Wednesday, September 14, 2005

beauty and beast

I told her, "Your love is driving me mad.

Will your chains ever hold me in my dreams?"

"Hush!" she said, "Enough of this fantasy.

How can a madman dream a wise man's dreams?"

#1639: From Rumi's Kolliyaat-e Shams-e Tabrizi

Search word: mad

Last night I watched episode #1619 of The Simpsons, titled "Thank God It's Doomsday ", in which Homer predicts the final day or "rapture". In a vision he visits heaven and talks God into delaying doomsday so Homer can get back to his usual heaven on earth. Whatever else God might depict, He certainly depicts High Authority and Power such as chieftains, shamans, and eventually kings, sultans or tsars wielded. Reducing God to a comic figure brings Him and what he stands for down to earth and it occurred to me that Sufis do something similar by depicting themselves as fools or madmen.

Today's verse does indeed refer to this theme and, this time, Rumi's "other" is the female figure that is part feminine deity, part scolding wife. I suspect that when Rumi wanted to depict this ambivalent or comic aspect of deity he chose a feminine figure because depicting Allah thus might have led to charges of blasphemy. However, he is also justified in depicting a female here since wisdom or sophia is usually depicted thus.

In researching images of Sophia, it is impossible to avoid drowning in photos of the beautiful Italian actress. Here is a classic photo taken by Douglas Kirkland. Enjoy!

Sophia Loren @



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