The Drunken Universe: An Anthology of Persian Sufi Poetry, translated with commentary by Peter Lamborn Wilson (aka Hakim Bey) and Nasrollah Pourjavady, the 1999 paperback new edition from Omega Publications, is part of the collection at the Reading Room.
“a few fragments from the introduction
Sufism can be seen to have functioned as a positive and healthy reaction to the overly rational activity of the philosophers and theologians. For the Sufis, the road to spiritual knowledge could never be confined to the process of purely intellectual activity, without the direct, immediate experience of the Heart.
In this book we are concerned with one art that the Sufis made peculiarly their own: poetry. Why should Sufis in general, and Persian Sufis in particular, choose to write poetry?
When they wanted to ‘be themselves’, lovers of the Truth, they needed a language more intense, closer to the center of human awareness than prose. Truth is beautiful, so when one speaks of it, one speaks beautifully. As the lover sings to his beloved, so did the Sufis to theirs. Love itself creates a taste for this language, so that even the prose writers of Sufism scatter verse throughout their works and create poetic prose.
The overwhelming theme of this poetry is the Love relationship between the individual, the lover, and his Beloved, God. What characterizes the Beloved is beauty, loveliness, His self-sufficiency or needlessness.
‘You must take these poems as mirrors; for you know that a mirror has no form of itself, but rather reflects the face of anyone who looks in it.‘ Ayn al-Qozat Hamadani”
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