Rumi

WE ARE THE MIRROR AS WELL AS THE FACE IN IT,
WE ARE TASTING THE TASTE THIS MINUTE OF ETERNITY,
WE ARE PAIN AND WHAT CURES PAIN BOTH,
WE ARE THE SWEET COLD WATER AND THE JAR THAT POURS.

Jalaluddin Rumi is one of the greatest Sufi mystics. He is the only mystic whom Sufis have called Mevlana. Mevlana means, our Beloved Master.

A few people I love immensely. Mevlana Jalaluddin Rumi is one of them, and the reason I love him is that he was not life-negative, but life-affirmative. And the meditation that he has found and which has continued for seven hundred years among a small stream of mystics was the meditation of a certain kind of dance. His followers are called whirling sufis. You must have seen small children – they like to whirl; and everybody stops them, because the fear of the parents is that the child may fall, may have a fracture, may get hurt. But in spite of all prohibitions, children love to whirl. And nobody has inquired why children love, all over the world, irrespective of race, nation, religion, why children love to whirl.

Jalaluddin Rumi, seeing children whirl, thought that there must be something that the children feel but they cannot express, and perhaps they are not fully aware what it is. So he tried whirling himself, and he was amazed that if you go on whirling there comes a moment when the center of your being remains static and your whole body, mind, brain, everything, whirls. And that center which does not whirl, is you, the center of the cyclone. The whirling is almost like a cyclone, but exactly in the middle of the cyclone you will find a point which has not moved at all. Every wheel needs a center on which to turn, and the center has to remain unturning. You see in bicycles, in bullock carts, wherever there is a wheel, there is something in the center which is unmoving. 

Once Jalaluddin became aware that you can find the unmoving center of your being, he tried for thirty-six hours non-stop, without eating, without drinking – he was determined to whirl to his absolute capacity, not to hold back anything... unless he falls, he is not going to stop. Thirty-six hours he whirled, a great crowd watched. The crowd went on changing; people had to go to eat and then they came again. People had to do their work and then they came again; thirty-six hours is a long period. And after thirty-six hours he fell down. And people heard a great laughter. 

Jalaluddin was laughing loudly, and he said, ”You think you have seen me falling, I have also seen myself falling. These thirty-six hours I have not moved a single inch. Now I don’t have to go to Mecca in search of God, I have found him. In the unmoving center of my own being, he is.” The followers of Rumi don’t have great scriptures, don’t have any rituals, except whirling, and a few beautiful poems by Jalaluddin Rumi, which he used to sing after whirling and falling. He will get up and he will be so drunk – in that drunkenness he will sing a song, and those songs have been collected. That is the only literature the followers of Rumi have. These lines are also from one of the poems of Rumi. Each sentence is impeccable – not only true, but also utterly beautiful. 

We are the mirror, that’s what I have been saying to you again and again; that we are not the doer, we are only the mirror. Don’t get identified with your doings, with your actions; remain a witness, just a watcher. But we are not taught the most essential things of life, we are taught all kinds of stupid things. The most essential is the art of watchfulness. I have heard, a drunkard came home in the night. And however drunk you may be, the closer you come to home, as you remember your wife, you almost start becoming sober... just the remembrance. And that day was special, because the wife had got so tired... in the middle of every night he will come, and she will have to get up and open the door, and then the fight.... So she had given him the key that day and told him, ”Now behave! When you come home be as silent as possible.” So he was moving very silently – and a policeman was watching. He thought, This is strange, it is his own house, and he is going as if he is a thief. And finally the drunk tried hard to find the lock. Somehow he managed to find the lock, holding the lock in one hand and the key in another, but he could not manage to make the key enter into the lock. Both his hands were shaking. He said, ”This is strange. Is there anybody to help me? The house is shaking.”

The policeman came and he said, ”What is the matter?” 

He said, ”You just hold the house for a moment, so I can open the lock.” The policeman laughed. He said, ”You just give me the key and I will open the lock.” 

So the policeman opened the lock. The drunkard wanted no trouble that day. The wife had been really very graceful in giving the key. But on the way he had been fighting with another drunkard, and the other drunkard had scratched him, and blood was oozing from many places in his face. So first he entered into the house, very cautiously – but he stumbled, and the wife said, ”Who is there?” Suddenly he remembered his wife’s dog, so he just went close to the bed, and started rubbing his nose and his tongue on her feet. So she thought that it was the dog, turned and went back to sleep. Then he entered the bathroom, looked into the mirror and said, ”My God, in the morning she will find out; so many places blood is coming, where that friend of mine has scratched....” So he took some ointment that was there in the bathroom and put the ointment on every scratch, covering it completely, so that in the morning the wife cannot find out. And in the morning when the wife went into the bathroom, she shouted, ”You idiot! You come here. Who has destroyed my mirror? Who has painted it with the ointment?” This was his doing. Seeing the face in the mirror, naturally he went on putting the ointment on the face in the mirror. You are not a drunkard, but spiritually you are all asleep. And unless you become a watcher of your own actions, of your dreams, of your thoughts, of your desires – there is no way of transformation, of becoming awake, getting out of this rut of sleep which you have continued in for many lives. 

Rumi is right when he says, ”We are the mirror, as well as the face in it.”

Chapter 23

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