Friday, March 03, 2006

a rare catch or two

A rare catch has come my way, what am I to do?

She's put my head in such a daze, what am I to do?

I'm a hypocrite, a phony... When a beauty

Gives a kiss like this, what's a holy man to do?

#1142: From Rumi's Kolliyaat-e Shams-e Tabrizi

Key word: catch

This morning I decided to catch this one as it passed by. Simply because it has a catchiness to it. It has a characteristic Rumi humour, resembling a Gallic shrug. Poor helpless Rumi, how can he help himself? How can he help but fall in love with life and with the world around him?

This perpetual joy is what characterizes the mystic saint, the true holy man. Fromm discusses this in his section on "Joy - Pleasure" and provides this little gem from Eckhart, "one of the most beautiful and poetic expressions of the idea of the creative power of laughter and joy":

When God laughs at the soul and the soul laughs back at God, the persons of the Trinity are begotten. To speak in hyperbole, when the Father laughs to the Son and the Son laughs back to the Father, that laughter gives pleasure, that pleasure gives joy, that joy gives love and love gives the persons [of the Trinity] of which the Holy Spirit is one.

- Meister Eckhart, translation by Raymond Blakney, as quoted by Fromm in "To have or to be?"

Apart from being poetic, this short piece from Eckhart provides a new structure. It introduces a third element into the divine-human (God-man, father-son, lover-beloved, sol-luna) equation. The Holy Spirit as dove appears in the following alchemical illustration:

alchemical trinity

Plate 2, Rosarium philosophorum @

In Rumi, I think this third element, this Holy Spirit, is left unsaid or silent. It expresses itself through a joy that speaks out of his verses, that is all.


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

In reading a book on Paul Celan, there is a quote (I think from Martin Buber) that the spirit doesn't exist in the "I", it exists between "I" and "you".

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

I've not read Buber myself but it would be good to have the quote since it clearly relates to the theme here.

At Monday, 06 March, 2006, Blogger Bob Hoeppner said...

On page 140 - 141 of Paul Celan: Poet, Survivor, Jew by John Felstiner: "Celan bought a book about Buber and underscored his speech philosophy...'Spirit is not in the I, but between I and Thou.'"

At Monday, 06 March, 2006, Blogger Arizona said...

Thank you, Bob, for that precise quote. :)


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