May 2, 2009

Sheperd's Prayer - Selection Story from Rumi's Mathnawi

Moses saw a shepherd on the way, who was saying,
“O God who choosest (whom Thou wilt),
Where art Thou, that I may become Thy servant
and sew Thy shoes and comb Thy head?
That I may wash Thy clothes and kill Thy lice and bring milk to Thee,
O worshipful One;
That I may kiss Thy little hand and rub Thy little foot,
(and when) bedtime comes I may sweep Thy little room,
O Thou to whom all my goats be a sacrifice,
O Thou in remembrance of whom are my cries of ay and ah!”
The shepherd was speaking foolish words in this wise.
Moses said, “Man, to whom is this (addressed)?”
He answered, “To that One who created us;
by whom this earth and sky were brough to sight.”
“Hark!” said Moses, “you have become very backsliding (depraved);
indeed you have not become a Moslem, you have become an infidel.
What babble is this? what blasphemy and raving?
Stuff some cotton into your mouth!
The stench of your blasphemy has made the (whole) world stinking:
your blasphemy has turned the silk robe of religion into rags.
“O Moses, thou hast closed my mouth and thou hast burned my
soul with repentance.”
He rent his garment and heaved a sigh,
and hastily turned his head towards the desert
and went (his way).

A revelation came to Moses from God—
“Thou hast parted My servant from Me.
Didst thou come (as a prophet) to unite,
or didst thou come to sever?
So far as thou canst, do not set foot in separation:
of (all) things the most hateful to Me is divorce.
I have bestowed on every one a (special) way of acting:
I have given to every one a (peculiar) form of expression.
In regard to him it is (worthy of) praise,
and in regard to thee it is (worthy of) blame:
in regard to him honey, and in regard to thee poison.

I am independent of all purity and impurity,
of all slothfulness and alacrity (in worshipping Me).
I did not ordain (Divine worship) that I might make any profit; nay,
but that I might do a kindness to (My) servants.
In the Hindoos the idiom of Hind (India) is praiseworthy;
in the Sindians the idiom of Sind is praiseworthy.
I am not sanctified by their glorification (of Me);
’tis they that become sanctified and
pearl-scattering (pure and radiant).
I look not at the tongue and the speech;
I look at the inward (spirit) and the state (of feeling).

I gaze into the heart (to see) whether it be lowly,
though the words uttered be not lowly,
Because the heart is the substance, speech (only) the accident;
so the accident is subservient, the substance is the (real) object.
How much (more) of these phrases and conceptions and metaphors?
I want burning, burning: become friendly with that burning!
Light up a fire of love in thy soul,
burn thought and expression entirely (away)!
O Moses, they that know the conventions are of one sort,
they whose souls and spirits burn are of another sort.”
The religion of Love is apart from all religions:
for lovers, the (only) religion and creed is—God.
If the ruby have not a seal (graven on it), ’tis no harm:
Love in the sea of sorrow is not sorrowful.
How the (Divine) revelation came to Moses,
on whom be peace, excusing that shepherd.
After that, God hid in the inmost heart of Moses
mysteries which cannot be spoken.
Words were poured upon his heart:
vision and speech were mingled together.
How oft did he become beside himself and how oft return to himself!
How oft did he fly from eternity to everlastingness!
When Moses heard these reproaches from God,
he ran into the desert in quest of the shepherd.
He pushed on over the footprints of the bewildered man,
he scattered dust from the skirt of the desert.
The footstep of a man distraught is, in truth, distinct from the footsteps of others:
At last he (Moses) overtook and beheld him;
the giver of glad news said,
“Permission has come (from God).
Do not seek any rules or method (of worship);
say whatsoever your distressful heart desires.

Your blasphemy is (the true) religion,
and your religion is the light of the spirit:
you are saved, and through you a (whole) world is in salvation.
O you who are made secure by God doeth whatso He willeth,
go, loose your tongue without regard (for what you say).”
He said, “O Moses, I have passed beyond that:
I am now bathed in (my) heart's blood.
I have passed beyond the Lote-tree of the farthest bourn,
I have gone a hundred
thousand years' journey on the other side.
Thou didst ply the lash, and my horse shied,
made a bound, and passed beyond the sky.

Mathnawi Book II -1720-1785
By Jalalludin Rumi
Translated by Reynold A Nicholson

Wednesday, March 25, 2009 at 7:36pm

No comments: