Hamid b. Fadl Allah Jamali of Delhi (A.D. 1483-1542) is one of the outstanding Indian poets, who followed the rich tradition of Persian mystical poetry. Jamali was the poet-laureate of Sultan Sikandar Ludi (reigned 1489-1517) and wrote several works, among which a memoir of fourteen Indian mystics of the Chishti order, entitled The Spiritual Journey of the Mystics (Sayr al-‘arifin); an allegorical romance The Sun and the Moon (Mihr u Mah); and many lyrics and odes. The Mirror of Meanings is his finest expression of Sufi thought and made him immensely popular in India, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Central Asia. Jamali composed the poem at the request of people who wanted to know the symbolic significance of the terminology used by Sufis. It is written in the figurative and erotic language of Sufis, exposing in 38 chapters their ecstatic experiences, their exertion on the path of love and their union with the divine beloved, concentrating on the spiritual symbolism of the beloved’s body, the meaning of wine, wine-seller, and cupbearer. In this poem, Jamali shows how the mystic can be united with the Beloved through Gnostic knowledge of the formal body. It is a journey from the phenomenal world into one’s real self, which is the Truth. Each part of the body is a road, leading the mystic lover to the eternal Living. The road of the tresses, symbolizing the realm of darkness, brings the lover to the Fountain of Life, i.e. the Beloved’s sweet lips.
This book is the first English translation of The Mirror of Meanings, presented with a parallel critical text edition in Persian. Seyed-Gohrab’s thorough introduction and comprehensive glossary of technical Sufi terms and A. Pourjavadi's critical edition of the orginial Persian text together give ample background to and explanation of the figurative language of Sufism to make this work accessible to the non-specialist. Students of Persian literature, Sufism, and spirituality have now access to the symbolic universe of the Persian and Islamic mysticism.