Soul Train

by Rahman Baba

English version by Robert Sampson and Momin Khan
Original Language Pashto

My soul is restless in search of the beautiful;
As the breeze yearns for the scent of flowers.

Your beauty is like the sun drying up the dew;
Dawn breaks, and turns my tears to laughter.

When I contemplate your beauty
My heart marvels at your sight.

The image of your face
Makes my soul sing like a bird.

Within this frail body my soul
Lies visible, like pure wine in the glass.

Once my search discovered your radiant beauty
My spirit moved -- spinning day and night like the sun.

In search of your cheeks I became a nomad;
My soul wanders as far as India and Khorasan.


-- from The Poetry of Rahman Baba: Poet of the Pashtuns, translated by Robert Sampson and Momin Khan (available from http://rahmanbaba-poetry.com/ )

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Commentary by Ivan M. Granger

Like much of the sacred poetry of Islam, this poem can be read on different levels. A surface reading might convince you that this is a love poem, a poem of yearning for someone with a beautiful face.

My soul is restless in search of the beautiful;
As the breeze yearns for the scent of flowers.


But it is normally understood that the true Beloved being sought is God, the Divine, Truth. Coming face-to-face with that fundamental state of being is to be overcome with beauty. It can seem terrifying, so expansive and all-encompassing that the limited mind recoils. And, in incorporating all things, it integrates the terrible as well as the serene. Yet, seen as a whole, it shines, like the breaking of dawn. In this vision, the heart is flooded with joy, and it marvels. The total vision is undeniably one of -- Beauty.

The image of your face
Makes my soul sing like a bird.


You come to know your own nature...

Within this frail body my soul
Lies visible, like pure wine in the glass.


Having seen this truth, what soul can become a fixed, defined, limited thing again? The soul can accept no home but the wide open Mystery. It becomes a nomad, seeking to be ever closer to that Beauty.



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Soul Train