Tuesday, May 03, 2005

who is "she" then?

This morning I digressed away from my wondering about the use of she in Rumi's verse. At this stage, I just don't know enough about his life and times to be able to guess who "she" might have been. In the Jungian schema, the anima or feminine soul comes after assimilation of the shadow or same-sex "other". The appearance of a feminine figure in Rumi's poetic meditations makes sense within that schema but it's hard to say whether this "she" was embodied in a woman as the shadow was embodied in Shams. The biographies give little detail about Rumi's two marriages but his second wife is often said to have been a Christian and the relationship might have been quite challenging.

In searching the biographies, I came across this quote from Annemarie Schimmel's The Triumphal Sun: A Study of the Works of Jalaloddinn Rumi:

The looseness of the Mathnawi, which most readers find difficult to appreciate, is reminiscent of the form of mystical sessions [which Rumi held with his disciples]; the master gives some advice or expresses an opinion; some visitor or disciple may utter a word; he takes it up, spins a new tale out of it, is caught by some verbal association - very common in the Islamic languages with their almost infinite possibilities of developing different meanings from one Arabic root - then, he may become enraptured and recite some verses, and thus the evening passes in an enchanted atmosphere; but it would be difficult to remember the wonderful stories and points the next day in any logical sequence.

This kind of leaping from one idea or story element or even a simple word to a new tale or verse feels a lot like the way this blog is developing. It does feel rather loose, perhaps even slightly insane. Probably just like Rumi would have liked it.

I am besieged with doubt
As if I've lost my way
Oh yes, there's lots I'm finding out
But still I feel astray.


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