Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Sparkling waters, an old friend, and Rumi

While on my usual five-mile walk by the river, I stopped for a while to watch the flow.  It flows not for you or for me or for anybody else. The water simply flows. That is it. Some seasons the flow is more, and less it is in others. It just is.

If only I could similarly truly understand life as "it is what it is."

While watching the sparkling waters under the cloudless summer sky, I was reminded of my friend Shahab. The late friend, that is.

I wondered whether it was the anniversary of his death and whether, therefore, the cosmos was somehow reminding me about it.  Turns out it is not the anniversary, but this July 9th is real close--Shahab died on June 9th, 2008.

Shahab, who was from Iran, simply adored the poetry and message in Rumi's works.   I am willing to bet that, for Shahab, no translation into English could ever come anywhere close to the poetry in the original.  But, people like me have no choice but to only appreciate Rumi through the translated works.

Like this one, via my favorite poetry site  So simple, so elegant, and so profound.  I am sure Shahab would have enjoyed this in the original.
What was told, that
by Jalalu'l-din Rumi
translated by Coleman Barks

What was said to the rose that made it open was said
to me here in my chest. 

What was told the cypress that made it strong
and straight, what was

whispered the jasmine so it is what it is, whatever made
sugarcane sweet, whatever

was said to the inhabitants of the town of Chigil in
Turkestan that makes them

so handsome, whatever lets the pomegranate flower blush
like a human face, that is

being said to me now. I blush. Whatever put eloquence in
language, that's happening here.

The great warehouse doors open; I fill with gratitude,
chewing a piece of sugarcane, 

in love with the one to whom every that belongs!
Life becomes wonderful when Rumi puts it this way, right?  I suppose that is at least one distinction between water flowing just because versus us humans who can appreciate the world around us and even those who are no more around us.


Indu said...

A touching post here Sriram!

You talk about the flowing river - how it got 'under your skin' and Rumi - I read this yesterday and was too moved to respond!! Too moved because i am also very fascinated by the river and Rumi - and it was my birthday yesterday :-D Thanks for that unintended gift!

Life is wonderful when you can live without a motive or without an expectation - but wow thats a tall order, isnt it?

If you can get yourself to read one book - try Siddhartha by Herman Hesse - what moved me in the book was the what the flowing river taught him...
You might be able to finish it even -it is a short one.

Sriram Khé said...

Happy birthday, Indu.
Oh, wow, this became a birthday gift to you, eh. Awesome!

Yes, if only I had the wisdom to simply accept life for what it is. oh well, my ignorance is what it is ;)

Hey, yes, I have read Siddhartha, and re-read it too! The reading was when I was way younger, and the re-reading was when it was a part of my daughter's curriculum--either in her final year of high school or the first year of college. That gave me the opportunity to re-read it.

I should clarify that in my younger days I have read full-length fiction in plenty. From the profound to the silly. EVen now, there are quite a few James Hadley Chase in my bookshelf here--I have no plans to re-read them though ;)

Ramesh said...

Amen Indu. A touching post indeed. As with many of Sriram's posts, something that you think about much after you have read it.

Belated Happy Birthday.

Sriram Khé said...

Looks like you swung by to catch-up with the posts ... I trust all is well ... I missed your comments, and so good to see you back, Ramesh ... my blogging is not the same without your rejoinders ...

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