Updated: May 11, 2020
tombes of jallaludin-e-rumi, his father, son and disicples
shrine of jallaludin rumi, konya, september 2018
six months adrift after leaving bali, erring has brought me here, to konya, the shrine of rumi.
from different places, all year round, thousands of people come here on a pilgrimage to what is considered the most sacred place in sufism.
the appeal of rumi as a poet is universal for he speaks of love in the language of love. what emanates from the heart touches the heart of another directly, or as we say in farsi, the language in which rumi wrote: del be del rah darad, heart knows her way to another's heart, hence the magnetism of his verses.
where love speaks and is spoken and is heard, barriers break down, walled spaces crumble to reveal openness, an openness that is the deepest expression of life. in this inclusiveness lies also the essence of zen; enlightened compassion.
one day in 1970, in my thirteenth year, my father, javad, himself a mature and accomplished sufi, placed three volumes of rumi's masnavi-e-molavi, by many accounts his masterwork, as a gift in my hands. he would read verses from the books and go over them with me. i guess i could trace my interest in matters spiritual back to that offering and to the example my father left for me; embracing and cultivating humility. ultimately, humility saves us from the torments, insecurities and burden that comes with identifying with our self-centeredness.
to sufism humility is central, it is the path that has no end.
here, on pilgrimage to rumi's shrine, i also feel closest to my father's own legacy. as a true man of the sufi path, he left a trail of love where he himself quietly disappeared.
one day, away from him for many years, i wrote to tell him of the beauty of the scenery of the french riviera where i was staying at that time and, how much i wanted him to also see the enchanting scenes i was seeing. in his next letter, to appease my burning sense of longing, he wrote the following: it is with your eyes and through them that i see the beauty of the world.
those words struck me when i first read them but, it took me many years, long after he had gone, to recognize in them a pure expression of agapé; unconditional and universal love. those simple words are the most generous words any human has ever spoken to me.
realization of union with the divine is clearly the manifestation of love in us when it matures into agapé.
"whoever you may be, come
even though you may be
an infidel, a pagan, or a fire-worshipper, come
our brotherhood is not one of despair
even though you have broken
your vows of repentance a hundred times, come. - rumi"
to come, to never cease coming, is what illumines the tender, frail, broken, human heart. to never cease coming is closest.