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Otto Betz {*}

Mysticism as Bridge Builder

Mechthild of Magdeburg and Rumi of Konya


From: Geist und Leben, 5/2009, P. 358-372
webmaster's own, not authorized translation


At a first glance one might think that the two could hardly be more different. Dschelaladdin Rumi was born on 3o September 1207 in Balkh in Northern Afghanistan. His father was a scholar and theologian, deeply rooted in Islam; the Koran is in the centre of his religious life, the pilgrimage to Mecca, the observance of Ramadan. Mechthild was also born in the same year 1207, near Magdeburg. She comes from a family of knights, enters at an early age a community of Beguines, remains for a major part of her life in Magdeburg, and moves then - already at a ripe old age - to the Cistercian convent Helfta near Eisleben. The Christian faith and religious practice have a similar significance for her life as Islam in the life of Rumi. It is safe to say that they have never heard of each other.

So what is the point of comparison, how can we relate their lives to each other? They both belong to a mystical movement of their faith: Rumi is one of the most important figures of Sufism, Mechthild lives in a mystical piety and finds a language of its own for her experiences with God. Both have become poets through these experiences. Both have gained so intense inner experiences that the conventional and traditional language of prayer seems to be no longer sufficient to them; they must become creative and dare bold formulations, a fascinating picture language in order to find a reasonably adequate linguistic garment [Sprachkleid] for the inner events. What unites the two is the same fervent devotion to God, who becomes the centre of their life and around whom everything revolves. They are "crazy for God," they knew that they in their entire life are borne but also driven by God's love. Rumi is the author of many works, which were partly published only after his death {1}. Mechthild has written one book, The Flowing Light of the Godhead {2},



one can call it a hidden spiritual autobiography, which was published by their spiritual friends. What do we know about the lives of these two figures?


Rumi's Life

Rumi had already at an early age to flee with his family from Afghanistan. The Mongols invaded the country and plunged the entire region into chaos. After a long migration the family came to Anatolia, where at that time the dynasty of the Rum Seljuks was ruling, and settled down in 1228 in Konya. His father worked there as a major mystical theologian, after his death his son took over his chair.

Konya was in those troubled times a pleasant resting place. The mosques built at that time were, with their turquoise-coloured tiles and the intricately entwined Kufic script with the names of Muhammad and of the first four caliphs contribute to our understanding of Rumi's works. There was a lively intellectual life. Persian was the language of the educated, whereas Greek and Turkish was spoken by the plain people. There is every indication that at that time many Christians, too, lived in the city.

Rumi was travelling a lot, e.g. to Syria, in order "to seek wisdom," but of course to Mecca and Medina, too. The meeting with Shamsuddin of Tabriz, a Sufi master who must have been an overwhelming personality, becomes a crucial experience. It is supposed that this encounter took place in October 1244. By his discourse upon "absolute love" Rumi is so carried away that he wants to live only with this master and neglects his family and his students. Shamsuddin is then compelled to leave the city, but he is brought back again and remains in Rumi's neighbourhood. Maybe Shamsuddin was subsequently murdered by Rumi's disciples, so that they had their master once again for themselves. This consuming love has made Rume a poet. The search for the "Sun of Truth" is over, he found it in himself, Shamsuddin is in him.

Later, he meets once again a master who became important for him: it was Burhanuddin Muhaqqiq, a simple goldsmith, whose hammer knocking at work became a meditative music for him and inspired him to dance. The verses often arise from the whirling dance that is now playing an increasingly important role in his life. His disciple Husamuddin wrote down the verses which Rumi often simply said to himself, walking through the city or sitting in the bathroom. The result was a great work filling six volumes. Rumi died in Konya on 17 December 1273. His son Walad became his literary heir, he commented on his father's work and developed it further.



Mechthild of Magdeburg

Mechthild was probably born "in a court environment". Her metaphorical language shows that she participates in the education of her time and knows the poetry of the troubadours. As a young girl she experienced already a "greeting of the Holy Spirit"; she did not enter into one of the major religious orders but preferred a then modern form of cohabitation of like-minded, pious women and therefore entered into a "Beguine convent." The Beguines lived by handiwork and nursing, they made no vows but cultivated definitely a monastic life. Since Mechthild had time and again visions and auditions, she started about the year 125o with recording their spiritual experiences. The Magdeburg Beguinage was supervised by the Dominicans. Especially Henry of Halle probably encouraged her to write her book. Since she criticized the local clergy and openly said her thoughts, her situation in Magdeburg became difficult; that's why she entered the Cistercian convent of Helfta, which was then a centre of spiritual life and was led by the prominent Abbess Gertrud of Helfta. There Mechthild has finished her book, and died about the year 1282.

Soon after her death the books I to VI were translated into Latin. The Middle Low German original interspersed by Middle German language forms has not survived, but the text is completely preserved in a Upper German version, which was written from 1343 to 1345 in Basel with the collaboration of Heinrich of Nördlingen. What is fascinating about this work already by its form is the abundance of different genera used by Mechthild: There are elements of lyric and epic in it, dramatic and narrative passages, prayers, hymns, blessings, even entries in the way of a diary. The debates and instructive sections are even more exciting, in particular examples of spiritual courtly love, which speak with such warmth and tenderness of the love between God and the soul that you read them with astonishment and admiration. But there is also sharp criticism of the church and the clergy. Creative linguistic idiosyncrasies and the often unusual perspective show Mechthild's boldness. In her work she does not only draw the contours of an inner life but also reflects on her own actions.



Metaphorical Power of Language

If we compare the nature and the expressive power of these two figures, then it is first apparent that the elementary desire for God is dominant in both Rumi and Mechthild. Everything in them is focusing on the One who makes life possible and can bring happiness. In Rumi it says, "I'm thirsty as the sand." "The lover has an eternal thirst for more and more love, / the thirst of the dunes is insatiable, / because the water is swallowed as soon as it has arrived." {3} And Mechthild sings:

    "I'm waiting for you, with a heavy heart,
    I cannot rest, I'm burning
    inextinguishable in your hot love.
    I'm hunting thee with all my might,
    and if I had the strength of a giant -
    I would use it up to quick exhaustion
    if I came thus without detours on your trail.
    Oh, dear, now do not run far ahead
    and tenderly take a little break
    so that I can catch you."

Since the linkage with God is of an intimacy that transcends all ideas, the mystic is looking for a language that most likely meets this relationship. It is the language of eros, the imagery of Love. Rumi puts it in this way, "I'd love kissing you. / The price for kissing is your life. / Now my love is running to my life and rejoices, / what good commodity, let us buy it." {5} Mechthild's verses sound quite similarly:

    "Then the loving mouth that has deeply wounded my soul said,
    these powerful words to me, who always is unworthy:
    'You are felt love for my a desire,
    you're a sweet cooling on my breast,
    you're a fervent kiss on my lips,
    You're a cheerful delight when I find you!
    I am in you and you are in me,
    We cannot be closer



    because we have merged
    and are poured into one mold;
    we will forever remain, untiringly."

The one who is full of love wants to find for the beloved images and metaphors, so that he can be felt in all his beauty and sweetness. The lovers' inventory of images is inexhaustible, because everything becomes translucent for the lover. The devotion places God above everything else, whereas the own Self becomes unimportant and is lost. Let us listen to Rumi:

    "Heart, I died a hundred times, and learned one thing:
    When your scent came, it could revive me.
    I gave the soul a hundred times and fell -
    you called and gave new life to me.
    Since I saw your face, I never again saw me,
    You makes me a festival, you're just burning me like scented wood.
    My heart lays' snares for the Falcon 'love' -
    With my heart I saw the falcon fly away'!

With Mechthild, too, it is an interplay of love, an exchange of love in which both partners are trying to outdo each other in their choice of metaphors.

    "Lord, Thou art the sun of all eyes,
    You are the joy of all ears,
    You are the sound of all words (...),
    you are the teachings of all wisdom,
    you're the life of every living thing
    You are the order of all being." (...)
    Then God praised the loving soul with a full praise ...:
    You are a light in front of my eyes,
    you are a lyre in my ears,
    you are a voice for my words,
    you are a will for my excellence,
    you are an honor for my wisdom,
    you're a life in my life,
    You are a the glory of my being.'"



Nature, too, in all its diversity, the abundance of flowers with their perfume and the beauty of the landscape, everything is an opportunity to thank the Creator, everything points beyond itself but can only give a faint notion of the "greater God". Let us listen to Rumi: "A thousand brilliant beauties filled the garden; / There were violets and musk-scented roses. / The stream was not those drops that trickled slow, / A mere excuse: He was himself the flow." {9} "I tasted everything, / I found nothing better than you. / When I dove into the sea, / I found no pearl like you. I opened all the casks, I tasted from a thousand jars, / Yet none but that rebellious wine of yours / touched my lips and inspired my heart {10} Mechthild speaks a "tenfold Praise" by giving voice to the forces of creation:

    "O burning mountain,
    O chosen sun,
    O perfect moon,
    O fathomless well,
    O unattainable height,
    O unattainable light,
    O clearness beyond all measure,
    O wisdom without end,
    O mercy without all limit,
    O strength beyond resistance,
    O crown of all majesty,
    All creation humbly sings your praise!"

For many Sufis dancing is a particular form of meditative approach to God. The dancer begins his circular motion by spinning on his right foot with increasing speed clockwise. The dancers take up the cosmic movements and imitate the dance of the planets around the sun. Death and resurrection, the rhythmic events of nature and the seasons are also symbolized in the dance. Rumi could say, "Those who know the power of the dance, live in God." Dance anticipates the celestial dance in which the angels and stars, too, take part. Pictures of playing music and dancing are time and again to be found in Rumi's poetry. - You must have been touched by the breath of a friend to be able to utter mysteries. The harp can tell its agony and its joy only if the fingers of her lover touch it.



    "Who is the luckiest in this whole orchestra? The reed.
    Its mouth touches your lips to learn music.
    All reeds, sugarcane especially, think only
    of this chance. They sway in the canebreaks,
    free in the many ways they dance."

It is not surprising that Rumi was the co-founder of the Mevlevi Order, the Order of the so-called spinning dervishes: the monks were like butterflies to fly around the world. Mechthild has admittedly spent nearly her entire life in monastic severity, but at least the metaphor of the dance is also familiar to her. The soul is invited to the forest, into the society of blessed people: "The prince wants to meet you in the dew, and the sweet song of the birds. Tarry not, Lady." (...) The sweetest nightingales sing there, day and night, of the right union with God, and she hears many sweet voices: the birds of the sacred knowledge. Yet the youth did not come. Now she sends out messengers, because she wants to dance. (...) So there comes about a nice honour dance. Then comes the youth and says to her: "Thou shalt dance merrily even as my elect." And she answers, "I cannot dance, Lord, if Thou dost not lead me. If Thou wilt that I leap joyfully, Thou must first Thyself sing. Then will I leap for love, from love to knowledge, from knowledge to fruition, from fruition to beyond all human senses. There will I remain, and circle ever-more." And the young man has to sing thus, "Through me into you And through you from me." [The soul:] "Willingly with you, Woefully from you." The young man speaks, "Young lady, you have done very well in this dance of praise.'" {13}


Spiritual Pilgrimage

Now one might think that mystical experience was always dealing with ecstatic experiences, as if the soul was always carried away into the bliss of God's presence. But there is also a quite different aspect of this being beside oneself, which deals with the act of letting go of one's own self, with dying, and "abating" [Ent-werden]. The one who sits too highly on the throne of his self-confidence must first come down, so that God can work in him and with him. Rumi puts it in this way, "Take someone who doesn't keep score, / who's not looking to be richer, or afraid of losing, / who has not the slightest interest even is his own personality: he's free." {14}



And, "Give it up, / when you have not realized by now / that your life is firewood." {15} "My body is a candle touched by the fire." "And the result is: the three words: / I'm burned, burnt, and I am burned!" {16}

Mechthild does not only experience the affection of her divine lover but also his distance. She is not allowed by dreaming to take on a "bad habit"; spiritual self-confidence is wrong. The soul must therefore also be willing to leave hold of her lover: "If you want to have love, you must leave love." {17} The ascent of the loving soul complies with the descent, she must undergo the sufferings of Jesus. The soul assumes Christ's way of life by dying with her master. Since she has experienced the highest, she must be willing to leave it. The finding each other becomes parting company with each other.

    "Please, Lord, just as you have taken from me all things that I have from you,
    Leave me, at least, through grace that same gift
    That you have given to dogs through their nature -
    That I might be loyal to you in my misery,
    Free of all discontent.
    This I do indeed desire
    More than I yearn for heaven."

The spiritual path of the pious is always the path of maturation, a pilgrimage with many stations; this is identical in Islam and Christianity. The growth happens in stages; it is not allowed to skip any phase. The "caravan can only move on", the next stage can be headed into, if the things that are on the agenda have been experienced and internalized; you are to hear the sound of the bell calling for departure. Conversion, faith in God, patience, gratitude, hope, and poverty belong to the stages that must be gone through. Especially poverty is seen as particularly important, it is a "strong doctor," the "greatest of all mystical leaders", around whom "all heart sit like disciples." And why is just poverty appreciated so highly? For the simple reason that it is a step on the path towards 'abating': The nutshell has to be cracked, so that the true essence comes to the fore; the shell is forced open, so that the pearl is gathered ...



    ""Last night I saw poverty in a dream -
    I became beside myself from its beauty,
    From the loveliness and perfection of the grace of poverty
    I was dumbfounded until dawn.
    I saw poverty like a mine of ruby,
    so that through its hue I became clothed in silk."

And since we are on pilgrimage and have not yet arrived, you can also say that we are pregnant and waiting for the real birth. "I was a sugar cane, now I'll become sugar." "Did ever a grain fall into the earth, / that did not unfold beautifully? / Do you think that the seed / which is man would behave differently?" {20} Rumi even says that everyone of us - like Mary - carries Jesus within him/her. When the birth pangs begin Jesus can be born.

Mechthild illustrates the path of maturation or the pilgrimage of the soul with another image. It is the soul's journey to the court, she is heading to her royal master. There she is received by God, "Welcome, my precious dove. You have flown so keenly over the earth, that your feathers reach to heaven." {21} And the soul prays to God for his love, "Ah, Lord, love me passionately, love me often, and love me long. For the more passionately you love me, the purer I shall become. The more often you love me, the more beautiful I shall become. The longer you love me, the holier I shall become here on earth." {22}

The path of becoming well acquainted with God is expressed in a very peculiar way. The soul is to undress and to unlearn her shame. "Our Lord speaks, 'Stay, Lady Soul.' 'What do you bid me, Lord?' 'Take off your clothes.' 'Lord, what will happen to me then?' 'Lady Soul, you are so utterly formed to my nature That not the slightest thing can be between you and me. Never was an angel so glorious That to him was granted for one hour What is given to you for eternity. And so you must cast off from you Both fear and shame and all external virtues. Rather, those alone that you carry within yourself Shall you foster forever. These are your noble longing And your boundless desire. These I shall fulfill forever With my holy hand.' 'Lord, now I am a naked soul And you in yourself are a well-adorned God. Our shared lot is eternal life Without death.'" {23}



Here, too, it is about the abating of the old human and the descent into nothingness so that a new, the real life can come into being. The "old dress", self-assertion stands in the way, only when it is cast off the new creature can put on shape.


Language of Love

It has often been asked why in the language of the mystics so often is found an erotic vocabulary. For it can also be misunderstood and has often served to interpret the mystical experience as pure sublimation of repressed sexual desires.

Simone Weil has once aptly remarked about this, "To reproach mystics that they love God with the power of sexual love, is the same, as if you would reproach a painter that he painted his pictures with colours composed of material substances. We have nothing else in order to love through it." {24} We can not (at all) separate our physical, mental and spiritual forces, they interpenetrate and are interdependent; that's why spiritual love, too, is looking for a bodily expression, and in the language of love, too - at all levels - our erotic-dialogical constitution comes time and again to light. We cannot divide ourselves but must seek to understand us in this holistic approach.

Rumi was married and had children. Yet his poetry, in which he sings of his love for his divine "friend", is always also pervaded by restrained eroticism, "During the day I was singing with you. / At night we slept in the same bed. / I wasn't conscious day or night. / I thought I knew who I was / but I was you." {25} And Mechthild rejoices, "He also embraces her (the loved soul) ... in the noble comfort of his love. He greets her with his loving eyes when they earnestly gaze at one another with love. He kisses her passionately with his divine mouth. You are happy, more than happy in this most glorious hour. He caresses her, as well he can, on the bed of love. Then she rises to the heights of bliss and to the most exquisite pain when she becomes truly intimate with him." {26}



Critical Remarks on Faith

It must be admitted that neither Rumi was a typical Muslim nor Mechthild an average Christian. If mystically gifted people refer to their experiences, they are often looked at askance by Orthodox representatives of their faith or even put into a heretical corner. This happened to Mechthild, who complained about distortion and decay of church life, but did not accept to be forbidden to speak and therefore sought refuge behind the walls of a strict convent. "Alas, crown of holy priesthood, how you are gone lost! Lo! you have only the shell of yourself, which is the priestly power, with it you are fighting against God and his chosen friends. Therefore, God will humiliate you before you know it." {27}

With such attacks you will not win any friends among the powerful. Rumi, too, dared highly risky formulations. He recognized that other religious orientations, too, had the right to their own ways of expressing their faith and at the same time he put a question mark behind his Islamic faith:

    "What is to be done, O Moslems?
       for I do not recognize myself.
    I am neither Christian, nor Jew,
       nor Gabr, nor Moslem.
    I am not of the East, nor of the West,
       nor of the land, nor of the sea; (...)
    My place is the Placeless,
       my trace is the Traceless;
    'Tis neither body nor soul,
       for I belong to the soul of the Beloved.
    I have put duality away,
       I have seen that the two worlds are one;
    One I seek, One I know, One I see, One I call.
       Until worlds have passed out of my ken."

Rumi is sceptical of strict distinctions and divisions; he remains the questioner and seeker who opposes the zealots and intolerant and asks for understanding. And since he was disappointed by the self-representation of the denominations,



disappointed also by the places where one should - according to the usual ideas - find God (including Jerusalem and the Kaaba in Mecca), he admits, "You lack a foot to travel? / Then journey into yourself! (...) / such a journey leads to transformation / of dust into pure gold." {29} The seeker has not found the sought one "outside" of himself, to his surprise he finds him within himself. "Finally, I looked into my own heart and there I saw Him; He was nowhere else." {30} Experience in the depth of one's heart makes humble, because everything is given to us and we are not entitled to it, but it makes also confident and leads to a greater courage. "Know that you are kings and not beggars" {31} Rumi says; and Mechthild is confident, "But everyone should be a Christ in her/himself, so that s/he is living for God and not for her/himself" {32}


Gnostic Ideas - Dialogical Exchange

If we can see so many parallels in the approach and reflection of the two mystics, if we even establish an often striking resemblance in the language and the choice of images and metaphors, where are actually found the differences? The main difference is, of course, their different faith. Rumi admittedly knowns and reveres Jesus, for Mechthild, however, her entire destiny is participation in Jesus' Passion. In her life she is tracking Jesus up to the details of his life story. She says that her soul would be betrayed and sold, seized and taken prisoner, tied up and beaten, taken to court and slapped, sent to Herod, stripped and mocked. She has to bear the cross and is nailed on the cross. She is put into the locked grave, she "is also resurrected happily on Easter Day" and receives "the full assurance from God that he has repaid all her sins in the pain of love" and finally goes to heaven. "She is received in a white cloud of holy protection When she ascends in love and joyfully comes back again, free of all trouble." {33}

With Rumi approaches are found reminding of Gnostic thought. The soul has originally existed in the "other world", there is her true home, there she would also like to return.



    "Where did I come from, and what am I supposed to be doing?
    I have no idea.
    My soul is from elsewhere,
    I'm sure of that,
    and I intend to end up there.(...)
    I did not come here on my own accord,
    nor will I thus leave
    He who brought me here,
    shall return me to my very own."

It is even more amazing that Rumi had already an evolutionay understanding of the evolution of life and man, he assumes that everything is in a great transformation process that is not yet completed.

    "I died as a mineral and became a plant.
    I died as plant and rose to animal,
    I died as animal and I was Man. Why should I fear?
    When was I less by dying?
    Yet once more I shall die as Man,
    to soar with angels blest;
    but even from angelhood I must pass on:
    I shall become what no mind e'er conceived: a breath of God."

The with many mystics found thought of entering into the divine origin, of becoming one with the Creator is determinative with Rumi. The individual being does not need to be preserved, because its substance enters into consummation.

In Mechthild's imagination God continues the dialogue, even if the divine interlocutor is so overwhelming that the soul, as it were, sinks into him:

    "You are my resplendent mountain,
    A feast for my eyes,
    A loss of myself,
    A tempest in my heart,
    A defeat and retreat of my power,
    My surest protection."



So he is the abyss into which you can sink - and nevertheless find security: "A fish in water does not drown. A bird in the air does not plummet. Gold in fire does not perish. Rather, it gets its purity and its radiant color there. God has created all creatures to live according to their nature. How, then, am I to resist my nature? I must go from all things to God, Who is my Father by nature, My Brother by his humanity, My Bridegroom by love, And I his bride from all eternity." {37}

Mechthild's thought, piety and language are strongly determined by the favorite book of all Christian mystics: the Song of Songs. The bridal mysticism has its origin here and has just influenced in many and diverse ways the German women's mysticisms of the Middle Ages. So, too, Mechthild was significantly shaped by the love poetry of the minnesingers, although entirely focusing on the spiritual dimension. This has a significant effect: An new tone is discernible in the language. The relationship to God, the bond of love with him calls for a more intimate language for which the mother tongue is the best means of expression and no longer the then dominant Latin, which admittedly promises theological accuracy but leaves too little space for feelings.


Human Language - Divine Mystery

Rumi, whose native language is Persian, comes from a cultural area in which secular and religious poetry are not clearly separated. The same metaphoric language can be used for the love of husband and wife, but also for the love of God. The drinking bout, the sitting in the wine cellar may have a direct meaning, but the spiritual drunkenness can also be meant. The mystics of Sufism referred to a word of the Koran to justify their ecstatic language of closeness to God: "God is closer to man than his carotid." But they also knew that our language even in its hyperboles remains poor compared with reality and cannot do justice to the divine mystery. "Words are left on the coast," they therefore say, even if they venture out on to the high seas of the encounter with God. Mechthild also knew that she is dependent on God's help with her singing: "Were you to sing to me, I would have to succeed." {38}

Such examples of a, as it were, transboundary parallel of religious experience seems to be a comforting sign at a time when even the ecumenical dialogue within the same religion has become more difficult,



the interreligious contact becomes icy and stops before the barriers of prejudice and ignorance. One phenomenon, however, strikes me as particularly important: Is the speaking about God not usually contingent on servile humility or on dry objectivity, because the theological diction is not particularly geared to giving room to emotionality? In the mystical traditions, however, a bold language is tried out which makes us amazed. Here we experience intimacy and heartfelt solidarity that takes the human primal longings into account and leads to a "voicing" [Aussingen] and soaring, and so we can feel deep sincerity. The mystical language is not the only way to express devotion and man's faithful union with God, but it does exist, and we should be grateful for it. Mechthild has experienced it in this way: "There eye reflects eye, There spirit flows in spirit, There hand touches hand, There mouth speaks to mouth, And there hearts greets heart." {39}



{1} Of the texts translated into German may be mentioned: A. Schimmel, Rumi. Ich bin Wind und du bist Feuer. Leben und Werk des großen Mystikers. Düsseldorf and others 1978 (quoted as Wind und Feuer); Dschelaladdin Rumi, Aus dem Diwan. Gedichte. Translated from the Persian by A. Schimmel. Stuttgart 1964 (quoted as Diwan) and the same, Offenes Geheimnis. Eine Auswahl aus seinem poetischen Werk. Translated by P. Kobbe. München 1994 (quoted as Geheimnis).

{2} Mechthild von Magdeburg, Das fließende Licht der Gottheit. Edited by G. Vollmann-Profe. Frankfurt 2003 (quoted as Das fließende Licht).

{3} Geheimnis, 107.

{4} Das fließende Licht II 25 (S. 129)

{5} Geheimnis, 27.

{6} Das fließende Licht III 5 (169).

{7} Diwan, 22.

{8} See Das fließende Licht III 2 (161).

{9} Diwan, 77.

{10} Loc. cit., 30.

{11} Das fließende Licht I 18 (33).

{12} Geheimnis, 49.

{13} Das fließende Licht I 44 (59ff.).

{14} Geheimnis, 26

{15} Loc. cit., 106.

{16} Wind und Feuer, 25.

{17} Das fließende Licht II 23 (121).

{18} Loc. cit., II 25 (129).

{19} Wind und Feuer, 138.

{20} Loc. cit., 143.

{21} Das fließende Licht I 15 (35).

{22} Loc. cit., I 23 (45).

{23} Loc. cit., I 44 (65).

{24} S. Weil, Zeugnis für das Gute. Traktate, Briefe, Aufzeichnungen. Olten 1976, 217.

{25} Geheimnis, 39.

{26} See Das fließende Licht II 23 (119).

{27} Loc. cit., VI 21 (479).

{28} See Diwan, 61.

{29} See Diwan, 37.

{30} Loc. cit., 59.

{31} The same, Das innere Haus, in: Die Worte der Ameisen. Persische Mystik in Versen und Prosa, translated by C. Atabay. Hamburg 1971, 26.

{32} Das fließende Licht VI 4 (439).

{33} Loc. cit., III 10 (183ff.).

{34} See Geheimnis, 64f.

{35} Wind und Feuer, 43.

{36} Das fließende Licht I 20 (39).

{37} Loc. cit., I 44 (63f.).

{38} Das fließende Licht II 5 (93).

{39} Loc. cit., IV 14 (271).


    {*} Otto Betz, Prof. Dr., born in 1927, studied philosophy and theology, German philology and pedagogy. 1964-1985 Professor of General Pedagogy and Education at the University of Hamburg. Author and editor of numerous books and anthologies on topics of spirituality, literature, anthropology and religious education.


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