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Jalaluddin Rumî and Confucius

Jalaluddin Rumî and Confucius

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Published by ibrahim
The first draft of this work was originally presented to the Second International Conference of The Asian Philosophical Association, held on October 26-29, 2006, Pusan, S. Korea. The theme of conference was “The Rise of Asian Community and the New Dialogue between Past and Future of the World”. To gain a better understanding of some major problems of our time, an examination of two great thinkers, Confucius and Rumî is very crucial. I hope it contributes to the spirit of the conference and initiates a dialogue between Confucian and Islamic civilizations.
The first draft of this work was originally presented to the Second International Conference of The Asian Philosophical Association, held on October 26-29, 2006, Pusan, S. Korea. The theme of conference was “The Rise of Asian Community and the New Dialogue between Past and Future of the World”. To gain a better understanding of some major problems of our time, an examination of two great thinkers, Confucius and Rumî is very crucial. I hope it contributes to the spirit of the conference and initiates a dialogue between Confucian and Islamic civilizations.

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Published by: ibrahim on Feb 22, 2009
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11/27/2012

For Rumî, God the Cosmic Ego created the material world ex nihiloout of nothing and

never ceases to create new things. Everything has been created with a specific order, duty,

purpose, and meaning. There is no lifeless matter in this system; all matter is alive, albeit at

various gradations of being. According to Rumî, ―earth, and water, fire and air are alive in the

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view of God, though they appear to be dead to us.‖ He cautions us: ―never think the earth void
or dead; it is aware, it is awake and it is quivering.‖

Hegel, the great German philosopher, studied Rumi‘s teaching meticulously and admired his

concept of Unity of God. In order to see the consciousness of the One in the world ―… in its

finest purity and sublimity‖ he recommends us to consult Rumi and immediately focuses on

Rumi as follows:

If, [for instance], in the excellent Jalāloddin-Rumi in particular, we find the unity of
the soul with the One set forth, and that unity described as love, this spiritual unity is
an exaltation above the finite and vulgar, a transfiguration of the natural and the
spiritual, in which the externalism and transitoriness [sic.] of immediate nature, and of
empirical secular spirit, is discarded and absorbed

Bina and Vaziri underline that ―Hegel is so impressed by Rumi‘s imagery and precision that

he could not refrain from quoting long passages from his magnificent poetry‖.

This ―supreme vision of reality‖ was peculiar to Sufism, which sees God everywhere, to view

every part of creation as a reflection of God's glory. The Sufi poet Jami of 15th

century writes:

"Every branch and leaf and fruit reveals some aspect of God's perfection: the cypress gives

hint of His majesty; the rose gives tidings of His beauty." Every atom was created by God so

that man could know the highest truth and learn the secrets of love.

Theocentricism, therefore, is the key concept to understand Rumî‘s anthropocosmic

worldview. God is goal of Rumî‘s thought. As Arasteh observes ―Mathnawi first takes the

novice in his present state and direct his entire attention toward an object of desire-generally

the attributes of the guide or of God- or the creative force in the universe‖. His poetry thus is

―nothing but an attempt to speak of God‘s grandeur as it reveals itself in the different aspects
of life.‖ For Rumî, God wants to be known, so manifests Himself out of His eternal qualities.
Two of God‘s attributes are especially relevant in this regard:

God is the Nourisher of all realms and beings,
He creates and sustains out of love;
Furthermore, God is not static Absolute, but a perpetually gushing fountain of
eternal life manifesting His Majesty, Wisdom, and Knowledge through the
universe.

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Consequently, in the cosmic system as Rumî sees it, everything happens according to a great

plan formulated by Divine Will and Wisdom. Even bees build their houses by inspiration

from God. So, a colorful and living world reveals itself in his poetry. While everything is

related and connected to each other, everything has also a special space, meaning, duty, and

importance.

The cosmos, thus, becomes a meaningful book and precious piece of art which manifest ―the

attributes and qualities‖ of its owner. Furthermore, the whole world— fish and moon, atom

and sun alike—has been created to worship and love God, and to express its constant

adoration in an intoxicated dance.

For Rumî, human beings are not outsiders and strangers in a hostile and brute natural

environment. Rather, the whole world is a majestic garden, in which every flower has its

function and represents various states and aspects of human life. Every leaf on a tree and

every bird in a bush offer praise and thanksgivings for God‘s greatness and sustenance. Every

leaf and tree is a messenger from non-existence, proclaiming the creative power of God,

talking with long hands and green fresh tongues.

Rumî listens to the constant praise uttered by the flowers and all other creatures. Moreover, he

visualizes them in the various positions of prayer. A plane-tree, for example, is opening its

hand in prayer just like a devoted Muslim would do. The clouds, on the other hand, are

pregnant from the ocean of love: ―as long as the clouds weep not, how the garden smiles.‖

The morning breeze is a fitting symbol for the life-giving breath of the Beloved that causes

twigs and branches to become intoxicated and dance. Rumi reminds and teaches us that the

morning breeze has secrets to tell us. Therefore, we must not go back to sleep right after

morning prayer.

The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you.

Don't go back to sleep.

You must ask for what you really want.

Don't go back to sleep.

People are going back and forth
across the doorsill where the two worlds touch.

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The door is round and open.

Don't go back to sleep.

When Rumî looks at earth with this perception, he does not see it as ―mere matter; lifeless and

meaningless‖. Earth, in fact, appears to him as a Paradise.

And earth ever appears to me as a Paradise.
Each moment a f1esh form, a new beauty,
So that weariness vanishes at these ever-fresh sights.
I see the world filled with blessings,
Fresh waters ever welling up from new fountains.
The sound of those waters reaches my ears,
My brain and senses are intoxicated therewith.
Branches of trees dancing like fair damsels,
Leaves clapping hands like singers.
These glories are a mirror shining through a veil;
If the mirror were unveiled, how would it be?
I tell not one in a thousand of them,
Because every ear is stopped with doubt.
To men of illusions these tales are mere good tidings,
But men of knowledge deem them not tidings, but ready cash.
Prayers to God to change our base inclinations and give us higher aspirations.

As we observe Rumî is ―a passionate lover of all God's creation‖. We can see his deep love

for animals, for example, from his life and writings.

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