What can I do, Submitters to God? I do not know myself.
I am neither Christian nor Jew, neither Zoroastrian nor Muslim,
I am not from east or west, not from land or sea,
not from the shafts of nature nor from the spheres of the firmament,
not of the earth, not of water, not of air, not of fire.
I am not from the highest heaven, not from this world,
not from existence, not from being.
I am not from India, not from China, not from Bulgar, not from Saqsin,
not from the realm of the two Iraqs, not from the land of Khurasan
I am not from the world, not from beyond,
not from heaven and not from hell.
I am not from Adam, not from Eve, not from paradise and not from Ridwan.
My place is placeless, my trace is traceless,
no body, no soul, I am from the soul of souls.
I have chased out duality, lived the two worlds as one.
One I seek, one I know, one I see, one I call.
He is the first, he is the last, he is the outer, he is the inner.
Beyond “He” and “He is” I know no other.
I am drunk from the cup of love, the two worlds have escaped me.
I have no concern but carouse and rapture.
If one day in my life I spend a moment without you
from that hour and that time I would repent my life.
If one day I am given a moment in solitude with you
I will trample the two worlds underfoot and dance forever.
O Sun of Tabriz (Shams Tabrizi), I am so tipsy here in this world,
I have no tale to tell but tipsiness and rapture
Through the poem, Rumi invites us to contemplate on the eternal question of “who am I?” He takes the question “what is man?” to a more personal and individual level: “who am I?” The self is made the subject of the whole search, making “knowing oneself” the central focus of the whole seeking process.
“What can I do, Submitters to God?” The poem starts with perplexity. “I do not know myself.” It starts with an admission that he does not know. He calls upon all submitters to God – the Moslem in its widest meaning.
Then it continues with a series of negation: what I am not. A realization of what I am not. Just like the tauhid statement begins with the negation “Laa illaah ha illa allaah” — the negation of “There is no god,” then continues with firm affirmation “but God.”
To start setting ourselves free from all forms and barriers, beyond our religious identity, beyond domicile identity, beyond the four elements identity, beyond ethnical identity. To look for ourselves that is beyond any belief.
The final “I” is universal. It is then projected to each of us as so-called individuals.
Then Rumi moves to more affirmative statements: My place is placeless, my trace is traceless. No body, no soul, I am from the soul of souls.
Our substance is Divine, but we often make it (much) less divine.
God creates with His Name Ar-Rahmaan, The Compassionate. He does not just create with Love. The whole world is a projection of Love. The whole world IS Love. We are nothing but Love. We are nothing but the Beloved who is manifesting always and in all ways.
Such realization would diminish the duality in this world. To see that my substance is also yours. There might still be you and I and them in this pluralistic world but we see one another with the same Eye.
Holding on too tight to certain things, said the speaker this afternoon Bagir, is like solidifying ourselves into an mambo ice (note: like ice cream but much more icy and solid). This is when our ego triumph. This is when I say I am not you. This is it and that is not it.
Even when we are given love, we then solidify love. This is love and only this is love, everything else (even another form of love) is not love. When we are given a taste of belief, we say this is what belief system is and everything else is not a belief system. We solidify the definition and freeze everything else.
The only way to return is to boil and heat up the ice—to melt the ice into one big universal ocean.
A member of the audience asked how we could boil and heat up the ice. I think Bagir responded brilliantly: That’s good that you ask the question. That means you don’t like and don’t want to be a mambo ice. That is a good starting point.
Ice melts due to heat. Heat can come from anger and suffering. It can also come from love. Some can be given anger and suffering over and over again until they realize that the only way is to return.
So if you ask me, opt for love. Start falling in love. It is easier and more pleasurable.
Thank you all for such a fulfilling discussion.
Next: This afternoon’s (25 Aug) topic: universal perspective: Inclusiveness – Essence of religion.
Ramadhan with Rumi is a collaboration between Dharmawangsa Square with Pusaka Hati. It is a series of Ramadhan discussion events, bazaars, an appreciation towards Rumi and book exchange event.
The discussions talk about universal perspective, self-knowledge, love & beauty, and service, with Rumi’s poems as starting points. They are held from 24 August to 11 September from Monday to Friday, from 5.15pm until the time of breaking the fast. Drinks and snacks are provided.
For more information on the event and Life Begins @ 40 click here http://www.lifeat40.com/lifeevents.asp or call Puput/Jatmiko at 6221 7205066
Fore more information on Pusaka Hati, click www.pusakahati.com
For more information on Beshara, click www.beshara.org
For more information on Rumi, google “Rumi” ☺