Reason (from The Secret Rose Garden)

by Mahmud Shabistari

English version by Florence Lederer
Original Language Persian/Farsi

Let reason go. For His light
burns reason up from head to foot.

If you wish to see that Face,
seek another eye. The philosopher
with his two eyes sees double,
so is unable to see the unity of the Truth.

As His light burns up the angels,
even so does it consume reason.
As the light of our eyes is to the sun,
so is the light of reason to the Light of Lights.

-- from The Longing in Between: Sacred Poetry from Around the World (A Poetry Chaikhana Anthology), Edited by Ivan M. Granger

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Commentary by Ivan M. Granger

Shabistari is telling us a couple of surprising things in these verses, evoking words of light, sight, reason, and Truth.

We can't see "the Face" (of God) with the eyes of reason. The philosopher who seeks to understand the nature of reality with reason "sees double" with "two eyes." The logical mind is dualistic. It cannot see beyond the multiplicity of material existence. Even in its most elevated theorizing, it is still limited by its concepts which are, by definition, segmented parcels of reality. The Face, however, is the wholeness of that reality, and beyond the reasoning mind's grasp.

Reason is a powerful tool, but it only sees certain things and from a certain perspective. To see the Face, we must go beyond the double vision of reason and "seek another eye." We must discover the eye that is single, one that is able "to see the unity of the Truth."

Shabistari keeps returning us to a vision of light that burns up everything. It "burns reason up from head to foot." It even "burns up the angels." What is this "Light of Lights" that consumes everything within itself?

Light is often used in sacred language and poetry to suggest intelligence, awareness, consciousness. There is a "light of reason," but its radiance is faint compared to the "Light of Lights." For genuine mystics, this light is not a mere concept; it is directly experienced.

This sense of light is more than a brightness one might experience on a sunny afternoon. This light is perceived as being a living radiance that permeates everything, everywhere, always. This light is immediately understood to be the true source of all things, the foundation on which the physicality of the material world is built.

The sense of boundaries and separation, long taken for granted by the mind as the fundamental nature of existence, suddenly seems illusory, for this light shines through all people and things. It has no edges, and the light of one is the light of another. Everything "burns up" in the light

This light is the vision of the "unity of Truth." It is "that Face." Beyond limited concepts, the mind can only stop and stare in wonder, it's reason burned "from head to foot."

Recommended Books: Mahmud Shabistari

The Longing in Between: Sacred Poetry from Around the World (A Poetry Chaikhana Anthology) Perfume of the Desert: Inspirations from Sufi Wisdom The Secret Rose Garden: Mahmud Shabistari Beyond Faith and Infidelity: The Sufi Poetry and Teachings of Mahmud Shabistari

Reason (from The