Some lines are timeless...
I am so small I can barely be seen.
How can this great love be inside me?
Look at your eyes. They are small,
but they see enormous things.
May these vows and this marriage be blessed.
May it be sweet milk,
this marriage, like wine and halvah.
May this marriage offer fruit and shade
like the date palm.
May this marriage be full of laughter,
our every day a day in paradise.
May this marriage be a sign of compassion,
a seal of happiness here and hereafter.
May this marriage have a fair face and a good name,
an omen as welcomes the moon in a clear blue sky.
I am out of words to describe
how spirit mingles in this marriage.
In the late 1990’s the surprising best-selling poet in America was a 13th century Sufi poet and mystic named Jelaluddin Rumi. For seven hundred years, Rumi’s writings have enchanted, inspired, and enlightened Muslims, Jews, Christians, Hindus, and Buddhists. Rumi’s poetry celebrates the sacred in everyday existence and transcends boundaries of time, place, and religion to speak to all
Jalaluddin Rumi was one of the greatest Muslim saints and mystics. He has also been hailed by Western scholars as the greatest mystical poet of all time.
The popularity of his poetry has spread in the West because of its heart-felt themes of lover-beloved mysticism, and its spiritual joy, which seems to emanate even from the most distorted versions in English.
However, the popularisation of his poetry has also been attained by a number of sacrifices: a lack of accuracy of the meanings of his words and teachings; and, a deliberate minimisation and evasion of verses in his poetry that reveal that he was a pious Muslim all his life, and a very devoted follower of the prayerful daily life exemplified by the Prophet Muhammad.
He was born in what is now the nation of Tajikistan (the country north of Afghanistan) in the town of Wakhsh , where his father worked as a Muslim preacher and scholar. Wahksh was part of the cultural area of the ancient city of Balkh (in present-day Afghanistan), which had been a major center of Islamic learning for 500 years before Rumi was born. His father, also a great mystic, or Sufi master, was from
Balkh. He named his son Muhammad, but later called him by the additional name, Jalâlu ‘d-deen ("the glory of the faith").
His full name was Jalâlu ‘d-deen Muhammad bin ( son of) Husayn al-Balkhî. Later, when he moved to Anatolia (present-day Turkey) with his family, he became known as Jalâlu ‘d-deen Muhammad al-Roomee. This is because Anatolia had been called for centuries "Rűm" (a form of ‘Rome’) which meant ‘the land of the Greeks’ (who had long ruled the area from Constantinople, the capital of
the Eastern Roman Empire and later the Byzantine Empire).
In the East, he has always been known as Mawlânâ (pronounced "Mowlânâ" in Iran, India, and Pakistan; pronounced "Mevlana" in Turkey). This means "our Master" in Arabic, and was traditionally a title given to Muslim scholars.
However, due to his great fame, the respectful title ‘Mawlânâ’ quickly came to refer primarily to Jalaluddin Rumi. Only in the West has he been called "Rumi."
Rumi’s first Sufi master, Sayyid Burhânu ‘d-dîn Termezî, was his father’s leading Sufi disciple who came to Anatolia after hearing of the death of Rumi’s father. Rumi was his Sufi disciple for 10 years, during part of which he was sent to Syria to obtain a traditional Islamic education. Sayyid Burhanuddin was also a profound mystic who instilled in Rumi a love of Persian Sufi poetry and ordered
him to do a number of lengthy solitary prayer retreats.
Rumi was 37 years of age when he met his second Sufi master, Shamsu ‘d-deen Muhammad al-Tabreezee (from Tabrîz), traditionally believed to have been about 60 years old. It is now known that Shams was not an illiterate and ‘wild’ dervish as previously thought by Western scholars, but had a solid Islamic education and was literate and fluent in Arabic as well as Persian.
Mawlânâ Jalâluddîn Muhammad al-Balkhî al-Rűmî died in 1273 and was buried next to his father’s tomb in Konya, Turkey. The anniversary of his death was commemorated for centuries according to the Islamic lunar calendar, but has been celebrated in Turkey for the past 50 years according to the Western solar calendar on December 17.
On the night of this date, Mevlevis all over the world whirl in remembrance and glorification of God, and many kinds of groups read Rumi’s poetry in their own languages.
Rachmaninov’s 3rd Piano Concerto!
Manahara Wirasinha, who gave a memorable performance in Brahms’ 2nd Piano Concerto three years ago, will return from the USA to play Rachmaninov’s brilliant Piano Concerto No. 3 In D Minor with the Symphony Orchestra of Sri Lanka (SOSL) at their Guest Conductor Concert next Sunday,
Rachmaninov was the last of the colourful Russian masters of the late 19th century with their characteristic gift for long and sweeping melodies, with a sense of yearning and melancholy never far from the surface.
He was also one of the greatest of pianists, and the complex solo part of his Third has long been acknowledged as one of the most challenging in romantic piano concertos — both musically combining discipline with passion, and physically for the power and endurance it demands.
Manahara Wirasinha who is a graduate in piano performance from the Peadbody Conservatory of the Johns Hopkins University, was a prize winner in the Stravinsky International Competition, Chicago, in 1989, and finalist in the J.S. Bach International Competition, Washington DC in 1991. He was a first prize winner in the Alexandria Symphony Competition in 1993, and in the Mid-Texas Symphony competition
The concert will begin with Beethoven’s vibrant 8th Symphony In F Major. This is characterised by charm and wit, and by joy and high spirits throughout. It was conducted by Beethoven at the first performance in Vienna in 1814. Sunday’s concert will be conducted by Gregory Rose, the distinguished British musician who has returned to the island to rehearse and direct two major concerts as
guest conductor, the second being with Camerata Musica on Saturday, March 4.
Gregory Rose has over 100 concert premieres to his credit, and has conducted many leading orchestras including the London Philharmonic, the St. Petersburg Symphony Orchestra, the London Mozart Players and the Netherlands Wind Ensemble.
The SOSL concert, sponsored by Sri Lanka Telecom, will be at Ladies’ College hall starting at 7 pm. Tickets are available at Titus Stores and Liberty Plaza.
Jazz at the Gallery
By Rohan Canagasabey
Colombo’s open-air Barefoot Gallery was the setting last Sunday for a performance of alternative jazz music by nuBox, a band from Germany. The German Goethe Institute in Colombo sponsored their presence here.
NuBox came into existence in 2004 when Disc Jockey (DJ) Illvibe, the son of Germany’s free jazz pioneer Alexander von Schlippenbach, joined the other three older and more experienced musicians, who are trumpet player Reiner Winterschladen, Alois Kott on bass and Peter Eisold on drums. Previously as BlueBox they apparently played charismatic trumpet tunes communicating with complex rhythms and bass
grooves and were ahead of its time, turning the original trio into a cult band.
As the original trio was open to a new generation of jazz creations, DJ Illvibe’s contribution enabled them to play music that was regarded as acoustic art, between new classic and art disco. Essentially, "BlueBox as nuBox continues to explore the space beyond jazz, dance floor, avant-garde and underground, using the sounds and techniques of the present-day electronic and remix scene" said a
"To a large extent, the mixing of computer generated music by me and DJ Illvibe’s turntable music mix is improvisation as we play along" said drummer Peter Eisold, catching a break during their tour of South Asian countries. A tour that will enable new audiences to be entertained and impressed by their novel music, as was the case at the Barefoot Gallery last Sunday.
Spare the hands
CHEE Chee Corea loved repeating this at the Kay Cee, about a Trinitian, a Royalist and a Benedictine.
A Trinitian, a Royalist and a Benedictine were standing side-by-side using the urinals.
The Trinitian finished, zipped up and started washing and literally scrubbing his hands . . . clear up to his elbows. He used about 20 paper towels before he finished. He turned to the other two men and commented, " I had my entire education at Trinity and they taught us to be clean."
The Royalist finished, zipped up quickly, wet his fingers, grabbed one paper towel and commented, "I had my entire education at Royal and they taught us to be environmentally conscious."
The Benedictine zipped up and as he was walking out the door he said, I had my education at SBC and they taught us not to pee on our hands."
* * *
AN American tourist in London decides to skip his tour group and explore the city on his own.
He wanders around, seeing the sights, and occasionally stopping at a quaint pub to soak up the local culture, chat with the lads, and have a pint of Guinness.
After a while, he finds himself in a very high class neighbourhood.....big, stately residences... no pubs, no stores, no restaurants, and worst of all... No public restrooms.
He really, really has to go, after all those Guinness’s. He finds a narrow side street, with high walls surrounding the adjacent buildings and decides to use the wall to solve his problem.
As he is unzipping, he is tapped on the shoulder by a London Bobbie, who says, "I say, sir, you simply cannot do that here, you know." "I’m very sorry, officer," replies the American, "but I really, really HAVE TO GO, and I just can’t find a public restroom."
"Ah, yes," said the Bobbie... "Just follow me." He leads him to a back "delivery alley," then along a wall to a gate, which he opens.
"In there," points the Bobbie. "Whiz away SIR, anywhere you want."
The fellow enters and finds himself in the most beautiful garden he has ever seen. Manicured grass lawns, statues, fountains, sculptured hedges, and huge beds of gorgeous flowers, all in perfect bloom.
Since he has the cop’s blessing, he unburdens himself and is greatly relieved. As he goes back through the gate, he says to the Bobbie "That was really decent of you... is that what you call "British Hospitality ?"
"No sir",... replied the Bobbie...."that is what we call the French Embassy."
Ta Ra and see you next week.
— Rabbada Aiya
jest a while
Cheers Mr. Politico
A POLITICIAN was asked about his attitude towards whiskey... "If you mean the demon drink that poisons the mind, pollutes the body, desecrates family life, and inflames sinners, then I’m against it. But if you mean the elixir of Christmas cheer, the shield against winter chill, the taxable potion that puts needed funds into public coffers to comfort
little crippled children, then I’m for it. This is my position, and I will not compromise!"
* * *
Expectant mother to gynaecologist: I can’t figure it out, the more pregnant I get, the more often strangers smile at me. Why doctor? Because you’re fatter than they are.
Q. And when will my baby move?
A. With any luck, right after he finishes high school.
* * *
What’s the difference between a nine-month pregnant woman and a model?
Nothing, if the pregnant woman’s husband knows what’s good for him.
* * *
A PICK pocket was up in court for a series of petty crimes. The judge said "Mr. Perera you are hereby fined Rs.2000." The lawyer stood up and said "Thanks, your honour, however my client only has Rs.1500 on him at this time, but if you’d allow him a few minutes in the crowd. . ."
* * *
TWO small boys, not yet old enough to be in school, were overheard talking at the zoo one day. "My name is Billy. What’s yours?" asked the first boy. "Tommy," replied the second. "My Daddy’s an accountant. What does your Daddy do for a living?" asked Billy. Tommy replied, "My Daddy’s a lawyer." "Honest?" asked Billy. "No, just the regular
kind", replied Tommy.
* * *
A LAWYER who had just bought a new car, was eager to show it off, when all of a sudden an eighteen wheeler came out of nowhere and took of the driver’s side door with him standing right there. "NOOO!" he screamed, because he knew that no matter how good a mechanic tried to fix it, it never would be the same. Finally, a cop came by, and the lawyer ran up to him yelling. "MY JAGUAR DOOR WAS
JUST RUINED BY SOME FOOLISH DRIVER!" "You are a lawyer aren’t you?" asked the policeman. "Yes, but what does this have to do with my car?!?!" the lawyer asked. "HA! You lawyers are so materialistic. All you care about are your possessions. I bet you didn’t even notice your left arm is missing did you?" the cop said. The lawyer looked down at his side and screamed, "MY ROLEX!"