Monday, October 5, 2009

Recognize the veils - Teachings of Rumi in "Fihi ma Fihi"


We said, "Some with a desire to see You kept saying, 'I wish I could have seen the Master'."

That person will not see the Master in reality just now because the desire he has to see the Master is itself a veil over the Master. At this time he will not see the Master without a veil.

All desires, affections, loves and fondness people have for all sorts of things, such as fathers, mothers, friends, the heavens and earth, gardens, pavilions, works, knowledge, food and drink - one should realize that every desire (such as) desire for food, and such things are all 'veils'. When one passes beyond this world and sees that King without these 'veils' then one will realize that all those things were 'veils' and 'coverings' and that what they were seeking was in reality that one thing.

All problems will then be solved. All the heart's questions and difficulties will be answered, and everything will become clear. God's reply is not such that He must answer each and every problem individually. With one answer all problems are solved. In winter everyone bundles himself up and huddles in a warm place to escape the cold. All plants and trees drop their leaves and fruit because of the biting cold, and they conceal their raiment within themselves lest they suffer from the chill. When spring 'answers' them by manifesting itself, all their different 'questions' with regards to living, growing things and dead things are answered at one blow: the secondary causes disappear. Everything sticks its head out and knows what has caused that calamity.

God has created these 'veils' for a good purpose. If He showed His beauty without a veil, we would not be able to hear it or benefit from it because we are benefitted and strengthened indirectly. You see the sun? In its light we come and go; we see, and we are able to distinguish good from bad. In it we warm ourselves. Because of it, trees and gardens bear fruit. In its heat, bitter and sour unripe fruit becomes ripe and sweet. Under its influence, mines of gold, silver, ruby and sapphire come to be. If this same sun, which is so beneficial indirectly were to come closer, not only would it give no benefit but it would cause the whole world and everything in it to burn up and perish. When God manifests himself through a veil to a mountain, the mountain becomes full of trees and flowers, bedecked with greenery. But if He were to manifest Himself without a veil, the mountain would be crushed and crumble to dust. "But when his Lord appeared with glory in the mount, He reduced it to dust." (Qur'an 7:143)

Here someone said, "But the sun in winter is the same sun as in spring."

"Our intent here, " replied the Master, "is to make a comparison. A consistent parallel is one thing, comparison another."

Even if the intellect, striving with all its might, does not comprehend something, how can it cease to strive? If the intellect ceases its endeavor, then it is not the intellect, because the intellect is by definition that thing, which night and day is restless and in a state of commotion with thought and endeavor to comprehend the Creator - even if He is incomprehensible and inconceivable. The intellect is like a moth and the divine beloved a candle. When the moth hurls himself at the candle, it is inevitable that it burn and perish. A moth is that thing that cannot resist the candle, no matter how much it suffers and burns in agony. Any animal that, like the moth, is unable to resist the candle's light and hurls itself at that light is a 'moth'. A candle into the light of which the moth throws itself but which does not burn the moth is not a 'candle'.

Therefore, a man who can resist God and not strive with all his might to comprehend Him is not a man. A god one can comprehend is not God. 'Men' then is that which is never free of striving: he is that which hovers restlessly around the 'light' of God's Awesomeness. "God" is that which 'burns' man and renders him nought but which no intellect can comprehend.

FROM: The 9th 'Discourses of Rumi' in 'Signs of the Unseen' (based on a translation of Rumi's Fihi ma Fihi published in Tehran in 1330/1952 A.D.)
Picture: The tomb of Mawlana Jalaluddin Rumi in Konya, Turkey. Credit: Dinamars.

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