Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Human Spirit As One (Wisdom from Shakespeare and Allama Iqbal)

As more and more tensions between the West and Pakistan arise in expected and unexpected places, perhaps we can find our connections in our best and wisest literature and once more see the profound reflections of truth and beauty between us? The excerpt below is taken from a small yet slightly longer presentation by Pakistan scholar Khurram Ali Shafique (This short note submitted by blogger, Connie)


Iqbal and his community were opposed to the skepticism that dominated the academic horizons of the West after World War I. Recognition of this alternative perspective now may mark the beginning of a new era in the appreciation of Shakespeare’s (and Allama Iqbal's) work:

“When you see two of them meet together as friends, they are one, and at the same time six hundred thousand,” Mawlana Jalaluddin Rumi (1207-73) wrote about true mentors...“Their numbers are in the likeness of waves: the wind will have brought them into number. The Sun, which is the spirits, became separated in the windows, which are bodies. When you gaze on the Sun’s disk, it is itself one, but the one who is screened by the bodies is in some doubt. Separation is in the animal spirit, the human spirit is one essence.”

...Dr. Sheikh Muhammad Iqbal dreamed that Rumi was commanding him to write a masnavi. Iqbal replied, “That genre reached its perfection with you.” Rumi said, “No, you should also write.” Iqbal stated respectfully, “You command that the self must be extinguished but I reckon the self to be something that should be sustained.” Rumi replied, “My intended meaning is also the same as what you have understood.”

He [Iqbal] found himself reciting the following verses as he woke up, and then he began to write them down...

Iqbal named the first part of his masnavi ‘The Secrets of the Self’ and the masnavi itself Secrets and Mysteries.

(Later) The poem about Shakespeare, which Iqbal sent for inclusion in A Book of Homage to Shakespeare, is found as an unfinished draft in a notebook used by the poet around this time...If translated faithfully, they trace the development of Prospero’s art (and Shakespeare’s) through the same major conflicts that appear in the chronological storyline of The Tempest, the relationship becoming increasingly visible as the poem progresses...

The river’s flow mirrors the red glow of dawn,
The quiet of the evening mirrors the evening’s song;

The liberation of Ariel

The roseleaf mirrors spring’s beautiful cheek;
The chamber of the cup mirrors the coquettish wine;

Miranda’s coming of age

Beauty mirrors Truth, the heart mirrors Beauty;
The beauty of your speech mirrors the human heart.

Ferdinand’s courtship

Life finds perfection in your skysoaring thought:
Was your luminous nature the goal of Life?

Gonzalo’s awakening

When the eye looked around to see you,
It saw the sun hidden in its own radiance.

Stephano’s plot

You were hidden from the eyes of the world,
But with your own eyes you saw the world exposed and bare.

The Breaking of the Staff

Nature guards its mysteries so jealously,
It will never again create one who knows so many secrets.


This small booklet has been published by Iqbal Academy Pakistan to commemorate the installation of a plaque carrying the translation of a poem by Dr. Sir Muhammad Iqbal at the Birthplace of William Shakespeare on April 23, 2010.

The poem originally appeared in Urdu (with a translation) in A Book of Homage to Shakespeare compiled by Sir Israel Gollancz in 1916.

Source: http://therepublicofrumi.com

by Khurram Ali Shafique

There is an image and comment regarding the artist and "double light" related to the above in my imagination on this site which has a profound analysis of the painting with implication even for this excerpt and for the true artist who like Allama Iqbal, Shakespeare and current artist Khurram Ali Shafique reflects reality and more. Although I'm having trouble posting this image - you may want to GO here

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