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The Drowned Book: Ecstatic and Earthy…

The Drowned Book: Ecstatic and Earthy Reflections of Bahauddin, the Father…

by Bahauddin

Other authors: Coleman Barks (Translator), John Moyne (Translator)

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© 2004 by Barbara Bamberger Scott for 'Curled Up With a Good Book':

"Bahauddin, 12th-century Persian religious leader. Coleman Barks, poet and admirer of Rumi, and John Moyne, a Persian linguist, have collaborated to correct this deficit and introduce Bahauddin to a more popular audience.

Bahauddin's book, translated and interpreted by the co-authors, was originally called The Maarifa, a word signifying gnosis. That its text is not only mystical but often downright perplexing can give the reader a notion of the Sufi concept of knowledge, more like that of the great Zen Masters than that of, say, St. Augustine.

The book's words swim with meaning, like bright fish that elude us in a clear pond. It's so near to our grasp, yet so far from any possibility of being actually caught and examined. Take almost any passage at random: "A student of mine said, in the early spring it's more healthy to go naked. Not for everyone, I reminded him. Unseen influences have infinite ways of developing temperament, desire, suggestion and motive. The hidden and the apparent worlds weave together a fabric more complex than sky and earth or root and branch, more subtle than sunlight and season."

Bahauddin was no stranger to the passions and variegated experiences of the world. He writes as readily about lust, including his own, as about otherworldly matters. "Most of us rejoice in desire, in sex," he writes, "we are blessed differently than the prophets." He mentions a prophet who had a strong sex urge and remarks that his baraka (divine blessing) was thus able to be shared by his offspring.

Bahauddin's book was the object of a great lesson taught to his son Rumi by the Master Shams Tabriz. Considering that Rumi had had enough of words and was ready to live them, Shams tossed The Maarifa into a fountain. Shocked at the loss of the only extant copy of his father's diary, Rumi protests, but Shams is able to recover the book, which emerges from the water completely dry. Hence, The Drowned Book.

The Drowned Book is both spiritual elucidation and poetic expression, some of it as simple as a lesson meant for a child: "Whatever you deeply love, give time to that." "What do you believe? Try to be clear enough to say that." "Good projects succeed in the company of other goodnesses."

But some of it is deep, bespeaking a wisdom springing from another place and written in a meta-language not codified by the analytic mind: "This was painful, my soul's wanting to slip out of my body to see the wonders of God. But feeling the passage through the densities of creation, through death and divine wisdom, would be exhausting. I said, I'll stay where I am."

Bahauddin stayed where he was, and produced his book. It's not exactly a roadmap, more like a trip read for the long journey - carry it with you as you wander along, and be refreshed by it."

© 2004 by Barbara Bamberger Scott for 'Curled Up With a Good Book'.
  Saraswati_Library | Jan 26, 2011 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Bahauddinprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Barks, ColemanTranslatorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Moyne, JohnTranslatorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0060591943, Hardcover)

Bahauddin, Rumi's father, was not only a major force in the development of Islamic spirituality, but also deeply influential in his son's life. This delightful and provocative collection reveals the depth of thirteenth-century Sufi mystical wisdom and its acute observations into nature, humanity, and the mysteries of life. Full of wit and insight, Bahauddin's notes bring to the reader a deeper understanding of his son Rumi's spiritual and intellectual heritage.

After his father's death in 1231, Rumi carried his father's spiritual notebook, known as the Maarif, everywhere. The writer Aflaki tells this story of the meeting of Rumi and Shams: Rumi is sitting by a fountain in Konya talking to his students with the Maarif open on the fountain's ledge. Suddenly, Shams interrupts the conversation and pushes the precious text into the water.

"Who are you and why are you doing this?" asks Rumi, protesting that this copy of his father's diary is the only one in existence.

Shams replies, "It is time for you to live what you have been reading of and talking about. But if you want, we can retrieve the book. It will be perfectly dry. See?" And he lifts Bahauddin's notebook out, "Dry."

Rumi set aside his father's book and joined Shams; but now, in this first-ever translation of the vital passages of the Maarif, renowned poet Coleman Barks and Persian scholar John Moyne open a window into the world of Rumi, the young man who became one of the world's best-loved poets and great spiritual teachers.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:22 -0400)

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