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Ball and Polo Stick or the Book of Ecstasy

By Arifi of Herat

Hossein Ziai (1944-2011), Wheeler Thackston

Series: Bibliotheca Iranica: Intellectual Traditions Series 3
Availability: In stock
Published: 1999
Page #: xiii + 64
Size: 6 x 9
ISBN: ISBN 13: 978-1568590905, 1-56859-090-3
plates, notes

$15.00

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Quick Overview

Little is known of the poet ‘Arifi of Herat (d. 1449), but his book The Ball and Polo Stick has been popular since its composition in A.H. 842 (A.D. 1438-39) at the height of Timurid power. The underlying theme of this work is self-sacrificing love, a conceptualization that was derived from the Sufi ideal of love. This love not only by definition is unrequited but also demands the ultimate death of the lover. In terms of mystical speculative philosophy, the “death” of the lover is the annihilation of selfhood and self-awareness i.e., the total absorption of the lover’s own consciousness of self into that of the beloved. On the purely mystical level, this represents the annihilation of the individuated soul, the lover, into the godhead, the beloved. When translated into human terms, the hapless lover would have to die in ecstasy at the feet of his beloved. This was the conceptualization of love that was taken up and glorified by Persian poetry.
The Ball and Polo Stick is the third volume in Intellectual Traditions, a series aimed to provide scholars and students of Iranian heritage with new source materials on philosophy, mysticism, ‘`irfan, intellectual history, and literature.

author

Hossein Ziai (1944-2011)

Hossein Ziai, Tenured Full Professor of Islamic and Iranian Studies, and Director of Iranian Studies at UCLA, where he has taught since 1988. He received his B.S. in 1967 in Mathematics & Physics from Yale University, and his Ph.D. in Islamic Philosophy from Harvard University in 1976. Prior to his position at UCLA, Ziai has taught at Tehran University, Sharif University, Harvard University, Brown University, and Oberlin College. Dr. Ziai has published several volumes and numerous articles on Islamic philosophy, especially the Iranian/Islamic Illuminationist tradition. His books include: (1) Philosophy of Mathematics (in Persian); (2) Anvariyya (The Realm of Lights); (3) Knowledge and Illumination; (4) Shahrazur's Commentary on Hikmat al-Ishraq; (5) The Book of Radiance; (6) The Philosophy of Illumination; (7) The Ball and Polo Stick, or the Book of Ecstasy; (8) Ibn Kammuna's Text on Illuminationist Physics. He has also contributed many chapters to edited volumes including: "Beyond Philosophy" in Myth and Philosophy, edited by Frank Reynolds and David Tracy. "The Source and Nature of Authority" in The Political Aspects of Islamic Philosophy, edited by Charles Butterworth; and three chapters in The Routledge History of Islamic Philosophy, edited by Seyyed Hossein Nasr and Oliver Leaman. He is also the author of numerous articles on Islamic philosophy and on Iranian/Islamic intellectual traditions. Ziai has offered numerous papers at national and international conferences.
author

Wheeler Thackston

Professor Thackston has been a member of the NELC faculty at Harvard University since 1972. Author of textbooks for Persian, Classical Arabic, Syriac, and Kurdish, his main research areas include classical Persian poetry and belles-lettres, historical sources on Central Asia, the literature of the Mughal Empire in India, and modern Iranian languages. Publications include The Jahangirnama: Memoirs of Jahangir, Emperor of India and The Baburnama: Memoirs of Babur, Prince and Emperor.

Preface

Introduction

The Ball and Polo Stick, or the Book of Ecstasy.

Proclaiming the Real as One.
Intimate Conversation.
In Praise of the Apostle of God On the State of His Own Being On Spring.
The Spheres Chastise the Earth.
The Earth Refutes the Heavens.
In Praise of the King.
Beginning of the Book of Ecstasy.
The King Goes Out to Play Polo.
On the Love of the Ball for the Mallet.
The Mallet Answers in the Tongue of Ecstasy.
The Dervish Loses His Heart.
On the Dervish's Grief in Separation.
The Dervish's Friend Comes Forth.
The Dervish and the Ball Tell Their Secrets.
The Tale of the Mallet and the Dervish.
The King Plays Polo the Next Day.
The Dervish Gives Up His Life.
On the King's Sympathy for the Dervish.
The King Orders a Grave for the Dervish.
One of the Secrets of Love.
In Conclusion.
In Praise of the Prince.

Notes to the Persian Text.

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