Wine, Tavern, and Drunkenness Metaphors in Rumi's Poetry
I've tried my best to to translate the following Rumi poems with as much 'New-Agey' nuances as possible! So, if you're not spiritually inclined, have no interest at all in deciphering the often hidden and obscure mystical Sufi metaphors of Persian Literature; or simply wish to enjoy the 'New-Agey' interpretations of Rumi's poetry, I'm sure you'll like them!
I just hope my translations can capture Rumi's truly magnificent poetic portrayals of the God-intoxicated Sufi Dervish drunkards enjoying their mystical divine wine in the always open and truly inclusive Sufi Tavern of Ruins where Jews, Christians, Hindus, Muslims, and drunkard mystics of all races, religions, and nationalities stand shoulder to shoulder, share a drink together, and raise their wine-glasses in celebration and affirmation of oneness of all.
So what is it that Rumi trying to convey to us using these heavily wine-drenched Sufi metaphors?
At The End Of The Day, We Are All One.
As for those folks out there who're interested in metaphoric expressions of Persian Sufi poets, here is a brief explanation of wine, drunkenness, and tavern metaphors within the rich and glorious Persian Sufi Literature by Jonathan Star from his outstanding book, Rumi: In the Arms of the Beloved:
"Sufi poetry is filled with metaphors, the most striking of which revolve around wine, taverns, and drunkenness. In this symbolic language of love, "wine" represents the divine love that intoxicates the soul; "getting drunk" means losing oneself in that love; the "cup" refers to one's body and mind; and the Saaqi (the Cupbearer, the Maiden who pours the wine) is the grace- bestowing aspect of God that fills the soul's empty cup with the wine of love. The Sufis even have a word for "hangover" which suggests the lingering effects of love.
"These metaphors of drunkenness are, more than anything else, a call to experience; they reflect the Sufi sentiment that the immediate experience of God is far more crucial than any kind of objective or learned knowledge...Although Rumi employed the macabre and bacchanalian symbolism of his tradition, his more endearing themes were based on symbols related to nature. In his poetic verse, the nightingale represents the soul; the rose is the perfect beauty of God; the rose garden is paradise; and the breeze is God's life-giving breath. When we hear of Winter, it is a soul separated from God; when we hear of Spring, it is union, resurrection, and rebirth. All the elements of nature that come alive in Spring are the outward signs of the soul's inner awakening: the rising Sun is the illumination of divine knowledge, the "festival of color" is the beauty of the soul's awakening, and the warm rain is the pouring down of God's grace.
The Sun had a special significance for Rumi because it alluded to his master , Shams-the one who awakened the truth within Rumi. Rumi's use of the terms "Shams," "Shams-e Tabriz" (Shams of Tabriz), and "Shamsuddin " refers not only to his master but also to the many aspects of the Beloved, embodied in Shams: "Shams" symbolizes the power of grace, the power that awakens the truth within us; "Shams" symbolizes the inner sunrise, the inner light of consciousness, one's own soul and its awakening."
I'm so drunk today, I'm so drunk That I can't even differentiate myself from a stranger! I'm so drunk today That I can't even find my way back home!
I'm so drunk, I'm so drunk right now
That I can't even differentiate Adam from Eve!
I'm such a mess today
That I can't even differentiate a donkey from its load!
I'm so drunk today, I'm so drunk
That I can't even differentiate a flower from its thorns!
All those wine drinking and intoxication
Took me to the gate of His Court.
But so what,
If today I can't even differentiate a gate from a gallows.
امروز ما خویش زبیگانه ندانیم
مستیم بدان حد که ره خانه ندانیم چنان مستم چنان مستم من
این دم که حوا را نشناسم زآدم
امروزچنانم که خر از بارندانم
امروز چنانم که گل از از خار ندانم دی باده مرا برد زمستی بدر بار امروز چه چاره که در از دار ندانم
I'm drunk and you are mad Who's going to take us back home? I've told you a hundred times Don't drink more than two or three! I can't find anyone sober in this town In ecstasy and already gone insane, Each one is looking worse than the other!
من مست و تو ديوانه ما را که برد خانه
صد بار تو را گفتم کم خور دو سه پيمانه
در شهر يکی کس را هشيار نمی بينم
هر يک بتر از ديگر شوريده و ديوانه
In the wee hours of the morning this Turkish dude was inviting me for a drink. I asked him: What you up to? What's up with this invitation? He started laughing out loud and responded: Come on, join us for a drink! Let's turn this old tavern upside down! You're invited my friend to hardcore drinkers' cocktail party!
As I went in and looked around what I saw was this huge wine house and tons of free wines! I said to myself: So much for you being a good Muslim, enjoy it while it lasts!
I saw this other Turkish dude with a bottle of wine on his lap; already intoxicated and on his knees, and the non-stop talking.
I asked him: What are you drinking? He said: Divine Wine!
I started having second thoughts about this very strange place. I was debating with myself: Should I drink or stay sober? A Voice came to me: 'It's up to you, you'd better know!'
To make the long story short, I started drinking, and had two or three bottles of that "Wine". That special divine wine had amazing effects on me: Anything that I had ever wished for all my life suddenly appeared in front of my eyes. A hundred hidden truths were all of sudden revealed to me right on the spot.
I just gave up this illusory material world,
moved in with my immortal soul, and all the known and unknown became clearly visible to me.
I felt getting totally annihilated I was completely out of it truly out of my own self. As I saw my soul uniting with the Eternal Soul (God) I just decided to also let go of my mortal self! Rumi