Today is Valentine’s Day and I was wondering what it is I could do to make myself of my own Valentine? So, I decided to read some ‘Love’ poems. As I was wondering whose poetry to indulge into, the first name that came to mind was Hafiz. He is my favourite ‘Love Poet’. As I was reading ‘I heard God Laughing’ I realized that there is an account of his life and discipleship at the back. So, I gave it a good read.
Interestingly, as I was reading about Hafiz, his life and journey on the Path, and his teacher, Muhammad Attar, I found myself crying all the way through. In some funny way, I could comprehend his journey of becoming one with the Beloved. I saw an ordinary man with great passion journeying through life until attaining Oneness. Holy inspiring!
While reading I had many interesting feelings of devotion, one pointed focus, passion, and loving. By reading his poetry I sensed God’s encompassing Love for us. The stories of his sweet and joyous encounters of God are so contagious. I could not put the book down.
While reading, I also noticed a sense of desire to devote myself to a teacher and/or training, like he did. Though the text concluded that his relationship with his teacher was challenging at times since the Teacher’s job is to support the inner journey regardless of what the journey entails in the physical, I still felt a great sense of support in that relationship.
I think, I wish to experience discipleship, the day to day commitment to the Path and the service, like Hafiz did. I wish to be supported and reminded daily of my devotion until I can do it on my own. What I gathered from my readings was that Attar served as a reference point – someone who has mastered the journey -, a person of honest feedback, and a true friend on Hafiz’s journey towards God.
While reading I felt this emerging of intense feelings, some kind of a drawing toward, that I could not make sense of.
I found it touching, though, to read about his challenges of being a disciple and about his forever unfolding relationship with his teacher Muhammad Attar.
As I was reading, I was wondering what it would be like to be a devotee, to offer my life to discipleship and service. What would it entail? I feel very attracted to doing something like that but I am not sure if discipleship still exists today.
In some ways, Hafiz’s life reminded me of my own: an everyday life with lots of usp and downs, challenges, unexpected change, and adversity. However, I felt most inspired by his perseverance and the way he could use his devotion and focus to recover each setback. As an example, similarly to Jesus, he also goes away to contemplate for 40 days twice in his life time during which he moves onto the next part of his journey. It reminded me of my visits to the US in 2011 and 2015 – a new age wanderer, ha? – I consider these visits my personal pilgrimages that supported me to move onto the next stage on my journey.
His poetry is such a light-hearted account of all what the spiritual journey is about with all its challenges, moving-ons and falling back downs in succession.
Above all, what I found most inspiring was Hafiz’s amazing ability to create poetry of any subject in a way that deep down every single one of them was about his devotion to the Devine, to God that resides in each of us. No matter what might have happened in his life, whether he lost his son and wife or fell out of favour of his patron and became a beggar, at the end of the day, he wrote about his true feelings of loss with never losing sight of the Beloved and his devotion to Him.
If I could set one focus for myself it would be to never lose focus, no matter what, of the Devine residing inside of me and to be able to do that with such passion and joyfulness as Hafiz did.
Essay is based on: Hafiz – I heard God laughing translated by Daniel Ladinsky, Penguin 1996