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

Chapter 76

The Soul of India

By Khurram Ali Shafique

Saturn is a slow-moving planet tormented by the wrath of the angels. If the previous planet was the abode of spirits who moved on from Paradise, this one is the dumping ground for those who are refused by hell. They are Jaffar of Bengal and Sadiq of Deccan, two eighteenth century Indian nobles whose defection paved the way for British colonialism. “Shame to mankind, religion and country,” Rumi comments on the two traitors.

The Ocean of Blood

An ocean of blood is overridden by storms. Its air is infested with winged snakes that have black heads and silver hair. The waves instill such fear that sharks are found dead on the shores while the shores themselves are bombarded with rocks.
Sitting terrified in a boat are Jaffar and Sadiq.

The Soul of India

A beautiful houri appears on the horizon. She is bedecked with emblems of Primordial Beauty and radiating with heavenly light but is doomed to chains and fetters. She is the Spirit of India.

“Indians have made a prison of ancient customs by estranging themselves from selfhood,” she says. “Due to them I am bound in chains. Jaffar died but his spirit lives on. Idols of the ancient past are now being replaced with the idol of country: outwardly anguished for faith and inwardly a non-believer.”

The Traitors’ Lament

One of the passengers in the boat raises a cry. “Alas! Hell did not lend a spark to burn us,” he says. “The Sudden Death beyond the nine heavens refuses to annihilate our souls…” They want their souls to get extinguished.

A frightful noise is heard. Rocks start falling on each other as if the end of the world has come unannounced. Lightning and thunder descend upon the ocean of blood, waves rise higher than themselves and sheets of blood cover everything.

The caravan of stars looks at this all and passes by unconcerned. Welcome to the sixth stage of your journey.

Sign of the Beginning
Of Stage 6

Give me the heart whose rapture is from a draught of its own wine,
Take away this heart, which is self-effaced and given to fancying others.

  • Is there any similarity between what you saw at Venus and what you have seen on Saturn?
  • How is this visit to Saturn relevant to the world of Quran mentioned on the second planet?
  • How has Saturn, the sixth planet, been similar to or different from the sixth stage of your journey that ended just now?
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On Saturn, which is the sixth stop in the spiritual journey, Rumi and Iqbal see the traitors Mir Jafar and Mir Sadiq punished in an ocean of blood after being refused by hell while the soul of India appears as a houri in chains.
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