The Republic of Rumi: A Novel of Reality
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The Republic of Rumi: a Novel of Reality

Chapter 18

Shams of Tabriz


By Khurram Ali Shafique

Mawalana Rumi started on the path after meeting his mentor Shams of Tabriz. In the chapter, ‘Some precepts written for Indian Muslims by Mir Nijat Naqshband, the Old Man of the Desert’, you witness the historic meeting.

Some precepts written for Indian Muslims by Mir Nijat Naqshband, the Old Man of the Desert

In a vision from another time, you see a young Rumi, unmindful of the secrets he would later impart to the world. A heap of books lies next to him as he lectures on skepticism and Neoplatonism, Peripatetics and many other metaphysical concepts.

A qalandar appears and you recognize him as Shams of Tabriz, the future mentor of Rumi. He interrupts the lecture by asking rudely, “What is this noise?” Rumi reprimands him by saying that this is something he might not understand. Shams casts a look at the heap of books, and a fire emanates to burn them all. This is the beginning of Rumi’s journey on the path of Shams.

Joseph, whom you are searching now, did not belong to Rumi and Iqbal only. He must have come from Shams, but the reason why Shams has appeared right now is not to remind you about his connection with Joseph but with yourself. Your books were also burnt, just like Rumi, not very long ago. When you agreed to suspend your previous knowledge upon entering the Garden, it was a metaphorical burning of your books but you didn’t do it. Shams did.

The Garden was created by the Poet on a direct command from Rumi, who in his times had been inducted by Shams. Since it all started with the burning of Rumi’s books by Shams, it is not a coincidence that you were asked to do the same upon arriving here: Shams can transcend “Time, your last clue. The Garden may be a virtual construct, but it is connecting you with something more real than you may have suspected.

Shams literally means the Sun. Shams of Tabriz is nothing less. One has to be Rumi in order to behold him at close proximity. The Poet had to use the mask of a fictitious personality as a screen and you are using the screen of this virtual reality. Still the radiance here is from the real historical Shams of Tabriz.

DISCUSS

  • Do you think that you have come in contact with the historical Shams through a virtual reality?
  • Shams means the sun in Arabic. Is it possible that you are receiving illumination from Shams of Tabriz through this book?

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Here the reader discovers that although the Garden is a virtual reality, it connects the reader with the real mentor of Rumi, the historic Shams of Tabriz.
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