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Emptiness -- Jalaluddin Rumi

Guest poem sent in by Rishidev Chaudhuri
(Poem #841) Emptiness
 Consider the difference
 in our actions and God's actions.

 We often ask, "Why did you do that?"
 or "Why did I act like that?"

 We do act, and yet everything we do
 is God's creative action.

 We look back and analyse the events
 of our lives, but there is another way
 of seeing, a backward-and-forward-at-once
 vision, that is not rationally understandable.

 Only God can understand it.
 Satan made the excuse, "You caused me to fall,
 whereas Adam said to God, "We did this
 to ourselves." After this repentance,
 God asked Adam, "Since all is within
 my foreknowledge, why didn't you
 defend yourself with that reason?"

 Adam answered, "I was afraid,
 and I wanted to be reverent."

 Whoever acts with respect will get respect.
 Whoever brings sweetness will be served almond cake.
 Good women are drawn to be with good men.

 Honour your friend.
 Or treat him rudely,
 and see what happens!

 Love, tell an incident now
 that will clarify this mystery
 of how we act feely, and are yet
 compelled. One hand shakes with palsy.
 Another shakes because because you slapped it away.

 Both tremblings come from God,
 but you feel guilty for the one,
 and what about the other?

 These are intellectual questions.
 The spirit approaches the matter
 differently. Omar once had a friend, a scientist,
 Bu'l-Hakam, who was flawless at solving
 empirical problems, but he could not follow Omar
 into the area of illumination and wonder.

 Now I return to the text, "And He is with you,
 wherever you are," but when have I ever left it!

 Ignorance is God's prison
 Knowing is God's palace.

 We sleep in God's unconsciousness.
 We wake in God's open hand.

 We weep God's rain.
 We laugh God's lightning.

 Fighting and peacefulness
 both take place within God.

 Who are we then
 in this complicated world-tangle,
 that is really just the single, straight
 line down at the beginning of ALLAH?

 We are


 When you are with everyone but me,
                          you're with no one.
 When you are with no one but me,
                          you're with everyone.

 Instead of being so bound up with everyone,
                          be everyone.
 When you become that many, you're nothing.
-- Jalaluddin Rumi
It is always very interesting to look at how mystical
experience is reflected in different traditions. The
Sufis stand out for many reasons, among them the
context in which they arose, their influence on both
Indian and Middle Eastern thought and literature, and
particularly for their view of the world, very
different in expression (though not, I believe in
spirit) from some of the earlier Indian traditions,
but bearing very strong resemblances to Mahayana
Buddhist and Tantric thought. This poem could very
easily pass off as one written by a Zen Buddhist,
particularly for its statement of paradox and
trans-rational, trans-verbal view. The concept of
emptiness or the pregnant void (sunyata) at the heart
of things is also a very common Buddhist concept.

And Sufism has, of course, produced some lovely poems
and celebrations of union with the divine. This poem
is rather more intellectual than much of what Rumi has
written, but his sheer exuberance and spirit is very
apparent and quite charming.



Rumi poems we've run before:
  Poem #472, 'Spring Giddiness'
  Poem #513, 'The Tavern'

There's an excellent Rumi site at
including a biography:

15 comments: ( or Leave a comment )

NFulford said...

Rumi inspires me. His words are the veils of the bride. They invite the
soul into the depths as they stand aside to reveal the hidden Beloved. What
can be said? Who is speaking? When longing burns away form, what is it that
is apprehended in that moment, and what is apprehending? The two collapse,
duality dissolves in that unity. The fabric tears and ignites and there it
is! Look within, look without, but always, always listen with a lover's
desperate longing to every word that cannot be spoken in my Beloved's gaze.


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The poem just remembers me a part of the bible when a guy travel through the desert without water and he made it in someway.

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