"...the Imagination (or love, or sympathy, or any other sentiment) induces knowledge, and knowledge of an 'object' which is proper to it..."
Henry Corbin (1903-1978) was a scholar, philosopher and theologian. He was a champion of the transformative power of the Imagination and of the transcendent reality of the individual in a world threatened by totalitarianisms of all kinds. One of the 20th century’s most prolific scholars of Islamic mysticism, Corbin was Professor of Islam & Islamic Philosophy at the Sorbonne in Paris and at the University of Teheran. He was a major figure at the Eranos Conferences in Switzerland. He introduced the concept of the mundus imaginalis into contemporary thought. His work has provided a foundation for archetypal psychology as developed by James Hillman and influenced countless poets and artists worldwide. But Corbin’s central project was to provide a framework for understanding the unity of the religions of the Book: Judaism, Christianity and Islam. His great work Alone with the Alone: Creative Imagination in the Sufism of Ibn ‘Arabi is a classic initiatory text of visionary spirituality that transcends the tragic divisions among the three great monotheisms. Corbin’s life was devoted to the struggle to free the religious imagination from fundamentalisms of every kind. His work marks a watershed in our understanding of the religions of the West and makes a profound contribution to the study of the place of the imagination in human life.

Search The Legacy of Henry Corbin: Over 800 Posts

Friday, April 16, 2010

Jami's Salaman and Absal

In Avicenna and the Visionary Recital Corbin tells of the story of the Persian lovers Wamiq and Azra as recounted in a 15th century poem of Jāmī. Wamiq “anticipates the mystical consummation demanded by all love in the true sense” which can only be attained “through a slow initiation, a long experience of  integration. The wish expressed by Wamiq… is a summons to [an] extraordinary coincidentia oppositorum...:”

What I wish… is to flee all alone with Azra into a desert, is to seek my native country in solitude and to pitch my tent beside a spring, keeping far from friend and enemy alike, soul and body both in peace, safe from men. May I be able to walk more that two hundred parsangs in any direction without finding human footprints. And then may every hair of my head, every hair on my body, become so many eyes, and may the one object of my sight be Azra, so that I may turn to her with thousands of eyes and contemplate her face forever. Ah! better yet, may my contemplative condition be abolished. What I seek is to be delivered from duality, is to become She. As long as duality remains, distance remains, the soul is branded with the iron of separation. When the Lover enters the retreat of Union, it can contain but One alone. Peace! (Avicenna, p. 215)

Edward Fitzgerald's translation of Jami's poem.

Readers of Corbin's book may find this essay of interest:  "Jāmī's Salāmān and Absāl" by Iraj Dehghan.  Journal of Near Eastern Studies, Vol. 30, No. 2 (Apr., 1971), pp. 118-126.
Jami's Salaman & Absal

Image from Jami's Rose Garden: Rosary of the Pious, 16th century,  Arthur Sackler Gallery, Folio 146a-b.

No comments:

Post a Comment