Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Words from the Wise...


"With That Moon Language"
-Hafiz

Admit something;

Everyone you see, you say to them, "Love me."

Of course you do not do this out loud, otherwise
someone would call the cops

Still, though, think about this, this great pull in us to connect.

Why not become the one who lives with a 
full moon in each eye that is
always saying,

with that sweet moon language,
what every other eye in
this world is
dying to 
hear?

About Hafiz

Shams-ud-din Muhammad Hafiz (c. 1320-1389) is the most beloved poet of Persians and is considered to be one of history's greatest lyrical geniuses. Though he is still little known in the Western world, many notables including Emerson, Goethe, Garcia Lorca, the composer Brahms and even Nietzche were deeply affected by him. Emerson once remarked that "Hafiz is a poet for poets," and Goethe wrote that "Hafiz has no peer." The range of Hafiz's work is astounding, striking a chord of recognition in people from every stratum of mind.

Hafix was born Shams-ud-din Muhammad, the youngest of three sons, in the beautiful garden city of Shiraz in southern Persia, where he remained most of his life. Shiraz escaped the ravages of Tartar and Mongol invasions during this violent and chaotic time, and Persian life as Hafiz knew it as a child and young adult was for the most part wonderful and steeped in nature's poetry. And Hafiz's father undoubtedly recited the verse of Saadi, Farid-ud-din Attar, and Jalal-ud-din Rumi to his sons as well as the Quran. In fact, Shams-ud-din Muhammad later chose the pen name of Hafiz, which means "memorizer" and denotes a person who knows the entire Quran by heart.

When Hafiz was in his teens, his father, who had been a coal merchant, died. Hafiz began working as a baker's assistant to help support the family, and at night attended school, eventually obtaining a "classical" medieval education. A famous story about Hafiz, told many ways, says: When he was twenty-one he was delivering bread to a wealthy noble family and glimpsed a remarkably beautiful girl on a terrace of the home. He fell desperately in love with her, but she had already been promised to another. Still, he began writing and singing out poems for her that expressed his longing and adorations. The poems were so touching that many in Shiraz came to know of them, and they were sung to other's sweethearts. Out of desperation to win her, Hafiz undertook a forty-night vigil at the tomb of a famous saint, for legend had it that anyone who could accomplish this feat would win their heart's desire. Indeed, after a Herculean effort, upon completion of the fortieth night of vigil, it is said that the archangel Gabriel appeared before Hafiz and asked him what he desired. Gazing upon the radiant beauty of God's angel, Hafiz forgot his human love, and the thought rushed into his mind: "What must God's beauty be like—my soul needs to see that, I need to see God." Gabriel then revealed to him the whereabouts of a spiritual teacher in Shiraz whom, if served faithfully, would bring about the fulfillment of his wish. This teacher was Muhammad Attar, who lived a seemingly ordinary life to the world's eyes—that of a chemist or perfumer with a shop in Shiraz. Few knew of his secret status as a spiritual master.

Attar guided Hafiz in the development of his poetry and in the unfolding of his soul. It is said that Hafiz's poems contain and reveal all the stages of divine vision, experience, and love. He cloaked all these truths in vernacular garb, as was the tradition in Sufi schools at that time, since secrecy was often essential in the climate of life-threatening fundamentalism.

During the next decade of his life Hafiz gained much fame and influence as a poet, obtaining court patronage and a teaching position at a college that may have even been founded for him. In his early thirties an opposing sect rules Shiraz and Hafiz was dismissed from the college. It is thought tha the probably fell back upon his skill as a copyist as he had mastered the art of calligraphy during his educational training. Some years later he was reinstated. In his early forties he again fell out of favor with the ruling court as his poems were often very controversial and he even more so; eventually Hafiz had to flee Shiraz for his safety. After several years he was able to return.

When Hafiz was about sixty, it is believed that his beloved master, Muhammad Attar, granted Hafiz his deepest most constant desire—union with God. Hafiz's forty-year spiritual consecration bequeathed to history some of the most profound mystical verse in print. An estimated 5,000 poems were written by Hafiz throughout his life though it is a tremendous loss that not one poem remains in his own handwriting and the authenticity of anything tagged Hafiz will always be an issue that concerns scholars. Let the gauge of authenticity be courageous and true, like these words attributed to Hafiz: "No one could ever paint a too wonderful picture of my heart or God."

It is said of Hafiz that he wrote with a sweet, playful genius unparalleled in world literature. He is rightfully called "The Tongue of the Invisible," for through his works he continues to sing beautiful and wild love songs to this world from God.

-from the book, "Love Poems from God" by Daniel Ladinsky



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