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Rumi's Mathnawi

Sep 09, 1995 09:58 PM
by Brenda S. Tucker

What is Rumi's Mathnawi? Rumi lived A.D. 1207-73.

Read THE July, 1995 THEOSOPHIST to find out. An article by K. Khosla says,

"Man must not be proud. Not only he, but all grades of being, the stone and
mineral, the plant and the animal, have heard and understand the speech of
God, and praise him according to their nature, mourn their separation from
him and long to return to him, though we may be ignorant of their method of
mourning and glorification. Not without reason does the greatest Arab Sufi
writer, Ibnu'l 'Arabi, say that the mineral which is the lowest form of
soul-life to our eyes is the highest form of creation as, lacking external
sensibility, it is an implicit glorifier." Man comes last and the "veils he
has to rend on his way to Him are numberless."

A couple of other interesting points are these:

1. In Persian, Rumi mentions three stages of descent of the Absolute -
stages of separation of man and his soul from their source. The first stage
concerns a world of Non-Existence ('adam). This is a realm of pure abstract
ideas and of barest potentiality.

2. The article mentions another masterpiece of philosophical literature
which I had not heard of. It is ENNEADS by Plotinus where the "planes of
descent are planes of emanation, each arising out of the contemplation of
its predecessor. The first is the nous. It is a unity of the archetypes of
the present, past and future, the total content of the creative Divine Mind.
>From this plane emanates the Universal Soul or the All-Soul. From that
emanates its image, Nature, which possesses the last of the
Reason-principle. And from that Nature emanates the sensible world patterned
on the eternal original." Khosla advises us of the similarity between these
two classics of literature: the ENNEADS and MATHNAWI. The Mathnawi has six
books and a Proem. Would anyone like to study these works?

I think I can help with the "involution-evolution" mixup. I, too, have
heard this taught both ways and I think I know why. Let's simplify the
words to mean "into" and "out of." Why? Well, think of it like immigration
and emigration. We do both. We both leave a country and enter a country.
The use of the terms, I suggest, should be geared to the audience. If you
determine that most of the listeners are new members or that new members
deserve extra-special consideration and so you attempt to speak primarily to
them, then you might try to speak as if the "self" regards our existence in
the material world. If we agree that by "I" we mean this
physical-emotional-mental vehicle than involution occurs as we go inward
into matter. Likewise evolution occurs as we go out of matter and into the
life of the spirit. I agree with this method because while I was on the
staff at The Theosophical Society we always tried to gear things to new
members as they should be receiving the easiest material. This may make the
subject more difficult for advanced students, but so what?

An advanced student would prefer to think, "I am a soul, existing beyond
manifest earth life." In which case evolution occurs as we go outward from
the soul and involution occurs on the inward path back to the soul. I don't
agree with an advanced (or soul view) because I don't think theosophy can be
understood in a helpful way when this is presented to a group. I think the
whole group would be more likely to agree that they "all" identify with
their lower vehicles as an aspect of the self and therefore speaking should
be from this point of view when discussing involution and evolution.

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