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A portrait of Rumi

Thanks to Taimur on Twitter, I found this portrait of Mevlana Rumi:

October 24th, 2011|Photo stories, Rumi|3 Comments

More on the Pakistan Wikileaks- US Operations Constrained by India-Pakistan Relations

My interview which has appeared on Wikileaks Central.

The Dawn Media Group in partnership with WikiLeaks has been releasing the “Pakistan Papers.” Thus far, some of the revelations include the following: US was concerned that Pakistan would oppose its policies at the United Nations; US was worried Pakistan would purchase oil from Iran, allowing them to get a foothold in Pakistan; Pakistan’s government was upset with US funding for the Pakistan military, which led to increased civil-military tensions; Pakistan’s military asked for continued drone coverage; the US has had troops deployed on Pakistan soil; Saudi Arabia and the UAE have been financing jihadist groups in Pakistan and the US did not provide Benazir Bhutto with proper security. […]

June 16th, 2011|India, Indo Pak peace, Pakistan, Personal|6 Comments

Rumi’s Poetry: ‘All Religions, All This Singing, One Song’

Coleman Barks is a great translator. His recent essay here is a great read especially in terms of debates on Islamophobia

Rumi: The Big Red Book collects all the work that I have done on The Shams (Rumi’s Divani Shamsi Tabriz, The Works of Shams Tabriz) over the last 34 years. As I put this book together, I felt drawn to revise slightly almost every poem, to relineate and reword. So I hope this is a refreshed collection.

I sent a copy to my friend, Robert Bly. He describes in a letter what I have done with these poems: “You have given them pats on the shirt, set them on some local horse, and given the horse a clap on the rear, and the poems are gone, well almost gone.” He should know. He got me started on this path, when in June of 1976, he handed me a copy of Arberry’s translation of Rumi and said, “These poems need to be released from their cages,” by which he meant they needed to be translated out of their scholarly idiom into the lively American free verse tradition of Whitman. Hence this book. It is not all that I have done the last three decades, but I did spend some time, almost every day, with Rumi’s poetry. I do not regret it. Something about the practice keeps unfolding.

The organization of this book is unique. The odes (ghazals) are divided into 27 sections, each a Name for the Mystery. I avoid, wherever I can, using the word God. It feels so freighted, to me, with doctrine and division and violence. I don’t necessarily recommend this avoidance to anyone else. Eighteen of the Names are taken from my teacher, Bawa Muhaiyaddeen‘s The 99 Beautiful Names of Allah (The Opener, The Gatherer, The Patient, The Kind, The Intricate, Majesty, Light, Peace, The Grateful, The Living, etc). Two of the Names for Mystery are people I have been fortunate enough to meet, Bawa Muhaiyaddeen and Osho. Two other Names are also human beings, the Indian saint, Ramana Maharshi, and Shams Tabriz. Three other Names are borrowed. Dissolving the Concept of “God” (I have heard this somewhere, but I don’t remember where), Playing (Plotinus), Tenderness Toward Existence (Galway Kinnell’s phrase) and then there’s the next to last, Everything and Everyone Else. The last Name is one that is implied in every Sufi list of the 99 Names, The Name That Cannot Be Spoken or Written. […]

November 18th, 2010|Uncategorized|9 Comments

Soul of all souls

Soul of all souls, life of all life
you are That.
Seen and unseen, moving and unmoving
you are That.
The road that leads to the City is endless;
Go without head or feet
and you’ll already be there.
What else could you be? —
you are that. […]
June 26th, 2010|Rumi, Sufi poetry, Sufism|6 Comments

You have fallen in love my dear heart

You have fallen in love my dear heart
Congratulations!

You have freed yourself from all attachments
Congratulations!

You have given up both worlds to be on your own
the whole creation praises your solitude
Congratulations! […]

June 20th, 2010|Poetry, Rumi, Sufi poetry, Sufism|7 Comments

I am a child of love

I profess the religion of love,
Love is my religion and my faith.
My mother is love
My father is love
My prophet is love
My God is love
I am a child of love
I have come only to speak of love

– Jalaluddin Rumi

March 15th, 2010|Rumi, Sufi poetry|8 Comments

the two insomnias

“When I am with you, we stay up all night.
When you’re not here, I can’t go to sleep.
Praise God for those two insomnias!
And the difference between them.”
* Jalal ad-Din Rumi
March 11th, 2010|Rumi|4 Comments