Saturday, August 20, 2005

Spiritual Realization : Rumi and Shams Tabrez

Commenting in the post titled, Wisdom of Buddha, Mark mentioned a beautiful story about a chinese master. Its about how spiritual realization can not be obtained from books. It reminded me a similar story from Rumi, the famous Persian Mystic and Poet.

Once while Jalalludin Rumi was teaching his pupils in the open courtyard, next to a fountain, a shabbily externally dressed but perfectly internally adorned Sufi, Shams Tabrez came to their assembly and watched them. He saw Rumi referring to numerous handwritten books in the course of his teaching. Shams asked Jalalludin Rumi as to what was in the books.

Jalalludin Rumi replied, "O! Sufi. This contains knowledge that is beyond your understanding so you continue to read your rosary." Unnoticed by Rumi, Shams Tabrez threw all the books into the pond of water. When Rumi’s students saw what occurred they began beating Shams Tabrez. This and the screams of Shams Tabrez alerted Rumi as to what occurred. He complained that all his valuable knowledge had been destroyed. Shams Tabrez said; "Tell your pupils to leave me alone and I will give back your books."

A visibly dejected Rumi conceded to the request thinking that this was impossible. He was surprised to see Shams Tabrez, recite bismillah (in the name of God), lift the drenched books from the pond, blew dust of them and returned them to him intact.

He asked Shams Tabrez as to how he did this. Shams Tabrez replied, "This knowledge is beyond your understanding so you continue to teach your pupils." Jalalludin Rumi fell at his feet and was swept into the currents of love. The presence of this ragged Sufi, Shams Tabrez, changed Jallaluddin Rumi from a respected professor of theology into a lover of God, one who summed up his whole life with the phrase, "I burnt, and I burnt, and I burnt." Shams Tabrez, targeted Rumi since he knew that Rumi was ready for receiving Spiritual Training but the veil of conceit, regarding his knowledge, had to be lifted.

Thus, spiritual enlightenment can only come as a gift from God. No book can teach us this. Sometime God present this gift directly into the heart of the devotee as inspirations or sometime via a spiritual master or guide.
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