Thursday, 6 October 2011

Spiritual Influxes of Vigilant Observance (awrâd al-istibsâr)

The following is my English translation from Henry Corbin's French translation of Suhrawardî's 'Descents and Sanctifications' (al-wâridât wa'l-taqdîsât), dubbed by Corbin 'The Book of Hours' (Le Livre d'Heures), in L'archange empourpré (Paris: 1976), pp. 483-4. Presently only one badly scanned ms. of the original Arabic of this work is in my possession. Two other mss. have been cited by Corbin, as well as Brockelman in GAL, as being held in Turkey.




1. [O! To] that God who hears the call of burning desire! How [It] discloses (kashf) the way to the interior illumination! By the approaching of the Malakût (angelic world) of sanctity whereby the word is upraised to the Persons of Light (ashkhâs al-daw’), inasmuch as They proclaim:
2. O God of all gods (yâ ilâha kulli ilâhîn), assemble the litany of the Light! Come to the aid of the people of Light (ahl al-Nûr)! Guide the light unto the Light!
3. With the First Being the principle movement originates. To this First Being is lead the final limit of time and repose. Close is the moment. The Signs have appeared. Herein gathered are in assembly the folk of Mount Sina’i, so reciting, let them say:
4. O God of the Separations (yâ ilâh al-fâriqât), assemble the litany of the Light! Come to the aid of the people of Light! Guide the light unto the Light!
5. The Lord is alone and without equal by the glare of It’s splendorous flashes of Glory (bi-sanâ’ al-majd). One and Single in the magnitude of Power. Exalted in the sublimity of Its Victorious force, dominating every Intelligence, every heart and every material body. Within each living being It epiphanizes [Itself]. In the proximity of Its Majesty are the heights of the highest altitudes and the abysses of the utmost depths, so let the Pure Ones (al-zakkîyât) proclaim :
6. O Master of the Supreme Symbol (sâhib al-mathal al-a’lâ), assemble the litany of the Light! Come to the aid of the People of Light! Guide the light unto the Light!
7. God purifes the upright while approaching them, approving the liturgy of the Light arising to sounds of the Sanctified Easts (quddâs al-ishrâq), for Its blessings are upon the cone of the flame of Light. It directs the celestial impulse upon the lamp of the sanctuary (qandîl al-mosallâ). It consecrates offerings and praiseworthy acts. It made of the herald of the Levantine Light the rider of the Orient (rakîb al-mashriq), for the  nearness of the Holy Ones, bestowing aid, launch the [divine] Order by proclaiming atop the crenels of the world of Glory:
8. O Principle of the Universe, terminal time limit of the movements of the suns which rise to their orients when they decline from their occidents (al-shâriqât al-ghâribât), assemble the litany of the Light! Come to the aid of the People of Light! Guide the light unto the Light!
9. God made the primal Light the mediator and sovereign. He projected upon him Its Light. It gave him the sovereignty over the direction of [the celestial] bodies. It made of him a lord reigning upon the napes of the necks of the beings in material bodies. It confirmed by him the mediation of the cosmic order, the perfector of life, the cause of the seasons, the nights and days, and to whom the sanctified (hieratic) souls (muqadassât al-nufûs) invoke with fervor, whilst addressing themselves to It:
10. O You, the Singular Person [in authority] over the Lights (yâ ayyuhâ al-shakhs al-anwâr). You Who eternally turn Your face towards Your Father! Call upon the Giver of Intelligence (wâhib al-‘aql) and Life! Say: Assemble the litany of the Light! Come to the aid of the People of Light! Guide the light unto the Light!
11. The Good (the Elect) beseech the highest Persons, the most elevated of the beings of Light. The human assembly beseech the celestial Souls, while all together beseech the archangelic Active-Intellects (al-‘uqâl al-fa’’âla); this, whilst our Principle encircles their totality. And this is the prayer of all the levels of the hierarchy of beings, namely, the answer to the Call:
12. O Dispenser of the Light and the beneficial influx! Come to the aid of the People of Light! Guide the light unto the Light.

Monday, 3 October 2011

A tale about the Unity of Being (wahdat al-wujud)


 

When colorlessness became the captive of color
A Moses went to war with Jesus - Rumi

Once upon a time a wandering dervish came upon a grove owned by an elderly, retired man in the twilight of his years. The elderly man had spent years tending to his garden with much love and care, growing in it all kinds of sumptuous fruits and vegetables. Recently having been graced with a realization of the Unity of Being (wahdat al-wujud), the dervish thought to himself, "I am hungry, and there is no blame if I jump over this man's fence and help myself to the fruits of his garden since all is God!"


So the dervish proceeded to jump over the old man’s fence and, without asking his permission, began to greedily help himself to the fruits and vegetables of the old man's garden.


After a while the old man saw what the dervish was doing and so began to yell at him from across the way: "hey you, what are you doing? Why are you eating from the fruits of my garden without my permission?" The dervish responded, "this is God's garden, these are God's fruits and I am God eating God!" The old man angrily retorted, "is that right?" The dervish imperiously responded, "yes, that's right!"


So the old man proceeded over to the other side of his house to fetch his big, heavy walking stick. He returned straight back over to the dervish and began to now beat him mercilessly! The dervish cried, "what is wrong with you, old man? Why are you beating me like this?" The old man responded, "well, this is God's garden, these are God's fruits and I am God beating God!"