Quatrain 1: Awake!

Note: You may want to read the full post, then go back and read the poem at least one more time…

Awake! For Morning in the Bowl of Night

Has flung the Stone that puts the Stars to Flight:

And Lo! the Hunter of the East has caught

The Sultan’s Turret in a Noose of Light

Rubaiyah 1 – Omar Khayyam

Glossary

Morning: Dawn of awakening from delusive earthly existence.
Bowl of night: The darkness of ignorance, which imprisons the immortal soul in mortal consciousness.
Stone: Spiritual discipline.
Stars: The attractive twinkling of material desires.
Hunter of the East: Eastern wisdom, a mighty slayer of delusion.
Sultan’s turret: The sovereign soul.
Noose of light: The divine illumination of wisdom, which destroys the captive darkness surrounding the soul.

Spiritual Interpretation

The inner Silence sings:
“Awake! Forsake the sleep of ignorance, for the dawn of wisdom has come. Hurl the hard stone of spiritual discipline that breaks the bowl of dark unknowing, putting to flight the pale stars of mock-lustered material desires.

“Behold, the Eastern Wisdom, the Hunter and Destroyer of delusion, has caught the proud minaret of the kingly soul in a noose of Light, dispelling its imprisoning mortal darkness.”

I have been inspired further to interpret this introductory quatrain as Omar’s personal clarion call to the spiritually sleeping:

“Oh inhabitants of the City of Delusion, sleep no more! The sunlight of my awakening message of mystic wisdom has arrived. Learn how to use the hard stone of spiritual discipline to break the bowl of your dark ignorance, dashing from its hold the desire for momentarily attractive material pleasures.

Behold with envy how the Hunter of Wisdom has been searching out and gathering the lofty, kingly, spiritually advanced devotees of Truth, encompassing their souls with a halo of the everlasting Light of Freedom.”

Practical Application

Most people, though apparently awake, are really asleep in delusion. Pursued by the compelling commands of their hounding habits, they have not yet been awakened by wisdom to walk its pleasant pathways. Where life is in danger for lack of watchfulness, it is not safe to sleep. So it is unwise to slumber in the dark doorways of evil habits, which invite the danger of possible death to wisdom and true happiness.

The ordinary man earns a living, eats three times a day, amuses himself with trivial entertainments, remaining engrossed in the mechanical performance of material duties without ever awakening to the importance of understanding the purpose of life: attaining true happiness and sharing it with others. The wise man gives up false pride in self-perfection, the thought that “I am all right as I am.” Using the net of introspection, he catches delusion and destroys it. Forsake the slumber of ignorant habits and awaken wisdom by performing those good habits which alone can free life from danger and crown it with lasting happiness.

To be drunk with the daily round of haunting useless habits, to be negatively the same every day for years, is a wasted experience. Destroy false pride. Awaken the soul and remain ever wakeful, striving each day to be different and better in all ways. Your soul was not meant to be a prisoner of passion, sleeping behind bars of ignorance. Jerk yourself from the stupor of sloth; race forward with progressive activities, and catch success in the net of soul creativity.

Forsake spiritual lethargy and melancholia. Bask in the light of meditative peace and self-realization, which destroys false pride of material existence and banishes inner soul gloom.


From the interpretation of Yogananda in Wine of the Mystic.

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