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“In Rumi’s poetry, love is the soul of the universe, and the soul knows no bounds … it embraces all people, all countries, and all religions … The goal of Sufism is to know love in all of its glorious forms : and every prophet, every practice, and every form of worship that leads toward love is, in essence, Sufism. The great Sufi philosopher Ibn Arabi writes:…”

My heart builds within it every form,
it contains a pasture for gazelles,
a monastery for Christian monks.

There is a temple for idol worshippers,
a holy shrine for pilgrims.

There is the table of the Torah,
and the Book of the Koran.

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I follow the religion of Love
and go whichever way His camel leads me.

This is the true faith;
This is the true religion.

— — —

{The Sufis view God} as their most intimate and cherished companion. Endearingly, they call themselves “lovers,” and the God they seek, “the Beloved.”

All a Sufi strives for, all he (she) reaches for, all he (she) ever wants is the Beloved.

This unswerving love causes him (her) to see the form of his (her) Beloved everywhere: as pure beauty and pure love, as the master and the playful  “Friend,” as the vibrant, living presence that permeates every aspect of life.

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— — —

And, here’s an exquisite example of Rumi embracing “… all people, all countries, and all religions…” as expressed in Coleman Barks’ popular translation of a Rumi poem titled Only Breath – which also happens to be one of Rumi’s answers to the key question : Who Am I?

Not Christian or Jew or Muslim, not Hindu,
Buddhist, sufi, or zen. Not any religion

or cultural system. I am not from the East
or the West, not out of the ocean or up

from the ground, not natural or ethereal, not
composed of elements at all. I do not exist,

am not an entity in this world or the next,
did not descend from Adam or Eve or any

origin story. My place is placeless, a trace
of the traceless. Neither body or soul.

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I belong to the beloved, have seen the two
worlds as one and that one call to and know,

first, last, outer, inner, only that
breath breathing human being.

 


The 1st section (ending with the 1st “— — —“) is an excerpt from the Introduction in Rumi, In the Arms of the Beloved, Translations by Jonathan Starand the segment below that is Jonathan Star’s prose excerpt from A Garden Beyond Paradise, The Mystical Poetry of Rumi, Translated by Jonathan Star and Shahram Shiva.

Only Breath: From The Essential Rumi, Translations by Coleman Barks with John Moyne.

Images: 1) A New Path by Steve Jurvetson, CC BY 2.0, 2) Wasp by Steve Jurvetson, CC BY 2.0, 3) Into the light by Takashi .MCC BY 2.0, 4) Shooting Stars over the Trace! by Hippie Bowman, CC BY-SA 2.0.

 

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