See in the birds a deeper and wider understanding of one’s self
Shahabuddin: It is quite beautiful to see how Farid-ud-Din Attar has each of the different birds representing a different psychological state and situation for many of the different seekers after truth.
This teaching is given so that we don’t look at it and say, “Oh, that reminds me of my friend or my cousin or my enemy . . . But instead we look at the different states and see where they sit within each of us. How we can learn from each of the different birds, with their limitations. And how we can in that way create a deeper understanding or our self.
Pir: To appraise the full value of ‘The Conference of the Birds by Attar, one must appreciate the vantage point of the medical allegorical mode of expressing psychological niceties which the straightforward theoretical rendering of a metaphysical teaching leave out of account. The whole range of human characters and failing is here so realistically typified in each bird, and our human tendency to justify systematic postpone meant of the great issue of their lives, is here so convincingly brought home in ornithological language ! Yet while we like to see such or such a person of our acquaintance earmarked as a type as depicted by these birds, it is more use to see in the the typification of sometimes the caricature of features within our own nature which determine our actions.
Pir/Attar: It begins with something quite decisive in the life of a human being, whether one is prepared to take the most far reaching decision of their life. Mainly, to seek the supreme fulfillment, to enter into the royal court of God / to enter into that presence of God / to enter into the fullness of God. This path is not particularly easy. It is fraught with pain and struggle.
~ ~ ~ Shahabuddin’s decisive moment ~ ~ ~
Pir/Attar: The Hoopoe, a bright one amongst the birds, guide to King Solomon and crowned by him, convoked an assembly of all the birds the world over, known or unknown. Conspicuous were:
The wagtail — sans word : : : The parrot — with robe of glory
The partridge – of perverse desire : : : The royal falcon – violent & passionate
The quail — consuming itself : : : The nightingale — wounded by love
The peacock — exiled from heaven : : : The turtle-dove — restless
The pigeon — thirsting for the water of life: : : The hawk — subservient
The gold Fischer split by afflictions.
Pir/Attar: Said, the Hoopoe who ‘has entered the way fo spiritual knowledge; “No country in the world is without a king, how come the kingdom of the birds is without a ruler?” All eyes were upon the Hoopoe — messenger of the world invisible, who now had to try and make the others deliver in his leadership. ‘I have the knowledge of God and the secrets of creation!’ Moreover he had to give his credentials: ‘ King Solomon would not do without me for a moment’, and give arrogance the he knew the way: ‘I have traveled by sea and by land over mountain and valley . . . and have measured the bound of the world’. Presently he beckoned upon the assembly to set out joyfully for the court of the king. “His name is Sinurgh. He is close to us, but we are far from him, the place where he is inaccessible and no longer is able to utter this name. Before Him hang a hundred-thousand veils of light and darkness . . . He does not manifest Himself completely even in the place of His dwelling . . . the way is unknown and no one had the steadfastness to seek it, though thousands spend their lives in longing.”
Under the spell of the Hoopoe, a longing to meet the sovereign flawed up in the birds’ heart’s. But no sooner they heard of the difficulty and the length of the path, faint of heart, they declined, each finding an excuse only too familiar to us, each according to his type, of which we can however, find a similar chord in ourselves if we are honest.
The Nightingale: We can recognize the one who is detained by their love of beauty for itself. ‘The love of the rose is enough for me . . . How can the Nightingale remain a single night deprived of the love of this enchantress?’ The Hoopoe answer —The love of the rose has many thorns. , It will fill your days with lamentations for she laughs at you with each new Spring and then smiles no more.
The Parrot: Now the ostentatious type of person, all show of brilliance, incapable of sensing their own insincerity, and believing that they wrap others into their guild — that is us which tends to show off. This is the Parrot, proffering words ‘as distilled sugar’ the sanctimonious one, who claims to seek spirituality, ‘I long for the water of immortality, but the spring of Khidr (the giver of life) is enough for them me.’ They betray thereby their longing for life. The Hoopoe’s answer is: ‘If you are not yet willing to renounce your life you are not yet a human being’.
Shahabuddin:“It in renouncing life that we gain life. So the one that has all the answers. The one that likes to make a show of his or her wisdom is caught by their own answers. The path is made up of unanswerable questions. Remember the real name of the one we seek cannot be pronounced. The real answer to these questions cannot be given in words. Words just become a veil, in a sense a wall which prevents us from experiencing truth. Today we live in an age where before we even have asked a question, the person we are conversing with is answering. Before we have even said a sentence we are being interrupted. The words are running rampant. The truth hiding deeper.
The real name of the one we seek cannot be pronounced . . . The real answer to these questions cannot be given in words. Words just become a veil.