Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The Lover’s Malady

This translation from the first book of Rumi's spiritual couplets extracts the essence of his perception of the malady of the Lover. He portrays it in a story where a King falls in love with a Handmaiden and brings her to his palace to love, only to find she is getting sicker by the day. After much introspection and praying for Divine grace for help, a non-worldly physician comes and discovers

The Lover’s Malady

He realized, her sickness was of heart
Her body was fine; she fell sick from love

Love is apparent, from desperation of heart
Nothing compares to the ailment of Love

The malady of the lover, is of a different sort
Love is the compass, through the secrets of God

No matter the reason that kindles our Love
It will finally lead, to the transcendent realm

Try as I may to explain it away
Still I am chagrined when I arrive at Love

[Whatever I say to try to explain and describe love]
[When I come to love, I am chagrined of it]

Expressive words, are insightful to us
Yet speechless love is clearest of all

As the pen rushed forth, eager to write
When it came upon love, it broke apart

Thrashing to explain, the mind is mired in mud

Love and the Lover, explainable only through Love

Note: The He, is the divinely sent physician , the "I" later in the poem is Rumi teaching us that love is to be felt, not described and explained intellectually. he uses the metaphor of love being an ailment, not a bad one, but one of a different kind/sort/type. That Love is an astrolabe (used to help find a ships position within the starry firmament and thus navigate it to its goal), a "compass" that helps us navigate through the divine secrets and mysteries.

We may think that love is petty or too mundane and that the true love is divine love: maybe. But Rumi reminds us that any type of love is "good" and no matter the reason that kindled your love, this will gradually lead you onward to experience more refined, subtle and elevated levels of experiencing love, ultimately to the "other realm" the spirtual, transcendent world.

"I have been explaining away" but in reality, "however hard I try" , I am embarrassed at the failure of trying to explain something that cannot be intellectually contained and described in its totality. So yes, explanations and elucidations are all well and good, but, the direct experience of Love is the clearest of all enunciations. Direct experience of the Divine is the clearest way to experience that Love of the Divine, of Uniting with the Beloved.

Many pens have made fervent but futile attempts to write about this communion. And Rumi uses this powerful imagery of the pen, rushing to try to explain Love and as soon as it arrives at that word and tries its hardest to explain it, it splits in two, it shatters, breaks part.

He likens the intellect to a donkey who is mired in mud and thrashes in an effort to get out and the harder it struggles the more mired it gets, until it has to lay there for the night, in the mud and sleep.

Ultimately, it is the experience of Love that can only explain Love and the state of the Lover.

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