Thought Archive

Friday, November 16, 2007

Imadeddin Nesimi - Engish translation is mine

My translation of Imadeddin Nesimi from Azeri.

Both worlds within me coexist , but this one World cannot contain me.
An omnipresent pearl I am and both those Worlds cannot contain me.

Because in me both Earth and Heaven and Creation's “BE!” were found,
Be silent! For there is no language which contains me.

Through doubt and fear no one is a friend of God and the Truth.
The man who fears dishonours God, and fear does not contain me.

Pay due regard to form, acknowledge it, because the Body and the soul I am,
but soul and body, both, do not contain me.

I am both shell and pearl, the Doomsday scales, the bridge to Paradise.
With such a wealth of wares, those worldly goods do not contain me.

I am “the hidden treasure” that is God. I am his open Eye.
I am the jewel of the Land. The sea , the Land tey don't contain me.

Although I am the boundless sea, my name is Adam, I am a Man.
I am Mount Sinai of this greeat Earth. This wretched Earth cannot contain me.

I am both Soul and Word as well. I am an Era and an Epoch, too.
Remember this : The Place and Time cannot contain me.

I am the stars, the sky the angel, revelation come from God.
So hold your tongue and silent be! There is no tongue that can contain me.

I am the atom, sun, four elements, five saints, dimensions six.
Go seek my attributes! All explanations cannot contain me.

I am the core and attribute, the flower, sugar and sweetmeat.
I am the Night of Power, Great. No tight-shut lips can contain me.

I am a burning bush. I am the rock that rose into the sky.
Observe this tongue of flame. There is no tongue of flame that can contain me.


NoolaBeulah said...

That comes across very well, Hazar. (Is this poet the source of your pseudonym?)

It is also a fine statement of what secular society tries to enshrine in rights, but cannot quite get there, making materialists like me wonder if individual rights can be maintained by materialism.

Riri said...

I'd like to see more of this translated poetry on your blog Nazim. I am very pleasantly surprised, it is very profound

Riri said...

The problem with materialism is that it very much tends towards the individual at the expense of the whole simply because it assumes that because the whole is made up of individuals then it must follow that if every individual is prosperous the whole will become prosperous. It does not seem to be justified in practice.

Hazar Nesimi said...

Yes he is my inspiration and thank you very much for comments. I dont think his world was materialst - and could not be in 14 century - quite the opposite, it is extremely spiritual - but what he, and some sufis preached -was emphasis of a Perfect Man. This could be miscontstrued as a deification of Man, which it is not. It is however is deification of God in Man - and not any man but humanity as a whole, as in Covenant of Alast, where we all pledged Allegiance to God. Humanity is not insignificant part of Creation but is most sacred God's creation so holy that in all of us - or in Sufi Perfect Man - God shines forth his power. Thus, God is existent in every Man, but Humanity is even greater that sum of its parts. Well, this is my understanding...

Nesimi also a first poet who wrote in a simple non-persianate Turkish (Azeri/Ottoman) language, and I can easily read him 700 years later, which makes it more exhiting.

Riri said...

Well it is certainly an intersting view, however I think the misunderstanding stems from the fact that many people miss out the steps Man has to go through to enrich his soul such that He becomes significant. I do not believe that Man is significant as such, what I believe is that Man has the potential to become significant and to play a very significant role in comparison with the rest of Creation. How Man strives to fulfill this potential is what is important. I believe that Man should maintain a sense of humility and respect towards the rest of Creation, being arrogant and thinking that we are somehow special just because we are Man is not my idea of a superior being, quite the contrary. At His basest level, Man is no better than an animal, what makes him different in an interesting sense is His potential to elevate Himself somehow.

NoolaBeulah said...

By 'materialism' I do not mean attachment to objects or acquisition (one look at my house would confirm that to you). I mean it as a means of explaining the world; ie not relying on 'other forces', unfalsifiable entities :), God, in other words.

I bring it up here because this poem is an assertion of the eternal within everyone. I'm convinced that this idea, created by Judaism and spread by Christianity, was the foundation for the modern idea of equality before the law, equality per se and individual rights. It's obviously in Islam as well, but these ideas were developed in the West where the influence of Islam has been negligible (except as an opposing force).

My point was just that, if there is no divine sanction for the 'sacredness' of life, given our tendency to do something just because we can do it, will it be possible to maintain those individual rights? Or will technology and the ability to create and transform life itself sweep them away?

Riri said...

I think I see what you mean Noolabeulah. The argument that we do not need God to be good and just to each other is not unfamiliar to me. There is however something that has always posed a stumbling block that prevents me from completely accepting this argument - it is simply that there is no way of knowing that we have actually reached this thinking stage without the help of what some call divine revelation. You can argue that the West has done away with religion and God and that it was exactly at that point that it reached this liberal freedoms stage once it rejected archaic religious doctrines, but I am not so sure about that. It seems to me all they did was somehow reform religious concepts, they kept what they felt was good and they rejected everything else. Then they became so pleased with the result that they substituted the religions' God with Human Consciousness. I know we have a tendency to think of past civilizations as less intelligent than us and that we somehow know much more about everything than them. But I personally do not think so, because there is no reason to think so, no reason that our race is going towards the better in everything. For me it is actually equally possible if not more probable that we are going from bad to worse. And technology is not the savior, if we are not equipped to deal with technology, it will be the end of us.

I do not know much about Christianity or Judaism, simply because I believe Islam's claim that it encompasses the messages of both in their original forms. From this I have taken the approach to only examine Islam’s claims, and therefore also the original message of Jesus and Moses in the process. The way I see it is that in essence, what religion is saying is to simply recognize that God is one and that what we do here does count - there is ultimate justice. So far so good, but the religion proceeds to spell out how we should behave to be "good" and not “transgress”; this makes a lot of people angry and pisses them off. This evokes teenage rebellion, maybe from an evolutionary point our race has reached teenage. But again I do not think so, because religion has always had opposers and the arguments against it have remained the same throughout the ages. We like to try things for ourselves that much is clear but the problem is that we can only exercise this within the confinement of this space-time we are trapped within, this realization is very unsatisfying for the very curious and inquisitive beings that we are.

The God no God debate will never stop, until the end of time. One way would be to approach the problem from a practical angle, like you seem to be doing: do we need God to behave well and be good to each other, respect each other’s rights? This means that the “type” of God required would be one that arbitrates our actions in an afterlife and to some extent here in this life as well. A deity would not do, because if He is uninvolved then as far as we’re concerned He is no use to us. Therefore, a meaningful God for us would be one very much like the one depicted by religions, involved and just. Now is this type of God necessary for us to behave well? From reality it seems not to be the case, the notion of afterlife retribution has never held a long lasting deterring effect on any set of people, regardless of whether such a God really exists or not. People forget, lose interest and then doubt such and such ever happened in the first place and finally move on, it’s simple. This does not only apply to religion, it applies to something as important and directly related to us as History as well. From this I conclude that people who believe we need religion to keep morals are undermining the potential of religion, it is not a policeman. The power of religion (by this I mean trust in God) is far greater, it is to do with people’s innate need for purpose, it transforms the experience of Life in a way nothing else can. You can argue it is just an illusion, but so is technology, so is Art, so is Philosophy, so is Science. It all comes from within us, how can we decide what to discredit and what not? The way I see it is that technology might offer a substitute, a quick fix for people who feel unable to have faith in God (for whatever reason), but once the excitement wears off (people forget, lose interest, doubt and then move on cycle all over again), then what?

I don’t think anything can help us respect others rights, apart from the conscious fear that our own rights might be abused if we do not ensure others’ rights are respected. But is this enough for everyone to observe justice? Would it not depend on people’s status, access to power, wealth etc? Don’t these privileges somehow grant their owners “more rights” than others? Don't they offer a sense of security, invulnerability to injustice? Same applies to knowledge, don’t holders of special knowledge benefit from “more rights” than those who do not? Right to respect, right to be heard, right to be “feared”, “reckoned with” – Is this justice then? Does it sound fair? Does it not spell doom? Everyone will fire up to access status, power, wealth in order to gain extra rights – which incentive will be greater, strive to gain more individual rights or strive to respect others rights for fear of losing whatever rights you have. Should everyone have the same rights regardless of status, knowledge, power, wealth? All these are tough questions…That is why the concept of being judged by an ultimate and just Judge is so compelling, a Supreme Judge who is free of all wants and weaknesses. It is especially compelling to the less fortunate of this world, it is the only thing that will help them deal with the apparent injustice in this “luckily” finite world. It is also compelling to the noble ones amongst us, whether they are rich, powerful or knowledgeable. They are very few however, outnumbered (as History tells us). Only if you have a noble predisposition will you be "good" despite power, wealth or status. Of course, all this holds true regardless of whether this ultimate just Judge really exists or not. Therefore, the question is not whether we need God to be good (it bears no significance whatsoever as to whether God exists or not), it is rather an ultimate realization that Ultimate Justice must exist somewhere, somehow, in some form because it is the only way, the necessary “fuse box” for the current of consciousness to endure…

Riri said...

Blimey! That is a long comment! 'pologies!

NoolaBeulah said...

When you get started, Riri, you're like a freight train. And since I'm not Superman, I wouldn't try to stop you.

But your points are well made. You are quite right to pick me up on my 'negative' support for belief in God. From the point of view of a believer, it must look like what it is: utilitarian. I look around for what works - the question of whether it is 'true' or not in some absolute sense, I leave aside. It is not a question that can be answered, so I don't ask it. Personally, I am quite satisfied by this. Obviously, others are not. It is not for me to say they are wrong. Especially since I admire so much what many such people have achieved.

Hazar Nesimi said...

phew Riri - you obviously got a little time on your hands. Not so with me. I will continue supply you with translations, when I have time. No matter what you call it humanism, panentheism or antropocentrism - these trends are very strong, although not dominant in Medieval Islamic poetry.

Riri said...

Yes lads, you got it. Don't even get me started! Luckily the comments are hidden, otherwise Nazim will need about 10 scroll bars on his main webpage, lol

NoolaBeulah said...

Hazar, you haven't died, have you? I'll comfort myself with the thought that you're just lazy and can't be bothered communicating any more with your foreign friends.

Hazar Nesimi said...

Internet connection at home is very poor and at work I am getting busy sometimes. but i am commited to postings here friends