Thursday, November 10, 2005

eyes dripping blood

The liquid that flows from my eyes like blood

Is truly blood. Come see how it pours.

It's obvious what this flood will bring about:

My heart will be devoured, my eyes ripped out.

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

I was attracted to this first line by the blood since it evokes the strong emotions associated with red: anger, alarm, horror. Rumi's words are made of blood, real blood. Strong emotions pour into every word. In gruesome detail he foresees his heart's expression consumed, his insights violently extracted. He seems to lay himself out, Jesus-like, as a sacrificial offering: here I am, take what you need from me. I see an echo there of the cannibalism of Jesus' critical offering:

Luke 22:19-20 (KJV)

And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me.

Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.

I can't help but draw back in some disgust. Am I being asked to eat of this man's body and drink of his blood? And in Rumi's case, am I but one of many who fall upon his heart's joys and sorrows, seeking to find wisdom there? I feel shame because I know there is at least a grain of truth in that. I stand back and hope not to suffer too much, to merely watch another's suffering and feel the emotions but vicariously.

I feel the horror of the turmoil in France but without being there. I am at a safe distance. In fact, it is my homeland that is in distress. I have family links to Paris. I see France also as the home of the Enlightenment, however limited it may have been. That philosophy underlies much of French culture even today and it must have rubbed uncomfortably against the gradually invading Muslim superstitions. The modern French have no room for beliefs in an Allah who communicates via an angel with a carefully chosen messenger-prophet. They have no room for djinn, for any disembodied supernatural spirit at all. The French left those far behind a long long time ago.

And yet France now is a battleground of angels and demons, for Islam, however misguided it may be, still does cling to religious values. That is the heartache here, the dreadful irony. In the simple Muslim prayer, in the simple bowing down to God, a very primal religious awe and humility is expressed, one that would not go astray within the French mentality. On the other hand, the Muslims must learn to refine their own arrogance. All humans can be, perhaps must be, arrogant. However, most Muslims look like clowns when behaving arrogantly, while the French know best how to do it, at least, in style.

In Rumi, we see the marks of both a saint and a genius. He could know that his work would have a great impact but he would have the humility to depict it as hardly different from a carcass being set upon by a pride of lions.


At Friday, 11 November, 2005, Blogger Bob Hoeppner said...

It seems Renata's blog and profile are not available. Weird, and disappointing.

At Friday, 11 November, 2005, Blogger Arizona said...

She may simply need some space.


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