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The penultimate chapter of Muhammad Iqbal’s “Javid Nami”, a decisive moment in which he will meet: Nietzsche, two Sufi from Kashmir and two of the greatest lords of Persia
The seat of the German philosopher Nietzsche
I said to Rumi: “Who is this madman?”. He replied: “He is a German sage. His place is between these two worlds, an ancient song is that of his flute! This Hallaj without string and gallows in a new way said those ancient words! His words were bold and his great thought, I split the Europeans in two with the sword of his saying.
No companion found his ecstasy: ecstatic, they considered him mad. Intellectuals have no part of the secrets of love and beauty: they put his wrist in the hand of a doctor. With doctors there is no fraud and hypocrisy: woe to the ecstatic who has the misfortune of being born in Europe! […] He was a foreign Hallaj in his homeland, he saved his life from the priests and the doctors killed him!
“Beyond the skies” could only be the seat of Nietzsche, a philosopher to whom Iqbal owes a lot and who is celebrated here as a Sufi mystic. According to the Poet, the latter is, both in terms of concepts and form, a true ancestor of Hallaj, the pivotal character of the Sufi world and whom we discussed on Sunday. Both wished to go beyond human understanding, however, failing to complete their work, stopped by the immoderate ambition or by the people, almost frightened by the sentences of the two great thinkers.
There was no expert in the Way in Europe, so his melody exceeded the strength of the string of his lute. Nobody showed the wayfarer the way and a hundred inconveniences occurred to his journey! It was money and nobody tries it for tasting, he was an action theorist and nobody made him a man of action. A lover who got lost in his sigh of love, a wayfarer who got lost in his path. His intoxication broke all hard obstacles, tore himself away from God and cut himself away from himself. He wanted to see with his outward eye the mystical embrace of Love and Power.
He wanted that ear of water to sprout that ear that can only sprout in the seed of the heart. What he seeks is the stage of Divine Power and this sublime stage is beyond reason and wisdom. Life is the comment of the symbols of the ego, “there is no” and “if not” they are ego stations! He stopped at “is not there” and did not go to “if not”, he still disappeared, unaware of the sense of “servant of God”.
In the second part of the text, Iqbal ends the comparison with Hallaj and begins to illustrate the figure of Nietzsche specifically, going to perform an analysis very similar to that made for Marx. In fact, like the other great German philosopher, the creator of the “superman” also had excellent intentions but an underlying gap that did not allow him to fully understand the illumination that came to him. With the phrase “life is the comment of the symbols of the ego,” there is no “and” if not “they are stations of the ego!”, The poet shows us his mistake, that is, having stopped at the first part of shahada, the testimony of Muslim faith; in fact, it quotes: “La ilaha illa Allah Muhammadun rasul Allah” or “There is no God apart from God and Muhammad is his prophet”. Simple, at this point, to understand what exactly the author of “The Heavenly Poem” meant.
Visit the great Amir Sayyid Ali of Hamadan and Mulla Ghani of Kashmir
Prince of Hamadan
I will tell you a subtle secret, O son: the body is nothing but earth and the soul is sublime pearl. We must liquefy the body to find the soul, we must distinguish “pearl” from “earth”! If you cut off a part of the body from the body, you lose that piece of flesh, while the soul intoxicated with visions, if you lose and throw it, it returns to you! Its substance is similar to nothing, it is linked, yet completely dissolved. If you keep it and look at it, it dies within your body; if you throw it away, it illuminates the society of your brothers! What does it mean, generous, “soul drunk with visions”? What does it mean to “lose your soul”?
Losing the soul means giving it to God, melting the mountains with the fires of the spirit. Being drunk with visions means having found himself, shining in the night like a star! Not finding oneself means not being, finding oneself is giving oneself to oneself. Whoever has seen the ego and has not seen something extraneous to the ego has taken his baggage out of the prison of selfishness. The drunken of visions that saw the ego considers the bite of the wasp sweeter than honey. […] Only when he has renounced the soul is the soul truly his, otherwise he is only a guest for a few moments!
In this passage we are brought back one of the most basic concepts of Islam and of faith in general, as usual, with words that take your breath away. The Prince of Hamadan, a Persian mystic from the late 1300s, will explain to us how charity is a fundamental part of life and soul, thanks to which it thrives and grows. “Charity” and “soul” find their union, in particular, with a famous hadith of the Prophet, famous in this situation: “Be in this world as a stranger or a wayfarer”.
Thanks to this saying, we fully understand how this life and everything around us is a passenger, so that what allows us to live forever is precisely “giving others” what we have better. Something, in various aspects, very similar to what St. Francis of Assisi did, in this case, however, placed in a less materialistic and more metaphorical way.
Don’t you know that one day in Lake Vular a wave murmured on the other side: “How long will we fight with each other in this sea? Come on, come, let’s assault the banks together! Our son, that is that ancient river brought its sparkling tumult between mountains, meadows and valleys and will continue to throw itself on the stone of its bed until it eradicates the foundations of the mountains.
That young man who conquered cities and deserts and plains was nourished by the milk of 100 mothers: his power is frightening for all the inhabitants of the earth, well, all this comes from us, not from others! Living on the edge of the banks is a sin, our shore is only a stone on our path! Adapting to the shore means eternal death, even if you roll in the sea evening and morning; life means foaming between mountains and deserts; oh, happy the wave that overflowed over the shore! ”
Here the Poet tries to express multiple concepts, linked both to a philosophical and generic perspective, and from a much more concrete and current one, symbolized precisely by the place where the dialogue between waves takes place. Lake Vular is in fact located in Kashmir, the land of origin of the ancestors of Iqbal, and the river mentioned is the Jhelum, a tributary of the Indus, a symbol of Indian civilization in full and, today in particular, of Pakistan. It is easy to understand then how, in addition to going beyond one’s limits, one should not even forget the strength of the union, which has always destroyed chains and does not wait to be awakened.
Departure for the palace of the kings of the East: Nadir, Abdali and the Martyr Sultan
Dr. N: Welcome, O elegant speaker of the East, or you who are the gentle tongue of Persia! We are your intimate confidants: tell me your secret, tell me what you know about Iran
I: After a long time Persia has finally opened its eyes to itself, but it has, alas, fallen into the snare of a net. She is killed by the bragging of brazen and graceful idols; she who created culture imitates Europe now! He is wandering between the concepts of “monarchy” and “race”, he does nothing but mention Shapur and despise the Arabs. It deprives its history of glorious events as it is today, it goes in search of life in the land of old sepulchres! She clung to the “homeland” and abandoned herself, gave Rustam’s heart and turned him away from Ali! He accepts vain images of Europe, from Europe he learns his own story.
Old was already Iran at the time of Yazdagird, his face was devoid of light from the coldness of his blood. Ancient was his religion, his customs, his order, ancient were the suns and stars of his sunrises and sunsets! In the flask of his vineyard there was no sign of the swaying of the wine, no spark in the shapeless mass of its dust. When a final call came from the desert that gave her new life! Thus Persia remained, while great Rome disappeared.
In conversation with the great Nadir Shah Afshar, Iqbal will once again launch a call to awaken the Islamic world. All too clear the text to need further analysis, the Poet’s message thunders loud and clear in every corner of the Persian world.
[…] The imitation of the West has taken the East out of its mind, now these peoples must criticize the West: the strength of the West does not come from modern music, not from the dance of young girls revealed, not from the charm of tulip cheeks, not bare-legged or short-haired! Its solidity does not come from atheism, nor its glory from using Latin writing! Europe’s strength lies in science and technology, it is from this fire that its lamp lights up.
Wisdom does not consist in cutting one’s clothes short, the turban is not an impediment to the sciences and the arts. For science and industry, oh gracious young man, it takes the brain, not European clothes! On this path, only acuity of sight is required: this or that form of headdress does not matter! It will be enough for you to be agile of thought, it will be enough for you to have a penetrating nature!
In today’s last passage, Abdali (or Ahmad Shah Durrani) expressed a profound criticism of the behavior of the Middle Eastern towards the “westerners”, who would be continually copied pedestrian from the first, reduced to trying new clothes for feeling current. The criticism would then continue with a fierce attack on Atatürk‘s work but they are essentially the same issues already dealt with in Mercury’s sky.
Only the last episode awaits us: “In the presence of God”. Follow us on our facebook page, Spotify, YouTube, Twitter and Instagram, or on our Telegramchannel. Any like, sharing or support is welcome and helps us to dedicate ourselves more and more to our passion: telling the Middle East ..