In honor of my friend Aryana's new roomate "Rumi," an adopted bijon-frisee/mix, I was reading up on my Rumi again this morning. How interesting that he was born in present-day Afghanistan. And in 2007 he "turned" 800 years old! Well, in September this year he would have been 802. So here is a belated birthday tribute to this poetic master-Mystic.
"Only Breath" by Jalalludin Rumi
Not Christian or Jew or Muslim,
not Hindu, Buddhist, Sufi, or Zen.
Not any religion or cultural system,
I am not from the East or the West,
not out of the ocean or up from the ground,
not natural or ethereal, not composed of elements at all.
I do not exist,
am not an entity
in this world or the next,
did not descend from Adam and Eve or any origin story.
My place is placeless, a trace of the traceless.
Neither body or soul.
I belong to the beloved,
have seen the two worlds as one and that one call to and know,
first, last, outer, inner, only that breath breathing human being.
The Sufi saint Jalaluddin Rumi (1207-1273) is considered "the supreme genius of Islamic mysticism," and has been called, "the greatest mystical poet of any age." As a young boy he showed all the signs of saintliness and his father called him Maulana, "Our Master." By age twenty-four he was an acknowledged Master of Arabic grammar, Islamic law, Koranic commentary, astronomy, and Suli lore. But it wasn't until he met his Master, Shams-I Tabriz, at the age of thirty-seven, that he came to experience the highest truth.
Many legends surround this meeting, and they all tell of the dramatic destruction of Rumi's books by Shams, and Rumi's recognition that book-knowledge could not lead him to the highest truth. Rumi's son wrote: "After meeting Shams, my father danced all day and sang all night. He had been a scholar-he became a poet. He had been an ascetic-he became drunk with love." But the ecstatic unity with his Master soon ended. Two years after meeting Shams-whom Rumi described as "the Beloved clothed in human form"--his Master suddenly disappeared, and was never seen again.
Rumi was left with an unspeakable emptiness, and a grief that he tried to fill with singing and dancing. It was at this time of longing that an endless cascade of poetry began to pour from Rumi's lips. Thousands of verses flowed out as he called and called to his lost Beloved. In the end, Rumi found that he was calling to himself, that the Beloved he longed for was with him all the time. In one of his quatrains Rumi writes: 'All my talk was madness, filled with dos and don'ts. For ages I knocked on a door-when it opened I found that I was knocking from the inside!"
Source : Jonathan Star, The Inner Treasure