The book I am reading at the time is The Spy of The Heart (Robert Abdul Hay Darr). It is a fascinating story of an American truth-seeker and his frequent journeys to the war-ridden Afghanistan between 1985-1990. I feel completely drawn to the book; all the adventures, are the yearning, all the unheard-of experiences. You can read the few first chapters on-line actually which is a blessing.
I have met the author once, in one of Baraka retreats back in March. He speaks a pleasant Farsi with a complete Afghan accent. He has many Persian poems memorized. He has a calm penetrating gaze. All in all it felt nice dining with him at the first night of the retreat and get to listen to him the next day when he gave us a talk.
Now his book has gotten me deeply thinking, calmly perplexed with what he has found in Afghanistan. I have never been to that region. The most Afghans I have met have been in Bay Area and uniformly they have been very attentive to us, Iranian Persians, even though there were many Afghan refugees in Iran when I was growing up. I understand that the very dry restrictive political Islamic doctrine is being practiced over there. And I understand that many years of war have left many in poverty and the lack of knowledge and illiteracy doesn't help with more p[en understanding of this religion either. Now I am thinking, what are the main differences between that part of the land of Persia, the way explained in this book, and the part I grew up in. I am immersing in the appreciation he feels for the mystical path of Islam, the tolerance, the beauty, the kindness, he has found and felt through those people. I feel that I understand what he means; I have experienced the simplistic sincerity in the old villagers I had met in our frequent travels around Iran in my childhood; I feel grateful for being part of that great culture.
It is also interesting to me how the book emphasizes on Mowlana Rumi being "an Afghan". Fact of the matter is that Mowlana was born in the region of Balkh, at the time belonged of the land of Persia. The language he has written his poems is Persian. He was born in the 13th century, and at that point in time there was no Afghanistan or Tajikistan as countries. He was Persian; even though where he was born is now a province in the country of today's Tajikistan.
Truth of the matter is that Mowlana is timeless and place-less. He belongs to all the truth-seekers of all times and from any origin. And I am grateful for being able to read his poems in original language, now comprehending his messages is another matter which will come with God's Grace.