[66] So while the Vessels one by one were speaking

by Omar Khayyam

English version by Edward FitzGerald
Original Language Persian/Farsi

So while the Vessels one by one were speaking,
One spied the little Crescent all were seeking:
     And then they jogg'd each other, "Brother! Brother!
"Hark to the Porter's Shoulder-knot a-creaking!"

-- from The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, by Omar Khayyam / Translated by Edward FitzGerald

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Commentary by Ivan M. Granger

The new moon is just past. In the next few nights look up at the sliver-thin crescent moon...


With this quatrain from the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, instead of my own commentary I'll offer an excerpt of the interpretation given by Paramahansa Yogananda. This gives us an interesting, kaleidoscopic view of the poetry of Omar Khayyam: These are verses written by a Muslim Sufi, translated by a British Christian, and here interpreted by a Hindu Yogi...

"While each soul-awakened devotee expressed his wisdom thoughts, one among them with deeper perception than the rest perceived a marvel all of them were seeking: the 'little Crescent,' or third eye of wisdom, hidden in the forehead -- the all-seeing eye of divine wakefulness.

"When the others learned of his experience, they understood what he had found: the long-sought gateway to Truth. Then to one another they exclaimed enthusiastically, 'Brother! Brother! Let us, too, gaze through this soul-window. And let us listen to the Sound that reverberates through the universe. Hark! Our souls vibrate with the great symphony of Life emanating from the all-pervading Music of Creation."


-- Paramahansa Yogananda, from The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam Explained, Edited by J. Donald Walters


In other words, the "Vessels" are people or souls. The Crescent -- which is, of course, a fundamental symbol of Islam -- is, according to Yogananda's interpretation of this verse, the third eye, the brow's ajna chakra through which true spiritual vision occurs. It is the doorway of awakening. The Porter is God -- the one who carries creation. Old-style porters would tie a rope around a heavy burden to hold it on their shoulder and, as they walked with the weight, that shoulder-knot would make a creaking noise against the shifting strain. This creaking shoulder-knot is the sound that upholds material existence. This is the sound meditators discover in deep stillness. By following this sound in the awareness we finally recognize the crescent doorway that opens unto enlightened awareness.

All that encoded into four dancing lines...



Recommended Books: Omar Khayyam

The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam Explained The Sufism of the Rubaiyat or the Secret of the Great Paradox Wine of the Mystic: The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyan: A Spiritual Interpretation The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam (Illustrated Edition)
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66] So while the