The Letter Project

October 25, 2009

Special Delivery (32)

Filed under: Letters — Theresa Williams @ 1:01 am
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In this delightful letter to me, Ashutosh Bhupatkar discusses the poet Rumi.   Ashutosh lives and teaches in India.  —TW

2009 Aug 27

Ms Theresa Williams
1800 Bowling Green Road East
Bradner, OH 43406

USA.

My dear Theresa

When you asked the other day through your comment on the Facebook, if I had written anything after the April Poem A Day project.

Well, I had actually written 18 verses as a tribute to Rumi some two years back, but had not published them myself for some reasons.

My old student and now a Creative Art Photographer, Nirmala Savadekar had come up with this idea of a Photo Poetry book on Rumi to mark his 800th birth anniversary in 2007.   She had requested me to write the verses based on Rumi’s well known themes.  She also gave me some poetry written about Rumi to read.

I had read Rumi the first time about 15 years back and if my memory serves me right, it was again Nirmala who had introduced me to it.  Rumi’s treatment of the theme of love sounded familiar to me in the light of similar treatment by the devotional poets of India like Saint Mira.  The imagery is sensual but the import is spiritual love and union with the Divine.  In my mind, therefore, the evolution followed a trajectory: from the physical passion to the sensuous love to the spiritual union and dissolution of the duality.

In the last 15 years or more, I also came in contact with certain Sufi traditions that spoke of the dissolution of the ego or the awareness of distinctions in the world of becoming.  I had the good fortune of meeting some evolved practitioners of the Sufi tradition.  I found that they had a way of communicating much more through their contact than through their conversation.  I could get a glimpse – alas, only a glimpse – of what they meant by pure being and pure experience.

As Nirmala commanded me to write those 18 verses, I sat down and produced the first draft almost in a trance and sent it to her.  To this day, I cannot recollect how I came to do it.  She was amazed and offered a few suggestions.  I revised the draft and sent it to her.  She has been looking for a financier to support the project.  I know it is not easy to get one for this kind of project.  In the meantime, a friend of mind, Colin Lascale asked consent to put these up on a blog with images to be chosen by him.  I consented and he created a blog http://rumi-clascale.blogspot.com  .  In his own wisdom, he added images only of fine art nude photographs, arguing that the distinction between the physico-sensual and the psycho-spiritual is artificial and untenable.  Looking at the images he has chosen, one can applaud his tastefulness and I for one chose not to press him any further.  

As things stand, I don’t think his blog has attracted much attention and I don’t see any comments being posted there.  In contrast, I have posted the verses in units of six and have seen a number of comments from my friends being posted on the Facebook page.  Today I have posted the last instalment of the six verses.  I have however not picked up courage to post the link to Colin Lascale’s blog as I fear it would scandalise quite a few of my friends.

So it’s interesting that this poetic effort of mine has come about entirely out of my friends’ affectionate goading.  I remember a Tao saying – what happens depends on how it happens.  It’s true that I get a little high with my friends’ encouragement and do something well beyond myself.

With you Theresa, this is the second time, the first being your encouragement to participate in April Poem A Day challenge.  I have no words to express my gratitude.  For me you carry that touch of the Divine for me.  There is no way to repay it.

With all my love and affection

 Yours sincerely

Ashutosh

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