Sourcing the Divine Mercy: Implications of Mercy in Rumi’s Mathnawī – Xavier Tharamel, S.J.

Jalālu’-Dīn Rūmi (1207-1273), the greatest Sufi mystical poet and saint, was born at Balkh in present-day Tajikistan. Rumi’s mystical literary genre, particularlyhis metaphors that seams ‘sky with earth ‘, ‘cloud with garden’, ‘raindrop with a seashell’ ‘head with heart’, expectingto give a free rein to ‘the Unseen’ into the assessable realm.For instance, in his most famous work the Mathnawī, Rumi asks: “Till the cloud weeps, how should the garden smile?”When it,Instantaneously, unleashes and unveils the Divine Mercy as an uninterrupted ‘flow’ into the created world, one can pigeon-hole how Rumi’s sublime literary output as stupendous in magnitude;“wherever water flows, life flourishes; wherever tears fall, Divine mercy is shown.” Rūmi adds; “Till the babe cries, how should the milk begin to flow?” (Mathnawī, 134). The ‘biological’ metaphors in Rūmi’s poems disclose the ‘flow’ of Mercy from the heart of the Creator.

According to Rumi, the basis of Mercy is nothing but one’s own heart because it is the incessant aboard of the most Merciful One. Rumi indicates this indwelling when he sings;“I am in the House of mercy and my heart in prayer.”This unbroken mindfulness of being in the House of Mercy willconfer one with thebounty and“…his palm dispenses it to all objects of Divine Mercy.” This “…oneness of Universal Mercy with his palm is unqualified and unconditional and perfect.” When we allow mercy to surge from our hearts, then“…comes to us the recompense of our praise, a recompense manifold, from God the Merciful.” “Then He causes us to seek more good words, so that His servant may win more of His Mercy.” This is possible only when a person realizes and accepts that “God’s Mercy is prior to His wrath, to the end that by His mercy you may suffer tribulation” and “His Mercy preceded His wrath in order that the stock-in-trade, which is existence, should be produced;” (XLII).

In his prelude to the Mathnawī, Rumi states: “I regard not His Wrath, which is a temporary cause: I am regarding His eternally precedent Mercy.” For that reason, he asks us to “…be like the sun for grace and mercy. Be like the night to cover others’ fault. Be like running water for generosity. Be like dead for rage and anger. Be like the earth for modesty.”Heentreats us that “if you wish mercy, show mercy to the weak” because“…Paradise has eight doors and one of those is door of repentant child” If Paradise has a door of repentance, then, the One who dwell within is awaiting to show mercy to anyone who enters through it.

Finally, Rūmi thinks that mercy is hidden in one’s suffering and thus suffering is a gift. If we discover this hidden gift, then we can experience infinite shower of mercy gently sloping outward and inward directions in our sufferings. We can experience this energy if we, as Rumi states in the Mathnawī, weep like a “water-wheel”before the Compassionate One, so that our souls become the very sources of mercy.

3 thoughts on “Sourcing the Divine Mercy: Implications of Mercy in Rumi’s Mathnawī – Xavier Tharamel, S.J.

  • April 19, 2016 at 8:24 am

    This fits so well with the series at Westminster cathedral interfaith group on Laudato Si’ and all the speakers have been asked to comment on the Year of Mercy.

  • April 21, 2017 at 8:37 am

    Hi there! This post couldn’t be written any better!
    Reading through this post reminds me of my previous room mate!
    He consistently kept talking about this. I will forward this article to
    him. Pretty sure he’ll have a great read. Thank
    you for sharing!


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