Friday, August 13, 2010

Heart and Soul

This is the first parable in the Masnavi of Rumi. I have retold it in a special style. I dedicate it to Pakistan, which is Heart and we are Soul.
Heart was a king who ruled over matter and spirit. One day, it went out hunting and got separated from its companions. That is when it fell in love with Soul, who first appeared as a maid working in a peasant’s home. Heart bought Soul and brought it to the palace, where Soul fell ill.

Physicians were called. Well-versed in science and philosophy, they promised to heal the patient even if God willed otherwise. They failed. When Heart feared that Soul would die, it turned to God and prayed for Divine help. Presently it fell asleep at an unusual hour and in a dream it saw a mentor.

The mentor arrived for real the next day. Avoiding the mistake of judging its guide by its own standards, Heart submitted completely. The mentor met Soul in private and promised to be like a caring fathe. Then he unlocked the secrets of Soul and learnt that it was in love with a goldsmith who owned it once but had sold it away since then. Burning silently in love of its former master, Soul had fallen ill. Physicians had declared it incurable because they did not know the cause and only observed symptoms.

The mentor started to set things right. He advised Heart to summon the goldsmith from his far-off city. On instructions from the mentor, Heart commissioned the goldsmith to prepare jewelry and even handed over Soul to him. Reunited with the goldsmith, Soul recovered soon.

In the meanwhile, the mentor prepared two potions. He gave one to the goldsmith and it made him grow weaker and uglier every day until Soul could not stand his sight anymore. “Alas! I have been murdered,” said the goldsmith. “Providence shall take my revenge.”

Saying this, the goldsmith died. In the meanwhile, the other potion had been given to Heart, which had become stronger and more attractive by its effect. Soul was now able to recognize its true partner and fell in love with it. Thus they became united in health and happiness.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

39. Glory

This is Chapter 39 from the revised online version of The Republic of Rumi: a Novel of Reality. It is a visualization of Part 1 of Iqbal's Urdu anthology, The Call of the Marching Bell (1924).
Coming out of the second enclave, you see a little forest in the Garden. It is dense but well-kempt and is teeming with variety. This is the third enclave, the Call of the Marching Bell. It was opened to public in 1924 but contains many items older than that.
After visiting two enclaves it is now the time to know the architect. Hence this enclave gives you a biography of his mind. It is open on one side, so that you may step outside the Garden and follow the downhill track to the point from where Iqbal first saw this hilltop where he was going to build the Garden. The Preface, contributed by a close friend, is a shortcut to that spot.
Ten thousand people are listening to Iqbal singing a long poem in a fundraiser. Those who can understand and those who cannot are equally moved. Spellbound, they make generous donations.
This is how Iqbal emerged at first. He was a voice of the masses equally acceptable to all segments of society. In Persian, his name meant ‘Glory’.
The highest mountain of the world stands guard over the Poet’s homeland, India. Its snow-clad peaks are intimations of immortality and the valleys a playground for the elements. The stream flowing down from it is a reminder of how Goethe symbolized the purpose of Islam. The Poet is haunted by the sound of the waterfall when night sets in.
“O Himalayas!” He can speak to mountain since his heart can communicate with Nature. “Tell us a tale from those bygone days when the grandparents of humanity settled down in your foothills. Amaze us by telling us something of that simple life unstained by the rouge of conditioning. Yes, O imagination! Show us those days and nights again. Turn back, O Wheel of Time!”
Mirza Ghalib
Mirza Ghalib, the poet who inspired Iqbal’s teacher Maulvi Mir Hasan, lies buried with the civilization to which he belonged. Even then he may show the expanse of human imagination to any who have the courage to confront the narrow breadth of their own.
Iqbal finds him to be the counterpart of Goethe in many ways but there is one big difference. He says to Ghalib, “Alas! You rest in the ruins of the devastated Delhi while your fellow-singer sleeps in the Garden of Weimer.”
  • Can these excerpts from the early period also be helpful in your search for Joseph?
  • What do you learn here about the mind of Iqbal as the architect of the Garden?