In this poem Rumi is trying to explain how important he thinks being alone with oneself is. It is only when we quiet the mouth as well as the mind’s chatter that revelations happen. These aha-moments which happen in a meditative state are priceless according to him.
He compares an extroverted leader who might have power – maybe over an entire nation to a mystic who has freedom and who is completely satisfied in his own solitude, and asks the reader which one they think is worth more? There is no right or wrong here, obviously. Leaders are just as important to the society as mystics. A person who is a good balance of extroversion and introversion, leadership and mysticism would indeed be like a dream come true.
Here is my interpretation of Hafiz’s poem ‘What Happens’
What happens when your soul Begins to awaken Your eyes And your heart And the cells of your body To the great Journey of Love?
First there is wonderful laughter And probably precious tears
And a hundred sweet promises And those heroic vows No one can ever keep.
But still God is delighted and amused You once tried to be a saint.
What happens when your soul Begins to awake in this world
To our deep need to love And serve the Friend?
O the Beloved Will send you One of His wonderful, wild companions –
In this poem Hafiz first describes someone who is falling in love – in the worldly ‘love’ sense – with another human being, with expectations of love being returned. This ‘great journey’ of love is what slowly makes this human being feel alive. In this love, we make a lot of heroic promises which we obviously break over time as this love/relationship becomes a mundane thing in our life. He says, God is truly amused at this childlike behavior of humans but God still appreciates that humans try to be noble, brave and saintly in the name of love.
Then he says, similarly a person might have another type of soul awakening to love – but this time, it could be to a divine type of love – one that is free of attachments and expectations. It is the deep need to love anyone whom you see hurting or suffering, the need to serve those who need help. What happens to a person like this? Hafiz answers this by saying that God will send you one of his messengers to help you out, to show you the way, to guide you. A messenger, just like Hafiz 🙂
Taken from ‘I Heard God Laughing : Renderings of Hafiz’ by Daniel Ladinsky.
Here is my interpretation of Gibran’s poem ‘On Children’
Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself. They come through you but not from you, And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts, For they have their own thoughts. You may house their bodies but not their souls, For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams. You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you. For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth. The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far. Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness; For even as He loves the arrow that flies, so He loves also the bow that is stable.
In this poem, Khalil Gibran – who himself did not have any child, is giving a message to parents about their children. He says that the children who are born to you – are not yours, you as parents do not ‘own’ or ‘posses’ them. You and your partner have been chosen by God to be the channel for this life – body, soul and spirit – to come into existence. You are to give them love and care, you will take care of their needs until the time they can do it for themselves – but that does not mean that in return for this you indoctrinate them with your thoughts. If you let them have thoughts of their own, they will surprise you with their brilliance. He says instead of teaching them, we can learn from them and strive to be like them. He says that parents are the bow from which the children shoot forward as the arrows – and God is the archer, orchestrating all of this. He says, be glad – you have this joy of being a parent – do all you do for your children in that gladness. For as God loves the brilliant arrows being shot forward – he similarly loves a bow which is strong, balanced, grounded and stable. He is basically, asking the parents to be a solid foundation for the children; solve your own issues – so that you don’t shake up your child’s childhood by your own mental imbalances; grow up first – before you try to help them grow up.