بخش 65

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بخش 65

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  • زمان مطالعه 4 دقیقه
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متن انگلیسی فصل

Shams

KONYA, FEBRUARY 1246

Bottles of wine stood between us, loaded with the smells of hot earth, wild herbs, and dark berries. After Aladdin was gone, Rumi was so sad he couldn’t talk for a while. He and I stepped out into the snow-covered courtyard. It was one of those bleak February evenings when the air felt heavy with a peculiar stillness. We stood there watching the clouds move, listening to a world that offered us nothing but silence. The wind brought us a whiff of the forests from afar, fragrant and musky, and for a moment I believe we both wanted to leave this town for good.

Then I took one of the bottles of wine. I knelt beside a climbing rose tree that stood thorny and bare in the snow, and I started to pour the wine on the soil beneath it. Rumi’s face brightened as he smiled his half-thoughtful, half-excited smile.

Slowly, stunningly, the bare rose tree came alive, its bark softening like human skin. It produced a single rose in front of our eyes. As I kept pouring the wine under the tree, the rose revealed a lovely warm shade of orange.

Next I took the second bottle and poured it in the same way. The rose’s orangey color turned into a bright crimson tone, glowing with life. Now there remained only a glassful of wine at the bottom of the bottle. I poured that into a glass, drank half of it, and the remaining half I offered to Rumi.

He took the glass with trembling hands, responding to my gesture with a beaming reciprocity of kindness and equanimity, this man who had never touched alcohol in his life.

“Religious rules and prohibitions are important,” he said. “But they should not be turned into unquestionable taboos. It is with such awareness that I drink the wine you offer me today, believing with all my heart that there is a sobriety beyond the drunkenness of love.” Just as Rumi was about to take the glass to his lips, I snatched it back and flung it to the ground. The wine spilled on the snow, like drops of blood.

“Don’t drink it,” I said, no longer feeling the need to continue with this trial.

“If you weren’t going to ask me to drink this wine, why did you send me to the tavern in the first place?” Rumi asked, his tone not so much curious as compassionate.

“You know why,” I said, smiling. “Spiritual growth is about the totality of our consciousness, not about obsessing over particular aspects. Rule Number Thirty-two: Nothing should stand between yourself and God. Not imams, priests, rabbis, or any other custodians of moral or religious leadership. Not spiritual masters, not even your faith. Believe in your values and your rules, but never lord them over others. If you keep breaking other people’s hearts, whatever religious duty you perform is no good.

“Stay away from all sorts of idolatry, for they will blur your vision. Let God and only God be your guide. Learn the Truth, my friend, but be careful not to make a fetish out of your truths.”

I had always admired Rumi’s personality and known that his compassion, endless and extraordinary, was what I lacked in life. But today my admiration for him had grown by leaps and bounds.

This world was full of people obsessed with wealth, recognition, or power. The more signs of success they earned, the more they seemed to be in need of them. Greedy and covetous, they rendered worldly possessions their qibla, always looking in that direction, unaware of becoming the servants of the things they hungered after. That was a common pattern. It happened all the time. But it was rare, as rare as rubies, for a man who had already made his way up, a man who had plenty of gold, fame, and authority, to renounce his position all of a sudden one day and endanger his reputation for an inner journey, one that nobody could tell where or how it would end. Rumi was that rare ruby.

“God wants us to be modest and unpretentious,” I said.

“And He wants to be known,” Rumi added softly. “He wants us to know Him with every fiber of our being. That is why it is better to be watchful and sober than to be drunk and dizzy.”

I agreed. Until it turned dark and cold, we sat in the courtyard with a single red rose between us. There was, beneath the chill of the evening, the scent of something fresh and sweet. The Wine of Love made our heads spin gently, and I realized with glee and gratitude that the wind no longer whispered despair.

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