Why Should I Fear? When Was I Less By Dying?

Why should I fear? When was I less by dying?

Sunday, December 17, 2017 was the 844th anniversary of the death of Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi, known to most people in the west as Rumi. I missed the opportunity to celebrate the 800th anniversary of his birth in 2006.

Why should I fear? When was I less by dying?

Rumi was so many things in life. For me, saying Rumi is a poet is like saying Mount Everest is a hill. I believe one day students in the west will study Rumi’s poetry the way Shakespeare is studied today. But I consider Rumi to be much more than a poet. I consider him to be one of the few who attained to what the New Message from God calls Knowledge. Knowledge is the deeper spiritual intelligence that God has placed in each person. Rumi is someone who accomplished what I am trying to accomplish in my study of the book Steps to Knowledge. It may take some work.

Why should I fear? When was I less by dying? The particular translation I am sharing is by the British scholar Arthur John Arberry (1905-1969). He was one of the first scholars to translate Rumi into English. I consider this translation to be direct and to the point. There is so much that could be said about this poem. I have nothing to say that is better than silence.

I died as a mineral and became a plant,
I died as plant and rose to animal,
I died as animal and I was Man.
Why should I fear? When was I less by dying?
Yet once more I shall die as Man, to soar
With angels blest; but even from angelhood
I must pass on: all except God doth perish.
When I have sacrificed my angel-soul,
I shall become what no mind e’er conceived.
Oh, let me not exist! for Non-existence
Proclaims in organ tones, ‘To Him we shall return.’

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Welcome to Mystery of Ascension! Добро пожаловать в Тайну просветления! We document the study of the New Message from God in general, and the book Steps to Knowledge in particular. Мы тут делимся своим опытом изучения Нового Послания от Бога, в общем, и книги Шаги к Знанию в частности. Find out more about us here. Узнайте больше о нас здесь. Find out how to contact us here. Узнайте, как связаться с нами здесь.

Sometimes I Forget Completely

Rumi wrote a poem "Sometimes I forget completely"

Coleman Barks translated Rumi's poem "Sometimes I forget completely" into English

It took six hundred years, give or take a few, for Rumi’s poetry to appear in English. R. A. Nicholson (1868-1945) gave us the first complete English translation of the Mathnawi. A. J. Arberry (1905-1969) followed in Nicholson’s footsteps, translating Fihi ma fihi (translated as Discourses of Rumi) and many Rumi poems. I believe these men felt like the man in the gospels who discovered the treasure buried in the field, or the merchant of pearls who discovered the pearl of great price.

In 1976, poet Robert Bly showed Coleman Barks some of Arberry’s Rumi translations. Bly suggested to Barks that he make a more modern poetic translation, saying, “Release these (poems) from their scholarly cages.” Oh, what gratitude I have for the human bucket-brigade of A. J. Arberry, Robert Bly, and Coleman Barks, carriers of the celestial nectar!

Sometimes I forget completely

Sometimes I forget completely
what companionship is.
Unconscious and insane, I spill sad
energy everywhere. My story
gets told in various ways: a romance,
a dirty joke, a war, a vacancy.

Divide up my forgetfulness to any number,
it will go around.
These dark suggestions that I follow,
are they part of some plan?
Friends, be careful. Don’t come near me
out of curiosity, or sympathy.

I was inspired by recent events to share this poem. Sometimes I forget completely that I’m not alone, and it drives me mad, as it is a violent violation of one of the great truths of the universe. Please help me to remember, but from a distance.

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Welcome to Mystery of Ascension! Добро пожаловать в Тайну просветления! We document the study of the New Message from God in general, and the book Steps to Knowledge in particular. Мы тут делимся своим опытом изучения Нового Послания от Бога, в общем, и книги Шаги к Знанию в частности. Find out more about us here. Узнайте больше о нас здесь. Find out how to contact us here. Узнайте, как связаться с нами здесь.