Transcendent Hermeneutics of Supreme Love
In this study, I have attempted to give an account of the love that permeates Rumi’s lyrics in Diwan-i Shams with my point of departure in Henry Corbin’s phenomenology. Rumi’s love is not only of a profane or allegorical nature but can be characterised as transcendent, metaphysical and, in his own words, all-embracing, all-present. Being concerned with the mysteries of God, he formulates an esoterism that focuses on the most beautiful names. His lyrics describe the symbolic foundation of the phenomenal world or what Corbin calls ‘transparency’. This world is characterised as transparent in the sense that it represents a reflection of a metacosmic reality to which man is exposed through his spiritual heart. Since the phenomenon reflects the Divine on the level of imagination as a sort of symbolic representation, whatever Rumi comes upon and puts into words is for him an object manifesting an aspect of the divine reality. For him, the world exists only as an image and the relationship between the transient and the Absolute is created and ultimately accomplished through love.

 

The metacosmic reality that Rumi calls ‘the realm of love’ or ‘the soul of the world soul’ represents, in other words, like the Platonic world of ideas, a collection of transcendent archetypes that are located beyond the variability of the external phenomena. In the light of Rumi’s description of the concept of misal, one may observe that his poetical images are related to the symbolic world (in Corbin’s terminology, mundus imaginalis), which functions as an intermediate between the material world and the transcendent. In Rumi’s view, the transparency of the symbols facilitates man’s imaginative perception and ultimate identification with the Divine as love is directed towards the symbolical. His poetical imagery in Diwan-i Shams has hence a rational function without being enclosed by the cognitive, as in Kant’s philosophy, which questions our ability to perceive das Ding an sich (the thing-in-itself).

 

By emphasising the symbolic and imaginative aspects of love, Rumi not only guarantees the objective certitude of contemplative discernment but also restores the spiritual ambience of intellectual intuition in order to bridge the chasm that today divides being from knowledge. In other words, he not only ensures the metaphysical continuity of imaginary perception but also guarantees the ontological objectivity of love itself. His religion is quite rightly a religion of love (rather than a religion of knowledge), since he identifies love as the kernel of mysticism and gives precedence to love over reason. He maintains that man must advance beyond his rational capacity in order to merge with the uncreated world of love, the inner sacred core (in Friedrich Heiler’s words, deus absconditus), which in his view is the genuine essence of religion. Rumi centres this view on the mysterious triad–love, lover and Beloved–which principally is of an ontological rather than an epistemological sort. By giving prominence to the aesthetic and spiritual imperative of faith, the immortality of the spirit and the inner joy that springs from love’s desire, his poetry is inspiring in the most positive sense of the word and a passionate and vivid confession of love.

 

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