Sunday, May 15, 2011

Spring reflections by Rahal Eks

Spring reflections & the issue of facing death and calamity – by Rahal Eks
March 21, the astronomical vernal equinox (or the day before or after, depending on location and custom), is the day of the Persian New Year or Spring Celebration called Nowruz, meaning literally “new light”. Originally it was a Zoroastrian festival and the most important one. It is believed that it was invented by Zoroaster himself. The “New Light” festival is celebrated by Iranic peoples and related cultures and also became a holy day for Sufis, Ismailis, Alawites, Alevis, adherents of the Bahá'í Faith and probably as well inspired the Jewish Purim. It is the time when the Sun leaves Pisces and enters Aries, from water to fire and into new life. In this regard in could also be associated with Al-Khidr, the Green One who drank from the foundation of eternal life, or the Spring Fool, another Majnun and the Tarot card The Fool which stands for a new beginning and a journey.
This year started with unexpected intensity from the very beginning on. On the pleasant side I recall with fondness my productive and happy time in Al-Andalus. We well passed the Nowruz date now and made it to May 15, but due to the climate and other external circumstances it is only now that I manage to dive head and heart-on into a true spring feeling. Alas, still with rather mixed feelings.

A Chishti Sufi ghazal from the Diwaan-e-Mo’in comes to my mind right now:
Come to Me, because I am your true Friend.
Bring what you’ve got to Me, because I’ll buy everything.

If you are joyful and your heart longs for pleasure,
Come to Me, because I am the garden full of blooming roses.

And if your heart is dejected and troubled because of your sins,
Come to Me, because I am the Healer of sick hearts.

I’m not only the One Who is worshipped at the place of retreat,
But I’m also the Cupbearer of the tavern and the Troubadour of the
intoxicated ones.

O you, who in search of Me have stayed in hermitages:
Come out from there, because I am also present in the midst of the market.

Put away your desire for the patched frock and the golden crown;
It is My cloak and turban that is yours to wear.

Reduce your despair and don’t complain about being without friends,
Because I’m in all cases both your Beloved and Lover.

Do not confide the secrets of your innermost heart to everyone,
Because I am the confidant of the secrets of the solitary place of your

How long will you go on showing yourself as the central dot?
Sit at the centre and then you’ll see that I am the complete circle.

Your existence is like a piece of earthenware, but looks like a jewel from the mine.
I am however the most precious pearl at the bottom of the sea of meanings.

The wood of the person of Mo’in has been burnt by the fire of love,
So that I’ve been reduced to ashes, but I say that perhaps I have become

“Burnt to ashes by the fire of love,” that’s fana, annihilation, isn’t it? And I can see the phoenix rising from the flames – it comes as an instant association for the symbol of baqa, subsistence in Allah and the never-ending journey in God, in the ocean of unity. So much for poetic spirituality on the mystic Sufi front, always sounding lovely, but what about facing death and calamity in 3D reality and how to deal with that?

In the Tarot we have “Death” and “The Crumbling Tower”, both cards indicating metamorphosis and transformation on a drastic scale, pointing at change that shouldn’t and cannot be avoided and the Prophet Muhammad, pbuh, who advised us to die before dying. I actually did a few years back when I fell very ill in Marrakesh. I now know the taste of it and I miraculously emerged once more reborn and healthy.

It rained and everything is very green. Even the air smells spring-like and quite sensual. I wonder if I’ll perhaps fall in love again in one of these days. Will it be sooner or later? One never knows! C’est la vie, isn’t it? And nice it would be…