Logo of a bird
Australian Centre For Sufism


 

Home Page



Sufi Teachings:

Moulana Rumi's
Masnavi: Book II
The Story of Moses
and the Shepherd


Turning to Light,
Not Chasing the Shadow


Moulana Rumi's
Masnavi: Book I
The Story of the Merchant
and the Parrot - Part Three


Moulana Rumi's
Masnavi: Book I
The Story of the Merchant
and the Parrot - Part Two


Moulana Rumi's
Masnavi: Book I
The Story of the Merchant
and the Parrot - Part One


The Spiritual Message of
Rumi for the Searchers
of our Time & His
Transformative Teachings
in the Masnavi


The Purpose of Life

Excerpts from
Henry Corbin on
Mundus Imaginalis


Second Part of Excerpts
from Man of Light in
Iranian Sufism


An Introduction to
Henry Corbin
    and
First Part of Excerpts
from Man of Light in
Iranian Sufism


A Brief Spiritual Reflection
On The Current Pandemic


The Interior Life In Islam

The Qur'an as the
Lover's Mirror


On The Cosmology of Dhikr

Ibn 'Arabi On
Proximity And Distance


Why Do Muslims Fast?

Knowledge of Reality and
Ignorance of Reality -
What is Knowledge
of Reality?


Knowledge of Reality and
Ignorance of Reality -
Seeing Versus
Not Seeing


Knowledge of Reality and
Ignorance of Reality -
Journeying In
The Spiritual Path


Book of Theophanies

The Month of Ramadhan

Sufi Psychology:
The Isolation and
Transformation
of the Nafs


To Be Or Not To Be

Imposter Or
Mistaken Identity?


Moulana Rumi -
The Mirror of Divine Love


The Transformative Power
of the Fear of God


Test of the Hardship

The Theatre
of Life


Peace and the
Inner Jihad


Sufism and the
Paradox of Self


Surrender

Faith and Action

What is Tasawwuf
(Sufism)?


Listening for God:
Prayer and the Heart

 



Bismillaah ir Rahmaan ir Rahiim
In the name of Allah, The Merciful, The Compassionate


Moulana Rumi's Masnavi: Book I
The Story of the Merchant and the Parrot
Part Two

By Fleur Nassery Bonnin

We continue with the story of the Merchant and the Parrot after the merchant has arrived in India and has found the parrots there.

The merchant passes on the message of his own parrot thereby discharging his duty. Immediately thereafter…

One of those parrots trembled exceedingly,
    it fell and died, its breath stopped.

The merchant repented of having told the news,
    and said; I have gone about to destroy the creature

This one, surely must be a kin to that little parrot (of mine)
    or must have been two bodies and one spirit.

Masnavi I: 1589-91                                            


Using the drama of the story, Rumi turns to the higher nature of the soul and the veiling effects of unwise speech.

Why did I do this? Why did I give the message?
    I have consumed the poor creature by this raw speech.

This tongue is like stone and is also fire-like,
    that which springs from the tongue is like fire.

Do not vainly strike stone and iron against each other,
    not for the sake of story telling, nor for the sake of boasting.

Because it is dark and on every side are fields of cotton,
    How should sparks be amongst cotton?

Tyrannical are those persons who shut their eyes
    and set a whole world ablaze by their words.

Masnavi I: 1592-96                                            


Human beings can be like Christ in their reality and essence - they can heal people with their words - but as long as they over identify with their self and bodily nature and its desires, they not only blind themselves to their real spiritual potential but also hurt others with their words.

Spirits in their original nature are like the breath of Jesus,
    Sometimes are like a wound, and sometimes a merciful remedy

If the veil of the body were removed from the spirits,
    words of every spirit would be like the breath of the Messiah.

If you wish to utter sweet words like sugar,
    refrain from greediness - don't eat this sweetmeat.

Masnavi I: 1598-1600                                            


If you want your words to be sweet and effective, be patient and do not say whatever comes to your mind immediately. Perfect people reach high stations through pause, pondering, and patience. That is not the state of people who are greedy and hurrying for a result.

Patience is the virtue of the intelligent
    sweetmeat is what children desire

Whoever practises self-control ascends to Heaven,
    whoever eats sweetmeat falls farther behind.

Masnavi I: 1601-2                                            


Rumi places patience and silence together since he sees that many human problems are the result of both impatience and our inclination to have conversations that we should not be having, and both elements work together to lead us into any number of wrong directions. In the above verse he says the intelligent person does not need to speak much and needs to have self control and take his time. Whilst there are always multiple levels and depths of meaning in Rumi's verses, even receiving the first level here is important as he alludes to where one's attention must be with his words in order for them to be like the breath of the Messiah, healing rather than wounding.

It is also important to reflect and remember that all spiritual and Sufi masters have always put so much emphasis on silence, this should tell us something. On this issue of the destructive aspects of the tongue and on the necessity of withholding when it's required Rumi again takes off for a few pages which is beyond the space that we have for this article.

Some contemporary reflections on the above verses of Rumi:

We need to be mindful that Rumi said these things 750 years ago when there was no television or 24-hour news cycle, no constant use of iPhones or endless talking. Society now praises these excessive forms of speech and values extraversion and exhibitionism over introversion and reflection, and we actively contribute to our own information overwhelm by engaging in these activities to our own detriment. The trend we are in keeps going in the wrong direction and taking us with it and as a society we are becoming increasingly manipulative and manipulated, deceitful and harmful. We have moved so far away from Rumi's ideals and from who we really are and we are so used to this collective behaviour that we are almost numb to these abuses of speech and behaviour. What would Rumi say now in this environment? He did warn us, and his warning bears repeating here:

This tongue is like stone and is also fire-like,
    that which springs from the tongue is like fire.

Tyrannical are those persons who shut their eyes (blindly)
    and set a whole world ablaze by their words (belief).

Masnavi I: 1593, 1596                                            


Humans are constantly searching for what they think they should know, and they have been unconsciously indoctrinated by blind social forces to use hollow and useless sayings which block what they actually need to know - that which the Creator has ordained for them to know, remember and speak of.

Poor man does not know himself,
    he has come from a high estate and fallen into lowlihood

Masnavi III: 1000                                            


Rumi also warns us not to fall into the trap of assuming that only phenomena that can be seen exists and hence the common modern agnostic attitude of "we believe what we see" or "we have to see it to believe it", disregarding what we don't see, like our soul, spirit, and most importantly, the Creator of us all. This trap veils our attention from what we should know and do in our short journey of life on earth. The Sufi masters knew if we were left to the devices of our ego, and consequently in an ego driven society and world, even with all our material achievements, we would never be at peace with ourself and others, so they show us in various languages and through various stories how to resist and avoid this slippery sloped path of the ego (which is referred to as Shaytan in the language of scripture) and instead urge us to choose the path of knowledge of Reality which leads to serenity, certainty and inner peace. As God has alluded to in the Qur'an:

O you soul at peace

Return to your Lord, well satisfied yourself and well satisfying your Lord

Be included among My sincere servants

And enter My Paradise.

Qur'an 89:27-30                                            


These verses (ayat) have levels of interpretation and deeper and deeper meaning (ta'wil), which is common to the Qur'an, but in spite of that it is important to notice that Allah puts His servant being satisfied first and His own being satisfied second. It is illuminating to see that human being's realisation of what is real in contrast with what is unreal brings a certainty which settles in the heart and pleases them and this is what makes God pleased in return and therefore He enters them not to Paradise but to His Paradise.

I would like to add that in the commentary of Al-Mizan, the most highly regarded and reliable commentary of the Qur'an by Allameh Tabataba'i, he mentions that no other place in the 114 chapters of the Qur'an has Allah said "My Paradise" (janati, in Arabic), connecting this paradise to Himself, except in this verse. There is so much to go into here but it is beyond the scope of this article.

What can be said is that if from all the Qur'an we understood and realised these four short verses that would have been enough for us.

We will end these reflections here, and rejoin Rumi as he too brings himself back from the higher realms to the story, just as the merchant is about to relate to his parrot what he had witnessed with the parrots of India.… however that will have to wait for the third section!

 

To Top

_________________________________


Sufi Teachings:

Moulana Rumi's Masnavi: Book II
The Story of Moses and the Shepherd


Turning to Light, Not Chasing the Shadow

Moulana Rumi's Masnavi: Book I
The Story of the Merchant and the Parrot - Part Three


Moulana Rumi's Masnavi: Book I
The Story of the Merchant and the Parrot - Part Two


Moulana Rumi's Masnavi: Book I
The Story of the Merchant and the Parrot - Part One


The Spiritual Message of Rumi for the Searchers of our Time &
His Transformative Teachings in the Masnavi


The Purpose of Life

Excerpts from Henry Corbin on Mundus Imaginalis

Second Part of Excerpts from Man of Light in Iranian Sufism

An Introduction to Henry Corbin         and
First Part of Excerpts from Man of Light in Iranian Sufism

A Brief Spiritual Reflection On The Current Pandemic

The Interior Life In Islam

The Qur'an as the Lover's Mirror

On The Cosmology of Dhikr

Ibn 'Arabi On Proximity And Distance

Why Do Muslims Fast?

Knowledge of Reality and Ignorance of Reality - What is Knowledge of Reality?

Knowledge of Reality and Ignorance of Reality - Seeing Versus Not Seeing

Knowledge of Reality and Ignorance of Reality - Journeying In The Spiritual Path

Book of Theophanies

The Month of Ramadhan

Sufi Psychology: The Isolation and Transformation of the Nafs

To Be Or Not To Be

Imposter Or Mistaken Identity?

Moulana Rumi - The Mirror of Divine Love

The Transformative Power of the Fear of God

Test of the Hardship

The Theatre of Life

Peace and the Inner Jihad

Sufism and the Paradox of Self

Surrender

Faith and Action

What is Tasawwuf (Sufism)?

Listening for God: Prayer and the Heart


To Top

________________________________________________

For further information contact the
Australian Centre for Sufism and Irfanic Studies (ACS)
Phone: (02) 9955 SUFI (7834)
or email: acs@australiansuficentre.org


Home Page | About Us | Sufism/Irfan | Sufi Psychology | Enneagram |
Events | Courses | Sufi Teachings | Contact Us | Sitemap