Sidharth Vardhan

Rumi and Forty Rules of Love

forty rueles of love sidharth vardhan elif shafak review analysis
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Published: 2009

(A review of 'Forty Rules of Love',
a novel by Elif Shafak
Review first written on June 11, 2019)

"Eternity does not mean infinite time, but simply timelessness."

Elif Shafak (The Forty Rules of Love)

I had my doubts about the book. It looked like a love story with just amorous interpretation of selected Rumi quotes thrown in to produce some cliche rules. It is those things - Ella a married woman and housewife for years fall in 'oh so forbidden' love for a dashing Sufi writer with (no points for guessing) a tragic life while translating his book. This book, novel within the novel, 'Sweet Blasphemy' is about Shams
To be honest, the author seems to be using Shams and Rumi to show her own views but in the end, I didn't mind. Author's use of mysticism often results in so many beautiful quotes and forwards a philosophical system in its own right.

"it has been such a long time since I last knocked on God’s door that I’m not sure if He still lives in the same place."

Elif Shafak (The Forty Rules of Love)

"The sharia is like a candle,” said Shams of Tabriz. “It provides us with much valuable light. But let us not forget that a candle helps us to go from one place to another in the dark. If we forget where we are headed and instead concentrate on the candle, what good is it?”

Elif Shafak (The Forty Rules of Love)

Rumi forty rules of love elif shafak sidharth vardhan review analysis
Jalul-ud-Din Rumi

" When you kill someone, something from that person passes to you—a sigh, a smell or a gesture. I call it “the curse of the victim.” It clings to your body and seeps into your skin, going all the way into your heart, and thus continues to live within you. People who see me on the street have no way of knowing this, but I carry with me the traces of all the men I have killed."

Elif Shafak (The Forty Rules of Love)

"It is the first rule, brother,” I said. “How we see God is a direct reflection of how we see ourselves. If God brings to mind mostly fear and blame, it means there is too much fear and blame welled inside us. If we see God as full of love and compassion, so are we.”

Elif Shafak (The Forty Rules of Love)

"When you are lonely, it is easy to delude yourself into believing that you are on the right path. Solitude is better for us, as it means being alone without feeling lonely. But eventually, it is best to find a person, the person who will be your mirror. Remember, only in another person’s heart can you truly see yourself and the presence of God within you."

Elif Shafak (The Forty Rules of Love)

"The whole universe is contained within a single human being—you. Everything that you see around, including the things you might not be fond of and even the people you despise or abhor, is present within you in varying degrees. Therefore, do not look for Sheitan outside yourself either. The devil is not an extraordinary force that attacks from without. It is an ordinary voice within. If you get to know yourself fully, facing with honesty and hardness both your dark and bright sides, you will arrive at a supreme form of consciousness. When a person knows himself or herself, he or she knows God.”

Elif Shafak (The Forty Rules of Love)

"Did you know that in mystic thought forty symbolizes the ascent from one level to a higher one and spiritual awakening? When we mourn we mourn for forty days. When a baby is born it takes forty days for him to get ready to start life on earth. And when we are in love we need to wait for forty days to be sure of our feelings. The Flood of Noah lasted forty days, and while the waters destroyed life, they also washed all impurity away and enabled human beings to make a new, fresh start. In Islamic mysticism, there are forty degrees between man and God. Likewise, there are four basic stages of consciousness and ten degrees in each, making forty levels in total. Jesus went into the wilderness for forty days and nights. Muhammad was forty years old when he received the call to become a prophet. Buddha meditated under a linden tree for forty days. Not to mention the forty rules of Shams."

Elif Shafak (The Forty Rules of Love)

Rumi and Shamz Elif shafak forty rules of love sidharth vardhan review analysis
Rumi and Shams

"God created suffering so that joy might appear through its opposite,” Rumi said. “Things become manifest through opposites. Since God has no opposite, He remains hidden.”

Elif Shafak (The Forty Rules of Love)

"Now, you think I am a religious man. But I am not. I am spiritual, which is different. Religiosity and spirituality are not the same thing, and I believe that the gap between the two has never been greater than it is today."

Elif Shafak (The Forty Rules of Love)

"A philosopher met a dervish one day, and they instantly hit it off. The two talked for days on end, completing each other’s sentences. Finally, when they parted company, the philosopher reported of the conversation, “All that I know, he sees.” Next the Sufi gave his account: “All that I see, he knows.”

Elif Shafak (The Forty Rules of Love)

"Life is a temporary loan, and this world is nothing but a sketchy imitation of Reality. Only children would mistake a toy for the real thing."

Elif Shafak (The Forty Rules of Love)

"Next to him I felt both like a child learning life anew and like a woman ready to nurture life inside my womb."

Elif Shafak (The Forty Rules of Love)

"Destiny doesn’t mean that your life has been strictly predetermined. Therefore, to leave everything to fate and to not actively contribute to the music of the universe is a sign of sheer ignorance. “The music of the universe is all-pervading and it is composed on forty different levels. “Your destiny is the level where you will play your tune. You might not change your instrument but how well to play is entirely in your hands.”

Elif Shafak (The Forty Rules of Love)

Elif Shafak Forty rules of love sidharth vardhan review anlaysis
Elif Shafak

"Mawlana has immense beauty inside. I, on the other hand, have both beauty and ugliness. It is easier for me to deal with the ugliness of others than it is for him. But how can an erudite scholar who is used to having serious conversations and logical conclusions handle the claptrap of ignorant people?"

Elif Shafak (The Forty Rules of Love)

"Prophet Muhammad said, “In this world take pity on three kinds of people. The rich man who has lost his fortune, the well-respected man who has lost his respectability, and the wise man who is surrounded by ignorants.”

Elif Shafak (The Forty Rules of Love)

"The true Sufi is such that even when he is unjustly accused, attacked, and condemned from all sides, he patiently endures, uttering not a single bad word about any of his critics. A Sufi never apportions blame. How can there be opponents or rivals or even “others” when there is no “self” in the first place? How can there be anyone to blame when there is only One?"

Elif Shafak (The Forty Rules of Love)

"On the Sufi path, first you discover the art of being alone amid the crowd. Next, you discover the crowd within your solitude—the voices inside you."

Elif Shafak (The Forty Rules of Love)

"Religious rules and prohibitions are important,” he said. “But they should not be turned into unquestionable taboos. It is with such awareness that I drink the wine you offer me today, believing with all my heart that there is sobriety beyond the drunkenness of love.”

Elif Shafak (The Forty Rules of Love)

"A man with many opinions but no questions! There’s something so wrong with that.”

Elif Shafak (The Forty Rules of Love)

"When I start a poem, I never know beforehand what I’m going to say. It could be long or it could be short. I don’t plan it. And when the poem is over, I’m quiet again. I live in silence. And “Silence,” Khamush, is one of the two signatures I use in my ghazals. The other one is Shams of Tabriz."

Elif Shafak (The Forty Rules of Love)

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