Thursday, June 02, 2005

a soul friend

Give me the gift to blend and bond with a friend.

Give me the brains to stay away from love.

Give me the strength to challenge my own fate.

Give me the feet to walk from this tangled state.

#1494: From Rumi's Kolliyaat-e Shams-e Tabrizi

A friend is what I need right now and what I have in Rumi is a soul friend. A regular mate whose thoughts I want to share and explore. I do want to bond with a friend. I'm not sure I want to blend but this is what happens with bonding after all. I take in some of the other and the other takes in something of me. I'm still sifting through my encounter with "doubtless" at FFI on the long Sufism thread exchange. He hates Islam but this is not an appropriate sentiment for me as a non-Muslim. He needs to hate it to stay out of it. He has an emotional attachment that I lack.

The second line is surprising coming from a philosopher of love. The brains to stay away from love. I would guess this concerns objectivity, the ability to distance oneself from events as a judge, for example, is required to do. We always need to keep and cultivate an objective stance on all things. You can't do that when filled with emotion. This line might also refer to homosexual love, to the actual physical consummation of homosexual bonding.

The third line is starting to look heretical. Since Allah controls His subjects' fate, since each good Muslim is asked to bow to the fate assigned by Allah, this seems to go against the Koranic instructions. Job was prepared to challenge God and I believe this to be a necessary heroism. However, challenge is not the same as struggle or denial. Or, in the case of Islam, of outright repudiation.

In the last line there is the image of a tangled state as a place from which he can walk. It is possible to walk out of it. It makes an interesting contrast to the "infinite tangled chain" of quatrain #667:
Without your love, anyone with even the smallest heart
Would live a life of full and heavy hardship.
A lock of your hair is an infinite tangled chain:
The man wise enough to untie that knot is insane.

(see also "a pea and an elephant", 04may05)

Rumi is commonly ambivalent about qualities, in this case the quality of entanglement. It can be something the noble hero must escape and it can be something that the wise lover accepts as inevitable. The heart wants to be lost in love, the head knows that too much of that is unseemly.


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