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

Chapter 79

Enlightenment


By Khurram Ali Shafique

Sultan Tipu, the Marty-King of Deccan, was in the presence of the Prophet in Paradise when he recited some verses from Iqbal. The Prophet asked him, “Whose is this verse which you recited? In it pulses the true vibration of life.”

Rumi shows Iqbal a palace whose reflected glory gives vision to angels. Three kings have assembled here.

Nadir Shah

Nadir Shah of Persia knew the secret of national unity. He welcomes Iqbal by saying, “On your lips our Persian speech beseems so well.”

Nasir Khusro

The spirit of Nasir-i-Khusrau, a classical Persian poet and an Ismaili preacher suddenly appears and sings a ghazal before vanishing again:

Faith is precious to the wise and contemptible to the ignorant:
Before the ignorant, faith is like jasmine before a cow.

Abdali

Ahmad Shah Abdali is the second of the three kings in the palace. He came after Nadir Shah and was the pioneer of Afghan nationhood.

“Asia is a single organism and the Afghan nation is the heart of Asia since desire and courage spring from the heart,” he says. “The whole of Asia is corrupt if the heart is corrupt. The body is free only as long as the heart is free, and the heart dies with hatred but lives with faith.”

Then he adds, “The power of the West comes from science and technology, not from their costumes. Wisdom comes with brains, not with European clothes!”

Sultan Tipu

Sultan Tipu of Deccan is the third king in the palace. He was the last impediment in the way of European colonialists in India and the British got rid of him by purchasing the loyalty of his trusted minister, Mir Sadiq, who is now being punished on Saturn. Tipu chose death over slavery and fell in the battlefield.

He asks Iqbal to take his message to Cauvery, the river that flows past his tomb in his native Deccan. “You whose music is the very fire of life,” he says to the river. “This message comes from the one whose empire you reflected in your mirror, whose contriving turned deserts into Paradise and who was awake while the East slept. Do not ask of God for length of days since immortality is in the breadth of life. There is no law, religion or etiquette for life except that it is better to live for a day like a lion than to be around for a hundred years like sheep!”

“Living Stream, O Living Stream!” Houris shout as the Poet comes out with Rumi. “O master of ardor and ecstasy! Sit down among us for a while!” On their insistence, the Poet recites a ghazals but moves on. Even Rumi shall not accompany him beyond this point because one has to behold the Ultimate Reality alone.


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In Paradise, Rumi and Iqbal visit the palace of kings Nadir Shah Durrani of Iran, Ahmad Shah Abdali of Afghanistan and Sultan Tipu of Mysore while classical Persian poet Nasir Khusro recites a ghazal. Iqbal doesn’t stay with houris but moves on.
Persian text