Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Carpe Diem #1178 Theme Week Hafiz (4) knowledge

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

This is the last post for the Theme Week about Hafiz, the most beloved poet from the Persian (Iranian) people. Almost every one, young and old, can recite the poems of Hafiz. His poems are really beautiful and full of wisdom. The Persian people know that, they are using his poetry to get answers on their questions and today's poem is one of the most wonderful in my opinion with a great message.

The poem is titled: "The School of Truth" and is extracted from "Drunk On the Wind of the Beloved" in a translation by Thomas Rain Crowe.

School of Truth

O fool, do something, so you won't just stand there looking dumb.
If you are not traveling and on the road, how can you call yourself a guide?
In the School of Truth, one sits at the feet of the Master of Love.
So listen, son, so that one day you may be an old father, too!
All this eating and sleeping has made you ignorant and fat;
By denying yourself food and sleep, you may still have a chance.
Know this: If God should shine His lovelight on your heart,
I promise you'll shine brighter than a dozen suns.
And I say: wash the tarnished copper of your life from your hands;
To be Love's alchemist, you should be working with gold.
Don't sit there thinking; go out and immerse yourself in God's sea.
Having only one hair wet with water will not put knowledge in that head.
For those who see only God, their vision
Is pure, and not a doubt remains.
Even if our world is turned upside down and blown over by the wind,
If you are doubtless, you won't lose a thing.
O Hafiz, if it is union with the Beloved that you seek,
Be the dust at the Wise One's door, and speak!

© Hafiz 

In this poem I read something interesting which brought me the idea to dive into the ancient secretive knowledge of the Alchemists.

Alchemist's Laboratory
Maybe you know Paulo Coelho's novel "The Alchemist", it was his first novel and one of the best he wrote in my opinion. In this novel Paulo describes the story of a young man on a quest to find a treasure on which he had a dream. His quest brings him finally to Egypt and its pyramids. During his quest he encounters an Alchemist who is on a quest to find the fountain of life or the elixer of life. The young man is caught immediately by that idea, but he also is caught by the search for the stone of wisdom to turn everything into gold (like the story of that Greek king Midas).

As I was reading "The Alchemist" I was caught by the secretive knowledge of the Alchemists. So let me tell you a little bit more about that. By the way ... while diving into this matter I ran into a muslim Alchemist, so maybe that fits our theme too.

Alchemy is a philosophical and proto-scientific tradition practiced throughout Europe, Egypt and Asia. It aimed to purify, mature, and perfect certain objects. Common aims were chrysopoeia, the transmutation of "base metals" (e.g., lead) into "noble" ones (particularly gold); the creation of an elixir of immortality; the creation of panaceas able to cure any disease; and the development of an alkahest, a universal solvent. The perfection of the human body and soul was thought to permit or result from the alchemical magnum opus and, in the Hellenistic and western tradition, the achievement of gnosis. In Europe, the creation of a philosopher's stone was variously connected with all of these projects.
Jabir ibn Hayyan, the father of Chemistry
As I mentioned above I ran into an alchemist from Persia. Let me tell you a little about him. His name was Jabir ibn Hayyan and he lived from 712 until 815, so he lived for over 100 years. He is nowadays known as "the father of chemistry".
Jabir was a natural philosopher who lived mostly in the 8th century; he was born in Tus, Khorasan, in Persia, well known as Iran then ruled by the Umayyad Caliphate. Jabir in the classical sources has been entitled differently as al-Azdi al-Barigi or al-Kufi or al-Tusi or al-Sufi.
In total, nearly 3,000 treatises and articles are credited to him. The scope of the corpus is vast: cosmology, music, medicine, magic, biology, chemical technology, geometry, grammar, metaphysics, logic, artificial generation of living beings, along with astrological predictions, and symbolic Imâmî myths.
The 112 Books dedicated to the Barmakids, viziers of Caliph Harun al-Rashid. This group includes the Arabic version of the Emerald Tablet, an ancient work that proved a recurring foundation of and source for alchemical operations. In the Middle Ages it was translated into Latin (Tabula Smaragdina) and widely diffused among European alchemists.
The Seventy Books, most of which were translated into Latin during the Middle Ages. This group includes the Kitab al-Zuhra ("Book of Venus") and the Kitab Al-Ahjar ("Book of Stones").
The Ten Books on Rectification, containing descriptions of alchemists such as Pythagoras, Socrates, Plato and Aristotle.
The Books on Balance; this group includes his most famous 'Theory of the balance in Nature'.
Jabir states in his Book of Stones (4:12) that "The purpose is to baffle and lead into error everyone except those whom God loves and provides for". His works seem to have been deliberately written in highly esoteric code, so that only those who had been initiated into his alchemical school could understand them. It is therefore difficult at best for the modern reader to discern which aspects of Jabir's work are to be read as ambiguous symbols, and what is to be taken literally. Because his works rarely made overt sense, the term gibberish is believed to have originally referred to his writings .

It is said that Jabir ibn Hayyah has influenced the Weestern world is a great way. And that makes this little "circle" complete, because with this sentence I am back at the poem by Hafiz. Hafiz's works are renown around the globe and I think his poems have influenced the Western world as much as did Jabir ibn Hayyan.

Alchemy (phot found on Pinterest)

I think the poem by Hafiz describes the alchemy between God, Allah, Higher Self, Great Spirit or what ever name you will give it. Without an open mind and a heart full of love you cannot have a relation with that Higher Power. I think that we, haiku poets, are also a kind of alchemists, because we can tell a lot in just a few words, with those few words we describe the beauty of the Creation and through that we are the alchemists ... through that we know that our love for nature can be a "trigger" to find the Philosopher's Stone to help the world to appreciate nature and its beauty to the max.

strong medicine for love
nature smiles

© Chèvrefeuille

I hope you did like this episode, it wasn't an easy task to create it, because I love this Alchemy and all that has to do with it, so ... if this episode was to long than my excuses for that.

This episode is open for your submissions tonight at 7.00 PM (CET) and will remain open until March 27th at noon (CET). I will try to publish our new episode, a new weekend-meditation with Universal Jane, later on. For now .... have fun!

1 comment:

  1. What a great post, Kristjaan. I have been pressed for time lately but I am so glad I took the time to read this. There are so many things to ponder and I appreciate the information you have included here. On my way to work today a story was brewing in regards to this...I will attempt on my break today or tomorrow. Thank you for all the time and effort you put in these prompts...teaching your students so beautifully!