Today, I stumbled on a website claiming to define my religious beliefs if I took their online quiz. Initially, I took it as a joke... but after answering a couple of questions I began to wonder what exactly I feel about the topic. To my amusement, I ended up being labelled a 'universal unitarian' and later a 'new age' follower. I agree my beliefs fall in some rather complicated and scattered categories, but even I don't know what those two 'religions' are about. As I was enjoying a heated debate on the said website's comments forum (in which people threw dirt on each other's perceived 'beliefs' in a quest to earn the most karma for insults against another religion) I began feeling upset about it all. Then I remembered this beautiful poem that I got in my mail today:
"You went away, but remained in me"
-By Mansur Hallaj, translated by Mahmud Jamal
You went away, but remained in me,
and thus became my peace and happiness.
In separation, separation left me-
and I witnessed the Unknown.
You were the hidden secret of my longing,
Hidden deep within my conscience...deeper than a dream.
You were my true friend in the day,
and in darkness-- my companion.
(Sent today from the Poetry Chaikhana.)
This absolutely delightful little piece addresses our most Beloved creator, our True friend in the shade-less heat of the day, and our only Companion through the darkest of nights. There can be no separation from the Divine, because He is the Ultimate reality, He is everywhere, and everything is His reflection. Then what causes some to think that insulting another is somehow going to earn them a reward? When has negativity ever produced positivity? Upsetting, indeed. One day I hope to discuss the nuisance on Youtube comments as well (they are my most distinguished pet peeve).
About the brilliant poet: Mansur Hallaj was a Sufi mystic, well-known for his rather controversial teachings. While traditional scholars (most famously Al-Ghazali) believed that mysticism was best kept among a select few, Mansur Hallaj would openly spread his message. His famous declaration of "I am the Truth" (ana-al-haq) cost him his life. Mansur Hallaj's life is an example for many others who want to share the eternal blissful truth with all humanity, but unfortunately, either suffer in silence due to fear of persecution, or risk being misunderstood and labelled as heretics.
Simple words, dear readers, can be taken out of context, mis-attributed, misunderstood, and twisted in various forms to help further evil and chaos in the world. Then how can one communicate in such a place?
Poetry uses simple words but communicates a whole emotion. And pure emotions can not be misunderstood or twisted into evil forms. Poetry can say to the audience, whatever the audience wants to hear. Poetry becomes, in fact, almost an echo of the words of its reader.
Music is, in my opinion, meaning beyond words. It too, communicates emotions... and they can not be labelled or taken out of context. Music resonates with the listener's soul, it is outside the boundaries set by language and what is proper and improper in a linguistic sense.
Only through poetry and music, I believe, can there ever be a chance of communicating that which can not be defined.
Btw, here's the entertaining website with the online quiz: