Reflections on Death: A Recent Sohbet

Peace, one and all…

I wanted to share the text of a recent powerful sohbet on the theme of death.

May the hearts of the lovers be opened.

The Taste of Death

‘Every soul will taste death. And We test you with evil and with good as trial; and to Us you will be returned’ (Surat Al Anbiya’ 21: 35)

‘I learned that every mortal will taste death. But only some will taste life’ (Mevlana)

‘People are asleep, when they die they awaken’ (Hadith)

On the Day of my Death

When I die; when my coffin is being taken out
you must never think I am missing this world.

Don’t shed any tears, don’t lament or feel sorry.
I’m not falling into a monster’s abyss.

When you see my corpse is being carried,
don’t cry for my leaving. I’m not leaving;
I’m arriving at eternal love.

When you leave me in the grave, don’t say goodbye.
Remember a grave is only a curtain for the paradise behind.

You’ll only see me descending into a grave, now watch me rise.
How can there be an end? When the sun sets
or the moon goes down, it looks like the end,
It seems like a sunset, but in reality, it is dawn.

When the grave locks you up, that is when your soul is freed.
Have you ever seen a seed fallen to earth not rise with a new life?
Why should you doubt the rise of a seed named man?. . .

When, for the last time, you close your mouth,
Your words and soul will belong to the world of no place, no time.
(Divani Shamsi Tabriz: Ghazal 911)

When was I less by Dying?

I died as a mineral and became a plant,
I died as plant and rose to animal,

I died as animal and I was Man.
Why should I fear? When was I less by dying?
Yet once more I shall die as Man, to soar
With angels blest; but even from angelhood

I must pass on: all except God doth perish.
When I have sacrificed my angel-soul,

I shall become what no mind e’er conceived.
Oh, let me not exist! for Non-existence
Proclaims in organ tones,
To Him we shall return.
(Mathnawi III 3901)

Deepening the Wonder

Death is a favor to us,
but our scales have lost their balance.

The impermanence of the body
should give us great clarity,
deepening the wonder in our
senses and eyes

of this mysterious existence we share
and surely are just traveling through…

If I were in the Tavern tonight
Hafiz would call for drinks

And as the Master poured, I would be reminded
That all I know of life and myself is that

we are just a mid-air flight of golden wine
between [God’s] Pitcher and His Cup.

Because our marriage with the Cruel Beauty
of time and space cannot endure very long.

Death is a favor to us,
but our minds have lost their balance.

The miraculous existence and impermanence of form
always makes the illumined ones
laugh and sing.

(Divani Hafiz)

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