The Second Jesus

by Gharib Nawaz

English version by Peter Lamborn Wilson and Nasrollah Pourjavady
Original Language Persian/Farsi

O Lord, it's me: blanked out in divine light
and become a horizon of rays flashing from the Essence.

My every atom yearned for vision
till I fell drunk on the manifestations of lordship.

Love polished the rust from my heart's mirror
till I began to see the mysteries;

I emerged from the darkness of my existence
and became what I am (you know me) from the Light of Being:

blackened like charcoal dark soul's smoke
but mixed with love fires and illumined.

Some say the path is difficult;
God forgive them! I went so easily:

The Holy Spirit breathes his every breath into Mo'in--
who knows? Maybe I'm the second Jesus.

-- from The Drunken Universe: An Anthology of Persian Sufi Poetry, Translated by Peter Lamborn Wilson / Translated by Nasrollah Pourjavady

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Commentary by Ivan M. Granger

I love the phrase in which he describes himself as being "blanked in divine light." This beautifully describes the mystical sense of losing your sense of self, your sense of being separate, and instead you perceive yourself as being a point of awareness within a vast living radiance.

The analogy to drunkenness occurs over and over again in sacred poetry, especially among the Sufi poets. There is a sense of sweetness on the palette and even of a subtle liquid felt at the back of the throat in spiritual ecstasy. Sometimes the energy flowing through the body can be so strong that you tremble or even lose consciousness. For all of these reasons, mystical traditions speak of wine and being drunk.

Another great line:

Some say the path is difficult;
God forgive them! I went so easily.

This reflects the sense that spiritual striving is perceived as difficult, sometimes too vague to even conceive of clearly. Yet, the sacred experience reveals itself as your natural state, effortless. In fact, effort implies that you are trying to attain something you don't already have, making it even harder to recognize the state as being already present. You just have to get out of the way of the experience. That is all. It is so easy, we just make it seem difficult.

Some Christians may be troubled by the final line, "who knows? Maybe I'm the second Jesus." It's certainly meant to be provocative, but not blasphemous from the Muslim/Sufi point of view. Devout Muslims greatly revere the figure of Jesus but not in the absolute and iconic way that Christians do. In Muslim traditions, Jesus is often associated with a healing breath, or the divine breath, or the Holy Spirit/Breath. Gharib Nawaz is really just acknowledging the Holy Breath within himself, a giddy recognition of oneness with that subtle divine flowing Presence -- the same as in Jesus, the same as in all of us. Who knows, maybe we are all the second Jesus?

Recommended Books: Gharib Nawaz

The Drunken Universe: An Anthology of Persian Sufi Poetry

The Second Jesus