Every master has a select vessel where secrets and knowledge may be poured into. The Master seeks an empty vessel, a heart ready to receive. Attar the famed Persian poet and mystic too sought an empty vessel and in his presence arrived the young Jelaluddin Rumi. The latter, as legend states had fled with his family, the Mongol invasion of his homeland and en route to Anatolia, in the city of Neshapour, young Jelaluddin had to come into the physical presence of Master Attar who would gaze at him and grace him for such works the world had yet to see. He saw Jelaluddin’s father walking ahead of his son and said, “Here comes a sea followed by an ocean.”
Naturally, Attar a master, recognised the secret of Rumi and gave him his Asrarnama, the book of secrets, which prepared him to study deeper the subtle mysteries of the heart. Later in his adult years, Mevlana Rumi was to meet his spiritual Master and guide who would alchemically transmute the scholar into an ecstatic lover of Divine, something the world had yet to expreience. Again, Shamsuddin too was in search of a open vessel, a master whom he would transfer his entire being and secrets to. Rumi was the select and elect candidate for Shams e Tabrez.
Among the students of Rumi, was Husamuddin. As the story goes, Husamuddin implored Mevlana Rumi, “If you were to write a book like the Ilahiname of Sanai or the Mantiq ‘ut-Tayr (Conference of the Birds) of Attar it would become the companion of many troubadours. They would fill their hearts from your work and compose music to accompany it.” Thereupon Mevlana Rumi embraced the suggestion and composed the song of the reed which would become the opening chapter of his Mathnavi, a six volume epic work of the famed Eastern poet who stands today as the most read poet in the West.
Song of the Reed
Listen to the reed as it tells its tale;
it complains of separation.
Since they cut me from the reed-bed,
men and women have been crying over my lament.
I wish for someone with a bosom torn apart by separation,
so that I can tell them the meaning of the pain of longing.
Everyone who stays far away from his own origin
seeks to get back to the day he was together with it.
I have been crying in every gathering;
I have kept company with the miserable and the happy.
Everyone has thought he is my friend,
but no one has sought my inner secrets.
My secret is not far from my crying,
but neither eye nor ear has the light to find it.
Body from soul, soul from body are not veiled,
but no one has permission to see the soul.
This call of the reed is fire, not wind.
Everyone who has not this fire–should be naught.
The fire is love that came down into the reed;
its fervor is love that came down into the wine.
The reed is the companion of everyone parted from a beloved.
Its tunes have torn apart our veils.
Who has seen such a poison and antidote as the reed?
Who has seen such a sympathizer and longing lover as the reed?
The reed tells the tale of the Way full of blood.
It tells the love stories of Layla and Majnun.
No one but the delirious is intimate with this consciousness.
The tongue has no customer but the ear.
In our sorrow the days have become untimely.
The days accompany the burning griefs.
If the days are gone, tell them “Go!” and never mind.
But Thou, please stay, for none is as holy as Thou.
Everyone but the fish is fed up with his water.
For everyone without daily bread, his day is very long.
No one who is raw can understand the state of the cooked.
So the talk should be short. “That’s all!”