Turn away

The Sufi proverb says: ‘Die before you die.’ It has a dark ring to it – morbid even, to Western ears. But the poetry of Rumi opens up its meaning for us:

I died to mineral, joined the realm of plants
I died to vegetable, joined animal
I died from animal to human realm
So why fear? When has dying made me less?

In turn again I’ll die from human form
only to sprout an angel’s head and wings
and then from angel-form I will ebb away
For ALL THINGS PERISH BUT THE FACE OF GOD

And once I’m sacrificed from angel form
I’m what imagination can’t contain.
So let me be naught! Naughtness, like a fugue
sings to me: WE VERILY RETURN TO HIM

Rumi, Mathnavi 3: 3901-3907

It is said that the only value of earthy riches is ‘more to give away.’ If that’s the case, even the gift of our own selves is a form of wealth whose only true purpose is to be expended in the path towards God, in service, as a sacrifice. Obviously the Prophets and their disciples knew this. They placed very little value on their own lives outside the context of an offering back to the Source of all life.

For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it. Luke 9:24

Today, let’s let the words of Bahá’u'lláh penetrate beyond the surface and ask a question that Rumi would have found exciting: ‘What more can I give today? What part of me is ready to die before I die?’

O SON OF MAN! If thou lovest Me, turn away from thyself; and if thou seekest My pleasure, regard not thine own; that thou mayest die in Me and I may eternally live in thee. Bahá'u'lláh, The Hidden Words

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iPhone photo by Joshua Homnick http://instacanv.as/homnick

Food for the Soul: 19 Days of Music and Devotion is a series of devotional songs from Badasht vol. I & II coupled with inspiring images and quotations from the Bahá’í Writings, initially to accompany the Fast from March 2-20. Please use them in your own way, and share with your friends & family.

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