Attar 8

See in the birds a deeper and wider understanding of one’s self

Bewilderment: Presently, the soul, the being, the mind enters into the state, where one deems “to know nothing, understand nothing and unaware of oneself.” — The valley of astonishment and bewilderment. 
Shahabuddin: “HIK called this bewilderment.  It’s just Life is astonishing, not to the Liver but to Life itself. Life is just astounded that it is. Because for eons it was nothing but stillness.Deprivations: As one advances, the gloom becomes thicker: This is the darkest part of the night of the soul. “Forgetfulness, dumbness, deafness and distraction encompasses one’s soul as shadows,  yet may disappear in a single ray of celestial sun.  [ ‘He is saying always have Hope because it can go in a moment.’] The pattern of life surface looses its form no sooner the ocean of immensity begins to heave.  When one emerges from this state of humiliation and depressions, one understand it as part of the creative process.” Such is the valley of deprivations and death, the last before reaching the palace of the King. Upon hearing of the difficulties of the way, many birds died.
Shahabuddin: “What does this mean? There are many who travel the path. For one reason or another they lose their direction, they lose their energy, they lose their hope, they lose their faith. And they find themselves off the path. They don’t know it. There are always all kinds of excuses. Oh I am really on the path, in this way or that. But really they are off the path.

Attar: For years they traveled over mountain and valley. In the end only a small number of all this great company arrived at the sublime place to which the Hoopoe had lead them. Out of all these thousands of birds only thirty reached the end of the journey and even they were bewildered, weary, dejected. 
Shahabuddin: “And confused with neither feathers nor wings. Nothing remained. Stripped of our egos. Our body barely functioning. Our mind wild.’

Attar:But now that they were at the door of this Majesty that cannot be described, whose essence is incomprehensible, the lightning of fulfillment flashed and a hundred worlds were consumed in a moment. They saw thousand of suns, each more respondent the the other, thousands of moons and stars, all equally beautiful and seeing all this they were amazed and agitated like the dancing stop of dust and they cried out: “O Thou, who are more radiant than the sun! Thou, who hast reduced the sun to an atom, how can we naked and featherless appear before Thee? Ah, why have we so useless endured al this suffering on the way? Having renounced ourselves and all things, we now cannot obtain that for which we have striven. Here, it little matters, whether we exist or not.” 
Shahabuddin: So they have gone through death. They don’t fear death anymore. And they realize if we are all one, what does it matter if I exist. And there is a certain heaviness in illumination. They have seen a thousand suns and a thousand moons. And now they experience the divine indifference.

Attar: Imagine , what their despair, to find after all their efforts the poor reception that they were given. “What can be done with a feeble handful of dust like you”, the Chamberlain said. “We cannot believe that the king will scorn us after all the suffering we have endured:, was their reply. Said the Chamberlain, “O you, whose minds and hearts are troubled whether you exist or do not exist in the universe, thousand of worlds of creatures are no more than an ant at His gate.
Shahab: “So what is he saying here. In the vastness of it your little nufs is so insignificant . . . The birds were completely lost.  And yet they knew they were at the place of being found.”

Attar: The birds were only able to maintain their spirits by remembering an exclamation of Majnun: “I would rather have the insults of Leila, than the praises of all the worlds.” Thus they replied, “We are like the moth who wished for union with the flame of the candle.” Obviously they had passed the test, for the Chamberlain opened the door.
Shahabuddin: “It is remarkable that here at the climax of the whole quest, the whole story Farid u’d Din Attar does something that is so ‘Sufi’, so remarkable he doesn’t describe the meeting, a confrontation like an audience of the birds before God; the whole point at stake is that at this point, after the door is opened, there can’t be any audience with the King. Why? Because they are One —  They Are One.  So Attar next, to show the Oneness, is this beautiful passage where each of the birds, in turn seats on the Throne, the seat of Majesty and Glory.

Attar: Thy were aware that the Simurgh was there with them and new life began for them in the Simurgh. the sound of majesty sent forth here his rays and in the reflection of each others faces, these birds of the outer worlds contemplated the face of Simurgh (God) of the inner world.
Shahabuddin: “They saw the light of God reflected. Remarkable that they didn’t know if they were themselves seeing God or they were God seeing themselves. They didn’t know who or what they were. Had they become the King?  Finally they had the realization that they and the King had become one.  Before they experience it but didn’t realize it. Now they actually had the realization. This is now the point where the human realizes God. And God realizes itself in the human .  .  . the end of the story is the Simurgh is God speaking.

They didn’t know if they were themselves seeing God or they were God seeing themselves

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10 thoughts on “Attar 8

  1. “For eons it was nothing but stillness ” Many of us through these thousands of years worshiped the great sun, such a worthy object our devotion. Now I intend, inshallah, to give that same energy and identification with — ‘The Stillness Itself ‘

  2. So helpful- the descriptions of psychological facets and sort of “GPS” of the Path. Of course, I thought they were just my unending struggles and inefficiencies.. ..Wonderful. Thank you.

  3. These 8 comprise the most distilled, accessible and profound commentaries on The Conference of the Birds that I have experienced. Presented in a clear, calm, comprehensive fashion. Deeply meditative. Challenging. Inviting.
    There was a technical interaction in # (?) 3 which could be cleared. And I wondered about the effectiveness of having one commentator offer views during small portions of the latter videos.I found it slightly jarring.
    Looking forward to having these available to the whole world. Thank you Shahbuddin.

  4. What a beautiful Gift! Decades ago, (probably entering the Valley of Understanding) had read the poem, and had great difficulty understanding it. Now, it’s all so clear; gaining more understanding the various types of birds and the spiritual journey “map” revealed by your lovely, concise insights into Attar’s words!

    Have watched the series twice to capture the nuances. Afterwards, found this illumined teaching invaluable and helpful while contemplating, discovering how these psychological series of experiences (written about 800 years ago) matched personal experiences in each of the Valleys so perfectly.Thank You! Thank You! With 1001 Blessings!
    And agree that your presentation is a treasure to consider sharing more widely in the Sufi community.

    More recently, been contemplating how the end of the 7th valley/the goal of the spiritual journey is often historically “written” as an endpoint rather than a doorway to the unfoldment of another mysterious part of the endless journey?

    1. This was so kind & gentle way for Shahabuddin to help me learn to surrender. And give up what I don’t want to give up but so much love in Shahabuddin’s face and presentation I want to cry in ecstasy. Ya Wajud! Thankful for being pointed to the work I need to do.

  5. Aletheia

    All gratitude for having been led beyond existence and non existence by this inspired guidance. Attar shows us the Way and our inner wayfarers clearly. Shahabuddin’s commentary is illuminated with Insight, compassion and love. This is a treasure to be shared widely wherever there is the interest and need.

  6. So many layers! I felt love, interest, curiosity. Gleefully remembering a presentation at Rising Tide of the Conference, it helped me be playful while listening.
    What translation was being referred to? I was following / skipping along in my book ( C.S. Nott) capturing the phrases and realizing this could be a very long retreat. I also look forward to the compiled version for all.
    In Gratitude, AzizaB

  7. I’ve only listened to these videos once, so far. It’s such a deep teaching that I want to listen to it again, and again. Shahabuddin’s teaching of it has been very helpful. Last year a group here spent about 9 months studying the Conference of The Birds, but even after that I felt I had just scratched the surface. There is so much there!

  8. Listening to these has been experiencing one of the clearest set of the guideposts along the path I have blessed to receive. I am challenged, heartended, inspired, awestruck, frightened and joyful, all at once. Thank you

  9. Wow! What a glorious ending! It’s such a magnificent presentation of these great teachings. Thank you,Shahabuddin. I will want to listen to all of it again. I really relate to it even though I haven’t gotten to the end in my own journey but can definitely relate to a lot of the stages. I’m so grateful to be on this path.

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