Monday, September 06, 2010

[Sunlight] "There is no additional Seeker"


Today, Sunlight presents Ghazal (Ode) 425, in a version by
Professor Coleman Barks (developed from Professor Nicholson's classic
translation), and in a literal translation and transcription by Dr.
Ibrahim Gamard, with detailed commentary. As Sunlight subscribers
may know, the authenticity and accuracy of the various versions of
Molana's work have been discussed and debated at length, on
Sunlight's companion discussion mailing list, "Ruminations", and
elsewhere. Regardless of a reader's position on that subject, this
comparison of literal translation to poetic version illustrates the
effect a translator or interpreter can have on the message.


For the lovers,* there is no seeking (done) by themselves,
(for) there is no additional seeker in the world other than Him.*
This world and the next are a single substance; in reality,
there is no unbelief, religion or faith.*
O you whose breath (is like that of) Jesus!* Don't breath from
(such) a distance! I am the admirer* of the one who is not far
If you say, "I'll go behind," Don't go! (There's) no behind.
(And) if you say, "[I'll go] ahead," No! There's no way ahead.*
Open (your) hand [and be generous], (and) grab (the hem of) your
own robe* [and be merciful]. (For) there is no bandage for this
wound except this garment.*
All good and bad (qualities) are parts of the dervishes;* whoever
is not like this, is not a dervish.
Whoever has gone beyond "place," his (only) place is the heart --
such a heart* for which there is no place in the world!

-- Ghazal 425
Translated from the Persian, with commentary
(C) Ibrahim Gamard
Oct. 7, 1999

*the lovers: means the lovers of God.
*other than Him: Chittick translated this (single) line as, "Lovers
themselves do not seek-- in the whole world, there is no seeker but
He." ("The Sufi Path of Love," 1983, p. 210). Sufis have often
extended the Islamic creed, "There is no divinity except God," to
obtain further mystical realizations, such as: there is no (ultimate)
being, existence, reality, actions, qualities, etc. except God's
Being, Existence, etc.-- and here, that there is no seeker except
God. This is another way of saying, "Seek God within, not outside of
yourself, and you will find that you don't exist, because there
exists only God who is the Seeker of Himself"-- seeking the
reflection of His own Divine Attributes in the completed human being.
*or faith: means that all of creation (including this world and the
next world, good and bad) is a unity (reflecting the Divine Unity of
God). And in contrast to the mystic's direct experience of the
overwhelming reality of the Presence of God, mental beliefs about the
Divine are irrelevant.
*breath of Jesus: refers to the healing miracles brought by God
through the Prophet Jesus (Qur'an 5:113).
*I am the admirer: literally, "I am the slave of." An idiom expressing
*far thinking: Rumi usually uses this term in a positive sense,
relating to the wisdom of foresight. Here, however, he uses it as a
word play to his beloved spiritual master (Shams-i Tabriz): "Don't
keep distant from me, in any way!"
*no way ahead: means, "You and I are not separate; in our mystical
unity there is no distance behind or ahead that you can go!"
*your own robe: an idiom meaning to beg for help and mercy by grabbing
the hem of someone who has the power to be merciful or just. Here it
means: "Grab the hem of your own robe, for my sake, and be merciful to
me-- who is yourself!"
*this garment: a pun on the two meanings of the word "rêsh":
(Persian) and "embroidered garment" (Arabic). Means that the spiritual
master's "robe of mercy" is the only bandage (or poultice, with
medicinal ointment on it) which can be wrapped around and heal the
wound of the lover's longing sorrow.
*parts of the dervishes: means all the Divine Attributes, beautiful or
severe, can be reflected in someone who is a true dervish-- and who
is truly surrendered to the Divine Will.
*such a heart: means that the heart of the dervish is mystically
transcendant and beyond physical location in the universe.
*no place in the world for it: This circumstances of the composition
of this ode were described by Aflaki (1353, eighty years after Rumi
died): "Sirâjuddîn said that one day Hazrat-i Mawlana [Rumi]
said, 'All of the world are parts of a single person, and in
reference to [the saying of the Prophet Muhammad], 'O God, guide my
people for truly they do not know,' is an expression of this--
(meaning) 'My people! O parts of me!' For if the unbelievers are not
parts of him, (then) he is not the whole."
After quoting this poem, Aflaki added two verses in the same
rhythm and rhyme: "Whoever has been soothed by the grace of Shams-i
Tabriz, there is no stinging wound on his heart caused by
oppression./ He pounds the drum of (spiritual) kingship in the
kingdom of (spiritual) poverty, since because of the treasure of
(mystical) knowledge, he is not poor!" [har ke luTf-é shams-é
dîn be-
n'wâz-ad-ash/ bar del-ash az qahr-é zakhm-é nêsh nêst.
kûs-é sulTânî
zan-ad dar mulk-é faqr/ k-ô ze-ganj-é ma`rifat darwêsh
(Farûzânfar, footnote; see Aflaki, p. 163, 661)


"There's Nothing Ahead"

Lovers think they're looking for each other,
but there's only one search: wandering
this world is wandering that, both inside one
transparent sky. In here
there is no dogma and no heresy.

The miracle of Jesus is himself; not what he said or did
about the future. Forget the future,
I'd worship someone who could do that.

On the way you may want to look back, or not,
but if you can say "There's nothing ahead,"
there will be nothing there.

Stretch your arms and take hold the cloth of your clothes
with both hands. The cure for pain is in the pain.
Good and bad are mixed. If you don't have both,
you don't belong with us.

When one of us gets lost, is not here, he must be inside us.
There's no place like that anywhere in the world.

-- Ode 425
Version by Coleman Barks
"The Essential Rumi"
Harper San Francisco, 1995


Meter: XoXX XoXX X X

`âshiq-ân-râ jost-o jô az khwêsh nêst
dar jahân jôyanda joz ô bêsh nêst

în jahân-o ân jahân yak gawhar-ast
dar Haqîqat kufr-o dîn-o kêsh nêst

ay dam-at `îsà, dam az dûrî ma-zan
man ghulâm-é ân-ke dûr-andêsh nêst

gar be-gôy-î pas raw-am nay pas ma-raw
w-ar be-gô-î pêsh, nay rah pêsh nêst

dast be-goshâ dâman-é khwad-râ be-gîr
marham-é în rîsh joz în rêsh nêst

juzw-é darvêsh-and jomla nêk-o bad
har kî na-b'w-ad ô chon-în, darwêsh nêst

har ke az jâ raft jây-é ô del-ast
ham-chô del andar jahân jâyê-sh nêst

-- Persian transliteration courtesy of Ibrahim Gamard




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