Thursday, May 12, 2005

sun and moon

Atom, escape from the sun if you can.

If you can't escape, don't quarrel or moan.

You are a pitcher and fate is a stone.

Your water will spill if you fight with that stone.

#937: From Rumi's Kolliyaat-e Shams-e Tabrizi

I dreamt of "sun.html" and of a mandala with 28 moon-day circles making a larger circle around a central sun. Sol et Luna, Sun and Moon, are a classic alchemical pair. The Moon, the Feminine, encloses and changes; the Sun, the Masculine, stands forth and abides.

Rumi depicts the sun as a powerful force, perhaps even a gravitational force, something that pulls one in and keeps one tight. The sun might also be like some ever watchful eye that operates both day and night. Allah is certainly depicted this way.
Qur'an (Yusuf Ali)
3:163 They are in varying gardens in the sight of Allah, and Allah sees well all that they do.
11:112 Therefore stand firm (in the straight Path) as thou art commanded,- thou and those who with thee turn (unto Allah); and transgress not (from the Path): for He seeth well all that ye do.
17:96 Say: "Enough is Allah for a witness between me and you: for He is well acquainted with His servants, and He sees (all things).
22:61 That is because Allah merges night into day, and He merges day into night, and verily it is Allah Who hears and sees (all things).

This idea of an ever watchful eye goes back to the ancient Egyptians (at the very least) and young children become aware of it quite soon. It is Freud's superego noticing whenever we disobey the mores of our group. Each of us is born into a society with such rules and prohibitions and each of us will chafe at times against these unwanted responsibilities and restrictions. Rumi seems here to be advising passive acceptance of how things stand. "Your water will spill" closely resembles the metaphor in "Don't rock the boat". As such, this verse strikes me as weak: ironically, it seems to be conservative and advocating aligning oneself with the status quo. Life is complex and Rumi had a complex nature. There is always room in any wisdom arsenal for a bit of conservatism. Go with the flow, do as others do, don't rock the boat. Perhaps the best changes don't come about through revolution but through more conscious day-to-day living.


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