun to make although not at all an easy process. First to consider is the music. Music is tricky, choose the wrong music and your You Tube will flop. My best tips for people wishing to embark on creating You Tubes is to spend time watching other people’s efforts. Study the images used. Transitions are important, don’t use too many. Text is probably the most difficult, get it wrong, and your You Tube will look amateurish. I have to admit I’m still learning!

For this  most recent You Tube, I have again used summer flowers, together  with a Rumi Poem. The Music used is  from  Valdi Sabev – “A Perfect Day.” – I love it. Do  hope you will stop by for a few minutes to watch and enjoy. (For this You Tube, I’ve used a newer version of Movie Maker – this proved much more difficult on timing the transitions.)

Rumi for All Seasons

wbxcon

Who is the real Rumi? Was he religious, or a progressive thinker, or a hip spiritualist believing in the occult, or was he a scholar or a professor? The correct answer is all of the above. Due to his incredibly long and prolific creative life he has covered every topic imaginable from erotica to deeply philosophical, hence he has become a projection of the reader’s own mind.

For example Rumi talks about God in some of his poems and then dismisses him in many others. His prime message is that God is found in your own heart. He recited hundreds of poems where he mentions that he would set fire to Ka’ba and any temple or church, because God is not found there. He then encourages the reader to look into his or her own heart instead.

Due to the fact that Rumi recited poetry for about 25 years and 70,000 verses, he has covered every morsel of emotion, thought, idea and topic. Therefore, he can’t be pinned in one saying. Also because of the long duration of his creative expression he changed his mind often. Hence, you have poems where he praises God and then poems where he outright destroys any such concept.

In 800 years of popularity, Rumi has become a mirror projecting what the reader imagines. An orthodox or a religious reader, or a university professor, or a New Age type, or an advanced progressive thinker, all embrace Rumi as one of their own.

http://www.rumi.net/

Let Your Little Light Shine – Children Of Light

woodstyleicon8

(Joni Mitchell)

WOODSTOCK

I came upon a child of God
He was walking along the road
And I asked him, “Where are you going?”
And this he told me…

I’m going on down to Yasgur’s Farm,
I’m gonna join in a rock and roll band.
I’m gonna camp out on the land.
I’m gonna get my soul free.

We are Stardust.
We are Golden.
And we’ve got to get ourselves back to the garden.

….


Since that time of Woodstock, where hippies gathered to celebrate their new-found shining selves (The Shining Ones), we have held a fascination for The Light. This is true of many of us who shunned the Church and its traditional teachings for something more appealing and often found in far flung places. By our thousands we turned instead to the New Age gurus both near and far, to point us towards The Light. Be it in a yoga meditation class, where light meditation ended each class, or while sitting meditating quietly on our own, we rekindled The Light within. We wanted to become the “New Shining ones”, the redeemers of the age.

Who are The Shining Ones? I had an “aha” moment of sorts when reading about them. Seems like The real passé  Shining Ones have not been around lately. Perhaps they are keeping a low profile for the moment. We have to consult the Holy Books to fully understand the Shining Ones. I mean, what exactly was that blinding luminous vision of Christ that Saul of Tarsus saw on his way to Damascus, or Arjuna’s vision of Lord Krishna in Kurukshetra ? The experience of the transcendental Reality has often been associated with brilliance, splendor and light: The Bhagavad Gita states:

“If a thousand suns should rise all at one In the sky,

Such slender would resemble

The splendour of that great Being..

Then Arjuna,

Who was filled with amazement,

Whose hair was standing on end,

Bowing his head to the Lord

With joined palms, said:

…With infinite power, without

Beginning, middle, or end,

With innumerable arms, the moon and

Sun being Your eyes,

I see You, the blazing fire Your mouth,

Burning all this universe with Your radiance..”

Chap. 11 v.12,14,19. Bhagavad Gita

aawhiteed

..

aalady9999


Fascinating and awesome as such visions might be, the experience of light ought not be the final goal. If that were so, The Bhagavad Gita would have ended with the Eleventh Teaching. But it does not. According to Krishna Himself, the Supreme state is that which the sun does not illumine, nor the moon, nor the fire, for it is the Light of Pure Consciousness. These worlds are analogous to those found in the Svetasvatara (6.14) and the Katha Upanishad. (5.15).

Here is an excellent example of Light from Shri Ram Chandra of Shahjahanpur, known as Babuji to his associates. For almost fifty years he taught meditation on the ‘divine light in the heart’, according to the Sahaj Marg system of Raja Yoga. In the Voice Real, he writes:

“Every saint has used the word ‘Light’ and that is the best expression for Reality. But that creates some complications, because when we talk of ‘light’, the idea of luminosity becomes prominent and we begin to take it as glittering. The Real Light carries with it no such sense and may be represented as ‘light without luminosity.’ It refers only to the real substance or, more appropriately, to

‘substance-less, substance,’ which is associated with neither light nor darkness but beyond both..”

So  until the substance-less, substance, “The Ultimate Reality” is realized in all its splendor,  just let Your Little Light Shine.  Just saying. 🙂

aawhiteed

Here’s one of the most important prayers in the Hindu Tradition:

Asoto ma sat gamaya,

Tamaso ma jyotir gamaya,

Mrityor ma amritam gamaya.

From falsehood lead me to Truth,

…From darkenss lead me to Light,

From death lead me to Immortality.

The Pavamana-Mantras, from the Brihadaranyaka Unipanishad.

`•.¸(¯`✿´¯)¸.•´
♥☼♥ BєấUŦI₣UŁ . …..

La grande finale, Joni Mitchell. ~l’excellence de la chanteuse


Link to my new blog with photography. Hope you will visit.yvonne

CameraCatches

Rumi Quotations – Rumi

Here I offer a small collection of Rumi’s ecstatic love poems, translated by Coleman Barks and Shahram Shiva. He spoke of lover and beloved as well as Lover and Beloved. He was in touch with them being the same, and both as being one.

♥♥♥ Divine ♥♥♥..♥:-)


A Smile and A Gentleness

There is a smile and a gentleness
inside. When I learned the name

and address of that, I went to where
you sell perfume. I begged you not

to trouble me so with longing. Come
out and play! Flirt more naturally.

Teach me how to kiss. On the ground
a spread blanket, flame that’s caught

and burning well, cumin seeds browning,
I am inside all of this with my soul.

From Essential Rumi

by Coleman Barks


♥♥♥Divine ♥♥♥..♥:-)

“The minute I heard my first love story,
I started looking for you, not knowing
how blind that was.

Lovers don’t finally meet somewhere,
they’re in each other all along.”

From Essential Rumi

loveboth
♥♥♥ divine ♥♥♥..♥:-)

“I have phrases and whole pages memorized,
but nothing can be told of love.
You must wait until you and I
are living together.
In the conversation we’ll have
then…be patient…then.”

From Essential Rumi
One who does what the Friend wants done
will never need a friend.

There’s a bankruptcy that’s pure gain.
The moon stays bright when it
doesn’t avoid the night.

A rose’s rarest essence
lives in the thorn.

From Soul of Rumi

by Coleman Barks