Thursday, July 14, 2011

Being a Person of Paradise | from the Teachings of Shams Tabrizi

Shams Tabrizi was a revolutionary Sufi Master, the Spiritual Teacher of Mevlana Rumi. The following teachings are featured in his Malaqat (Conversations). Mevlana Shams was a spiritual heir of the Divine Messenger and remains to be a Sultan of those who have attained.

Let thine Eye be Single

Shams reminds of the sacred hadith where the Divine Voice speaks: “La ilaha illallah (there is no god but God) is My Fortress. Whoever takes refuge in My fortress becomes secure.”

Shams says, “Whoever goes into this fortress of oneness – God did not say, “whoever only says the name of the fortress.” To say the name is easy; you may say, “I have entered the fortress,” or “I went to Damascus.” But if it were just a matter of the tongue, in an instant you could ascend from earth to the heavens or to the Empyrean and the Divine Throne. The Prophet Muhammad said, “The faithful who says “La ilaha illallah” with purity and from the heart, enters Paradise.” Now you sit and say, “He is One.” But who are you? You are more than six thousand! Become One! Otherwise, is His Oneness your concern?

Remember here the same teaching of Jesus Christ where he transmits, “Let thine eye be single ... Let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes’ and your ‘No’ be ‘No’; anything (duality) beyond this (unity) comes from the evil one.”

Shams continues his teaching, “You are a hundred thousand particles and each particle of yours is being carried off by some desire; within each particle of yours, you are carrying an illusion. The one who demonstrates purity of intention and sincerity of action goes to Paradise.”

The best of human beings is the one who most benefits others. But how can one who doesn’t know what good is, do something good? How can those who don’t know what a “year” is and who haven’t understood what “life” is wish each other long lives? A single silver coin given into the hand of a man of God is better than a thousand gold coints that come into the hand of a man who is fond of his nafs (desire, selfhood, the appetizing selfish self).

Be a Person of Heart

Spiritual Portrait of Mevlana Shams
One should not be a person of bodily instincts, but a person of heart. Seek the heart, not instincts! Where is the place of the heart? The heart is hidden. He is a companion of God, but out of jealousy, they call him “a man of heart.” The moment the bright light of the Truth reflects upon the heart, the heart becomes joyful. Then in a moment, that light disappears, but many times it happens like this so that the heart might become a heart. It burns, and many times the heart gets broken, until it melts and only God remains.

[God] indicated this to the Prophet David. David asked God, “Where will I look for you?” [God answered], “My heavens and my earth cannot encompass me, only the heart of My faithful servant can encompass Me.” He also said, “I am with those whose hearts have been broken on My way.” When you say, “a person of heart,” say “those whose hearts have been broken,” because brokenness of heart is necessary. When you reach the Truth, you will see the divine light of His Exaltedness from within the divine light of the Truth Itself, because “No one knows them but I.”

Person of Paradise

Shams teaches us: “Let me tell you about the qualities of the people of Paradise. Let me also tell you the sign of the people of Hell. Since the day God created this universe like an arrow shot from a bow, every day, every moment, He has been opening and closing doors. This takes place at such a limitless speed that one’s mind stops.

Whomever you see who has a beautiful temperament and a beautiful face, if his/her words are straight forward, if he/she is open-hearted, and if he prays for good things for everyone, a joy of heart comes from the speech of such a person. He/she makes you forget the anxieties and tightness of this universe; your inside opens in such a way that even if he/she swears at you, you laugh. Maybe, when he speaks of unity . . . you weep, but [in that moment] you feel a hundred thousand joys and laughter within yourself.

Such a person is a being of Paradise.

There is also a kind of person who drinks blood; there is a coldness on his face and in his words that only bring you anxiety. His words repell you, rather than being warming like the speech of the joyful human being. Well, such a person is a devil, a person of Hell.

Now, whoever has realized such a secret behaves accordingly ...”

- Credit: Shared from Being a Person of Paradise: Reflections on the Teachings of Shams of Tabriz by Camille Adams Helminski

* Meeting of Rumi and Shams
* Rumi's Whirling
* Visit to Rumi's Tomb in Konya, Turkey
* More posts featuring Rumi
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