Thursday, February 13, 2014

Entirely heart and soul


"How much more happy, delightful and sweet we were,
When we were entirely heart and soul and were not bodies,
If our Lord agrees to be gracious toward us,
He will forgive us and return us to what He created us to be at the beginning."

This is one of about 2000 quatrains attributed to Mawlana Jalaluddin Rumi - the famous 13th century Muslim Sufi and mystical poet. It took 2 notable bodies 22 years to translate the quatrains from the Persian language. They are Dr. Ibrahim Gamard and Rawan Farhadi.

Rumi as is plainly known in the West, has suffered from bad translations. This is an observation made by Sidi Faruk Hemdem Celebi, the 22nd direct descendant of Mawlana Jalaluddin Muhammad Rumi who, in the book of the gigantic translation work, is referred to as Mawlana. Indeed, he is Mawlana Rumi.

The massive translation effort undertook by Dr. Gamard and Rawan Farhadi is named simply 'The Quatrains of Rumi'. This unique gem is endorsed by Mawlana's descendant, so let's pray it would act as a correcting agent for those bad translations of Rumi out there, bi-iznillah.

I first heard about this special publication circa 2009. Only 4 years later have I become fortunate to see and touch the book. Alhamdulillah.

Mawlana Rumi's teaching is a heavy-going stuff. The weighty book is heavy, literally. It measures about 4.5 cm thick. Yes, it has a demanding look. It is as though the book shouts: this subject about the Lord and relationship with the Divine, broadly termed as Sufism, is no laughing matter.

It is no laughing matter no doubt, now that we got here in this temporal world. Things, as stated in the above-quoted quatrain, were much more happy, delightful and sweet, when we were not bodies.

In our bodies here in this present realm, we are faced with more than 4.5 cm thick veil before us. It's no laughing matter. Bodies may be living in the best physical condition there is but still we are not as happy as we were, somehow. The "gifts" of this world pale in comparison to the state we were in before - entirely heart and soul.      

What was in the beginning, was better. And we long always to go back to that better state. May the Lord be gracious toward us and forgive us and return us to that better state.

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