Unique Philosophy of Rumi
Posted: Jan 10, 2017
As amazing, delightful and insightful as Jalal-i-Din Rumi’s poetry might be, they are only possibly unique to the modern or western world. He was influenced greatly by Attar, and his friend Shams Tabrizi. There are many other Persian Sufi poets who have similar works, Attar himself, Ferdowsi, Gorgani, Hafez, Nizami, Sa’di, Omar Khayyam, to mention only a few that were authors of mystical poetry and thought.
Rumi’s poetry, as another contributor here states, does have an interesting sense of humor, sometimes even tongue in cheek humor, which he uses skillfully to get a point across, whether fundamental or subtle. It is his mastery of giving the reader powerful and profound insights with abstract stories that in very simple ways provide the much deeper conceptual understanding and even, at times, providing a paradigm shift in our thinking.
He even makes the first "knock-knock" joke. The one about the lover searching for his Beloved, who after a long search discovers that the Beloved has a certain abode, and upon arriving at its door, the lover knocks.
"Who’s there?" asks the Beloved.
"It is I, your seeker" replies the lover.
"Go hence", comes the response, "for only I am within!"
Bewildered and distraught, the lover is at a loss and leaves, trying to come to terms with the rejection and begins to meditate on what had transpired.
After a time, with a new perspective he returns to the door and again knocks.
"Who’s there?" asks the Beloved.
"It is Thou", replies the Lover.
"Enter then," comes the response, "for only I am within!"
Well, maybe not a real "knock-knock" joke, but you see the interplay of knocking and answering and the profound realization that we can only go to the Beloved when we have shed the concept and even recognition of self.
His ability to capture and summarize these very deep and profound meanings in the simplest phrases or statements and sequence of events, allowing us, the readers to ponder and meditate at length and create an image far larger than the seed of the thought he created for us. For example, one that comes to mind is this:
How precious you are O’ Drop,
that the Ocean still desires you.
Initially, many thoughts come to mind, trying to grasp Rumi’s point, and some thoughts actually hinder us. For example, why would an ocean even care about a single drop? or how can an ocean even recognize a drop?, etc.
If we let the seed that Rumi plants in our minds germinate, an amazing image develops. We see a drop fall from the Heavens, seeded in the clouds of the love of God, and falling to the earth spends its entire existence searching and finding its way back to its beloved Ocean, as all drops seem to want to do in streams and rivers. And finally reuniting with its Beloved (God), having gained many experiences in this world. A representation of the Quranic verse "We are all God’s and unto Him shall we return".
Rumi here makes a statement about life, living, and even a possible explanation for the purpose of our existence! To live our lives in search of, and prepare ourselves through life’s experiences and challenges to reunite with the Beloved.
Yes, Rumi does it very well, but so do Attar, and more than just the others mentioned above.
To answer your question, and although not absolutely unique, his insight, love of the mystical, and sense of humor make his poetry fun, in discovering a truth within ourselves as the ‘drop’ does in its discovery of the ‘Ocean’.
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