Sa'di: Loving the Universe


by msabaye

به جهان خرم از آنم که همه خرم از اوست      عاشقم بر همه عالم که همه عالم از اوست


Some years ago, when I visited Sa'di's tomb in Shiraz, I noticed this verse (part of a longer poem) on one of the walls. I was deeply moved by it, and I couldn't figure out why. It has stayed in my memory all these years.

Last month, I was watching a movie about a very successful, unhappy business woman who decided to leave the world behind and live in a convent. There she had to give up many things she was used to including power, money, recognition, alcohol, cigarettes, etc. But she found that the most difficult thing was 'to love everyone the same'. It was a huge hurdle, but at the end she achieved it, and with that, she gained peace and contentment.

There was a nun there that made her life miserable, and she disliked her. Toward the end of the movie, she ended up nursing the same nun who had made all sorts of problems for her. And she did it with love. The ill woman didn't believe her love and demanded her to stop pretending. The answer was that the love she felt was true.
I was very moved by this movie. Is it possible to love everyone? The answer in the movie was yes, if we consider the alternative, that is all the resentment, violence, and bitterness around us. Where does all this hate in the world come from? What is it that we hate so much? I read the blogs and go through comments; sometimes I am overwhelmed by so much spite in some of them. It is almost as if some people are ready to hate, to attack, to be in rage with others who happened to think/choose in a different way. Can we change our views/ways?

Sa'di said it over 800 years ago: his fate in God leads his fate in all that God has created. At least that is one interpretation. Or is it Love itself that makes him content with the whole universe?  

I know I am far from loving everyone. I don't know if I ever be there, but I do try not to hate or dislike others. Especially those who do not share my views, disagree with me, or even hurt me. That does not change anything regarding my personal and social responsibilities: I agree and disagree with many decisions, actions, policies, etc. but I try to carry on doing what I believe in, without hating those who choose to do other than what I want or believe in. At this point, it is just constant trying, but who knows? Perhaps I will be there some day!    



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more from msabaye

The Challenge

by Anvar on

Dear *yolanda* - Thanks for your typically kind remarks.  I made an exception for this blog, and shared some personal memories, to demonstrate that I know how difficult it can be to turn idealized words into practical deeds.

The Evin story is a couple of decades old.  However, I still feel for all prisoners of conscience in Iran – and in fact the world.

It’s easy to love those who love us.  The challenge is to love those who hate us.



Dear Msabaye

by Esther on

Thank you for your lovely blog.  You may feel far from loving everyone, but I think you are well on the way to spreading love in the world (or at least on!



by yolanda on

Thank you, Anvar, for your great post! Indeed very beautiful!!!

So sorry to hear that you have family members (biological family members?)in Evin! I pray that they will be out very soon!

Thank you for writing such a beautiful post!



Loving is not intensified Liking

by Anvar on

Is it possible to love everyone?  What a wonderful question to ask.  Especially since we know, given the realities of life, the most straightforward answer would probably be No.

I would answer that question with an emphatic Yes, but quickly admit that it is very difficult.  So, if you’d indulge me a little:

I believe that humans are essentially spiritual beings.  Our souls will persist beyond the physical realm.  Love is an eternal ocean and our dying is like a drop of rain that falls (returns) into the ocean.  The drop (body) is no more, but its essence is preserved and absorbed forever.

It is that spirit which we have in common with each other.  Other than that, absolutely everything else about us is incidental, if not accidental (gender, birthplace, race, religion, nurture, nature, opportunities, etc.)

In addition to this connection to the higher plane of existence, we also have certain characteristics, urges, and instincts that we share with the lower plane in the animal kingdom.  

The more we acknowledge and nourish our spirits the more we’ll be able to control our animalistic behaviors. 

Loving is not necessarily an intensified degree of Liking.  I can easily love every single human being (at the spiritual level) but strongly dislike some of their behaviors (at the animalistic level).  

When I see humans who demean their own spirituality by committing dreadful acts, I see two options:  (1) to despise them personally and perpetuate hatred; or (2) as an expression of my love, help them (or future generations) to realize the kingdoms of Mineral, Animal, and Spiritual. 

I can still love the Evin guards who (literally) broke the teeth and ribs of my family members, but hate the fact that their souls have not been sufficiently developed (yet?).

I cede that it is not easy, but the more I develop my own spirituality the easier it becomes to look at every individual as a child of God.  For the sake of individuals in specific and humanity in general, we must love and take care of the children (of God) physically and spiritually. 

The more hatred there is, the more I feel obligated to counter it with love.

(Regret the long post; just enjoy the topic and the well written blog)



Thanks for this blog

by Marjaneh on

No, it isn't possible to love everyone. Just as it isn't possible to hate everyone. It really would be a bit of a loosing battle in either case. ;)

Every fascism is an index of a failed revolution - Walter Benjamin



by yolanda on

Thank you for summarizing the great movie for us. Thank you for your beautiful are right: there is too much hate.

Your blog also reminds of this poem I saved from Ramona's blog several months ago:

"Through love all that is bitter will be sweet.

Through Love all that is copper will be gold.

Through Love all dregs will turn to purest wine.

Through Love all pain will turn to medicine.

Through Love the dead will all become alive.

Through Love the king will turn into a slave! "

-- Translation by Annemarie Schimmel

Look! This is Love - Poems of Rumi"

Shambhala, 1991