Theophanic Poesy

March 8th, 2012 § 0 comments

The following lines from the Kitab al-Tajalliyat (or Book of Theophanies) by the great Sufi master Ibn ‘Arabi are translated by Henry Corbin in his monumental Creative Imagination in the Sufism of Ibn ‘Arabi (1970). As with so much of the mystical poetry arising from this milieu, the below text communicates in delicate and rapturous words something of the experience of the “Holy Guardian Angel,” as the concept has come to be known in Western Esotericism. Thanks are due to the Muhyiddin Ibn ‘Arabi Society for transcribing this text and making it available on their excellent website.

Listen, O dearly beloved!
I am the reality of the world, the centre of the circumference,
I am the parts and the whole.
I am the will established between Heaven and Earth,
I have created perception in you only in order to be the
object of my perception.
If then you perceive me, you perceive yourself.
But you cannot perceive me through yourself,
It is through my eyes that you see me and see yourself,
Through your eyes you cannot see me.
Dearly beloved!
I have called you so often and you have not heard me
I have shown myself to you so often and you have not
seen me.
I have made myself fragrance so often, and you have
not smelled me.
Savorous food, and you have not tasted me.
Why can you not reach me through the object you touch
Or breathe me through sweet perfumes?
Why do you not see me? Why do you not hear me?
Why? Why? Why?

For you my delights surpass all other delights.
And the pleasure I procure you surpasses all other
For you I am preferable to all other good things,
I am Beauty. I am Grace.
Love me, love me alone.
Love yourself in me, in me alone.
Attach yourself to me,
No one is more inward than I.
Others love you for their own sakes,
I love you for yourself.
And you, you flee from me.
Dearly beloved!
You cannot treat me fairly
For if you approach me,
It is because I have approached you.
I am nearer to you than yourself,
Than your soul, than your breath.
Who among creatures
Would treat you as I do?
I am jealous of you over you.
I want you to belong to no other,
Not even to yourself.
Be mine, be for me as you are in me.
Though you are not even aware of it.
Dearly beloved!
Let us go toward Union.
And if we find the road
That leads to separation,
We will destroy separation.
Let us go hand in hand.
Let us enter the presence of Truth.
Let it be our judge
And imprint its seal upon our union
For ever.

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