ANST - FW: Musing on September 30th -- Ruminations

j'lynn yeates jyeates at
Sun Oct 1 08:53:54 PDT 2000

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- -----Original Message-----
From: Ellsworth Weaver [mailto:astroweaver at]
Sent: Sunday, October 01, 2000 02:58
To: 2thpix at
Subject: Musing on September 30th -- Ruminations

Dear Folk,

On September 30, 1207 in Balkhi in the region known today as
Afghanistan, was born the greatest poet in the history of the world,
whose works today sell more in the United States than any other poet,
Mevlana  Jelaluddin Rumi. His verses are still sung in the fields,
almost 800 years after his birth, by Arabic workers who do not know
words’ origin. Coleman Barks’ The Essential Rumi has now sold over
100,000 copies. For those who know of Rumi, quit reading these words
and go read some Rumi. For those who do not, may I introduce you?

In your light I learn how to love.
In your beauty, how to make poems.
You dance inside my chest,
where no one sees you,
but sometimes I do,
and that sight becomes this art.

Rumi’s family fleeing the Mongol invasion moved to Konya, Turkey
he wound up spending most of his life. Jelaluddin followed his father
(Bahauddin)’s calling as a scholar. He became sheikh in the dervish
learning community in Konya. He learned and taught in relative
obscurity in a very backwater town in Turkey until something came
a thunderbolt and changed him. That thunderbolt was a wandering
dervish, Shams of Tabriz. In 1244, Shams came out of the desert, one
roaring like a lion for the mystical union of soul to God, and when
touched Rumi nothing could ever be the same.

I would love to kiss you.
The price of kissing is your life.
Now my loving is running toward my life shouting,
What a bargain, let's buy it.

Shams said that he was looking for "someone who could endure my
company." A voice asked him what he would give in return and Shams
answered, "My head!" "Then the one you seek is Jelaluddin in Konya."
When he met Rumi, Shams asked him a question which took Rumi quite by
surprise; in fact it made this quiet professor faint dead away. No
is exactly sure of the question – I knew you would want to know – but
the best account is this. Shams asked "Who is greater, Muhammad or
Bestami, for Bestami had said, ‘How great is my glory,’ whereas
Muhammad had acknowledged in his prayer to God, ‘We do not know You
we should’?"

Rumi had perceived the depths this question had come from and his
was electrified. When he returned to consciousness, Rumi replied that
Bestami had taken but a small sip of God and stopped, but for
the way was always unfolding. Of this meeting Rumi said, "What I had
thought of before as God, I met today in a person." Was this an
exaggeration or a blasphemy? Not as Rumi understood either. He and
Shams became inseparable. They went out into the desert and thought
talked. The flow was continuous and enriched both. Their Friendship
that of mystics, pure communion of two halves of the same soul.

It was just that Friendship which disturbed the religious community
which Rumi was supposed to be leading. His students were neglected,
family even more so. Shams must have sensed trouble because he
from the area. The shock of his disappearance further galvanized
transcendence. He started listening to music, writing poetry,
in a circle in meditation or prayer.

Finally, Rumi heard that Shams was in Damascus. He sent his son,
Velad, to Syria to bring his friend back. When they met again, the
Friendship resumed without a pause. Shams even married a girl who had
been brought up in Rumi’s house. Of course, the jealousies resumed,
well. On December 5, 1248, Shams was called to the back door of
house. He was never seen again. Most scholars now think Shams was
murdered by or at the connivance of Rumi’s son Allaedin. It did
Shams’ bargain with the Lord for this friendship: he gave up his

One went to the door of the Beloved and
knocked. A voice asked, 'Who is there?'
He answered, 'It is I.'
The voice said, 'There is no room for Me and Thee.'
The door was shut.
After a year of solitude and deprivation he returned and knocked.
A voice from within asked, 'Who is there?'
The man said, 'It is Thee.'
The door was opened for him.

Rumi looked everywhere for Shams. He went to Damascus, he searched
desert. Nowhere was his other soul. Then he realized that he need not
search; Shams was very much a part of him. Now the poetry flowed
unabated. It was Shams who was speaking when Rumi uttered his lines.
The lover and the Beloved were united. His students listened rapt.
quickly wrote down the words as they tumbled majestically from their

O lovers, lovers it is time
to set out from the world.
I hear a drum in my soul's ear
coming from the depths of the stars.

Our camel driver is at work;
the caravan is being readied.
He asks that we forgive him
for the disturbance he has caused us,
He asks why we travelers are asleep.

Everywhere the murmur of departure;
the stars, like candles
thrust at us from behind blue veils,
and as if to make the invisible plain,
a wondrous people have come forth.

His poetry filled with a longing to be with the Friend, Him, or You.
Are these mysterious pronouns the names of God, Shams, or who? This
for you, the reader to ponder. Rumi founded the Mevlevi Order of
dervishes, better known as the Whirling Dervishes of Sufism. Through
turning movement, body posturing, mental focus, and sound, the
achieves ecstasy through union with God.

It is also interesting to note that similar to other major religions,
Islam frowns upon dancing and using words such as "gamble," "drunk,"
and "wine" which you find throughout Rumi's and other great Islamic
Sufi poets writings. Obviously they mean "drunk" on God's grace, but
that's not to say they wouldn't be outcast by religious

Jalaluddin Rumi's journey in search of God left its mark on other
faiths, paralleling in time those of two other outstanding mystics:
Catalan kabbalistic rabbi Moshe ben Nahman or Nahmanides (1195-1270)
and the Mallorcan Catholic Franciscan and poet Raimon Llull
(1235-1315). Sufi influence on the cabala is well-known, and Llull
himself declared that his ecstatic Christian spirituality drew much
from the example of Sufis like Rumi.

Mevlana Jalaluddin Rumi died on December 17, 1273. Men of five faiths
followed his bier. That night was named Sebul Arus (Night of Union).
Ever since, the Mevlevi dervishes have kept that date as a festival.

I died from minerality and became vegetable;
And From vegetativeness I died and became animal.
I died from animality and became man.
Then why fear disappearance through death?
Next time I shall die
Bringing forth wings and feathers like angels;
After that, soaring higher than angels -
What you cannot imagine,
I shall be that.

Also, today September 30th, 2000 marks the departure from this world
pain and sorrow a friend and helper, Jean Glaze. Jean was there to
drive us to the hospital when we were mushroom poisoned, she was
to see my daughter's plays, she was there to help during a painful
separation and family dissolution. Jean, you shall be missed.

What have we learned? I will leave it to Rumi to tell you:

On this path, Love is the emerald,
the beautiful green that wards off dragons
Enough, I am losing myself.
If you are a man of learning,
read something classic,
a history of the human struggle
and don't settle for mediocre verse.

Happy is the world who has such poets and friends in it,
Ellsworth Weaver

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