Thursday, December 15, 2011

[Sunlight] The Color of Purity


Here, Sunlight offers Ghazal N-XXVI (numbered according to
Nicholson's numbering system, rather than the Furuzanfur system)
- a poetic version by Kabir Helminski and the literal translation by
R. A. Nicholson upon which Helminski based his interpretation:


"The Color of Purity"

Inside myself I breathe
the fragrance of the Friend.

In the garden last night
an urge ran through my head;
a sun shone out of my eyes;
an inner river began to flow.

Lips became laughing roses
without the thorns of existence,
safe from the sword of decay.

The trees and plants in the meadow,
which to normal eyes looked fixed and still,
seemed to dance.
When our tall Cypress appeared,
the garden lost itself entirely,
and the plane tree clapped its hands.

A face of fire, a burning wine,
a blazing love, all happy together,
and the self, overwhelmed, screaming,
"Let me out of here."

In the world of Unity
there's no room for number.
But out of necessity number exists
in the worlds of five and four.

You can count a hundred thousand
sweet apples in your hands.
If you wish to make them one,
crush them all together!

Without thinking of the letters,
listen to the language of the heart.
The color of purity
belongs to the creative Source.
Where the sun of Tabriz sits,
my verses line up like willing slaves.

-- Version by Kabir Helminski
"Love is a Stranger"
Threshold Books, 1993

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


From the bosom of Self* I catch continually a scent of
the Beloved:
How should I not, every night, take Self to my bosom?
Yestereve I was in Love's garden*: this desire came into
my head:
His sun peeped forth from mine eye*: the river (of tears)
began to flow.*
Each laughing rose* that springs from his laughing lip
Had escaped the thorn of being,* had avoided Dhu'lfiqar.*
Every tree and blade of grass was dancing in the meadow,
But in the view of the vulgar they were bound and at
Suddenly on one side our Cypress* appeared,
So that the garden became senseless and the plane clapped
its hands.*
A face like fire, wine like fire, Love afire--all three
The soul, by reason of the mingled fires, was wailing
'Where shall I flee?'
In the world of Divine Unity is no room* for Number,*
But Number necessarily exists in the world of Five and
You may count a hundred thousand sweet apples in
your hand:*
If you wish to make One, crush them all together.*
Behold, without regarding the letters,* what is this
language in the heart;*
Pureness of colour* is a quality derived from the Source
of Action.*
Shamsi Tabriz is seated in royal state, and before him
My rhymes are ranked like willing servants.

-- L.97.10 (Lachnau Edition of the Divani Shamsi Tabriz)
"Selected Poems from the Divani Shamsi Tabriz"
Edited and translated by Reynold A. Nicholson
Cambridge, At the University Press, 1898, 1952

Nicholson's Notes:
* "From the bosom of the self" -- 'self' refers here, not,
as it commonly does, to Man's phenomenal individuality,
the cheating mask which prevents him from seeing things
as they are, but to the divine spark or spirit which dwells
within him and cannot die. This is the true 'Self.' Cf.
Kor. L. 15: We (God) are nearer to him than the jugular vein.
"His sun peeped forth from mine eye" -- these words may
mean: "in whom I have hope."
"the river of tears began to flow." - i.e. I wept for joy.
Cf. Hafez, I. 64. 3:
"I wept so much that whomever passed by
upon seeing my soul in my tears asked
'what does he seek?'"
* "laughing rose"-- full-blown.
* "the thorn of being" - the celestial Rose and Wine,
unlike their counterfeits on earth, are wholly free from
defect: which is Not-being. "Being" signifies here
Contingent or Phenomenal Being.
* "Dhu'lfiqar" -- the famous sword given by Mohammed
to 'Ali, here used figuratively = death, corruption.
* "our Cypress" -- the Beloved.
* "clapped its hands" - in ecstasy. They words may also
be translated 'rustled its leaves'.
* "Number" - referring to 'mingled fires' in the last verse.
* "Five and Four" - -the five senses and the four elements.
* "hundred thousand sweet apples in your hand" -- plurality
is a phantom (i.e., the rays of the sun). This illustration recurs
in the Mathnavi (21.5):
"If you count one hundred apples and one hundred waters
What appears as a hundred shall become One
if you crush them all together."
* "without regarding the letters" -- never mind the parts: look
at the whole. Cf.
With men of form the word is: Synthesis by analysis;
With men of spirit the word is: Analysis by synthesis.
*"what is this language in the heart" -- the language of the heart
is silence. So, end a large number of these poems. Speech is only
the prelude to silence: true worshippers are 'breathless with
adoration' (cf. Whinfield's Masnavi, pp. 5, 261, 326).
* "Pureness of colour" --
'Life, like a dome of many-coloured glass,
Stains the white radiance of eternity.'
The same thought is found in Schiller's epigram, entitled
"Licht und Farbe":
Wohne, du ewiglich Eines, dort bei dem ewiglich Einen!
Farbe, du wechselnde, komm freundlich zum Menschen
Cf. with this passage the following lines (T. 332. 10a):
Deem the soul a unit and the body a hundred thousand
Even as almonds in the form of oil.
How many words are there in the world! Yet all are
essentially one;
Water becomes one when you break the jars.
The soul sends intelligence to every person of insight
When by acknowledging Unity you pluck away your
heart from speech.
"the Source of Action" -- God is the only real agent. Cf.
Whinfield's Masnavi, pp. 15, 78, 91, 242.




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