Tuesday, February 9, 2010

8. Love

Ideals and desire lead to Love, which is the golden principle that resolves contradictions, and now appears in the title of the next chapter:
Showing that the self is strengthened by love
Yet, love could be an extremely tricky business, because it has so many shades and even they seem to contradict each other. There are countless degrees of emotion between loving one’s neighbor and falling in love with them.

The Poet offers a central point from where the definition of Love must start. In the prelude, the apparent contradiction between geniuses like Attar, Rumi and the Poet were resolved by the fact that they all sprouted from the common garden of the Muslim nation. The central point, therefore, is now mentioned to be the source from which the Muslim nation itself originated. It is Prophet Muhammad, the person whose love cannot be denied, and this is where the Poet begins to define Love. Contradictions resolve themselves as he goes on, and once again you see all the clues about Joseph becoming integrated.

“In the Muslim’s heart is the home of Muhammad,” says the Poet. “Eternity is less than a moment of the Prophet’s time and receives increase from his essence. He chose the nightly solitude of Mount Hira and yet he founded a state, and laws and government. When he prayed for Divine help, his sword answered Amen and extirpated the race of kings. With the key of religion he opened the door of this world. In his sight, high and low were equal. He sat with his slave at one table.”
Showing that the self is weakened by asking
Umar, the second caliph, is riding around the town on a camel when his whip falls down. People run towards it to help him, but he stops them. Then he comes down from the camel, picks up the whip, and gets back on the ride.

“Like Umar, come down from your camel,” the Poet says to you. “Beware of incurring obligations, beware! A nature that fixes its gaze on the sky becomes debased by receiving bounties. Poverty is made more deplorable by asking, and a beggar is made poorer by begging. Asking degrades the self and deprives the self of illumination. Even if you are poor, wretched and overwhelmed by affliction, do not seek your daily bread from the charity of another. Be honorable, and like a bubble, keep the cup inverted even in the midst of the sea.”
  • Rumi and Iqbal, kings, Sufism and Time were the clues which you brought here to find Joseph, and all of these have now revealed their meanings except Joseph:
  • Rumi and Iqbal (followers of Prophet Muhammad)
  • Kings (state, laws, government)
  • Joseph (still unknown)
  • Sufism (…the key of religion opened the door of the world…)
  • Time (eternity is less than a moment of the Prophet’s time…)

The Prophet’s sword extirpated the race of kings, and hence they could not have existed in Muslim history except as facades. They were symbols for something else, which was “state, laws and government”. Since these were founded by the Prophet, the secret principle which moved them from within was religion itself. This deeper core of religion has been called Sufism (and may be different from ordinary mysticism). Its secret lies in the historical role of the Prophet: With the key of religion he opened the door of this world. This is what you witness as you enter the next chapter.

Note: The next chapter, "Qalandar" was posted here as Chapter 8 earlier. The first three comments that you see below are actually about that chapter.


  1. I am totally in agreement that:
    "Genuine Sufism was about strengthening of the self through love, and about ruling over “the outward and the inward forces of the universe."

    Sufism that preaches inaction and renounces the world can be anything but Sufism.

  2. Wow, I did not notice earlier, in the painting the devotees are listening to music like a prayer!

  3. I come to this after reading the Plato chapter and see how this relates to that piece, if I understand the two sections correctly. First of all, I LOVE the painting which says so much about the LOVE held between the musicians and devotees. And I am glad Akhtar Wasim Dar pointed out how the devotees are listening to the music as prayer. That is what I felt. Yet also in the painting and the chapter here, it is not a flimsy prayer or love which can easily change it's nature depending on what winds of acceptance or rejection or even brutality is strong and based on something that WORKS in the Real world...oh to be immersed in this kind of LOVE...

    Where or how might such an understanding help us all too vulnerable passionate emotional human types to remain people with hearts of flesh and not stone while centered on something we KNOW is stronger than any evil force? Universally - across our borders?

  4. Greetings,

    Thank you for this.

    "Be honorable, and like a bubble, keep the cup inverted even in the midst of the sea."

    I very much like this.

    All good wishes,