Posted by: samandal | October 24, 2009

Abou Ben Adhem

United Nations Day

Abou Ben Adhem (may his tribe increase!)                                                      Awoke one night from a deep dream of peace,                                                    And saw, within the moonlight in his room,                                                      Making it rich, and like a lily in bloom,                                                                   An Angel writing in a book of gold:—                                                          Exceeding peace had made Ben Adhem bold,                                                      And to the Presence in the room he said,                                                          “What writest thou?”—The Vision rais’d its head,                                                   And with a look made of all sweet accord,                                                   Answer’d, “The names of those who love the Lord.”                                             “And is mine one?” said Abou. “Nay, not so,”                                                  Replied the Angel. Abou spoke more low,                                                             But cheerly still; and said, “I pray thee then,                                                     Write me as one that loves his fellow-men.”

The Angel wrote, and vanish’d. The next night                                                         It came again with a great wakening light,                                                           And show’d the names whom love of God had bless’d,                                         And, lo! Ben Adhem’s name led all the rest.                                                      (Leigh Hunt: Abou Ben Adhem)

“The enemy of a pluralistic God would reflect selfishness, anxiety, fear, anger, and racism—in other words, all the qualities that manifest themselves in an ‘us versus them’ mentality. But you can’t pluck out your amygdala, that neural fundamentalist in your brain. Instead, you must tame it, through education, contemplation, and love.” (Andrew Newberg, Mark Robert Waldman: How God Changes Your Brain, page 129)

“In the death of the self lies the life of the heart.”                                            (Imám Ja‘far al-Sádiq)

The Sons of Ádam, facets of the whole,                                                              Each fashioned from a greater, single soul;                                                Whenever Fate to one of them brings pain,                                                            No other can without distress remain.                                                               Thou, whom for others’ torment do not care,                                                   Cannot the name of Human rightly bear.                                                       (Shaykh Sa‘dí Shírází: The Rose Garden, chapter 1, story 10)

“I have learned silence from the talkative, toleration from the intolerant, and kindness from the unkind; yet strange, I am ungrateful to these teachers.”                      (Khalíl Gibrán: Sand and Foam, page 58)

“There were rules in the monastery, but the master always warned against the tyranny of the law. ‘Obedience keeps the rules,’ he would say, ‘but Love knows when to break them.’”                                                                                        (Anthony de Mello: One Minute Wisdom, page 17)

“Love manifests towards those whom we like as love; towards all those whom we do not like as forgiveness.”                                                                                (Hazrat ‘Ináyat Khán)

When you seek God, seek God in your heart—                                                    God is not in Jerusalem, nor in Makkah nor in the Hajj.                                     (Yúnus Emre)