Kahlil Jibran meets Rumi

Published: September 30, 2012
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After watching the dance, the man was able to sleep after months of insomnia and depression. PHOTO: REUTERS

I am Kahlil Jibran, a poet, born in Bsharri, Lebanon and buried in my beloved homeland.

Despite lacking physical existence, my bonds with the earth have not been severed. Being a spirit, I can fly across space and glide around luminous stars; but, my spatial sojourns have not diminished my love for the beautiful earth, covered with gossamer clouds. Often, I zoom down to the earth and silently visit spiritual sites, immersing myself in the divine radiance.

On a balmy spring afternoon, as I was daydreaming on crisp, cotton clouds, floating over Taurus Mountains, the sight of Mevlana Rumi’s cylindrical turquoise dome, brought me out of the reverie.

After landing outside the mosque, I entered the Mevlana Museum and sauntered towards people praying and moving around in different parts of the shrine.

A middle-aged man, in blue jeans and a black shirt, standing in the marbled courtyard of the museum, attracted my attention. A halo of melancholy surrounded his thin face. Spirits can see monstrous figures of pain, but the living can only experience and taste its ravages. The man scratched his scruffy chin and opened his brown travel bag and took out a passport, a ticket and a tourist guide. A coat of arms was emblazoned in gold across the blue cover.  So, here was a visitor from the United States of America, my adopted homeland.

I followed him to the Ritual Hall, where he bent over specimens of Divan-i-Kabir and Masnavi and touched nacre-encrusted box, containing the beard of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).

But, pain kept trailing behind him as a shadow.

I thought of entering into a conversation with his soul. Attempting to stop my conversation with the man’s soul, pain spread its wings, darkening the man’s face; so, I could not peep into his eyes – part of the face that reflected the fragility and tremors of the soul.

After going around the museum, as the man moved into the sunny courtyard, I looked straight into his eyes.  And, yes, my experience of conversing with human souls helped unlock the soul effortlessly.

The man’s soul narrated a sad tale,

“His wife had left him a year back. Despite his earnest entreaties, she refused to return. He was a successful banker and had bought her a beautiful house, a shining Porsche, and expensive clothes; and they cruised in the Mediterranean and skied in the Alps.”

I asked,

“What did he do to deserve such a cruel fate?”

Heaving a deep sigh, the soul replied,

“She said that the man never held her hand or saw the changing colours of autumnal leaves shimmering in her eyes; he did not even put a comforting hand around her shoulders when she lost their unborn baby. Yes, she said, theirs was a grand life but parties, jewels and trips did not fill the emotional vacuum surrounding their life.”

“Did he engage in charitable acts?” I asked.

The soul answered,

“Well, he sent hefty cheques to chosen philanthropic organisations and attended charity balls.”

“No, but did he stop by the homeless man near Hudson River and share his warm sandwich with him?”

“No, never, how could he do that? He might be a drug addict or an AIDS patient; and how could he share his food with him?” said the man’s soul.

“Did the man ever lend a loan to his office assistant?”

“No, once his junior had asked for a loan of five thousand dollars but the man refused. He said that his junior was a lazy fellow and did not deserve his hard earned money,” replied the soul.

After a few moments of silence, the soul said;

“His friend had dragged him to the sacred dance of whirling dervishes in Boston. After watching the dance, the man was able to sleep after months of insomnia and depression. The next day, he bought a ticket to Istanbul.”

“Ah, I worry about him,” said the soul in a jagged tone.

“He has aged suddenly”

I picked up courage and talked to his soul about salvation and giving.

“Have you ever noticed why dervishes whirl with one hand held upwards and the other hand held downwards?”

“No”

“The right hand is raised upwards during the spinning movement to receive divine blessings and the left hand is bent downwards to shower those blessings on God’s creation.”

“The man can redeem his losses by giving with ease and with pleasure. He can find happiness by partaking his wisdom and his material possessions and by sharing his bread and his laughter with the old and the young, with the poor and the rich and with a friend and a foe alike.”

Hearing my words, I could see a ray of light entering the crevices of the man’s soul, and on seeing this light, pain withdrew a few steps from the man.

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Sameera Rashid

Sameera Rashid

A research analyst, blogger and a graduate of King's College, London, in public policy.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.