Friday, February 03, 2006

sacred blood

I don't know what state you are in today,

Coming here drunk in the early morning.

Though you drink my blood, you won't get away:

I have given my heart's blood to find you.

#1768: From Rumi's Kolliyaat-e Shams-e Tabrizi

It's late afternoon, almost evening, and I've still not written up this blog. Maybe that's a good thing, that life is interfering with my contemplative thoughts.

My morning thoughts this morning were interrupted by a phone call from a friend, so she resembles the caller in a drunken state described in today's quatrain. She was indeed enthusiastic about an adventure we plan on together. I'm not sure she classifies as one that I've given my heart's blood to find. I feel more like I've been lucky that she's dropped into my lap, so to speak.

In this quatrain, as in others, I hear clear Christian motifs, in this case the idea of drinking blood (such as the Eucharistic wine) and the idea of blood as sacrifice (as in all that blood shed during Christ's torture and execution). I'd like to know more about the influence of Christianity on Rumi, whether he intentionally incorporated these themes into his poetry. Most of the biography on him is slanted toward his Muslim environment with just a passing mention of the fact that his second wife was from a Christian background. It's just a hint, no more. I often think that he and Shams had cooked up a world view which incorporated and encompassed the best of all three of the Abrahamic views, with the best of Hinduism and Buddhism thrown in.

If this quatrain is genuinely referring to the Eucharistic rite and the blood sacrifice, then Rumi is clearly identifying with Christ. He is effectively saying: "I am Jesus." This is deep and uncanny stuff, while expressed in his usual light-hearted way. I've simply read nothing that is remotely like it.

As the quote at the top of this blog suggests, God - and in this case Rumi - is far too tangled for me to untangle. I can but stand in bewilderment.


At Saturday, 04 February, 2006, Blogger Bob Hoeppner said...

Hope you have a very enjoyable adventure!

At Saturday, 04 February, 2006, Blogger Yafiah Katherine Randall said...

When I began reading this quatrain I also saw the strong imagery of Christ, then I saw it was by Rumi and assumed it was addressed to Shams. But is it possible that Rumi is speaking in the voice of Shams, this mysterious figure who totally transformed Rumi's life, using Christ as a metaphor. Shams came a long way in search of Rumi and was finally murdered. Just a few thoughts. I'm fascinated by this quatrain too, and would like to know more. Christians, Jews, and Muslims were all present at the funeral (wedding) of Rumi. Do let me know if you find any more similar examples in Rumi's work.

At Saturday, 04 February, 2006, Blogger Arizona said...

Thank you for your comment, Katherine. Yes, you could interpret the quatrain as saying "Shams=Jesus" since Shams was "the Way, the Truth, and the Life" for Rumi as Jesus is to Christians.

Good luck with your blog, which I've had a look at. We have some shared interests, I see.

At Saturday, 04 February, 2006, Blogger Arizona said...

Thanks, Bob. :)


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