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

Chapter 69

The Valley of Prophets


By Khurram Ali Shafique

Yarghamid lies next. Angels call it the Valley of Tawasin, because tasin refers to a cryptic tablet and tawasin is the plural.

Four cryptic tablets are engraved upon a wall of moonstone here. They belong to Gautama Buddha, Zarathustra, Jesus Christ and Prophet Muhammad. “Behold the four tasins of prophets,” Rumi says to Iqbal.

The Tablet of Buddha

The Repentance of the coquettish Dancing‑Girl

“Transcend the unseen, for this doubt and surmise are nothing,” is the message of Buddha. “To be in the world and to escape from it: that is something!”

He is addressing a coquettish dancer. Her reply to Buddha is, “Give my heart no time to agitate: add a curl or two to your tress!”

The Tablet of Zarathustra

Ahriman Tempts Zarathustra

As the fifth type of intelligence, this should correspond to your present stage. Ahriman, the Persian representation of the Devil, is trying to dissuade Zarathustra from going out and reshaping the world. “Take rest in the abode of Unity: abandon company and sit in retirement,” is Ahriman’s advice. This could be a natural choice for you as well, since you understand that your major revolt is against yourself. “By associating with nobodies, somebody becomes nobody,” says Ahriman.

Zarathustra replies, “Darkness is the shore of the Ocean of Light and no torrent like me was ever born in the heart of this ocean. My breast is swarming with restless waves: what should the torrent do but devastate the shore? The colorless picture, which no human being has ever seen, can only be painted with the blood of Ahriman.”

The Tablet of Jesus Christ

The Dream of Leo Tolstoy

The Russian sage and reformer Leo Tolstoy beholds Judas in a furious stream of quicksilver in the Valley of Seven Deaths—annihilation in all seven aspects of journey. Standing on the bank is a slim and crafty woman named Afrangine (literally a word play on Afrang, the Persian for Europe). She has taught idolatry to bishops.

“Now, do you regret what you did to our Lord?” She taunts the traitor. The hapless man’s anguish increases and he cries, “O Deceitful Enchantress! Look at your crime, which is worse than mine. It is due to you that the followers of Christ have done to his soul what I only did to his body!”

The Tablet of Muhammad

The Spirit of Abu Jahl Laments in Ka‘bah

Abu Jahl, the archenemy of the Prophet is praying before idols as they are about to be removed from the House of God. He laments that Muhammad is perpetuating equality and respect for the individual. Slaves are rising up against their masters and the youth are refusing to show blind obedience to custom. “Do not go away from this abode,” he pleads to the objects of his worship. “Or if leave you must then stay in our hearts!”

The tour of Moon ends here. The first planet has offered seven visions: the cave of Vishvamitra, the music of Sarosh, the poetry of Sarosh and the tablets of Buddha, Zarathustra, Jesus Christ and Prophet Muhammad.

DISCUSS

  • At this first stage of his spiritual journey, has Iqbal re-lived the development of ancient civilization from the beginning to the last prophet?

  • Moon is the first of the seven stages in the planetarium. How is it similar to or different from the first stage of your journey in the Garden?

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Rumi shows Iqbal the cryptic tablets of four prophets: Buddha, Zarathustra, Jesus and Muhammad (peace be upon him).
Persian text