Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Jesus and the Hermit | a sufi story

1.
It is related that Isa or Jesus, peace be upon him (Its preferrable that we call him by his original Aramaic name Isa, rather than Jesus, which is a later latinized name. His true name is Isa, or Eesa as refreshed in Quranic Arabic, also English transliteration of Ancient Aramaic put as Eashoa', as inspired by God through the Holy Spirit, Ruh al-Quddus, to his noble Mother, Maryam and its only polite and proper to call someone by his / her actual name as it sounds in actuality. And his name Eesa, mind you, is never given to any other Son of Man before him. The name itself is a source of Baraka and it contains undisclosed secret in it) during one of his wandering trips, passed a mountain in which there was a hermit's cell. He came to it and found a worshiper there whose back had been bent down and whose body had grown very thin out of very serious ascetic practices.

Jesus Isa Michael Green ArtEa-shoa' M'shee-kha (Isa Messiah) greeted him and was astonished by his evident signs of piety and devotion. Isa asked him, "How long have you been in this cell?

The hermit replied: "For the past seventy years I have been asking God for one thing which He has not yet fulfilled for me. Oh, Spirit of God, if you acted as my intercessor, perhaps my desire would finally be granted."

Isa Messiah asked, "And what is your request?"

The recluse said, "I have been asking Him to let me taste a tiny amount of the purest of His love."

Isa replied, "I shall pray for you to that effect."

So Isa Messiah prayed for the man, and God revealed the following: "I have accepted your intercession and granted the petition of your prayer." Isa ibn Maryam went back to the same place after a few days to see what had happened to the worshiper. He saw that the cell had collapsed, and the earth under it had opened into a great crevice.

HermitIsa descended into the crevice and came, after several leagues, to its end where he found the hermit standing with his eyes fixed and his mouth wide-open.

Isa Messiah greeted him with his usual greetings of peace in his mother tonque Aramaic, Shalom Aleichem (peace be upon you), but he didn't reply. Master Isa was astonished at the man's condition and heard a mysterious voice call out: "O Isa ibn Maryam (Jesus, the son of Mary)! He has asked Us for a tiny amount of the purest of Our love, but knowing that he was unable to bear it, We gave him only the seventieth part of an atom, and it has stupified him, as you can see. What if We had given him more!?"

2.
The story is related in a sufi manual by the title "Mahasin al-Majalis" (The Attraction of Mystical Sessions) by Ibn al-Arif and translated by William Elliott and Adnan K. Abdulla. This story appears in describing the stage of love (al-mahabba) of the mystical path.

Describing this stage, the author says, "As for love, it is the beginning of the valleys of extinction and the mountain from which one descends through the stages of self-annihilation. Love is also the last of the mystical stages, where the vanguard of the mass of believers meets the rearguard of the elect ones (the saints and purified ones).

.. There are those who talk freely of love and profess to disclose its secrets, but they have never tasted it and were only moved by the ecstasy of its smell. If one actually tastes of love, he forgets how to explain or describe it. Real love does not show itself on the lover by his speech, but rather by his qualities and his glance. Its reality (haqiqa) is not understood either by the one who loves or by the one who is loved, because ecstatic union is a blending of secrets and hearts."

3.
"Whatever I have said about love, when love comes, I am ashamed to speak." - Rumi

4.
Going back to the story of Isa and the dumbfound hermit, the author further goes on to explain that the denseness of the world, as if like minerals are the filters that protect us to be effaced by the Divine Love. For the sufis, everything that comes from the slave, the creation is defective, due to the slave's incapacity and emptiness. So esoteric reality means that the entire creation including the slaves of God subsists only from the substance that their Lord grants them; he loves with the love from God; and he sees with the vision allotted by God.

. graphics credit Rumi prints by Michale Green and Mattia Preti

# Related Read:
. Love's Universe by Kabir Helminski

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