Friday, January 20, 2006

beware that flower

The eye that even glances at that flower

Will fill the heavens with its groaning roar.

Thousand-year-old wine won't send you insane

As much as love that's spent a year in vain.

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

Continuing with the theme of humanity's propensity for warfare, the idea of tending one's own and one's local garden has arisen (as it arose a couple of centuries ago in Voltaire's imagination when concluding the novel Candide). I watch out for the bright pink hibiscus flowers that bloom briefly in my own front garden and so my eye caught Rumi's reference to an eye glancing at a flower. Am I reading too much into this verse or am I genuinely seeing Rumi warn that frustrated aesthetic longing is at the root of loud aggression? Certainly he suggests that great and uncontrollable passion is let loose when a certain type of flower is sensed.

That flower is not identical to the hibiscus in my front garden although the latter might be the former's embodiment, a brief and fragile theophany. That flower is not merely beautiful either, it doesn't merely satisfy an aesthetic sensibility. It is clearly an emblem of the "She" who is also quite annoying, whose thorn can pierce and draw blood. I'd like to think it is the potential for godhood inside each of us, a potential that can be realized if one is lucky enough to find the right teacher, the right friend, or the right life opportunity. Perhaps it is the process of evolving from unrealized deities to fully realized ones that will lessen the anguished roar of humanity. I'm sure that Shams knew about this and Rumi knew about this but still, today, very few of us understand this, let alone undergo and succeed in passing through the initiatory phases. Very few of us learn to fly. It has always been a shamanic specialty, a trick that any good mystic could perform. Perhaps we need more flying schools so every ordinary man and woman can have a go at it.

My own feet grow weary, I fall to the ground in exhaustion. When will come those wings of love, to carry me upwards? When will I be so lucky?


At Monday, 23 January, 2006, Blogger Arizona said...

This entry was only posted today (23 January) but was written back on 20 January. I was not able to post it at the time of writing because blogger was down and then I forgot to post it later in the day. My reference, the next day, to "ending with questions yesterday" related to this unpublished post.

My apologies for any confusion.


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