Maulana Jalaluddin Rumi (1207-1273) was a scholar, mystic, saint, theologian and litterateur of eminence of Iran. He offered the world the greatest political work, a vade-mecum of Sufis, the Masnavi in six stupendous volumes styled and honoured as a veritable the Quran in Pehalvi. This earned for him the coveted title ‘Sultane Ullume’. His greatest collection of odes is styled ‘Diwan Shams Tabiaz. The only prose work that is ascribed to Rumi and which contains his brilliant exposition of the tenets of the Quran and the Traditions is Fiha-Ma-Fiha, the Persian work which contains the instructions, he gave to people coming to him, as also the answers to various queries and the secrets of Mystic way. They are answers mostly given to the Prime Minister Amir Parwana. It contains his illuminating elucidation of Mansur’s statement, ‘I am Truth’. He discusses the ephemeral nature of the world and its activities, the superiority of Islam over Christianity and of Muhammad over Christ. His emphasis on dance and music in Sama is very helpful in waking up dormant spiritual secrets in man. His discussion extends to many spiritual matters like the various aspects of ‘Namaz’ and prayers. The reader will enjoy this work as it was discovered in the beginning of this century by Prof Nicholson in Turkey. On it, he read a paper before Royal Asiatic Society. He also sent its copy to Dr. Bankey Behari to translate it into English in 1930s. But as he renounced his legal practice in 1940 and became hermit of Vrindaban, he completed its translation in 1971, four years before his departure to Goloka dhama.
Dr. Bankey Behari was a scholar of Persian, Urdu and English. In addition to other scholarly books he translated many books on Sufism like Iran ke Sufism like Iran ke Suft Kavi in Hindi, Revival of Religious Sciences by Alghazali in English, Tadkaratula Aulia (i.e., Memoirs of Saints) by Faridudin Attar in English, Fiha Ma Fiha (Table Talk of Maulana Rumi ), The Immortal Sufi Triumvirate-Sanai, Attar and Rumi, Tuhfa- The Minstrel Divine, Sufis , Mystics and Yogis of India and The Rubaiyat of Sarmad, all in English.
He was awarded the UNESCO Prize on his Paper “Way to Ecstasy” and it was considered as the best Indian work for the year 1973.
He renounced his lucrative legel practice and living and having taken Sannyasa came to Vrindaban in 1940. He adopted the intense spiritual practice and realised God and departed to Goloka Dhama, the Divine abode of the Lord on 7 February 1975 after living in Vrindaban for 35 years.
Dr. Chhaganlal Lala was awarded the Ph.D. degree in 1972 and D.Litt. degree from the Agra University. He served as a Lecturer of English in Sri Nimbark Sanskrit Mahavidyalaya, Vrindaban. He was closely associated with Dr. Bankey Behari and has taken the noble work of editing all the unpublished works of Dr. Bankey Behari. Besides being involved in the study of Scriptures, he is a prolific writer and has published articles in several journals.
Saints are verily the salt of the earth. The vicars of God dwellers of the spiritual world, come as messengers to our world to invite seekers and adepts to the land of eternal beatitude and immortality. In this alien land, they adopt the mortal coil and spread a lasting perfume which invigorates and enlivens many hearts seeking the lotus feet of the Lord. Although they leave the body after a brief sojourn here, their words defy the corrosion of time and shine in the citadel of eternity for ever and ever. Their names are written on the Divine Tablet, Which can be read by those who are gifted with the intuitive perception as the result of austerities, penances, night vigils, fasts, obeisances, prayers and worship. Their message can be expressed in one word, LOVE. This love entails total withdrawal of vision from everything non-God. “The Prophet Muhammad felt grieved when angel Jabriel left him in the middle and the Lord ordered him to proceed further to heaven. The Lord told him that it did not behove him to share his love with any one besides. Very great is the explosive force in this one word but the technique behind it is such that it defies the wit of the rhetoricians, because the intuitive experience that follows on its pursuits is beyond the grasp of intellect. The personal spontaneous revelation, the ecstatic fervour and emotion, the agony of the soul, the bleeding of the pining heart, and the warmth of the sighs are all the inevitable legacy of the malady of Love, The attributes of love are patent that it creates, nurtures and kills him who wooes it, to whatsoever clime or period he may belong. He must pass through the same route taken by Mansur and Sarmad and Attar. Yes the cross shall have to be kissed the scaffold to be climbed to be called the immortal martyr of Love.
Saints are great lovers. Maulana Jelaluddin Rumi (1207-1273) was a such one. A scholar, -mystic, saint, theologian, and litterateur of eminence- these are a few of his well known epithets by which he has come down to us. Although at first, he was a great revolutionist against poetry, which he decried in strong words yet , he offered the world the greatest poetical work, a vade-mecum of Sufis, the Masnavi, in six stupendous volumes, styled and honoured as a veritable the Quran in Pehalvi. This earned for the coveted title Sultane Ulluma. His greatest collection of odes is styled Diwane Shamsh Tabraiz. When Sadi was asked to choose the best poem in Persian literature, he chose one from this work of Rumi. As Masnavi ‘is the exposition of experimental mysticism, not doctrinal mysticism (Whinfield)’ and is like ‘a mystic river calm and deep, meandering through many a rich and varied landscape to immeasurable ocean (Nicholson)’ so ‘the Diwan is a foaming torrent that leaps and plunges in ethereal solitude of the hill. There is no gainsaying the fact that these two works are supreme contribution to the world culture.
Jelal-Uddin was the greatest exponent of Islam, great thinker, past master and marvellous expounder of Islamic Mysticism. In piety, austerities and penances, he has carved out a permanent place in the niche of Time, Where can you find a person rolling on the thoroughfare in mystic ecstasy, oblivious of his dignified office of being the teachers of the Sultan of the time, founding the Maulvi sect and practically proclaiming its tenets by dancing with unplifted hands to the tune of the sound proceeding from the shop of Salah-Uddin Zarkob Whilst he saw the immortal scene of which he sang at time?
Ekey ganj padid aamad azin dukaney zarkobi
Zehey surat zahey mani khutey zahey khubi.
(A hidden treasure revealed itself to my eyes in the shop of the goldsmith. Its form, its grace and beauty was tantalising and bewitching.)
This self-loss and ecstasy that kicked all formal decorum of society made him a total surrender at the immortal door of love, which he wooed whilst observing the tenets of Isalm, the five articles of faith and the five practices. He always leaned in his heart to the spiritual side of worships, which was revealed by his night- long vigils, by his eyes constantly flowing tears and his yellow face. Even pore of his body spoke, ‘Here is the man, who practices what he professes.’ The principles he followed and the path he showed, he speaks with fervor that penetrates into the heart and sends it soaring in high spiritual skies. His instructions uttered in ecstasy defy all comment. Let him speak for himself:
Ishqast dar asman paridan
Sad parda ba har nafs daridan
Awwal nafs as nafs Gusashtan
Aakhir qadam az qadam buridan
Nadida giraftar Yin Jahanra
Mar didayey, Khosh ra nadidan
(Love urges thee to fly heavenwards, and to tears at every moment a hundred veils. The first step in it is to transcend oneself and merge into Over-self. The last step is to travel without the feet to consider this world as evanescent and to rise above one’s self). About the nature of his Namaz in which often he passed the whole night he says:
Chu namazay sham har kas baniahad chiragh wa khwaney
Manam wa khyaley bari gham wa nauha wa ihughaney
Chey wazu ze ashkam sazam bud atish ey namazan
Dar masjid am basozad chu dar rasad azaney
Ajbam namazey mastan tu bage durast hast aan
Ki namanad wu zumaney na shanasad wu makaney.
(When the evening is arrived, tables are laid, candles are lit and the hour of prayers is reached, I offer my prayers with lamentation, sings and agony to my Beloved and offer abulation with tears, and the mosques (within me) is set on fire (with Love). Of us, the mad ones, this is the way we offer prayers without regard to time and occasion). About his eyes remaining whole night filled with tears and therefore leaving no place for sleep, he says:
Didey khun gasht khun name khuspad
Win dilam az janun namin khuspad
(The eyes flow tears of blood in agony of separation and bid good-bye to sleep for ever and ever.)
And about experience that follows, he says:
Shabey yar hami gardad khashkhash majhur imshad
Mar handey dahan az khud ta tamey danan bini.
(The beloved visits thee in midnight, intoxicate thyself not with opium tonight, taste no food so that the nectar of His lips may fall to thy lot).
His warning should ever be kept in sight:
Ishqast wa ishqast ki baqist ta abud
Dil juz barin maneh ki bajuz mussaar nest
Ta key kinar giri mashug murda ra
Jan ra bakinar gir ki wu ra kinar nest.
(Love and lover alone survive till eternity, all besides is a copy or a shadow. Set thy heart on noting else. How long wilt thou be embracing the dead beloved-the mortal of clay. Embrace the limitless soul vast in its sphere.)
This is the immortal sublime theme-Divine Love, the Quest of the self, the annihilation of the self (nafs), the vagaries of the mystic path, turning your back to the world to face God, dislike of wealth and the association of the rich are some of the many subjects on which he speaks with candour. The vibrations caused on hearing the recital of his personal experience strike the chords in the heart of the genuine seeker of the Lord and draw unmitigated applause for the Maulana.
Of his experience, he speaks in simple brief words:
“I was raw. I ripened. I was turned to ashes.” To the intellectuals he said,
“I seek One. I know One. I see One. I call One.”
He had realised God, Truth, and he said that all that was due to the Lord’s grace that flowed at the all that intercession of his spiritual Teacher Shamsh Tabraiz, of whom he says,
“I am not a Maulvi, till I am not slave to Shamsh.” and again,
Pirey man wa muridey man dardey man wa dawayey man
Rast baguftam yin sakhun shamshey man wa khudayey man.
(He is my discipel. He is my Murshad (teacher) He is the agony of separation for the Lord in me. He is the nectarean balsam of Divine meeting with God. I tell you the truth which I reveal to you that He is the sun in my dark heart. Aye, he is my God.)
What cannot be achieved through this surrender to Murshid in the spiritual realm?
Shamsh was the king of the saints and saints were the cynosure of the eyes of Maulana. For, does he not say?
“Fools laud and magnify the mosque,
While they strive to oppress holy men of heart,
But the former is mere form, the latter spirit and Truth,
The only true mosque is in the heart of the saints.
It is the place of worship of all, for God dwells there.”
Glimpses of his free thought appear now and then in his poetry:
“I am neither Christian nor Moslem nor Jew nor Gabrel I am neither Indian nor from China nor Bulgarian. Duality I have cast aside. I seek the One.” But this must not be denied that he was a Moslem to the core, as he says and argues with fervor in Fiha ma Fiha. About his religion, he says,” I have my goal as Allah. I recognize one leader Prophet Muhammad. I seek guidance from one book, the Quran.” Fiha Ma Fiha at places speaks of his belief in incarnation. He says, ”Man has several stages of evolution from the mineral he evolves into the vegetable, from there to the animal kingdom and thence to man, from man he will go to the angelic state and proceed on till God is reached.”
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