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poem interpretations & more
Here is my interpretation of Hafiz’s poem ‘What Happens’
What happens when your soul
Begins to awaken
And your heart
And the cells of your body
To the great Journey of Love?
First there is wonderful laughter
And probably precious tears
And a hundred sweet promises
And those heroic vows
No one can ever keep.
But still God is delighted and amused
You once tried to be a saint.
What happens when your soul
Begins to awake in this world
To our deep need to love
And serve the Friend?
O the Beloved
Will send you
One of His wonderful, wild companions –
In this poem Hafiz first describes someone who is falling in love – in the worldly ‘love’ sense – with another human being, with expectations of love being returned. This ‘great journey’ of love is what slowly makes this human being feel alive. In this love, we make a lot of heroic promises which we obviously break over time as this love/relationship becomes a mundane thing in our life. He says, God is truly amused at this childlike behavior of humans but God still appreciates that humans try to be noble, brave and saintly in the name of love.
Then he says, similarly a person might have another type of soul awakening to love – but this time, it could be to a divine type of love – one that is free of attachments and expectations. It is the deep need to love anyone whom you see hurting or suffering, the need to serve those who need help. What happens to a person like this? Hafiz answers this by saying that God will send you one of his messengers to help you out, to show you the way, to guide you. A messenger, just like Hafiz 🙂
Taken from ‘I Heard God Laughing : Renderings of Hafiz’ by Daniel Ladinsky.
Image credit : me
Here is my interpretation of Gibran’s poem ‘On Children’
Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.
In this poem, Khalil Gibran – who himself did not have any child, is giving a message to parents about their children. He says that the children who are born to you – are not yours, you as parents do not ‘own’ or ‘posses’ them. You and your partner have been chosen by God to be the channel for this life – body, soul and spirit – to come into existence. You are to give them love and care, you will take care of their needs until the time they can do it for themselves – but that does not mean that in return for this you indoctrinate them with your thoughts. If you let them have thoughts of their own, they will surprise you with their brilliance. He says instead of teaching them, we can learn from them and strive to be like them. He says that parents are the bow from which the children shoot forward as the arrows – and God is the archer, orchestrating all of this. He says, be glad – you have this joy of being a parent – do all you do for your children in that gladness. For as God loves the brilliant arrows being shot forward – he similarly loves a bow which is strong, balanced, grounded and stable. He is basically, asking the parents to be a solid foundation for the children; solve your own issues – so that you don’t shake up your child’s childhood by your own mental imbalances; grow up first – before you try to help them grow up.
Taken from The Prophet by Khalil Gibran
Image credits : me 🙂
My father chopped off my head
I died. He attached an Elephant head instead
And resurrected me – for he was the God Shiva.
I saw his regret and forgave him in a heartbeat
Adored, loved and respected him ever since.
This is how Lord Ganesha, came into being.
Do you think, you will be able to do that?
Forgive the one who chops off your head?
Can you forgive the car that cuts off in front of you in the city traffic?
The boss who makes you feel worthless?
The spouse who has no time to hear your heartfelt thoughts?
The parents who did not understand their sensitive child?
All those who make these tiny cuts in your soul – day in and day out?
Can you forgive them?
That is why Ganesha is God and we are mere mortals.
Let us pray, that God Shiva chop off our ego-heads
and replaces it with one full of wisdom and knowledge,
just like Ganesha’s and all our obstacles shall begone.
Ganapati Bappa Morya! Happy Ganesh Chaturthi!
Image credit : me 🙂
आपल्या सर्वांमधे असतो एक आरसा
हा कधी दिसत नाही
पण आपल्या असण्याची
जाणीव नेहमी करून देतो
ज्या भावना आपण स्वतःशी लपवतो
त्यांचं प्रतिबिंब हा दाखवतो
कधी ह्या जीवनाच्या स्वप्नात
हा सगळं शोधून काढतो
आणि मग ह्या मोह-माये मधे
त्या भावनांना व्यक्त करतो
चांगल्या-वाईट परिस्थितीनमध्ये झोकतो
हे सगळं हा आपल्यासाठीच करतो
आपण आपल्या भावनांचे मान करावे
त्यांना शुद्रांसारखे दूर न ढकलता
त्यांच्यामधे पूर्णपणे एकरूप होऊन
त्यानां आपलाच भाग बनवावे
हीच या आरश्याची इच्छा
आरे माणसा, ज्या दिवशी
माझ्यामध्ये मला काहीच दिसणार नाही
त्या दिवशी मी फुटणार आणि
माझ्यासोबत तू ही मुक्त
Inside all of us, there is a mirror – mind’s mirrorWe cannot see it, but it makes it’s presence felt.Whichever feelings we suppress,This mirror shows us it’s reflectionEither in dreams or in this illusionary world that we live in.The mirror pushes us into worldly situationsWhere we are made to feel these suppressed emotions againIt does this so that we see this feeling, acknowledge it and make it a part of our own being instead of disowning it.The mirror tells us ‘Human, the day I see no reflection in myself – I will get destroyed and along with me, you will be free from this cycle of Samsara (life, death and rebirth)’
Here is my interpretation of Rumi’s poem ‘Love is reckless’
Love is reckless; not reason.
Reason seeks a profit.
Love comes on strong,
consuming herself, unabashed.
Here the author is comparing logic and love. Love cannot be made to happen by a logical reasoning or conclusion. Love just happens – it is reckless. It can happen to anyone at any time – it does not see if this is in the person’s profit or not. When it happens it consumes the person – body, mind and soul. It is an all consuming feeling.
Yet, in the midst of suffering,
Love proceeds like a millstone,
hard surfaced and straightforward.
Love is also a very strong feeling – no matter how much suffering surrounds it – it keeps carrying on like a strong millstone.
Having died of self-interest,
she risks everything and asks for nothing.
Love gambles away every gift God bestows.
Once a person is in true love, the idea of selfishness does not occur to the person – for they start living only for the benefit of their beloved. In this love frenzy they don’t mind giving up anything valuable that God has bestowed upon them.
Without cause God gave us Being;
without cause, give it back again.
The author says that God has given us this life and the many experiences it provides in a completely selfless manner – in true love for us. In exactly that manner, we can use our being to serve everyone with love and ultimately give our being back to God. It is not necessary to always do things with a profit in mind. This is akin to the idea – ‘Let all you do, be done in love’ 1 Corinthians 16:14
Masnavi: Teachings of Rumi
by Jelaluddin Rumi (Author), E. H. Whinfield (Editor, Translator)
Image Credit : https://hdwallpaperfx.com/lovers-in-nature/
Here is my interpretation of Hafez’s poem ‘The warrior’
The warriors tame
The beast in their past
So that the night’s hoofs
Can no longer break the jeweled vision
In the heart.
Hafez says that the warriors are the ones who introspect and heal all of the pains of their past. They do this healing so that they are no longer in the vibration of hurt. Once they have done this healing – no other pain from the world can break the beautiful love which lives in their heart. They know that all the important battles are fought inside oneself.
The intelligent and the brave
Open every closet in the future and evict
All the mind’s ghosts who have the bad habit
Of barfing everywhere.
He says the truly smart people are the ones who go into all their thoughts of the future and remove the expectations which live here. He calls these expectations as ghosts and say they basically ruin everything. The smart ones do not expect much from the future.
For a long time the Universe
Has been germinating in your spine
But only a Saint has the talent,
The courage to slay
The past-giant, the future-anxieties.
Hafez says that this strength has been building in the warrior’s spine – growing steadily. Spine because it is from the spine that the energy moves up the body. He says that only a Saint though has the guts to heal all of the past hurts and issues and calm all the future anxiety. He emphasizes that a true warrior is also a saint. He is like a Samurai who has his sword tucked away in it’s sheath – but he always has a hand on it and can wield it effortlessly when required.
Wisely sits in a circle
With other men
Gathering the strength to unmask
A warrior is one who knows himself truly, who can completely unmask his own ego – not just in solitude but also in front of a group of men. It is someone who can be himself completely in front of any audience or when alone.
like a great illumined planet on
This warrior-saint then becomes like a light giving planet who spreads the light wherever he goes and keeps enlightening this world. He becomes a channel for the Divine’s service with the only purpose of giving. This is similar to what Krishna advices Arjuna in the battlefield – do your duty but do not be attached to the results. Become a channel for God’s divine energy to flow through you – whether it be in the battlefield or elsewhere. Follow your dharma.
Translated by Daniel Ladinsky
Image credit : https://pixshark.com/spartan-warriors-in-battle.htm
Here is my interpretation of Hafez’s poem ‘The woman I love’
Because the Woman I love lives inside of you,
I lean as close to your body with my words as I can
and I think of you all the time,
Hafez is talking to the woman he is in love with – he refers to her as the woman inside her – because he is actually in love with the soul (not merely the body) of this woman. So he says, instead of leaning his body closer to his lover’s – he prefers to lean closer to her with his words and thoughts. He cannot stop thinking of her.
Because the One I love goes with you wherever you go,
Hafiz will always be near.
He says, because he thinks of the one inside her all the time (this means God – as God dwells inside all of us) – he is going to be near her always, even though physically he is distant. He is alluding to the fact that we are all connected via energy and via God as we all are nothing but unit consciousness.
If you sat before me, wayfarer, with your aura bright from
your many charms,
my lips could resist rushing to you, but my eyes, my eyes
can no longer hide the wondrous fact of who
you really are.
He says that if he were physically beside the woman he loves, he would see her aura shining around her bright. This bright aura is an indication of the many good quality that this woman cultivates within her being – here is where he gets a glimpse of God within her. He says, he could control himself from the urge to kiss her – but his eyes are going to give him away. They are going to give away the secret that he is in awe of her and that he can clearly see the divinity that lives inside her and is very much in love with it. He calls her pilgrim and traveller to show the fact that ultimately, she is on her way to be one with God.
The Beautiful One whom I adore
has pitched Her royal tent inside of you,
so I will always lean my heart
as close to your soul
as I can.
He says, God has made a permanent home inside her. And so he will try to be with her soul always, through his heart – love, prayer and thoughts. He is talking here about a divine kind of love, where the lover does not physically need the beloved in his life. It is a love that surpasses physical limitation. It is a love that extends into the 5D of love, thoughts and prayers – where he can love her through any distance and where one day, they both will be one with God and merge with each other in him.
Taken from The Subject Tonight is Love by Daniel Ladinsky
Image credit : Bernd Vogel / Corbis
Here is my interpretation of Rumi’s poem ‘Cry out in your weakness’
A dragon was pulling a bear into its terrible mouth.
A courageous man went and rescued the bear.
There are such helpers in the world, who rush to save
anyone who cries out. Like mercy itself,
they run toward the screaming.
And they can’t be bought off.
If you were to ask one of those,
“Why did you come so quickly?” he or she would say,
“Because I heard your helplessness.”
Where lowland is, that’s where water goes.
All medicine wants is pain to cure.
Rumi says that there are people on this Earth who are heroes. They are almost like an incarnation of Mercy itself. Such good-hearted, brave people as well as helpful beings like Angels, Ascended masters, Devdutas, and other light beings are always present to help anyone who needs help and asks for it. They gravitate towards anyone who asks for help. They cannot even be bought off by money or any other temptation – they are born with the purpose of lifting a person from a state of helplessness to empowerment.
And don’t just ask for one mercy.
Let them flood in. Let the sky open under your feet.
Take the cotton out of your ears, the cotton
of consolations, so you can hear the sphere-music.
Push the hair out of your eyes.
Blow the phlegm from your nose,
and from your brain.
Let the wind breeze through.
Leave no residue in yourself from that bilious fever.
Take the cure for impotence,
that your manhood may shoot forth,
and a hundred new beings come of your coming.
Tear the binding from around the foot
of your soul, and let it race around the track
in front of the crowd.
Loosen the knot of greed
so tight on your neck.
Accept your new good luck.
Give your weakness to one who helps.
Rumi says open your arms to the Heavens and ask for all the mercies you need. Don’t be afraid to bow before God and ask for whatever you want. Do not keep any ego, which Rumi calls as ‘bilious fever’. Basically, Rumi says the authentic way of being completely strong is to surrender to consciousness, but this action of surrender however, has the opposite effect of unleashing more potential in a person. So accept this new fortune or luck which comes after giving up ego, which is given by consciousness/God and be grateful for it.
Crying out loud and weeping are great resources.
A nursing mother, all she does
is wait to hear her child.
Just a little beginning-whimper,
and she’s there.
God created the child, that is, your wanting,
so that it might cry out, so that milk might come.
Cry out! Don’t be stolid and silent with your pain.
Lament! And let the milk
of loving flow into you.
Rumi compares this surrender and asking for mercies, help or wants to how a new born baby cries when born. The sound of the baby crying is what makes the mom’s body secrete the milk. Similarly, God is the mother and we are the child. Rumi says don’t suffer your pain in silence – but lament – not in front of humans – but in front of God and then let God send his love towards you.
The hard rain and wind
are ways the cloud has
to take care of us.
Respond to every call
that excites your spirit.
Ignore those that make you fearful
and sad, that degrade you
back toward disease and death.
God takes care of us in different ways – hard rain is like the pain which we get in life and winds are the relief that God gives us when facing difficulties. So even if it is not obvious, God is always taking care of us like a mother takes care of a child. This process might take some time to become clear to you, so be patient. In order to see this quicker, you must follow anything that makes you feel extremely happy from the inside – which excites your soul. Stay away from those who make your spirit weak and bring you down – because this will take you further away from seeing the mercies that God is laying upon you.
Taken from The Essential Rumi
translated by Coleman Barks
Image credit : http://thejacksonpress.org/?p=13507
Here is my interpretation of Rumi’s poem ‘The Seed Market’
Can you find another market like this?
with your one rose
you can buy hundreds of rose gardens?
for one seed
you get a whole wilderness?
For one weak breath,
the divine wind?
In this poem Rumi compares human life to a seed. He says that it is a truly wonderful creation this world – where a tiny seed of rose can ultimately grow into a multiple rose gardens. Similarly, a whole forest must’ve once started from one small seed eons ago. Similarly, for a human being – a single weak breath of a human can be enough for the human to get awakened and enlightened. If the last breath is taken with an intention to achieving Moksha – even the weak one can be converted into divine.
You’ve been fearful
of being absorbed in the ground,
or drawn up by the air.
Now your waterbed lets go
and drops into the ocean,
where it came from.
But humans in general are fearful of death, they are attached to existence. The thought of this body being taken away scares them. But in the end, once the body has stopped living – every part is going to disintegrate into elements and will go back to it’s source.
It no longer has the form it had,
but it’s still water.
The essence is the same.
The body disintegrates, it disappears but the soul and spirit lives on. It moves from this 3 dimensional reality into another dimension.
This giving up is not a repenting.
It’s a deep honoring of yourself.
When the ocean comes to you as a lover,
marry, at once, quickly,
for God’s sake?
Don’t postpone it!
Existence has no better gift.
Rumi says that live your life in such a way, that when death is upon you and comes to take you as a lover – go with it. Happily, non-attached to this existence. Marry death. This will set you free – since you have no attachments and hopefully you are free of karma by then. This is the best gift existence can give you – the gift of liberation, Moksha, Nirvana.
No amount of searching
will find this.
A perfect falcon, for no reason,
has landed on your shoulder,
and become yours.
You cannot really achieve this freedom. It is not a thing to be achieved – it can only be reached by letting go and then letting go some more. It is symbolically, like a Falcon which has chosen you to land on – the Falcon symbolizes the third-eye chakra. This falcon i.e., your third-eye chakra opening is simply God’s grace. Use it wisely to achieve the ultimate human goal of liberation.
Taken from The Essential Rumi
translated by Coleman Barks
Image credit : http://earthsky.org/science-wire/plants-do-math-to-get-through-the-night