Deepthi rated it "it was amazing"
Let me tell you an anecdote. Two years ago, on a certain sunny day, I was walking home after my classes. I was missing home but wasn’t sad nor was I feeling any sense of loneliness; I was quite happy that day. I was listening to Thais from Meditation Act II, a composition of Jules Massenet and my mind was quite at peace. The day seemed quite ordinary; nothing spectacular was happening anywhere within my sight. But then, suddenly, out of nowhere, something overwhelming happened to me. I have a habit of looking at the clouds and the leaves of the tall trees dancing against the sky while I am walking. At this moment I was doing the same, and saw a bird fly across the sky. I am not sure which bird it was, maybe a falcon, but seeing it repeatedly soaring in circles, noticing the beautiful soft arc of its wings, moved something inside me. Maybe it was the music, or the summer leaves, but at that instance they all seemed to be merging and becoming one with the flight of that strange bird. It was almost as if I was a part of something mystic and surreal and I felt I was a part of that mysterious amalgamation too. I do not know how to explain this, but I felt one with everything that was around me and as if everything that I was seeing was happening inside me at the same time as it was happening outside of me. At this moment, my eyes welled up with tears and the tears started flowing down in streams. These tears while dripping from my chin brought me back to my senses. I have never felt so euphoric in my life and I certainly doubt if I ever will again. Those few seconds, which almost felt like had soaked up hours of that day, changed everything for me. I don’t know what that was but it was definitely something divine. I never felt anything near to that feeling again, until now at least, but I always long for it. And everytime I read Rumi, he reminds me of that feeling that passed away so soon and digs up those strong emotions which were left buried deep inside my senses. Everytime I read his poems, I experience something close to those magical emotions as he always manages to stir them from within; from my soul.
There’s a strange frenzy in my head,
of birds flying,
each particle circulating on its own.
Is the one I love everywhere?
It has been more than three years since my first introduction to Rumi. I started with The Essential Rumi, a great complication and translation of his best poems. I picked up this book to pass my time during one of my insomniac nights, which happened to be tonight. I read every poem; some in a rush and some a word at a time. Rumi is like a wise teacher and a friend who sits next to you, wraps you in his arms and recites in soft whispers the deepest secrets of his mystic world against your ear. He talks only about love and there never seem to be any variations of it. It is always about the love that revolves around us, is within us, and flows in and out like a stream finding its way to its river, and the river to its sea but there is no way of knowing which is which; just as water is water, love is love.
You’ve so distracted me,
your absence fans my love.
Don’t ask how.
Then you come near.
“Do not…,” I say, and
“Do not…,” you answer.
Don’t ask why that delights me.
* * *
In your light I learn how to love.
In your beauty, how to make poems.
You dance inside my chest
where no one sees you,
but sometime I do,
and that sight becomes this art.
He talks in stories, at times in riddles about various human emotions but ends them with the divine love which he experiences and urges us to experience them with him. He talks about the soul and heart; the insides of the insides. For him, everything in this world is futile except that. He understands human heart but doesn’t want to understand anything apart from the spiritual bliss with which he is always drunk. He talks about wine and taverns, the bliss of being in intoxication and teaches you that that is how it feels like to be in love, only while being sober. Choose your jar of wine wisely. According it him, everything is a state of mind. You become your obsession; hence obsess over something that would last. The love we experience for anything in this world doesn’t last and only is a result of a deep sadness that it births from or arrives when this love dies. Hence, he says, take pleasure in that undying bliss which is inside you. Look within, he says, and find yourself and dance with that self of yours like a madman in joy. For Rumi, the heart is a hidden casket filled with secrets, all you need to do is dig deep and find that trunk for which the key is You. The God that you pray to or the divinity you search for is in everything that surrounds you and is manifested inside you. There are many forms of kneeling and kissing the ground, he says; any path you choose will lead to the same destination, only some will take longer than the others. His love is not religious, and he refuses to belong to anyone. Everything is about the soul and the one within that soul; the ears of the ear, the eyes of the eye, and the life of the life. In his world, all the dualities of our world cease to exist. Only the One remains.
You that come to birth and bring the mysteries,
your voice-thunder makes us very happy.
Roar, lion of the heart,
and tear me open!
* * *
You are an ocean in a drop of dew,
all the universes in a thin sack
of blood! What are these pleasures
then, these joys, these worlds,
that you keep reaching for, hoping
they will make you more alive?
There is so much more that has been said yet still remains to be said about this soulful poet. I have deeply been in love with Rumi since the day I read my first poem of his. This 800 years old friend of mine has always managed to speak to me in the toughest of times. He has taught me that I am more than my restrictions; personal and societal. That I am more than my body, fears, joys and sorrows. That I am more than anything I could imagine being. Everything is within me and I am within everything. You are invincible, he says. You are divine, he says. You are magic, he says. If you can understand Rumi as himself, you will also fall in love with him. If you don’t, well then you don’t.
Poems are the rough notations for the music we are.