This blog includes excerpts from my book entitled The Lover's Gaze: Rumi's Guide for Lovers and Spiritual Seekers. In it I try to provide balanced (not too literal, yet not diverging from the original Persian) translations and commentary on the poetry and practical philosophy of Rumi, the Persian Sufi Mystic and Poet.
The translations in this blog are copyrighted. If you wish to use them send me an email and I will need to verify usage then send you a formal email of permission of usage.
Sunday, June 28, 2009
Commentary on the Lion on the Flag
I am going to comment on this in response to your request for commentary on this poem.
Yours is the melody; we are but the flute
Yours is the the echo; we are but the mountain,
Rumi points to the true Nature of Life, emanating from the Divine.
We think we are in fact instrumental; yet we are but the instrument
out of which comes the melody of the flute; the mountain that serves
to reflect a sound; the sound is truly something, the mountain is passive
and serves again only as an instrument to convey the divine.
In victory and in defeat we are but chess pieces
You of noble virtues, decide our victory or defeat
We often attribute success or failure; victory or defeat to ourselves.
And yet, Rumi, says, we are but pawns on a chess board. And it is
the Divine that decides our victory or defeat. Note that although this may
seem as supporting total pre-destination; other parts of Molana's poetry
indicates that he believed in a delicate combination of Freewill and pre-destination,
or Fate. It is action and reaction: we choose to engage in action, that may be Freewill
but that will have consequences, that is the result of the action, or Fate.
Alone, we are nothing; You are the Self within our self,
As long as we are with Thee, we exist
One of the key themes within Rumi's poetry if the "Self within the self";
"jaan-e jaan", the life within life. This is not figurative but signifies a distinct
experience of an indweller in the body, an inner soul within our soul, within our being
that we can experience. The ability to perceive reality includes witnessing and
experiencing this inner Self. Thus, as long as we hold that experience of the Self within us and nothing overshadows it, we truly are alive.
We are Nothingness; for the source of our Being
Emanates from you, the Absolute Being, mortal-like
We [think we] are Lions, but only Lion[-emblems] on a flag
it is the wind which makes us flutter and feign attack!