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Verses of the Universe: The Rubaiyat by Omar Khayyam: Spiritual Vintage, Part 1 of 2

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Omar Khayyam was a Persian mathematician, astronomer, philosopher, and a poet. Omar Khayyam was born in 1048, in Nishabur, present-day Iran, where he received his education, which he later continued when he moved to Samarkand, in today’s Uzbekistan. A famous invention of his is the Jalali calendar, which became a base for other later calendars, and is considered to be more accurate than the Gregorian one. Yet, the most familiar of Omar Khayyam’s milestones in the West rests upon his collection of more than a thousand poems. In the 19th century, the verses were found and translated for the first time into English by the English poet and writer Edward FitzGerald, who named the edition, “The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam,” “rubaiyat” meaning “quatrains.” The first edition of the poetry was published in 1859, in London. The rhymed verses reveal a poet who was in deep contemplation in search of the truth, about the nature of reality, the universe, and the depth of the human spirit. Today, we will have a glimpse of Omar Khayyam’s Rubaiyat, where the author’s symbolic expressions make the ineffable and abstract inner life revelations easier to comprehend. The most common metaphor used in this poetry collection is “wine,” which represents the vintage of divine “intoxication,” a state of pure bliss of the soul, while in meditation on the Most High. “Iram indeed is gone with all its Rose, And Jamshyd’s Sev’n-ring’d Cup where no-one knows;” “But still the Vine her ancient Ruby yields, And still a Garden by the Water blows.” “Here with a Loaf of Bread beneath the Bough, A Flask of Wine, a Book of Verse — and Thou Beside me singing in the wilderness — And Wilderness is Paradise enow.” “‘How sweet is mortal Sovranty!’ – think some: Others – ‘How blest the Paradise to come!’ Ah, take the Cash and let the Credit go Nor heed the rumble of a distant Drum!” “Were it not Folly, Spider-like to spin The Thread of present Life away to win What? For ourselves who know not if we shall Breathe out the very Breath we now breathe in!” “Why, all the Saints and Sages who discuss’d Of the Two Worlds so learnedly, are thrust Like foolish Prophets forth; their Words to Scorn Are scatter’d, and their mouths are stopt with Dust.” “There was a Door to which I found no Key: There was a Veil past which I could not see: Some little talk awhile of ME and THEE There seem’d - and then no more of THEE and ME.” “Then of the THEE IN ME who works behind The Veil, I lifted up my hands to find A Lamp amid the Darkness and I heard As from Without – ‘THE ME WITHIN THEE BLIND!’”
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