“Zikr” by Rumi

I’ve been drawn to books like a honey bee to a flower that it must suckle. This inner seek is a spiritual madness, I think to myself, that doesn’t let me rest and often drives me into the depths of my breath. It has been 4 years since I have been meditating regularly, and yet, unlike so many people, I have no idea where I “go” or what happens. I emerge shivering, a bit cold sometimes, and with calmness that sometimes runs into numbness. And yet I do it because it guarantees a peace of mind like no other. At this point in my life, I am trying to tear this inner hunger, challenging it – what are you seeking? I ask myself. Sometimes I get a “smart” answer from all that I have read – Oneness. I think I need to exchange this smartness to the gullibility of an ordinary man. It is a polarity I am struggling with. And yet, with the previous article, something in me is stirred enough to give up trying to choose.

I owe a lot of my journey to a spiritual mentor who is far away from me now. When she left, the only book befitting of her that I could gift her was Rumi’s book on poems of love. For those who don’t know Rumi, he was a Persian Sufi in the 13th century whose poems throb with the intensity of a captive bird’s heart. He writes simply, and hence, devotedly. And yet as loud and vivid as Van Gogh’s strokes are his words. I have often been so moved by his writing, that even as I type this, my eyes well up. He fills me at once with splendor and fragility. And my mentor is the only one who has evoked such a feeling in me. Her simplicity stirred my lovefulness and devotion.

Of late any reading has become a burden. And hence, I stick to reading just this one poem every time I feel the calling for it.



A naked man jumps in the river, hornets swarming
above him, The water is the zikr, remembering,
There is no reality but God. There is only God.

The hornets are his sexual remembering, this woman,
that woman. Or if a woman, this man, that.
The head comes up. They sting.

Breathe water. Become river head to foot.
Hornets leave you alone then. Even if you’re far
from the river, they pay no attention.

No one looks for stars when the sun’s out.
A person blended into God does not disappear. He, or she,
is just completely soaked in God’s qualities.
Do you need a quote from the Qur’an?

All shall be brought into our Presence.

Join those travellers. The lamps we burn go out,
some quickly. Some last till daybreak.
Some are dim, some intense, all fed with fuel.

If a light goes out in one house, that doesn’t affect
the next house. This is the story of the animal soul,
not the divine soul. The sun shines on every house.
When it goes down, all houses get dark.

Light is the image of your teacher. Your enemies
love the dark. A spider weaves a web over a light,
out of himself, or herself, makes a veil.

Don’t try to control a wild horse by grabbing its leg.
Take hold the neck. Use a bridle. Be sensible.
Then ride! There is a need for self-denial.

Don’t be contemptuous of old obediences. They help.

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