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  Mystery & Mysticism What can I learn from Mystic Poets?

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HAFIZ (1320-1389)

Persian Sufi master

Return! That to a heart wounded full sore
Valiance and strength may enter in; return!
And Life shall pause at the deserted door,
The cold dead body breathe again and burn.
Oh come! And touch mine eyes, of thy sweet grace,
For I am blind to all but to thy face.
Open the gates, and bid me see once more!

Like to a cruel Ethiopian band,
Sorrow despoiled the kingdom of my heart--
Return! glad Lord of Rome, and free the land;
Before thine arms the foe shall break and part.
See now, I hold a mirror to mine eyes,
And nought but thy reflection therein lies;
The glass speaks truth to them that understand.

Night is with child, has thou not heard men say?
“Night is with child! What will she bring to birth?”
I sit and ask the stars when thou’rt away.
Oh come! And when the nightingale of mirth
Pipes in the Spring-awakened garden ground,
In Hafiz’s heart shall ring a sweeter sound,
Diviner nightingales attune their lay.

Hafiz: The Mystic Poets, trans. Gertrude Bell (Woodstock, Vermont: Skylight Paths Publishing, 2004) 58.


Excerpted from Hafiz: The Mystic Poets Series
"A Short Introduction to Hafiz's Mysticism," pgs. 36-37.

Hafiz belonged to the great sect from which so many of the most famous among Persian writers have sprung. Like Saadi and Jámí and Jalal ad-Dín-Rúmí and a score of others, he was a Sufi.

The keynote of Sufism is the union, the identification of God and humanity. Numberless beautiful images are used to describe this union. Rúmí: “There came one and knocked at the door of the Beloved. And a voice answered and said, ‘Who is there?’ The lover replied, ‘It is I.’ ‘Go hence,’ returned the voice; ‘there is no room within for thee and me.’ Then came the lover a second time and knocked and again the voice demanded, ‘Who is there?’ He answered, ‘It is thou.’ ‘Enter,’ said the voice, ‘for I am within.’

It is a doctrine which lies at the root of all spiritual religions, but pushed too far it leads to pantheism, quietism, and eventually to nihilism. The highest good to which the Sufis can attain is the annihilation of the actual--to forget that they have a separate existence, and to lose themselves in the Divinity as a drop of water is lost in the ocean.

In order to obtain this end, they recommend ascetic living and solitude; but they do not carry asceticism to the absurd extremes enjoined by the Indian mystics, nor do they approve of artificial aids for the subduing of consciousness, such as opium, or hashish, or the wild physical exertions of the dancing dervishes. The drunkenness of the Sufi poets, say their interpreters, is nothing but an ecstatic frame of mind, in which the spirit is intoxicated with the contemplation of God just as the body is intoxicated with wine.

According to the Dabistan, there are four stages in the manifestation of the Divinity: in the first the mystic sees God in the form of a corporal being; in the second he sees him in the form of one of his attributes of action, as the maker or the preserver of the world; in the third he appears in the form of an attribute which exists in his very essence, as knowledge or life; in the fourth the mystic is no longer conscious of his own existence. To the last he can hope to attain but seldom.

Hafiz: The Mystic Poets, trans. Gertrude Bell, preface by Ibrahim Gamard (Woodstock, Vermont: Skylight Paths Publishing, 2004) 36-37.

Used with permission of Skylight Paths Publishing.

Hafix Book cover

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(Woodstock, Vermont: Skylight Paths Publishing, 2004.) 36-37.





> What makes
someone a Mystic?

> How do I find the
Mystic Path?

> What can I learn
from Mystic Poets?

> How can I nurture
my connection to the Sacred?



>How can I explore
the Mystery?

>What can I know for certain?

>What shows me that
God cares?

>How can Jesus help
me understand?

>Where can I touch
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