Spiritual IQ: This fifth intelligence quotient embraces the mysterious life force, the subtle knowledge of the divine and man’s relation to that wisdom. In the Hindu chakra system this life energy is called prana; to the Chinese it is chi, and for Westerners it is the auric field: all descriptions of the magical, spiritual connection between humans and something greater than themselves.
A shining example of spiritual brilliance is the 13th Century Sufi Jalal-ud-Din Rumi, still revered today as a man completely attuned to the subtleties of the spirit and the joyous recognition of those connections with another.
Rumi was born into a distinguished family on September 30, 1207, in Balkh, now part of Afghanistan. Torn by the chaos of the Christian Crusades, threats to the Ottoman Empire and the usual doses of graft and corruption, the early 13th Century was a period of great turmoil. Fleeing the Mongol armies of Genghis Khan when young Rumi was twelve, he and his family wandered for ten years over Persia, Arabia and Asia Minor.
The boy learned the ways of a Sufi, living with a master until he had learned what each man could impart and then traveling on to the next. By the year 1244 Rumi had succeeded his esteemed father as a great scholar and head of a college. He excelled in mathematics, physics, law, astronomy, Arabic and Persian language and grammar, Koranic studies, jurisprudence, music and poetry. His knowledge of Sufi ways gave him leadership over many disciples. And he could have spent the rest of his life secure in his position and the fame and adulation it generated.
But that was not to be. In December 1244, Rumi met Shams-i-Tabriz, a wandering dervish and spiritual explorer—the “ultimate theological hippie,” according to Jean Houston in her book The Search for the Beloved. Rumi recognized in Shams the total sublimation of self into the spirit of the Divine, and he fell instantly in Love. Rumi described this Love as being burned, cooked, annihilated, yet he was ecstatic to have found one who so completely and intensely transformed him.
Shams, which means “sun,” was an itinerant mystic in his sixties when he met Rumi, a well-respected young scholar and head of the college in Konya, now part of Turkey. In The Way of Passion, author and Rumi scholar Andrew Harvey speculated that Shams had been totally enlightened and needed a disciple, a mouthpiece capable of receiving the burning immensity of his knowledge. Shams may have begged God to give him this man, this crucible for his fire, and offered his life to God in return.
Although several accounts of their meeting exist, Harvey preferred the one that had Rumi riding a donkey on his way to the bazaar, accompanied by his students on foot. Shams ran after him and, grabbing the bridle, asked quite madly whether the teacher thought Mohammed or the Sufi mystic Bayazid was the greater. Rumi answered conventionally that Mohammed was the Prophet, therefore the greater, but Shams demanded, “What is the meaning then of this? The Prophet said to God, ‘I have not known Thee as I should have,’ and Bayazid said, ‘Glory be to me. How high is my dignity’.” Rumi remembered that Mohammed had regretted not knowing the Sufi better—in other words, that the Prophet revered Bayazid, making him the more enlightened.
At this, Rumi supposedly fainted and fell off the donkey; when he regained consciousness, he took Shams’ hand and walked with him to a private cell at the college, where the two men communed in ecstatic harmony for forty days—Shams transmitting his knowledge of the divine with the intensity, violence and speed required of a man who knew he would die soon, and Rumi receiving all of that wisdom in his open heart.
Jealousy and hatred overcame Rumi’s disciples, however, prompting Shams to leave abruptly. Rumi went insane with grief, seeking his Beloved everywhere. After months of searching, he learned Shams was in Damascus, and he sent his second son, Sultan Walad, to bring him back. Their reunion was as joyous as the first meeting, and they sang and danced and shared the divine mysteries. Again the disciples’ jealousy outran their love for Rumi, and in December 1247 they probably murdered the mystic. He was never seen again.
Rumi once more descended into madness, weeping and whirling to cope with his grief. The whirling, attributed to Rumi and practiced by Sufi dervishes thereafter, was thought to bring space and time into the center of God’s being. Rumi also wrote some of the world’s most beautiful poetry in an effort to heal his pain. Eventually, however, Rumi understood that Shams had imparted all he had, and that Rumi, cleansed in the fire of his agony and loss, had been redeemed in the Light of Divine Love.
Love is an infinite Sea whose skies are a bubble of foam.
. . . Without Love, nothing in the world
would have life.
. . . Every single atom is drunk on this
Perfection and runs toward It
And what does this running secretly say
but “Glory be to God.”
Every one of us, in our heart of hearts, may suffer the excruciating pain of abandonment—the searing separation from God—that comes from our often feeble attempts at enlightenment. The redemption of Jalal-ud-Din Rumi reminds us that peaking our spiritual intelligence soothes our anxieties and helps bridge the chasm of separation. Such is the goal of every seeker of truth.
Love your way, ad
Alan Davidson, founder of
and author of Body Brilliance:
Mastering Your Five Vital
Watch the Body Brilliance Movie
Dedicated to our healthy, happy, and prosperous world through the full enlightenment of every human being.
Through Your Body
1103 Peveto St.
Houston, TX 77019