In Cairo, Dreaming of Baghdad: Meditations on Rumi / Raj Ayyar

Well worth a repost: a wisdom nugget from that maestro of Sufi Islam, Mevlana Jalaluddin Rumi:
‘In Baghdad, dreaming of Cairo’: a Rumi parable.
A man who had no money, who had inherited everything and squandered it all, kept crying out: ‘Dear God, help!’
Finally, in a dream, he heard a voice: ‘Your wealth is in Cairo. Go there to such and such spot, and dig.’
So, the man left on his epic journey from Baghdad to Cairo, and his back grew warm with courage.
But, Cairo is a large city and he could not find the spot. Wandering around at night, he was seized by the night patrol.
‘Wait!’ said the man. ‘I can explain–I am not a criminal and I am new to Cairo.’ He narrated the dream.
The night patrol said: ‘I know you are not a criminal. You are a good man but kind of a fool. I have had that dream before! I was told that there was a treasure buried on such and such street and at this house in Baghdad. But, I didn’t do what the dream asked me to do. And look at you, all fatigued and wandering!’ He named the man’s street and house.
Thanking the cop, he returned to his Baghdad home and dug around–sure enough a huge treasure buried under his own house.
He said: ‘What I was longing for was in my own house in Baghdad.
But, I had to travel that long way to know it.’
—Jalaluddin Rumi: The Essential Rumi tr. Coleman Barks (abridged and edited by Raj Ayyar).
Comment: There is a Jewish Hasidic parable retold by Martin Buber, that is structurally identical with this Rumi post. In it, a rabbi from a Polish village who is flat broke goes to a bridge in Cracow and gets advice from a Captain of the Guards. He rushes back and finds a huge treasure buried beneath his stove. The Rumi story is also very similar to the one about Mulla Nasrudin searching for his house keys in the gutter outside. All the great spiritual traditions of the world teach us that the ‘Kingdom’, the treasure of joy and love, is within, not without. The man who ‘inherited everything and squandered it all’, invites comparison with the Prodigal Son in the Gospel of Luke.
Raj Ayyar

Raj Ayyar

Raj Ayyar

Raj Ayyar Email: raj@iiitd.ac.in Ph.: 9871239613 A Brief Bio • Over 20 years of collegiate teaching experience in the US and India. Taught full time at East Florida State and part time (adjunct faculty) at different colleges in the SF bay area. • Currently a full time Visiting Professor, Humanities and Social Sciences, IIIT-Delhi (since 2014). Courses include: Critical and Creative Thinking, Perspectives on Knowledge, Philosophy of Religion, Theory and Practice of Engineering Ethics, and other philosophy courses. • Created course content and syllabi for Philosophy of Religion and Philosophy of Literature; revamped existing syllabi and course outlines for Theory and Practice of Engineering Ethics, Perspectives on Knowledge, Critical Thinking. Current Areas of Research Interest • The Meta-Ethics of Facebook and Other Social Media. • Virtual Performativity—Toward a Typology of Virtual Speech Acts. Recent Conference Papers and Presentations • ICPR National Conference (Tier 1) on Plato’s Republic. Presenter and Moderator. Presented on ‘Plato and Nietzsche: Predictable Disjunctions and Unexpected Conjunctures’. Panel Discussion Moderator and Synthesizer. Lucknow, March 2017. • ICPR National Conference (Tier 1) Presenter on Perspectives in Philosophy and Literature. Delhi University, April 2016. • ICPR Panel Discussion on Mrinal Miri’s ‘Philosophy and Education’. August 2015. • Presenter and Moderator: Aletheia Conference on Heidegger. Lady Shri Ram College, March 2015. • Presenter and Moderator: International Conference (Tier 1), on Schopenhauer and Indian Philosophy. JNU, February 2015. • Presenter: UGC National Conference on Fact and Value in Higher Education. Jesus and Mary College, January 2015. Co-Curricular Activities at IIIT-D • Founder and Faculty Coordinator, Student Mentoring Program. Handpicked third and fourth year students are coached and trained to mentor first year B.Tech students on academic and personal issues and problems. We are in the process of appointing ad hoc mentors for M.Tech and Ph.D. students who are facing severe problems, and of expanding the program to meet growing student needs. • Founder and Faculty Coordinator: The Lunchbox Philosophers, a ‘Socrates Café’ concept developed at IIIT-D since 2014. Interested students, faculty and administrators meet regularly on a weekly basis, to discuss a philosophical or HSS-related issue. • Faculty Coordinator: DASA student mentoring for international and NRI students. Other Areas of Work Experience • Corporate Behavioral Skills Consultant: Working with IT companies in Bangalore and throughout South India. Areas of expertise include: Cross-Cultural Diversity, Personality Development, Gender Sensitivity Training (including sexual harassment issues), Stress Management and Work-Life Balance, Time Management. • Guest Faculty: St. Joseph’s College and Christ University, Bangalore. 2008-13.

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