My Image Description

Taken and adapted from David Ladinsky’s I Heard God Laughing and The Subject Tonight Is Love.

Hafiz (1320-1389) is considered to be one of the greatest lyrical poets of all time. Similar to the way the Gurus sung their message, Hafiz wrote about the stages of spiritual growth in the rhythm of the ghazal making it easy for all– farmers, craftsman, scholars and princes– to learn. Much of his writing reflects themes found in Sikhi: he did not see God as separate from the world (rather wherever there is love, there is the Beloved); he described the path to love as one that began with an awakening, led to pursuit and longing, and unfolded into a new phase of learning and inner growth; and he envisioned God as an all-loving companion, guide, friend and lover.

In My Brilliant Image, Hafiz describes some of the preparations required for the inner Journey of Love. He urges us to let go of habitual negative attitudes and unnecessary attachments which only weigh us down. To make this Journey, we must be light, happy and free to go Dancing:

My Brilliant Image
One day the sun admitted,

I am just a shadow.
I wish I could show you
The Infinite Incandescence (Tej)

That has cast my brilliant image!

I wish I could show you,
When you are lonely or in darkness,

The Astonishing Light

Of your own Being!

Hafiz seeks to broaden and deepen our understanding of “real love,” both in human relationships and in our growing obsession with the Divine. He prods us to explore Love’s possibilities and test its apparent boundaries. He says our progress in this Journey can only be measured by the intensity of our love, the living flame that illuminates all life. Begin to love now, he says, don’t wait– let there be no regrets.

I Saw You Dancing
I saw you dancing last night on the roof
Of your house all alone.

I felt your heart longing for the
Friend.

I saw you whirling
Beneath the soft bright rose
That hung from an invisible stem in
The sky,

So I began to change into my best clothes
In hopes of joining you

Even though
I live a thousand miles away

And if
You had spun like an immaculate sphere
Just two more times,

Then bowed again so sweetly to
The East,

You would have found God and me
Standing so near
And lifting you into our
Arms.

I saw you dancing last night near the roof
Of this world.

Hafiz feels your soul in mine
Calling for our
Beloved.

His ability to access the healing and loving dimensions of the divine earned Hafiz the name “The Tongue of the Invisible” by the Persians. How true that is. Like Gurbani, it’s even more beautiful and meaningful when read or sung aloud. I hope these two poems have reminded you of Waheguru and inspired us to read more: both Hafiz and the Guru Granth Sahib.

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