Today is the 802nd birthday of Mawlana Jalal-ud-Din Rumi, the extraordinary Sufi poet from the 13th Century. He was born in 1207 in Balkh in Central Asia, now part of Afghanistan. His work has not only transcended the ages, but after 800 years we still don't even know who he is. Despite this mystery, he has become so popular that he is now widely considered by many to be the most popular poet in the world.
Rumi was remarkable in that his poems (or songs as he referred to them) were testaments not just to a deep passion for understanding life, but also to a deep passion for human understanding. His poems are my constant companion and the following poem, The Indian Tree and One Song, is my favorite of all.
This poem so deeply captures our work here at Cook Ross, as we believe that diversity encourages us to walk in the wilderness of enlarged perceptions. We follow in the footsteps of Rumi as we endeavor to help open minds and hearts to new possibilities for cooperation, mutuality and love.
I share it with you in honor of Rumi's birthday:
The Indian Tree and One Song
Every war and every conflict
Between human beings has happened
Because of some disagreement about names.
It is such an unnecessary foolishness,
Because just beyond the arguing
There is a long table of companionship
Set and waiting for us to sit down.
What is praised is one, so the praise is one too,
Many jugs being poured into a huge basin.
All races, all religions, all this singing, one song.
The differences are just illusion and vanity.
Sunlight looks a little different
On this wall than it does on that wall
And a lot different on this other one,
But it is still one light.
We have borrowed these clothes,
These time-and-space personalities,
From a light, and when we praise,
We are pouring them back in.