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‘Throw Away the Books’ – Bulleh Shah

Bulleh Shah (1680-1758) of Kasur in Central Punjab is an extraordinary voice that provided a mystical message beyond caste, institutionalized religion and ideologies of power. Born in 1860 and named Abdullah Shah in a Syed family, he found a Murshid (spiritual master) in Shah Inayat who was an Arain

Lovers have nothing to do with existence

The lover’s food is the love of the bread;
no bread need be at hand:
no one who is sincere in his love is a slave to existence.
Lovers have nothing to do with existence;
lovers have the interest without the capital.
Without wings they fly around the world;
without hands they carry the polo ball from the field.
That dervish who caught the scent of Reality
used to weave baskets even though his hands had been cut off.
Lovers have pitched their tents in nonexistence;
they are of one quality and one essence, as nonexistence is.
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March 3rd, 2010|Love, Poetry, Rumi, Sufi poetry, Sufism|3 Comments

The sign of intimate friendship

Rumi on the beauty of spiritually intimate associations..

It is a sign of intimate friendship
when speech flows freely from the heart;
without intimacy, the flow is blocked.
When the heart has seen the sweetheart,
how can it remain bitter?
When a nightingale has seen the rose,
how can it keep from singing? […]

When compassion fills my heart

I am happy
when I am sad
I am together
when fallen apart
like earth
when I am silent
I have thunder
hidden inside

— Translation by Nader Khalili
“Rumi, Dancing the Flame”
Cal-Earth Press, 2001

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November 15th, 2008|Rumi, Sufi poetry, Sufism|10 Comments

Khusrau, Meera, Kabir: The Fluid Self

An essay contributed by the celebrated singer,writer and spiritualist Vidya Rao

I often ask myself the question why I choose, above all things, to sing, and then to sing a traditional gayaki like thumri. The images that are gleaned from its poetic texts are so often open to misunderstand: pining nayikas, heartless piyas, rakish Krishnas, divine Rams. I ask myself that question again today when tradition is in danger of being smothered by sectarianism, communal violence and a whole culture lies bleeding.
I turn to the music itself for my answer. It has never failed me before it does not fail me now. […]

Of Autumn and Roses

I sent this poem to Fahmida Riaz a few days ago to comfort her. Little did I know that there would be another death of a close one; and I had to read it again to console myself!

Autumn Rose Elegy

You’ve gone to the secret world.
Which way is it?
You broke the cage and flew.
You […]

November 15th, 2007|Arts & Culture, Poetry, Rumi, Sufi poetry, World Literature|7 Comments