Ney and insan-ı kamil symbolism in the mawlawi thinking
In the first eighteen couplets of the Masnavi, the Ney holds the pride of place. It complains; depicting the separations. It says “Ever since I was torn from the reed bed, I have been crying out; men and women, everyone listens to my crying sound, they shed tears and groaning. One that falls apart from its source, of course seeks the time of reunion, I cried and groaned in every society; I have become acquainted with everyone; Everyone has become friends with me in their own way , yet no one sought the secrets inside me ”. Mawlana says Ney has been stricken by the fire of love and it is love that warms up the wine of truth. “ Only the Ney can become both poison and antidote; only the Ney can turn into a lifetime companion; it has been depicting a bloodstained road, telling the stories of Majnun”. And in the end, he finishes the eighteen couplets saying that it is necessary to cut the poem short because an immature person would not be able to understand the words of a sophisticated, mature person.
According to the ancient commentators, the Ney referred to in these eighteen couplets is “İnsân-ı Kâmil”. It was torn from the reed bed of unity . It abandoned its own existence and came into existence as a real being. Its voice proclaims the will of God; its will is the will of God. However, in appearance, its confined with attributes and actions; It yearns for the world of Letting-Go. More precisely, the Ney’s yearning is a manifestation, a show of feign reluctance to itself.
In the first part of this essay, an introduction has been made by summarizing Mawlana’ views on the universe. According to Mawlana, above all beings, the human is the only being that has been honoured with all the names of God. He refers to God. Since God Almighty has created the human as self-learned, knowing and informed, the human from time to time sees in his own being’s astrolabe the reflection and unique beauty of God. Everything lies within the human. He is the mirror of God’s beauty. For that reason, every human should look into himself to find whatever he is seeking. The human is great and everything is written within him. Yet the darkness and veils do not allow him to read what is written inside him. The human is endowed with such a huge love, ambition, desire and sorrow that he cannot find peace even though he might have owned thousands of worlds. According to Mawlana, every human is a huge world.
In Sufism, the human is the purpose and the end of existence. He passed from the Infinite Existence to the world of existence , and from there he passed on to the world of nature and the material. In the world of material, the Human spread out to the non-living, plants and animals from the four main elements being fire, air, water and earth as believed in the past. Human spread his own existence all over the universe. From the mines, plants and animals, which they took, ate and drank in nature, man’s mother and father gathered such existence of the human that would come into being, and eventually the intercourse of man and woman gave rise to the emergence of that being who took the human form. In this respect, the human that has been extracted from the universe and is the soul of the universe, and the universe itself is almost a mould for the human. However, among the humans there is only one who has definitely reached the reality; and he is the soul of all humans; others resemble a template compared to him.
According to Mawlana, creation is continuous and the earth is a world of wars. Particles fight with particles and science progresses towards the best, the newest and the truth at all times. When a human takes in his hand a stick with one end burning and waves it quickly from one side to another, the eye sees nothing but a line of fire and thinks that the line does not move. However, it is constantly changing its place. Just like this example, the universe is in a constant state of change from the new to the new, but we see it as stable and unchanging and therefore, the old ones are worn down and go, and the new ones emerge. The universe is always busy being human, and the human is busy mixing with the universe.
In the second part of the essay, Mawlana’s Ney and “İnsân-ı Kâmil” Symbolisms are explained. According to “İnsân-ı Kâmil”, the Ney is like “İnsân-ı Kâmil”and he explains this in the first eighteen couplets. In these eighteen couplets , there is the Ney in pride of place. It complains; depicting the separations. ”Ever since I was torn from the reed bed, I have been crying out; men and women, everyone listens to my crying sound and they shed tears and groan. One that falls far from its source, of course seeks the day of union. I cried and groaned in every society; I became acquainted with everyone; everyone became friends with me in their own way, but no one searched my secrets”. Mawlana says the Ney was stricken by the fire of love and it is that love that warms up the wine of verity. “ Nothing like the Ney can become both a poison and antidote; nothing can turn into such a lifetime companion like the Ney; it has been representing a bloodstained road, telling the stories of Majnun”. And in the end, he finishes the eighteen couplets saying that it is necessary to cut the poem short because an immature person would not be able to understand the words of a sophisticated, mature person.
According to ancient commentators , the Ney referred to therein is “İnsân-ı Kâmil”. It was torn from the reed bed of unity . It abandoned its own existence and came into existence as a real being. Its voice proclaims the will of God; its will is the will of God.
Saying that the fire that fell on to the Ney is the fire of love and the fervour of the wine is the fervour of love, Mawlana explains that love exists all around the universe and the existence evolves towards perfection within its own capability. The Absolute Existence’s tendency for the appearance is referred to as love and love for self by its nature ; in this respect. it can be said that the entire universe manifested itself out of love; and it continues such manifestation with every breath. The voice of the Perfect Human does not leave its secret; as explained by Hazrat Ali “ Man is understood from his language and known by his word”. His voice and word are such a fire that it burns the one who hears them and erases the relative existence. It is for that reason when he says “ He who does not have this fire shall be annihilated” , it does not mean a curse, but a benediction; it means “ Let him fall in that fire too, let his assumed existence burn, vanish”. The wine is beyond doubt a symbol. It points out an ecstasy that smothers with real love, wisdom and unearthly joy and which takes one from his own existence and self. From the word and view of the perfect human, the Ney’s being both a poison and antidote refers to the talented one’s getting rid of his bad habits and reviving his spiritual habits that have been poisoned by such bad habits.
In the third part of the essay, it is explained that the Ney is a mirror that reflects the human soul and it is explained why it is compared to “İnsân-ı Kâmil” and the love of fire striking the Ney. From the Ney emerges affectionate voices, from the perfect person emerges affectionate and wise words . The sound of the Ney boosts the listeners’ love just like a wise man enhances the love of the talented with his words of wisdom. As with the emotions of a story, a love affair emanating from the beautiful sound of Ney, the state of the genuine lovers, the secrets of the world of the unknown are often heard and felt in the words of the wise.
Such features attributed to the Ney are more or less similar features. The Ney represents “İnsân-ı Kâmil”. It is the symbol of a perfect human being who has been freed from the desires of the flesh, cleansed itself and became filled with a divine love. The Ney has been lamenting since it left the reed. The human has also been exiled to earth from his world of pre-eternity, the world of the spirits. He suffers because he has been parted from God. The human shall long for the happiness of the world of spirits as he struggles with the pains, illnesses and troubles experienced while living on earth, and he will seek ways to escape from the earth where he is a stranger and lives as if in exile.
The first eighteen couplets of the Masnawi also tells about the love of the Ney, in other words “İnsân-ı Kâmil” by using the Ney and “İnsân-ı Kâmil” that is symbolized by the Ney as examples. “İnsân-ı Kâmil” has given up all the worldly pleasures and preferred love and dearth. “Love” says Mawlana “is dearth, it is being in need of some thing. So, being in need is the essence.” İnsân-ı Kâmil is the one who is in need”. The sound of the Ney is fire, not wind. He who does not have this fire, should not exist. It is the fire of love stricken the Ney; it is the fervour of the love stricken the wine.”
By saying the fire that strikes the Ney is the fire of love and that fervour is the fervour of love, Mawlana notes that love is all around the entire universe and explains that almost every being is evolving to perfectionism as allowed by their abilities. The sound of the perfect human symbolised by the Ney, is the symbol of the saints, and is as divine as an oracle, as an inspiration. That is why it is warm, it burns like a flame, like fire. The only remedy for those who do not feel this fire, do not touch and burn with this fire is non-existence. Such non-existence manifests itself as a release from the attachments of material beings and it is the handover of the soul into the hands of love, in short the ridding oneself of the eagerness and ambitions of self. Only then can the human understand how and why the sound of the Ney is burning. The sound of the Ney is the words and voices of the saints.
Some of the ancient scholars and Sufis believe that love is an epidemic among the living. There is no being alive that does not seek the perfection and integrity of its own existence. That which activates the substance in the world of being is the love that is fed with such perfection.
mawlana, masnavi, ney, love, insan-ı kamil
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