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There is …. The great cellist shares his philosophy of living. Turning fear into joy. Performance as hospitality and communal witnessing. Beauty as a transfer of life. Sound as visual. How music makes us better. The great cellist Yo-Yo Ma is a citizen artist and a forensic musicologist, decoding the work of musical creators across time and …. Nothing is helping us more right now, as we watch human tragedies unfold on the U. Nobel physicist Frank Wilczek sees beauty as a compass for truth, discovery, and meaning.

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When we talk about the relationship between colleges and the world, we tend to focus on economics. But what is the place of …. Greek philosophy was translated to Arabic and further developed by thinkers in the Muslim world, who adapted the tools of logic and the insights of neo-platonic and peripatetic philosophy to the intellectual questions of their own tradition.

Some even proposed philosophy as a complementary rational system of knowledge to the metaphorical system of revealed religion. While admiring some of their logical tools, Muhammad al-Ghazali d. Ghazali isolated four competing epistemological claims to evaluate whether they could lead to certainty: philosophy; theology as developed by Sunni Muslims ; the doctrine in particularly Ismaili Shia Islam of authoritative interpretation by an infallible imam; and the mysticism of the Sufis. Ultimately, al-Ghazali dismisses the possibility of acquired knowledge and the rational intellect leading us to certainty, true understanding and right belief.

Rumi largely agrees:. The philosoph winds up through doubt, conjecture In denial. Bash your head against the wall! Far-sighted reason — I have tested it. Henceforth, I'll make myself demented. Of course Rumi does acknowledge the value of human reason, and that intellect is a God-given faculty with real and useful applications.

The trouble is that any individual possesses only partial intellect, and can never attain perfect knowledge through it. Only the universal intellect, identified with the prophets or saints, can attain that. Rumi illustrates this with the famous parable of the elephant — a tale told by al-Ghazali and Sana'i in the 12th century, though it can be traced all the way back to Buddhist scripture.

Several people encounter an elephant for the first time in total darkness, touching different parts of the beast, groping for a rational conclusion about the reality they opaquely confront. Each come away with quite opposing ideas about the nature of the elephant, depending on whether he had touched the ear, the trunk, the back, the leg, or the tail. Only the light of universal intellect transcends their partial understandings to give a complete picture. This is why, for Rumi, true knowledge comes only through the Sufi path of following the prophet and the saints:.

The best explanation physicists have for the gravitational force is not that of a simple attraction between two isolated bodies but a force embedded in the very fabric of the universe. Here again Rumi has a say:. If the Sky were not in love, its breast would not be pleasant. If the Sun were not in love, its face would not be bright. If the Earth and mountains were not in love, no plant could sprout from their heart.

If the Sea was not aware of love it would have remained motionless somewhere. How does this divine cosmic love function? How is it manifested? Where does it take us? Rumi assigns a transforming power to love like nothing else. Through love, he says, everything changes in a positive way, and far more rewardingly than through other means.

Through love Bitter things become sweet. Through love Bits of copper turn into gold. Through love Dregs taste like pure wine. Through love Pains are healed. Sometimes we are stuck in a problem or in a conflict, and our ever-calculating intellect is unable to find a rational solution. In the alchemy of love, problems are not solved; they are dissolved. Reason says:.

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These six directions are the limit. There is no way out! Love says: There is a way. I have gone it many times. Reason saw a market and began to trade. Love has seen other markets beyond this bazaar. In that state of love, you are one with everything and you see everything as one. In other words, the seeker goes beyond dualities a quality of the mind that Buddhism also fosters and becomes one with the Beloved.

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This is neither body nor soul for I belong to the soul of the Beloved. An Out-of-the-World Citizen. Why is Rumi such a popular poet seven centuries after his life, and in different lands? Rarely a day passes that I do not come across a few verses from Rumi. They both have vanished in the world where I am.

Although his life was rooted in the Islamic and Persian culture, his constituency was the human heart. That is why his poems lift us from mundane situations and offer us the purity, clarity and beauty of a poetic vision — and when our feet touch the earth again, we feel, not relaxed, but relieved. Rumi does not view the divine love as an abstract subject for poets or philosophers; it is a foundation on which we should build our living. He views God not as a remote father in heaven but a friend doost on the Earth. Rumi spoke his poems spontaneously — oftentimes during the whirling dances or while listening to music.

And he appears to have practiced what he preached in his poetry. Out of respect, the monk prostrated himself before Rumi, and when he raised his head, he saw that Rumi had been prostrating himself as well, before the monk.

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When Rumi died on December 17, , on a Sunday at sunset in Konya, people of the town — Muslims, Jews and Christians, the poor, the rich, the learned, the illiterate — all came to his funeral and mourned. But the Jews and the Christians told them just as their Muslim friends had understood Prophet Muhammad through Rumi, they had also understood Moses and Jesus through him.



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