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In search for God – Bismillahi 'r-rahmani 'r-raheem - Experiences from travelling around the world! Part 1 of 2!

Sometimes people I met on my way in Iran in July 2004, who asked me about my belief and religion. I replied by referring to a quote from the Persian mystic poet Rumi. In 1994 I become aware of this poem in the music CD booklet Cross of Changes from Enigma. It was the group`s second album, where they combine old-world elements with new age and radio-friendly dance-pop. Both the poem and music made a tremendous impression on me.
Red sky,God,light,Rumi

Photo. Is there a allmighty God? Where is God? In people`s heart? © Travel Explorations (Sanna & Stein).

God has many names. One thing is common: people associate God with something good. But where is he? In the today`s world full of science, search for God challenge people`s faith.

As I interpret Rumi`s poem Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim is that God is actual a person`s personality, good or bad. Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim means "In the Name of God.", but for Rumi, religion was mostly a personal experience and not based on any particularly religious faith. Rumi is still well known in Iran as other parts of the world. By bringing old wisdom back to the new age, I am strongly convinced this could help people to build friendship across social, political, cultural, racial and religious boundaries.

The most important thing for me when I travel around the world is to get in contact with other people, and I find it interesting to know them better: how is their life and culture.  

I had a wonderful journey in Iran. Based on my experiences during 20 years of travelling, I have never got a stronger feeling of being a guest in a country rather than a tourist. It made me feel so well meeting all the nice Iranian people both smiling and saying hello to me. All around in Iran I have been invited to private homes. The Iranians are really opened minded and have a good heart. Visiting nomadic tribes in the mountains was an unforgettable adventure for me. Iranians believe that by doing good things to other they will be rewarded by God. I think this is a wonderful faith and philosophy, and then I think: God exist in their hearts!

In general, based on my experiences, I found God in many hearts around the world. Most people I have met are really nice and hospitable.  When I watch the news on television I can sometimes get another impression. It so many wars going on and so much terrorism in the world today, but after my experiences meeting people on my journeys have been a joyful blessing.

Many today are searching for a Higher Power. Some call this God. Is there really a God? How to define God? And if it`s true about God, where is he? Rumi had an answer for this, and he wrote the wonderful poem Bismillahi 'r-rahmani 'r-raheem.

Rumi’s poem of wisdom goes like this:

Bismillahi 'r-rahmani 'r-raheem
I tried to find Him on the Christian cross, but He was not there; I went to the Temple of the Hindus and to the old pagoda, but I could not find a trace of Him anywhere.
I searched the mountains and the valleys but neither in the heights nor in the depths was I able to find Him. I went to the Kaaba in Mecca, but He was not there either.
I questioned the scholars and philosophers, but He was beyond their understanding.
I then looked into my heart and it was there where He dwelled that I saw him; He was nowhere else to be found.

Jalaluddin Rumi

In this poem Rum gives an instruction how to search for God.

This article continues in part 2.

Stein Morten Lund, 15 February 2011

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