Unity: A Definition and Its Discovery

By "unity" is commonly meant "a combination or ordering of parts in a literary or artistic production such as to constitute a whole or promote an individual effect." (Webster's) In other words,

... the unified object should contain within itself
a large number of diverse elements, each of which
in some way contributes to the total integration
of the unified whole, so that there is no confusion
despite the disparate elements within the object.
In the unified object, everything that is necessary
is there, and nothing that is not necessary is there.

(John Hospers, "Problems of Aesthetics"
Encyclopedia ov Philosophy (1967), Vol. 1, p. 43

Michael C. Hillmann, Unity in the Ghazals of Hafez,
Bibliotheca Islamica, Minneapolis, 1976, p. 31


Selected Poems from Rumi's Divani Shamsi Tabriz


From the bosom of Self I catch continually a scent of the Beloved:
How should I not, every night, take Self to my bosom?
Yestereve I was in Love's garden: this desire came into my head:
His sun peeped forth from mine eye: the riser ( of tears) began to flow.
Each laughing rose that springs from ins laughing lip
Had escaped the thorn of being, had avoided Dhu 'lfiqar.
Every tree and blade of grass was dancing in the meadow,
But in the view of the vulgar they were bound and at rest.
Suddenly on one side our Cypress appeared,
So that the garden became senseless and the plane clapped its hands.
A face like fire, wine like fire, Love afire— all three delectable;
The soul, by reason of the mingled fires, was wailing 'Where shall I flee?'
In the world of Divine Unity is no room for Number,
But Number necessarily exists in the world of Five and Four.
You may count a hundred thousand sweet apples in your hand:
If you wish to make One, crush them all together.
Behold, without regarding the letters, what is this language in the heart.
Pureness of colour is a quality derived from the Source of Action.
Shamsi Tabriz is seated in royal state, and before him
My rhymes are ranked like willing servants.

Jelaluddin Rumi (1207-1273)
Divani Shamsi Tabriz
translated by Reynold A. Nicholson
(first published Cambridge University Press, 1898)
Reprint: Rainbow Bridge, San Francisco, 1973, pp. 69-70



One thing in all things have I seen:
One thought has haunted earth and air:
Clangour and silence both have been
Its palace chambers. Everywhere

I saw the mystic vision flow
And live in men and woods and streams,
Until I could no longer know
The dream of life from my own dreams.

Sometimes it rose like fire in me
Within the depths of my own mind,
And spreading to infinity,
It took the voices of the wind:

It scrawled the human mystery—
Dim heraldry‹on light and air;
Wavering along the starry sea
I saw the flying vision there.

Each fire that in Godıs temple lit
Burns fierce before the inner shrine,
Dimmed as my fire grew near to it
And darkened at the light of mine.

  At last, at last, the meaning caught—
The spirit wears its diadem;
It shakes its wondrous plumes of thought
And trails the stars along with them.

A.E. (George William Russell) (1867-1935),
"Unity" from Collected Poems (1913)

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