Friday, May 11, 2012
A beautiful poem by Rumi
This beautiful poem by Rumi is especially meaningful in this time of personal and universal crisis. In it, he reminds us that we are, all of us, always, beggars before God, and that this state is appropriate, for if all of our needs were already fulfilled, we would have no need for God or any further favors in our lives. (A "bezel" is the rim that holds a jewel in place. I do not know what a "Burak" is--perhaps some mode of transportation?)
I particularly like the line, "Thank God you hadn't the means or you may have been a Pharaoh." To be a Pharaoh would mean that one became like any great public figure, relinquishing almost all of one's private life to the duties of the office. In many ways, anonymity is a gift, for it allows one to explore the full range of one's own inner being rather than to be shattered into a million parts trying to please the crowd. As one of my friends commented, "If you are famous, you have to spend all your time being famous and have little left over for yourself."
Further, Pharaohs have all their needs provided for, and thus have no need to be a "beggar before God".
What Is Bounty Without A Beggar?
What is bounty without a beggar? Generosity without a guest?
Be beggar and guest; for beauty is seeking a mirror, water is crying for a thirsty man.
Hopelessness and need are tasteful bezel for that ruby.
Your poverty is a Burak;* don't be a coffin riding on other men's shoulders.
Thank God you hadn't the means or you may have been a Pharaoh.
The prayer of Moses was, "Lord, I am in need of Thee!"
The Way of Moses is all hopelessness and need and it is the only way to God.
From when you were an infant, when has hopelessness ever failed you?
Joseph's path leads into the pit; don't flee across the chessboard of this world, for it is His game and we are checkmate! checkmate!
Hunger makes stale bread more delicious than halvah.
Your spiritual discomfort is spiritual indigestion; seek hunger and passion and need!
A mouse is a nibbler. God gave him mind in proportion to his needs.
Without need God gives nothing.
How will you impress God? You are a hundred thousand dinars in His debt!
A beggar shows his blindness and palsy,
he does not say, "Give me bread, O, people! I am a rich man with granaries and palaces!"
Bring a hundred sacks of gold and God will say, "Bring the heart."
And if you bring a dead heart carried like a coffin on your shoulder,
God will say, "O, cheat! Is this a graveyard? Bring the live heart! Bring the live heart!"
If you haven't any knowledge and opinions,
have good opinions about God. This is the way.
If you can only crawl, crawl to Him.
If you can not pray sincerely, offer your dry, hypocritical, agnostic prayer; for God in His mercy accepts bad coin.
If you have a hundred doubts of God,
make them into ninety doubts. This is the way.
O, Seeker! Though you have broken your vows a hundred times,
come again! Come again!
For God has said, "Though you are on high or in the pit consider me, for I am the Way."
- Jelaluddin Rumi
(Translated By Daniel Liebert)