Summary: The love poems to and from God channeled by the revered Sufi mystic Farideddin Attar, and collected in the book entitled Sweet Sorrow, may be the most potent medicine for cynical minds afflicted by toxic forms of love. The power of these numinous nuggets of gnosis to re-connect one with our true nature is astonishing. Be warned: This bliss may be contagious!
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The question is, that you will have to face is: do you have a sense of the reality of God? And do you feel love? Because your love of God is also what enables you to feel God’s love for you. But that love has to be very consciously offered, and then you will feel that the offer is accepted, if it’s authentic, and it’s in that connection then that the soul is able to come out of hiding, or out of imprisonment from the ego, and become the vehicle of consciousness that is then able to rise even higher into the presence of the Supreme Spirit.
So I think that one of the ways we can inculcate that love is by reading the works of poets who felt that love, who felt it so deeply and could write about it with such truthfulness that one could read those poems and feel what they were feeling, and the love could be transmitted, it could be activated, because everyone’s heart has it, but it’s atrophied, it’s gone to sleep, it’s in suspended animation for many. But if you will read these poems that we’re going to be talking about this evening, I think it will awaken love in your heart, love for God, and then the realization that God as your Beloved is actually that part of yourself which is missing in the phenomenal plane, which has created the whole sense of lack, and brought about all of the fears and the misguided desires of the ego.
So I think that these poems of true lovers of God are one of the most priceless jewels we have in our human heritage, to keep alive the ability to connect with the divine love in our hearts, and then open up to the fullness of a relationship to God, that will become the realization of nonduality.
And I think it’s very clear, at least from my study of literature, that the most fertile and beautiful lineage of poets was that of the Persian Sufi poets, during that golden age of Sufism in which the Sufi, or the Muslim empire, extended from Spain and Portugal all the way to beyond Persia, and all the way into China, in fact. And there were Sufi sects in India, like the Naqshbandi sects. And there were many others, of course, the Mevlevi that began in Persia and moved to Turkey, but lost their essence in that move, but there were so many beautiful schools, wisdom schools, among the Sufis that produced incredible books of poetry, that to me are still living animators of soul-consciousness and heart opening, that have the power to revive a heart that maybe feels it has gone dead and can no longer feel such deep feelings.
So that’s why we’re studying these, and of course, we just read one book of poems by an early Sufi poet; this one we’re reading is, one of—some would say he is the greatest of all of the Persian Sufis. I’m speaking, of course, of Sheikh Farid ud-Din Attar Nishapur. Attar is what he’s known as, and attar, of course, means perfume. He was, in fact, a perfumer for a living. His father was—and he came from a long line of those people who in those days were actually masters of spices—they didn’t just do perfumes—but they were apothecaries and they were ayurvedic healers. They understood all the secrets of the spice, and of how to use plant medicine.
And so Attar was already, while alive, one of the great figures of this—he was very famous, very renowned—and Rumi’s father knew all of his writings, and when Rumi was a child he would read Attar’s poetry to him. Actually, Attar, they met, and Attar gave him a book of his poetry, but his father also gave him books of his poems. And when the Mongol hordes were attacking Persia from the east, Rumi’s family had to move, and one of the places they stopped in order to avoid the persecution that was coming, was in Attar’s town. And they met, and Attar said, “Rumi will be a great poet who will carry on the tradition.”
So there was a transmission of the torch between the two. So in a way, we’re reading Attar in preparation for reading Rumi, and for reading some of Rumi’s works that are not usually read, not the ones translated by Coleman Barks and the famous ones, but there’s much more profound works by Rumi that I would like to get into, but first I think we have to really appreciate the lineage that he was coming from, and the inspiration that he received from Attar, and then, of course, later from Shams in his practice of deep meditation and entering samadhi, and becoming fully awakened.
It’s important to know that the Sufis, because they extended from the Iberian Peninsula to China, they were aware of Advaita, they were aware of Mahayana, they were aware of Tantra, they were aware of Daoism—and you can hear, read, references to all of those in these poems. The Sufis were, and still are, really, very universal in their approach, and this is, of course, what got them into trouble, because they would often say, “No, I’m not a Muslim. My religion is love.” Right? So a number of them got burned at the stake for saying that a bit too loud in the wrong places, but they were in a state of nonduality, but it was that ultimate state of nonduality in which samsara and nirvana are one. And because of that, they could simultaneously be in a state of longing for God and at the same time be in God-consciousness, giving the answer to those who are in a state of longing for what you need to do or to feel, or to open within yourself, in order to be healed of that separation.
So that’s why I think Attar is excellent medicine. Have any of you read it already? No. OK, so there’s a long, interesting introduction. I’m going to read one poem from the introduction that isn’t included in the list of poems, and then I’ll read a few of the initial ones.
“Love hints, it doesn’t reason.”
So that’s the first thing. If you really want to connect to God in a state of love, it’s about very subtle hints, and you can’t use concepts and intellectualization.
“Love hints, it doesn’t reason, sell your heart to it.”
OK? To this way of being.
“That is the best deal here.
Let your heart climb out of that grave which is your ego, into the light of love.
That is the only pilgrimage here.”
OK? So that’s the pilgrimage. We are on a pilgrimage of love that brings us ever closer to the Source of love, which we can call God, Allah, the Buddha Nature, Brahman, Shiva, Krishna, whatever—but what is different about the Sufi approach is that Buddha Nature seems like it’s dry, it’s impersonal—Brahman, what is that? What is a unified field of consciousness? It’s not something you can really love, you know? You can have curiosity about it, and a scientific interest in, but you don’t love something that is not personal. You love someone. Someone who loves you. Someone with intelligence, and with subtlety, who can speak to you with very subtle hints. And so if you have a personal relationship with God, and you actually feel the responses that you are personally receiving from God, which will happen, that will change everything for you, because you will be living in a dyad, in a relationship with an invisible friend and lover, who will fulfill all of your questions, and your needs to feel whole, which you can’t get through any other means.
This is the reason why the Vaishnavs are in disagreement with the Shaivites in Hinduism, and the Vaishnavs are very much against nonduality, and Brahman, and thinking of God as impersonal—they want to relate to God as a person, not even as Mahavishnu because he’s asleep, right, on the ocean of milk, and dreaming the world. But you can’t relate to him. You’re in his dream, but he’s not in the dream, he’s beyond it. So they prefer to relate to Krishna because Krishna is fun, he’s a rogue: he plays, he steals your butter, but he’ll give you cream, and he is someone you can have a relation with. And that’s why, of course, there are so many gods and goddesses, and even the Buddhists who claim to want the Buddha Nature—if you really go into a Buddhist culture, you’ll see in Tibet they’re worshipping Tara, and they’re worshipping so many other gods and goddesses, and they’re worshipping great gurus like Padmasambhava, and all of that—there’s a very personal connection even though the theology is nontheistic, but the practical way of relating to the Divine is through a personal relationship. And the same is true in most of the, if not all of, the nondual traditions.
OK, so let me read some of the poems of Attar…
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Navid Mirmokri22 May 2023
Hi I am just curious on how to be able to view the entirety of this video?
When video had stopped, ShunyaMurti was continuing to speak .
Vajra Sat Yoga29 May 2023
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Mariella31 May 2023