Greetings of Peace. This blog contains selections from my correspondence and other sources on a variety of subjects related to religion, philosophy, and spirituality. I hope that they may be of benefit to the interested reader. Concerning the title of the blog, read this entry.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Occidental Exile by Seyyed Hossein Nasr

I live in exile, exiled from my land of birth,
From her exalted peaks and vast deserts,
From the vivid colors of all that grows from her soil,
From her azure bright skies,
Exiled in the occident of this world.
But is not this domain of transience,
This world of birth and death,
Of shadows cast upon the cascades of light
Itself the occident, whether it be in East or West,
Of that Orient which is light pure,
Unadulterated by the imperfections of earthly life?
It is from that world that we are all exiled,
It is that world from which we all hail
And to that world that we must return,
Return after our earthly journey's end.
That Orient we carry in our hearts
At that center which is the seat of the All-Merciful,
Our very core, yet beyond our daily reach
Until we turn inward the wayward soul
And break the shell of our hearts
Hardened by the march of forgetfulness through time.
Our return from exile is return to that Center,
To our real land of birth.
I live in exile but in joy of being exiled from the world,
For did not the Blessed Prophet utter
'Happy are those who are in exile in this world?'*
Sensing as they do the home to which they belong,
The luminous Orient of all existence is ours,
joyous in the thought of their homecoming.

-Seyyed Hossein Nasr
State Park, Pennsylvania and Bethesda, Maryland
September 1997

*"Islam began in exile and shall become as it began, and happy are those who are in exile." A hadith of the Prophet.

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