Baba Tahir

A mystic who wrote in a dialect of Persian language.

According to Rida Kuli Khan ( 19th century AD ) Baba Tahir lived in the period of Daylami rule in 1010AD.

He may have been the contemporary of Ibn Sina , who dies in Hamdan in 1037 AD.

In the quarter of Khuurramabad there is a quarter bearing the name Baba Tahir.

Since all the facts and traditions connect the poet with Hmadan and Luristan , it is reasonable to expect to find in his dialect traces of a dialect of this region of Persian.

Down to 1927 , all that was known of his poems was a rather small number found in for the most parts in anthologies of the 18th and 19th centuries AD.

In 1927 Husayn Wahid Dastgirdi Ishfahani published in Tehran a Diwan of Baba Tahir containing 296 du bayti and 3 rubai.

The choice of subjects of Baba Tahir is very restricted but the poets work bears the stamp of a distinct personality. He often refers to his life as a wandering “darwish kalandar ” continually harassed by spiritual anxieties, melancholy torment him. He invokes Nirvana (fana ) as the only remedy for his misfortunes.

His psychology has a striking contrast to that of Umar Khaiyyam, but he shows no trace of hedonism of Umar Khaiyyam, who also lacks the mystic fire of Baba Tahir.

Persian dervishes knew that he was the author of 22 metaphysical treatises.

There are at Oxford and Paris commentaries on the maxims of Baba Tahir. The complete treatise ” al kalimat al kisar ” -” the brief sayings”- has been published.

The treatise consists of 369 Arabic maxims dealing with 1) Knowledge ( ilm ) 2) Gnosis ( marifa ) 3) inspiration and peneteration ( ilham firasa ) 4) reason and the soul  ( akl nafs ) 5) this world and beyond ( dunya ukba ) 6) the musical performance ( sama ) and the 7) Dhikr : sincerity and the spiritual retreat ( ikhlas, itikaff ) etc.

Some of his sayings are – ” Real knowledge is the intiution after the knowledge of certainty has been gained.”

” Ecstasy ( wadjad ) is the loss ( of the knowledge ) of existing things and is the existence of lost things ”

” He whom ignorance has slain has never lived, he whom the dhikr has killed will never die ”

The above sayings enjoyed popularity amongst Sufis.

As is the case with the majority of mystical poets- Attar, Rumi , Hafiz- there are numerous legends of the life and miracles of Baba Tahir-ie- spreading a night in an icy water tank .

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