08
May
06

Sufi Insight

timurid-decoration-sufi-shrine-of-gazargah-herat-province-afghanistan-photographic-print-c13048672.jpeg
Not Christian, Jew or Muslim,
Not Hindu, Buddhist, Sufi or Zen.
Not any religion, or cultural system.
I am not from the East or the West,
Nor out of the ocean or up from the ground,
Not natural or ethereal,
Not composed of elements at all.
I do not exist, am not an entity in this world or the next,
Did not descend from Adam or Eve
Or any origin story.
My place is placeless,
A trace of the traceless.
Neither body nor soul.
I belong to the beloved
Have seen the two worlds as one
And that one call to and know,
First, last, outer, inner,
Only that breath breathing human being.

- Jalaluddin Rumi


8 Responses to “Sufi Insight”


  1. 1 Borderline Majnun
    November 16, 2007 at 8:13 pm

    Beautiful, didn’t know it was Rumi, thought it was ibn ‘Arabi initially. Similar to his famous quote –

    “There was a time when I used to reject those who were not of my faith. My heart has grown capable of taking on all forms. A pasture for a gazelle, a convent for Christians. A temple for idols, a Ka’ba for the pilgrim. A table for the Torah, a book of the Koran. My religion is love. Whatever path the caravan of love shall take, that path shall be the path of my faith”.

    The two mystic saints must have been drinking the same divine wine. Great blog by the way.

  2. November 18, 2007 at 12:31 pm

    reading this post, i am more than ever tempted to make a post about RUMI myself. i am sure you know that soooooo much is lost in translation from persian to english or any other language when you are interpreting the great poet…

    this is a great site http://www.rumi.net/ for anyone who’s interested in the “non-starbucks” Rumi!

  3. November 19, 2007 at 11:47 am

    Hey Michele

    Essentially.. you are correct.. Awaiting your post on Rumi.
    Also thanks for providing a wonderful link on Rumi

    There are few efforts more conducive to humility than that of the translator trying to communicate an incommunicable beauty.. -Edith Hamilton -

  4. 4 Somali Panda
    December 14, 2007 at 7:23 am

    I am tempted enough reading this post to tell a few words about my work ‘Myriad Shades of Passion’. Am a journalist by profession, and a singer in the domain of HINDUSTANI CLASSICAL MUSIC and TAGORE’s songs, engaged in search of mystic influence on Tagore’s musical compositions. Rabindranath Tagore, himself a mystic poet and an avid admirer of Sufi poet Hafiz, were greatly inspired by, perhaps, mystic music tradition too. I myself am engaged particularly in finding similar aspects of Tagore’s music and Rumi’s compositions. And have made musical performances on this subject as a tribute to Rumi and Rabindranath Tagore on the special occasion of International Rumi year.

  5. 5 Somali Panda
    December 20, 2007 at 7:27 am

    Myriad Shades of Passion

    The synopsis
    Myriad shades of passion is an endeavour to relate the composer Rabindranath with the world mystic pattern of music. About three years ago I could observe a pattern that in case of Rabindrasangeet, where the lyric is mystic in essence, the tune too follow the same path. Here we need, perhaps, a little elaboration of the subject.
    ‘Mysticism’, the word has been derived from the Greek word ‘Mysticos’, meaning ‘an initiation (of the Eleusinian mysteries)’. It is the pursuit of achieving communion or identity with, or conscious awareness of Ultimate Reality, the divine, spiritual truth, or God through direct experience, intuition, or insight. The world of mysticism- the Kabbalah in Judaism, or Gnosticism with Christianity, or Sufism in Islam, or else Vedanta with Hinduism, or so on- is so varied, and yet emanating perhaps the same spirit- yearning to be re-united with the Ultimate Reality through the path of love and devotion.
    Mysticism was originated in ancient Greece and its neighbouring areas,viz., Egypt et al. The Greeks, rich in phylosophy and wisdom, had something in them that compelled them to get out in the world and to engrave impression on it. Perhaps the urge for searching something made them wander the world, and perhaps there in lies the root of mysticism. Alexander the Great, with his enormous band of warriors reached India through Iran, Turkey, Persia, Afganistan or crossing the Hindukush Mountains, and each place they passed by little habitations formed. With them their rich culture and tradition too came along, and got inhabitations. After centuries, in the end of 14th century and in the beginning of 15th century Taimur made his invasions in India and Persia. By that time the descendants of the Greeks were reduced to economically have-not Gypsies with only rich cultural legacy. Taimur’s conquest caused immense destruction and loss of life in India and Persia. The poorest people in both the countries were the Gypsies. They were the worst affected by Taimur’s aggression, and many of the wanderers, i.e., the Gypsies, headed west and some finally ended up in Spain, and particularly in Andalusia, in the early 15th century. And with them went their songs and dances, of which mention may be made of Hafiz’s ghazals. We find this reference in Lorca’s essay on Andalusian Gypsy music, too. It is remarkable that the path through which the Greeks came to India, and the Gypsies traded westward, mostly covers the areas where mysticism took birth and shape. Sufism has been the most popular genre of mysticism in the world, which was originated in Persia. However, be it Sufism or some other order, there has always been a yearning to be united with the Greater Being in a way not much to do with the structured religious pattern.
    Mystic music traditions of all orders, too, have at least one thing in common- the soulful singing pattern. It does not follow any particular form as it is rooted in the phylosophy of being free from any sort of structured identity. So it is the longing to be with the Beloved forgetting one’s self. Technically one more thing is discernible in many of the cases, that is the use of high octave notes. A mystic yearns for the Formless; he does not know how to worship, where to find the Beloved, or how to reach there. Hence the yearning gets more intense, and it includes high-pitched melodies to translate the intensity.

    Now as for Rabindranath Tagore, while visiting Persia, he came to acknowledge that their music had an eerie resemblance with the music of our country.Tagore, the poet-philosopher, the poet of the Upanishads, himself an avid admirer of the Persian sufi poet Hafiz, has well been acclaimed throughout the world as a mystic poet.And these are the cues that inspired the search for a pattern for performing Tagore’s songs- a soulful singing style that spells the mystic compositions echoing the world mystic music tradition.

    The objective
    It has been an experimental initiative to relate Tagore’s songs to the World Music. Moreover, now, in the time of world wide crisis in terms of intolerence and lovelessness, mysticism is being much more relevant and contemporary. UNESCO has declared this year, 2007, as International Rumi Year after the pioneering Persian sufi poet Jalaluddin Rumi on his 800th birth anniversary. This endeavour has been a tribute on my behalf to Rumi and Rabindranath.

    On the 25th of november,2007, made a 90-minute solo rendition at INDIA HABITAT CENTRE, Delhi on this project.

  6. December 20, 2007 at 9:59 am

    Hi Somali,

    This brief treatise on Sufi Insight is very well-written. For the readers who may be foggy about the Sufism’s travels from Persia to India, this would be a valuable insight indeed.

    I would be very interested in knowing more about your performances, since I am also a music connoisseur like ‘Entropy’ here. In addition I write prolifically on Jazz/Blues, sometimes Hindustani classical, folk and gypsy music. I have friend in Vienna, Harri who is a true blue Gypsy guitarist, plays jazz in the contemporary style and is planning a tour of India (New Delhi included) in autumn of 2008. It would be nice if you could help me organise the show on a larger scale.

    Cheerz!

    Max

  7. February 25, 2010 at 10:39 am

    Migrating Music and Tagore Unbound-
    a search

    -by Somali Panda

    Migrating Music
    Movement of people is perhaps as old as the history of civilization itself. From the time immemorial people are walking down the path of happenings, leaving or losing their home in search of a newer one, with their own desire and dream, longing or desperation, music and amusement, and are interacting, creating, merging or emerging, in the course.
    This movement or migration has shown the path of unknown to the human race whose elemental urge is to settle down. There is the fallacy. The reasons may be as different as natural, spatial, political, economical, social or racial, people have to move toward a new horizon but with an incessant quest for the root somewhere deep in the mind.
    Migration of people and their music across the world has been occurring to an unprecedented extent and in novel ways for sometime now. Researchers in a variety of disciplines have also been responding by studying musical flows and the formation of hybrid styles, and the way in which apparently similar music can mean quite different things in different contexts.

    Some contemporary thoughts in the sphere

    The Mediterranean has long been regarded as, simultaneously, a zone of contact and transition, and an exclusionary boundary line in the forging of a western modernity. Musical practices have accompanied migrations, and shaped the imagination of those migrations with particular intensity at moments of anxiety about what they might imply…

    Through its association with the Beatles, the Cavern Club in Liverpool has been a focus for tales of musical travel and migration and the birth, during the early 1960s, of a new, innovative and hybrid musical style.. It will position the club in relation to the musical and spatial journeys of these musicians as well as urban and musical change…

    The paper examines the way Cuban émigrés in London use music to construct their notions of identity and nation. Using a theoretical framework drawn from the literatures on identity, Diaspora, and representation, the research focuses on how music promotes a construction of home and contributes to the production of meanings about the nation..They became acquainted with the creations of the pre-revolutionary icons of their country’s music and with the work of other exile-émigré musicians. As a result, their construction of Cuba broadens to include these new symbols of homeland music, which contributes greatly to their sense of identity…

    Fugitive Music: Fellah Mengu, Hybridity and Difficulty
    This paper explores the conditions that often characterize the experience of a hybrid, or migratory existence: poverty, incarceration, colonialization and economic globalization, and seeks out the troubled aesthetic that emerges from these sites of dislocation. In order to trace out a theoretical basis of this aesthetic, I shall focus on the hybridity that resulted in the development of the Cante Jondo, an Andalusian singing tradition that is considered the precursor to modern flamenco. Flamenco – which derives from the Arabic fellah mengu meaning ‘fugitive farmer/peasant’ and was born of the intermingling of an outcast migratory gitano population within a persisting Moorish cultural influence on a surface Catholicism– has given rise to an aesthetic which, according to the poet Garcia Lorca, is

    Mysticism, Migrating music, Charoibeti…

    This has been a period of five years almost that I have been in the awe of myriad shades of passion- a journey through Tagore’s song towards the world of mysticism.
    I tried to tread along the paths of the 5th century BC Greece to understand what actually spurred Alexander the great to move this far with the entire panorama of Hellenic culture and there by to lay the foundation of the huge Hellenistic civilization…Afterwards these immensely rich, in every possible way, population, living in the area which the great emperor traversed and founded habitations in, including Persia, Turkey, and, of course, parts of Indian peninsula, became mere have-nots with only the glorious cultural heritage, and were commonly known as the Gypsies after there ever migrating character…Towards the end of the 14th century and early into the 15th century Taimur’s conquest resulted in immense destruction and loss of life in Persia and in India. And the poorest people of the areas, i.e., the Gypsies, were the worst sufferers. Many of these wanderers or Gypsies headed west, and some finally ended up in the early 15th century in Spain, and in particular in Andalusia… And Federico Garcia Lorca had to pen his essay on Andalusian Gypsy Music (Deep Song), and had to compose number of Gaceles (ghazals) as the outcome…This part of the world, the corridor of the Gypsies, incidentally has been the cradle of mysticism…
    This stretch of land experienced wars, aggressions, migrations and pangs for quite a long time… And there emerged a number of musical forms which spelled out the agony of the suffering souls of the practitioners of these forms … All these musical forms were hybrid in nature that tell themselves their pattern of birth and growth… There was Manele in Romania, Chalga in Bulgaria, Turbo folk in Serbia, Rembetika in Greece, Rai in Algeria, or Fado in Portugal… Afterwards they have been known world wide as World Music…
    And in the 19 century our country, especially Bengal, witnessed the then national and social unrest and colonial powers and obviously wars. There were great souls suffering profusely and creating immortal pieces of arts in this era of insecurity… Tagore, one of the greatest minds, echoed the tune of the Upanishads, Charoibeti, ‘move ahead’…

    Rumi..Rubaiyat..Rabindranath

    If you could get rid of yourself
    Just for once
    The secret of secrets
    Would open to you

    Jalaluddin Rumi

    There was a Door to which
    I found no key
    There was a veiled past
    Which I could not see
    Some little talk awhile
    Of Me and Thee,
    There seemed… and then
    No more of Thee and Me

    Omar Khayyam (Rubaiyat)

    Ever in my life have I sought thee with my songs
    It was they, who led me from door to door,
    And with them have I felt about me,
    Searching and touching my world

    Rabindranath Tagore (Gitanjali)

    somalipanda@yahoo.co.in
    mobile: +919830436020

  8. February 25, 2010 at 10:41 am

    Migrating Music and Tagore Unbound- a
    search

    -by Somali Panda

    Migrating Music
    Movement of people is perhaps as old as the history of civilization itself. From the time immemorial people are walking down the path of happenings, leaving or losing their home in search of a newer one, with their own desire and dream, longing or desperation, music and amusement, and are interacting, creating, merging or emerging, in the course.
    This movement or migration has shown the path of unknown to the human race whose elemental urge is to settle down. There is the fallacy. The reasons may be as different as natural, spatial, political, economical, social or racial, people have to move toward a new horizon but with an incessant quest for the root somewhere deep in the mind.
    Migration of people and their music across the world has been occurring to an unprecedented extent and in novel ways for sometime now. Researchers in a variety of disciplines have also been responding by studying musical flows and the formation of hybrid styles, and the way in which apparently similar music can mean quite different things in different contexts.

    Some contemporary thoughts in the sphere

    The Mediterranean has long been regarded as, simultaneously, a zone of contact and transition, and an exclusionary boundary line in the forging of a western modernity. Musical practices have accompanied migrations, and shaped the imagination of those migrations with particular intensity at moments of anxiety about what they might imply…

    Through its association with the Beatles, the Cavern Club in Liverpool has been a focus for tales of musical travel and migration and the birth, during the early 1960s, of a new, innovative and hybrid musical style.. It will position the club in relation to the musical and spatial journeys of these musicians as well as urban and musical change…

    The paper examines the way Cuban émigrés in London use music to construct their notions of identity and nation. Using a theoretical framework drawn from the literatures on identity, Diaspora, and representation, the research focuses on how music promotes a construction of home and contributes to the production of meanings about the nation..They became acquainted with the creations of the pre-revolutionary icons of their country’s music and with the work of other exile-émigré musicians. As a result, their construction of Cuba broadens to include these new symbols of homeland music, which contributes greatly to their sense of identity…

    Fugitive Music: Fellah Mengu, Hybridity and Difficulty
    This paper explores the conditions that often characterize the experience of a hybrid, or migratory existence: poverty, incarceration, colonialization and economic globalization, and seeks out the troubled aesthetic that emerges from these sites of dislocation. In order to trace out a theoretical basis of this aesthetic, I shall focus on the hybridity that resulted in the development of the Cante Jondo, an Andalusian singing tradition that is considered the precursor to modern flamenco. Flamenco – which derives from the Arabic fellah mengu meaning ‘fugitive farmer/peasant’ and was born of the intermingling of an outcast migratory gitano population within a persisting Moorish cultural influence on a surface Catholicism– has given rise to an aesthetic which, according to the poet Garcia Lorca, is

    Mysticism, Migrating music, Charoibeti…

    This has been a period of five years almost that I have been in the awe of myriad shades of passion- a journey through Tagore’s song towards the world of mysticism.
    I tried to tread along the paths of the 5th century BC Greece to understand what actually spurred Alexander the great to move this far with the entire panorama of Hellenic culture and there by to lay the foundation of the huge Hellenistic civilization…Afterwards these immensely rich, in every possible way, population, living in the area which the great emperor traversed and founded habitations in, including Persia, Turkey, and, of course, parts of Indian peninsula, became mere have-nots with only the glorious cultural heritage, and were commonly known as the Gypsies after there ever migrating character…Towards the end of the 14th century and early into the 15th century Taimur’s conquest resulted in immense destruction and loss of life in Persia and in India. And the poorest people of the areas, i.e., the Gypsies, were the worst sufferers. Many of these wanderers or Gypsies headed west, and some finally ended up in the early 15th century in Spain, and in particular in Andalusia… And Federico Garcia Lorca had to pen his essay on Andalusian Gypsy Music (Deep Song), and had to compose number of Gaceles (ghazals) as the outcome…This part of the world, the corridor of the Gypsies, incidentally has been the cradle of mysticism…
    This stretch of land experienced wars, aggressions, migrations and pangs for quite a long time… And there emerged a number of musical forms which spelled out the agony of the suffering souls of the practitioners of these forms … All these musical forms were hybrid in nature that tell themselves their pattern of birth and growth… There was Manele in Romania, Chalga in Bulgaria, Turbo folk in Serbia, Rembetika in Greece, Rai in Algeria, or Fado in Portugal… Afterwards they have been known world wide as World Music…
    And in the 19 century our country, especially Bengal, witnessed the then national and social unrest and colonial powers and obviously wars. There were great souls suffering profusely and creating immortal pieces of arts in this era of insecurity… Tagore, one of the greatest minds, echoed the tune of the Upanishads, Charoibeti, ‘move ahead’…

    Rumi..Rubaiyat..Rabindranath

    If you could get rid of yourself
    Just for once
    The secret of secrets
    Would open to you

    Jalaluddin Rumi

    There was a Door to which
    I found no key
    There was a veiled past
    Which I could not see
    Some little talk awhile
    Of Me and Thee,
    There seemed… and then
    No more of Thee and Me

    Omar Khayyam (Rubaiyat)

    Ever in my life have I sought thee with my songs
    It was they, who led me from door to door,
    And with them have I felt about me,
    Searching and touching my world

    Rabindranath Tagore (Gitanjali)

    somalipanda@yahoo.co.in
    mobile: +919830436020


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