Our soul discovers itself when we come into contact with a great mind. It is not until I had realised the infinitude of Goethe’s mind that I discovered the narrow breadth of my own.In one of the poems of Iqbal, Goethe meets Rumi in heaven and reads his play Faust. Rumi offers feedback. Following is a translation by Mustansir Mir (slightly modified by me).
Jalal and Goethe
In paradise that perceptive German
Happened upon the Master of the East.
Where is a poet of such stature!—
Though not a prophet, he is possessed of scripture!
To the one who knew divine secrets
He read about the pact of the Devil and the doctor.
Rumi said, “You who bring words to life,
And hunt angels—and God—
Your thought has made its home
In the inner recesses of the heart,
And created this old world anew.
At one and the same time in the body’s frame,
You have seen the tranquillity and the restlessness of the soul,
You have been a witness to the birth of the pearl in the shell.
Not everyone knows the secret of love;
Or is fit to reach these portals.
He who is blest, and a confidant, knows
That cunning comes from the Devil and love from Adam.”