spirituality without religion
Today, December 17th, is the 742nd anniversary of Rumi's death. The Sufi community celebrates loved ones' or heroes' death days, or urs, with informal but intentional gatherings in celebration of the life and to reflect on how that life lives on in our own lives. So tonight was different from the normal Thursday night Sufi gatherings.
We shared our favorite Rumi poems, we squeezed a couple of Dances of Universal Peace into the narrow confines of the Little Chapel, we did a couple of zikr practices and a carefully contained dervish whirl.
Interesting to reflect on Rumi's perennial appeal and what an apt representative he is of what we call Sufism.
god is love, lover, and beloved
Eighty-eight years ago today Hazrat Inayat Khan died--inspired musician, messenger of the divine, and bringer of the Sufi message to the West. It's a day of celebration, called Urs, which is nothing to do with bears but literally means "wedding anniversary."
The death of a Sufi saint is understood as the transmutation of their physical existence into union with the Divine. (It's interesting that early Christianity had this metaphor also, although in that case Christ was the bridegroom and the Church, the collected body of worshippers, was beloved bride.)
What I appreciate about the metaphor of marriage between departed saint and God, aside from the gender-neutral conception of marriage contained therein, is its reciprocity. By means of the marriage--a union--not only is the saint taken closer to God, but God is brought closer to the world of the saint--whatever God means, whatever the world means to you. You are "this" close to the divine--and to death.