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

Chapter 61

Shabistry


By Khurram Ali Shafique

The next structure is a small grove of plants. The boughs, leaves and flowers have actually sprung from certain questions, which are like soil, minerals and water for the Garden of Poetry. Quite appropriately, this portion is called the New Garden of Mystery. The very name might be suggesting that the fifth stage has begun:

Sign of the Beginning
Of Stage 5

Winter is over,
Songs have come to life among the branches again.

“Sheikh Mahmood Shabistry was a Sufi from Tabriz who codified Muslim thought in the thirteenth century so that the world may recover from the invasion of Mongols,” Iqbal explains to you. “I have now reorganized it for serving the same purpose in a new world emerging from the ravages of European colonialism.”

This reorganized thought is presented here as nine questions and short answers.

1. Thought

First of all I am intrigued about my thought. Why is it sometimes needed and sometimes shunned?

2. Knowledge

What is this ocean whose shore is knowledge? What is that pearl which is found in its depth?

3. Union

What is the union of the contingent and the necessary? What are near and far, more and less?

4. Separation

How did the temporal and eternal separate so that one became the world, and the other God? If the knower and the known are one pure essence, what are the aspirations of this handful of earth?

5. Self

What am I? Tell me what ‘I’ means. What is the meaning of ‘travel into yourself’?

6. Selflessness

What is that part which is greater than its whole? What is the way to find that part?

7. Completion

Of what sort is this traveler who is the wayfarer? Of whom shall I say that this is a Universal Human Being?

8. ‘I am the Creative Truth’

What point does the claim, ‘I am the Creative Truth’ imply? Do you think that this mystery was mere nonsense?

9. Awareness

Who was it that at last became familiar with the secret of Oneness? Who is the wise one that has true awareness?

The first four questions and their answers correspond with the first four books of poetry respectively. You know these books because each book forms an enclave that you have visited. Is would be very fitting if the remaining five books answer the other five questions in the same order.

DISCUSS

  • What can be the greatest hindrance to recognizing this connection between idea and reality?

  • What will it prove if the remaining five books answer the other five questions in the same order?


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In the New Garden of Mystery, the reader is offered nine essential questions.
Persian text