Our Mother-tongue Is Love; A Sonnet for Pentecost

Malcolm Guite

A Pentecost Banner at St. Michael ‘s Bartley Green

Continuing in ‘Sounding the Seasons’, my cycle of sonnets for the Church Year this is a sonnet reflecting on and celebrating the themes and readings of Pentecost. Throughout the cycle, and more widely, I have been reflecting on the traditional ‘four elements’ of earth, air, water and fire. I have been considering how each of them expresses and embodies different aspects of the Gospel and of God’s goodness, as though the four elements were, in their own way, another four evangelists. In that context I was very struck by the way Scripture expresses the presence of the Holy Spirit through the three most dynamic of the four elements, the air, ( a mighty rushing wind, but also the breath of the spirit) water, (the waters of baptism, the river of life, the fountain springing up to eternal life promised by Jesus) and…

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Khaliqur Rahman
There are bulbs: Philips bulbs, Crompton bulbs, Bajaj bulbs and bulbs of various other manufacturing companies, of various different wattages. Those that are there in electrical appliances stores, waiting to be sold out, do not, in fact, cannot, give out light, can they? Those that have been bought and put into a circuit, can they give out light? Yes, they can. But that depends on a few conditions. They should be switched on, the main switch should be switched on and the power supply from the power station should be on. In the event of failure of one of the three, the bulb will not be able to give out light. There is one more possibility when the bulb stops giving out light. That is when the bulb is fused. Then, there are minor factors, too, that can come in the way, and the bulb fails to give out light. That is when there is a loose connection somewhere or the switch needs a repair or the main switch needs a repair or some other component, like the holder of the bulb needs a repair or needs to be changed.
The brand names of the bulbs can be easily read or identified as long as the bulbs don’t give out light. When they are switched on and when they are giving out light, you can’t easily read or identify the brand. In fact, then, it hardly matters which brand names they bear.
And, a bulb of any brand has undergone a certain meticulously tough process of manufacturing and of quality control before it is branded and sent into the market for sale.
What will follow if a pumpkin, somewhere, somehow, manipulates and manages to carry the brand name of Philips, or a cucumber that of Crompton, or a snake-gourd that of Bajaj? That exactly is what is happening in the dreadful present day world.
Hazarat Nizauddin initiated Amir Khusro’s father first, then, Amir Khusro. But it was Khusro who said: Chhaap tilak sab chheeni re mo se naina milaake.
Can you see electricity? Can you touch it? No. But you can see a bulb, hold it, fix it in a holder, switch it on and get light from it. You can get fresh air from an electric fan, cool air from an air- conditioner, heat from an electric heater and …
It is the same electricity in the bulb, in the fan, in the air-conditioner and the heater and… The bulb, the fan, the air-conditioner and the heater can get changed or can be replaced but can you change electricity? Can you get light directly from electricity without the bulb and air without the fan…?
Every religion has a code of conduct. By strictly following the code of conduct an astute follower reaches the threshold of spirituality. The bulb has reached the shop and it needs to be sold out. Maulana Rumi has been an illustrious example of an astute follower who had dedicated eighty years of life to the code of conduct and who had attained knowledge of the books so much that he was able to speak for three nights on just one letter of The Quran. But all this was ilm-e-safina that had enkindled in his heart the strong urge to attain ilm-e-seena. It was then that Shams-e-Tabrez entered his life and initiated him into spirituality. The high wattage bulb was sold and bought.
People say they can get all the guidance from the books. So, there is no need for a human guide. But even in formal education you need a teacher and a guide even at the level of Ph D. Then how can one attain spiritual knowledge without a guide? The fact is: they don’t want to be sold out. But what about the buyers nowadays? Most of them want to buy on credit! That’s also true. What is the solution, then? Maulana Rumi has already offered one. He has said:
 The guide need not be perfect; the disciple has to develop into one with devotion.
What the disciples need is devotion, dedication and complete surrender. It is quite likely that the unflinching devotion of the disciple may tacitly work and the guide is enlightened!
The power house of electricity is very powerful indeed, but it needs wires for power supply. The Supreme Power House works mysteriously and can turn a bulb into a power house!