Thursday, March 5, 2009

Sufi Poems: Six

No greater wings are there
than Love.
And all of my beauty comes
from a mirror you always
hold before me.

Hafez differs from Rumi in many ways, but for me the biggest contrast comes from his approach to the subject of the Divine. Rumi speaks in parables, stories to inform. Hafez goes straight for the heart, and tries to stir the heart to act. Our master speaks a lot of chivalry, and for our order the darvish acts without thought of himself, always for others. Both Rumi and Hafez encourage this, of course, but Hafez speaks only to this. He is the darvish's darvish.

This verse is one of my favorites for exactly this reason. He is giving us the same criticism of ego that we hear in other poems, but phrased in such a personal and heart-wrenching way. He is reminding us of our own impermanence, and the need to seek the truth. There is beauty in the world, but don't lose sight of the real meaning of this meditation and remembrance.

Appropriately, this post is my 99th of this blog. In Sufi tradition, there are ninety-nine special names of God. The one hundredth name is unknowable, save for union with the divine. The one hundredth name is often given as a kind of koan, a meditation on the limitations of the intellect. A darvish attempting to become a Sufi is given a name or names as a remembrance, to meditate upon constantly. This is called a zekr, pronounced "zek." I started writing these posts, especially the Sufi ones, to try and get out some of my intellectual wanderings in order to focus on my zekr. I don't know if that was a good idea. It does seem to help, but Lord knows if I'm fooling myself. (A darvish reminded me of the master's comment when anyone started some new project or obsession: "This means they're crazy!")

But, all of that be as it may, I enjoy it. I like writing about my Sufi meditation, my kids, my little hobbies. So, I'm going to keep doing it. Lord willing and the creek don't rise, as a good WV darvish would say.

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