Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Far Mosque

In this week, when we celebrate the Ramadan festival, we come to the end of the forty days of preparation. Rumi’s poem “The Far Mosque” is loaded with symbolism and any one who seeks a mystical journey into the spiritual world, so meaningfully visualized by the Prophet and brought to us through meaningful poetry, the thoughts conveyed in this poem are very essential for a deeper understanding.

“The place that Solomon made to worship in,
called the Far Mosque, is not built of earth
and water and stone, but of intention and wisdom
and mystical conversation and compassionate action.”
……………From “Essential Rumi” by Colman Barks “The Far Mosque” in Ch. 17 Solomon Poems, p. 191

Colman Barks in the introduction to this poem says “Solomon and Sheba are types for the courtship story going on in all of Rumi’s poetry. King Solomon (luminous divine wisdom) sends messengers to coax the Queen Sheba (the bodily soul) to leave her kingdom and come and live with him, she coyly sends envoys back with foolishly inappropriate gifts, and when she herself finally arrives, she does so with the one thing she can not afford to leave, her filigreed throne (the body).”

The very first stanza of the poem starts with Queen Sheba loading forty mules with gold bricks as gifts for Solomon. When her envoy and his party reach the wide plane leading to Solomon's palace, they see that the top layer of the entire plane is pure gold. They travel on gold for forty days!
What foolishness to take gold to Solomon, when the dirt of his land is gold. You, who think to offer your intelligence, reconsider. The mind is less than road dust.

The forty days of fasting, forty mules of gold and forty days walking on gold dust all point to the appointed time of our life on earth where the focus of life can be easily lost in the glitter of materialism. Number forty is mystic in Theosophy. According to the Islamic culture if someone practices a good deed constantly during forty days, it would be his inseparable attribute and lead to descending of Allah's blessing. In some religions forty days and forty nights praying has been special position. The number ‘Forty’ is attached to a time for preparation.

It is the divine which is the fullness of all that is manifest. We are in no position to offer that which has been gifted to us but instead the divine invites you to be his bride, to be in constant union in his very domain. This is the purpose of life, the ultimate divine union. In every act in this life let not the mind or intellect fool you to think that God expects some materialistic gift offering or your intellectual pursuit. Whatever we can offer from the physical, mental or intellectual dimension are gifts we have received in our current manifestation from God. All that God wants is the purification of your consciousness, through intention, devotion, compassion and service so that one can merge with the unsullied divine consciousness.

God can not be found in the mosque, temple or church built of stone but only in the ‘Far Mosque’ or a dimension where our intentions and spiritual wisdom resides. This is not a spatially separated domain but one that is built within the very heart of men and women.

This is reason that Rumi in another poem writes “If in thirst you drink water from a cup, you see God in it. Those who are not in love with God will see only their own faces in it.”

"Eid-Mubarak" to all my friends. May you be blessed with recurring happiness.

Love to you all


  1. I love the last poem in which a thirsty person who drinks water sees God in the cup but those who don't love God see their own face.
    Beautiful words which I wd like to etch within me!

  2. Ek Id Par

    Bhagwan malik tumhara, Khuda paas mere
    Sab naam uske jis-se jahaN hilta hai
    Wahi sabko janam deta hai
    Wahi sabke kafan silta hai

    Mohabbat se namaz padHte ho mere dost
    To mere dil ko sukoon milta hai
    Tumhari aankho meiN pyar dekh
    Mere mandir meiN phool khilta hai

    Kishore Asthana

  3. EMPTY, thanks for your appreciation.

  4. Kishore, thanks for the lovely poem so apt for today. Can you send me the English translation.